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 giving you the opportunity for a “secret season” visit to experience 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!
51st Annual Harvest Festival
October 7 & 8, 2023
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.
Fall Activities at Ski Santa Fe
October 7 & 8; 14 & 15, 2023
Ski Santa Fe
Saturdays and Sundays through Balloon Fiesta week, Ski Santa Fe will run their Super Chief Quad chair for scenic rides through the aspens. Also enjoy live music, refreshments, including a beer garden, on the lodge deck, the 18-hole disc golf, and activities for the whole family. Visit Ski Santa Fe to learn more. (And season passes are on sale for the 2023–2024 ski season!)
Take the Shuttle to the 51st Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
October 7–15, 2023
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 $55 per person (plus a processing fee) 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 Indigenous Peoples' Day Weekend Celebration
October 7–9, 2023
Santa Fe Plaza
Join us for a weekend 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 gazebo at the Santa Fe Plaza. Other celebrations include the Institute of American Indian Arts' 2023 IAIA Fall Powwow and the Santa Fe Indigenous Center's Intertribal Powwow.
15th Annual Santa Fe International Film Festival
October 18–22, 2023
Referred to as "a young Sundance" by IndieWire, the 15th annual Santa Fe International Film Festival, presented by the Santa Fe Film Institute, hosts five days of independent and cutting-edge cinema, community events, filmmaker Q & As, select free screenings, educational workshops, a student day, and much more. Cheers to Visionary Award winner and Reservation Dogs creator Sterlin Harjo, who will be honored at the Festival for his ingenuity in filmmaking. Reservation Dogs and Resident Alien actor Gary Farmer (AKA Uncle Brownie) will join him. The festival features more than 100 features and shorts in various inviting venues across Santa Fe. Not to be missed!
Santa Fe Studio Tour
October 21 & 22; 28 & 29, 2023
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 more than 100 artists in all types of mediums showcasing their work in more than 80 studios, 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.
Canyon Road Paint & Sculpt Out
October 21, 2023
Santa Fe's Canyon Road
Watch as finished paintings appear from blank canvases. Enjoy sculptors creating their work using clay, wax, or stone. Artists working in every imaginable genre and media will fill the historic Canyon Road Arts District during the annual Paint & Sculpt Out.
Spirits of New Mexico
October 21, 2023
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.
Día de los Muertos
October 27 & 28, 2023
Santa Fe Plaza
It's the 2nd annual Día de los Muertos on the Plaza! Join your fellow Santa Feans as we honor all of our fellow ancestors on Friday, October 27 from 4–10 pm with festive mariachi music and boleros on the Plaza stage, festooned for the occasion with papeles picados (traditional colorful paper decorations). Grab a bite to eat and some refreshments from the variety of food trucks serving signature Mexican foods. Enjoy brightly colored masks, decorative skulls, and hundreds of marigolds!
Saturday, the celebration continues from 10 am to 10 pm with more music, decorative ofrendas—commemorative altars—and a candlelight parade.
Art Studio Tours
through October 2023
Northern New Mexico
No more than an hour away from Santa Fe on nearly every weekend in October, there's a community art studio tour, featuring several local artists, working in jewelry, sculpture, painting, textiles, and more. The intimate Pecos Studio Tour (Oct 14 & 15) features a handful of artists whose work you'll want to see. October 7–9, the Abiquiú Studio Tour, a self-guided, driving tour, takes you through the village of Abiquiú and the surrounding Chama River Valley on visits to the studios of up to 25 talented artists; grab some food and drink at local vendors, too. During the 36th Annual Galisteo Studio Tour (Oct 14 & 15) artists open their studios, allowing you to experience their photography, paintings, pottery, ceramic art, jewelry, bronze sculpture, custom knives, and handcrafted traditional arts. Their community center sports food trucks! And, in downtown Santa Fe, be sure to check out the final weekend of the Santa Fe Society of Artists, who show their fine work in the lot across from the New Mexico Museum of Art. Put one or all of these tours on your itinerary!