Durango, the county seat of La Plata County, is a popular year-round tourist center and the headquarters of San Juan National Forest.
The town is well-known for many things, including its large mountains, unrivaled skiing, and peaceful surroundings.
Furthermore, it is one of the biggest in the mountains and has a sizable downtown, as well as many services.
Its history makes it a distinctive stop for people who are interested in railroads, historical sites, and plenty more.
Discover fascinating museums, lovely parks, amazing ski resorts, eye-catching wineries, picturesque hiking routes, historic places, and a lot more.
You will also find Animas River here. The river offers a variety of water sports in addition to being a beautiful river for sightseeing.
There’s a lot to do here, and these are the top 24 things to do in Durango.
Things to do in Durango
1. Animas Museum, Durango
If you are a history buff and you need to know something about Durango, then Animas museum is the place to go.
Although modest in size, the exhibits are wonderful and varied.
Animas Museum showcases Durango’s local history in a few of its displays.
The La Plata County Historical Society owns and runs the Animas Museum.
It is housed in a structure that was a school in the early 20th century.
It is also close to several other well-known sights and is easily accessible.
You can visit the many exhibits at this museum, which cover a wide range of local historical topics.
Furthermore, guided tours and occasionally entertaining events and programs are available for a more engaging and pleasurable visit.
Spend some time here, and learn about Durango’s colorful past.
Overall, this is an excellent place to start touring this magnificent city.
Address: 3065 W 2nd Ave, Durango, CO 81301, United States
2. Powerhouse Science Center
Durango’s Powerhouse Science Center is situated on Camino Del Rio and was created with kids aged ten and under in mind.
The location is an old power company building transformed into a museum.
The Powerhouse is a fun and educational place for kids to interact with various engaging exhibits.
Grownups also have plenty of space to tour most exhibits, interact and learn with the kids.
Even though many families in Colorado spend a lot of time outdoors, indoor activities are also great.
It’s great to have indoor activities because during the fall and winter months when the weather doesn’t permit spending a lot of time outdoors, there will always be something to do.
In addition, exhibits change from time to time, and they offer a variety of fun programs with a variety of focuses.
The interactive exhibits at the center cover a wide range of subjects, including space, technology, nature, and animals.
Previous visitors have praised the facility’s size for offering hours of fun learning while still being manageable for parents to keep a watch on their children.
If you live in Durango and have kids, get the annual pass! Let your kids run wild!
Don’t forget to pick up something at the gift shop too.
Address: 1295 Camino Del Rio, Durango, CO 81301, United States
3. Four Leaves Winery
The lovely Four Leaves Winery is renowned for its unique wines, cozy setting, and laid-back vibe.
This winery is contemporary yet vintage, modern yet old school. You will love it here.
Four leaves winery is located right across the street from the train station here in Durango.
All the wine is made in-house with imported grapes from all over the world.
You can even go on a date here.
A date at this magnificent winery is among the top things to do in Durango for couples.
Visit this winery, spend some quality time, and enjoy the serenity and tranquility.
Furthermore, you can try some of their fantastic menu selections of fine wines while enjoying their cheese plates or delicious chocolates.
You can also rent this place out for private parties with great prices and a nice atmosphere.
Providing delicious house-made wines and supporting Veterans, this winery is highly recommended if you come by Durango.
Address: 528 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, United States
4. Historic Downtown Durango
Downtown Durango is known as the community’s living room and is the place to be in Durango.
Downtown Durango, a Nationally Registered Historic District, is where the Old West and the Southwest collide.
The downtown area is home to boutiques, award-winning restaurants, hotels, excellent museums, art galleries, and boutiques, fusing modern living with western charm.
You will love perusing the one-of-a-kind shops packed with unusual items and regional treats.
In addition, the Main Avenue in Durango is a sensory delight.
Most days, the sun shines through the streets, emphasizing the colorful storefront awnings and the nearby mountain peak.
Whether you are on the busy main avenue or the nearby residential third avenue, there are numerous historical attractions to discover in Downtown Durango.
You will also discover the Strater hotel built in 1887.
Eat, stay, and play in Durango’s historic downtown.
Enjoy some of the downtown’s rich arts and culture while sipping a gourmet coffee or taking in some of the historic buildings and distinctive businesses.
Address: Durango, CO, United States
5. Durango Downtown Inn
The Durango Downtown Inn is ideally situated in the heart of the city’s historic district, just one block from Historic Main Street.
