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Santa Fe Seasons

Spring March

seasons horse ride March is a time of transition. Although the weather can be erratic, switching from winter to spring and back again--sometimes in the course of a single day--it's still a great time for spring skiing and exploring acres of wilderness on bike, horse or foot.

Dress warmly and in layers so you're prepared for any kind of weather. March can also bring windy conditions. If you're a kite flier, this is the time to visit. The high temperature this time of year averages 55 degrees and the low temperature averages 28 degrees.

Because March is part of the city's off-season for tourists, you'll find some great deals on lodging, dining and things to do, including spa treatments and shopping excursions. The city's arts and culture calendar remains busy, with music, dance and theatrical performances as well as gallery openings and museum exhibits. This could be a prime time to explore your artistic side with a class in painting, pottery or photography. Or take a cooking class and learn to prepare some of Santa Fe's famous cuisine. To unwind from a busy day, check out a local or visiting band at one of the city's nightlife venues, or sing along with the crowd at a lively piano bar.


seasons soup As spring arrives in our high mountain city, more than just the weather starts to heat up. Friday night gallery openings pick up, the celebrated Santa Fe Farmers Market moves outdoors, and concerts, plays and dance performances take place around Santa Fe.

As the winter snow starts to melt and the weather warms up, the high water river rafting season begins. Depending on the previous winter's snow accumulation, you can enjoy the thrills of whitewater rafting from mid-April through mid-June.

April's average high temperature reaches 64 degrees and the low is 33. This month brings aromatic apricot blossoms to trees all around town, providing a late frost doesn't strike first, so it's a great time to get outdoors and explore the city. Take a walking tour to see historic sites and learn about Santa Fe's compelling past. Explore our architectural treasures, public parks and gardens, and distinctive shops and galleries. Visit one of our 16 museums devoted to New Mexico history and art, Native American culture and art, Spanish Colonial art and heritage and folk art from around the world. Kids love to play indoors and out at the Santa Fe Children's Museum.


seasons wysteria May is a beautiful month in Santa Fe, filled with the fragrance of lilacs thanks to Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, who, according to legend, imported a few bushes from his native France after arriving in New Mexico in the 19th century.With an average temperature of 72 degrees in the day, and 42 degrees at night, the weather is perfect for sightseeing Santa Fe.

Stroll around the Plaza and visit the shops, museums and historic sites. Take a historic walking tour or rent a bike and explore neighborhoods with intriguing adobe homes built more than a century ago. Climb aboard the Santa Fe Southern Railway for a leisurely train ride along the route established in 1880 as the famous Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Civil War buffs travel here for battle re-enactments, military drills and cannon firings during the annual weekend marking New Mexico's role in the U.S. Civil War. And the annual Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival takes place on Memorial Day weekend at the Santa Fe Convention Center.

The outdoors season starts to kick into high gear this month. That's because the weather tempts you to be outside, with an average high of 72 degrees and an average low of 42 degrees. Consider joining some 2,500 riders in the annual Santa Fe Century for a 100-mile bicycle ride through spectacular scenery. Or get out into the acres of surrounding wilderness for excellent fishing in high mountain rivers and lakes. Take the whole family for a guided river-rafting trip on the Rio Grande then spend the evening admiring the glittering planets, stars and other celestial jewels during a sky tour. With some of the darkest skies in the country, New Mexico provides the perfect place for admiring the universe.
Summer June

seasons palace ave June is one of the best times to be in Santa Fe, whether you're here for a wedding, a weekend or a week of serious art shopping. This is the start of Santa Fe's high season, usually without the crowds of July and August. With an average high temperature of 83 degrees and low temperature of 51 degrees, the sunny days are ideal for getting out and exploring the city. There's no end to the choices you have, from hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding to river rafting and playing golf on excellent courses around the city.

The visual art scene flourishes with traditional Friday evening gallery openings around town and along Canyon Road, the city's famous mile-long stretch of art galleries, boutiques and other distinctive shops. And every other year, SITE Santa Fe's biennial opens in June, drawing artists and art collectors from around the world. If you want to meet talented New Mexico artists working with traditional forms or pioneering new techniques, take one of the many studio tours held throughout the summer and fall.

