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Discover Durango: Where Old West Charm Meets Outdoor Adventure​

May 3rd, 2024

Discover Durango: Where Old West Charm Meets Outdoor Adventure

A vibrant view of the Durango valley, with rugged mountains and puffy clouds for the backdrop

Nestled in the heart of the rugged and picturesque San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, Durango exudes a unique charm and beauty that captivates visitors and residents alike. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes, Durango offers a blend of outdoor adventure, Old West ambiance, and modern amenities. At the heart of the town lies its historic downtown area, where Victorian-era buildings now house an array of boutique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes. The bustling streets are often alive with festivals, farmers markets, and live music, creating a lively and welcoming atmosphere.

Street view of the Blue Rain Gallery storefront in Durango

Durango has long been in the sights of gallery owner and entrepreneur, Leroy Garcia. Garcia recalls taking family trips as a child from Taos, New Mexico to Salt Lake City, Utah, driving through Durango and always being intrigued by the inherent charm of this western town that sits nestled along the Animas River. Over the years he has watched the growth and changes settle in, admiring the lively character and business friendly nature of Durango’s Downtown. During COVID, when New Mexico was in complete shutdown and Garcia questioned what was going to happen to the art galleries in Santa Fe that depend on tourism, he began taking more regular trips to Colorado, specifically to Durango. He was immediately impressed by how the city dealt with the challenges of keeping people safe, while still being supportive of local businesses. It was during that time that an idea he had been pondering for a while materialized into a full-fledged plan to expand.

Gallery floor featuring glass work by Preston Singletary atop black pedestals among select paintings hung on white walls
Gallery floor with artworks on display, with the building's original brick showing behind the stark white of the gallery walls
Patrons milling through the Durango gallery to appreciate the art on showcase
Portrait of the Bue Rain Gallery Durango Team, Carrie and Shella, standing amidst art on the walls
Blue Rain Durango Team, Carrie and Shella

View Blue Rain Durango's Gallery Brochure here:

glass sculpture of a stylized horse, with natural hair for a tail, inside the feature window of the Blue Rain Durango

The gallery has a reputation for producing stand out shows, presenting viewers with some of the highest-level offerings and most celebrated artists working today. Artists such as Preston Singletary, Matthew Sievers, Robin Jones, Eunika RogersDennis Ziemienski, Raymond GibbyRoseta Santiago, and Tammy Garcia are artists you will commonly see on view when walking into Blue Rain Durango. The diversity amongst this small sampling of artists speaks to the larger experience one encounters at the gallery.

Patrons gathered, standing and seated, during a special event at the gallery

View our Durango events page to view upcoming exhibitions and events:

Exterior of the Strater Hotel, a large brick with exquisite Victorian architectural detail

A short walk down from the gallery is the Strater Hotel, a favorite stay of Blue Rain Gallery staff and collectors. Built in 1887, this iconic Victorian-era hotel is not just a place to stay; it's a living piece of history. The Strater is renowned for its elegant architecture, rich ambiance, and timeless charm, making it a beloved landmark in Durango.

A room at the Strater, warmly lit with period wooden furniture, patterns, and textiles.

Upon stepping into the Strater Hotel, guests are transported back in time to the days of the Wild West. The hotel's interior is adorned with intricate woodwork, antique furnishings, and period decor, creating an atmosphere that harkens back to the late 19th century. Each of its guest rooms is uniquely decorated, offering a blend of comfort and Old West allure.

One of the most notable features of the Strater Hotel is its collection of authentic Victorian-era antiques, which adorn the lobby, hallways, and guest rooms. From intricately carved furniture to vintage lighting fixtures, every corner of the hotel tells a story of a bygone era.

Beyond its historic charm, the Strater Hotel is also known for its warm hospitality and top-notch amenities. Guests can enjoy fine dining at the hotel's award-winning restaurants, including The Mahogany Grille, which serves up classic American cuisine in an elegant setting, and The Office Spiritorium, a cozy saloon-style bar known for its craft cocktails and live music.

Collage showing the modern aesthetic of Chimayo Stone Kitchen's exterior

Another favorite dinning experience can be found at Chimayo Stone Fired Kitchen. The resturant offers a unique dining experience that combines Southwestern flavors with a contemporary twist. Named after the historic village of Chimayo in northern New Mexico, renowned for its rich culinary heritage, the restaurant celebrates the vibrant flavors and traditions of the Southwest.

Close-up, Dutch-angle of a two-olive martini

At Chimayo Stone Fired Kitchen, the focal point of the dining experience is the custom-built stone hearth oven, which imparts a distinct smoky flavor to every dish. The menu features a diverse selection of wood-fired pizzas, artisanal flatbreads, and mouthwatering entrees, all prepared with locally sourced ingredients and crafted with care by skilled chefs.

The historic steam engine of the Durango Silverton train, billowing white smoke as the conductor navigates the rail across a road within the the town

Lastly, catch the historic train from Durango to Silverton. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a historic train journey through the stunning landscapes of southwestern Colorado. Departing from downtown Durango, the vintage steam locomotives wind their way along narrow ledges and sheer cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the Animas River Canyon. Passengers traverse historic mining towns and remote wilderness areas before arriving in Silverton, a charming mining town nestled in the San Juan Mountains. With themed rides and special excursions throughout the year, the D&SNGRR offers a captivating journey through the history and natural beauty of the Old West.

Two stark black steam engines pull several passenger cars on the narrow gauge railroad through a colorful mountain pass

Durango is a place where the spirit of the Old West meets the allure of the great outdoors, offering something for everyone against a backdrop of unparalleled natural beauty.

Plan your trip to Durango now on

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