Embracing Tradition :: A Guide to Where to See Luminarias in Albuquerque

What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

I’m what most people would call “Christmas Obsessed.” Christmas music begins playing in my house on November 1st. We play movies like Elf and Home Alone on repeat as soon as we put the Halloween movies away! It takes all of my self control to wait until Thanksgiving is over to hang the stockings and decorate the tree. There is something especially wonderful about Christmastime when you become a parent. Watching the wonder fill your children’s eyes with each new tradition and experience makes it seem as if we get to experience it anew. 

Even more special? New Mexico is home to some really amazing and fun Christmas traditions. One of my favorite traditions is the lighting of luminarias–or farolitos, depending on which part of New Mexico you are from.

Luminarias and their magic were such a big memory of my Christmas experience as a child. I remember my dad bringing home paper bags and candles, and all of us sitting by the fire, folding bags as we prepared hundreds of luminarias to decorate our home on Christmas Eve.

If making luminarias isn’t up your alley, or if you will be away from your home on Christmas Eve (leaving lit candles unattended is dangerous!), you can still experience the magic of this special New Mexico tradition! I have compiled a list of some of the most beautiful places to see luminarias in Albuquerque. 

Old Town Luminaria Tour

This is definitely the most obvious and publicized place to catch those little paper bag lights. But it is definitely worth the money for the experience! They sell out rather quickly, so best be fast if you want tickets!

North Rio Grande

This neighborhood goes all out when it comes to Christmas cheer! If you are nearby on Christmas Eve, take a leisurely drive  on North Rio Grande! You will find homes with hundreds of luminarias, as well as many other cool Christmas displays!


For those unfamiliar with this Historic neighborhood, it covers the area between Lomas and Menaul, west of I-25. 
While I have never personally experienced it, I have heard from many friends that it is a sight to behold!

Ridgecrest Neighborhood 

This beautiful neighborhood centers around Ridgecrest park. It has a beautiful display of Christmas decor of all kinds! It is a great option for those with limited time, as the neighborhood is not extremely large.

Albuquerque Country Club

Aside from having some of the most beautiful houses in the city of Albuquerque, this neighborhood also puts on quite a show on Christmas Eve with a ton of luminarias!


I hope you enjoy whichever route you decide to take this Christmas Eve! I am unaware of any specific person who created luminarias. However, I want to believe it was a mom, making due with what she had to bring Christmas decor and joy to her children. Wouldn’t it be just like a mom to take paper bags, sand, and a candle and make it a beautiful and cherished tradition?

Happy Holidays, Mamas!

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