The Animas River and Animas Mountain Trailhead are examples of the area’s natural splendor, plus nearby attractions like the Durango Discovery Museum and the Durango and Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad.
This hotel features an indoor pool, a restaurant, and a 24-hour fitness center.
Additionally, the hotel offers free self-parking space and Wi-Fi in public areas.
Similarly, the 139 guest rooms at the Durango Downtown Inn all have air conditioning, safes, and coffee/tea makers.
If you need to keep fit, this hotel offers a 24-hour fitness center, a sauna, and an indoor pool for guests’ enjoyment.
Besides many fascinating activities, the hotel provides visitors with the convenience of easy access to dining, shopping, and art galleries.
Only five short blocks separate the hotel from the renowned Durango Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad, making it a very short stroll.
The lovely Animas River flows behind the hotel, providing visitors with stunning scenery and a 3-mile river walk.
The Applebees Neighborhood Grill and Bar have delicious cuisine options for any meal of the day.
Address: 800 Camino Del Rio, Durango, CO 81301, United States
6. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum
If you have never been on a train, you need to do this!
Even if you have been on a train ride before, this is one of the best things to do in Durango.
The train was built in 1882 and was run by coal back in the day, but now with steam.
It’s a fantastic piece of history but is still used to bring supplies to people that live up in the mountains, especially when it is snowing.
The train ride is so much fun and exciting! Worth every dollar for the tickets.
Take the half-day ride up to and back.
In short, it’s a fantastic experience from the moment you get on the train at the station.
The vista is so spectacular that it was previously named “One of the World’s Top Ten Most Exciting Train Rides” by the Society of American Travel Writers.
The food selection is excellent, they also serve coffee and tea.
Although snapping photos is a must; however, don’t forget to enjoy the view with your own direct experience before pulling out that camera.
The engines and renovated cars are also excellent.
Go here before you take the train ride to get the railroad’s full history.
Lastly, don’t worry if you are on the opposite side of the scenic view when the train takes off. The train will do a 180 when returning to the station. However, both sides will experience the scenic view equally in the end.
Address: 479 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, United States
7. Animas River Trail
The Animas river trail is your best bet if you want the perfect place to spend the day, whether for exercise or for relaxation.
The path is a beautifully picturesque walking trail that follows the Animas River for a few miles.
The trail meanders through untouched wilderness areas, where a variety of creatures and birds can be seen easily, especially in the low light of the morning and early evening.
Given that the Durango and Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad runs next to the path, it’s also a well-liked location for train enthusiasts.
Furthermore, the pathway is wide enough to share with bikes, joggers, strollers, and walkers.
Similarly, dogs are also allowed.
A few popular river activities that may be accessed from the trail include fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
Despite the high volume of foot (and bicycle) traffic, the walk is very tranquil and scenic.
There are many beautiful views to behold as you go along the trail.
Address: Durango, CO, United States
8. Bar D Chuckwagon
Bar D Chuckwagon transports guests back to the Old West with live musical and comedic performances, jovial dances, and hearty fare.
It’s in a beautiful setting right by the cliff sides.
For more than 50 years, this attraction has been a family favorite.
You will enjoy the various activities offered, including hayrides, gold panning, horseshoes, roping, and nature trails for hiking.
A cowboy chapel for weddings, a chocolate shop, ice cream and coffee café, a blacksmith shop, a gift gallery, a leather shop, and a record store are also present.
In fact, there’s something for everyone.
There are many shops and fun western attractions.
Kids area, wheelchair accessible, coffee and ice cream, miniature train, and hayrides are also available.
They also have beer/wine/liquor and tons of excellent local sodas
Lastly, the food here is delicious and you should check them out.
Address: 8080 Co Rd 250, Durango, CO 81301, United States
9. Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant
It’s not every day you come across Mexican foods, and this is a place you don’t want to miss in Durango.
They offer a wide variety of classic Mexican dishes on their menu, including tacos, chimichangas, and fajitas. These dishes are served with the typical sides of refried beans, rice, and guacamole.
In addition, the first basket of chips and salsa are complimentary and even comes with a cabbage salsa.
Little amounts and budget-friendly selections can be found on the kid’s menu, which is available to people traveling with young children.
A complete bar is also available for adults needing some liquid comfort.
Everything from the chips and salsa to the numerous meals is delicious.
The shrimp dishes are delicious, and the beef on the Plates has a genuine Mexican flavor.
Rice and beans are delicious, and there is plenty of them.
The house margaritas are fantastic, as are the Asada Tacos.
