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The Very Best Times to Visit Albuquerque in 2024

The Very Best Times to Visit Albuquerque in 2024

What's the best time to visit Albuquerque?

The best time to visit Albuquerque is fall (September to November), offering pleasant weather and events like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October. Enjoy outdoor activities and local flavors, including roasting chiles. Note that this popular period means higher hotel rates and crowds, especially during the Balloon Fiesta, so be sure to book your hotel and flight early.

Albuquerque is a great destination for a city break and is a gateway for exploring the rest of New Mexico, one of the most unique states in the nation. It retains the Mexican influences that are characteristic of many towns throughout New Mexico, and which are visible in Old Town.

The rest of the city has great museums, including the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, galleries, and great restaurants. When you’re tired of the city, great nature areas are a quick drive, hike, or ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway away.

Due to Albuquerque’s desert location, certain seasons make it difficult to explore. Keep reading to find out the best time to visit!

Overall Best Time to Visit Albuquerque

Aerial view of many colorful balloons above the grass areas during the best time to visit Albuquerque


The best time to visit Albuquerque is in the fall, from September to November, which has the best weather and the best festivals. Fall in Albuquerque is warm and pleasant, but not too hot.

Average daily high temperatures in September are around 81 degrees, before falling to a crisp 69 degrees in October. Nighttime temperatures tend to be much colder, with average low temperatures of 58 degrees in September.

These cooler temperatures make it a lot easier to walk around Albuquerque and explore some of the surrounding areas. You can go hiking in many of the surrounding mountains and trails, such as the Sandia Mountains, without worrying about the risk of heatstroke.

The weather is usually sunny, a welcome change after the summer monsoon season. Fall also brings with it a unique scent in the air—the scent of roasting chiles.

According to Albuquerque’s official tourism board, from late August to September, the air fills with this sweet smoky smell as people prepare this key ingredient in New Mexican cuisine. You can buy roasted chiles as a souvenir or try this delicious ingredient at the local restaurants.

The highlight of fall in Albuquerque is one event in particular—the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This world-renowned festival fills the sky above Albuquerque with countless colorful hot air balloons each October.

Besides admiring the different balloon shows, visitors can check out other events such as chainsaw carving competitions, fireworks, photo contests, and live music and dance shows.

Some companies even offer the opportunity to go for a ride in a hot air balloon yourself! Fall in Albuquerque has plenty of other things going on, including live music shows and outdoor free movies.

Other major festivals include:

Just keep in mind that fall is the most popular time to visit Albuquerque, so expect crowds and higher hotel rates. The time around the Balloon Fiesta is most popular, with some hotels selling out a year in advance.

Cheapest Time to Visit Albuquerque

Residential suburbs pictured in February, the cheapest time to go to Albuquerque


The cheapest time to visit Albuquerque on a budget is in the spring (March-May), when not as many people visit the city so hotel prices drop. November to May is Albuquerque’s slow season.

From November to February, you can see some price increases due to the Christmas season and then ski season at the resorts near the city. By March, there are fewer events that drive hotel prices up. You can get great discounts before the summer rush begins in June.

For example, many hotels offer discounts of about 20% in April. The further in advance you book, the more likely you are to get good discounts.

For out-of-state visitors, the least expensive time to get to Albuquerque is the late winter into spring. February, March, and April are usually the most affordable months to fly into the city’s airport, as long as you avoid spring break and Easter when prices for domestic flights usually rise.

Spring is the slow season due to the unpredictable weather, which can have drastic differences in temperature from day to day, strong winds, and even freak snowstorms in early April.

The discounts make up for needing to bundle up, as do the many fun spring events such as the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in April.

Least Busy Time to Visit Albuquerque

Small open-air shop with clay walls and terra cotta floors during the best time to visit Albuquerque

Zachary C Person/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Albuquerque is during the winter off-season, from November to early March. Winters in Albuquerque aren’t as cold as in many other parts of the country, but they can get surprisingly chilly.

Average daytime temperatures in December may be 46 degrees Fahrenheit, but at night they dip well below freezing and the city even gets snowfall.

Winter travelers looking to escape the cold usually head elsewhere. Albuquerque in winter may be quiet, but it’s a rewarding time to visit. Besides the shorter lines and lower hotel prices, you can enjoy quintessential winter festivals.

Christmastime is particularly beautiful, with events such as the River of Lights and traditional Mexican Christmas traditions including posadas parades.

After Christmas, winter in Albuquerque gets even quieter. January and February don’t see that many visitors, so you can explore the museums and Old Town Albuquerque without many people around.

There aren’t any big festivals, although the city’s cultural institutions such as theaters are in full swing. Winter is also a good time to check out some of the city’s hidden gems—the many ski resorts.

People don’t associate New Mexico with mountains, but Albuquerque is close to several popular ski trails such as Sandia Peak Ski Area. Taos may have more famous ski resorts, but the ones around Albuquerque are usually better for beginners.

Worst Time to Visit Albuquerque

Snow on the ground and in the tree in the mountains of Albuquerque during the worst time to visit

Tour das Americas/Shutterstock

The absolute worst time to visit Albuquerque is the dead of summer, when the worst of the desert heat will be beating down on your head. Make no mistake—summer weather ranges from hot to very hot.

