Such a Thing as a Free Lunch ($0)
Do you ever wish boozing could make you smarter? Well, it probably can't, but the next best thing is the Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz that happens three days a week throughout the city. Test your trivia knowledge at Burt's Tiki Lounge on Monday's, O'Niell's Pub on Wednesdays and Gecko's (Academy) on Thursdays. www.geekswhodrink.com. Free.
The Roswell UFO festival takes place July 3-7. Speakers, authors, parades, concerts and a screening of Roswell: The Movie are just a few highlights. www.ufofestivalroswell.com. Free.
Stop by Albuquerque's Civic Plaza on Friday nights, June 20-Aug. 1, for Civic Cinema, free classic movies on the big screen presented by Albuquerque's Cultural Services Department and the Parks and Recreation Department. Check out www.cabq.gov/crs/civiccinema.html for titles and dates. Free.
Take your hike to the next level by conquering Cabezon Peak. Located off Hwy. 550 west of Bernalillo, Cabezon Peak is more of a day climb than a hike. Be sure to pack a lunch, lots of water and some sweatproof sunscreen, and be prepared for low-grade mountain scaling. For details, call the Bureau of Land Management's Rio Puerco Field Office at (505) 761-8700. Free.
Lie on your back in a park at twilight and watch the bats hunt for breakfast. Visit www.cabq.gov/parks for a park near you. Free.
Radioastronomy is super rad, and so is the Very Large Array. It's open for visitors every day, and during the summer there are free tours on the weekend. You might even hear aliens. www.vla.nrao.edu. Free.
On the first Saturday of every month, the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center in Cedar Crest opens its doors to the public and allows visitors access to its five and a half miles of trails, picnicking, geocaching, hands-on exhibit room and wildlife observation deck. Each month offers a different education session from 10-11 a.m. www.nmnaturalhistory.org/smnhc. Free.
All you need for hours of unrelenting fun is eight or more friends, two pieces of cloth and a park. Then, let the capture the flag marathon begin. Change it up and play around your neighborhood, throughout UNM or at Civic Plaza―just remember to observe trespassing laws. Free.
Organize a neighborhood-wide yard sale. Use the resulting money to buy low-grade fireworks and potluck ingredients from your local farmers' market. Throw a block party and make lots of friends. Free.
If you're up in Santa Fe, stop by St. John's College on Wednesday evenings from 6-8 p.m. from June 11-July 23. Music on the Hill, a free summer concert series, will host jazz, blues, classical and contemporary folk performances. 1160 Camino Cruz Blanca, (505) 984-6000. www.stjohnscollege.edu. Free.
Compose a poem and get up the courage to read it at one of our city's open mic poetry nights at Hunab Hookah on Mondays. 232-0223. www.hunabhookah.com. Free.
Own a camera? Join the 100 Strangers Project, a street portrait photography project that started as a Flikr group. www.100strangers.com. Free.
With a smattering of fine local wineries, New Mexico seems to host a wine festival nearly every other weekend in the summer. Check out all the upcoming oeno-fests at www.nmwine.com/specialevents.htm. Free.
Thirty-thousand motorcyclists and a ton of leather-clad attitude will transform the quiet mountain town of Red River into biker heaven on the 26th annual Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally. Live country music, food and badass-ity provide the backdrop for the big event in a little town. May 23-26. (800) 348-6444. Free.
Grab a frisbee and play Ultimate with your friends at the nearest park. No friends? Play disc golf at Roosevelt Park, Brent Baca Memorial Park or Ladera Park. Find directions, courses and more at www.pdga.com. Free.
Feed the ducks at the duck pond. Some of the little guys can look pretty sickly, but the ducks at the UNM duck pond need love just the same. Try to avoid their sharp beaks and disease-transferring mucus membranes while feeding them bread crumbs or other snackery. Free.
There's nothing like spending a lackadaisical afternoon drifting through quiet urban canopies, especially when you're on two wheels. There are several good places to go for a foot-powered joy ride, but our favorite is the Country Club neighborhood next to Tingley Beach. Free.
Watch in disbelief as Robinson Park on Eighth Street and Central gets transformed from a transient hotbed to a bustling farmers' market every Saturday beginning June 9 from 7-11 a.m. Get fresh local produce and flowers Downtown or at any of the other markets throughout the city. Visit www.farmersmarketsnm.org to find other market locations. Free.
Enjoy free concerts given by The Iguanas, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Cracker, Allen Toussaint, The Stylistics and Ruben Ramos at Civic Plaza this summer. The city's Summerfest 2008 begins June 21. 768-3556. www.cabq.gov. Free.
There's something about the broad, mostly empty mesa that inspires calm— and mesa sunbathing. Lay down a mat and many towels on the hood of your car and plenty of sunscreen on your skin. Look out over the city. Don't stay out too long. The sun is brutal up there. Free.
