All posts by Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt

Kid Friendly Durango, Pt. 2: Kid Friendly Restaurants

Durango is a popular destination for a wide variety of travelers. Families with children are no exception. When traveling with kids, it is important to know where kid friendly Durango restaurants are located and what they offer. While the food offered may be different than what your kids typically eat, there are great options and plenty of new things to encourage them to try.

kid friendly durango restaurants

Nature's Oasis

Nature's Oasis is a natural market in Durango that has a variety of offerings. As a parent, you will love the healthy, organic options available. You'll also be able to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters with groceries, a deli, a juice bar and more to choose from. Nature's Oasis is the perfect option if you are prepping for a picnic, stopping for breakfast, and even for a balanced, healthy dinner.

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kid friendly durango restaurants

Grassburger

Located right on Main Avenue in Downtown Durango, Grassburger offers a classic, kid-approved meal: burgers and fries. Grassburger serves 100% grass-fed beef, with gluten free and vegan options available. They have a kid's menu, with the traditional grassburger, vegan black bean burger, turkey burger and turkey hot dogs available. The restaurant is colorful and bright, and a great environment for families with kids.

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kid friendly durango restaurants

The Ore House

If you are celebrating a special occasion with your family, the Ore House is a great option. It is full of historical artifacts and intricate murals that will catch the attention of the whole family. As one of Colorado's oldest and finest restaurants, Ore House offers a chance to take your family out for a more formal dinner, with great food options to choose from.

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kid friendly durango restaurants

The Mahogany Grille

The award-winning chefs at The Mahogany Grille focus on farm-fresh recipes that represent new styles with old west flavors. Hand-cut steaks, carefully selected foods, and products by local growers fill the menu. Some menu items are created table-side, making the experience even more exciting and stimulating. The Mahogany Grille is a great location inside the historic Strater Hotel to enjoy a meal.

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Once your kids know their options and you go over the menus with him, you can try and plan out meals. Also, this will give your children something to look forward to besides being on vacation in Durango! Take advantage of these great kid friendly Durango restaurants, and if you haven’t caught up on the rest of our Kid Friendly Durango series, be sure to check out Part 1: Packing List for Vacation with Kids and Part 3: Where to Stay with Kids in Durango.

Music In The Mountains

Classical Music Festival In Durango

The mountains are alive with the sound of music this summer when this classical festival comes to Durango from July 6th through July 28th, 2019. For the last three decades the Music in the Mountains Festival has brought the sounds of classical music to the scenic town of Durango, Colorado. This exciting musical event features a number of high caliber performances, including orchestra, chamber and conservatory performances of classical and world music.

History of the Festival

The Music in the Mountains Festival was originally founded in 1987 by conductor Mischa Semanitzky. It was created with the support of The Durango Herald, Fort Lewis College, the Bank of Colorado, Morley Ballantine and Durango Mountain Resort. In 2008 the principal horn player for the Dallas Symphony, Gregory Hustis, became the new Artistic Director – succeeding Semanitzky. Members of the Dallas Symphony were very important in the original formation of the festival and the event maintains a lot of strong ties to the Dallas Music Community.

Event Schedule

There are a number of fantastic events to look forward to throughout the festival. Some of the highlights this year include Chocolate Indulgence, where guests will sample artisan desserts while listening to music from Boyd Meets Girl. Also, Charlie Chaplin’s Smile, including performances by Philippe Quint and Marta Aznavoorian, will showcase Chaplin’s most beautiful and well-known music. Don’t forget a visitor favorite, the Dinner & Family Concert, for a family friendly picnic and concert perfect for all ages.

Event Schedule

Enjoy views of the Twilight Peaks while indulging in a variety of artisan desserts. Animas Chocolate Company and the Ore House restaurant will create numerous “duets” that pair handcrafted chocolate desserts with a specialty cocktail, beer, or wine as a prelude to a magical musical evening.

Tips for Visiting the Festival

If you are planning on taking part in the festival this year, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Many performances are held within a tent which can be cool in the evenings, so bring along a coat or a sweater.
  • Comfortable shoes are recommended, as walking to the festival tent requires walking up a set of stairs and down a paved foot path.
  • Tickets for the concerts can be purchased online up until noon on the day of the concert.
  • It is also possible to purchase a “Grass Pass” so that you can sit outside on the grass and listen. The musicians on stage will not be visible, but the tickets are only $5 so it is a nice way to enjoy the music on a budget while admiring the sights of the San Juan Mountains.
  • It’s a good idea to plan for lodging nearby the event. Silverpick Lodge is a good choice for a conveniently located mountain spot close to the festival activities. You should also check out our campgrounds page if you’re looking to do something a little different.

