The place to start, stay for Western Colorado adventure
With abundant sunshine, vibrant downtown area and beautiful scenery, Grand Junction is the ideal place to start or end your vacation in western Colorado.
Named in the late 1800s because of its location at the junction of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers, Grand Junction is western Colorado’s largest city and is situated near some of the country’s most amazing vistas and recreational opportunities, giving it a different feel than the rest of Colorado.
“It is the epicenter of everything fun you think of when Colorado comes to mind,” said Mistalynn Meyeraan, marketing coordinator with the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau. “You can be in the mountains and cool off. You can go to the desert and ride or go rafting, which to me is the ultimate in (relaxation). We are positioned so well here to do all those things.”
Thanks to Interstate 70, Grand Junction Regional Airport and Amtrak’s California Zephyr line, Grand Junction is easily accessible by plane, train or automobile.
Figuring out how to get here, however, is just the beginning of the adventure.
With more than 300 sunny days annually, Grand Junction offers visitors a chance to watch a baseball game, drive or hike Colorado National Monument or relax in an area park.
Meyeraan suggested visiting the monument at sunrise or sunset for amazing photographs.
“My favorite thing is to walk the trail right outside the Visitor Center and watch the sunrise from there and watch the streaming red come through the canyon,” she said.
Among the must-see sites within the city limits is the downtown area, considered one of the top tourist destinations in Grand Junction for its unique shops, restaurants and art galleries.
Once downtown, you can also enjoy Art on the Corner, an outdoor sculpture display, or sip on a pint of craft beer or glass of fine wine produced in the area.
Meyeraan encourages visitors to dedicate at least one day to a leisurely bike ride among the nearby wineries or along the paved Colorado Riverfront Trail that runs along the Colorado River and connects Grand Junction to neighboring Fruita.
On four wheels: Car enthusiasts of all ages won’t want to miss the nearly 80 privately-owned classic and famous cars on display at Allen Unique Autos, 2285 River Road. (allenuniqueautos.com)
Bikes, art, music: Don’t miss the 2015 Downtown Grand Junction Art + Music Festival held in conjunction with the Grand Junction Off-Road mountain bike event. Set for May 28–31 in downtown Grand Junction, there are four stages of live music, numerous art vendors and professional and amateur mountain bike races. (downtowngj.org, epicrides.com)
Find it fresh: From 5:30–8:30 p.m. on Thursdays from June 18 through Sept. 24, the Downtown Farmers Market offers produce, music and more on Main Street. (downtowngj.org)
Curtain goes up: Colorado Mesa University’s summer Mesa Repertory Theatre will offer shows from June 11–28. In the schedule are “The Last Five Years,” “Time Flies” and other short plays and the children’s play “The Stonecutter.” The shows are performed in the Mesa Experimental Theatre at the university’s Moss Performing Arts Center, 1100 N. 12th St. For tickets, call 970-248-1604.
Take a swim: Lincoln Park-Moyer Swimming Pool is open Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. It has a water slide and diving boards and is located within Lincoln Park at corner of 12th Street and Gunnison Avenue. (gjcity.org)
Walk, run, ride: Miles of paved paths extend along the Colorado River from 33 1/2 Road in east Grand Junction to Walter Walker State Wildlife Area on the west side of the city and on to Fruita. The trail offers the chance to see numerous bird species — bald eagles!
— small animals and endangered fish. Take plenty of water, sunscreen and bug spray. (Maps and more: riverfrontproject.org) Tip! Mistalynn Meyeraan, marketing director for the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau, said one of her favorite things to do with visitors is ride along the trail and stop at Edgewater Brewery, 905 Struthers Ave., for refreshments.
Put it in park: Grand Junction has nearly two dozen city parks. Among the largest are Canyon View Park, near Interstate 70 and 24 Road, and Lincoln Park, at 12th Street and Gunnison Ave. Canyon View offers a dog park, numerous soccer fields and a walking path. Lincoln Park is adjacent to Suplizio Field, Stocker Stadium and Lincoln Park-Moyer Swimming Pool. (gjcity.org) Get downtown: Dine outside. Shop at dozens of specialty shops. Tour an art gallery or enjoy the Art on the Corner outdoor sculptural display in downtown Grand Junction. The downtown area is tree-lined and pedestrian-friendly with dozens of locally-owned galleries, restaurants and stores.
For green thumbs: The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, 641 Struthers Ave., sits on 15 acres right off the Colorado Riverfront Trail. Visitors can tour a tropical greenhouse, see butterflies and numerous botanical displays. (wcbotanic.org/Default.aspx)
Paint and more: The Art Center, 1803 N. Seventh St., offers classes, exhibits and a permanent collection of nearly 300 historic and contemporary pieces representing the art and artists of western Colorado. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Museums a must: Take a tour through human history on the Colorado Plateau at the Museum of the West, 462 Ute Ave., which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 30.