With its golden sunlight, crisp, clear air, star-filled nights and weather that’s just right, Autumn is the perfect time to get away to Santa Fe County. Autumn is packed with extraordinary adventures. Hop on a train for a thrilling themed adventure ride through stunning high desert landscape, or celebrate your spooky spirit at frightfully fun events. Screen riveting films from New Mexico and around the world at a venerated film festival, and when it’s time to shop, discover enticing treasures at a trading post recently praised by Vogue Magazine. As most locals will tell you, Autumn is the best time of year here. After just one visit, you’ll likely agree.
All aboard for thrills and chills on Sky Railway’s Fright Train. The acclaimed adventure railroad, which brought new life to the Santa Fe Southern branch line between Lamy and Santa Fe, offers a variety of themed adventure rides. The Fright Train takes you deep into the dark desert, where you’ll have a ghoulishly fun time. Don your best Halloween costume and take part in a spirited costume contest. Along the way, groove to DJ-spun tunes and sip Halloween-themed beverages in this adventure for ages 18+ only.
October 20-22 and October 27-31
You’d be wise to reserve your seats now for Sky Railway’s popular Pablo the Dragon's Holiday Train, a festive, family-friendly ride into the heart of this joyous season. Hear the tale of how Santa and Pablito rescued Christmas in New Mexico as you journey to the historic railroad town of Lamy, where the Holiday Village welcomes you with sing-alongs, hot cocoa and a chance to meet Pablito himself.
November 24-26; December 2-3, 9-10, and 16-24
An International Feast of Films
The 15th Annual Santa Fe International Film Festival is a paradise for film-lovers, featuring five days of screenings of films made in New Mexico as well as around the world. A busy schedule of panels, parties and other exciting events draws locals and visitors alike. The festival presents juried awards to short films, narrative features, documentaries and other categories, along with Audience Choice Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Wednesday, October 18 through Sunday, October 22
The ghosts of New Mexico’s remarkable past share their riveting stories by lantern light and campfires during the 6th Annual Santa Fe Spirits of New Mexico. Hosted by the acclaimed living history museum El Rancho de las Golondrinas, this family-friendly event features spirited storytelling from infamous and not-so-infamous ghostly spirits, along with biscochitos and beverages.
Saturday, October 21, 5-9 p.m.
Hundreds of marigolds, colorful masks and decorative skulls fill the Santa Fe Plaza during the Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration honoring loved ones who have passed on. This vibrant tradition originated in Mexico, and it’s a new tradition in Santa Fe County. Family and friends create ofrendos (altars) and decorate them with photos of their missed loved ones, along with offerings of favorite foods, candles and other items. Join in and decorate community ofrendos and enjoy arts and crafts activities along with mariachi music and other live music. Savor Mexican fare served by food trucks. Stop by a glow-in-the-dark face painting booth so you’ll be ready to shine when you join the evening candlelight parade.
Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28
Locals have long loved shopping the eclectic collection of home goods, Navajo textiles and other treasures at the Nambé Trading Post and Museum of Western Film and Costume, located in Nambé. Vogue Magazine recently discovered this gem, run by Emmy award-winning costume designer Cathy Smith and her daughter, jewelry designer Jennifer Jesse Smith. Vogue’s article, “A Rio Runs Through It: The Ultimate Guide to a New Mexico Road Trip,” says the “selection of home goods, art, books, rugs, and blankets is truly exceptional, as are the costumes and props on display from Smith’s illustrious career.” Plan on spending some quality time at this unique trading post on your journey along the High Road to Taos. This stunning drive leads to historic Chimayó, home to acclaimed weaving shops and the 19th-century adobe chapel and shrine El Santuario de Chimayó, and continues on through historic villages and majestic mountain scenery.
Ski the Southwest
Tentatively opening on November 23, 2023, Ski Santa Fe has long been a top destination in the Southwest. With legendary powder, brilliant sunlight and stunning views, this family-friendly ski area is a hot spot all season long. A full schedule of events includes live music slope-side, on the deck of Totemoff's. Located only 16 miles from the heart of the city, Ski Santa Fe has 225 inches of annual snowfall, a base elevation of 10,350 feet and seven lifts serving 86 runs. Despite its impressive stats, Ski Santa Fe has a laid-back vibe, welcoming skiers and boarders of every level. Don’t know how to go down the hill, or maybe you just want to polish your style? Take a lesson with a pro. And if you lack equipment, rent skisantafe.com
There's no place like Santa Fe County for the holidays. Families visit to relax and share timeless traditions, from the warm glow of farolitos (candlelit paper bags) to the aroma of classic holiday foods, including tamales and anise-scented biscochitos. The hallowed Canyon Road Farolito Walk on Christmas Eve, a highlight of this magical, merry season, unites friends and families in wonder and joy. Gather there amid the caroling and the luminarias (bonfires) and feel the glow in your heart as you celebrate the holidays, Santa Fe-style.
Visit Santa Fe County for a fun-filled Fall and holiday season this year! We're looking forward to seeing you. For more information, visit SantaFeNMTrue.com and be sure to follow us on social media.
The beloved Holiday Lighting on the Plaza takes place, the way it has for years, on the day after Thanksgiving, with live entertainment on the Santa Fe Plaza starting at 4:30 p.m. As families and friends start to arrive, Girl Scouts serve cookies and hot chocolate and Santa and Mrs. Claus make their appearance on a vintage fire truck, greeted like royalty. When the dazzling light displays are turned on, they transform the Plaza into a magical wonderland.
Friday, November 24, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The annual Winter Indian Market, hosted by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) presents this festive event, with more than 150 indigenous artists, music and dance performances, a silent auction, food and other fun fare. Be sure to bring your list because you’ll find holiday gifts for everyone on it.
Saturday, November 25 and Sunday, November 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.