WholeExpo Durango

Healthy Living In Durango, Colorado

Being healthy isn’t just about eating our vegetables and brushing our teeth – it’s about more than that. The organizers of the WholeExpo in Durango, Colorado believe that health is a holistic pursuit that involves mind, body and spirit. The expo brings together many different services, businesses and individuals that promote healthy and holistic living as well as ecological awareness.

The WholeExpo

This event takes place in Durango on the weekend after Labor Day – September 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and September 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance fee is $5, which is good for both days. This fee covers admittance to the entire expo as well as the basic seminars and workshops. If you have a valid student ID, you can get in for $2. Admission is free for children 12 and under, and seniors 65 and over.

About The Event

A History Of Healing

The Four Corners region has a long history of holistic healing, reaching back to over two thousand years ago when the ancient Pueblo Indians lived on this land. They used natural and spiritual healing practices that were connected to the earth and the world around them. We can still see the way that they lived in the area's architecture, most notibly in the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings.

These days, Durango is still considered a destination of holistic healing- a place to rejuvenate and transform yourself. Many people come to this region for relaxation and recuperation so that they can heal themselves while surrounded by the stunning mountain scenery. Durango and the surrounding region is home to many who practice spiritual healing arts and are passionate about these alternative medicines.

What To Expect

There will be many exhibits at the Whole Expo in 2018. Some of these include information about essential oils, cryotheraphy and sound healing. Visitors will also have a chance to sample superfoods, have a tarot reading, browse through many different spiritual products and pieces, such as teeshirts, jewelery, carvings, crystals and more.

WholeExpo 2019 Exhibitors

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Bear Safety in Durango

What To Do If You Encounter A Bear On Your Trip To Durango

Bear safety is important to remember when visiting the mountain town of Durango. Durango is surrounded the San Juan National Forest and as a result, the lines between civilization and nature are blurred. It is not uncommon to see deer walking down residential streets or mountain songbirds flying overhead. This also means that other animals such as bears will sometimes come in contact with humans too.

The residents of Durango have coexisted for a long time with the black bears in the area and when these wild animals are treated with respect the relationship isn’t troubled. However, when humans invade too much of the bear’s territory, both parties can be put in serious danger. It is very important to be aware of bear safety when living in or visiting Durango.

Bear Safety

Be Bear Aware

When visiting bear country, there is always a possibility that you will encounter a bear. Because of this, it is important that you are educated on ways to reduce risk. The trail heads will often have signs posted about the recent bear activity. In addition to looking for signs the park has posted, also keep an eye out for signs the bears leave, including droppings, footprints, or marks on trees.

Hike In A Group

Hiking in a group is better than hiking alone. When you hike with a group, you are able to make plenty of noise, so the bears hear you coming and leave the area. If you see a black bear, it is best to change your course of direction to avoid confrontation. If the bear starts approaching you, one key thing to remember about bear safety is never to run. Make yourself as big as possible and make loud noises.

Durango Hiking

Bear Safety

Bear Proof Your Campsite

Bears can be attracted to your campsite by the smell of food, so never leave it out when it is not in use. A key bear safety measure is to store your food in a bear-proof locker or in your vehicle, or you can hang it in the trees. There are bear-proof garbage cans in Durango where you should throw away all of your garbage and food waste. Change your clothes after cooking, so that you are not sleeping in clothes with food odors on them.

Location Matters

When choosing your campsite, try to avoid anywhere near salmon streams, garbage, animal carcasses or back country metal fire pits that may have food remnants left behind. Even if you do your best to keep one of these areas clean of your own food and trash, it will still easily attract bears to your space.

Durango Camping

Keep these important bear safety tips in mind when you are hiking and camping in the beautiful mountains of Durango, so that you can stay safe and avoid any situations that could be harmful to you or these beautiful creatures.

Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering

A Series Of Events That Capture The Spirit Of The American West

This October cowboy poets from all across the USA will gather in Durango for the annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This literary event takes place from October 3rd through 7th and celebrates poems and songs that capture the spirit of the American West and the people who live and work there. The gathering takes place in the Strater Hotel, where many free performances of cowboy poetry and music are held. Events are also at the DSNGRR, the Durango Arts Center, Rapp Corral and in many local galleries throughout the city.

Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The festival includes several events that take place all across the city. Many of the daytime performances are free and tickets for the other shows and music range from $15 to $40 depending on the performer. Poets and musicians will perform spoken word poems and songs that will make you laugh, cry and appreciate the traditions of the cowboy lifestyle. If you love poetry and the Wild West lifestyle, come to Durango this October and let yourself be charmed by the romantic, nostalgic, sweet and funny poems of some of the best cowboy poets in the country.

What Is Cowboy Poetry?

When the cowboys and ranchers of the old west would sit down around the campfire at the end of a hard day’s work, they would entertain each other with folk songs and tall tales. These stories would usually be in poetic form, as this would help them to be more easily remembered and passed along by cowboys who might not know how to read or write.

About The Event

These poems would be stories about life on the ranch, descriptions of the landscape of the west, & humorous tales and memories of times gone by. Some of the most famous cowboy poets include S. Omar Barker, Curley Fletcher, Bruce Kiskaddon, Joel Nelson and Wally McRae.

The Cowboy Poet Train

One of the most exciting events in this annual gathering is the Durango Cowboy Poetry Train. On this special journey to Cascade Canyon you can enjoy entertainment from cowboy poets and musicians while you glide through the beautiful and rugged autumn countryside. The train makes a stop along the scenic banks of the Animas River where you can relax and enjoy your lunch. Be sure to book early, as seats will fill up fast!

Get Tickets

The Motorless Cowboy Parade

One of the highlights of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering is the motorless cowboy parade on Main Street. The parade doesn’t involve any vehicles – everything is horse drawn. The colourful event includes historic wagons, Mediterranean donkeys, Native American Dancers, coaches and carriages, the Color Guard, the US Forest Service Pack Mule Team and many locals dressed in period costumes.

Prizes are given for the most impressive parade entries, including Best Horse Entry and Best Mule or Donkey Entry. Anyone is welcome to enter the parade, so why not get dressed up and join in the fun?

Why Go On Spring Break in Durango?

Take A Unique Spring Break Trip To Southwest Colorado This Year

Durango is a great spring break location if you are looking for something different than the typical beach trip. If you are still holding onto winter weather, snow will still be on the ground for skiing and outdoor fun. The first signs of spring will begin to show, however, so you will get the best of both seasons. If that isn't enough to convince you, check out the top reasons why you should plan your spring break trip to Durango today.

Spring Break in Durango

Enjoy Winter and Spring Weather

Spring break in Durango is the perfect time to enjoy the overlapping of two great seasons. Experience the beauty of winter with the remaining snow, and see the first signs of spring blossom before your eyes at the same time. The rising temperature will provide a break from the freezing cold of winter, but it won't feel like summer just yet. Enjoy a beautiful in-between on your spring break in Durango.

Hike and Ski on One Trip

With the heavy snow that Durango sees during winter months, it is no surprise that some of it sticks around through spring. This means that the ski and snowboarding season often is extended until well into spring as well. With so many slopes near Durango, a spring break ski trip is a great option. At the same time, you will find that some trails in the mountains have thawed out, meaning that you can go skiing one day and hiking the next. Enjoy the beauty of the San Juan Mountains both ways.

Outdoor Activities

Attend Durango Bluegrass Meltdown

Do you have the winter blues? You may not want to head up into the snowy mountains, but you can stay downtown and enjoy a world-class lineup of bluegrass musicians at the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown. This annual festival offers a fun way to kiss winter goodbye every year in April. The festival attracts people from all over the country and is considered a must when you visit during spring break in Durango.

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Enjoy Downtown Durango

In the historic center of Durango you can really taste the atmosphere of the old west. At the same time, you can experience some of the most modern amenities and attractions. Stay in a historic hotel downtown and admire authentic artifacts from the old west, then head out on a beer tour to experience Durango's beer scene. Enjoy a meal at a local pub or café, and then stop by the Durango train museum to view the history of one of the area's most notible attractions.

Downtown Durango

Ride the Train

The railway line between Durango and the historic mining town of Silverton is one of the most beautiful train routes in America. Choose the perfect train class to ride in, from a covered coupé, to a presidential car or an open wagon. Then sit back and relax as stunning views of the Animas River and the San Juan Mountains roll by. Enjoy one of the best attractions that Southwest Colorado has to offer on your spring break trip to Durango.

Train Information

If you are planning your spring break in Durango, be sure to book your lodging in advance. Take advantage of the changing seasons on your trip to Durango and enjoy the best of both winter and spring.

