Most vacation tours to New Mexico are planned around a Santa Fe and Albuquerque, also known as ABQ. Our sampling of Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico is more or less tailored around these tourist attractions. The state has a lot to offer but most of it can be combined into a few categories, museums, music, churches, history & nature. So let’s explore!
- 1 Best Fun, Food & Events: Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico
- 2 Gallery, Museum, History: New Mexico’s Top Tourist Sites
- 3 Nature’s Top Places: New Mexico’s Flora, Fauna & Topography
- 4 Wrapping Up Best Places & Cheap Things To Do In New Mexico
Best Fun, Food & Events: Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico
Some say museums and art galleries are the soul of New Mexico! While that may be true for those people music and summer also share the same spot in the hearts of New Mexicans. That is why some of the major attractions of our Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico involve a lot of music and a lot of summer events.
Want to quickly eyeball all the inexpensive New Mexico attractions? Check out the slides below:
Summerfest: The best summer family event!
This is not just one fest! The people in ABQ know how to thoroughly celebrate summertime. There are four one-day events held at four different locations. It is fun family time with live music performances, children’s activities, face painting, freshly crafted brews, crafts, food trucks and so much more. The events are called Heights Summerfest, Route 66 Summerfest, Downtown Summerfest, and Westside Summerfest.
These events are free, so no admission charge is required, but everything you want to eat or drink or buy is chargeable. If you’re visiting around June-August, you must have this on your itinerary.
ABQSlams’: Enjoy poetry with beer
Suppose you are in ABQ on the first Wednesday of a month, then be sure to check out poetry open mic and enjoy some beer at the ABQSlams events.
These events are held on every first Wednesday of the month and most adult tickets are for $15, though the ticket price varies for every event.
Go on a Wander New Mexico Food Tours
Whether in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, if you love food, take a food tour by Wander. It is not just a food tour, it is much more. You will be taken to one of the best historic places in the city and you can explore the area’s history through its food.
There are four tours in Santa Fe costing anywhere between $69 and $119, while Albuquerque only has one tour in Old Town for $89 per person. You sample the best local delicacies and wines as you tour these areas on foot.
Although the price may be a concern for those on a budget it is not overly expensive. It is a unique experience and can make the list of Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico.
The Famous Santa Fe Bandstand – Musical Extravaganza
From mid-June to early August, Tuesday through Saturday, The Plaza and Swan Park welcome some of the best live music offering performances from local and national bands. No matter what your musical tastes you are sure to enjoy yourself. Performances include Jazz, Pop-rock, Funk, Blues just to name a few!
The event has been known to attract Grammy award winners, so you know it will be a good place to be! The best part is that the event is free to attend.
Check out a concert from Music on the Hill series
Before the Bandstand begins Saint John’s College presents its music concert series, ‘Music on the Hill’. The series, which is held on the college’s athletic field from 6 to 8pm is a huge draw for locals and visitors alike.
You can bring your family and have some live music, bring a picnic, or purchase food from the vendor on-site. It is the best kind of experience—fantastic music that is absolutely free!
New Mexicans sure love summer and music and they love to make it free! Do not hesitate; pick a time in summer and explore some of these Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico and have a blast.
Gallery, Museum, History: New Mexico’s Top Tourist Sites
New Mexico is lined with galleries and museums. Wherever you go, you will find a little bit of Puebloan history. So check out the Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico that have some history hidden in them.
New Mexico History Museum: The Four Historic Periods
The museum includes the Palace of the Governors which is said to be the oldest public building in the entire US that has been continuously occupied. Built in 1610 the museum has artifacts from four periods that go back to the Spanish colonial period of the 1500s
It is a great educational experience for children and adults alike. The admission is only $12 for adults Children below 16 years old get in free of charge.
Take Your Artistic Pick in Santa Fe: Canyon Road or the Railyard Arts District
Canyon Road in Santa Fe offers more than one hundred galleries and studios. Every kind of contemporary, modern, or abstract art can be found here. Many of these galleries are also associated with well-known art fairs and collectors so this is the art hub for all you art lovers and artists.
