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FREE AND CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN ALBUQUERQUE

You’ll find plenty of fun, free and cheap things to do in Albuquerque during your visit. From Native American culture to meteorites, from fishing to gallery tours, Albuquerque is one of the Southwest’s best affordable vacation spots, with lots of museums, outdoor activities and uniquely Albuquerque things to do that won't break the bank.

Free Things to do in Albuquerque

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

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Indian dances at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center are a unique way for visitors to experience Native American traditions and culture, meet artists selling handcrafted works and explore the center's unique collection of Pueblo pottery and art. Dances happen every weekend at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can also purchase admission to the IPCC. Admission for adults costs $10, and admission for children is $7.

Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument is an open-air museum featuring more than 20,000 ancient images of people, animals and other mysterious designs, carved into the black rock of the Rio Grande Valley. Parking is $1 on weekdays and $2 on weekends.

University of New Mexico Museums

  • The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology offers exhibits and programs relating to cultures around the world, with a special emphasis on the cultural heritage of the Southwest.

  • The Meteorite Museum is home to more than 5,000 specimens and offers visitors the chance to learn about asteroids, comets and more through the study of objects that have fallen to Earth. 

  • The Museum of Southwestern Biology is a research and teaching facility for the study of ecology and the life history of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. 

  • The UNM Art Museum is a teaching museum whose collection includes paintings, photography, prints and sculpture, with a particular focus on works by American artists. 

Tingley Beach

Tingley Beach: A Refreshing Albuquerque Respite

The fishing lakes at Tingley Beach are open year-round and offer free fishing areas in multiple ponds. There are also trails to walk along the bosque and paved trails perfect for walking or biking.

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66 runs through Albuquerque. See the road that changed the idea of post-WWII American road trips, including unique signs and architecture that still remain from the heyday of Route 66.

OffCenter Community Arts

OffCenter Community Arts has open studio hours for everyone. Materials are provided. They also host skill-building groups, an exhibit space, workshops on art-based businesses.

ABQ Artwalk

Held downtown every first Friday, the ABQ Artwalk is a collaboration between artists and downtown businesses to bring you art shows, live music and community events! 

KiMo Theatre

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Check out the KiMo Theatre in downtown Albuquerque. Open for self-guided tours daily, there are also free guided tours on a pre-scheduled basis. Catch a movie while you’re there! Tickets start at only $4 depending on the show.

Downtown Mural Tour

Take a self-guided tour of some of Albuquerque's most impressive and awe-inspiring murals. Follow the Mural Mosey for a Downtown tour, or create your own tour.

Downtown Walking Tours

The Albuquerque Historical Society offers a free Downtown Walking Tour every Saturday at 10 a.m from February through November. Learn the history and architecture of some of the landmark buildings taht make up the city's business district.

South Broadway Cultural Center

You’ll find music and dance performances, art shows, poetry readings and more at the South Broadway Cultural Center. The art gallery is free during regular business hours.

Get Out in Nature

JG hikeS

Nature walks, hiking and biking are great ways to get outside and enjoy the city's fantastic trails and open space preserves. Learn more about Albuquerque hiking here.

See the City from a New Perspective

Take a drive to Sandia Crest via NM 536 (the Sandia Crest Scenic Byway) or hike up La Luz Trail and get a full view of the city from an elevation of 10,300 feet.

Explore a public library

Albuquerque’s public libraries offer free or low-cost classes and workshops, art exhibits, readings and performances and much more. And with 18 branches around town, you’re always near a library. 

Visit a Park

With more parkland per person than any other city in the U.S., Albuquerque is the perfect place to head out and enjoy a day at one of our many City parks!

Watch a Sunset

Level 5 Sunset

Albuquerque’s skies are known to put on some of the most brilliant, colorful sunsets in the southwest. Watching the sky light up each night is free! Find the best places to see the sun set here

Window Shop

Window shopping in Old Town and Nob Hill lets you sample daily life in Albuquerque and see our unique arts and crafts.

Discover Public Art

Explore Albuquerque’s vast and unique collection of Public Art. Find your way around the Public Art scene with this handy map, or check out some public art Downtown.

Cheap Things to do in Albuquerque

Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

Balloon Museum Interior

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum gives visitors a chance to explore the exciting history of hot air balloons and their role in everything from sightseeing to space exploration. Admission is free every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the first Friday of every month.

Albuquerque Museum

The Albuquerque Museum is located in the heart of Old Town, just off historic Route 66. The family-friendly museum has a collection showcasing art, history and culture from across New Mexico and the American Southwest. Admission is free every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the first Wednesday of every month.

Explora

Explora is an innovative, hands-on learning center teaching science, technology and art to students of all ages. On Wednesdays Explora opens an hour earlier for "toddler time" to give its youngest visitors a chance to explore.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

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The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History offers a peek into the story of the Atomic Age, from the development of the atomic bomb to the widespread use of nuclear energy production. Children five and under are free.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science explores the state's distinctive natural history, including dinosaurs, ancient sea coasts and the chance the walk through a "live" volcano. Check out the planetarium and DynaTheater as well.

ABQ BioPark

The ABQ BioPark is a unique environmental museum that includes an aquarium, botanic garden, zoo and Tingley Beach. Admission to Tingley Beach is free for everyone, and children two and under are free at the other facilities.

Farmers Markets

Downtown Growers Market

Farmers markets in Albuquerque are a great and inexpensive way to get a taste of local food and goods. Find other artisan, hand-made goods at other markets around the city.

Wildlife West Nature Park

Explore Wildlife West Nature Park just east of Albuquerque, where more than 20 native species live. All the animals have been in accidents or rescued and are no longer able to live in the wild.

American International Rattlesnake Museum

The American International Rattlesnake Museum, located in Old Town, has the largest collection of different species of rattlesnakes in the world. Adults can slither in for just $6.

Albuquerque Isotopes

Isotopes Ballpark

Cheer on the local minor league baseball team, the Albuquerque Isotopes. Many home games feature giveaways and after-game firework shows. Tickets start at just $9.

Rio Grande Nature Center

The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, located along the bosque, is a relaxing spot for a nature walk, bird watching or educational talk. Parking is $3.

Go on a picnic

Pack a picnic lunch and head for the foothills. One of our favorite spots is the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area, which offers sheltered picnic tables, coal grills, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts and more. Check out some other ideas for perfect picnic spots in Albuquerque.

Tinkertown Museum

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Experience one of the most unique museums around at Tinkertown Museum on the east side of the Sandia Mountains. Your imagination will soar, with museum entrance only $3 for kids and $6 for adults.

Head to a pool

Cool off in one of Albuquerque's public and other outdoor pools. We've put together a list of some of Albuquerque's favorite swimming spots to get you started!

Budget-Friendly Festivals and Events

Festivals at the National Hispanic Cultural Center

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The National Hispanic Cultural Center hosts various free events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating Hispanic art and traditions. The center includes an art museum, library, genealogy center and performing arts complex.

ARTScrawl

ARTScrawl's self-guided gallery tours are a great way to explore the city's art scene. The First Friday ARTScrawl is a citywide tour of galleries featuring works from local and nationally recognized artists.

Events in Old Town

Old Town Albuquerque Event

The historic Old Town neighborhood often has cultural offerings, such as flamenco dancing and salsa. You can often catch live music in Old Town on the weekends.

Poetry Slams

ABQSlams' poetry slams include performance events and educational programs throughout the year.

Summerfest

Route 66 Summerfest

Summerfest is a series of free community events featuring live music, children's activities, climbing walls, a craft beer garden, food trucks and vendors selling local, handcrafted goods.

Find more events and festivals in Albuquerque on our events page.