Albuquerque Holiday Events and Specials
New Mexico's largest city observes the holiday season with notable style and festivities. Take part in the holiday celebration including coupons, centuries-old traditions and numerous events
that offer something for everyone.
Holiday/Winter Hotel Packages & Deals
The holiday season in Albuquerque means Luminarias. Luminarias are a simple brown
paper bag, partially filled with sand to make it stable and a single votive candle to illuminate the simple lunch bag. Several of these together create a beautiful
ambiance welcoming guests into your home for a holiday party or celebration. A fun way to experience a little bit of Albuquerque’s holiday traditions is to create luminarias to line your driveways, sidewalks and maybe even your roof at home.
The annual Old Town Luminaria Tour on December 24th is not to be missed.
Watch our special two minute holiday video about Luminarias, "Life of a Brown Paper Bag."
Native American Dancing and Pueblo Feast Days
Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on weekends and enjoy Native American dancing and art demonstrations, you can also take part in baking bread and making art. The holidays are a wonderful time to visit the neighboring pueblos, many of them hold feast day celebrations in November and December. View more information and see the schedule here.
Albuquerque has the biggest and best shopping in the entire state with three premier malls and many special shopping areas and specialty stores. Whether you have been to Albuquerque or not, there is something for everyone from traditional Southwestern jewelry and pottery to contemporary designs of paintings, sculpture and more.
Stroll through two of Albuquerque’s historic neighborhoods and shop in unique local shops on two consecutive days.
- The Nob Hill Shop & Stroll on Saturday, December 1 begins with the Twinkle Light Parade and includes shopping and food specials, family entertainment, and photos with Santa.
- The Old Town Stroll on Friday, December 7 features live entertainment, dancers, family activities, Santa Claus and the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Plaza Don Luis.
Check out 10 great local holiday gifts
And we can’t forget the food. Food is so essential to our identity that our state even has a state question, “Red or green?” which refers to the type of chile you prefer on your dish at a restaurant. The delicious flavors of New Mexico’s cuisine make perfect gifts for any time of year, but are especially popular at the holidays to add a little spice to the winter months - products like New Mexican green chile, dried red chile powder, more types of salsa than you can imagine, and our tasty State Cookie, the biscochito.
The festive season brings traditional New Mexican culinary specialties to the forefront with tamales, posole, and biscochitos on every table.
Treat yourself to a special holiday dinner at one of Albuquerque's fine dining establishments. Albuquerque was recently named one of "20 Awesome Winter Foodie Destinations" by Zagat.com.
Add a taste of Albuquerque to your holiday season with traditional New Mexican recipes.
The holidays can be hectic and stressful, treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment at one of the premium Albuquerque area spas.
Visit one of the many distinguished museums
and learn about the centuries-old history of Albuquerque, the 19 pueblos of New Mexico as well as turquoise, dinosaurs, hot air balloons, rattlesnakes and more!
Special Holiday Events
Albuquerque Alpacas Open Ranch Days for the Holidays December 8-9, 15-16 & 22-23
Get a jump on your holiday shopping in a relaxing environment. Come out to the ranch to meet this season's adorable baby alpacas, Windhaven and Apex Summit. A fun, interactive experience for animal lovers of all ages.
NM Ballet Company presents an enchanting world where life-sized mice battle toy soldiers, snowflakes dance, and delicate sweets entertain.
Visitors of all ages can enjoy the dazzling displays of animals,
fantastical creatures and much more as they stroll throughout New
Mexico’s largest walk-through light show.
An event for the whole family to enjoy. Create gifts inspired by nature at the River of Lights.
Radio Theatre Production: A Christmas Carol November 29-December 16
Almost everyone is familiar with the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. But have you ever seen the entire story with only one actor playing every single part?
16th Annual Nutcracker on the Rocks November 30-December 2
Keshet’s Nutcracker on the Rocks is an original rock-n-roll
rendition of the classical holiday tale, incorporating the music of
James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and Janis Joplin.
Old Town Holiday Stroll December 7
Special guest appearance by Santa Claus and free photos. Bring your
own ornament or craft supplies (or use ours) and create an ornament for
a child at Carrie Tingley at the Elves' Workshop. All weekend, enjoy
live entertainment from local acts.
24th Old Church Fine Arts Show November 30-December 2
This is a wonderful event that features many of New Mexico’s finest artists, set in the beauty of the Old San Ysidro Church, a classic example of New Mexico Hispanic village religious architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Christmas Classic Radio Theater Performance: A Christmas Carol November 30-December 16
A radio station is broadcasting "A Christmas Carol" live before a studio audience.
It's a Wonderful Life November 30-December 24
This is the saga of George Bailey, the everyman from the small town of Bedford Falls, whose dreams of escape and adventure have been quashed by family obligation and civic duty. His guardian angel had descended on Christmas eve to save him from despair and to remind him that he has a wonderful life, by showing him what the world would have been like had he never been born.
Nob Hill Shop & Stroll
and Twinkle Light Parade December 1
Annual Holiday Spectacular, new this year we a teaming up with Nob Hill's Shop and Stroll. Start at noon and shop the day away in a festive relaxed atmosphere. Starting at 5:15 p.m. the Twinkle Light Parade will travel from Washington to Girard. See floats, cars, marching bands, bicycles, animals and more!