Top 5 Spring Hikes in Durango

As the snow begins to melt, hiking increases in popularity in Durango and Silverton. The warmer temps and beautiful sunshine bring out the novice hiker and the expert to take on various trails in the area. On your next trip, make plans to take one of these gorgeous spring hikes in Durango.

Spring Hikes in Durango

Ice Lakes

Hike approximately 3.5 miles to the Ice Lakes near Silverton, Colorado. The trail begins at South Mineral Campground and while strenuous, offers some of the best views in the area. On your way to the Ice Lakes, you will be able to spot a waterfall, an old mining operation, and more as you trek through the forest. When you arrive at the Ice Lakes, you can enjoy beautiful views of the stunning bright blue waters, freshly thawed from the long winter.

Spring Hikes in Durango

Spud Lake

Spud Lake, also known as Potato Lake Trail, is a mellow hike at Cascade Creek. It is approximately 1.5 miles each way, so it is perfect if you are looking for something quick and easy. If you are new to hiking, this is the perfect way to start out. Try to spot the beaver ponds along the way, or explore the banks and pick fruit. Bring the kids along for a truly family friendly experience in nature.

Engineer Mountain Trail

When you are driving north on highway 550, you may be able to spot the double cone landmark known as Engineer Mountain when you pass Purgatory. Engineer Mountain Trail is a difficult, 4.4 mile trek. If you take it on, you will be rewarded with beautiful 360 degree views of the surrounding areas. Because of the elevation, snow may remain through summer, but the views of the mountains surrounding it make this the perfect spring hike.

Animas River Trail

The Animas River Trail is a paved pathway that stretched 7 miles along the Animas River. If you are hiking with small kids or individuals who need accessible trails, this hike is a great option. You do not need to take all 7 miles on to experience great views and nature. While not a typical “hike,” it provides the opportunity to get outdoors while accessing parks, public spaces and more.

Spring Hikes in Durango

Colorado Trail To Gudy’s

The Colorado Trail offers nearly 500 miles of hiking trail to visitors. Hiking the Colorado Trail to Gudy’s is a popular option for visitors to Durango. This trail is open year-round and is a great option if you are planning in spring hikes in Durango. It is a 7.9 mile out and back trail, and dogs are welcome. Grab your furry friend and take an adventure on this section of one of the most well known hiking trails in the United States.

Plan in one of these top spring hikes in Durango for your next trip. Enjoy stunning views of the mountains, river and town from many vantage points while you test your skills on challenging hikes, or take advantage of paved trails and shorter treks. Book your hotel soon and start planning your spring trip to Durango.

Durango Independent Film Festival

Film is a vibrant medium and a very powerful way to tell a story. Cinema has had a huge impact on Durango culture for many decades. The annual Durango Independent Film Festival is a great way to celebrate and showcase new independent films. This event is an exciting way to see over 100 new independent films. While you attend, enjoy many other great parties, tastings and more in Durango.

Celebrating Creative Films

The Durango Independent Film Festival is a mix of documentaries, short films, dramatic films, narrative features and more. The event takes place at the beginning of March each year, and it has been one of the biggest events on the Durango cultural calendar for over a decade. All of the selected films will be screened at least twice during the festival. Filmmakers encouraged to participate in Q&A sessions in order to further engage with the audience. There are also many panels and workshops.

Film Festival Venues

Films are screened at three different locations in Durango. Visitors will attend shows at the Animas City Theatre, Gaslight Twin Theatres and Durango Stadium 9. Additional events, including festival parties, panels and workshops are also held at various locations around Durango. An updated listing of 2019 event locations will be made available as information is released.

2019 Event Information

Ticket Information

There are a variety of tickets available for attendees to choose from. Individual tickets for select events are available, as well as punch passes for entry into 6-10 programs. Visitors wishing to attend all of the film programs will want to grab an “All Film Pass” and those who want to attend all festival events will want the “All Festival Pass” this year. Be sure to check the website for specific information on each pass.

Ticket Information

Durango Independent Film Festival

Free Movie Night

The first night of the festival every year is a free movie night. Tickets are not required to attend the films on this evening. Entry is first-come, first-served for all attendees, even passholders. This event takes place after the festival kickoff party that is open to passholders. If you are in Durango during the festival, but did not have plans to attend, this is a great free way to get involved.

