Denver's Art District on Santa Fe
With more than 70 galleries, several art studios, Spark Theater Company and other creative organizations, the Art District on Santa Fe becomes more of an arts destination in Denver each year. The district's First Friday Art Walk has burgeoned into an all-out street party on Santa Fe Drive, bringing a unique mix of Denverites out to see what's cooking each month. The Third Friday Collector's Preview gives gallery-goers a chance to meet artists and gallery owners in a more intimate setting.
Corazón de Trinidad
Affordable living and beautiful landscapes in Trinidad have recently resulted in an influx of artists in residence and full galleries in Corazón de Trinidad (the heart of Trinidad), and the Southern Colorado Repertory Theater’s professional company fills the year with classics and original works.
On a stroll through the quaint, brick-lined streets of Old Trinidad, you can also ogle one of the largest collections of Victorian houses west of the Mississippi.
North Fork Valley Creative District
The southwest Colorado towns of Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford have been recognized for their peppering of studios, home workshops, fine artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers, as well as the beautiful land that inspires them. Organic farms, orchards, vineyards and mesas have conspired to make the North Fork Valley a pocket of natural and artist-made riches perfect for a few days' exploration just an hour's drive from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Pueblo Creative Corridor
Pueblo's Creative Corridor is home to a First Friday Artwalk that's been going strong for more than 20 years. The area's historic buildings house a collection of boutiques, art galleries, studios and sidewalk cafes anchored by the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. Museums, live music, galleries, public sculpture, fountains, frequent festivals and events and more bring this historic district to life.
Ridgway Creative District
Previously well known for its role in John Wayne's "True Grit," Ridgway's Creative District is growing more diverse thanks to the more than 10 percent of its 900 residents who call themselves artists. Galleries, studios, a historic theater and arts education center come alongside furniture, jewelry, candle and clothing makers, not to mention Billings Artworks, which makes the GRAMMY Awards each year. Check out the town's twist on artwalks with each month's full-moon studio tours.
Telluride Creative District
Telluride can truly celebrate its uniqueness: It's a town where all shops, restaurants and hotels are independently owned and Colorado minded. Renowned for blockbuster events like the Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and others, the creative district's box-canyon-cradled, walkable downtown hosts musicians, painters, photographers, bookbinders, chefs and many others who contribute to the air of creativity in Telluride.
Salida Creative District
Arkansas-Riverside Salida was named one of Outside Magazine's Top 10 Best Small Towns in 2009, and since then it's become even better! Its friendly downtown is truly a creative district, packed with studios and galleries, locally focused eateries and shops, breweries, distilleries and more — all of which make beautiful and creative use of the town's Victorian-era buildings. Long appreciated by rafters, mountain-bikers and fourteener climbers, Salida's reaching all kinds of new travelers these days.
Greeley Creative District
Home to the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley is a lively college town with an artistic soul. The city’s creative district, which encompasses the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, sponsors year-round events and activities to inspire locals, including flash mobs, First Friday Night of Art and Concert Under the Stars performances.
Downtown Colorado Springs Creative District
With more than 50 pieces of permanent public art, a roster of esteemed cultural institutions and a jam-packed schedule of artsy events and festivals, it’s no surprise that downtown Colorado Springs earns marks for creativity. The city’s artist-led First Friday Downtown Tour gives visitors the chance to visit a selection of galleries under the wing of an expert in the district located at the city’s core. Meanwhile, organizations like Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Pikes Peak Center come to life daily with shows and exhibits by local and national artists.
River North Art District
Dubbed RiNo (pronounced “rhino”) by locals, Denver’s River North neighborhood is bordered by I-70 to the north, I-25 to the west, Park Avenue West to the south and Arapahoe Street to the east. While RiNo maintains its industrial origins, a growing crew of visionary businesses, including architects, art galleries, furniture makers and photographers, have found a home in the area. Many studios and galleries welcome browsers, particularly on First Friday, and a collection of hip restaurants and bars supply added entertainment.
Downtown Longmont Creative District
Downtown Longmont, registered on the National Register of Historic Places, is infused with a mix of historic charm and contemporary style. The approachable creative district is home to two community theaters and more than 15 art galleries — all surrounded by an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. Stop by the neighborhood on the second Friday of each month for special gallery openings, promotions and activities.
40 West Arts District in Lakewood
Don’t be fooled by Lakewood’s suburban nature, the city west of Denver hosts an understated artistic community. Lakewood’s creative district, located in the heart of Lakewood within the West Colfax Corridor, has more than 20 public art installations, multiple performing arts venues and a dozen galleries. While you’re exploring the area, be sure to stop into one of the area’s quirky eateries, including Casa Bonita, a one-of-a-kind Mexican joint with cliff-diving shows (there’s a real waterfall!), and Davies Chuck Wagon Diner, a retro diner that’s been serving the area since 1957.
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