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6 summer getaways in New Mexico

Colorful hot air balloons fly over Elephant Butte State Park at its balloon regatta.

Summer in New Mexico means oodles of fun and exciting events to attend. From dance festivals to a balloon regatta, here are our top picks along with nearby places to stay and eat.

1. Festival Flamenco Alburquerque

Albuquerque, June 9–17

Five female flamenco dancers onstage

Flamenco dancers perform throughout the city at Albuquerque’s flamenco festival.

For 35 years, the National Institute of Flamenco has partnered with the University of New Mexico and the National Hispanic Cultural Center to host this festival to preserve and showcase flamenco’s artistry, history, and culture. Some of the world’s finest flamenco artists will perform throughout the city at venues such as Rodey Theatre and Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque.

Additionally, more than 60 workshops will cover different aspects of this dance form, including beginning technique. Tickets start at $45.

Where to stay

Hotel Zazz is an artsy, 48-room boutique hotel in Nob Hill brimming with bright pops of color. Summer rates start at $180.

The revitalized Southwestern El Vado motel has modern rooms and an ever-changing restaurant menu. Summer rates start at $199; AAA members can get a 10% discount.

Where to eat

Indian Pueblo Kitchen, inside the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, serves Indigenous dishes such as bison cabbage stew, blue corn enchiladas with the Three Sisters, and all-day breakfast plates, like rancheros de Albuquerque with a side of Pueblo beans and home fries.

Outside of Green Jeans Food Hall

Visit the funky Green Jeans Food Hall for a variety of vendors ranging from pizza to pho. Photo by Gabriella Marks

For a one-stop, multiple-option dining experience, head to Green Jeans Food Hall. The indoor/outdoor dining venue constructed from shipping containers features merchants offering pizza, tacos, pho, and more.

You may also like: 7 New Mexico food halls you’ll want to visit

2. WNMU Fiesta Latina

Silver City, June 15–18

To celebrate the state’s Mexican heritage, Western New Mexico University Cultural Affairs has organized this festival on its campus. Aside from Latin music and dance performances, artisans from Mexico will showcase traditional handmade Mexican arts and crafts, such as woven baskets, textiles, and jewelry.

Look for traditional foods to sample and a ticketed tequila tasting ($45). There will also be several child-friendly activities. Free.

Where to stay

Set on 178 secluded acres on the edge of the Gila National Forest, Bear Mountain Lodge dates back to 1928 and has multiple well-appointed rooms, plus an authentic Mongolian Ger (similar to a yurt). Each room includes cozy bathrobes, herbal bath salts, and a hot breakfast. Summer rates start at $180.

Murray Hotel offers contemporary art deco elegance and has 50 updated rooms and 3 updated suites, complimentary parking, and a continental breakfast. Summer rates start at $104; AAA members can get a 10% discount.

Where to eat

Adults can enjoy freshly brewed beers and house-made cocktails at the laid-back Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery. The pub-style comfort food includes smoked pulled pork tacos and Asian chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing. (Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.)

For that old-time diner feel, head to Nancy’s Silver Café for breakfast hotcakes and omelets or Mexican specialties, including tacos, chile bowls, and burritos. There’s also house-made fruit and pecan pie.

You may also like: 8 free natural hot springs with stunning views

3. UFO Festival

Roswell, June 30–July 2

Boys flanking an alien statue

Kids love posing with aliens at Roswell’s annual UFO Festival.

This festival celebrates the 76th anniversary of the Roswell Incident. The 1947 recovery of rubber and metal from a crashed weather balloon led to the conspiracy theory that the debris came from a flying saucer.

In addition to live music and dance performances, the festival spanning the city will feature a sci-fi film fest, an Alien Crawl (restaurant and bar crawl), an Alien Chase (5k walk or run), a costume contest, and various lectures at the International UFO Museum & Research Center. Free.

Where to stay

Home2Suites by Hilton has simple, modern rooms, a pool, complimentary parking, and a hot breakfast. Summer rates start at $144.

Where to eat

For the sheer fun of it, stop by the world’s only McDonald’s that’s shaped like a flying saucer.

At Pecos Flavors Winery & Bistro, sample New Mexico wines, beers, and spirits, along with salads, burgers, steaks, seafood, and pasta.

