Free and Cheap Things To Do In Albuquerque This Weekend
It’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta time (hurrah!) but there are plenty of free Albuquerque events this weekend too. We’ve mentioned some of them before, but if you’re looking for free entertainment, free things to do with the kids, or other easy-on-the-budget ways to spend the weekend, here are our top picks of free and cheap places to go and things to do on October 6 and 7, 2012.
Saturday October 6
Free Home Depot workshop for kids aged 5 – 12 from 9 am to noon to make a Fire Truck. (From 10-11 am parents can also join a free fire-safety workshop to make a fire prevention plan for the home.)
Big Top Chocolate Festival at the Balloon Museum from 7 am to 4 pm. Get 40% Off Adult Tickets making them $6 each when you buy tickets online in advance using the promo code Chocolate – the discount only works on adult one-day tickets. Otherwise, admission is $10 for adults (aged 13+), $1 for kids aged 4-12, and free for tots aged 3 and under. This includes entry to the Balloon Museum where there will also be live entertainment, and parking is free from 10 am – 2 pm, outside the busy Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta hours. If you pay on the door take cash – they’ll add a $2 per ticket fee to any credit card payments.
Kirkland’s Grand Opening on Saturday and Sunday at the Coronado Center includes a free personalized design consultations with interior designer Deborah Smith from 1 – 4 pm both days. Take floor plans or photos of the rooms you’re decorating. They’ve also got some giveaways. (More info at our previous post.)
Author Karen Baldwin Meet & Greet from 12 noon to 1:30 pm at Barnes & Noble in the Coronado Center. I have to declare favoritism here, as New Mexico writer Karen Baldwin wrote her wonderful book Ruby’s World while taking one of my writing seminars so I know how good it is! Karen was recently appointed American Ambassador to the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa. Go hear her read from Ruby’s World and say hi for me!
San Felipe de Neri Santero Market around Albuquerque Old Town Plaza from 9 am to 5 pm, with traditional Spanish religious arts, and music and dancing at the Gazebo. It’s all free – unless you buy something!
Albuquerque Grecian Festival offers all things Greek with live entertainment, cooking classes, Greek language classes, and (of course) food vendors. Admission is $5, or $2 for Seniors 62+, and free for kids under 12. It’s also free for police, fire, emergency, and military personnel. Find it at St George Greek Orthodox Church (308 High Street SE) on Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.
Galloping Grace Youth Ranch Pumpkin Patch is open through October 31. It’s a cute space and lovely for kids to play there, and admission is free from 9 am – 6:30 pm. Find it at 4349 Irving Boulevard on Albuquerque’s Westside, on the corner of Eagle Ranch Road and Irving.
Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival runs all weekend. Save $1 on admission with this Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival coupon – regular admission is $7 for adults, free for kids aged under twelve. Browse the arts, enjoy the entertainment, and children can create their own art in the Kids Creation Station. Hours are 9 am – 6 pm on Saturday.
Albuquerque Maize Maze with the 7-acre frog-themed corn maze is open on Saturday from 1o am – 9 pm. Admission is $7 adults (aged 12+), $5 kids aged 3-11, and free for kids aged 2 and under. However, here’s a 50% off Albuquerque Maize Maze admission deal at $7 for two people or $14 for four people, available via Groupon till Sunday, for a maze visit through October 14.
Wagner’s Farmland Experience corn maze and pumpkin patch in Corrales costs $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for kids aged 3-11. On Saturday they open from 9 am to 10 pm, and in the evening they host a night maze with a campfire. (Sunday is 9 am to 6 pm.)
Albuquerque Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show is free to visit this weekend, from 9 am to 5 pm both days at EXPO New Mexico Creative Arts Center.
Museums on Us program gives free admission this weekend to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History when vistors show a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit card or debit card and a photo ID. The offer is also at around 150 museums nationally. The free admission is only for the card holder, but Albuquerque Museum children’s admission aged 4 – 12 is only $1, and it’s free for kids under 3.
Tinkertown Museum is open daily until October 31, then it closes for the season. Right now you can get a 50% off Tinkertown Museum deal of Family Four Pack of four admissions for $7, at the link via SweetJack. FAQ’s say they’ll email your admissions certificate within 10 minutes of purchase. Otherwise, admission is $3.50 for adults, $3 for seniors aged 62+, and just $1 for kids aged 4 to 16. Tots aged 3 and under get in free. Hours are 9 am – 6 pm, seven days a week, with the last admission at 5:30 pm. But go much earlier – you need at least an hour (two!) to explore this extravaganza of folk art by the late Ross Ward, including a model circus, a miniature Wild West town that stretches the length of a room, animated wood-carved figures, and arcade-style wonders such as Esmerelda the fortune teller. These and an amazing collection of American ephemera are housed in a rambling building constructed from over 50,000 glass bottles. Head to the highlands and Tinkertown Museum, on the road to Sandia Crest off Highway 14 (the Turquoise Trail).
