Nothing makes me feel quite so nostalgic and full of that good ol’ fashioned New Mexico pride like a day at the New Mexico State Fair.
It’s farm animals, fry bread, amazing local art, rodeos, concerts, cultural celebrations, silly fun, thrill rides, and so much more. It really is a celebration of our beautiful, diverse state, and it has been since 1938!
People from all over the state flock to Albuquerque for the New Mexico State Fair every September, but we Burqueños are so fortunate to have it right here in our backyard.
There’s so much to see and do (and ahem, eat) at the fair that you couldn’t possibly do everything. So in this post, we aim to highlight the fair features FAMILIES will want to know about.
September 7th – 17th, 2023
Midway Hours (this is the area with the rides)
Opens 2:00 p.m. Monday – Friday
Opens 10:00 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Kiddie Land Hours (kids’ rides)
Opens 12:00 p.m. Monday – Friday
Opens 10:00 a.m. Saturday – Sunday
Adult – $15.00
Senior (65 and older) – $8.00
Kids (5 to 12 years old) – $8.00
Children 5 and under – FREE
Mega Pass is $30. Includes one day’s admission plus unlimited rides. The last day to purchase a Mega Pass is Friday, 9/8. (It’s a great deal, especially if you are going to go on a weekend.)
Different days have different deals and discounts for admission, food, ride wristbands, and more. Find out when deals and discounts are on the fair’s website.
Sky Ride Pricing
One way – $5.00
Round trip – $8.00
The fair is located at Expo New Mexico, 300 San Pedro NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108.
Gate 1 on Central has parking available for $10.00 from Monday through Thursday and $20.00 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Gate 8 on Louisiana offers ample parking but fills quickly. Handicap parking is available if you have a handicap placard. Parking in the Fair West community on the west side of the fairgrounds is prohibited.
Ride Share to the Fair
Bus to the Fair
ABQ Ride provides convenient options for patrons to take the bus to the fair. Fair officials recommend catching the bus at the Uptown Transit Center near Albuquerque Public Schools Headquarters.
Bike to the Fair
Family Friendly Attractions
**Unless otherwise stated, attractions are included with the price of admission.
Kiddie Land (ride tickets or wristbands required)
With so many fun rides, this area is sure to please the littles with a carousel, rides that spin, a small roller coaster, a giant slide, and so much more.
Insider Tip: If your kid lives to ride the rides, spring for the unlimited daily rides wristband or you will go broke buying a la carte ride tickets. You can purchase a Mega Pass ($30 for admission plus unlimited rides) until September 8th.
MindWorks! is a 6,000-square-foot exhilarating attraction featuring a collection of giant classic games, a construction zone and bubble arena, puzzles and brain teasers, as well as a toddler area that will tease and challenge minds of all ages. You’ll find so many interactive things, and it’s in an air-conditioned building.
Insider Tip: Save this attraction for later in the day when you need to cool down and want to be indoors.
GASCAR Animal Races
This attraction is located on the Box Car Lawn (in front of the train car) and happens five times throughout the day. Cheer on your favorite farm animal to see who finishes first. Go little piggies!
The Great American Duck Races
Getting chosen to race a duck was the highlight of my nine-year-old daughter’s fair experience last year. The Great American Duck Race features live mallard ducks raced on a water track. You may be one of the lucky ones chosen to hold and release one of the world’s fastest mallards into its racing lane. Silly? Definitely, but so much fun!
Insider Tip: Arrive early and sit up front for a better chance at being chosen as a duck racer.
Jason D’Vaude – The Circus Man
Who doesn’t love a good magic show? Watch Jason juggle sharp objects, climb up precariously-balanced objects, ride an extra-tall unicycle, manipulate fire like a master, and much more. Located on the Main Street Stage.
Southwest Dairy Farmers
Trained instructors from the dairy industry will demonstrate how to milk a cow, describe how milk goes from the farm to the fridge, and then answer questions from the audience. This is an innovative program that brings the dairy experience directly to audiences of all ages!
Sea Lion Splash
Petting Farm (free to enter; additional cost to purchase food for the animals)
Fairgoers get an up close and personal experience with cute and cuddly animals of all kinds. Pet and feed farm animals, llamas, and more at this truly hands-on exhibit. Last year, there were baby wallabies. Eek!
Your kids are sure to have a mooooovalous time on the SunZia Farm. Rope some toy longhorn cattle, ride a wooden horse, climb a real tractor, sort plastic vegetables, and craft to your heart’s delight.
Junior Livestock Shows
Watch as kids from around New Mexico show their livestock that they’ve raised all year long. If no shows are happening, it’s still fun to introduce yourself to cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, and more! Here’s a link to the 2023 Livestock Show Schedule.
Performances in Indian Village
Don’t miss the beautiful performances by different Native American groups during the New Mexico State Fair. Particularly impressive is the Pow-Wow. The New Mexico State Fair was the first state fair to have an area solely devoted to Native American culture.
Know Before You Go
The New Mexico State Fair provides a sensory station. It’s a calm, safe space for any overwhelmed, sensory-sensitive, or disabled Fair guests. This space can be utilized to de-escalate, cool down, and/or satisfy any sensory processing needs before returning to Fair activities. Learn more here.
Outside Food & Drink
Outside food and drink is not permitted inside the fairgrounds with the exception of baby formula, along with certain other exceptions for individuals with medical and special needs. You may bring sealed plastic water bottles, one per person, that can be filled utilizing water fountains located throughout the fairgrounds. Definitely bring those sealed water bottles. It gets hot, and you’ll need them.
Prepare for the Heat
It is the desert after all. Bring sunscreen. Bring sealed water bottles. Plan to arrive early when the gates open to beat the heat. And do any indoor activities later in the day to cool down.
Tag Your Tots
Head to the Tag Your Tots station on Main Street when you arrive at the fair. This is a service where the parent’s and child’s information is collected by state police and a child receives a wristband with a unique identification number, making it easy to reunite lost children at the fair.
Diaper Changing/Nursing Moms Stations
There are two diaper changing/nursing moms booths at the fair. Both are on Main Street. One is at the north end and another at the south end.
Check out the Main Street Days to make sure to attend on a day that interests your family. Got a little one who loves fire trucks, classic cars, or STEM? There’s a day for that!
Splurge a Bit on Fair Food
What’s a fair without fair food? Amiright? You and your kiddos will see people walking by with a funnel cake, ice-cold lemonade, mini donuts, fry bread, and more. Plan to purchase a special treat. Or if for some reason you can’t eat at the fair (allergies, intolerance, etc.), make sure to prepare your kids for all the food vendors you are bound to see.
Download the App
The New Mexico State Fair has its own app with maps and lists of things to help you find all the fun while you’re at the fair.
Have a wonderful time at the New Mexico State Fair!
Looking for more local fall fun? Make sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Fall.