Even non-opera fanatics come out in astounding numbers during the short but sweet Santa Fe Opera season, which lasts from late June through August. Five works rotate throughout the season; there's typically a mix of classics and lesser-known operas. At least part of the attraction is the dramatic, contemporary opera house itself—an open-air, covered amphitheater set on a sagebrush-studded bluff north of town. Perfect sight lines afford clean views not only of the stage but also of the surrounding copper mesas and craggy mountain peaks (i.e., even if the opera puts you to sleep, the scenery won't).
Tip: Do as the locals do and start your evening with a tailgating picnic in the opera parking lot (you'll even find a handful of picnic tables).