Celebrate Late Summer in Santa Fe County

Summer may be winding down, but the fun is still flowing in Santa Fe County, with a busy schedule of exciting concerts, festivals, fairs and the Burning of Zozobra, an annual tradition for nearly a century. Best of all, the earthy scent of New Mexico’s treasured green chile roasting at roadside stands and farmers’ markets fills the air, a sure sign that Fall is on its way. But not just yet. Read on to discover the magic that awaits you this time of year, in the place that Travel + Leisure readers ranked #2 of “15 Favorite Cities in the United States of 2023.”

Gloom Begone

Let your worries go up in smoke during the 99th annual production of the Burning of Will Shuster’s Zozobra. The 50-foot menacing marionette, known as “Old Man Gloom” will meet his match in downtown Fort Marcy Park, as thousands of revelers cheer his demise, shouting “Burn him! Burn him!” As Zozobra collapses in flames, fireworks light up the sky in celebration and revelers rejoice that Old Man Gloom is gone … at least until next year. This beloved tradition began in 1924, when Will Shuster, a member of Santa Fe’s Los Cincos Pintores (The Five Painters), created the Zozobra marionette. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe has preserved this cultural tradition since 1963. Today, every ticket sale to the Burning of Zozobra helps to support youth programs in the Santa Fe County community.

Friday, September 1. Gates open at 4 p.m.


Viva las Fiestas

The annual Fiestas de Santa Fe is a traditional celebration of historic Santa Fe culture that begins on Labor Day weekend and lasts for a week. Festivities include live music, dancing, parades, entertainment, food booths and arts and crafts vendors on the Santa Fe Plaza. Celebrated for centuries, the Fiestas remain a vibrant event, a way to honor a heritage that continues to thrive.

Saturday, September 2- Sunday, September 10


Marvelous Mariachi

Revel in the joyous sights and sounds of mariachi during the Mariachi Extravaganza de Santa Fe, featuring traditional, contemporary and classical mariachi, at the Santa Fe Opera. The open-air opera’s dramatic setting, with sweeping vistas and stunning sunsets, provides the perfect place to hear mariachi from rising stars and award-winning New Mexico artists, including vocalist Angeles Ochoa, who headlines the performance.

Saturday, September 2, 7:30 p.m.


Luxurious Lodging

For an enchanting stay, check in to the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, named one of Travel + Leisure’s “Favorite Santa Fe Hotels of 2023.” With a world-class restaurant, Terra, serving creative regional flavors with global influences, and a serene spa with treatments using seasonal ingredients from the region—think Prickly Pear Body Polish—this resort makes a great base for your visit to Santa Fe County.


Lyle Lovett Returns

Grammy-winning musician Lyle Lovett has played our stages many times over the years, bringing audiences to their feet with hits like “Cowboy Man” and “That's Right (You're Not From Texas)”. This summer he returns, bringing his rousing blend of country, blues, folk, swing, jazz and gospel to the Santa Fe Opera, where he’ll be joined by the acclaimed Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. Presented by the Lensic 360 series, it’s a sure bet that this will be one captivating evening.

Sunday, September 3, 7:30 p.m.


A Faire to Remember

Gallant knights, fairies at play, medieval music and food for feasting bring the days of old to life during the 15th Annual Santa Fe Renaissance Faire. Buy arts and crafts from the makers, visit an enchanted village, and watch a jousting match or two at New Mexico’s premier Renaissance Faire, held at the acclaimed living history museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas.

Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, 10 a.m. -5 p.m.


Chile Time

Late summer ushers in green chile season. This legendary fruit (yes, it’s not a vegetable) has long been a staple in kitchens and restaurants across the state. With its sweet, smoky, earthy and spicy flavor, green chile is perfect in stews, soups and sauces that smother enchiladas, burritos as well as on our famous green chile cheeseburgers. But it’s traveled well beyond the borders of the state. NASA astronauts grew New Mexico green chile on the International Space Station and reported that it tasted out of this world on tacos. This year, the New Mexico Legislature designated the smell of roasting green chile as an official aroma. You’ll find this prized harvest of chile at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market and at other farmers’ markets in the county.

Here’s to Wine & Chile

Sample award-winning wines in the country’s oldest wine-making region, paired with fantastic food during the 32nd Annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. Enjoy wine dinners and seminars, cooking demos, and more. The Grand Tasting event offers the chance to taste creative cuisine from 80 local restaurants and to try wines from 100 of the world’s top wineries. The menu includes a golf classic, a cycling tour and a champagne brunch.

Wednesday, September 27- Sunday, October 1


A Festival of Fun

Celebrate the season at Wildlife West Nature Park’s Harvest & Fiber Festival, a Labor Day weekend of music, fun and locally grown food. The festival showcases the area’s culture, traditions and agricultural heritage as well as fiber artists and their work, including handcrafted fleeces and hand-spun yarn-to-finish products that are woven, wet felted, crochet and knitted. For more fun, greet Foxie, the red fox, and Thunder, the pronghorn antelope,  along with mountain lions, elk, owls and other rescued creatures that make their home in this 122-acre nature park. It’s a wonderful way to connect with wildlife.

Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.


Spa Session

When you’re ready to take a break amid all the festivities, head to the mountains and Ten Thousand Waves. Inspired by Japanese mountain hot spring resorts, this spa is one of Travel + Leisure’s “15 Best Destination Spas in the U.S.” in 2023. Soak in serene hot tubs, then enjoy a rejuvenating hot stone massage or luxurious treatment combining signature spa and massage techniques. Before you go, enjoy a feast of flavors at the resort’s Izanami restaurant, serving izakaya, upscale Japanese small plates.


Upcoming Fall Activities

An Odyssey of Art

Meet more than 50 painters, potters, sculptors and other artists on the Turquoise Trail Studio Tour. The two-weekend event takes you to Cerrillos, Madrid and other historic towns along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway (New Mexico Highway 14), between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Artists open their studio doors and invite you to watch them at work. Take home a painting, a ceramic bowl or a gorgeous piece of jewelry.

September 23-24 and September 30-October 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


Above the Aspens

What better way to view fall’s glory than from a ski chairlift, soaring through shimmering golden aspens to a height that tops 11,000 feet. The Ski Santa Fe resort runs fall chairlift rides on weekends, and presents live music on the mountain with local bands on the deck at La Casa Lodge. Grab some great eats and drink at the grill garden. Toss a frisbee on the 18-hole disc golf course perched at 11,564 feet, and you’ll be playing on the highest disc golf course in the world.

Saturdays and Sundays, September 16-October 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Autumn Glee

For more than 50 years, the Harvest Festival at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, New Mexico’s celebrated living history museum has celebrated the season with uniquely New Mexican traditions. Ranked by USA Today as one of the top harvest festivals in the country, it offers traditional music and dance, an arts and craft market and an array of hands-on activities. Whether you string red chile into ristras, roll tortillas by hand, or stomp grapes to make wine, you’ll have a barrelful of fun.

October 7-8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


A Wooly Gathering

The wonderful world of fiber arts is celebrated at the 40th Annual Mountain and Valley Wool Festival, held at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds. The family-fun weekend features a regional market of juried artists, crafters and vendors where you can purchase works of art along with wool, fiber, yarns and tools and equipment to create your own fiber arts. Meet sheep, goats, alpacas and angora rabbits and admire their fabulous fur. Take in demos of spinning, dyeing, and sheep-shearing, place bids in a silent auction, and enjoy live music and food.

Saturday October 7, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, October 8, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


Brilliant Balloons

Some 600 hot air balloons fill New Mexico skies during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The world’s largest balloon event, and also the most photographed event, draws thousands of balloon enthusiasts from around the world to Balloon Fiesta Park, to marvel at Dawn Patrols, Mass Ascensions and Evening Glows. The special-shape balloons are always a hit, from a cavorting family of bumblebees to Smokey the Bear and Darth Vader. This magical event is thrilling to see, whether you’re 7 or 77.

October 7-15


Visit Santa Fe County for late summer adventures this year! We're looking forward to seeing you. For more information, visit SantaFeNMTrue.com and be sure to follow us on social media.