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Luminarias light up Land of Enchantment on Christmas Eve

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the Land of Enchantment, the holiday season has its own special celebrations.

A few of the most popular consist of luminarias, which are called farolitos in northern New Mexico.

Here are a few of the events you can do on your own this Christmas Eve.


luminariasFor 52 years, ABQ Ride’s Luminaria Tour has been a tradition for many on Christmas Eve.

As in previous years, tickets for the annual event sold out in hours, but those willing can take their own tour. (See map)

Ticketholders are encouraged to arrive 20 minutes before their scheduled departure, according to an ABQ Ride news release.

According to city officials, the best place to park for free is at the Convention Center’s east side parking structure, at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Broadway.

Free parking will also be available for disabled and special-needs individuals in the parking lot at the northwest corner of Third Street and Marquette NW, just north of Civic Plaza.

Parking underneath Civic Plaza is also free.

Tour buses will pick up passengers on the Second Street NW side of the Albuquerque Convention Center. Buses depart at 5:30 p.m., 5:50 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7:05 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24.

Bathrooms are available at the Convention Center. Drinks with lids will be allowed on the buses, but food and open liquid containers are prohibited.

Luminarias illuminate the Old Town plaza. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Luminarias illuminate the Old Town plaza. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

The major areas of the Luminaria Tour are Old Town, the neighborhoods around Albuquerque Country Club, and Los Altos off of Old Coors. The tour lasts about 45 minutes.

Also beginning at sundown on Saturday, Dec. 24, there will be a luminaria display at Sunset Memorial Park, 924 Menaul NE.

Sunset Memorial Park will again play host to the many families who celebrate the holiday and remember loved ones by placing luminarias on the graves of relatives and friends. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Tom Antram, President and CEO of Sunset Memorial Park and French Funerals & Cremations, said that the event will allow for the Albuquerque community to come together in celebration of the Christmas season.

 Luminarias adorn San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church in Old Town. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Luminarias adorn San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church in Old Town. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

“Christmas is all about family and traditions,” said Antram. “We greatly value our role in helping countless Albuquerque families remember loved ones as part of their celebrations. Even those who don’t have a direct connection to the park often drive through to see the view – it’s really a stunning memorial.”


The town of Mesilla’s most awaited event will once again take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24.

Avenida de Mesilla will be lined with luminarias, lighting the way to the plaza in the beautiful, historic community.

Festivities will include live Christmas caroling and complimentary traditional Mexican hot chocolate.

The event is free to attend.

Santa Fe

On Saturday, Dec. 24, Canyon Road will be transformed by farolitos as thousands of people visit for the annual Canyon Road Farolito Walk.

The Farolito Walk is free. No reservations or tickets are needed. The walk starts on Christmas Eve at dusk. Organizers ask that eventgoers be prepared for crowds and a slow pace. To avoid the rush, consider going later in the evening, around 8 p.m. Strollers are difficult to maneuver along the cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks, in addition to blocking pedestrian paths and causing traffic jams. Visit for more information.

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