Karaoke. Need we say more? Check out the "Karaoke de Burque" link on the left-hand side of the Alibi website for a list of Karaoke hotspots every night of the week. Free.
Round up snacks, make some cut-offs, find a good walkin' stick and head up to Jemez for a hike through the river. Located off Hwy. 4, about 10 miles north of Jemez Springs in the Santa Fe National Forest, the hike on trail 137 to Jemez Falls is a classic model of summer fun in New Mexico. (505) 438-7840. Free.
Go get yourself some culture and visit the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. The 24th Annual Museum Car Show is May 18 and the art of Ernest L. Blumenschein runs June 8-Sept. 7. Adult tickets are $3 usually, but general admission is free on Sunday mornings (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) and all day on the first Wednesday of the month. 243-7255, www.cabq.gov/museum.
Loud car stereo providing, drive down Central with your windows rolled down, listening to The Doobie Brothers (or, if you hate them, another band of your choosing). As the sweet, sweet sound of Michael McDonald's voice mingles with the summer wind blowing through your hair, you will know how it feels to truly be free. Free.
At 80 feet deep and 64 degrees, the beautiful Blue Hole in Santa Rosa is a great place to visit on a day trip out of town. View all the goldfish through the water's surprising clarity. A two-hour drive east out of Albuquerque will get you there. Free.
Take the short drive over to Petroglyph National Monument (you know, the one they want to run a road through) for a day of hiking, volcano admiration and cultural discovery. Swing by the visitor center on your way in to get a free park map and learn about petroglyph history. 899-0205. Free-$2.
Animal lovers that don't live in a pet-friendly environment can volunteer to help the animals at either of Albuquerque's shelters. Volunteers are required to be at least 16 years old. www.cabq.gov/pets/volunt.html. Free.
Drive up all 10,678 feet of Sandia Crest at night and try to find your house. And by "try to find your house" we mean "pull over on the way back down and make out with a loved one." Nothing like a warmish summer night near or on the peak. Free.
Slumber party! When was the last time you slept over at someone's house without sleeping with them? Rent Fast Times at Ridgemont High or any other movie you obsessively watched as a youth, tell secrets, eat crap and giggle. Maybe bust out some “Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board” at midnight. In the morning, make pancakes. Free.
Chalk + sidewalk. Or seek out wet cement and immortalize your moment. Free.
Instead of being a barfly at night, try being a pool shark. Many pool halls coupled with a bar or restaurant, such as One Up, Doc & Eddy’s and the Distillery, offer free billiards with the purchase of a beverage or meal. Look up the rules, buy your own pool cue and own the table. If billiards isn't your thing, dominate at darts or foosball.
Use the heat to cook yourself a tasty snack with the aid of a handy, dandy pizza box solar oven. Just follow the simple directions at www.solarnow.org/pizzabx.htm for hours of solar-powered baking. How green of you!
Play the role of Patrick Swayze (or his Baby) by heating up the dance floor in your own Dirty Dancing scene. Many dance studios and community centers (like Heights Community Center, Enchantment Ballroom, Harwood Art Center, Maple Street Dance Space and Selah Studios) offer weekly dance lessons for little to no cost in salsa, swing, tango and other sexy moves. Check the Alibi's weekly community calendar for regular updates. Free-$10.
For its 25th anniversary, the Music From Angel Fire classical music festival is pulling out all the stops. In addition to its usual bevy of award-winning musicians, the festival has named three-time Grammy Award-winning musician Joan Tower as its composer-in-residence. The artists at the event are used to playing in sold-out amphitheaters, but you can see them in a series of cozy locales in Angel Fire, Taos, Raton and Las Vegas. The festival stretches from Aug. 15-Sept. 1, and admission runs from free to 30 bucks, depending on the concert. www.musicfromangelfire.org.
There are only about 60 miles between you and natural mineral hot springs. Bring a swimsuit to any of Jemez' four public springs, or pay a modest fee to get into the village's two private ones. www.jemezsprings.org/hotsprings.html. Free-$35.
Take advantage of Albuquerque's world-class Flamenco Festival Internacional June 6-15. Tickets for performances at Rodey Theatre and the National Hispanic Cultural Center range in price from $20-$75 and are available at the UNM Ticket Office (925-5858) and NHCC box office (883-7800). The opening performance at the NHCC on June 6 at 8 p.m. is free to the public. Download the registration packet for more info on performances and workshops at www.festival.nationalinstituteofflamenco.org.
Every summer, thousands of Boy Scouts from around the nation travel to Cimarron for the grand opportunity of being lost in the woods. New Mexico's own Philmont Boy Scout Ranch is the largest and most popular scouting destination in the U.S. and it's open for visitors every day. Stop by to take a tour of the facilities and historic landmarks onsite. Tack on $120 if you decide to stay the night in the haunted St. James Hotel. www.scouting.org/philmont; www.stjamescimarron.com.