Best Things to Do at Night in Santa Fe
Downtown Santa Fe lights up in a cozy haze as dusk falls | © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
In Santa Fe, going out is all about sampling the local culture, which is reflected in the amazing choices on offer. From opera to art and even architecture, on a night in the city, do as the local crowd does and check out the art scene’s many different faces.
Go to the opera
If you happen to be in Santa Fe in July or August, you can treat yourself to an experience of a lifetime. Just 7mi (11km) outside of town, Santa Fe Opera is housed in a venue with a worldwide reputation, hosting opera festivals and great performances each summer. It is a semi open-air theater offering incredible views of the evening sky with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east and the Jemez Mountains to the west. The opera house can accommodate 2,200 spectators and sells out quickly. There is a special tradition to observe when getting ready to see a show: tailgating while dressed to the nines, which means snacking on expensive food and sipping sparkling wine in your nicest outfit.
Savor visual art at the Friday night gallery openings, Canyon Road Galleries
Art lies at the heart of Santa Fe and this is obvious everywhere you look in the city. The legendary Canyon Road, a magical half mile, has one of the higher densities of art galleries anywhere in the country. Get a chance to meet some of the local artists at the famous, traditional Friday night openings.
Take a walk in downtown after sunset to see the lit up old architecture
Old town Santa Fe is mesmerizing at any time of the day, but in the quiet of evening as the windows light up, the old adobe buildings look completely different. If you happen to be in Santa Fe at Christmas time, the local farolitos (lights put in bags and placed on fences to light up the evenings) give the city an exotic, warm and cozy atmosphere.
Go to the movies at the Jean Cocteau Cinema
This is a historic movie theater owned by George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones. The movie theater doesn’t only show films, but also hosts author talks, book signings, art exhibitions and concerts. It also serves food and has a bar. Check the theater’s website for the full program.
Late night at Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf, an immersive, interactive and frankly fantastical art installation, is not just a daytime activity. The 70-room house of fun, which has been fashioned out of an old bowling alley, also runs late-night, adults-only sessions. Open Thursdays from 8pm to 10pm at the Float Café and Bar, they also have late-night programs for adults on Fridays and Saturdays.
Indulge in a cocktail
Restaurant, Bar, Cocktail Bar, American
Santa Fe has a wide variety of places to enjoy a classy cocktail. A good place to start an evening of bar-hopping is the elegant Staab House in La Posada de Santa Fe, or the roof-top bar of the new Drury Plaza Hotel, the perfect spot to watch the sunset with a margarita in your hand.
These recommendations were updated on July 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.