Holiday Art Workshop December 1
Take time out of your busy holiday schedule and visit the Museum for our annual Holiday Art Workshop.
Noche de Luces December 1
Celebrate the holiday season at Casa San Ysidro. The historic home will be decorated with farolitos and holiday greens. All ages can participate in ornament making and singing carols around an open bonfire.
Kenny Rogers Christmas Concert December 1
See Kenny Rogers on the 31st Anniversary of his Christmas & Hits Tour this winter. As always the festive show will feature live performances of holiday classics as well as his biggest hits with special guest Billy Dean.
Workshop: Moccasin Making December 1-2 & 8-9
Learn how to make traditional Pueblo moccasins in this 4 day Class from artist Edwin from the pueblo of Cochiti.
Garden Holidays December 1-31
Embrace the holiday spirit at the Botanic Garden during the daylight hours through the month of December.
Pueblo Winter Stories December 1 & 2, 29 & 30
In Native American tradition, winter stories are told to young and old alike. Join us, as Shkeme Garcia entertains and enlightens with his gift of storytelling!
Christmas at Kuaua December 2
Warm your tummies with hot chocolate and cider and your hearts with familiar carols and a visit from St. Nick! Share plates of cookies with the jolly ol’ man. Delight in the glow of hundreds of beautiful luminarias and gaily decorated trees. Gather ‘round the roaring bon fire where Native drummers and storytellers will move your spirit.
Los Ranchos North Fourth Stop & Shop December 2
More than 30 shops offering a variety of free gifts, discounts, refreshments and Grand Prize Gift Baskets! Explore the great businesses and find unique gifts for everyone on your list and something fabulous for yourself!
Holiday Sweets Cooking Class December 2
Learn how to make holiday treats with Los Poblanos's top chefs.
Albuquerque Concert Band Holiday Show December 2
The Albuquerque Concert Band is an all-volunteer organization presenting programs of fine music for concert band in the Albuquerque area throughout the year. Enjoy your holiday music favorites at this free concert.
Holidays Take Flight December 2
The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum invites you to celebrate the holidays at the 6th Annual "Holidays Take Flight," the festive annual event for all ages. Holiday family activities include a visit with Balloon Pilot Santa, decorating cookies, making balloon holiday cards, and a remote-controlled hot-air balloon outdoors.
The Peak 100.3 Jingle Ball Concert December 3
First Financial Credit Union presents 100.3 The Peak Jingle Ball 2012! Featuring The Script, Neon Trees, Lifehouse and Gavin Degraw singing your Christmas music favorites.
Chocolate and Wine Holiday Event December 5
Join us at Gruet Winery as we "pair up" with Cocopotomus and their award winning gourmet chocolate truffles! Combining two of the most historically revered tastes on the planet, chocolate and wine, into one exquisite experience should be done at least once a year!
New Directions Veterans Choir Christmas Concert December 7
The New Directions Veterans Choir, an award-winning a cappella group, sings renditions of Christmas favorites for an uplifting celebration of the holiday season. The men and women of New Directions Veterans Choir have served proudly in the United States Military.
Shopping, live entertainment, dancers, family activities, Santa Claus on hand and the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Plaza Don Luis.
New Directions Veterans Choir Concert December 7
The New Directions Veterans Choir, an award-winning a cappella group, sings renditions of doo-wop, soul, traditional gospel and popular music. The men and women of New Directions Veterans Choir have served proudly in the United States Military.
Christmas Joy December 7-9
Come celebrate the Spirit of Christmas in dance as the Performers
Ballet & Jazz Company will present the 26th season of its Bravos
award-winning holiday production.
Coyote's Christmas Carol December 7-16
A family comedy with music by Malcolm MacDonald. In this delightful adaptation, Dickens’ classic yuletide story brims with New Mexican folklore and original music.
Holiday Pop-Up Craft Market December 7-8
Enjoy local organic produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and other items. Come support your local growers and get some Holiday shopping done too!
KayDee Holiday Arts & Crafts Show December 8
Featuring local artists and craftsmen that create beautiful handmade
items. Our show features fiber art, paintings, photography, glass art,
jewelry, wood working and so much more.
Food Truck Holiday Extravaganza December 8
Please join the delicious festivities. Your favorite food trucks will be there serving holiday food and specialty drinks! Tent seating will be provided, so bring family and friends and join us for this unique culinary event - and support local businesses!
The Nutcracker December 8-24
Repertory Theatre at its best! An enchanting world where life-sized
mice battle toy soldiers, snowflakes dance, and delicate sweets
Christmas in Ireland Concert December 9
Popejoy favorite Danú returns to ring in the holiday season in true Irish fashion. Danú thrills music lovers around the world with virtuoso players and the unforgettable voice of Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh.
The Moscow Ballet's The Great Russian Nutcracker December 11
Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary The Moscow Ballet brings this holiday classic to Albuquerque. With larger than life puppets, 9 hand-painted backdrops and hundreds of exquisite costumes, the Great Russian Nutcracker is the most spectacular Christmas celebration!
