Guide to Lights and Luminarias in the Albuquerque Area

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One of our new favorite traditions is making a batch of biscochitos and hot cocoa, then hitting the road to tour the area neighborhoods in search of Albuquerque’s best holiday lights and luminarias. Tune into Albuquerque’s dedicated Christmas radio station Magic FM 99.5 or put on your favorite holiday playlist and check out some impressive lights displays.

Guide to Lights and Luminaries in the Albuquerque Area

Thank you to Comcast for sponsoring the Guide to Lights and Luminarias.

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Lights

Old Town Tree Lighting

Friday December 2nd
5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Historic Old Town

This event has become the unofficial beginning of the holiday season. Stop by Plaza Don Luis for the Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. Free parking is available at the lot on the corner of 18th St. and Bellamah Ave. Free shuttles will take event-goers to the Albuquerque Museum lot near Old Town Plaza. Shuttles run from 3:30 – 9:30 p.m. Old Town Holiday Stroll is free for the public to attend and is a rain or shine event.
Streets throughout Old Town will be closed to traffic starting at 3 p.m. Please plan accordingly and arrive early. Be aware of and obey all posted street parking signs. Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome.

UNM Hanging of the Greens

Friday December 2nd
5:45 p.m.

With 13,000 farolitos decorating UNM main campus, this event promises to be a continuation of UNM’s oldest student-run tradition. This year, the event begins at the UNM Bookstore. From there the group of carolers will carol across campus to University House, and present the president with a wreath. The ceremony will conclude with a reception at Hodgin Hall. The community is invited and encouraged to bring an unwrapped children’s book to place under the tree at Hodgin Hall. The books will be donated to the UNM Children’s Hospital.


River of Lights

November 26 – December 30
Closed Dec. 24 & 25
5 p.m. – 10 p.m. (last entry 9 p.m.)

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden

Light up your holidays at the New Mexico BioPark Society’s 24th Annual River of Lights. Walk along an easy one-way path, dazzled with over 600 lighted sculptures and millions of twinkling lights. Hot cocoa, holiday treats and food available for purchase!
Timed tickets are required and must be purchased in advance. Nightly time slots have limited capacity.

Lights of Enchantment

Sandia Speedway

November 25 – December 31
5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Lights Of Enchantment is the Southwest Premier Drive Through Christmas Light Show featuring over 350 light displays with over a million points of light.

Advance tickets now on sale. Each ticket admits one carload.


Winter Wonderland New Mexico

December 2 – January 1
6:00 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Expo NM

Winter Wonderland 2022 returns to NM at EXPO NM! Winter Wonderland is a Drive-Thru Holiday Experience, combining the holiday spirit and New Mexico culture into a safe, family-friendly winter attraction. The 2022 show features a special walking section where you can enjoy Winter Wonderland outside your vehicle as well as enjoy local vendors, sip hot cocoa and even get your picture with SANTA CLAUS himself! A portion of every ticket sold from this event will be donated to the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities-New Mexico

Advance tickets now on sale. Each ticket admits one carload.


Twinkle Light Parade

Saturday December 3rd
5:15 p.m.

Nob Hill Area

It’s time for Albuquerque’s most dazzling celebration! This free, family-friendly holiday event brings the sparkle to a mile-long stretch of Central Ave. Nob Hill will be all a-glow as the Twinkle Light Parade rolls from Washington St. to Girard Blvd. starting at 5:15 p.m. The parade is comprised of local businesses, organizations, schools, and families, all competing for Best in Show.

The Albuquerque Twinkle Light Parade is free for the public to attend and is a rain or shine event. Please be aware of and obey all posted street parking signs. Be mindful and not block Nob Hill residents’ driveways or access to their homes. The free, provided Park & Ride is the preferred option for this event. Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome.


ABQ Trolley of Lights

December 15 – December 23
Times may vary. Check website for more details.

Hotel Albuquerque

Join ABQ Trolley Co. this December as they head out to see Albuquerque’s holiday lights aglow. The Trolley of Lights departs from Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town.

Tours last approximately 75-minutes. December evenings in Albuquerque are quite brisk; please dress for 30-degree weather as we will be riding in an open sleigh, er Trolley (blankets, long underwear, mittens, knit caps, wool socks, etc. will be necessary).


 

Albuquerque Area Holiday Lights Facebook Page

Locals have come together and dedicated a page on all things Christmas lights in our area. Check it out to see even more places spreading holiday cheer.

Luminarias

Old Town

It’s no secret that Old Town is the heart of not only the city but also the culture. Head down to this treasure to see luminarias at their greatest as they line the plaza. Finding a place to park and strolling on foot is recommended. Bonus, enjoy the huge wonderfully lit tree while you’re there.


Country Club

The country club neighborhood is within walking distance of Old Town, and many choose to walk it. It’s easiest to access from San Pasquale, just south of Central. From this major street, take any street east and travel the neighborhood.


Rio Grande Blvd

From Paseo Del Norte to Alameda, take a drive down Rio Grande (especially on Christmas Eve), and you’re sure to see a good showing of luminarias.


Ridgecrest

This neighborhood centers around Ridgecrest Park, close to UNM. It is a small neighborhood but once you find it, you will see luminarias all around, as well as some awesome Christmas lights.


Tingley Beach Area

Just south of Old Town near Tingly Beach and Albuquerque Country Club, you will find some of the most beautiful houses in Albuquerque (including Jesse Pinkman’s house, Breaking Bad fans.) But even more exciting this time of year, you will find some beautifully decorated homes. On Christmas Eve, the neighborhood lights up with luminarias. Here’s a map of how to see the best luminaries down there.


South Valley

The south valley is a large component of the bus tour the city provides every Christmas Eve. Driving is suitable here because of the long distances. Travel to the Alamosa neighborhood, which is bounded by Central to the north, and lies between Old Coors and Coors. Bridge is to the south. Take Central west to Old Coors and travel south to Bridge, then head east to 2nd Street and north through Barelas.


Barelas

Drive to the National Hispanic Cultural Center to see its display of lights, then drive north on 2nd Street through the heart of Barelas.


North Valley (Lee Acres and Dietz Farms)

You’ll put in a bit of driving to cover the areas in the north valley where there are luminaria displays, but it will be well worth it. Start by traveling north on Rio Grande to Dietz Farms, which is located east of the Flying Star Plaza (where you can find Bookworks and the Flying Star). Turn west onto Dietz Farm Place and drive the circle around and back to Rio Grande. Then go north on Rio Grande to see the lights at the big houses. Turn right onto Chavez and take another right onto Nabor Road, then a left on Solar Road, which takes you directly into Lee Acres subdivision. Drive the streets of Lee Acres (Fairway and Solar), looping around until you take Solar east and eventually onto Fourth Street.


Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge

Join us for a luminaria walk around the visitor center and enjoy snacks, hot chocolate, music, and a story time! Afterwards, look at the stars in the night sky with The Albuquerque Astronomical Society Friday, December 16 from 7PM to 9PM.


Do you know of any places for lights and luminarias that cannot be missed? Email us at [email protected] and we will add them to the list!

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