Summer on a budget - Albuquerque Journal

Summer on a budget

School’s out and summer has arrived. It’s time for adventure, New Mexico sunshine and warm nights.

The Albuquerque metro area has plenty of affordable and even free activities for residents to enjoy this summer.

MOVIES, MUSIC, FOOD AND BREWS ON ALBUQUERQUE CIVIC PLAZA: Albuquerque Civic Plaza is a destination for evening family fun this summer.

Damian Lopez-Gaston, director of events for the plaza, said families can enjoy a pop-up happy hour followed by a movie shown on the city’s newly installed state-of-the-art video wall every Friday through September. The ABQ Food Fridays start at 6 p.m. and includes a band, food from local restaurants and local craft beer. The free movie starts at 8 p.m. and all are family friendly.

The Movies on the Plaza will shift to Wednesday in June and on July 11 to make room for the Shakespeare on the Plaza performances and the World Cup watch party.

Visit for a full schedule.

MORE OUTDOOR MOVIES: Bernalillo County will also host free viewings of popular family films with its Movies in the Park series that starts June 2. The movies will be shown at a different community center every Saturday this summer. Visit for more information.

COUNTY AND CITY SWIMMING POOLS: Most people will probably look for ways to cool off this summer and both the city and county provide an inexpensive alternative with public swimming pools and spray parks.

The city offers more than a dozen options of indoor and outdoor pools and a spray park. Daily entrance fees vary from 25 cents to $3 depending on age of visitor and location of pool. Visit swimming for hours and locations.

Bernalillo County operates four pools and one spray park and charges a few dollars depending on age. Visit and click on the “Your Community” tab on the top of the page to access more information about the county swimming pools.

THE INDIAN PUEBLO CULTURAL CENTER: This cultural oasis in the North Valley offers an affordable glimpse into another world. There are free ongoing programs, including the Pueblo Book Club that meets the second Tuesday of every month and artist demonstrations.

Admission to the museum ($6.40 for New Mexico residents, $5.40 for children 5-17) includes traditional dancers from local pueblos every Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit for more information.

SUMMERFEST: The city will host four music festivals in different locations within the city this summer. The Summerfest events culminate with a performance by well-known headlining musicians. Local food trucks and microbrews will also be on hand. Admission to each festival is free.

The event will be held June 9 in the Heights, July 21 in Nob Hill, Aug. 4 Downtown and Aug. 18 on the West Side. Visit for a full schedule.

The Albuquerque Museum

MUSEUMS: Museums can be a great way to learn something new while also staying cool indoors during hot summer days. The Albuquerque Museum, 2000 Mountain NW, offers free admission on the first Wednesday of every month, the third Thursday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Thursday evenings, visitors can enjoy live music and art activities. Summer exhibits starting in early June include “From Invisible to Visible: The Chinese-American Experience in Albuquerque” and “American Jewelry from New Mexico.” For more information visit

New Mexico’s state museums, including the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (1801 Mountain NW) and the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth SW), are free to New Mexico residents the first Sunday of each month.

FISHING AT TINGLEY BEACH: Residents can fish free at Tingley Beach’s three ponds. Children 11 and under do not need a license and those from ages 12 to 17 can purchase an annual license for only $5. Adults are $25 a year. Buy a license at

The fishing ponds are adjacent to the paved bosque trail and a large park with trees, tables and play equipment. Tingley Beach is open from sunrise to sunset and has pedal boats for rent and picnic tables.

Bachechi Open Space

OPEN SPACE AND TRAILS: Bernalillo County has several open space properties in the Albuquerque area that provide a chance to connect with the outdoors. Most of the properties feature walking trails and some have access to the bosque.

Bachechi Open Space will host Summer Family Fun Days starting in June. Every Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. families can participate in free educational outdoor activities, experiments and weekly crafts. Bachechi is located on Rio Grande at Alameda. Visit to learn more.

OLD TOWN SUMMER CONCERT SERIES: The city will feature a different band on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the gazebo in Old Town. Visit for a full schedule.

LIBRARIES: The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library system offers tons of free activities for children and adults alike at each branch. Visit for more information.

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