Sky Civilian Gives Us A Guide To Santa Fe Ahead Of This Weekend’s Taos Vortex

Lindsey Kennedy/Uproxx

Taos Vortex, a psychedelic and immersive experience from the minds behind the Meow Wolf art collective, is happening this weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico and we’ll be going live on the Uproxx Travel Instagram over the weekend to catch all the madness on the festival floor. Ahead of her set at the festival, we linked up with Friday performer Sky Civilian for a guide to the city to help ensure that if you’re attending Taos, you’ll know where to go to kill sometime before and after each night.

Sky Civilian — whose real name is Maggie Thornton — is deeply rooted in Santa Fe DIY culture and she filters that influence into her clean and angelic brand of deep pulse-driven electronica. Sky Civilian’s music recalls the wide-open skies of New Mexico, and listening to songs like Alone, or Open Door paint the landscape of New Mexico beautifully in sound.

Be sure to check out Maggie’s picks if you’re heading to Santa Fe this weekend or anytime in the future!

Meow Wolf

Nested within the fantastical House of Eternal Return art exhibition is a world-class venue. Meow Wolf hosts everything from the in-house produced Neo-burlesque show Bedtime Stories, to incredible musicians from all genres. To name a few coming this fall, we have The Black Madonna, WHY?, Animal Collective, Maribou State and more.

La Reina Bar + El Ray Pool Club

Beautiful, stark interior, tons of natural lighting, yummy drinks and also a pool + poolside cocktails if you’re feeling adventurous — this bar is part of the original Route 66 Motor Hotel called El Ray. Locals haunt it, not just tourists. If you are a Mezcal fan, this is the bar for you. I can’t stomach agave-based liquors (so sad), so I usually order the Negroni Rubia with gin. They also make a perfect Aviator, but it’s not on the menu.

Jean Cocteau Cinema

If you’re anything like me and occasionally want to get a drink (like, a real drink), totally incognito, you should go to Jean Cocteau. It’s a small artsy movie theater where you can sit in a dark room, watch something weird and get a gin and tonic in peace. The theatre is owned by Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin, so who knows, you might run into him there! At the very least, you can buy signed copies of GoT books and other hand-selected fantasy novels.

Rufina Taproom

Low-key restaurant and brewery right around the corner from Meow Wolf. The taproom doubles as a venue at night. Fun fact: this building used to be a production warehouse for Meow Wolf, back when we were building House of Eternal Return. The warehouse used to be this horrible shade of pink, so we called it (and sometimes still call it) “Big Pink.” I personally like to go during the day and sit on their patio, when I’m feeling nostalgic for the olden days of Meow Wolf. Get a burger with green chile, if you’re into that kinda thing.


Everyone likes to hate on the Matador, but why is it that we always end up there? The dive-iest bar around. Literally underground, in downtown Santa Fe. I get a headache just thinking about it. You can play Nintendo, meet 5 people you didn’t really need to meet, wiggle to some house music, AND watch sexy 70’s films, all within a roughly 1,000 sq. ft. footprint. Don’t expect to hear a word anyone says in there.

10,000 Waves Spa + Izanami Restaurant

10,000 waves is a Japanese-inspired spa nestled in the mountains. It is paradise. I’m there several times a month, and it is a staple in the scene. You can soak in the communal tubs, or call ahead and secure a private tub. The restaurant, Izanami, has an extensive sake menu and ever-changing food options.


Ghost. is home to beloved Santa Fe-based indie record label, Matron Records. This crew keeps a constant stream of music and shows flowing from and through Santa Fe. They book a range of artists, some more well-known, like Y La Bamba. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the jaw-dropping talent ppoacher — ppoacher, an incredible harpist and vocalist local to Santa Fe.