This Is Albuquerque: Civic Plaza Presents

5 min read
bikes on Civic Plaza
Share ::
Civic Plaza was created in 1974 to host outdoor events in the heart of Albuquerque. It is the largest public space in the center of downtown, with a capacity of 20,000 people and a sizable performance stage. In late 2014, management of Civic Plaza was turned over to the Albuquerque Convention Center (managed by SMG). Around this time, Downtown Albuquerque Main Street obtained a Heart of the Community grant for placemaking on Civic Plaza from Southwest Airlines. The convergence of these two events lead to the creation of Civic Plaza Presents, an initiative to bring more events to Civic Plaza and to make it a friendlier and more welcoming public space for downtown and all of Albuquerque.

The focus of Civic Plaza Presents has been to make the underutilized public square at Third Street and Tijeras a more viable place for the community to enjoy. The intent is to not only be a part of the movement to revitalize Downtown’s social and business scenes, but also to enhance the city’s sense of community.

Civic Plaza’s centralized location puts it in a unique position to contribute to Downtown’s transformation and growth. The Convention Center’s expertise in executing events provides great flexibility for producing its own events and has increased Civic Plaza’s viability as a rental event venue. The grant procured by ABQ Downtown Main Street has provided improvements such as tables and chairs, shade umbrellas, and even a large scale movie projection system. These have been key ingredients to start the transformation of Civic Plaza to a more vital community-oriented gathering space, and the feedback in its first year has been overwhelmingly positive.

Civic Plaza Presents produced several weekly happenings during last year’s event season along with a few new community festivals, and this year plans to build on those successes.

ABQ Food Fridays is a weekly open air food and craft beer event on Fridays from 5 to 8pm. starting on May 13. It is a pop-up happy hour event where people can enjoy fine food, drinks and live music in a fun and unique atmosphere. ABQ Food Fridays will feature food prepared by a different Albuquerque restaurant each week. The chefs will be working out of a mobile kitchen in a newly renovated Airstream. The featured entrée will have a fixed price point of $10. There is no cover charge and everyone is welcome to enjoy themselves in the shade by the fountain.

Movies on the Plaza is a free, open air weekly movie series also starting on May 13, immediately following ABQ Food Fridays. The series gathered a huge following last year but the large screen makes it so there’s room for plenty more. Some seating is available and moviegoers can bring their own seats. The movies are family friendly and, like all Civic Plaza events, Movies on the Plaza is dog and bike friendly. The movies start at dusk after live music from ABQ Food Fridays.

Creative 505 festival is a collaboration between Albuquerque’s art, theater, craft, tech, start-up and music communities that brings them together as one community. It is a festival-style mixer that features vendors, musical groups, theatrical performances, local craft beer, art installations, interactive exhibits, strolling entertainment and food from a diverse cross section of Albuquerque’s creative class. Creative 505 takes place on May 28 and is a free event.

ABQ Kids Rock Festival is a fun cultural event for Albuquerque’s youth that features musical acts, vendors, exhibitors, jumpers, strolling entertainment, animals, food trucks, etc. The musical line-up will feature performances by kids rock groups as well as by some the city’s most popular bands playing music for kids. In addition to a dance contest and lots of other entertainment for Albuquerque kids, there are some special surprises in store for this year’s event. It will be the last hurrah before school starts so expect it to be bigger and better than last year. ABQ Kids Rock Fest takes place on July 30 and is a free event.

Winterfest is the Civic Plaza kickoff event for the holiday season on November 26. This free event highlights the skating rink and features live performances along with lots of local arts and crafts vendors for Christmas shopping (it takes place on Small Business Saturday!).

Other Civic Plaza Presents events include Truckin’ Tuesdays, a weekly lunchtime roundup of some of Albuquerque’s best food trucks, the Local Band Showcase (April 1), an Earth Day celebration (April 22), a fall Harvest Fest and New Year’s Eve on the Plaza. Civic Plaza is still the proud home of Shakespeare on the Plaza (June and July) and the city’s Downtown Summerfest (August 6). In addition, Civic Plaza Presents is working to bring new events like the Second Annual ABQ Brew Dash (May 14) and helping to grow existing events such as the Mariachi Spectacular Showcase Competition Concert (July 15).

As perceptions of Civic Plaza change and more people are coming out to enjoy the events here, those of us working on all of this extend our gratitude to everyone who came out to make these events successful. We all hope for your continued support in this process of transformation and in making this year’s Civic Plaza season bigger and filled with even more promise of how great we can make it together.

Visit and please like Albuquerque Civic Plaza on Facebook.
concert at Civic Plaza

1 2 3 13