There are plenty of entertaining activities in the Bernalillo County area — music, theater, museums, sports, parks and shopping. Make a splash in the Big Flush Water Coaster at Cliff’s Amusement Park, for instance, or tee off at one of the many 18-hole golf courses in Albuquerque. Don’t miss the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque or the hundreds of hot air balloons floating in the International Balloon Fiesta. And be sure to check out the American International Rattlesnake Museum.
Residents of Bernalillo County will enjoy a variety of annual events, festivals and community gatherings.
ABQ CiQlovía (pronunciation: see-clo-vee-a) is the Albuquerque version of the global phenomenon known as ciclovía or open streets. The word refers to events where specific city streets are temporarily closed to cars and opened up for people to walk, ride, play and reimagine our largest public space: streets. The October event also serves as a stage for demonstration projects to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in downtown Albuquerque. Other activities include bicycle rodeos to teach kids how to ride safely, a climbing wall, yoga and art.
Albuquerque Comic Con
Albuquerque Comic Con, New Mexico’s comics and comics-in-film convention, will feature media and comic guests that are second to none. There will be vendors, media and panels, gaming and celebrity autographs as well as photo ops. The event is held at the Albuquerque Convention Center over a weekend in January.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The International Balloon Fiesta takes place over nine days in the beginning of October with hundreds of hot air balloons taking flight from the 78-acre launch field. This event has been around for more than 40 years and fills the sky with colorful balloons in addition to providing entertainment in the form of flamenco dancers, mariachis, drummers and live music.
Come celebrate the Fourth of July with the city of Albuquerque at the Balloon Fiesta Park. This free, all-ages event hosts one of the largest firework shows in the state. Taste food from more than 25 vendors, cool off with a drink at the microbrew garden and walk through a car show. There are also activities for the kids.
Gathering of Nations Pow Wow
The largest gathering of Native Americans in the nation takes place in Albuquerque during the last weekend of April. The powwow is held at the University of New Mexico basketball stadium (The Pit) and includes drumming and dancing by some 500 tribes in traditional garb, concerts and the Miss Indian World pageant.
The Lantern Fest in October is an opportunity for thousands of revelers to join together as a community and create an unforgettable spectacle of light. After an afternoon of live music, dancing and s’mores, when the sun sets we light the sky with lanterns. Historically, lanterns were used to symbolize good fortune, request favorable weather or celebrate the life of a loved one. Families and friends can dance to music, roast marshmallows and munch on snacks provided by local vendors, all before watching the lanterns float away in an unforgettable release.
New Mexico State Fair
The New Mexico State Fair is held in September at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque. The fair features free concerts, a rodeo, livestock shows, a challenging haze maze, the green chile cheeseburger challenge and the Reithoffer Midway Carnival which includes the standard fair offerings of carnival rides, games and attractions.
Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta
The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta brings together 90 wineries, 75 of the city’s best restaurants and a history of culinary excellence to bring you a food-lovers mini-paradise. The festival takes place over five days in September and includes cooking demonstrations, seminars, tastings, lunches and dinners.
Bernalillo County residents enjoy a wealth of artistic endeavors, from theaters to music to dance and more.
Albuquerque Little Theatre
224 San Pasquale Ave. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87104 505-242-4750
Albuquerque Little Theatre is a historic building that produces seven Main Stage shows each year, along with other special productions from time to time.
Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra
P.O. Box 36893
Albuquerque, NM 87176 505-433-7445
The Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra has enriched the community for more than 40 years by providing free symphonic and chamber classical music concerts throughout Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, in a variety of venues. APO also works with student visual artists as part of the annual Art and Music Concerts and provides opportunities for soloists, composers and guest conductors to share their talents.
New Mexico Ballet Company
10410 Comanche Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111 505-292-4245
The New Mexico Ballet Company is New Mexico’s oldest professional company. The company has partnered with the New Mexico Philharmonic to produce full-length story ballets of “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Nutcracker,” among other productions throughout the year.
New Mexico Philharmonic
3035 Menaul Blvd. NE, Suite 2
Albuquerque, NM 87107 505-323-4343
The New Mexico Philharmonic partners with New Mexico Ballet Company to produce full-length ballets, such as the “Wizard of Oz” in April 2017. In addition, the philharmonic is slated to perform at a series of zoo concerts, classical and pops concerts at Popejoy Hall, Sunday Afternoon Classics at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and neighborhood concerts.
