The Recession-Proof Summer
Cheap or free events in Albuquerque
May 23-25: Wine lovers rejoice. The Albuquerque Wine Festival hits the Balloon Fiesta grounds this Memorial Day weekend from noon to 6 p.m. each day. Entry is $15 and includes a souvenir glass (kids under 21 get in free with a parent or guardian). Visit the New Mexico Wine Growers Association website to discover other festivals happening around the state this summer.
June 13: Have a gay old time as you watch the colors fly along Central at this year’s Albuquerque Pride Parade. It all starts at UNM campus at 10:30 a.m. If you want to be in the parade, check the website for more information. Free.
June 20-Aug. 1: Civic Plaza hosts Summerfest with music, dance, food, and arts and crafts nearly every Saturday night from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Check the website for weekly lineups. Free.
July 4: Celebrate independence with funnel cakes and fry bread. Freedom Fourth at Balloon Fiesta Park is always free. Details for this year are yet to be determined, but check the city’s website for updates.
Catch a fly ball at an Isotopes Game (hey, there’s always a chance). The season runs through September, with the last home game on Sept. 3. Ticket prices vary. There are special discounts for tickets online, but generally prices are $6 to $24. Times differ by game. Visit the website for details.
Feel like hopping on a roller coaster? Get on the inside track by saving a few bucks at Cliff's Amusement Park if you buy your tickets online. Normally, general admission is $2.50, with each ride at an additional cost. Or get the all-day pass for $24.95 (only $21.95 through the website). Hours change based on the day and date, so check the website for details. The park is open through September.
May 15, June 19: Old Town is bringing back the block party. On Friday, May 15, Hacienda Plaza does Flamenco right from 5 to 9 p.m.; and on Friday, June 19, hitch your saddle to North Romero Street from 6 to 9 p.m. for Western night. Free.
June 19-July 31: Go back in time at Civic Plaza this summer with Friday screenings of classic films. Catch a different flick nearly every week at 9 p.m. Free.
Albuquerque has the largest Flea Market in New Mexico. For a measly $4 for parking, you can wander amid vast reserves of velvet paintings and authentic Southwest kitsch. Plus, it’s only $20 to grab your own space to sell. Hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Get your game on at Hinkle Family Fun Center, where you can play laser tag, go-karts, mini golf, paintball and an army of arcade games. Every attraction is less than $12 (unless you get a big package deal for paintball). Open noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Check the website for paintball hours.
Exorcise your spring fever at Albuquerque Indoor Karting. Race prices are $20 for general admission, with an additional $2 for a helmet sock (which is required). Open noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
And don’t forget Route 66 Karting, where prices are $10 to $35, depending on age and track level. Open noon to dusk Friday through Sunday, closed Monday through Thursday.
At iT'Z Family, Food, and Fun, get an all-you-can-eat buffet, movie screen, bowling, arcade and a whole bunch of other games in one. Best value is the eat-and-play combo: $14.99 to $17.99. Check the website for special offers and other prices. Open noon to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Nothing says summer like mini golf. Maneuver your ball around at Putt Putt Golf and Games. Check the website for coupons. And depending on how many games you buy at once, each game is between $3 and $7. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday and 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturday.
If you’d rather play indoors, head to Golfernoggins. It also has special offers posted on its website, but general pricing is $7 to $8 per round with additional rounds only $1 more, or free for children 4-and-under. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12:30 to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
ABQ Jump is a great way for your kids to burn off some of that extra summer energy. It’s only $5 to $7 per child, and parents are free. Open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. Call for weekend availability.
Cool off at Outpost Ice Skating’s public rink. Don’t know how to ice skate? It also offers lessons. $1 to $7 general admission, $3 skate rental fee (check website for lesson fees). Visit the website for skating times.
Blades Multiplex Arena has a skating rink in addition to its indoor sport facilities. You can even take hockey lessons there. Ice skating is $2 to $7 general admission, $2 skate rental fee (check the website for lesson fees). Visit the website for skating times.
May 9-Sept. 5: Seasons Rotisserie & Grill is already in full swing with its popular Jazz on the Patio series. The heavy hitters of local jazz are your source of sonic delight beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Free (but be nice and order a drink, at least).
May 23: Gin Blossoms performs with artists Andy Davis and Carrie Rodriguez at Civic Plaza for Q-Jam. Come between 2 and 7:15 p.m. to watch these musical talents and support environmental stability. Free.
