By: Jonathan Baca, Staff Reporter
It’s the most wonderful time of year again, and Albuquerque is buzzing with things to do. Here is a list of things the Chronicle recommends.
River of Lights
What: The Albuquerque Botanic Gardens becomes a wonderland of light sculptures this time of year. Local musicians, dinner at the Shark Reef Café and free arts and crafts projects on the first three Wednesdays make this a great one for the kids, too.
Where: Albuquerque Botanic Gardens
When: Nov. 24 to Dec. 13, 6-9 p.m.; Dec. 14 to 30, 6-10 p.m.; Closed Dec. 24 and 25
Cost: Adults- $10, Children 3-13 yrs- $5; Children under 3- free
Nutcracker on the Rocks
What: Keshet Dance Company turns the classic ballet up to eleven with this award winning rock-n-roll rendition of the beloved Christmas classic. With music from James Brown, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones, this performance will warm up anyone’s sugar plums.
Where: The National Hispanic Cultural Center
When: Dec. 4 to 6; Friday: 7:30 p.m.; Sat: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sun: 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Twinkle Light Parade, Nob Hill Shop and Stroll
What: The City of Albuquerque moves its annual parade to Nob Hill this year. Floats, classic cars and horses will be decked out with holiday lights and will travel down Central from Washington Street to Girard Boulevard to the merriment of all. Central Avenue will be closed to traffic from noon to midnight so shoppers can stroll to their hearts’ content.
Where: Central Avenue between Girard Boulevard and Washington Street
When: Dec. 1. Parade begins at Washington at 5:15 p.m.
Christmas Lights Tour
What: Since the legendary Bugg House began dazzling neighbors and the rest of ‘Burque decades ago, many private residents have begun to erect their own annual light extravaganzas. Most groups set up their displays three to four weeks before Christmas and leave them up until January. Many websites list prime light-gazing locations to help design a custom tour.
Where: The Bugg display is now set up at Menaul School. Other notable houses: 7124 Eagle Canyon Rd. NE (synchronized to music), 6600 Terra Dolce Ave. NW, the 300 block on 51st St. NW, 19th and Slate St. NW, 12204 Pineridge Ave. NE (synchronized to music), 8310 Calle Ensueno NW, the Plourde House near Universe and Irving boulevards
When: Bugg Lights- Nov. 30 to Dec. 24, on weekends, sundown to 9 p.m.;
Cost: Bugg Lights- suggested donation, all others free
ASUNM Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair
What: The 48th annual craft fair brings more than 75 booths full of handmade, local crafts to the UNM Student Union Building. Jewelry, pottery, clothing, handmade soaps and more will all be for sale. All items are handmade in New Mexico. It is a great opportunity to ditch the crowds and find some one-of-a-kind gifts for the discerning, locally-minded people on that shopping list.
Where: UNM Student Union Building, Ballrooms
When: Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
What: Luminarias are a New Mexico tradition dating back to the 1500s. The candlelit paper bags line the streets in front of homes in neighborhoods all over Albuquerque. The city offers bus tours, and maps of major luminaria destinations can be found online at cabq.gov.
Where: Bus tours launch from the Convention Center downtown and go through Old Town and the Country Club neighborhood. The Ridgecrest area is great to tour on foot or by car.
When: Dec. 24; bus tours begin at 5:20 p.m. and leave every 25 minutes until 7:40 p.m.
Cost: Adults- $3; Children and seniors- $1.70; Children under 9- free
Los Ranchos North Fourth Holiday Stop and Shop
What: More than 30 shops and restaurants invite the citzens of Albuquerque to the village of Los Ranchos to check out unique gifts, food and culture. Free gifts, discounts and Grand Prize Basket giveaways will take place at participating locations. Signs will be posted outside participating businesses.
Where: North Fourth Street, from Griegos Road to Roy Avenue
When: Dec. 2, 5 p.m.