These galleries are housed in the traditional adobe building, which is also a great tourist attraction. To visit a gallery is free of charge—if you don’t buy anything! And after your visit you can peruse jewelry artisans and eat at some of the finest dining that Santa Fe has to offer.
You may also try 9 art galleries in the Railyard Art District (RAD), or enjoy shopping, food, a farmer’s market, or nearby hiking, all withing the historic Railyard. Situated in the warehouse-style buildings the Railyard has its own charm and has been a gathering place since the late 19th Century.
Loretto Chapel & Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Santa Fe literally means Holy Faith and therefore these two sites are must-visit. Loretto Chapel is known for its helix staircase, commonly known as the “Miraculous Staircase”. It has been converted into a museum and wedding chapel the admission is only $5 and children six and under are free.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi has been rebuilt on a site where there was a church that was destroyed in the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680. It is believed that God came to St. Francis in his dream and told him to rebuild the church.
Admission for adults is $10 and for children 16 years and younger the admission is free. This is one of the top New Mexico Road Trip Destinations, to find out more such places, check out our comprehensive sampling.
ARTScrawl: Go on gallery tours
As you know Santa Fe is well known for its art galleries, but Albuquerque is not far behind. Every first Friday of the month, ABQ hosts self-guided gallery tours called ARTScrawl that involve galleries from the entire city.
Participating galleries change periodically so be sure to check out the website for the most up-to-date information. Using the gallery map you can pick and choose exactly which galleries you would like to visit and make your own tour.
Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
We all know that ABQ is known for the International Balloon Fiesta. This museum tells everything about ballooning, its history, and the science that goes into it. Enjoy a 2D or 4D film to get as close to the real experience as possible.
The museum also hosts all kinds of events which have fireworks, food trucks, cash bar, live music, and obviously the balloons. Adult admission is only $6. Seniors & youth are $4 and $3 respectively. Children five and younger are free.
If you are there in October, you can witness the most amazing fiesta for general admission of just $10 but if you spend $45 then you will get seating, food, and a beverage too.
This wraps up our art and history collection of Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico. You may even check out the La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site if you are interested in Archaeology.
Nature’s Top Places: New Mexico’s Flora, Fauna & Topography
Events and galleries are all wonderful but how about some nature? Well, you will also find some Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico if you are a nature-lover.
Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary
If you love birds, this is the place for you. There are approximately 190 species of birds and thousands of acres of a national forest land. You will see an excellent selection of native New Mexico plants and animals.
On Saturday there is a free bird tour in the morning and you can visit the Randall house for $5 per person. There are butterfly tours, nature walks, star gazing, and much more.
Sunset at the Cross of the Martyrs park
If you love sunsets, this is an attraction that you must not miss. Among the many historic sites in Santa Fe is the monument at the site of the killing of 21 Franciscan Fathers in the 1600s during the Pueblo Revolt. A moderate hike or a short drive will take you to the cobblestone platform that surrounds the cross.
Get there early and you will witness the most beautiful sunsets of your whole life. It is a mixture of reds and yellows reminiscent of classic western movies and is a brilliant spectacle to behold.
The Gypsum Dunes of White Sands National Park
The glistening white sands of New Mexico are one of the natural wonders of the world. It is said that, like the sea, you never see the exact same landscape twice as the pure white gypsum dunes slowly shift over time with the wind. Here you can go dune driving, hiking, picnicking, biking, and so much more! Whatever you choose to do be sure be sure to pack plenty of water and come prepared to protect yourself from the heat and the sun.
Park Entrance Fees per vehicle is $25 and per adult (16 and older) is $15. Annual passes are available.
Wrapping Up Best Places & Cheap Things To Do In New Mexico
So with that we close our sampling of Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico. There are many more places to explore and many more free activities—we have only scratched the surface.
I hope you enjoyed our suggestions for the most unique and Cheap Things to Do in New Mexico. Please check out the RentalTrader.com to book your best vacation rental.
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