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Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!

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Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!


We are staying in Taos for five nights over Christmas and are, like any visitors, keen to experience the best of the region during this special time. Here are our thoughts and questions thus far on the "itinerary";

Dec. 23rd - arrive in Taos and explore the historic plaza.

Dec. 24th - few questions here for Christmas Eve;

- Is it feasible to visit / tour Taos Pueblo in the afternoon on Christmas Eve and therefore be at the pueblo for the 4pm vespers in the church? Are visitors allowed into the vespers? If so, is it on a first-come first-served basis?

- From research, the vespers are at 4pm with the procession at around 5pm - after that time the bonfires are lit and after that (say 6pm) it is pretty much over - is that fairly accurate?

- We definitely DON'T want to miss the pueblo celebration and also don't want to short-change ourselves by leaving too early BUT we'd also really love to do the farolito walk on Canyon Rd. Having read blogs that say after 8pm is a good time to turn up on Canyon Rd as the crowds begin to disperse a little, do you think it is feasible to drive from Taos to Santa Fe in time to also enjoy this Christmas Eve event?

- We are from Australia so unlikely to ever experience this area again at Christmas so trying to make the most out of our limited time!

- We have our 10 & 12 year old daughters with us but they are fine with a late night - do you know what time the farolito walk actually runs until? Does it go until at least 10pm?

- Any parking recommendations in Santa Fe if we're trying to get to the farolito walk at around 8pm when coming from Taos? Should we park somewhere further away (if so, where) and walk?

- If we arrive in SF between 7 and 8pm and need dinner can we grab something quick at a Canyon Rd eatery or what other suggestions could you make?

Dec. 25th - Christmas Day;

- Obviously our focus in the morning will be spending time as a family and opening gifts etc. Later in the day we have a couple of options;

- Lunchtime service at the church in Chimayo then late afternoon tubing at Angel Fire before dinner in Taos or back at our accommodation.

- Alternatively there will be a celebration at Taos Pueblo - can't see any times for that at this stage so I'm not sure how this would fit into our day!

- We don't "have" to go to church on Christmas Day but the Chimayo church does look beautiful and we thought it would be a lovely experience.

- Any thoughts on a Christmas Day itinerary would be welcome, basically keeping the morning free for family time.

Dec. 26th - ski school for the kids at Taos Ski Valley - free time for us.

Dec. 27th - day-trip via the high road to Santa Fe - explore the SF historic district and Canyon Rd (maybe for the first or second time, depending on what we do).

Dec. 28th - we leave Taos for Denver.

So, as you can see, four full days and the must-dos for us are;

Visit Taos pueblo incl. the Christmas Eve celebration

One day of ski-school for the kids

Tubing for everyone

One day in Santa Fe and driving the high road between Taos and SF

Just to give you an idea of our route, we are driving from Mesa Verde to Taos on the 23rd of December (weather permitting) and driving Taos to Denver for our onward flight on the 28th.

Hope I haven't asked too many questions - I think it's better to be specific about our goals so hopefully I can get some detailed answers and ideas!

Look forward to hearing back from you guys.



Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!

If it was me I would pick either Taos Pueblo or Canyon Road. It is a 1.5 hour drive each direction in the dark, with possible ice/snow on the roads. If weather is clear and roads are good, then you probably can make the trip. Check this link from TaosBB one of our Experts. tripadvisor.com/…35905699

There will be no quick bite to eat on Christmas Eve near Canyon Road. This is a huge event. Stop outside of Santa Fe maybe at Gabriels for dinner or eat after walking Canyon Road.

Christmas Day Mass at most of the churches in the area will be busy. There also will be dances at Taos Pueblo.

Taos, New Mexico
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2. Re: Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!

We do not recommend trying to do both the Taos Pueblo and Canyon Road on Christmas Eve unless you're familiar with the roads and parking and traffic ahead of time. A TA Forum post will not afford you this information. A memorable trip to each one involves an investment in time and effort that will take away from your overall experience as described below.

You'll need to contact the Pueblo regarding whether you're going to be able to get into the church for the Vespers. It's a small place and the access will be limited by its size and they try to reserve space for the Tribal Elders.

Be outside the Church no later than 4:45 for the best viewing and participation of the procession as it comes out of the services. Last year the crowd was still growing at 6:30 and the bonfires were still going strong at 7:00. Here's the biggest mistake that visitors make: the entire event is about the "moment." Stay, slow down, disconnect from all that lies beyond the boundaries of the Pueblo and try to connect instead to the people and the observance underway. Strike up a conversation with someone. Meet the locals and visitors there. Stay for a while. It's not a show being put on and it never "begins and ends" according to any clock. If you're trying to be somewhere else, you may as well skip the Taos Pueblo on Christmas Eve because it's just going to be some type of tourist experience that no one intends for you to have.

Here's another reason to pick one or the other: parking and walking to and from the actual "venue" where things are happening. Don't let this stop you from doing either one, just be aware that each one will involve an investment in time.

If it's snowing, don't attempt a drive to Santa Fe from Taos. If it's dry and clear, you're going to spend about an hour and a half driving to Santa Fe and then another hour and a half returning to Taos. That's 3 hours of driving on Christmas Eve night. Not our idea of a particularly fun or memorable time.

You seem to be trying to fit a lot of driving in that might be OK if there's not a snowstorm underway, so you'll need to be prepared to do something else -- depending upon where you're staying in Taos, your Innkeeper should be able to assist you with road conditions information. We're not opposed to all the driving you're contemplating, but we love the idea of trying to get somewhere and staying there for the day. The traditional dances at Taos Pueblo are not scheduled according to a clock, therefore involve you needing to be able to leave your watches and time schedules behind.

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3. Re: Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!


Thanks for your advice - we will stay in Taos and enjoy the pueblo event. I understand what you are saying about enjoying the moment and it was never our intention to "do" one and then rush off to the other. Naturally we are trying to make the most of our time in NM and experience the events in the region, but not if going from one to the other is going to be detrimental to our enjoyment of either (or both).

Driving doesn't bother us - as long as the weather and road conditions are OK - we will certainly be mindful of the conditions and adjust our plans accordingly. We are experienced winter drivers (despite coming from Australia) as we lived for years in southern Germany so we're pretty familiar with winter driving, although obviously not on local roads!

Thanks BandBLover for your advice on contacting the pueblo about getting into the vespers if possible, I will definitely do that.

Appreciate your excellent advice, it will be well heeded.



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4. Re: Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!

If I were to choose between Taos Pueblo and Santa Fe/Canyon Road, I would definitely choose Taos Pueblo. It is much more traditional and cultural an event, unlike anything you'd experience elsewhere.

Visitors generally do not attend the church service. which is more for tribal members. But yes, "being in the moment" is essential.

You might also make reservations for dinner afterwards. I generally go to Doc Martins at Taos Inn, but I am sure others will recommend something.


I have attended Christmas morning church services at Rancho de Taos church and found it also very local and very special, another example of the spirituality of Northern NM:




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5. Re: Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!

Thanks so much NYNM, great advice and links. We will stay and enjoy the Taos celebration and book a leisurely dinner somewhere afterwards. Thanks also for the tip on a Christmas service a bit closer to "home" on Christmas day - this may be perfect as we'd love to observe the traditional dance at the pueblo on that day but are not sure of the timing of that so staying local and flexible will be essential.

Thanks, everyone, for all the help!

6. Re: Five days in Taos (SF) over Christmas - Itinerary help pls!

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