More Information

Every year, the Durango Independent Film Festival takes on a new theme. 2019 marks the 14th anniversary of the event, so the theme for the year is “Celebrating Colorado’s Other 14er.” Book your hotel soon and make plans to attend the Durango Independent Film Festival in 2019. For updated information about showings, events and locations, check out the film festival’s event page

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Christmas in Durango, Colorado

Christmas in Durango extends the entire month of December. Our little mountain town comes alive with activities all month long for everyone from the adventure seeker to the holiday traditionalist. Durango, Colorado has so much to offer during the Christmas season.

Take A Ski Trip

Around Christmas, it is common for Durango to turn into a snowy winter wonderland. Enjoy skiing at one of the great ski spots near Durango for a classic Durango adventure. There are plenty of locations to try out, each offering different experiences. Practice your skills on beginner hills, then hit the expert slopes. No equipment? No problem. Most of the ski areas near Durango have rentals available.
Skiing Near Durango

Enjoy The Best Winter Activities

If skiing isn't your thing, there are plenty of other winter activities in Durango to keep you busy. Exciting winter adventures like dog sledding, snowmobiling, and fat biking are popular options for visitors to the area. So don't fret, even though Durango is one of the top ski towns in America, there is so much more to do.
Top Winter Activities

Pick Up Santa On The Polar Express

The story of a child's Christmas Eve journey comes alive on The Polar Express Train Ride! Fun for all ages, the whole family can enjoy the experience, warmth and fun of the Christmas season on a special trip to the North Pole! Enjoy hot chocolate and a treat served by personal chefs. All children on the train will recieve a special gift from Santa himself.
The Polar Express

Enjoy A Holiday Meal

Durango is home to many great, diverse restaurants. This Christmas, leave the cooking to the pros and enjoy your holiday meals at one of the many restaurants open on Christmas in Durango. Leave the mess and the stress behind and enjoy some of the best food in the area with the ones you love. Many restaurants are also open on Christmas Eve.
Restaurant Guide
christmas in durango

Shop For Christmas Gifts

During Christmas in Durango, a wide variety of shopping is available to visitors. Markets are a great opportunity to support artists and craftspeople. Enjoy the Winter Solstice Artisans' Market through December 22nd and pick up the perfect gifts for your loved ones. When you've finished your shopping, head to The Strater and take advantage of their complimentary gift wrapping on Saturdays and Sundays.
Durango Shopping
It isn't too late to plan your Durango Christmas vacation. Book a stay at a cozy cabin or other cozy cabin, or stay in a hotel decorated for the holiday season. Grab your family and friends and make this Christmas one to remember in Durango.

Durango Christmas Restaurant Guide

In order for locals and visitors to have a holly, jolly Christmas, downtown Durango works hard all season lighting up the streets, playing joyous music, and filling the air with fresh smells from holiday cooking. This Christmas Eve and Christmas appreciate the holidays with the local venues. Many local restaurants have delicious menus planned for families and friends to come enjoy the tastiest holiday recipes.

The Mahogany Grille

Located inside the Strater Hotel, the award-winning chefs at the Mahogany Grille will be serving a three course meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (970) 375-7182 to make reservations. Spaces are filling fast!
Mahogony Grille

The Ore House

Established in 1972, The Ore House is one of Colorado’s oldest and finest restaurants. In this chef owned and operated restaurant, refined staff serve hand-cut steaks, sustainable wild-caught seafood and seasonal, local ingredients. The Ore House will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The Ore House

Kennebec Cafe

The Kennebec Cafe offers an atmosphere of casual elegance in warm, comfortable surroundings. This year, the Kennebec Cafe will be open from 5 to 9 pm on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Guests will have the chance to enjoy a special menu for the holidays.
Kennebec Cafe

Eno Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge

Durango's premiere cocktail lounge and wine bar will be open on Christmas Eve. Enjoy your favorite foods and handcrafted cocktails, a wide wine selection and bourbon, tequila and scotch flights while you get ready for the holiday.
Eno Wine Bar

Cyprus Café

Cyprus Café will be open on Christmas Eve. Stop by for innovative, farm to table meals. Support local gardeners, farmers and ranches while enjoying award-winning Mediterranean cuisine. Step away from the holiday preparations and enjoy a good meal on Christmas Eve.
Cyprus Café

The Edgewater Grille

Located in the DoubleTree Hotel, the Edgewater Grille's comfortable yet elegant atmosphere is great for enjoying a casual dining experience. Enjoy a savory selection of seafood, steaks, poultry, and more as you gaze through the windows overlooking the one hundred year old trees shrouding the Animas River. They will serve lunch and dinner on Christmas Day.
DoubleTree Hotel