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Local Tips For Your Creative Gunnison Vacation

Gunnison is set upon the crossroads of Highways 135 and 50 which connect travelers east to west, from the front range to the western slope, and north to Crested Butte. With a history rooted in railroads and ranching, Gunnison has evolved throughout the years with an economy solidly based on tourism. The beautiful surrounding areas, unmatched access to public lands, and world-class mountain biking and skiing draw visitors from around the world.

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The Gunnison River winds along the east boundary of our town, traversing the base of the inspiring Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, flowing through the Whitewater Park before opening up into the largest reservoir in Colorado, Blue Mesa Reservoir. Anchored by Western Colorado University, Gunnison’s creative community offers an active community arts center, galleries, artisan food and beverage, lively western heritage showcased at the Pioneer Museum and summer rodeo, seasonal concert series, and top-notch recreation year-round.

Gunnison’s creative community is a remote, hardy, and entrepreneurial blend of innovators, outdoor enthusiasts, ranchers, students, artists, blue-collar, academics, and more. In a place where the views are 360 degrees, creativity and recreation combine to give rise to a dynamic and prosperous place to live, visit, and create.

Walls + Windows

Gunnison Arts Center at 102 S Main St. fills one of Gunnison's most well-preserved historic buildings, built in 1882, with gallery exhibits, art classes, and entertaining events. Perfectly situated in the heart of downtown Gunnison the Gunnison Arts Center helps establish Gunnison's sense of place with a reflection into history as well as its activities that foster creativity, culture, and community connections.

Gunnison Gallery at 124 N. Main Street features 60 Local and Colorado Artisans in various mediums including aspen turnings & furniture, bronze sculpture, ceramics, glass, jewelry, paintings in acrylic, oil pastel, and turkey feathers, and photography.

Rocky Mountain Frames and Trophies, at 228 N Main Street, includes an art gallery overflowing with the work of local artists.

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The First Friday ArtWalk and Music events are held on the first Friday of each month, year-round. These events bring scores of community members and visitors downtown to browse galleries highlighting local and regional artists, listen to live music, dine at downtown restaurants, and shop! As a beloved community tradition, these events have happened for over 10 years.

Think Outside the Gallery

Goodday Bikes + Curiosity Bags, located at 560 W Hwy 50, is a place to commission artistic, handmade, custom bikes and bags. After building, testing, tweaking and more testing Goodday Bikes + Curiosity Bags is ready to make bikepacking, randonneuring and commuting rigs with whimsy for fellow cycling romantics nostalgic for the elegant shapes and flowing lines that can only be achieved by an artists hands.

Rooted Apothecary at 126 N Main St features wildcrafted remedies, teas, and body products from the medicinal plants found right in our own backyard.

At Dobrato Resophonic Guitars at 235 N. Main St. Kent Viles hand-assembled with care the world’s first Acoustic/Electric, round neck Resophonic Guitar with their unique B Bender / Vibrato built into the vibrato arm. The sounds you create are limited only by your imagination. The Dobrato creates a unique new “voice” for blues, country, fingerstyle, bluegrass, pedal steel effects, and jazz.

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Elevate Art

Western Colorado University stands at the eastern entrance to Gunnison and greatly helps define our community’s sense of physical place with its iconic sprawling lawns, large historic buildings, and red tile roofs. A critical partner in the Gunnison Creative District, Western Colorado University brings a defining element to our community. Catch a theater performance in the Studio Theater, take in art in Quigley Gallery, and enjoy the historic buildings all around campus.

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Sip & Savor

Buckel Family Wine is an award-winning, family-owned, and operated winery nestled in the north industrial district of Gunnison. Visit their tasting room for a variety of wines made in-house and enjoy small bites. Buckel offers bottles of wine for sale along with local art. Frequently, you can attend a fun creative event at Buckel that features an art project as well as their wine.

High Alpine Brewing Company is located and hand-crafting creative local brews in downtown Gunnison. Scott started HABC as a way to bring the community together one delicious pint at a time. Nothing goes better with beer than pizza, which is why they feature a full menu of delicious brick-oven pizzas.

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Tributary Coffee Roasters on Main Street features house-roasted and meticulously crafted coffee along with from-scratch baked goods, as well as nourishing and creative breakfast and lunch fare. They love the community that gathers around coffee and are honored and humbled by those who choose to gather around theirs.

Downtown Gunnison is peppered with local restaurants powered by creative chefs that will happily serve you breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any of the times between!

Get Outside

Gunnison does trails, and especially mountain biking, like no one else! Encircled by trailheads providing entrance points to the vast beauty and immense public lands, Gunnison creatives are offered access to inspirational views and visitors are drawn to explore. Gunnison is surrounded by world-class mountain biking and hiking trails. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Gunnison Valley to experience the beauty that surrounds our community.

The mural in IOOF Park on Main and Virginia features a variety of recreational trail users in all seasons.

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Celebrate Art

Activities and happenings that connect people to one another, the town to the university, and creativity to recreation are the spark of the GCD.

The ArtWalk Fest on the first Friday in September is going on its 5th year. This event draws visitors and locals to downtown Gunnison with a free concert! During the event, Gunnison’s creative businesses are highlighted, and many feature “art in action” demos, live music, and food and drink specials. For one weekend at the end of July, you can find Legion Park full of arts and crafts at Art in the Park.

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The I Bar Ranch produces a dynamic schedule of live music throughout the summer featuring both local and visiting musicians and the Gunnison Arts Center hosts a free summer concert series on Sunday evenings in the park. On Wednesdays, you can catch live music at 1OOF Park with Mid-week on Main presented by the Chamber of Commerce.

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The Gunnison Farmers Market freshens up the summers with local and regional produce, meats, and other creations. The historic Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo highlights our community’s heritage each July and brings thousands of visitors to town. And the City of Gunnison throws arguably the best 4th of July celebration in Colorado!

Want More?

Download a map as well as a five-day itinerary spanning several artsy towns featured in the Colorado Creative Corridor.