Wine Tasting: Bordeux December 12
A tasting with our wine director featuring Bordeux. Tasting followed by a special La Merienda dinner at The Inn.
Mariachi Christmas December 14
The thrilling horns and whirling dancers bring the colorful celebrations of a Mexican Christmas to our stage.
Holiday Strings Concert December 14
Historic Old Town's San Felipe de Neri Church, and the Cultural Services Department of the City of Albuquerque, in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate, are pleased to present a Christmas Concert by La Catrina Quartet.
The Farolitos of Christmas December 14-16
The Vortex Theatre and the National Hispanic Cultural Center present The Farolitos of Christmas, a timeless, heartwarming play by iconic New Mexican author Rudolfo Anaya.
Ornament Making Workshop December 15
Learn how to make Christmas ornaments from the best.
The New Mexico Philharmonic presents Holiday Joy December 15
Join the New Mexico Philharmonic and guests in an unforgettable evening celebrating the spirit of the holidays. Enjoy seasonal favorites, carols, and very good cheer. Special guest Mayor Richard Berry will narrate Twas the Night Before Christmas.
New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus Holiday Concert December 15-16
Enjoy a holiday concert from the New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus. Music includes traditional American holiday songs as well as music from around the world.
College football game pits the Mountain West Conference against the Pac-12. This event will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Handel's Messiah December 16
This is the Baroque-style Messiah that Albuquerque audiences have come to know, experience Messiah with the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra, four Baroque soloists, and Maestro Melone conducting from his seat at the harpsichord!
All Barrel and Tank Holiday Wine Tasting December 19
Celebrate the holiday season with Gruet and be a part of our second annual All Barrel and Tank Tasting! Enjoy an exciting evening of wine, and light fare as we host a walk-around tasting in the winery with exclusive, barrel and tank samplings of finished and unfinished wines not yet available to the public.
Trolley of Lights Tour December 19-23
Tis the Season for Christmas trees, luminarias, nutcrackers, egg nog and holiday lights! Join ABQ Trolley Co. on an open-air trolley ride as we head out to see Albuquerque's holiday lights aglow. Trolley of Lights highlights include Old Town Plaza Christmas tree and decorations, Rio Grande Blvd and the Village od Los Ranchos de Albuquerque.
14th Annual Las Posadas December 20
Las Posadas is re-enacted once a year by the Corrales Historical Society to honor this tradition. The Corrales re-enactment has two Corrales children portray Mary and Joseph. Our Lady of Guadalupe parish choir provide the music. The event is free and followed by refreshments.
The Nutcraker Ballet in the Land of Enchantment December 20-23
The Nutcracker Ballet, a beloved holiday tradition comes to life in the late 1800s in territorial New Mexico. Resplendent with New Mexico heritage and traditions while maintaining the classical grace of its origins
Holiday Enchantment at the Zoo December 22
Everyone enjoys gifts, and the BioPark Zoo animals are no exception! Many of the zoo’s animals will receive holiday treats during this special event.
Las Posadas de Barelas December 22
Las Posadas de Barelas begins at the Barelas Community Center and wends its way through the neighborhood. Join the procession as it goes to the Sacred Heart Church for the Fiesta de Navidad. Bring candles and flashlights and dress warmly.
Luminaria Tour December 24
Enjoy a New Mexican tradition and take a magical ride with the City of Albuquerque and ABQ RIDE through a twinkling wonderland in Old Town, the festively adorned Albuquerque Country Club, and other hot spots decked out for the holiday.
Albuquerque Lights & Luminarias Holiday Bike Tour December 24
This holiday season Routes Rentals & Tours takes you through the heart of Albuquerque, down luminaria-lined avenues in Old Town and past some of the most impressive light displays in the state.
Acoma Pueblo Christmas Eve Luminarias December 24
After dusk, revel in the beauty of 3,000 luminarias lining the road to Acoma Pueblo. Luminarias will be displayed from 6-10pm. What a beautiful way to welcome Christmas.
The Figueroa Music and Arts Project Presents New Year's Eve in Vienna December 31
The Figueroa Music and Arts Project Symphony Orchestra, with Guillermo Figueroa, conductor and violin, presents Viennese classic masters such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Strauss. The evening's music includes waltzes, polkas, and Hungarian dances and rhapsodies.
Casino Hollywood New Year's Eve Party December 31-Janurary 1
Ring in the New Year at Casino Hollywood. The Westwind Band will be performing. The band plays Top 40 Country, Spanish and Rock & roll from classic Merle Haggard to Van Helen.
New Year's Eve Party in Paradise with Route 66 Casino December 31-Janurary 1
The largest and most "sand"sational New Year's celebration in New Mexico featuring beaches from Hawaii to Havana. Enjoy live music from the David Kurtz Band, Fat City, the Reed Eastwood Trio, Mariachi Alma de Albuquerque along with dancers, magicians and acrobats along the Casino floor.
New Year's Eve Dinner and Dance December 31-January 1
Ring in the New Year at the Marriott Pyramid North. Enjoy a dinner and music by the Red Wine Band.