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Christmas Eve in Old Town

Last month I discussed several sights that made my winter in Southern New Mexico a most memorable one. However, I also spent a few days during late December in the state’s largest city, as I particularly wanted to see the holiday decorations and Christmas Eve luminaria in Albuquerque’s colorful Old Town.

Although luminaria (basically outdoor rows of brown paper bags illuminated with candles and weighted down with sand) are popular in communities throughout New Mexico, likely the two most well-known such displays are the one on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, which I had enjoyed back in 2008, as well as this one in the historic district where Albuquerque was founded over 300 years ago. The city grew to its present size of approximately 600,000 residents while also becoming the hot air ballooning capital of the world.

Among New Mexico’s most popular man-made visitor attractions year-round, the streets of Old Town are lined with scores of restaurants, artist studios and galleries. However, the holiday season also brings out a wealth of lighted decorations, culminated by the extensive luminaria displays. These displays are only put in place and lit throughout the neighborhood on Christmas Eve.

If the weather is nice, as is the New Mexico standard and surely was the case during my visit, a very large number of visitors can be expected to show up. The sights, sounds, smells and good cheer of the holiday season are sure to pleasantly surround all those in attendance.