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Char Klein's Santa Fe
San Antonio Hot Springs, in the winter, on a weekday // Baby Grand // Smoke the Moon
words – char klein
location – santa fe, united states
At boom saloon, we’re incredibly privileged to collaborate with a community of hundreds of talented creatives all around the world, stretching from Ecuador to Egypt, China to Canada, Austria to Angola. Our strong relations have afforded us a wealth of insider insights into the best places to visit, eat and stay, all around the world. Now, we want to share this information with you as we work with our community to map the world and share their best recommendations of how to enjoy destinations both near and far. Our version of a city guide, delivered interactively and in real time – curated for all to enjoy and presented as a savable Google Map for our members to save and bookmark a wealth of future adventures.
Santa Fe, New Mexico – also known indigenously as Oga Po’geh – was built on land stolen from the Tewa peoples. It is most popularly known as a historic city, colonised by the Spanish, nestled right at the edge of where the Rocky Mountains meet the high desert. A ski town in the winter and a cultural tourist destination in the summer, Santa Fe attracts international crowds as well as a whole lot of Texans. Most young people who have visited Santa Fe will say, “everything shut so early and there were no young people.” Although, at first glance, this may appear to be true, Santa Fe does, in fact, have a vibrant scene as well as incredible, magical natural landscapes to explore. Here are a few recommendations I have for anyone passing through who wants a mix of nature alongside the opportunity to experience what the kids in town have going on.
chama mama, in my opinion, is on a par with the Grand Canyon. There is unparalleled energy in the air there and the drive from Santa Fe, through Abiquiu and up into the Chama’s canyon, has one of the most gorgeous desert earth colour palettes I have ever seen. You can camp by the water, run the river if you like to raft/ kayak/ canoe/ float, or bring a mountain or gravel bike and bike along the river.
Santa Fe is known for closing down around 9pm, so knowing your options for food after this time is essential. Tonic is downtown, right off of the plaza, and serves unbelievable food until 10:30pm [we know, that’s still not ‘late’ but we’ll take what we can get in sleepy Santa Fe]. Thursday night is Jazz night at Tonic and there is usually a younger crowd of local Jazz musicians playing.
03_San Antonio Hot Springs, in the winter, on a weekday
Drive through the Valles Caldera [an ancient exploded volcano floor], through the winding roads of the Jemez Mountains and park at the closed road head that takes you to San Antonio hot springs. It’s a 5-6 mile hike in on the road in the winter – and the winter is the time to do it. There’s nothing like a steamy hot spring surrounded by snowy cliffs. Just make sure you’re prepped for the long snowy hike in, whether you skin, cross country ski, snow shoe or simply hike – the flat road does kick your ass after five miles.
There are no obvious dance clubs or gay bars in Santa Fe. However, do not fret, the scene is there – you just have to make a few friends and you’ll start to experience that a once sleepy town has turned into a place where it’s hard to keep up with everything going on. Baby Grand is a queer venue space that hosts different queer DJ nights as well as visual art, performance art and even stripperoke – where you can go sing karaoke while a queer person strips and dances on stage with you while you sing.
This young, experimental theatre group is blowing minds. Look them up, check them out, follow them on instagram; they are radical, thought provoking and are gaining international recognition.
06_Cirque Du so Gay
This is another queer run, sex-positive event space for queer people to dance and blow off steam. If you’re in town, check out their instagram to see if they have any events or dance parties happening.
07_Tesuque Village Market
TVM is 10 minutes north of Santa Fe, in Tesuque. You’ll get the best, and strongest, margarita in town here [I’m biassed as I’m a bartender here, but I’m not too biassed] as well as classic New Mexican food. We also have an insanely good natural wine and liquor selection for purchase. Our staff is made up primarily of young creatives in town and the market itself is historic – and just a fucking cool vibe.
08_Smoke the Moon
If you want to check out GOOD contemporary art while in town, go to Smoke the Moon off of Canyon Road. Since they are on Canyon, you can also get your tacky art fix if you need it – but then take a dive into beautifully curated work that does an intentional job of showcasing artists in Santa Fe as well as artists from major cities.
You pass through gorgeous little mountain towns and pueblos such as Nambe and Penasco whilst sight-seeing and enjoying the desert ebbing and flowing with high alpine mountains.
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