Things to Do in Santa Fe During Balloon Fiesta -
ballon fiesta mass ascension

By Lynn Cline

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes off every October, offering nine days of high-flying fun, from twilight balloon glows to special shape balloon rodeos and the wildly popular Mass Ascension. Nearly a million guests travel from around the world to admire some 550 hot air balloons manned by 650 pilots from across the globe. This is Albuquerque’s hottest event, and it’s also a perfect time for fiesta-goers to discover Santa Fe. In between the Dawn Patrols, nighttime Balloon Glows, competitions and other ballooning events, it’s easy to make the hour-long drive to the City Different and discover a few things that Santa Fe is famous for.

Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

Savor a feast for all the senses at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, open Saturdays and Tuesdays, 7 am to 1 pm. This year-round farmer’s market consistently ranks as one of the best in the country and when you take in the bounty of locally grown, fresh, seasonal food, purveyed by farmers, ranchers and artisans from across northern New Mexico, you’ll see why. Our famous green chile is in season right now, and it’s hard to miss the enticing, earthy fragrance of the chile pods roasting on site. Grab a bag or two to take home as this food comes straight from the gods, and it goes well on just about everything, from burgers to eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, stews, sauces and more. Shop row after row of gourmet lettuce greens, kale and spinach mustard greens s watermelon radishes, garlic, carrots and fresh herbs. You can pick up organic and grass-fed chicken, buffalo meat, steaks and burgers  The market also offers plenty of baked and prepared foods, from jams and salsa to breads of all shapes and sizes, quiches and pies. The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market store sells a variety of cookbooks by local authors, kitchenware and other unique gift items.

El Museo Market

Santa Fe is a known as a shopper’s paradise, filled with galleries, boutiques, jewelry stores and much more. One of the city’s more unique shopping experiences can be found at the Market at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. With some 60 vendors offering eclectic items from around the world, this marketplace, housed in a converted warehouse, is frequented by bargain hunters as much as serious collectors. Browse Native American art and jewelry, vintage cowboy regalia, Americana, international folk art, textiles, global art from some 40 countries and much more. Depending on your interests, you could find a first-edition book photograph or painting or a hand-tooled leather jacket. If you find that all of this shopping requires a break, visit the on-site cafe for soup and freshly baked goods. Note that the market is open on weekends only, from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and 10 am to 4 pm on Sundays.

Shows at The Lensic

The city’s vibrant performing arts scene is at peak season during the fall, giving you several enticing options for an evening out on the town. The Lensic has amazing performances, whether they are ballet, classical music or popular bands. Check out the Lensic Performing Arts Center, for upcoming performances.

Mariachi at Tomasitas

Feast on traditional New Mexican food and enjoy the live Mariachi music at one of Santa Fe’s iconic New Mexican restuarants. The food is excellent, as are the frozen margaritas. (We don’t usually recommend frozen margs, btw, but these are pretty darn good.)

Up in the Sky at Ski Santa Fe

Finally, after watching all those enchanting hot air balloons take to the New Mexico skies, you might be wishing you could soar high, too. Well, you can, thanks to the fall chairlift rides at Ski Santa Fe, just a short drive from downtown. This beloved annual tradition takes you up the mountain and through the aspens, displaying their stunning fall foliage. The rides are available daily during the International Balloon Fiesta (weather permitting). And if you work up an appetite in the great outdoors, you can always fuel up at the ski area’s Coffee Bar and La Casa Café.

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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