Shhh! Here’s a little secret: October is one of the best times of year to visit Santa Fe. Temperatures drop and the crowds dissipate, a “secret season” visit allows you take part in some of the city’s most exciting happenings. So here are the must-see events and activities in The City Different during the month of October!
October 2–3, 2021
El Rancho de las Golondrinas
Taste syrup from a burro-driven sorghum mill, help make cider by cranking a traditional apple press, and pick a pumpkin from the scarecrow-guarded patch. Children can stomp grapes by foot, make cornhusk dolls, or roll their own delicious tortilla by hand. There is fun for the entire family at this long-running season-celebrating event.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
October 2–10, 2021
This is an event like no other! Hundreds of hot air balloons (500+, in fact) fill the sky at dawn and dusk for nine days, with races, night flights, and more. If you want to find a tranquil respite from the lively balloon action, consider lodging in Santa Fe and taking advantage of our $40 roundtrip shuttle service from three different hotels directly to and from Balloon Fiesta Park. To start planning, check out our guide on experiencing the Balloon Fiesta from The City Different.
Santa Fe Studio Tour
October 8–10, 16–17, 2021
There are so many artists living and working in Santa Fe, and this is your unique opportunity to not only see their latest work, but meet them in their creative working environments. If you are lucky, some of the artists may demonstrate their techniques. With nearly 60 artists in all types of mediums represented, the Tour is open over the course of two weekends to make sure you experience all it has to offer. Visit Santa Fe Studio Tour to learn more about the artists and the self-guiding app.
Abiquiu Studio Tour
October 9–11, 2021
Discover the world of Abiquiú artists as they open their studios during one of the most beautiful times of the year in Northern New Mexico—fall. This self-guided, driving tour takes you through the village of Abiquiu and the surrounding Chama River Valley—a landscape of imposing mountains, spectacular rock formations, and the glorious rivers of the Piedra Lumbra basin.
Santa Fe Century
October 10, 2021
Around Santa Fe
Typically held in the spring each year, the Santa Fe Century was moved to October, another excellent time of year to celebrate Santa Fe and its beautiful surroundings. The 35th annual edition of the Century features ride options that begin in downtown Santa Fe and guide you through extraordinary courses of 100, 50, and 25 miles in the Ortiz Mountains and the Galisteo basin. Beyond the great views and camaraderie, enjoy delicious food and drink along along the way, generous volunteers, and prizes and awards for top finishers.
Galisteo Studio Tour
October 16–17, 2021
Diverse artists, drawn here by the natural beauty of a high desert landscape, breathtaking sunsets and enchanted light, open their studios to visitors each fall (and this is the 33rd season!), allowing you to experience photography, paintings, pottery, ceramic art, jewelry, bronze sculpture, custom knives, and handcrafted traditional arts.
Santa Fe Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend Celebration
October 9–10, 2021
Santa Fe Plaza
Join us for a two-day celebration of the citizens and cultures of the 23 Tribes, Nations, and Pueblos in New Mexico. Members of these groups will perform traditional dances and music on the bandstand at the Santa Fe Plaza. On the actual holiday, Monday, October 11, there will be separate celebrations hosted by the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Santa Fe Indian School, and the Santa Fe Indigenous Center.
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
October 13–17, 2021
The 13th annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival presents five days of independent film screenings, community events, and educational workshops. The festival features over 100 films in various venues across Santa Fe.
Review Santa Fe Photo Festival
October 13–17, 2021
Review Santa Fe offers photographers, photo enthusiasts, collectors, and the public a spectacular, juried showcase of outstanding photographic talent from around the globe. The festival features a number of ways to connect and participate including exhibition openings, workshops, artist talks, and juried portfolio viewings.
Spirits of New Mexico’s Past
October 23, 2021
El Rancho de Las Golondrinas
Meet the ghosts of history who lived and died in the Land of Enchantment. Step back in time and encounter a diverse assortment of characters from New Mexico’s illustrious and often little known past. Listen to their amazing stories and experience intriguing bygone events. Lit by lantern light and campfires, Santa Fe’s wondrous historic site takes on a family-friendly but spooky Halloween atmosphere for one night each year.