Our Favorite Neighborhood Spots to Escape the Heat

There are thousands of things to do in and around Durango. But since we’re known for our sun-soaked mountain vistas, historic tours around town, and outdoor adventure sports, we thought it would be worth compiling some of our favorite things to do indoors when you're looking for a reprieve from the sun this summer. 

So whether you're looking for good food, good beer, or just a good time, we've listed ten ways to beat the heat in Durango: 

#10 The Office: Strater Hotel

Located right in the heart of downtown, the Office is located inside the iconic and historic Strater Hotel. It is one of the coolest, most inviting atmospheres you’ll find at a bar & restaurant in Durango. Serving up delicious bites, craft cocktails, and live music in a dim-lit and hip atmosphere. 

#9 Derailed Pour House

Derailed Pour House serves cozy comfort food with a southern/Southwest fusion including fiery BBQ, burgers, melts, smoked meats, and breaded & fried apps. No cause for concern though because they’ll cool you right back down again with their signature cocktails, like the Prickly Pear and Tequila Hummingbird Margarita. 

#8 The Bookcase & Barber

Bookcase and Barber

Usually when someone tells you that a business is “the best-kept secret in town”, they mean it metaphorically. This is not the case with The Bookcase & Barber, a full-service barber and a swanky speak-easy tucked away inside an unassuming bookcase.

As a former bookstore, they pay homage to their literary roots by featuring a slew of cocktails fashioned after the favored recipes of famous authors. Be warned though, you will need to visit their website to locate the password, which changes regularly, and recite it to the doorperson in order to be welcomed behind the bookcase. 

#7 The Durango Public Library

The Durango Public Library is a hidden gem and a local favorite. It is blessed with an ideal location, offering beautiful and relaxing views of the Animas River. Escape the heat, curl up with a book and enjoy stunning (and air-conditioned) views. There is also a cafe inside which serves refreshing drinks and snacks. 

#6 Durango Arts Center

The Durango Arts Center features a full art gallery with a rotating stable of dynamic exhibits, as well as a shop/art market, a slew of youth and adult educational arts programs (with needs-based scholarships available for programs), 10-minute theater plays, and various other shows. It's a unique and enriching way to cool off. 

#5 {re}Love, Consign & Design 

{re}Love Consign & Design is a vintage home furnishing boutique. Owned and operated by a pair of Durango locals with a passion for reusing, recycling, and reclaiming quality furniture, appliances, art, and home decor. All of their selection is carefully curated and priced to move quickly. This means stuff goes fast and there’ll always be something new to see every time you set foot in the store.

So whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or browse, it is worth a stop! 

#4 Gaslight Twin Cinema

Going to the movies is a classic hot summer day activity. Gaslight Twin Cinema is located right downtown and gets all the biggest and newest movies. Take a break from the sun, enjoy all your favorite movie snacks, and relax in a comfy theater recliner. 

#3 East by Southwest

The San Juan Mountain range isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to fresh sushi, but East by Southwest found a way to make it happen. They have all the traditional stylings found in an authentic sushi inshokuten, but with a unique Southwest twist. Located right downtown, it is a delicious way to take a break from the heat and enjoy air-conditioned dining. 

#2 Durango Community Recreation Center

The Durango Community Rec Center has all the exercise equipment and sports one usually expects from an expansive recreation center. However, we are highlighting it on this list mainly because of its Olympic-sized pool and children’s pool. Going for a swim is a very fun and active way to escape that mountain town sun.

Admission is  $7 for adults, with various punch cards/passes available, and discounts for youths and seniors. 

#1 Ska Brewing 

Ska Brewing Company

Ska Brewing is a staple in Durango and Colorado’s craft beer culture. Started by a few buds in the mid-90s back when they may or may not have been old enough to buy beer for themselves, this ska-inspired brewery brews tasty IPAs and blonde ales and offers a variety of creative seasonal brews. Their menu features tacos, burgers, and pizzas, and they offer live-music summer Ska-BQs every Thursday through September. Their patio is well-shaded and the beers are cold. 


Sometimes you need a break from high temps and high elevation, and Durango offers a variety of activities, locations, and restaurants to escape the heat.