June 10-Aug. 5: Wednesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. come and hear the Albuquerque Concert Band perform for your pleasure at a different city park every other week: Bataan Park on June 10, Snow Park on June 24, Rinconada Point Park on July 8, Jeanne Bellamah Park on July 22 and Villella Park on Aug. 5. Free.
June 4-July 23: The Summer Nights Concert Series runs almost every Thursday at the Botanical Gardens (visit the website below for a list of performers) from 7 to 9 p.m. As a pre-concert bonus, bring your mat at 6 p.m. for yoga classes on the Japanese Garden Deck. Concert tickets: $2 to $8. Yoga: free.
June 5-July 17: Explore the many musical delights of Zoo Music, a Friday concert series held 7 to 9 p.m. at the Rio Grande Zoo. Bring your own blankets and lawn chairs when the gates open at 6 p.m. (Visit the website for a list of performers.) Animal exhibits will remain open until 8 p.m. $2 to $8.
Get in shape while supporting a worthwhile cause. Visit the Albuquerque Road Runners site and hook up with running clubs to prepare you for the Duke City Marathon on Oct. 18, or find dates and details on races coming up in between.
It's easy to forget that Albuquerque has its very own public beach. Go fishing (requires a New Mexico fishing license), take a leisurely stroll or sunbathe at Tingley Beach, open sunrise to sunset every day. Two- and four-seat pedal boats will be available for rental May 23 through Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. General beach access: free. Pedal boat rental: $8 to $14.
Regular admission price for either the Rio Grande Zoo or the Aquarium/Botanic Garden is $3 (children and seniors) and $7 (adults). If you feel ambitious, you can tackle the entire BioPark in one day with a combo ticket: $5 (children and seniors) and $15 (adults), which includes a train ride between each park. Combo tickets are valid 9 a.m. to noon (so you have enough time to see all three facilities) every day except Monday.
Petroglyph National Monument maintains a bustling schedule of events, especially on weekends. Or just show up at Las Imágenes Visitor Center, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, to pick up maps and current information about the park before you embark on your trek through time. Parking is $1 (weekdays) to $2 (weekends).
The Rio Grande Nature Center is a supreme spot for nature watching. Come any day of the week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (the visitor center opens at 10 a.m.) and hike around on your own, or check the park's schedule for bird, nature and moon walks, plus other special events. Leashed pets are allowed in certain areas, but bring your pooper scooper. The park is free but parking is $3.
It's not just for tourists. Covering 2.7 miles, the Sandia Peak Tramway is the world’s longest aerial tramway, zipping you up to the best scenic hiking around. Afraid of heights? The New Mexico Ski Museum is located at the base of the tram and open daily for free. Roundtrip Tram tickets: $10 to $17.50 (children 3-and-under are free) or $9 one-way.
The first Friday of every month, most of Burque's galleries lay out refreshments and stay open into the evening for the First Friday Artscrawl. Find out which galleries are participating and other useful info on the website. Free.
Visit the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History on any Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or on the first Wednesday of the month from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and get free admission. Bring your New Mexico adult identification with you on any other day and get a $1 discount on admission. Regular admission is $4 to $1(free for kids 3-and-under).
The National Hispanic Cultural Center offers art, music, dance and literature from across the Spanish-speaking world. The art museum is free on Sundays (regular admission is $3 adults, $2 seniors, free for youth 16-and-under; open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). While you're there, the NHCC's La Fonda del Bosque Restaurant offers a Sunday brunch buffet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($6.99 kids 11-and-under, $13.50 adults) with live music included from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The American International Rattlesnake Museum has the largest number of species of rattlesnakes in the world, and it's right here in Old Town. Summer hours (June to August) are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is cheap: $2.50 to $3.50.
If you thought your tots were too little for the museum, think again: ¡explora! opens an hour early on Mondays for Toddler Time, inviting future scientists ages 4-and-under to start playing at 9 a.m. For bigger kids, the interactive learning museum fosters an overflowing daily schedule of playful experiments that are engineered for young bodies and minds. And don't miss Adult Night (for folks 18-and-up); the next one is on Friday, May 15, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. General admission: $3 to $7 (babies 1-and-under are free).
All reactions are welcome at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 to $5 (free for kids 5-and-under).
Last but not least, finish your scientific museum route at The Planetarium, DynaTheater and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, all stuffed into the same complex and crammed with exhibits and events that illuminate the natural world. The museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Passes to each facility run $4 to $7, or inquire about combo passes.
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