Eat, Stay and Play in Historic Downtown Durango where you will find beautiful hotels, friendly shops, first class restaurants, famous breweries and many things to do. Take a stroll through the streets and marvel at the historic buildings and unique shops, sip a gourmet cup of coffee or enjoy some of the rich arts and culture of downtown.
A stroll down Durango’s Main Avenue is a sensory treat: the Colorado air is crisp and subtly scented by restaurant and café delicacies; on most days the sun streams through the streets, intensifying the colorful store-front awnings and highlighting the neighboring mountain ridge. Streets are a bustle with seasonal snow and commerce and visitors mingling in everyday transactions. Smiles and friendly greetings are commonplace along the downtown’s Main Avenue, where it is safe to walk and explore at all hours, day and night.
Downtown Historic District
Today Downtown Durango is a Nationally Registered Historic District, with something special in store for each visitor. The downtown area has been coined “The living room of the Durango community” by voices of the Durango Business Improvement District, who have a 20-year revitalization plan in store for historic downtown that began in 1997. Downtown Durango is a central part of the city’s allure, business, and history, and Durango leaders intend to continually nurture the beautiful historic district.
What To Do Downtown
Visitors can find something exciting happening downtown throughout the four seasons. Durango is a hidden gem for spectacular outdoor and cultural festivals. Snowdown is a classic Durango winter celebration that has offered much merriment for locals and visitors alike for 27 years. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy challenges like The Iron Horse Classic, a road and mountain bike tournament scheduled each Memorial Day, or the Durango Double, a weekend of trail and road marathons back-to-back (not for the weak of heart). Cultural festivals of all sorts abound, including the bluegrass Durango Meltdown festival, the Cowboy Gathering, the Summer Jazz festival, the beer and music extravaganza Oktoberfest, the holiday Holidazzle celebration, the Durango Arts Festival, and many more!
The Durango Business Improvement Districts offers event marketing grants to various local groups to help promote their events. Events throughout the year included are:
The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic was the brain child of Tom and Jim Mayer. Jim worked as an engineer on the D & R G W railroad which ran the steam powered locomotive between Durango and Silverton since the 1880’s. Tom challenged Jim, a young bicycle enthusiast, to a race to Silverton, so as the train came by the house, the steam whistle would scream and Tom would climb on his trusty old steel framed 10 speed and pedal up over the rim of the old volcano and descend into the caldera to the mining town of Silverton.
Over the years several additional events have been added to the classic train race — criteriums, circuit races, road races, tours, BMX races, Trials, dual slaloms, team trail rides, and Mountain Bike Races — a full weekend of events every Memorial Day weekend for the past 31 years. 14,000 people nestled in the mountains of Southwest Colorado www.ironhorsebicycleclassic.com
Music in the Mountains – Beginning in 1987 with 11 musicians, Music in the Mountains has grown to a three-week festival featuring musicians from around the world and offering orchestral, chamber, conservatory, and Pops concerts. Free performances for children and their families are featured during the Festival. http://www.musicinthemountains.com/
Durango Cowboy Gathering is an exciting, fun-filled event with evening performances and Saturday daytime sessions. Poets and musicians from throughout the country grace our intimate stage at the Diamond Circle Theatre, performing classic and contemporary poems and songs that will bring tears to your eyes and keep you in stitches. View the comprehensive autumn schedule of Durango in the fall guide.
Holidazzle is an annual Durango promotion designed to boost retail traffic and subsequently sales revenues in and around Downtown Durango. Each holiday storefront is a feast for the eyes. View the comprehensive holiday schedule in the winter guide. HoliDazzle time of year officially kicks off the day after Thanksgiving – the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
New Year’s Eve – Come celebrate New Years with us in Downtown Durango with activities centered around the Crossroads Clock Tower at 11th St and Main. Come out for this fun downtown event anytime between 7:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
SnowDown – Whether you are a local or just someone who needs to attend a week-long mid-Winter party, Durango, Colorado is your kind of place. From the costume ball to the zany street parade, Durango plays host to some eye-popping shenanigans, and people flock to the 2014 SnowDown event. Be sure to follow the theme, and have a crazy good time. It is worth the trip. The SnowDown theme for 2014 is entitled “Safari So Good”
Durango Meltdown - One of the nation’s premier indoor bluegrass festivals, Durango Meltdown has been a traditional bluegrass venue for up and coming national bluegrass bands and local and regional talent for over 15 years. This Bluegrass festival includes after hours jamming, specialized workshops, genre-specific dancing and more throughout three indoor venues in downtown Durango. For more information on Durango Meltdown, visit www.durangomeltdown.com.
The Boomtown Years
Now, flash back 126 years ago when settlers were flocking to the San Juan Mountains in the hopes of striking it rich in gold, silver, and copper. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad was founded by William Jackson Palmer, and around the railroad, a city was born. Palmer had big plans for Durango. He envisioned a town that would deliver an exceptional “quality of life” in a visually appealing and commerce drawing lay out. Plans consisted of the Main Avenue serving “wholesale” interests and the residential Third Avenue sprawling parallel to Main with a scenic median of planted trees and vegetation.