The selection is vast, and the portions are big, so you can come with an empty stomach and leave satisfied.
Lastly, there are several large televisions in the bar, a favorite among football fans.
Address: 948 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, United States
10. Schneider Park, Durango
The Schneider park is another park in Durango you will get to enjoy.
The park is a great place to explore if you like to spend some time with yourself. The peaceful and quiet setting of the park set is nice.
The Animas River is close to the park and is adjacent to the Gardenswartz (9th street) bridge. In addition, you can get easy access to the river trail.
It is also within walking distance of downtown.
You can choose from various activities in addition to the scenic environment.
Outdoor enthusiasts like fishing and hiking the park’s paths, and a skate park is available for Singles and families to enjoy.
If you intend to go fishing, keep in mind that you will need a Colorado fishing license.
Address: 950 Roosa Ave, Durango, CO 81301, United States
11. Animas Chocolate Company
Inspired by the beauty and nature of the Animas River, Animas chocolate company serves one of the best chocolates in Durango.
In fact, if you like chocolate, you will love this place!
Just walking through the doors and perceiving the smell of chocolate, the ambiance, and the smiling staff will heighten your spirit.
They make handmade truffles, bars, and a variety of chocolate confections, using the highest quality chocolate.
They also serve locally roasted coffee and are meticulous with how it is made.
Similarly, attention to detail sets a coffee shop apart, and this place does not disappoint.
Their coffee and hot chocolate are delicious.
Furthermore, Animas Chocolate Company has received various honors over the years, including the title of “Most Decadent Truffle” from the Ouray Wine, Chocolate, and Cheese Festival.
Address: 920 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, United States
12. James Ranch, Durango
James Ranch is located in the stunning Animas River Valley 10 miles north of Durango, Colorado.
This location combines a ranch, a market, and a restaurant.
Additionally, the ranch holds concerts and other entertaining events all year round. So come prepared to stroll and be hungry!
Make a trip to James Ranch Market.
You can buy several products manufactured on the ranch, including ice cream, raw milk cheese, grass-fed meat, and homemade jams and jellies!
You can also select from a wide range of commodities produced by regional and organic farmers.
The James Ranch cuisine will definitely convince you to go if the market isn’t enough to do so.
The ranch’s restaurant is called Harvest Grill.
Despite using organic, sustainable, grass-based meats, dairy, and vegetables, the food is traditional American.
Try the burger with renowned rosemary, garlic mayonnaise, Belford cheese, and caramelized onions!
If you don’t like meat, you’ll enjoy the veggie burger, which is made of sliced summer squash grilled, spiced, and topped with all the fixings from the special burger.
If you need some social space, they have a sizable outdoor covered patio and picnic tables out on the “lawn.”
The fact that the food is sourced entirely (or as much as possible) from the farm or local producers is truly amazing.
In addition, during the summer, if you go to the restaurant on a Thursday, you’ll be treated to Burger & Band night.
Seasonal changes affect the hours. It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, during the summer.
Similarly, the James Ranch is only open on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the snowy months.
Address: 33846 US Hwy 550, Durango, CO 81301, United States
13. Animas River
Escape the busyness of downtown Durango with a stroll along the river.
The Animas River, one of Colorado’s last free-flowing rivers, gets its name from the Spanish for the “river of lost souls.”
Two separate traditions, both originating from the Spanish exploration of the region in the 16th century, explain how the Animas River earned its name.
According to a tradition, the name derives from a group of conquistadors who were slaughtered on the banks of a river and were buried without receiving their last supper.
While the second argument is based on the explorers’ discovery of abandoned Pueblan dwellings scattered along the riverside.
The Animas River contributes to Durango’s ethereal atmosphere.
Similarly, the river is full of vitality and history as it flows from the San Juan Mountain peaks through downtown Durango and beyond.
It is a vibrant area of Durango and an ideal location for outdoor enjoyment.
White water rafting, fly-fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, tubing, and many other water sports are excellent on the Animas River.
Because it provides prospects for world-class fishing, anglers adore the Animas.
The most popular species to catch in the river are brown and rainbow trout, both of which may get fairly big because the river can go up to 100 feet wide in some areas.
Address: Durango, CO, United States
14. San Juan National Forest
This magnificent site is a haven for wildlife lovers and nature lovers.
San Juan National Forest is a large and beautiful forest with the wild and wonderful Animas River running through the area.
There are countless exciting things available in the San Juan National Forest, which covers more than 1.8 million acres.
