Durango is a small city in southwestern Colorado that’s the seat of La Plata County.
It’s also the county’s most populous city and is relatively close to the Four Corners, which is where the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet to form perfectly squared lines.
Though outdoor activities are king in and around Durango, there are abundant historical, cultural, and art attractions as well.
Many visitors spend the majority of their time visiting state and national parks, and there are plenty of dining and lodging options as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Durango, Colorado.
1. Powerhouse Science Center
Powerhouse Science Center is located on Camino Del Rio in Durango and was specifically designed with children up to ten in mind.
Though many families spend much of their time in Colorado in the great outdoors, indoor attractions offer nice breaks, especially when the weather isn’t conducive to being outside for much of the fall and winter seasons.
The center’s interactive exhibits touch on a variety of topics, like animals, nature, technology, and space. Previous guests have appreciated the fact that it’s large enough to provide hours of fun learning, yet small enough for parents to keep an eye on their kids easily.
2. Durango Adventures and Zip Line Tours
Ziplines are relatively new additions in the world of outdoor recreation, but they’re exhilarating, safe, and reasonably inexpensive, which has made them popular outdoor activities.
Durango Adventures and Zip Line Tours allow visitors to glide effortlessly through the air and see views that those stuck on the ground won’t.
They’ve got a variety of individual lines that are appropriate for most ages from four-years-old and up.
Guests must be less than 230 lbs. to participate, and for many first-timers, it ends up being one of the most memorable experiences of their trip.
The staff are patient and well-trained, and safety is their top priority.
3. Historic Downtown Durango
Colorado is full of quaint and historic towns that are unlike anything many visitors from other parts of the country have ever experienced.
Historic Downtown Durango is a pleasant mix of the old and the new. In addition to its museums and historic buildings, there are plenty of contemporary dining options and trendy galleries selling impressive works of locally produced art.
The downtown area is perfect for walkers and tends to come alive in the afternoon and early evening hours, when residents and visitors are looking to enjoy a glass of beer or wine before dinner.
There’s live entertainment, festivals, and fairs as well during the spring, summer, and early fall.
4. Schneider Park
For those staying in town who’d rather not drive halfway across the state to appreciate a little time in the wild, Schneider Park would be a great place to spend an hour or two.
The park is adjacent to the Animas River. In addition to its picturesque setting, there is an array of activity options for visitors to enjoy.
Fishing and hiking along the park’s trails are popular with outdoorsy types, and for those traveling with kids who prefer something a little cooler, there’s a skate park as well.
Remember that if you plan to go fishing, you’ll need a Colorado fishing license to comply.
5. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum is a unique attraction that’s a perennial favorite with train buffs and history aficionados.
The railroads have always played significant roles in the development and economy of Colorado; more than a century ago, they generally hauled natural resources out, and finished products from Midwest industrial cities back in.
The museum is housed in a depot that dates back to the early 1880s. It’s possible to take an amazingly scenic tour through the countryside aboard a vintage steam-powered train.
In the past, it’s been ranked among the world’s best train rides, so take advantage if your schedule allows.
6. Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant
Diners who’ve eaten at Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant have consistently claimed that the food was among the best they’ve ever had.
Their menu is chock-full of traditional Mexican favorites, like tacos, chimichangas, and fajitas; they come with all the sides you’d expect, like refried beans, rice, and guacamole.
For those traveling with little ones, there’s a kid’s menu full of small portions and reduced-price options. There’s also a full bar for weary adults who need a dose of liquid relaxation.
The bar features several big screens that are popular with football fans, and happy hour is from 2:30 to 6 PM.
7. Pinkerton Hot Springs
The Pinkerton Hot Springs is a popular area attraction for those looking to soothe their weary muscles and bones.
There are a number of hot springs in the area, but Pinkerton has one of the most unique histories; it once flowed from the side of a hill, which created hazardous conditions on the road below.
When the state decided to reroute the water to humanmade pools, the resort was born, and it’s been drawing guests ever since.
The water is rich with minerals that have created primordial red deposits over time. According to legend, the warm water has some therapeutic properties.
8. Animas Brewing Company
There’s no shortage of options for lovers of locally brewed beer who find themselves in Colorado with a mighty thirst. Animas Brewing Company is one of Durango’s most popular destinations.
It’s located on East 2nd Avenue and opens daily at 11 AM for the lunch crowd.
The inside of Animas is both cozy and contemporary, and their staff are adept at assisting those who aren’t exactly up to speed on their craft brews.
Their beers come in a variety of flavors, colors, and alcohol levels, and their kitchen turns out a variety of great food options, ranging from traditional Irish fare to burgers and appetizers.
9. Bar D Chuckwagon
For many visitors, experiencing life as it was in the old days is an essential element of their vacations, and Bar D Chuckwagon has been providing guests with exactly that for more than five decades.
Cowboy’s lives were hard, but at night when they gathered around the campfire to eat and entertain themselves, a spirit of camaraderie was present.
Bar D takes that experience to a whole different level; in addition to traditional cowpoke grub, they offer live music, dancing, and comedy performances that are especially big hits with out-of-staters.
On-site, there are also coffee, chocolate, and blacksmith shops, and a great gift store as well.
10. Animas River Trail
The Animas River is one of the Durango area’s most prominent outdoor recreation attractions, and the Animas River Trail follows its course for more than seven miles.
The trail winds its way through undisturbed natural areas that are home to an abundance of mammals and birds that are relatively easy to see, especially during the lowlight morning and early evening hours.
It’s also a popular spot for trainspotters, as the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad runs adjacent to the trail.
Kayaking, canoeing, and fishing are key river attractions that can be accessed from the trail.
11. Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum
The Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum is conveniently located on East 16th Street. In addition to being educational and downright fun, it’s totally free to visit.
Colorado is home to several fish hatcheries that help support native fish populations, as well as providing game fish to popular lakes and rivers that are stocked for anglers.
Guided tours are offered regularly; along the way, visitors will get in insider’s look at how fish are raised before they’re released into the wild.
The hatchery isn’t open to the public every day, so check online or give them a call before you plan to visit.
12. James M. Robb Colorado River State Park
The James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is a mecca for outdoor lovers, and it’s open year-round.
The park is comprised of several distinct environments that include lakes, a river, and protected wildlife areas.
There are several campgrounds available as well, and kayaking, cycling, hiking, swimming, and fishing are all popular warm-weather activities.
In the winter, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing are much-loved pastimes, especially with fearless and rugged types.
Some parts of the park are only open seasonally, so check out their website or give them a call before you plan your trip.