5 Tips for Enjoying Outdoor Dining in Santa Fe - SantaFe.com

Even with more than 300 sunny days a year, thanks to its higher altitude, summers in Santa Fe are milder than other parts of New Mexico. The pleasant weather draws tourists and locals to spend more time outdoors shopping and stopping in at galleries. As the sun goes down, why not enjoy a meal outdoors in one of Santa Fe’s many restaurants that offer outdoor dining? 

According to Ricky Allen, a principal of Ricky Allen Real Estate, there are enough restaurants in Santa Fe that offer outdoor dining to suit almost any palate and budget. Here are some tips for having a pleasant al fresco dining experience in beautiful Santa Fe.


The Al Fresco Dining Experience

There’s something about outdoor dining that adds some adventure to any meal. Maybe it’s the fresh air, the greenery, or those fun string lights, but an evening meal on a patio or rooftop can make any dining experience seem unique. Breakfasts, lunches, or happy hours can feel more spontaneous and lighthearted when sitting under an umbrella enjoying a good meal with friends. 

Whether you’re a tourist or a longtime resident of Santa Fe, take a break and enjoy the city from a rooftop patio or a sidewalk cafe. As Ricky Allen says, “My business may be helping people find homes or commercial business space, but my passion is sharing this city I love so well.”


Check the Weather Ahead of Time

From sidewalk cafés to modern rooftop terraces, Santa Fe has plenty of options for your outdoor dining experience, but always check the weather forecast before deciding on al fresco dining. Santa Fe’s climate can be unpredictable. A quick weather check can help you dress appropriately for a comfortable outdoor meal.

Locals know that evenings can be cool even in summer, but tourists might need a reminder to take along a sweater or light jacket before heading out for an outside night on the town. Check to be sure the patio restaurant you want to try has cover in the event of rain. See if the tables have umbrellas if you plan to enjoy a warm-weather lunch at a sidewalk cafe. For those sunny afternoons, take along a hat and sunglasses. You’ll not only look cool, but you’ll enjoy your meal more if you’re not uncomfortably warm.

Winters can be chilly in Santa Fe, so plan to enjoy your patio or rooftop meals in early fall, late spring, or summer.


Make Reservations

Santa Fe is known for its vibrant culinary scene, and the best outdoor spots can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons. Booking a table in advance ensures you don’t miss out on your preferred dining location.


Consider the Time of Day

The outdoor dining ambiance in Santa Fe can vary significantly between lunch and dinner. Evening meals often include sunset views and cooler temperatures, while lunchtime lets you bask in the sun’s warmth. Enjoying a breakfast of coffee and pastries while you sit outside watching the world wake up can be a pleasant start to your day.

Casual attire is acceptable for breakfast and lunch meals but dress for the city’s laid-back but sophisticated style for evening dining in Santa Fe. A stylish dress or a nice top with jeans or slacks will be fine for women. Men might opt for a collared shirt with dress pants or chinos. Jeans work best with a nice shirt, and a lightweight jacket can add an air of sophistication. An evening out in Santa Fe is the perfect occasion to get out your cowboy boots — that goes for men and women.


Inquire About Pet Policies

If you plan to bring a furry friend along, checking the restaurant’s pet policy is a good idea. Many establishments in Santa Fe are pet-friendly, offering water bowls and treats for your companions. You’re more likely to experience pet-friendly establishments during lunch hours than evening venues, but plenty of places will accommodate your pooch — just check ahead of time.


Stay Hydrated

Santa Fe’s high altitude can lead to dehydration faster than expected. Drink plenty of water throughout your meal, especially if you’re enjoying alcoholic beverages. If you’re exploring the town on foot, stop at one of the many outdoor dining restaurants and take a break. Enjoy a non-alcoholic drink with your lunch, and you’ll be ready to take in more galleries and museums or go shopping well into the afternoon.


Some Santa Fe Restaurants that Provide Outdoor Dining

Longtime resident and realtor Ricky Allen can tell you about the many outdoor dining options available in Santa Fe, but here are a few of our favorites.

The Coyote Cantina is regarded as one of the premier rooftop spots in the City Different. Located above the Coyote Café, the Coyote Cantina serves southwestern cuisine featuring its distinctive taste and flair, along with expertly crafted cocktails. The vibe is laid-back and informal, and it’s an ideal place to watch the sunset.

For an unforgettable outdoor dining experience, spend an evening at the Luminaria Restaurant Patio. Reservations are recommended. Enjoy a delicious selection from their impressive menu while you dine by candlelight on their rustic patio. They also serve breakfast and lunch on the patio.

Select your lunch or dinner from an excellent and varied menu, and enjoy your meal in a beautiful outdoor setting at Santacafe. One section is under a patio cover, and the other tables are in an open area, each covered with an umbrella. 

For a fun rooftop dining experience, head up to the Bell Tower Bar, perched atop the La Fonda on the Plaza. Take in scenic mountain views and spot Santa Fe landmarks while you enjoy a light meal and cold cocktails. Beer and wine are also available.

 A few more suggestions can be found in this article.



Photo of Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith, and Tana Earley with logo.



RICKY: 505-470-8233  |  
CATHY: 505-500-2729  |  
TARA: 505-660-1734





This article was posted by Rory Macpherson

Please Share!

Featured Restaurants