Rodeo fans are wild about the mid-June Santa Fe Rodeo, with its traditional parade and array of events for all ages. The Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company, an internationally renowned company of flamenco dancers, musicians and singers, presents passionate performances from late June through late August at the Maria Benitez Theatre. The Santa Fe Dance Festival, presented by Moving People Dance, Santa Fe's contemporary dance company, features world-class choreographers and dancers in June. And the Thirsty Ear Festival, two celebratory days devoted to roots music, takes place in mid-June on multiple stages on the Eaves Movie Ranch south of Santa Fe.


seasons hollyhocks With summer in full swing, July is a major month for Santa Fe. It begins with a bang on the Fourth of July, when locals and visitors alike gather for the annual Pancake Breakfast on the Plaza, with live music, dancing and a classic car show, followed that evening by a dazzling display of fireworks.

July is a big month for the performing arts. The world-famous Santa Fe Opera's annual season begins in early July with a traditional tailgate in the parking lot, where creative dress is required. (You'll see everything from black tie to jeans and bolo ties and evening gowns paired with cowboy boots.) The season runs through late August, offering exceptional performances of classic and world premier operas.

The prestigious Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale's Summer Festival both begin in mid-July and run through mid- to late August. And the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company offers exhilarating flamenco performances all month long. Music fans of every genre will find their favorite sounds all around town, in piano bars, brewpubs and nightclubs offering live jazz, flamenco, country, indie.alt and good old rock and roll to theaters presenting local, national and internationally famous musicians and bands.

July is also filled with exciting art events, including the incredibly popular International Folk Art Market; and the impressive international contemporary art fair, ART Santa Fe.

seasons dancerThe Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show, an outdoor festival organized by Native Americans and held on the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, takes place in mid-July. The Traditional Spanish Market draws crowds to the Plaza in late July, showcasing work by artists using techniques handed down from their ancestors to create Spanish Colonial woodwork, tin, jewelry, furniture, weavings, and other prized pieces. Contemporary Hispanic Market, the largest Hispanic art event in the country, takes place at the same time.

If you need a break from the whirlwind of events, walk the calming fields of fragrant lavender at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum that presents the annual Lavender and Herb Fair. The museum also hosts a wine festival this month that features New Mexico wine, celebrating the state's heritage as the country's oldest wine-producing region.

This is also a great month to hike or bike the inspiring wilderness that surrounds Santa Fe, raft the waters of the Rio Grande and play a round of golf on some fantastic fairways. Temperatures average 86 degrees for a high and 56 degrees for a low. Although Santa Fe is in the desert, the region has a rainy season known to locals as the monsoon season. It typically lasts from July through September, Santa Fe's wettest months, and it usually brings welcome afternoon thunderstorms and rain showers each day.


seasons indian art August is one of the most popular months to visit Santa Fe. That's because the city's biggest event, the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, draws an estimated 100,000 visitors from around the globe. The world's largest gathering of Native American artists, held on the Plaza toward the end of August, brings more than 1,000 artists from around the country to Santa Fe to sell their traditional and contemporary work. Native Roots & Rhythms, an annual Native American and Indigenous performing arts festival, takes place during Indian Market weekend. Numerous galleries and other venues around the city host special events during the market as well. August also features an annual Antique Ethnographic Art Show and an annual Invitational Antique Indian Art Show. Traditional Friday night art openings happen throughout the month at galleries across the city and the country's premier fair for contemporary decorative arts and design, SOFA West: Santa Fe takes place at the Santa Fe Convention Center.

The classical music season continues with performances by the world-renowned Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Enjoy sensational flamenco performances by the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company. An impressive array of other music is performed around the city, from jazz, country and rock to acoustic, alternative, Spanish guitar and native flute.
seasons pueblo dancer

August is also a great time to shop the Santa Fe Farmers Market, where dozens of area farmers sell incredibly fresh corn, tomatoes, greens, garlic, oyster mushrooms, organic chicken and beef and other edible delights.

