Durango, Colorado Outside the Guide
Durango is an epicenter for a great number of things; outdoor pursuits in the surrounding high desert and mountains, fresh food raised at high-elevation farms, Native American history and Old West heritage are just a sampling of the things that lure people to Durango. 2015 is the year of the sheep, but don’t just follow the flock – step out and try some of the more unique things Durango has to offer.
From down-to-earth eateries, cafes and brewpubs to award-winning fine dining, our culinary offerings reflect the richness, creativity and uniqueness of the Southwest. The quantity of independent restaurants, quality of ingredients and breadth of menu selections in this town boldly challenge the sophisticated culinary offerings of any metropolitan hub. Stop in the historic and award winning El Moro Spirits and Tavern or spend a summer afternoon on the patios of more than 20 restaurants around town. With over 100 restaurants to choose from, Durango is a hotbed for cuisines that blend the absolute best flavors from around the world and from our own backyard.
Agriculture is at the heart of the Durango community supported by a strong “eat local” mindset and an abundance of locally grown and raised meat, vegetables and food products. At the Durango Farmers Market, local agriculturalists and artisans meet in a festive market venue to sell their harvests and talents. Agritourism brings visitors to learn about sustainability and enjoy an agri-vacation in this fertile mountain growing region.
6 Breweries and 2 Distilleries
Durango is one crafty little mountain town, and much of the artistic talent is funneled into creative, award winning libations. Whether it’s beer or spirits, the town has a draw you’re sure to enjoy. Self-proclaimed as the “City of Brewerly Love”, a trip to Durango isn’t complete without a pint from one of our six craft breweries and brew pubs: Carver Brewing Co., Durango Brewing Co., Ska Brewing Co., Brew Pub & Kitchen, Steamworks Brewing Co. and the newest addition: Animas Brewing Company. Due to readily available “first use” water, Durango is ideal for brewing award-winning beers, ales and lagers.
Durango Craft Spirits is the town’s first grain-to-glass distillery since prohibition; producing small batch, creatively distinctive distilled spirits using high quality regional ingredients. Colorado Honey from Honey House Distillery blends premium bourbon whiskey and Rocky Mountain Honey from Honeyville.
Animas River Trail
This beautiful walkable, bikable, bladable trail weaves its way through town alongside the Animas River. Watch rafts, kayaks, and SUP boarders splash through the newly improved Smelter rapid, swing by the Durango Powerhouse museum for interactive learning, events, eats and drinks. The Durango Library, Inhabit yoga, and the local Fish Hatchery are fun-for-all stops along the trail. Refuel with riverside craft ice cream from Cream Bean Berry, or dine on the river’s edge at The Animas River Café. If June finds you in Durango, be sure to check out Animas River Days.
History Comes Alive
West of Durango, Mesa Verde Country is the archaeological center of America: Mesa Verde National Park, the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Hovenweep National Monument, the Anasazi Heritage Center and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that allows visitors to experience the life of the Ancestral Puebloans. Or head east and visit the newly designated Chimney Rock National Monument.
When you’re ready to tuck yourself in for the night, here are some unique places to rest your head:
A bit of history... choose from one of our historic hotels: The Strater Hotel, built in 1887, is decorated with period decor, beautiful handcrafted woodwork, and the largest private collection of American Victorian walnut antiques in the world. It recently received the prestigious “Historic Hotels of America Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year Award”. The Rochester Hotel and Leland House, built in 1927 and 1892 respectively, have been renovated by a mother and son team. The décor boasts original antiques and woodwork, as well as Western-movie themed rooms. The General Palmer, built in 1898, blends the comforts of modern living with Victorian charm in the heart of the historic downtown.
Slopeside... The Purgatory Lodge at Durango Mountain Resort offers upgraded skier services and amenities, lodging facilities and the world-class Purgy’s Day Lodge. The family-friendly lodge features 2, 3 and 4 bedroom slopeside units, swimming pool and spa facility, ski and snowboard storage and more. Experience the quintessential skier’s dream with a good night's sleep in a slopeside condominium, rental house or hotel room at Purgatory.
Cozy Inns & B&Bs... Unwind, pamper yourself and enjoy your stay in one of Durango’s charming inns or bed & breakfasts. Located downtown, out of town, creekside, lakeside or mountainside; find unique lodging, incredible hospitality and a respite from the ordinary.
Authentic Colorado cabins and ranches... Kick off your boots and experience the authentic Southwest at one of our working ranches. From rustic mountain lodges and lake front cabins, to all-inclusive guest ranches and resorts, saddle up for a western holiday.
Camp out on top of the world... At 6,512 feet above sea level, you’re closer to the stars. Choose from a plethora of campgrounds and RV parks for all levels of “roughing-it.”
Durango Mountain Resort
With 88 trails across 1,360 skiable acres, Durango Mountain Resort (DMR) has mastered the art of snow fun with exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities and après ski activities. DMR was named “Top 3 Livable Ski Towns” and “Best Ski Value in North America” for two years in a row. Try out the snowshoe alpenglow evening tour with wine and cheese at the Powder House restaurant, bring kiddos and stop by the Hot Cocoa bar, or glide your way around the Steamworks Bar and hop to the assorted sounds of local musicians. New this year: The Burton Riglet Park, a terrain-based learning center in the base area, allows the youngest snowboarders, ages 3-6, to experience sliding on the snow. Lodging and lift value packages offer deep savings.
Arts in the Community
Durango has a thriving art scene that touts both local and internationally renowned artists. A walk down historic Main Avenue reveals everything from small, local art cooperatives to galleries hosting work from world-famous artists. Wander out for the First Thursday Art Walk every month for a chance to peek in galleries and enjoy live entertainment, treats and the chance to meet local artists. Enjoy live performances at the downtown Strater Theatre and Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, live music at restaurants and local theatre at the Durango Arts Center. In March, 2015, Durango Film celebrates a decade of the independent film festival. A hidden jewel in the arts and cultural world, Durango boasts over a dozen galleries carrying treasures from American Indians, Contemporary Western and Southwestern works of museum-quality art represented with sculptures, pottery, baskets, fine-art photography and home furnishings.
Vallecito Lake is a stunning mountain lake just 20 minutes from town. It’s a favorite destination for motorcycle riders, and new restaurants along the shores are the perfect stop for a family outing. Play all day on the lake, eat on the shores and camp in the beautiful forests that frame this exquisite lake.
San Juan Scenic Byway
If you’re a road-tripping wiz, or care to be, the San Juan Skyway Scenic and Historic Byway should be on the top of your list. A scenic byway designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the San Juan Skyway celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014. Durango is just one stop on this truly spectacular journey through time and place.
About the Durango Area Tourism Office
The Durango Area Tourism Office is a not-for-profit organization operating with the mission to promote Durango and La Plata County's multitude of tourism attractions, events and services. For more information, visit www.durango.org or call (970) 247-3500.
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