Best Things to Do in Santa Fe for Christmas & New Year's
Santa Fe is a very popular destination for Christmas and New Year's, and there are plenty of activities to do during that time period. Here are some of my personal favorites:
1. Museum Hill Winter Solstice Holiday Stroll
This free event, sponsored by the Spanish Colonial Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art, takes place on Museum Hill from 4-7pm on December 21. There you will find food, unique gift shopping, entertainment, and an array of activities at the participating museums.
2. Railyard Artist's Market
The Railyard Artist's Market takes place every Sunday throughout the year, and Sunday, December 23 offers an opportunity for some last minute fun and interesting Christmas shopping. With over 60 vendors selling only locally made items, including jewelry, clothing, pottery, soaps & lotions, artisinal chocolates and more, you are sure to find just what you need to fill in the gift gaps.
3. Canyon Road Farolito Walk
Fortunately we are located just three blocks from this very popular Santa Fe Christmas tradition, so you can easily stroll over to enjoy the display of authentic farolitos (made with paper bags, sand and votive candles) lining the sidewalks and rooftops of Canyon Road's galleries and restaurants. These little paper lanterns are lit at dusk and their glowing lights create a magical fairy tale scene. With thousands of people wanting to participate, the crowds can be a bit intense if you only stay on Canyon Road. I suggest veering off and walking along Acequia Madre and Hillside. Many of the residents on these streets put out their own farolitas, allowing for a more calm and serene experience. Another option is to do the Canyon Road walk around 9-10pm, when the crowds have dispersed. Be sure to bundle up, as temperatures will be down in the teens that night!
4. Pueblo Christmas Dances
Head out to one of the nearby pueblos to see the traditional Native American Dances and Processions that take place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Taos Pueblo: Sundown procession with bonfires
Nambe Pueblo: Buffalo, Deer, and Antelope Dances
Tesuque Pueblo: various dances
Taos Pueblo: Deer or Los Matachina Dances
San Ildefonso Pueblo: Matachina Dance
5. Spa Treatments at Absolute Nirvana
Treat yourself this holiday to a tension-releasing massage, a regenerating and relaxing facial, or a truly luxurious two-hour long Deluxe Treatment (massage, exfoliation, body mask, shower and rose petal bath). We also have some fabulous holiday-inspired spa specials: Check out our Gingerbread Spa Special, the Chocolate & Peppermint Spa Special, and the Chocolate Decadence Facial. Inn guests receive 10% off all treatments (other than current spa specials).
6. Skiing/Snow Shoeing in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Santa Fe has been blessed with a number of snowstorms, resulting in superb early season conditions. Most of the mountain is now open and more will be open by Christmas. The Santa Fe Ski Basin is perfect for skiers of all abilities, with a good mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced runs.
For non-skiers who wish to take advantage of our bountiful snow, I recommend renting a pair of snow shoes at REI and trekking along one of Santa Fe's many hiking trails. My favorite for snow shoeing is the Big Tesuque Trail, but there are plenty to choose from. Aspen Vista is great for snow hikes and snow shoeing, particularly for guests just getting acclimated to the elevation, as it is a relatively flat trail.
7. New Year's Eve on the Santa Fe Plaza
The Plaza is just three blocks away from the inn, making it the perfect place to celebrate the New Year. The city provides music from local bands (Al Hurricane Jr is a favorite Santa Fe group), along with large space heaters, bonfires and a warming tent. While alcohol consumption is not allowed on the Plaza, there are plenty of nearby watering holes. Food trucks will be on the scene, as well as hot chocolate and coffee available for a small donation to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization. The Mayor will preside over the countdown to 2019, at which time a giant Zia sign will be raised amid a fireworks display.