Nature enthusiasts love August. The high temperatures average 83 degrees and the lows a cool 54, so early mornings and evenings are a great time to hike or bike into the mountains and admire the amazing array of wildflowers on display. August can be a prime time for families to enjoy river rafting excursions, guided astronomy tours and fishing trips to serene mountain lakes and streams.
Fall September

seasons chile Many locals will confide that September is their favorite month in Santa Fe. The summer crowds have thinned, there's rarely a wait for tables at favorite restaurants, and it's easier to find downtown parking. The city is steeped in the earthy scent of freshly harvested green chile roasting at roadside stands. In late September, the aspen leaves start to turn a brilliant shade of gold. As summer starts its fade to fall, the weather is crisp and clear, with high temperatures averaging 78 degrees and lows averaging 48 degrees.

seasons zozobra September kicks off with the Santa Fe Fiesta, America's oldest community event. The week of festivities commemorate the reoccupation of Santa Fe led by Don Diego de Vargas in 1692, a dozen years after the Pueblo Indian Revolt. The celebration includes parades, music, dancing, feasting and the boisterous Burning of Zozobra, in which a 49-foot-tall marionette groans and grimaces as his demise by fire is cheered by a crowd of thousands. Burning Zozobra is a feverish, time-honored tradition that pre-dates Burning Man and provides a way for viewers to symbolically release any gloom from the year.

seasons farmers market This month, a bountiful harvest arrives at the Santa Fe Farmers Market, where booths are bursting with ripe peaches, apples, corn and the revered roasted green chile. Sample this famous New Mexico staple in inventive dishes served by local restaurants or buy a bag to take home for use in your own kitchen. The celebration of food continues during the annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, which brings foodies to town from around the country to savor wine dinners, cooking demonstrations and other events showcasing world wines paired with New Mexico ingredients creatively prepared by talented Santa Fe chefs.


seasons aspensOctober arrives in full golden glory as aspen trees display their glowing fall colors, usually through the middle of the month. With highs averaging 67 degrees and lows dipping to 37 degrees, October's crisp, cool weather is ideal for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Because the days are growing shorter and colder, it's a great time to unwind in a spa or by a warm fire with a glass of New Mexico wine following an afternoon spent hiking mountain trails or shopping Santa Fe boutiques and galleries.

In early October, the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta fills the skies south of Santa Fe with hundreds of colorful hot air balloons that dazzle the crowds during morning and evening Balloon Glows, Mass Ascensions and an array of contests. Spend the day at the largest ballooning event on earth, then spend the night in Santa Fe and enjoy a world-class dinner followed by an inspiring concert or play.

seasons taco October is filled with artist studio tours in towns and villages surrounding Santa Fe. Spend a day touring scenic northern New Mexico, meeting artists eager to discuss their work, and you'll undoubtedly find a unique piece to take home as a talisman or give as a gift during the upcoming holiday season. You'll also meet locals and visitors alike who enjoy seeing new work by both emerging and established artists.

By the end of October, Santa Fe has usually received its first snowfall of the season. As the soft flakes fall on the city's earth-colored adobe buildings, it's a lovely sight and a welcome sign that the ski season is almost here.


seasons oldest church As fall gives way to winter, Santa Fe slows down briefly before gearing up for the holiday season. November is a great time to visit without the crowds that summer brings. You can shop for holiday gifts, refresh your body and spirit with rejuvenating spa treatments, attend world-renowned performances and savor memorable meals without waiting in long lines.

November days are usually chilly with plenty of sunshine. The average high reaches 52 degree, and the nights turn cold, with the low averaging 26 degrees. It's perfect weather for hiking, biking and exploring the city's ancient streets, visiting galleries, museums and historic sites that reflect 400 fascinating years of Santa Fe's history. During this month, skiers and snowboarders are counting the days until Ski Santa Fe opens for the season, usually on the last weekend of November.

seasons sunset church In early November, Tesuque Pueblo celebrates San Diego Feast Day, a traditional event featuring ceremonial dances and a community feast. In mid-November, the Festival of the Cranes brings avid birders from around the country to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Reserve south of Santa Fe to celebrate the annual return of thousands of sandhill cranes and Canadian snow geese to their winter quarters. Pick up a picnic lunch before leaving town to spend the day bird watching, then return to Santa Fe for an evening of fine food, inspiring performances and a night spent in a world-class resort, hotel or bed and breakfast.
Winter December

farolitos For many locals and visitors, this is Santa Fe's most magical month. Holiday spirit fills the air, along with the earthy scent of piñon wood that residents burn in fireplaces to warm their houses. Snow blankets the mountains and typically the downtown streets and adobe buildings, too, creating a winter wonderland and a skier's paradise, with temperatures averaging a high of 44 and a low of 19 degrees. It's an ideal time for ice skating, sledding and building a snowman, or hiking snowy mountain trails.

