Expert Tips


Best Santa Fe Nightlife: Music, Dancing and Signature Cocktails

At night, Santa Fe is a city of lights especially during Christmas season when farolitos, once sand-filled paper bags with candles, now made from plastic and electrified, sit atop adobe walls and buildings. It’s a slow-paced city. Think mañana. Night life in The City Different runs from really laid back to hopping. For mellow evenings check out the piano bar at Vanessie or the quiet Spanish music and jazz at ¡ Chispa! the bar at El Meson of head to Secreto at the Hotel St. Francis known for their ace mixologists. Ratchet it up a notch with the DJs at The Den or the dance to the at Cowgirl BBQ or El Farol. For real night club action head to Shadeh at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casinos. It really rocks. If you want a truly low-key evening, check out the Lensic Performing Arts Center, the premier concert venue. This 821 seat former movie house with its deco ambiance showcases anything from classical music to circus performers. Want something quieter? Make a leisurely dinner at a place like Geronimo your evening activity. After dinner, take a leisurely walk through the historic streets and experience and stop for a nightcap at the  Living Room at the Inn and Spa at Loretto or the bar at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi.

Shadeh at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino


You don't have to go all the way to Vegas to find top-notch shows, entertainment and casinos. Look no further than Santa Fe, and more specifically Buffalo Thunder Casino. Forming a large portion of the Buffalo Thunder Resort, you can live out...  Read More

La Cantina at Casa Sena


Love to hum along? Servers have been singing for your supper at The Cantina at La Casa Sena for over 30 years. Hear the best of Broadway mixed with pop tunes. In between taking your order and delivering the food, they break into song....  Read More

The Palace Restaurant and Saloon
Photo courtesy of The Palace Restaurant and Saloon


The Palace is the place to go for late-night music. Adjacent to Burro Alley, in the city's former Red Light District, it has a rich history. The circa 1900 former saloon is built on the site where the legendary Doña Tule, the cigar-smoking...  Read More

La Fiesta at La Fonda on the Plaza
Photo courtesy of La Fonda


La Fiesta Lounge at La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe's oldest hotel, is popular night spot with music six nights a week. The dimly-lit bar just off the lobby has a loyal local following of 50- plus folks, but younger people are also in the mix....  Read More

El Farol
Photo courtesy of Courtesy El Farol Santa Fe


El Farol, the site of the oldest restaurant in Santa Fe, is known for its extensive tapas menu and late night scene with music until around midnight seven days a week. The eclectic music heard here includes blues, rock, soul, reggae and salsa....  Read More

Historic Guadalupe
Photo courtesy of Cowgirl Santa Fe


Want a western bar straight out of Central Casting? Head to Cowgirl BBQ. Walls here are lined with cowgirl memorabilia and you'll often see working cowgirls and boys bellied up to the bar. On any given night, you may find them standing next to a...  Read More

¡ Chispa! at El Meson
Photo courtesy of El Meson


¡Chispa! the bar at the Spanish restaurant El Meson, has been a Santa Fe music destination since the start of the new millennium. There's music five nights a week. Tuesday is Argentine Tango Milonga night. People from novices to pros take to...  Read More

Vanessie Santa Fe Restaurant & Lounge
Photo courtesy of Vanessie Santa Fe Restaurant & Lounge


Love listening to mellow piano music? Head to Vanessie, Santa Fe's popular piano bar where they've been tickling the ivories nightly since 1983. Local favorite, Doug Montgomery, has been there since the doors opened playing a mix of old...  Read More

The Den
Photo courtesy of courtesy The Den


See and be seen at The Den, downstairs from the popular Coyote Café. This chic cocktail lounge part with its young vibe is a favorite of Santa Fe's under-40 crowd. Tourists find their way there, too. Mixologist par excellence, Quinn Stephenson,...  Read More

Secreto Lounge
Photo courtesy of Secreto Lounge


Secreto is one of the worst-kept secrets in town. This popular bar, just off the striking lobby of the vintage Hotel St. Francis, has a dedicated following of local young professionals and tourists. The bartenders and their signature drinks are...  Read More


Meet Billie Frank

Billie Frank is a freelance travel, food and feature writer based in Santa Fe New Mexico. Her blog, Santa Fe Travelers, is a treasure trove of information on the oldest capital city in the...  More About Billie