2022 Christmas in Albuquerque

Road Scholar 14369


This is a repeat of a very similar trip in 2015. Be a part of the diverse holiday traditions of multicultural Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city. See Old Town decorated for the holidays and attend the River of Lights Celebration at Albuquerque Bio Park. Take a fun, hands-on traditional New Mexican handcrafts class. Attend traditional Christmas Day dances at Jemez and Kewa Pueblos.

* See Old Town decorated for the holidays.
* Learn about traditional New Mexican arts and crafts as you create your own piece of folk art.
* Enjoy festive light displays at Albuquerque's annual "River of Lights" at the BioPark.

Day 1 – Albuquerque - Registration, Orientation, Dinner
From 2015 notes: Estimated travel time from airport to hotel: 15 minutes (Approximately 5 miles) Ground Transportation: Sunport Shuttle (Commercial Van/Shuttle), 505-883-4966. $28 round trip.

(D) Check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration, 3:00-5:00 p.m.: After you have your room assignment, get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. At 5:00 p.m. the Group Leader will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes. Dinner Buffet or plated meal in hotel meeting room at 6:30 consisting of choice of entrées, sides, etc. Hotel: Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town for all nights. Note: on the 2015 trip, the hotel was reported as not good with “awful” food service.

DAY 2 - History of NM & Albuquerque, Old Town, River of Lights
Activity note
: Walking up to 1 mile over the course of the day; paved terrain; standing up to 1 hour at River of Lights. The River of Lights is an outdoor venue and will maybe be very cold.

(BLD) Breakfast: In our private meeting room, choose what you like from a buffet. This morning we'll learn about the history of the area that is now New Mexico, from its earliest Ancestral Puebloan inhabitants to the Spanish and American soldiers and settlers who followed. We'll then walk to Old Town, which has been the focal point of community life since Albuquerque was founded in 1706. About ten blocks of historic adobe buildings surround the central plaza, including San Felipe de Neri Church, which dates back to 1793. The city's settlers built their homes, shops and government offices here; many of these have been converted into the restaurants, art galleries and shops that we'll see today.

Lunch is a plated meal at an Old Town restaurant. Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent explorations of the area. Nearby museums include the New Mexico Museum of Art & History, considered one of the leading institutions for art, history and culture in the Southwest. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is across from Old Town on Mountain Road. You may return to the hotel on your own at any time.

Dinner is at a local favorite restaurant. Then we'll board our coach and ride to the Albuquerque BioPark for the annual "River of Lights," New Mexico's largest walk-through light show. There are many sculptures and displays designed and constructed by Albuquerque BioPark artists and craftsmen, as well as live musical entertainment.

DAY 3 - Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Hands-On Art Class
Activity note
: Walking and standing at the Pueblo Cultural Center.

(BLD) This morning, we'll board our motorcoach and depart on a field trip to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. This beautiful, unique center preserves and perpetuates Pueblo culture and advances understanding of the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico. We'll see the tribally-curated exhibits that present Pueblo legacy through art and oral histories of the Native Americans of the region. Native American dances will also be performed during our visit.

At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, enjoy a plated meal or buffet featuring local cuisine. After returning to the hotel we’ll be joined by an award-winning local artist who will teach us about some traditional New Mexican handcrafts as we create our own piece of folk art to take home (materials provided.) Dinner is a Buffet or plated meal in our private meeting room.

DAY 4 - Holiday Music
(BLD) This morning we'll be treated to a performance of festive holiday music presented by "Music for All Seasons," local vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Irma and Scott Reeder. We learn the New Mexico version of the 12 days of Christmas. Coach departs for lunch destination following the performance. Lunch is at a local favorite restaurant. This afternoon, visit to a museum or other activity depending on holiday schedule. Dinner is at the hotel or a select Old Town restaurant.

DAY 5 - Jemez Pueblo Field Trip, Holiday Luncheon, Kewa Pueblo
Activity note
: Traveling 180 miles for 3 hours over the course of the day; walking several hundred feet over varied, possible snowy or muddy terrain; standing for up to 3 hours at the Pueblos with no seating available. It may be very cold and snowy, please dress accordingly.

(BLD) Merry Christmas! We'll board our motorcoach and travel 50 miles northwest to Jemez Pueblo to observe the Buffalo Dance. Pueblo dances are a blend of religious ceremonies with seasonal celebrations of Native American culture and beliefs that are deeply meaningful to members of the community. They are not public performances, and it is a privilege for us to attend. Please observe quietly and respectfully without comments or applause; photography is not allowed. See the Etiquette Guide for Pueblo Visits in the "Web Links" section of your Information Packet for guidelines regarding Native American cultural etiquette during Pueblo visits. Return to the hotel after seeing the dancing.

We have a Holiday luncheon at the hotel. After lunch, we'll travel 40 miles north to Kewa Pueblo (formerly known as Santo Domingo). Kewa is one of the most populous yet least open of all New Mexican Pueblos. It is home to many talented artists who rely on contact with outside markets for their livelihood and are happy to see visitors. The Pueblo has an especially lovely Catholic church and some fine arts and crafts shops.

DAY 6 - Santa Fe, Museum Hill, Free Afternoon, Closing Dinner
Activity note
: Traveling 120 miles for 3 hours over the course of the day; walking several blocks up to a mile over uneven paved, possibly icy terrain with inclines.

(B-D) This morning we'll depart for Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. It is the oldest capital city in the U.S. and the highest in elevation. Our first stop will be Museum Hill for self-directed visits to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art. The MIAC offers a huge collection of pottery, basketry, rugs, jewelry and artifacts, mostly from tribes of the southwest region. The exhibits are beautifully displayed and documented. The Museum of International Folk Art's holdings constitute the largest collection of international folk art in the world, including wings featuring some of the 106,000 pieces donated by collectors Alexander and Susan Girard and Lloyd Cotsen's Neutrogena collection.

Lunch on our own. This afternoon, take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. There are three state museums adjacent to the Plaza: the Palace of the Governors, New Mexico Museum of Art, and New Mexico History Museum. You might also like to explore the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and some of the numerous galleries in the area. We’ll meet at a designated time and location for the ride back to Albuquerque.

Dinner is a plated meal at a local Albuquerque restaurant featuring Southwestern cuisine. Evening: We’ll gather as a group one last time in our hotel meeting room.

DAY 7 - Program Concludes
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. Hotel check out by 12:00 Noon.