Average daytime temperatures in July are 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and that’s just the average. Many days are well above 100 degrees, especially during the more and more frequent summer heat waves.

In 2023, the hottest summer day reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit! This level of heat is downright dangerous, especially if you were planning on spending time outdoors and exploring the desert landscapes.

Dehydration and heat stroke are common problems among summer visitors. The hot weather occasionally leads to intense downpours that are part of New Mexico’s monsoon season.

The skies are mostly sunny in the summer, but expect sudden thunderstorms, downpours, and flash flooding outside of the city. Sometimes, monsoon flooding causes significant property damage and even becomes deadly.

Summer also brings plenty of tourists to Albuquerque as many people get time off from school or work, so you should also expect longer lines and higher hotel rates.

The positive side of visiting in the summer is that there is always plenty to do (preferably in the evenings once it cools down). Besides festivals such as the Macaroni and Cheese Festival in August, check out free movies on Civic Plaza and impromptu street concerts.

Albuquerque by Month: Climate & Activities

Image of rustic dwellings in Acoma Pueblo pictured during the best time to visit Albuquerque

Bill Florence/Shutterstock

Still unsure about the best time to visit Albuquerque? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


January in Albuquerque is chilly with temperatures ranging from -1 to 8°C (30-46°F). It’s a great time to explore the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, enjoy the hot springs nearby, and experience the city’s vibrant coffee shops.


February continues with cool weather, perfect for visiting the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, exploring the historic Old Town, and enjoying the local cuisine, especially New Mexican dishes.


As spring approaches, temperatures range from 3 to 16°C (37-61°F). March is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking in the Sandia Mountains, visiting the Petroglyph National Monument, and attending the Albuquerque Wine Festival.


April brings milder weather, with temperatures around 6 to 20°C (43-68°F). Enjoy the Gathering of Nations Powwow, one of the largest in North America, explore the ABQ BioPark, and take a hot air balloon ride to see the city from above.


May sees warmer temperatures from 11 to 25°C (52-77°F). It’s a good time for visiting the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, exploring the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens, and attending the New Mexico Beer Festival.


June brings hot, dry weather, with temperatures between 17 to 32°C (63-90°F). Enjoy the Sandia Peak Tramway for spectacular views, explore the vibrant Nob Hill neighborhood, and experience the Summerfest music and arts festival.


July is hot with temperatures from 20 to 34°C (68-93°F). Celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and festivities, visit the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and enjoy the cool evenings at local breweries and eateries.


August continues with hot weather, offering temperatures from 19 to 33°C (66-91°F). Visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, explore the local farmers’ markets, and enjoy outdoor dining in the city’s lively culinary scene.


As fall begins, temperatures range from 15 to 28°C (59-82°F). September is perfect for attending the New Mexico State Fair, exploring the Paseo del Bosque Trail, and enjoying the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta at the end of the month.


October sees cooler temperatures from 8 to 22°C (46-72°F). The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a highlight, offering a spectacular display of hot air balloons. It’s also a great time for hiking and enjoying the fall colors in the nearby mountains.


Fall temperatures in November range from 1 to 14°C (34-57°F). This month is ideal for visiting the Turquoise Museum, exploring the unique shops in Old Town, and attending the Festival of the Cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.


Winter brings cooler temperatures ranging from -3 to 8°C (27-46°F). December is festive with the River of Lights at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden, holiday shopping in Old Town, and the luminarias display on Christmas Eve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cable car in the Sandia Mountains pictured from the cliff looking out over the fog-covered mountain during the best time to visit Albuquerque

Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

Still have questions? These FAQs will help you find the best time to visit Albuquerque:

What month is best to go to New Mexico?

If you want to explore the rest of the state, not just Albuquerque, then the best month to visit New Mexico is September. The weather is warm and pleasant, and there aren’t as many tourists.

How many days do you need to see Albuquerque?

You only need two or three days to see Albuquerque. It’s a fairly compact city with not that many attractions, so you can budget more time for other New Mexico towns or day trips on your visit.

What are the hottest months in Albuquerque?

June, July, and August are the hottest months in Albuquerque. July is the hottest, with the most days above 100 degrees most summers.

Is Santa Fe or Albuquerque better to visit?

The two cities are so different the answer depends a lot on what you are looking for. If you are into historic city centers and art, Santa Fe is better, while Albuquerque has a more metropolitan vibe.

When is the rainy season in New Mexico?

New Mexico’s rainy season or monsoon season is from June to September. Albuquerque gets the most rain during this time during sudden thunderstorms.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Albuquerque?

The best time to visit Albuquerque is absolutely the fall, when the city’s famous balloon fiesta takes place. Fall can get a bit crowded due to this international event, so visit earlier in the year, in late winter or spring, for discounts and no crowds.

Avoid summer if you can due to the desert heat, although Albuquerque isn’t as bad as other New Mexican cities.

So, with so much to see and do and countless amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Albuquerque has to offer. Happy travels!