OH, THE DRAMA, THE INTRIGUE ... the score! The tailgating scenes at New Mexico United and the Santa Fe Opera may seem worlds apart, but the goals (get it?) are very similar: a good time alfresco. “The New Mexico traditions of opera and soccer actually share a lot in common,” says Emily Doyle Moore, Santa Fe Opera director of media and public relations, “from excellence through live performance to costumed tailgating.”



Ex Novo Brewing Company’s special United in Beer pilsner


Gruet’s New Mexico Sparkling Pinot Meunier Rosé



Founded in 2018, New Mexico’s United Soccer League Championship team plays at Rio Grande Credit Union Field, in Albuquerque. The season runs from March through October.

The world-famous Santa Fe Opera debuted in 1957 and performs in the stunning outdoor Crosby Theatre. The 2024 opera season runs from June 28 to August 24.


The party begins several hours before game time in the parking lots on Avenida César Chávez and University Boulevard.

Gates open three hours before showtime. Get there early to snag a picnic table with views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.


“It feels like a family reunion,” says David Wiese-Carl, vice president of media and impact. “You will not make it through the parking lot without someone offering you a free beer or some food.”

“People go all out with their meals and outfits,” says Doyle Moore. “I’ve certainly never heard of anything like it.”


Black and yellow. Find official jerseys, scarves, and hats at the New Mexico United shop in Nob Hill or online.

Make it dramatic: tuxedos, gowns, period costumes, boas, masquerade masks, or cowboy hats and bolo ties.


DIY a Frito pie bar or order Nexus Blue Smokehouse’s Spread, featuring five pounds of meat—including brisket, ribs, pulled pork, andouille sausage, and chicken—and three large sides. Pair with Ex Novo Brewing Company’s special United in Beer pilsner, which benefits the team’s nonprofit, Somos Unidos.

Make your own charcuterie board or preorder Santa Fe Opera’s picnic boxes, prepared at the Drury Plaza Hotel, which include smoked salmon rillettes, yuzu-kosho grilled bison flank steak, or a vegetarian falafel and hummus platter. Pair with Gruet’s New Mexico Sparkling Pinot Meunier Rosé.


“Come on Over,” by Albuquerque’s Red Light Cameras, who performed at the season opener’s official tailgate party, will pump you up.

Giuseppe Verdi’s “Brindisi,” from this season’s production of La Traviata, is also known as “The Drinking Song”—how apropos!


United hosts several tailgates throughout the season, featuring live bands, food trucks, and activities related to that night’s theme. “Meow Wolf Night is our biggest of the year,” says Wiese-Carl.

Skip the concessions line! Before the show starts, preorder your intermission drink with any bartender and it will be waiting at the end of the service counter with your name on it.


Pride on the Pitch theme night on June 22 features a drag show.

The world premiere of The Righteous, set in the 1980s Southwest, is set for July 13.


Read more: A new exhibition gets at the meaning behind Pueblo baseball.