You may also like: 3 beautiful New Mexico mountain towns

4. Los Alamos ScienceFest

Los Alamos, July 7–18

In its 16th year, this festival celebrates the scientific heritage of Los Alamos. It offers various events, from concerts and science-related films to lectures and a Discovery Day with hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) projects. Free.

Where to stay

Surrounded by nature, Pueblo Canyon Inn and Gardens is a family-run bed-and-breakfast offering lodge rooms, cabins, and a continental breakfast. Summer rates start at $98.

Where to eat

Open only for breakfast and lunch, Viola’s Restaurant puts a New Mexican spin on the American diner with classic offerings like huevos rancheros and green chile cheeseburgers.

Foodies and craft beer fanatics will enjoy Pajarito Brewpub and Grill for its rotating selection of suds and upscale pub grub, such as truffle mac-and-cheese and beer-battered local rockfish and fries.

You may also like: Adventure awaits on these 3 New Mexico road trips

5. A trio of Santa Fe events

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

July 16–August 21

Celebrate the festival’s 50th anniversary season at the opening concert on July 16 (adult tickets start at $73; discounts for ages 35 and under). Concerts feature music from Vivaldi to Thuille, along with commissions and premieres. Concerts take place at the New Mexico Museum of Art and at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

Traditional Spanish Market

July 28–30

Wooden carving of a person

Stroll through the Santa Fe Plaza to see pieces by talented Hispanic artists at the Traditional Spanish Market.

The Spanish Colonial Arts Society hosts its annual open-air art market on the Santa Fe Plaza to showcase some of the country’s most talented Hispanic artists, including youths. Look for musical and dance performances, food vendors, and more. Free.

SWAIA (or “Santa Fe Indian Market”)

August 19–20

The Southwestern Association of Indian Arts (SWAIA) is again hosting the world’s largest juried Native American art show at the Santa Fe Plaza, with over 1,000 Native artists from over 100 tribal communities in North America and Canada. There will be a Native fashion show, dance performances, and a bounty of art. Free.

Where to stay

The AAA Four Diamond La Posada de Santa Fe is an artsy, stylish resort and spa with elegant rooms and a gourmet restaurant. Summer rates start at $249; AAA members can get a 10% discount.

For an immersion into the Pueblo culture, there is Hotel Santa Fe, the only Native American-owned hotel in downtown Santa Fe, featuring rooms with pine furnishings, a spa, and restaurant offering Pueblo and Northern New Mexican cuisine. Rates start at $259.

You may also like: 6 ways to learn about New Mexico’s Pueblos

Where to eat

Since 1953, The Shed has been dishing out casual lunch and dinner fare ranging from cheese-stuffed poblanos in a tomato sauce to green chile chicken enchiladas.

Paloma serves lively Mexican-inspired dishes, such as chicken en mole and steak fajitas.

For sophisticated Mexican options (think shrimp enchilada in zucchini blossom cream sauce), try Sazón, whose chef won the 2022 James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southwest.

Java heads can stop by CrashMurderBusiness for classic and creative coffee drinks.

Dolina Café & Bakery satisfies with house-made pastries, coffee drinks, and Slovakian-inspired eats like chicken and halušky (dumplings).

You may also like: 10 affordable restaurants in Santa Fe, New Mexico

6. Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta

Elephant Butte State Park, August 4–6

Couple facing toward hot air balloons preparing for flight

Hop into a hot air balloon for a tethered ride in the sky.

Watch the sky fill with colorful hot air balloons at the 42nd annual balloon regatta. Learn how the balloons work, and go on a tethered ride. $5 per car.

Where to stay

The pet-friendly Elephant Butte Inn has complimentary parking. Summer rates start at $95.

In nearby Truth or Consequences, you’ll find Sierra Grande, a Southwestern-style Ted Turner wellness retreat resting on mineral-enriched geothermal hot springs, which you can enjoy at your leisure, along with spa treatments. The resort’s restaurant serves fresh local cuisine with a complimentary breakfast for overnight guests. Summer rates start at $165.

Where to eat

Bigfoot Restaurant serves creative burgers and warm sandwiches, like bourbon pulled pork with barbecue sauce and melted cheddar.

La Baracca in Truth or Consequences specializes in homey Italian dishes. Indulge in eggplant Parmesan, pasta with homemade meatballs, and various pizzas.  

Victoria Abbott Riccardi is a travel and lifestyle writer.

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