423 Central Ave. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102 505-243-0591
For the past 40-plus years, Opera Southwest has presented professional-quality opera from fall through spring, which complements the Santa Fe Opera’s summer season, thereby making New Mexico one of the few states
with year-round professional opera. Performances occur in the historic KiMo Theatre downtown.
Learn about New Mexico’s history and cultural contributions by visiting any one of the many local museums.
American International Rattlesnake Museum
202 San Felipe St. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104 505-242-6569
The Rattlesnake Museum is an educational experience for the entire family. This animal conservation museum reveals the hundreds of ways that rattlesnakes and other “less desirable” animals have influenced our lives. Examples are given through artifacts, memorabilia and the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world — the Rattlesnake Museum hosts more species than the Bronx Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, National Zoo, Denver Zoo, San Francisco Zoo and San Diego Zoo combined! Hours vary by season; check the museum’s website for more information.
Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
9201 Balloon Museum Drive NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113 505-768-6020
The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum showcases a vast collection of balloons, artwork and aerial artifacts. Exhibits show the history of ballooning and highlight the science that has thrilled humans for more than a century.
Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico
616 Central Ave. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102 505-247-0606
The mission of the Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico is to combat hate and intolerance through education. Exhibits illustrate historical conflicts caused by prejudice, including the Holocaust, the Armenian and Greek genocides, the inhumane treatment of Native Americans and slavery in the United States.
J&R Vintage Auto Museum
3650A Highway 528
Rio Rancho, NM 87144 505-867-2881
J&R Vintage Auto Museum started out as just a building to display Gab and Evonna Joiner’s cars and since has grown into a museum with about 70 vehicles on display. There are some cars for sale or trade. There is also a 2,000-square-foot gift shop with automotive books, die-cast toys and auto-related memorabilia. The cars range from a 1912 Buick to a 1969 Mercury Cougar.
New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial
1100 Louisiana Blvd. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108 505-256-2042
Veterans’ stories are shared and celebrated with memories of loved ones at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial museum. Exhibits and events at the museum honor veterans who have served over the years. Special celebrations are held on Memorial Day, MIA Recognition Day, POW Recognition Day and Veterans Day.
The Planetarium at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
1801 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104 505-841-2800
The Planetarium at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science blends art, science and fun. The largest and most technologically advanced planetarium in New Mexico, the 55-foot Sky-Skan Definiti, full-dome theater features educational and entertaining multimedia presentations on astronomy and space science.
Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site
11776 Highway 337
Tijeras, NM 87059 505-281-3304
The Friends of Tijeras Pueblo, in partnership with the Forest Service, host a variety of events such as Saturday Afternoon at Tijeras Pueblo, Star Nights and special archaeology, pottery and flint-knapping workshops.
121 Sandia Crest Road
Sandia Park, NM 87047 505-281-5233
Tinkertown Museum is a folk art museum created more than 40 years ago by the late Ross Ward. His miniature wood-carved figures are showcased in Tinkertown Museum, including an 1880s miniature animated western town and three-ring circus. Ward’s wood-carved figures began as a traveling exhibit but are now housed in a 22-room legacy showcasing his life work. Some 50,000 glass bottles and other available recycled materials are used to form walls and to display an animated miniature western town, circus, saddle show and more.
New Mexico offers many opportunities for residents to explore the great outdoors year-round. Check your community’s parks and recreation listings to see more of what your local area has to offer.
2601 Central Ave. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104 505-768-2000
There are nearly two miles of paths through formal and whimsical gardens to explore. Some of the garden’s exhibits include Mediterranean and desert conservatories, 1920s farm, Japanese and formal gardens. Each summer, familiar orange and black monarch adults float through the Botanic Garden and flutter inside the Butterfly Pavilion.
Cerrillos Hills State Park
37 Main St.
Cerrillos, NM 87010 505-474-0196
Cerrillos Hills, New Mexico’s 35th State Park, is a year-round, day-use park off the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. You will cross paths with over 1,100 years of mining history along the 5 miles of trails and enjoy spectacular views of the Sandia, Ortiz, Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges from a park elevation that ranges from 5,900 to 6,100 feet.