You can go there for the ideal outdoor vacation amidst soaring trees, breathtaking mountain backdrops, a glistening lake, and much more.
Furthermore, it has numerous campgrounds, historical places, hiking paths of various lengths and functions, and so forth.
Visit the San Juan National Forest to marvel at nature.
Numerous activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, picnics, taking in local animals, and a host of others, can be enjoyed here.
Address: Colorado, United States
15. Purgatory Resort, Durango
Purgatory Resort is a ski resort situated 25 miles north of Durango in the San Juan Mountains.
Two hundred sixty inches of snowfall annually totally covers the mountain.
The Durango ski resort has been rated as the “second least crowded ski region on the continent” because it has such a diversity of slopes and trails spread across more than 1,360 skiable acres.
Purgatory Resort offers winter activities for everyone to enjoy. These include tubing, snowshoe Tours, Sleigh Rides, and snowcat skiing.
You can also visit even if winter activities aren’t your thing.
The trails are open for activities, including hiking and mountain biking.
Furthermore, lifts are even available to take you to the mountain’s summit for a little cost to simply take in the scenery.
Enjoy a variety of restaurants and shopping while admiring the spectacular San Juan Mountains, and of course, go skiing or mountain biking on the stunning mountain.
Similarly, you can unwind in a beach chair in front of Purgy’s or see the evening alpenglow over the Needles Peaks in The Village.
There are also practical on-site lodging choices at Purgatory Resort.
There are great alternatives to suit your needs, from spacious condos and townhomes to a luxurious ski-in/ski-out resort.
Address: 1 Skier Pl, Durango, CO 81301, United States
16. Durango Community Recreation Center
This community recreation center is incredible.
For just 7 dollars for a day pass, you get access to a basketball court, racketball, a full gym set upstairs, and an indoor track that revolves around the basketball court.
Due to its numerous affordable and fun options, the Durango Community Recreation Center is a favorite among both residents and visitors.
Spend some time indoors at the Durango Community Recreation Center alone, having your me-time.
There is also a whole swimming pool and a swimming park!
Kids will adore this space, and it is a great place to get in a workout.
The center also offers an aerobic studio, gymnasium, free weights, and sectorized or pin-loaded weight equipment.
Furthermore, cardiovascular equipment, climbing wall, youth games area, community meeting rooms, and outdoor amphitheater are also available.
Address: 2700 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, United States
17. Santa Rita Park, Durango
Here’s another beautiful park in Durango where you will have a blast.
Situated along the Animas river path, Santa Rita Park is a beautiful place to be in Durango.
Whether you want to take a stroll along the river on the paved path, observe birds, have a picnic lunch, go kayaking, or let off some steam on the new playground apparatus, there’s something for everyone.
Overall, the park is wonderful.
So you have access from the playground to walk, hike, bike, or stroll on the concrete path.
Additionally, it’s the ideal location for a family picnic, teaching your children to ride a bike or fish, and horseshoeing.
Address: Durango, CO, United States
18. Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum
One free thing you can do in Durango is to visit the Durango fish hatchery and wildlife museum.
It’s straightforward to find the Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum on East 16th Street.
It is a wonderful place to see what a fish hatchery is and to learn about the wildlife in the area.
Moreso, the wildlife museum is housed in a single structure in the far corner, while the fish hatcheries are located in two parts off to the sides.
There are only three primary rooms in the wildlife museum; however, each one has a lot of information.
The largest room features numerous taxidermy exhibits along with different informational plaques and placards.
Similarly, the hatchery provides an interesting up-close view of the trout breeding process.
Even though the hatchery is not the biggest around; however, there are different fish species accessible to view.
One fun thing you can do here is feeding the fish. There are a few fish food dispensers on the property, and each usage costs one quarter.
Address: 151 E 16th St, Durango, CO 81301, United States
19. Durango Adventures and Zipline Tours
Would you like to see an aerial view of Durango? This is a great way to see it.
The beautiful natural sceneries of Durango is just one of the many attractions.
With their picturesque zip line trips, Durango Adventures, conveniently located on the west end of Durango, gives visitors the impression that they are on top of the world.
By scheduling a ziplining tour with this outstanding company, you will enjoy the region’s breathtakingly beautiful views of Durango.
Observe the beautiful Colorado Mountains from high above on the enormous timber towers located among the Ponderosa Pines.
Whether you choose to participate in activities on land, in the sea, or in the trees, it offers a wide variety of tour alternatives.