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2012 You might have heard of this event 😉 The evening session starts at 5:45 pm, with the Twilight Twinkle Glow and the launch of the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race, followed by the fantastic fireworks! Admission is $8, and kids aged 12 and under go free.
Free Star Party from 6 pm to 10 pm, by The Albuquerque Astronomical Society at the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center. Study to the heavens with the astronomers’ telescopes, get a green laser guided tour of the night sky, and hear talks on amateur astronomy and asteroids.
Poesía de México Free Performance at 7 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Wells Fargo Auditorium. The trilingual Náhuatl, Spanish, and English production with music presents 500 years’ worth of Mexico’s best poetry. Although the event is free, reservations are recommended (505-724-4743). The production repeats on Sunday at 2:30 pm.
It’s the Zuni Pueblo Fall Festival this weekend, October 6-7, if you’re in the mood for a day trip (about 150 miles west of Albuquerque via I-40). Expect traditional dances, a human and horse relay race, and a horseshoe tournament.
Sunday October 7
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta The Dawn Patrol is at 5:45 am, the Krispy Kreme Morning Glow at 6:30 am, then the morning mass ascension takes to the skies at 7 am. (Arrive good and early! Basically don’t go to bed the night before…) That’s followed by the Fiesta of Wheels Car Show. The evening session starts at 5:45 pm with the Balloon Glow, followed once again by fireworks. Admission is $8, and kids aged 12 and under go free.
Big Top Chocolate Festival at the Balloon Museum from 7 am to 4 pm. Get 40% Off Adult Tickets making them $6 each when you buy one-day adult tickets online in advance using the promo code: Chocolate. Otherwise it’s $10 for adults (aged 13+), $1 for kids aged 4-12, and free for tots aged 3 and under. Other details are the same as in the Saturday mention of this event, above.
Rio Grande Nature Center Nature Walks A bird walk at 8:30 am and another naturalist-led tour at 1 pm through the bosque. The walk is free, just pay the park admission fee of $3 per vehicle at 2901 Candelaria Rd NW.
Poesía de México Free Performance at 2:30 pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Wells Fargo Auditorium. Although the event is free, reservations are recommended (505-724-4743). See the Saturday show above for more details.
San Felipe de Neri Santero Market around Old Town Plaza continues, from 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday, with traditional Spanish religious arts and live entertainment. New Mexico santero Adan Carriaga gives a lecture at 12:30 pm at the San Felipe church.
A ChamberCHOPS Free Concert at 2 pm on Sunday includes Mozart’s Serenade No. 11. ChamberCHOPS is the Chamber Music Cooperative of the Southwest and while admission is free, they accept donations. The concert is at Central United Methodist Church, 201 University Boulevard NE. Find any updates on the Chamberchops Facebook page.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is free to New Mexico residents on the first Sunday of every month. That means this week – Sunday October 7. Take your New Mexico ID. From 11 am – 3 pm it’s Meet The Experts Day with behind-the-scenes insights from curators and staff in the museum atrium
Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival continues. Save $1 on admission with this Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival coupon (Print one coupon per person.) Regular admission is $7 for adults, free for kids aged under twelve. Hours are 9 am – 5 pm on Sunday and other details are as per the Saturday mention above.
Sandia Mountain Natural History Center in Cedar Crest is open to all from 9 am to 4 pm, for hiking and wildlife-spotting, and viewing the sun with solar telescopes! A presentation on Family Nature Mapping is at 10 am. This property is usually closed to the public, you can only visit on the first Sunday of the month.
Albuquerque Maize Maze is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. See the Saturday mention above for details and how to get 50% off tickets.
Albuquerque Museum of Art and History Free admission for all on Sundays from 9 am – 1 pm.
The National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum also offers free admission on Sundays, from 10 am – 5 pm.
Coronado State Monument Admission is free on Sundays for New Mexico residents with ID.
Hope you find some cheap or free Albuquerque fun in there to enjoy your weekend!
–Tania. There are some affiliate links in this post.