Our painting-like landscapes serve up some serious inspiration and set the stage for a love affair with art that spreads across the state.
Exhibit A: our 26 Certified Creative Districts, where artists live, work and contribute to Colorado’s cultural fabric. Though these areas have excellent things to see and do year-round, color outside the lines on your next visit with a special stop at these amazing festivals and fairs.
Breckenridge Arts District
Every May/June (canceled in 2020)
Winter sports may steal the spotlight, but Breck has one of Colorado’s liveliest creative districts. Blue River Plaza is the hub for WAVE: Light + Water + Sound, a four-day swirl of interactive artwork, temporary installations and musical performances. Visiting later in the summer? Don’t miss August’s multimedia-encompassing Breckenridge International Festival of Arts.
North Fork Valley Creative Coalition
This rich agricultural region on the Western Slope cultivates artists, too — especially in Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford, the eclectic towns that make up the North Fork Valley Creative District. Meet makers, view their work and sample tasty eats and drinks, many of which were grown, made or brewed in the area. Bonus: Enjoy national and local music acts every Thursday in August during Pickin’ in the Park.
Carbondale Creative District
Forty minutes from well-heeled Aspen, Carbondale proudly marches to its own beat. See for yourself at this offbeat fair, which draws around 145 vendors selling art and handmade wares, alongside music and wonderfully weird performers.
Pueblo Creative Corridor
Pueblo’s Arts Alliance Studios houses a diverse collection of artists and creative businesses. You can see where the magic happens on a studio hop, with new themes each month to keep things interesting.
Downtown Longmont Creative District
Longmont’s vibrant downtown sizzles at this summer celebration, complete with an artisan market, fashion show, street performers and concerts. Feeling adventurous? Join Longmont’s version of “The Amazing Race,” held in the afternoon.
Corazón de Trinidad
From bedazzled cars to trucks turned into dragons, the “vehiculart” at this zany fest is a sight to behold. Keep your engine revving into the night at CarDango, a dance-party circus held in the Bizarre Car Garage.
Ridgway Creative District
There may be nowhere more beautiful to see the full moon than in Ridgway, where local artists open their studios each month in a lunar celebration that has a different twist every time, from film fests to potlucks, against the backdrop of the San Juan Mountains.
Crested Butte Creative District
Part art and part performance, be mesmerized as glowing, molten iron is poured into sculpted scratch blocks, resulting in one-of-a-kind art pieces (you can make your own, too).
Greeley Creative District
Weekly, June–September (postponed in 2020)
With free concerts on the 9th Street Plaza, sidewalk art, face painting and more, Friday Fest is fun for all ages. But grown-ups will flip for Greeley’s famous “go-cup” service, which lets you take your craft brew to-go.
Downtown Fort Collins Creative District
Third Friday of every month
Food is the medium of choice in Old Town, where self-guided tours lead you to a diversity of local cheesemongers, chocolate shops, wineries and more.