In short, the experience is quick, enjoyable, and thrilling.
Address: 20673 US-160, Durango, CO 81301, United States
20. Durango Craft Spirits
Amy and Michael McCardle provide hand-crafted, “artisan” Whiskey, Moonshine, and Vodka at Durango Craft Spirits.
Durango craft spirits is a popular distillery in Durango.
In short, they offer a wide selection of different alcoholic beverages on their large menu.
This tiny Durango hideaway is nestled away in a calmer area of downtown Durango at the intersection of 11th & Main.
This mini-bar is a distinctive local hangout for connoisseurs seeking delectable spirits or a nightcap.
Furthermore, a trip to Durango Craft Spirits can teach you something about the city’s past.
The featured drinks are named after historical figures from the town whose biographies may be found on the bar menu.
Enjoy a leisurely and laid-back afternoon with your companions at this unique brewery as a respite from local exploration and outdoor adventures.
In addition, if you go on a Friday night, you can enjoy a live music performance while drinking beer, bourbon, vodka, and all.
It’s great to go on nights when music is available because it makes for a very comfortable evening!
Address: 1120 Main Ave #2, Durango, CO 81301, United States
21. Mountain Waters Rafting
A rafting trip in Durango, Colorado, is a fantastic opportunity to explore the region of the Southwest.
The company has been operating for up to 25 years.
Different difficulty levels are available, and even better, there are things for people to do even if they don’t want to go rafting!
Mountain Waters Rafting shares its unquenchable passion for whitewater rafting with everyone who visits!
A few of the company’s mixed adventure packages include 4X4 Jeep trail trips, a tour of Mesa Verde National Park, rentals of SUPs and bicycles, including a Pedal and Paddle combo tour, ziplining, rock climbing, and other exciting outings.
They are not only skilled raft guides but also masters of customer service. Their objective is to make sure you have a fantastic day.
Address: 303 W College Dr, Durango, CO 81301, United States
22. Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Trail Tours
The Mild to wild rafting and jeep trail tours in Durango is an excellent option if you love rafting.
Since more than 20 years ago, Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Trail Tours has provided an exhilarating Durango experience.
The tour organization also offers whitewater rafting, not only in Colorado but also in Utah and Arizona.
On a guided educational jeep trail tour, admire the splendor of the Colorado mountains as you ascend to 13,000 feet!
In addition, they offer everything from two-hour excursions to four-day excursions.
Rafting excursions are offered on five stunning, unique rivers that wind through desert and mountain settings.
You may comfortably experience mountaintops with open-air jeep tours.
Explore various kinds of terrain, including railways and western ghost towns.
23. Pinkerton Hot Springs, Durango
This is a quick roadside attraction on Highway 550, about 10-15 miles north of Durango.
Pinkerton Hot Springs began as a flow of water that used to seep from the hillside, which travelers would stop by and see.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the spring is the history.
Pinkerton Hot Springs was named after dairy farmer James Harvey Pinkerton.
In addition, the townspeople would use these springs as health retreats, as they believed the water had healing properties.
However, the Colorado Department of Transportation diverted the spring’s water to a cement structure after it became a traffic hazard.
This cement structure quickly became covered in mineral deposits, resulting in the red-tinted rock pile structure that visitors see today.
You will love it here at the hot spring. Moreover, the spring is something to behold and sets the stage for a fantastic road trip on the Million Dollar Highway.
The attraction is just off the road, so it is hard to miss such an exquisite formation. So don’t miss it while in Durango.
Address: 35554 US-550, Durango, CO 81301, United States
24. Soaring Tree Top Adventures
The soaring tree top adventures in Durango is the first and longest zip line in the United States.
In addition, soaring Tree Top Adventures is a rural location on 180 private acres totally encircled by the San Juan National Forest mountains.
Long before you even get to Soaring, this unique adventure starts. Your Durango zip line tour begins with a first-class rail ride (the Durango & Silverton train) over spectacular mountain scenery.
You will have 5.5 hours of zip line tour here.
Asides from the zipline tours, they also serve delectable meals.
Magnificent four-course gourmet lunch served on a suspended platform with a view of the Animas River is included in your full-day zip line adventure.
There are also vegetarian options and kids’ menu.
Address: 964 Co Rd 200, Durango, CO 81301, United States
Discover enchanting museums, lovely parks, amazing ski resorts, eye-catching wineries, picturesque hiking routes, historic places, and a lot more.
You won’t regret anything here; it’s a perfect year-round destination.