New Mexico — Festivals and Events
From its legendary chilies and cuisine to its rich Native American heritage, New Mexico hosts some of America’s best festivals every year. Come and witness the largest gathering of Native American tribes on the planet or dress up like an alien and get weird in Roswell. Santa Fe hosts fantastic food and art events, while Albuquerque is known for its world-class hot air balloon festival.
Gathering of Nations Powwow
North America’s largest gathering of Native American tribes takes place at Albuquerque’s University Arena every April. This spectacle showcases all aspects of native culture and tradition, from dancing and music to food and crafts. Representatives from over 500 tribes in North America convene each spring to preserve their magical ancient culture.
Roswell UFO Festival
Whether you truly believe in aliens or not, this funky festival attracts hordes of strange folk to the normally quiet town of Roswell in the south portion of New Mexico. Allegedly the site of the infamous spaceship landing in the 1940s, every June people come to dress up as extraterrestrials, parade around town, play music, and celebrate weirdness.
Fiestas de Taos
The cultural highlight of the Taos calendar is its annual Fiesta every July. For three days, residents head to the historic Taos Plaza to honor their two patron saints: Santiago and Santa Ana. Music, food, arts, and crafts are in abundance, along with special events like the crowning of the Fiesta Queen and her court.
Santa Fe Indian Market
The big event each year in Santa Fe is its Indian Market. For a week in August, the town is transformed into a giant, open-air arts and crafts fair. The Plaza is the hub of the action, where renowned Native American craftspeople from around the country come to sell their wares. The talent on display is some of the best in America, and original works go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta
Another highlight on Santa Fe’s calendar is the Wine & Chile Fiesta, bringing together top chefs, freshly harvested ingredients and hordes of devotees to New Mexican cuisine. For five days every September, local restaurants host special dinners and the beautiful Opera House sets up a great wine and food tasting tent. If you love the chili, this is the gala event for you.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The planet’s biggest hot air balloon festival is made even better by the sublime early October weather in Albuquerque. For a solid week, the Balloon Fiesta Park on the edge of the city is home to hundreds of brightly colored balloons that dot the sky in mass ascensions, night glows and other cool activities. Many balloons offer rides during the week, but this is New Mexico’s biggest event so book your hotel well in advance.