1 Celebrate the new year alfresco.

New Year’s Eve on the Santa Fe Plaza

The Santa Fe Plaza hosts its 7th annual New Year’s Eve party on Friday starting at 8 p.m. Among piñon-scented bonfires and standing heaters, three groups, Manzanares, Sol Fire, and Theo Kutsko, will serenade the crowd from the Santa Fe Bandstand. The Kiwanis Club is providing individually wrapped bizcochitos, and Mayor Alan Webber speaks at 11:45 p.m. The main event happens at midnight when a giant light-filled Zia symbol rises amid a fireworks spectacular.

“We raise the sun symbol high into the sky, welcoming the dawning of a new year,” says event coordinator Ray Sandoval. The event is free and happens amid the colorful holiday lights bedecking the Plaza.

Las Cruces Chile Drop

Head downtown to the Plaza de Las Cruces for the annual Chile Drop on Friday, starting at 9 p.m. Take in live tunes by the Memphis Band, tons of food trucks, midway games, and a 19-foot chrome chile dropping at midnight. Everyone is invited, and the event is free. 

Head to the Taos Ski Valley on New Year's Eve for a torchlight parade and fireworks. Photograph courtesy of Taos Ski Valley.

2 Light the night in Taos

Don your puffer coat and head to Taos Ski Valley for the Torchlight Parade on New Year’s Eve. “Ringing in the New Year in Taos is a pure mountain experience,” says marketing director Tania McCormack. “From the newly renovated base area, guests can take in amazing views.” Starting at 6:15 p.m., skiers descend the slopes with torches in hand to form a torchlight parade, a beautiful flow of glowing movement. After the parade, a firework show will light the night sky in starbursts of fantastic color.

Violinist Colin Jacobsen will perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Santa Fe Pro Musica. Photograph courtesy of Santa Fe Pro Musica.

3 Lead off with a concert.

Reflect on seasons of change with Santa Fe Pro Musica’s concert. The 7 p.m. Thursday performance at the St. Francis Auditorium includes Vivaldi’s classic Four Seasons plus works by Telemann and Bach. The 18-member string ensemble, which includes a chest organ and harpsicord, is joined by violinists Colin Jacobsen and Stephen Redfield. Jacobsen is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s lauded Silk Road Ensemble, an Avery Fisher Career Grant–winning soloist, and founder of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Redfield is concertmaster of the Santa Fe Pro Musica orchestra and a Grammy-winning performer at the Oregon Bach Festival.

“The ensemble is performing all of Vivaldi's Four Seasons—‘Spring,’ ‘Summer,’ ‘Autumn,’ and ‘Winter,’ ” says marketing manager Alaina Diehl. “These concertos are perennial favorites, some of classical music's greatest hits. Each concerto brings seasonal sights and sounds to the imagination.”

Max Gomez & Friends give a special holiday performance at the Motherlode Saloon, in Red River. Photograph courtesy of Max Gomez & Friends.

4 Dance, dance, dance.

Max Gomez & Friends give a special holiday performance Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Motherlode Saloon, in Red River. Born and raised in Taos, Gomez spends his time between Los Angeles and his hometown playing Western folk and Americana tunes. He also produces the Red River Folk Festival, held each September. For this concert, he’s joined by Michael Hearne, Leslie Stevens, Joe Purdy, and Earl Buck.

“Over the years I’ve traveled far to play music,” Gomez says, “but performing in New Mexico will always be the most meaningful to me. This tradition of holiday shows has been budding for over 10 years, and I hope to be playing them for another 10 years. It’s always a good time.” Performing with a group of friends makes the experience even better for Gomez and the audience. “Everybody feeds off the energy of each other,” he says. Buy tickets ahead of time to make sure you can witness the musical magic. 

5 Hear tidings of comfort and joy.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi hosts the Santa Fe Symphony on Sunday at 3 p.m. for a performance of cherished Christmas carols. The concert, led by choral director Carmen Flórez-Mansi, offers a chance to get your final fill of Christmas songs. No tickets are required, and the event is free. Doors open at 2:15 p.m.