There's no place like Santa Fe during this sacred season. The city's unique blend of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures showcases traditions, ceremonies and celebrations steeped in history and heritage. And yet Santa Fe's vibrant contemporary scene ensures that this month is filled with modern offerings, too. Holiday concerts and performances take place around town all month long. Hotels and shops, decked in holiday splendor, offer special events and unique gift ideas and acclaimed restaurants serve festive meals. You can also purchase some wonderful gifts reflecting the city's Spanish Colonial roots at the annual Winter Spanish Market in early December.

seasons skier Throughout December the city is aglow with farolitos, small sand-filled bags lit from within by votive candles. On Christmas Eve, farolito fervor culminates in the traditional Canyon Road Farolito Walk, one of Santa Fe's most popular holiday traditions. Friends, families and visitors sing carols as they walk the streets, which are lit by thousands of farolitos and dozens of luminarias--small bonfires said to have illuminated the way for the Three Wise Men to find the infant Jesus.

Many pueblos perform traditional dances during the holidays. On Christmas Eve, some pueblos hold sundown torchlight processions. In mid-December, Pojoaque Pueblo holds its annual Feast of Guadalupe, with traditional dances and a community feast. Las Posadas, a traditional Spanish outdoor play performed in the Plaza area, portrays the search by Mary and Joseph for a room on Christmas Eve. And the Palace of the Governor holds its annual holiday celebration that combines Native American, Hispanic and Anglo Christmas traditions with caroling, dances and food.


seasons winter girl Covered in a soft blanket of powdery snow, Santa Fe slows down after the holiday season, and locals embrace this quiet--and coldest--month of the year. January nights dip down to 19 degrees on average, but the days warm up, with the average high reaching 42 degrees.

This is a great time to hit the slopes at the Santa Fe Ski area. The lift lines are shorter and the trails less crowded. It's also an ideal time to catch one of the current museum exhibits, a local band at a Santa Fe nightclub or a new artist premiering work in one of the city's innovative galleries. Check the Lensic Performing Arts Center's calendar to see which international dance group, symphony, popular musician or theatrical group is coming to town. Despite the slower season, Santa Fe's events calendar offers an impressive selection for every taste.

Most pueblos perform traditional seasonal dances in early January, including on New Year's Day. Check the calendar for a listing of these powerful performances that include drumming, chanting and intricate footwork passed down through the centuries.

Locals in a post-holidaze mood often give themselves a gift this time of year—a day devoted to relaxation and rejuvenation in one of Santa Fe's soothing spas. After an herbal body wrap, a salt glow, a soak in a hot tub and an expert massage, any tired body feels renewed and ready for the New Year.


seasons snowy mts February is the month to celebrate the City Romantic, even if you're not a fan of Valentine's Day. The sunsets in the late afternoon cast soft glows of purple and pink across the snow-covered mountains and illuminate the city's earth-toned adobe buildings with gold. You don't have to wait for a table at the local cafes, restaurants and brewpubs, so it's a great time for an intimate meal or a celebratory night out on the town.

Foodies turn out for the annual Souper Bowl, in which local chefs battle it out for the Best Soup awards, judged by the crowds. A few weekends later, the popular ARTFeast pairs galleries with restaurants whose chefs prepare edible art that tastes as good as it looks. The event includes a fashion show, a boutique wine tasting and a tour of homes showcasing fine art.

February is ideal for snowbirds, with daily high temperatures averaging 48 degrees and nightly low temperatures cold enough for snow at 24 degrees average. After a perfect day in the mountains snowshoeing, snowboarding, cross-country or alpine skiing, relax in front of a kiva fireplace with a cup of Mayan hot chocolate, spiced with red chile, or a glass of award-winning wine crafted in New Mexico. Or reward yourself in a spa with an organic body treatment followed by a soak in a hot tub. If you're here during a snowfall, you may simply want to find a cozy spot with a great view and watch the silvery, soft flakes dance to the ground. After a perfect meal in one of Santa Fe's revered restaurants, be inspired by a concert, a play or a dance performance.

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