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
2901 Candelaria Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107 505-344-7240
Located on the Rio Grande flyway, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park offers excellent birdwatching opportunities throughout the year. There are indoor and outdoor wildlife viewing areas overlooking ponds, and trail access to the Rio Grande. The bosque, or riverside forest, features 2 miles of nature trails which wind through tall cottonwoods and past willow thickets and open sand flats alongside the Rio Grande.
In this area of the Southwest you can discover Native American quality jewelry and countless other fabulous finds. Authentic Southwestern pottery, weavings, rugs, art and more fill the picturesque adobe shops and galleries of historic Old Town. Wherever you shop, from traditional Southwestern art galleries to contemporary boutiques, you are sure to find something to treasure for years to come.
2200 Louisiana Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110 505-792-1929
With approximately 220,000 square feet of retail shops, restaurants and New Mexico’s premier day spa, ABQ Uptown has a unique mix of stores that create a completely new and refreshing shopping experience for the community and its citizens.
6600 Menaul NE, Suite 1
Albuquerque, NM 87110 505-881-2700
The Coronado Center offers more than 1.15 million square feet of shopping and dining options. It is anchored by four department stores and features more than 150 specialty stores, four restaurants, a food court and children’s play area. There is free Wi-Fi, ATMs and a mobile charging station.
10000 Coors Blvd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114 505-897-6571
Cottonwood Mall has six anchor stores, a 16-screen cinema and more than 135 specialty stores.
Sports and Recreation
Whether you’re looking to take in a game or cool off with a whitewater rafting trip, Bernalillo County and its surrounding areas offer a variety of recreational opportunities.
1601 Avenida Cesar Chavez SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106 505-924-225
Albuquerque’s minor league team’s name recalls the fictional Springfield Isotopes from the long-running TV series “The Simpsons.” The team, which plays in the Pacific Coast League, is the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The team was previously affiliated with the Florida Marlins, from 2003 to 2008 and the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009 to 2014. Visit www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t342 for the team schedule, roster and ticket prices.
Cliff’s Amusement Park
4800 Osuna Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109 505-881-9373
Cliff’s Amusement Park has hundreds of ways for everyone to have a good time. Fun doesn’t get more exciting than thrill rides such as Cliff Hanger, SideWinder, the Super Fire Ball and New Mexico Rattler, one of the top 25 wooden roller coasters in the world. There are also water rides like Rocky Mountain Rapids and Big Flush Water Coaster, Cliff’s WaterMania, a water play area, and lots of rides in Kiddieland to keep the little ones amused. Visit the website for park hours and ticket prices.
Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
1 Wall Lake Road
Winston, NM 87943 575-772-5157
This New Mexico dude ranch is miles away from civilization, 85 miles from the nearest stoplight to be exact, in the Gila National Forest. Horseback riding here takes you through open meadows, tall ponderosa forests, up on high hills where the views go on forever across the 3.3 million acre national forest and down into deep canyons with sheer cliffs and crystal clear streams. After spending time with the horses, guests can enjoy seeing 1,000-year-old Mimbres archeological sites (pit houses and cliff dwellings with pottery shards and pictographs), campfires, unguided hiking, roping lessons, photography, swimming in the creek or just reading a good book on a bench swing.
This region features some of the best golf courses in New Mexico. The mild climate ensures that golf can be played throughout the year. Albuquerque is home to many award-winning public golf courses and two that rank in the nation’s top 50: Twin Warriors Golf Club and the dramatic Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club, which was awarded the only five-star rating in the Southwest by readers of Golf Digest. For a full list of public and private courses in New Mexico, visit www.newmexicogolf.com/courses.
New Mexico River Adventures
2217 Highway 68
Embudo, NM 87531 800-983-7756
New Mexico River Adventures offers half-day, full-day and multiday adventures for families and groups along the Rio Grande and Rio Chama. You can opt for a wild whitewater rafting trip or an easy float down the river. Visit the website for more information.
Wildlife West Nature Park
87 N. Frontage Road
Edgewood, NM 87015 505-281-7655
Wildlife West Nature Park is a 122-acre wildlife refuge and an enhanced rescued wildlife zoo featuring more than 20 species of native New Mexico animals. The zoo features cougars, wolves, bear, elk, deer, javelina, fox, raptors and more. The zoo provides a special look into the plants and animals that make up the ecosystems of New Mexico and the Southwest. Overnight adventures available by appointment. For more information on hours and ticket prices, visit the park’s website.