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Springing back to life: As pandemic ebbs, Memorial Day weekend gives New Mexicans a chance to get out

Illustration by Cathryn Cunningham/Journal

Nearly every county in New Mexico is at turquoise level under the state’s health orders.

This means New Mexicans are in the least restrictive level, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

New Mexico has 35 state parks at different elevations around the state. The majority of them are open and are expected to operate at or near capacity.

The state is also recognized for its hiking trails.

The Shiprock rock formation in northwestern New Mexico is a draw for visitors. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Whether it’s a trip to Shiprock and Farmington or to Las Cruces or Santa Fe, there are plenty of places for New Mexicans to explore the state.

Cody Johnson, New Mexico Tourism Department spokesman, says the department recently got the green light to begin advertising again.

“We’re doing an in-state campaign encouraging residents to support local and in-state travel,” Johnson says. “What we want to emphasize is safety. Doing things outdoors is great, and we are certainly encouraging folks to travel and stay local.”

Johnson says overnight stays in small towns and the weekend trips have started to boost the tourism economy.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, near the Santa Fe Plaza, is well worth a visit. (Courtesy of Tourism Santa Fe)

“People are starting to get comfortable with getting out,” he says. “We’re getting to that point, and people have been wanting to go back to normal.”

Johnson says many have bucket lists that were put on hold during the pandemic.

“People are going to want to take advantage of moments,” he says. “New Mexicans can look in their own backyard and take a trip with their state bucket list. If there are places they’ve never been, or someplace they haven’t been to. Personally, I love stargazing, and we’re a great state for that.”

To see more interactive maps from the state, visit

Here are some things to do in Albuquerque.


” I Spy” by David Santiago is located at 1224 Mountain NW. Santiago is known for his recognizable artistic style. (Courtesy of City of Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture)The city of Albuquerque’s Department of Arts & Culture is wrapping up “Mural May!” For the past month, the department introduced the newest murals in its collection, as well as featuring existing private and public murals.

“Untitled” by Madeline MacKenzie is located at Plaza del Sol in Albuquerque. MacKenzie is a painter and designer from Albuquerque who specializes in folk-inspired mural work where she incorporates the natural beauty and environment of the southwest. (Courtesy of City of Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture)

The murals in the Public Art collection are a city program administered by the Public Art Urban Enhancement Program. The Public Art Program provides funding for murals that reflect diversity in style and media, and encourages artists from diverse backgrounds and range of experiences to apply to participate. Recently, 10 murals were commissioned to be painted around Albuquerque as part of the Mural Love Program.

Find more information at




New Mexico United return home at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at Isotopes Park. The team will take on Loudoun United.

New Mexico United Daniel Bruce, bottom, is cheered by the New Mexico United fans. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Tickets for regular season matches will be available on a limited basis, dependent on county, state and federal COVID-safe protocols and best practices and will be released a few matches at a time, to allow United to adjust to the latest COVID-safe protocols as they develop. Those tickets will be available in waves, with each wave capped to provide equitable access for everyone. In addition, tickets will be sold in pods of varying sizes to allow for proper social distancing. Those tickets cost from $20 to $55. Information can be found at


AMP Concerts has teamed up with Casa Flamenca to present the live music series “Emerging From the Pandemic Concert Series at Casa Flamenca.”

Raul Pacheco will perform at Casa Flamenca in Old Town.

On Friday, May 28, Raúl Pacheco from Ozomatli will perform at 7:30 p.m.

Pacheco has created a new band since moving to Albuquerque during the pandemic.

On Saturday, May 29, Silver String Band and Santa Fe-based singer/songwriter Eryn Bent will perform.

The Silver String Band is known for pushing the boundaries of traditional

Silver String Band will perform with Eryn Bent on Saturday, May 29 as part of AMP Concerts “Emerging from the Pandemic” concerts series at Casa Flamenca.

bluegrass music.

Casa Flamenca made a significant investment last fall to overhaul its property to allow for outdoor performances.

It was a challenge for a small nonprofit that has been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.

According to AMP Concerts, the space can hold 80 people. Masks are required except while eating or drinking.

Tickets cost $20 (including all service charges) at

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