Vacationland 2017: Grand Junction

Downtown Grand Junction is a good place to start when getting to know the city. Main Street is pedestrian-friendly and lined with trees and sculptures.



052117_VAC_Downtown_Penny_Stine_DSC00454

Downtown Grand Junction is a good place to start when getting to know the city. Main Street is pedestrian-friendly and lined with trees and sculptures.

Fireworks go off over Suplizio Field in Grand Junction as lightning touches down on the Bookcliffs.



052117_VAC__VL_fireworks_CPT_050517

Fireworks go off over Suplizio Field in Grand Junction as lightning touches down on the Bookcliffs.

A number of outdoor dining options can be found in downtown Grand Junction.



052117_VAC_Penny_Stine_Downtown_DSC00461

A number of outdoor dining options can be found in downtown Grand Junction.

Nearly two dozen parks can be found in Grand Junction. Canyon View Park, where this photo was taken, is one of the largest.



052117_VAC_Penny_Stine_CanyonViewParkGJ

Nearly two dozen parks can be found in Grand Junction. Canyon View Park, where this photo was taken, is one of the largest.

The Colorado Riverfront Trail extends through the Grand Valley offering a paved trail for a bike ride or walk.



052216_VAC_GJ_022616_ride_Riverfront_trail

The Colorado Riverfront Trail extends through the Grand Valley offering a paved trail for a bike ride or walk.

Vacation is on your doorstep, furiously pressing the doorbell, banging on the door, peeking in the windows — doing everything possible to coax you out to stretch your arms and legs and do pretty much anything that doesn’t involve email or sweeping out the garage.

Is there a better place to play than western Colorado? So many options: the craggy peaks of the San Juans, the steep canyons of Colorado National Monument and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, rivers and golf courses and hot springs and trails of all sorts to play in, on and around. Then there’s ...

Hold on.

Why are you in such a hurry to pack up the camper and thumb a bunch of addresses into your maps app? Surely you haven’t forgotten about Grand Junction? You did, didn’t you?

It’s the largest city between Denver and Salt Lake City, located at the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers. It’s not exactly Timbuktu. (No offense to Timbuktu. We’re sure it’s a lovely place.)

So maybe you need a refresher. We’re happy to help.

Downtown might be the best place to start. A vision implemented more than a half-century ago to turn a dusty, wide thoroughfare into a meandering, tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly street has evolved into what is consistently at or near the top of visitors’ lists of favorite places to spend time in Grand Junction.

And what’s not to like? An array of restaurants, shops, galleries and children’s play areas appeal to everyone from Grandpa to the little one being pushed in the stroller. The long-running Art on the Corner program ensures you can find original sculptures on virtually every corner and several streets.

Main Street and Colorado Avenue host multiple festivals and events throughout the summer as well as the Downtown Farmers Market. This signature event of the summer will be held every Thursday from June 22 through Sept. 14, offering local produce, handmade products and entertainment.

Once you’ve had your fill of music and shopping, jump in your car or walk a few blocks east for another summer pastime: baseball.

You’ll find two main events at Suplizio Field: The Alpine Bank Junior College World Series (JUCO) and the Grand Junction Rockies.

Starting May 27, JUCO hosts the 10 best junior college teams in the country. It’s a great chance to catch up with people you haven’t seen since last year’s tournament and make new friends with those in the stands next to you. There is some pretty good action on the diamond, too. Go to jucogj.org for information on the tournament.

If some of those 18- and 19-year-olds are lucky enough to be drafted by a major league baseball team, there’s a chance you will see a few of them just weeks later when the Grand Junction Rockies’ season gets under way June 19.

The Rockies are the rookie-league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, and several players who started their careers in Grand Junction are now with the big-league team, including David Dahl, Jon Gray and Antonio Senzatela, to name a few. Learn about the Grand Junction Rockies and get a schedule at milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t4364.

And then there’s summer’s time-honored tradition: the Mesa County Fair, July 25–29.

Visitors to the fairgrounds, 2785 U.S. Highway 50, will find a lineup that appeals to the whole family, including a demolition derby, rodeo, carnival rides and, of course, fireworks.

New this year is a Kiddie Kamp Day, a package of activities for the young ones. Go to mesacountyfair.com for information.



GRAND JUNCTION MUST DO’S

FIRST FRIDAY: The first Friday of each month is dedicated to art. Art venues and galleries in Grand Junction often plan exhibit openings and receptions for that day. Check The Daily Sentinel’s arts and entertainment section, Out & About, for details on the hot spots for each First Friday.

PARK AND PLAY: The city has nearly two dozen parks of all sizes and amenities. Canyon View Park, off 24 Road south of Interstate 70, and Lincoln Park, at 12th Street and Gunnison Avenue are a couple of the largest. The newest park is Las Colonias, which is spread across nearly 150 acres along the Colorado River in south downtown, with improved trails, bathrooms, picnic shelters and play areas. It’s crowning jewel will be an amphitheater that will seat up to 5,000 people and is set to open in July. (gjcity.org)

DATE NIGHT: Each Tuesday evening you can eat dinner at any downtown Grand Junction restaurant, and then take your receipt to Avalon Theatre to received two free admissions to the 7:30 p.m. movie.

SWEET TREATS: Enstrom Candies, famous for its almond toffee, makes its home at 701 Colorado Ave. Stop by for ice cream, coffee, chocolate and, of course, toffee. Enstrom’s also has stores at 120 W. Park, Suite 100, at First Street and Patterson Road, and 401 Kokopelli Blvd., Suite 2, in Fruita.

DIVE IN: 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 the corner of 12th Street and Gunnison Avenue. (gjcity.org)

A TRIP BACK: Take a tour through human history on the Colorado Plateau at the Museum of the West, 462 Ute Ave., open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays through Sept. 30. (museumofwesternco.com)

BY THE RIVER: Miles of paved paths extend along the Colorado River through the Grand Valley. The trail offers the chance to see numerous bird species, small animals and endangered fish. Take plenty of water, sunscreen and bug spray. (Maps and more: riverfrontproject.org)

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 and numerous botanical displays.

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. (gjartcenter.org)


SEE THE STARS

The Glade Park’s annual Movies Under the Stars is one of the most unique ways to see free, family-friendly movies.

Movies are shown outdoors every Friday evening from June 9 through Aug. 18, behind the Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department.

There is a concessions stand that opens at 5:30 p.m. selling everything hamburgers, Polish sausages, popcorn, hot chocolate and. Outside food is prohibited. All funds go to the volunteer fire department.

There is a variety of pre-movie entertainment, hayrides, door prize drawings and kids activities, so go early and enjoy the evening. Take chairs, blankets and warm clothes because Glade Park is cooler than Grand Junction.

To get to the volunteer fire department, which is just past the Glade Park Store on DS Road, take Little Park Road or the Glade Park cutoff from Rim Rock Drive in the Colorado National Monument. Allow for at 30 minutes or more to drive to the location.

Parking is available in a lot just west of the fire department. (glade-park.com/movies-under-the-stars.html)


BASEBALL DOUBLE HEADER!

The Alpine Bandk junior College World Series, known as JUCO, has called Grand Junction home since 1959, The 2017 JUCO tournament is May 27 through June 3 at Suplizio Field at the corner of 12th Street and North Avenue. (jucogj.org)

After JUCO, the Grand Junction Rockies, the Rookie affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, has its home opener June 19 at Suplizio Field. (milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t4364)





Check out most popular special sections!










THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
eTear Sheets/ePayments
Information

© 2017 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy