Can’t-Miss Fall Festivals Around Santa Fe

Hot air balloons take off during the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Throughout the year, New Mexico hosts a nearly constant chain of festivals. In October alone, there are three major festivals running from a couple of days to nearly a full week. For new residents or prospective homebuyers, festivals offer an ideal way to get to know an area and can be paired with looking for homes in Santa Fe. Our advice: Prioritize one festival a month and attend others if you have the time.  Here’s what’s coming to the Santa Fe area this fall. Which festival will you choose?


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 7-9

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is technically an Albuquerque event, but the enormous blue and orange skies of New Mexico belong to all of us. It’s just under an hour’s drive from Santa Fe to Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque. This year’s festival will see around 200 hot air balloons ascending into the sky from October 7 to 9. The festival can attract more than 80,000 spectators, so it’s a good idea to plan on an early arrival. Check all the details here on the event’s FAQ page here. Tickets are sold by the session, which covers all activities in a morning or evening. Get tickets here.


Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, October 18-22

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival draws filmmakers from around the world and places a special focus on local storytellers. Nearly half of the awards are devoted to Southwestern talent, including best feature, best documentary, and true short film awards exclusively for New Mexican filmmakers. There’s also a category for best Santa Fe student short film, encouraging young talent in the city. This year’s festival will be a city-wide event running from October 18 to 22 and will take place at a number of venues, including the Lensic Performance Arts Center, The Screen, and Violet Crown. Get all the details here.


Review Santa Fe Photo Festival, October 26-29

There’s nowhere in the US as photogenic as Santa Fe. People come from all over the world to snap a few shots in the golden glow of the Southwest. You don’t get natural lighting like this anywhere else, and combined with the timeless landscapes and the beauty of the city, you couldn’t ask for a better place to take photographs. It stands to reason we have a great photo festival, running this year from October 26 to 29. The Review Santa Fe Photo Festival is known as one of the leading juried photo festivals in the world, featuring the work of 100 photographers who compete on the merits of their portfolios. Get all the details on tickets and schedule here.


“Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta” by Joe Ross is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0