Fall flavors bring us sights, smells, and sounds meant for celebration. As the leaves turn their glorious fall hues of yellow, orange, and red, what better place to experience it than Santa Fe in October?
Nestled in the foothills of the Southern Rocky Mountains and famed for warm days, crisp nights, stunning sunsets, and incredible starry skies—Santa Fe, New Mexico is truly an oasis in the autumn months!
Whether you need an escape from everyday life or you just want to explore somewhere new, Santa Fe has something for everyone. From nearby national parks (with plenty of hikes!) to shopping on Canyon Road and even skiing, this city in Northern New Mexico is the place to be!
Here’s all there is to know about visiting New Mexico during its peak season: the weather, the best things to do around town, plus all the info you need when packing your bag!
Best Things to Do in Santa Fe in October
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is among the most exciting events in this part of the U.S. during the fall season. While not technically in Santa Fe, this magnificent festival happens every year in October just an hour away from Santa Fe. Held since 1972, it features hundreds of brightly colored hot air balloons from all over the world lifting into the sky, providing an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Each autumn, this festival brings together pilots, artists, vendors, and spectators to celebrate aviation and share in the adventure of being part of this colorful and stunning show. Usually, the event is held at the Balloon Fiesta Park every 2nd week of October, where you can witness the flight of hundreds of hot air balloons.
Fall Activities at Ski Santa Fe
While there isn’t typically snow on the mountains yet in October, something you can look forward to in Santa Fe is a myriad of fall activities at the nearby ski resort. This includes live music, disc golf, a beer garden and grill at La Casa Lodge, and even chairlift rides through the golden aspens.
By the way, during this time of year, Ski Santa Fe is only open during the weekend from mid-September through mid-October from 10 am to 3 pm.
Bandelier National Monument
Over 33,000 acres of untamed and stunning canyon and mesa land are protected by Bandelier National Monument, which also preserves signs of a previous human presence that dates back over 11,000 years! Here, you’ll have a unique opportunity to check out standing masonry walls, homes carved into soft rock cliffs, and petroglyphs commemorating some of the earliest stages of civilization in the U.S.
While you’re here, you can also visit the Main (Pueblo) Loop Trail, which passes through more than 20 archaeological sites on a 1.4-mile loop. The average visitor walks this trail for about 45 minutes to an hour. Plus, one of the coolest parts of this sight is that visitors can enter caveats, or ancient cliff dwellings, using ladders along the path.
In Santa Fe, you can also visit a street where some of the best artwork in the nation is displayed—Canyon Road! While taking a leisurely stroll along this street, you’ll see exquisite masterpieces made by artists from around the world, all in one location.
Numerous colorful art galleries on Canyon Road have an established reputation with important art collectors, significant art fairs, and national institutions. This makes it a great place to find unique fine art and original work.
Besides world-class art, Canyon Road features some of Santa Fe’s best jewelry stores, restaurants, and an impressive array of different galleries.
Santa Fe International Film Festival
Located in Downtown Santa Fe, the International Film Festival is an event you don’t want to miss, especially if you love movies!
2023 happens to be the 15th-anniversary celebration of this five-day festival, which features world premieres of acclaimed and homegrown movies in various venues. You can watch individual film screenings during this event or choose to get an all-access pass with a chance to attend private filmmaker Q&A’s, award ceremonies, and even film industry cocktail parties.
If you’re an attorney, you’ll definitely want to visit Santa Fe this October so you can complete your CLE credits while enjoying all this beautiful city has to offer.
Destination CLEs is offering a five-day seminar in Santa Fe from October 6-10, 2023, which focuses on trial topics. While on this trip, you’ll get to network with industry leaders, further your legal career, and still enjoy the other incredible experiences we’ve listed in this article, including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Don’t miss out on the chance to complete your CLE while enjoying Santa Fe’s phenomenal sights. Click here to book your spot before prices go up!
Pecos National Historical Park
Ancient hunters, traders, explorers, immigrants, soldiers, ranchers, and modern hikers and tourists have all passed through Pecos at some point, making it a cultural crossroads. During the morning, you can visit places in this park where ancient rituals and cultural performances are still performed today as a living memorial to the people who once lived here.
Plus, Pecos offers both indoor and outdoor activities for visitors, including:
- Museum exhibits
- Picnic areas
- Hiking trails
- Ranger-guided tours
- An introductory film
- Fishing on the Pecos River
- And more!
Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway
This byway winds through untamed rock outcroppings, hills covered in junipers and piñons, and even a few charming settlements. It’s named after the abundant turquoise deposits found throughout the region.
This historic area connects Albuquerque and Santa Fe and spans over 15,000 square miles in the heart of the Land of Enchantment. Although Santa Fe is just an hour’s drive from Albuquerque, if you choose to take the scenic route and drive along the Turquoise Trail Byway, you might need an additional 40 minutes to get there due to the lower speed limit on this road.
Still, through the byway, you can drive through the historic mining towns of Cerillos, Golden, and Madrid after taking in the beautiful view from Sandia Crest. These towns are brimming with art, crafts, theater, music, museums, and local restaurants.
Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta
Finally, if you’re into wine events, we recommend going to the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Festival if you’re here in late September or early October.
What began as a one-day food and wine festival on the last Saturday in September in 1991 has grown into an annual five-day celebration in the Santa Fe Railyard. This yearly festival features the best of Santa Fe, with more than 60 restaurants and 90 winery partners that offer delectable treats for your palate.
Weather in Santa Fe in October
The month of October is truly one of the best times of the year to visit Santa Fe! During this month, the average temperature during the day is usually anywhere from 57°F to 70°F, and the average night temperature is usually in a range of 45°F down to 30°F. In other words, you can expect it to be relatively chilly with a soft breeze during the day, and at least 20 to 30 degrees cooler at night.
You can also expect to stay dry and enjoy mostly clear skies while here in October. In fact, on an average day in October, there’s only a 14% chance of rain or snow in this town.
What To Wear in Santa Fe in October
While it’s mostly sunny and not too cold, we do recommend you pack a jacket if you’re planning to spend October in Santa Fe due to the temperature drops at night. Additionally, wearing layers is essential to staying comfortable here, and we also recommend layering a lightweight jacket or sweater in case it gets chilly during the daytime, too.
The shoes you should bring depend on what activities you plan to do, and we recommend packing the appropriate footwear for whatever adventures you have lined up in Santa Fe, whether it’s hiking, walking tours, shopping, dining, or all of the above! While most establishments here allow casual clothing, you might want to dress up when planning to go to art galleries, museums, or formal dining.
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Santa Fe in October is the perfect time to visit thanks to its impeccable weather and the exciting festivals that you can experience this month.
Plus, if you’re looking for an opportunity to advance your legal career, make sure you book your spot for Destination CLEs’ Eduvacation℠ getaway in Santa Fe this October!
You’ll have the chance to network with other attorneys, earn 15 hours of continuing legal education, and still enjoy everything Santa Fe has to offer.
Click here to book now while there’s still spots available!
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