What is the holiday season without a parade? The city of Albuquerque Twinkle Light Parade celebrates the season with the kind of glitter and glam you expect from this holiday event. Each year, neighborhood associations, specialty groups and clubs put together a parade entry decorated in holiday lights. Albuquerque’s entries are unique to the city. Where else can you find a parade with low rider car clubs?
The parade usually falls around the same time as the annual Nob Hill Shop and Stroll. For 2013, the parade will be part of the Nob Hill Shop and Stroll. Shopping this year can take place after the parade in Nob Hill, where merchants will be open late. Central will be closed off to cars from noon until midnight to make shopping a relaxed affair.
Another thing that makes the Albuquerque Twinkle Light Parade special is the fun you can continue to enjoy after the parade. Enter the Rio Grande Botanic Gardens for the special River of Lights display. There is plenty of glitter and shine, with lit scenes scattered throughout the gardens, lighting up the dark. Kids especially love the garden railroad all decked out in Christmas finery, commandeered by Santa Snoopy. And speaking of Santa Claus, he’s on hand too.
For 2013, there are some added features. A giant float that features Santa and his elves will be the grand finale. The float includes the Claus home. The Claus vehicles will be Santa's replica of an early 1920s C-Cab Mack Truck and a turn of the century antique sleigh. The float will have a corral for reindeers and the bunkhouse for the elves.
The North Pole fire department will drive an early 1930s fire truck. Behind the Santa float there will be an early 1930s Tangley Caliaphone Air Calliope.
When: Saturday, December 7, starting at 5:15 p.m.
Where: The parade begins at Washington Avenue, heading west to Girard. That's a full mile of floats and fun.
Cost: The parade is free.
Where to Watch the Parade
Watch the parade along Central between Washington and Girard.
Prepare for the Parade
- Get there early because the streets get crowded fast.
- Whether you have kids or not, you’ll want to dress in layers or take an extra jacket, because once the sun goes down in Albuquerque, it can get cold.
- If you have young ones, be sure to bring them in strollers or wagons. Bring snacks, and a few dollars so the kids can get a trinket or two. Glow sticks are popular items, and if you can’t afford them at the parade, consider buying some beforehand at a dollar store.
- Once the parade is over, whether or not you’re heading to the River of Lights, you’ll need to either walk back to your car or ride the shuttle or bus to your vehicle elsewhere. Factor in that extra time, take a flashlight, and consider how tired or excited the kids will be. Since the next morning is Sunday, everyone can sleep in late.
See the city of Albuquerque's information on the Twinkle Light Parade.
How to Get There
Central will be closed off to vehicles from San Mateo to Girard. When the parade finishes, the Shop and Stroll will continue until 10 p.m.
Take the bus, Ride #66, which will run until 11 p.m. Park anywhere along the route and take the bus. From the westside, park at the Kmart at Atrisco and Central. From the eastside, park at Wynona and Tramway NE.
Park and Ride
Take the free shuttle from UNM's Q lot, located at University and Camino de Salud, just north of Lomas. Shuttles will run from noon until 10 p.m.
Side streets around Nob Hill will be available for parking, but better get there early to snag a spot. Be prepared to do a bit of walking.