Thousands enjoy Christmas Eve Luminaria tour through Albuquerque neighborhoods


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Year after year, thousands flock to the Country Club and Old Town neighborhoods for one of Albuquerque’s oldest traditions.

The Luminaria Tour transforms and lights these communities every Christmas Eve.

Family and friends laughed around a fire, as visitors on foot, in cars and by bus filled the streets with their eyes on one thing.

“We want to make sure everyone sees what they came to see,” said homeowner Fred Rivera.

The sight to be seen: paper bags illuminated by candlelight lining the streets in these neighborhoods for blocks.

“It’s a good tradition and a tradition you don’t see anywhere else,” said visitor Brandon Miller.

The Luminaria Tour is an experience homeowners, and visitors alike look forward to every Christmas Eve. It draws people from all over.

“We all take it upon ourselves to do it every year,” Rivera said.

“It’s like our own unique Christmas decorations. Like, you see Christmas lights everywhere, inflatable snowmen all that stuff… but luminarias you can only find in New Mexico,” Miller said.

It’s a tradition that spans more than five decades.

“Its beautiful displays, more luminaria that I’ve ever seen in my life in one place,” Miller said.

And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. On Black Friday, the city’s 45-minute luminaria bus tour sold out in just one hour — record time.

“I think it’s a sense of good cheer, everyone walking around is happy wishing everyone a Merry Christmas,” said homeowner Matthew Freeman.

The simple, yet dazzling displays guided the way for all who gazed.

“It’s just another thing that makes this city unique and it brings everybody together,” Freeman said.

Homeowners in the Old Town and Country Club neighborhoods started preparing the luminaria tour early Sunday morning. Come Monday, Christmas Day, it’ll be clean-up time.

The city’s bus tour sold 3,600 tickets.