Let me put this review rating first: 3 stars. While the lanterns were colorful and bright, I expected more from the Chinese Lantern Festival in Albuquerque New Mexico. For a $15 entrance fee, the event promises an experience of light sculptures and exciting cultural performances. I was greeted with a large dragon near the gate. I arrived at around 5:30 PM when the sun was still out, so the dragon didn’t look impressive at all. Only when the night turned dark that the dragon looked magnificent with its light.

The festival was located in an enclosed area that was very limited. On its website it said that it would feature 30+ larger-than-life illuminated displays, and it seemed to be true. However, most displays were stand-alone lanterns, like these animals.

It would have been better if they put up a group of the same designs, like these groups of pandas and tigers.

Apart from the dragon, there was only one tall lantern on display — the three stories tall Chinese palace.

The lanterns I loved the most were these giant flowers that were scattered all over.

The peacocks were beautiful as well, especially with their flickering lights.

There were traditional Chinese crafts that were for sale, but it seemed like nobody cared for them.

The event also offered food and beverages. I paid $7 for a serving of Chinese noodles and teriyaki chicken. The main problem about these food stalls is the long line of hungry people with only a couple of servers preparing the orders. I would suggest that if you really want to eat, get your food during the cultural performances. Most visitors would watch the 30-minute Chinese show, so before the show ends get yourself first on the line.

This 2017, the Chinese Lantern Festival ran from October 6th to November 12th at Expo New Mexico. The event opened nightly, 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM. You can purchase your ticket online or on site.

There are still things that the event organizers could improve on for next year’s show. One is to put additional lanterns on areas that are still dark. Second, provide lighting for those eating areas that have no lights. What is the purpose of placing those benches and tables in a dark location that you cannot even see your food? Third, create lanterns that move like those pandas or lights that flicker like those peacocks.

This festival happened during the International Balloon Festival. So, after seeing the balloons flew in the morning, and if you have time to spend in the evening, visit the lantern display.


New Mexico Chinese Lantern Festival at Expo New Mexico
300 San Pedro Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108

See also: My other travel adventures in the USA.

See also: List of National Parks.

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