Ten Fun Things To Do in Santa Fe This Summer

2020-21 UPDATE: Due to the pandemic and ongoing closures and updates to health and safety mandates, it is impossible to know what events, or businesses, will be operating this year. Please contact the establishment directly, and again just prior to your visit. For a list of what may or may not be open, please reference our categories as those lists are updated regularly, but we do not guarantee accuracy. Each listing contains contact info for you to double check directly prior to your visit. Thank you for your understanding. 

We are so lucky to have such a wide array of unique and fun things to do in and around Santa Fe. In addition to the many fantastic markets, fairs and festivals, a visit to Santa Fe isn’t complete without having some time to explore the character of the area. From the expansive and varied terrain to the culinary delights, here are ten things to do, both indoors and out, that will pique your interests and tickle your tastebuds.

Remember, that if you’re planning on visiting, it’s always best to book in advance of your arrival to ensure availability on any tours. For specific pricing, please visit the links listed for contact information of each guide.

Wild West Safari 

Take an off-road excursion with Santa Fe Mountain Adventures to the south of Santa Fe, near San Felipe Pueblo.  It is limited access land, so you need to be with a guide.  Once you’re on the property, you’ll have the opportunity to see pottery shards, Native American ruins, petroglyphs, painted desert landscapes and petrified wood.  You’ll usually be lucky enough to spot some of the wild horses that roam the area.  The duration can be either 3 or 4 hours, from pickup to drop-off. This is a great outing for both adults and children.  

Art and Traditions of the Tewa People

Experience of the rich culture of the Native American people, and an awesome bison herd. Touring with SFMA‘s guides, you’ll learn how the ancient Tewa Puebloans once thrived, what effect the arrival of the Spaniards had on their way of life, and how they have managed to retain many of their ancestral traditions. You’ll take a docent tour of the remarkable “Nah Poeh Meng” exhibit at the Poeh Cultural Center, and then ride out to the high desert to view Pojoaque Pueblo’s magnificent bison herd.

To get so close to these amazing beasts is breathtaking. 


Up-close to the bison with Santa Fe Mountain Adventures.

One of my favorite summertime things to do is take a summer rafting trip. The days are toasty warm and the water is nice and refreshing.

New Mexico River Adventures

The Rio Grande and Chama are great for whitewater rafting during high water, and kayaking, and float trips even when the levels get lower. There are many rafting, paddle-boarding, kayaking and floating opportunities offered by NMRA. They are also well-known for bringing the best food to the rivers for their guests.


Rafting on the Chama River with NMRA


Whitewater and Wine Tasting Day Trip

This excursion is with NMRA and New Mexico Wine & Scenic Tours. Cindy of New Mexico Wine & Scenic Tours offers door-to-door transportation from your hotel or lodging location. Your day includes a half-day rafting trip on the Rio Grande’s Racecourse section of the river, followed by a picnic and wine tasting tour around some of the north country’s award-winning boutique wineries. Yes we have the oldest wine country in the U.S. (yes, it is older than California’s).  You’ll want to contact Cindy of New Mexico Wine Tours to book this trip. 

Fly Fishing New Mexico

New Mexico is an excellent fly-fishing destination, year-round. Jarrett Sasser of High Desert Angler and his crew of expert guides  know the best public and private access spots that will satisfy your inner angler. They are the top fly-fishing outfitter in New Mexico.

A nice catch with Jarrett of High Desert Angler.

Horseback Riding

While in the Southwest, one way to see the beautiful vistas of rolling hills, mountains and plains is on horseback. Taking a horseback ride with Santa Fe Western Adventures puts you back in the saddle and whisks you away to a simpler time. During the summer, I recommend the early morning or sunset rides. Owner Russ Dillon will need to know your age, height and weight, and any horseback riding experience you have. It’s a perfect family activity.

Santa Fe Western Adventures heading out on a sunset ride.

Rides take place on Russ’s private ranch, which has been in the family since 1954. You’ll enjoy varied terrain and beautiful views. The Sunset Ride includes a short hike up the historic landmark Lone Butte Mountain, for an unobstructed view of the spectacular New Mexican sunset. Santa Fe Western Adventures offers 1 hour and 1.5 hour rides in true Western style. It’s best to call Russ directly to book your ride at (505)473-9384. Or click this link for more info. Oh, and you better not try to rely on GPS to find the ranch, Russ will give you the easy, correct directions when you book. Remember to mention Santa Fe Selection when you call.

More Fun Adventures Indoors

When the heat is high, or maybe there’s a brief refreshing monsoon rain in the middle of the afternoon, you can head for cover and keep exploring. We recently enjoyed a fun adventure in Santa Fe’s number one Escape Room.

Escape Santa Fe offers three uniquely-themed escape rooms that challenge your sleuthing brain and your group communication skills, and make for an hour of fun. It’s been a popular activity for quite a few movie stars and crews that are filming in our area. You’re up against the clock, and there’s something at stake — you’ll have to work together with your team, crack the clues, and “get outta there!” to save the day. It’s hard to say more about these fun experiences without giving the game away. I can highly recommend this activity for anyone  who is willing to have a laugh while they tackle the challenges. Read more about Escape Santa Fe here.

A recent crew who didn’t quite make it in time, but enjoyed the challenge. Recognize anyone?

Food Tours 

It’s mid-afternoon and you have a couple of hours. Perfect timing to take a food tour around one of our popular historic or contemporary districts. Tickle your tastebuds with the flavors of New Mexico, and acquaint yourself with some of our top chefs, distilleries, wineries, and breweries.

Delicious tasters at one of the stops on a Wander New Mexico Food Tour.

Wander New Mexico is ranked number one in Santa Fe for their fun and delicious food tours. Owner Joe Griffith offers tours of the popular Railyard District, historic Plaza area, and Canyon Road. He will take you on an easy mile or so wander, stopping at various culinary venues to taste the food and libations, learn of the area’s history and traditions, and meet some of the talented chefs who contribute to making Santa Fe one of the top foodie destinations in the country.

If you prefer to roam further afield and be driven, then I recommend taking a Wine Tour or a Brewery Tour with New Mexico Wine & Scenic Tours.

Black Mesa Winery, an easy 40 minute drive north of Santa Fe is an award-winning boutique winery that also offers their custom hard ciders. They have petroglyphs and a labyrinth on property.

There are many quality boutique wineries in the state. Northern New Mexico is home to enough of them to make for a great day’s excursion. And you don’t have to worry about driving. Let Cindy do that, and you just sip, taste, and enjoy.

Sample some of the many craft beers by Santa Fe artisanal breweries.

Closer to town there are a number of local breweries and brewpubs to savor. New Mexico Wine & Scenic Tours will pick you up from your lodging location and take you on a tour of the Midtown Innovative District and thereabouts, where you can sample the flavors of our local artisanal beers, and kick back.

Chocolate Elixir Tasting

I love chocolate and I don’t know many folks who don’t, so add this one to your list…The Midtown Innovative District is well-known for Meow Wolf and Art of Chocolate – Cacao Santa Fe. You can take a delicious chocolate elixir tasting at Art of Chocolate – Cacao Santa Fe, or a fascinating Food of the Gods workshop, where you’ll learn of the amazing process that brings us Cacao’s delicious, organic chocolate bars and elixirs.

Friends enjoying a Food of the Gods workshop and elixir tasting.

Whether you take a workshop, or just stop in for an elixir flight and a snack, at Art of Chocolate – Cacao Santa Fe, you’ll be able to learn the history and origins of this amazing bean, and taste some of the authentic chocolate elixirs of Europe and the Americas. One of their special tastings, or flights, will leave you feeling quite energized – enough to visit Meow Wolf for a spin through their famous Alice in Wonderland-type experience.

For many more of my recommended day trips, tours, attractions, and fun things to do in and around Santa Fe year-round, plus lodging and restaurant recommendations, go to SantaFeSelection.com Travel Guide.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you’d like to receive my monthly articles about Santa Fe attractions, its people, traditions, art, events and culture, please send me an email to Maria@santafeselection.com