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Ridgway Creative District: Views, Brews & Rendezvous

Surrounded by the rugged peaks of the San Juan Mountains and the Cimarron Range in Colorado, Ridgway is a historic mountain town that got its start as an 1800s railroad hub.

Views in Ridgway (credit: Lisa Kral)
Views in Ridgway (credit: Lisa Kral)
David Nunn performs at the Sherbino
David Nunn performs at the Sherbino
Live music in Ridgway by "Yaz" Ishikawa
Live music in Ridgway by "Yaz" Ishikawa
One of Ridgway's parks and green spaces (credit: Kay Lair)
One of Ridgway's parks and green spaces (credit: Kay Lair)
Sneffels Fiber Arts Festival
Sneffels Fiber Arts Festival
Ridgway Rendezvous Arts and Crafts Festival
Ridgway Rendezvous Arts and Crafts Festival
Ridgway RiverFest
Ridgway RiverFest
Ridgway Pilates class (credit: Lizzie Tilles)
Ridgway Pilates class (credit: Lizzie Tilles)
History on display in Ridgway (credit: John Wood)
History on display in Ridgway (credit: John Wood)
Sky Bar at Chipeta Solar Springs Resort (credit: Matt Merlyn)
Sky Bar at Chipeta Solar Springs Resort (credit: Matt Merlyn)
Honoring a local artist at the Sherbino
Honoring a local artist at the Sherbino

Today, you’ll find a thriving artistic community in the Ridgway Creative District, housed in Old West-style storefronts. With more than 20 percent of the town’s 1,000 residents working as artists, producers or creative professionals, the innovative spirit is evident as you stroll the galleries, shops and museums throughout this quirky, off-the-beaten-path gem on the southwestern tail of the Colorado Creative Corridor. Check out Ridgway's Creativity and Entrepreneurship brochure to find creative businesses and places to visit, shop and eat, as well as other services.

Meet Artists & Makers

Peek into the galleries and workshops of local artisans as you explore the Ridgway Creative District. At Kane Scheidegger Fine Art Photography, marvel at breathtaking landscape photographs of Colorado and the American Southwest. Mountain Girl Gallery is a women-owned shop showcasing locally made ceramics, metalwork, photography and mixed-media works, and Art by the Park features work by local artists as well as those from around the country, with pottery, paintings, sculptures, art glass and authentic Native American crafts.

Two of Ridgway's newest shops featuring local art are 610 Arts Collective, next to the Sherbino Theater, and Amulet Arts, featuring J Dewey Designs and Fine Metalsmithing — also on Clinton Street. For truly unique gifts, score some funky finds — from African artwork to handmade furniture to children’s toys (you never know what you’ll find) — at Lupita’s Bizarre Bazaar. Meanwhile, Timber Creek Gallery is the spot to pick up chic clothing, jewelry and home décor with a mountain-town twist (think: vintage-inspired ski signs, hand-hooked pillows and embroidered flannel shirts).

Looking to shop handmade goods by local makers? Pop into Cimarron Art Glass, a working glass forge with a retail section that feels like an art gallery. At Bluecorn Naturals, pick up a few pure beeswax candles in all shapes and sizes. Or satisfy your musical inclinations with a high-quality, custom guitar at Cimarron Guitars. For musicians looking to take their instruments on adventures, Panji Bags creates eco-friendly hard cases specifically for handpan drums and other instruments, as well as cases for other uses.

Think Outside the Gallery

Beyond the workshops and art galleries, Ridgway’s creativity and heritage can be found all around. Feel like part of the community at The Sherbino Theater, where music, movies, lectures and performing arts have been bringing together locals and visitors alike for more than a century. Delve into the local history at the Ouray County Ranch History Museum and Ridgway Railroad Museum.

Shop handcrafted goods while talking to local makers at the weekly Farmers’ Market in Hartwell Park from May to October. Snap photographs of some of the spectacular vistas all around Ridgway, including one of the best views of Mount Sneffels from the Divide Ranch & Golf Club. Along the way, keep an eye out for poems and artwork displayed in alleyways, as well as public sculptures and murals in the parks and along trails around town. Dennis Weaver Memorial Park is a magical place to relax, stroll and picnic, with wildlife, a poem rock, a medicine wheel and a 2,800-pound eagle monument with a 20-foot wingspan.

Celebrate Art

Creativity is celebrated in its many forms with vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. Experience the local arts scene at Ridgway RiverFest, held the last Saturday of June, featuring the “Junk of the Unc” homemade watercraft race, as well as live music and youth art activities. Every Thursday evening in July, bring a picnic to Hartwell Park and enjoy a free line-up of live music in all genres during the Ridgway Concert Series. Enjoy art demos, deals, treats and fun around town at Ridgway First Fridays during the summer months. In mid-August, experience individuality and quality craftsmanship at the Ridgway Rendezvous Art and Crafts Festival, a juried arts-and-crafts festival. The last weekend of September, explore the unique Sneffels Fiber Arts Festival, which showcases quality fiber arts and clothing made by local and regional artists, as well as classes and demonstrations. Reignite your own creativity at Ridgway Spirit Fest with inspiring discussion, art, dance and music. Winter months bring more opportunities to experience art with the Independent Film Fest at the Sherbino Theater in November and Noel Night around town in December.

Discover Healing Arts

After an evening of dancing or standing and talking with friends at an art reception, the best way to start your next day is with a rejuvenating massage, a refreshing fitness class or a relaxing soak in the hot springs. Visit Ridgway Pilates to be guided in bodywork by highly trained instructors. Stop in for a couple hours at Ridgway Yoga Shala to practice one of many yoga styles offered or purchase a healthy drink, tea or resource for healing. Feeling like a massage, hyperbaric oxygen therapy or other therapeutic work? Call to make an appointment at Wholeness Massage & Bodywork, Balance Natural Medicine or one of Ridgway's other health and wellness services. And don’t forget to stop by Orvis Hot Springs & Spa to enjoy a soak in the outdoor clothing-optional pools, the swimsuit-only indoor pool or private hot tubs (they also offer massage).

Sip & Savor

After a day of browsing the galleries and shops, recharge with mouthwatering ice cream from Cafe Ridgway a la Mode or enjoy fare at one of many eateries in Ridgway, where you can get a taste of the town’s culinary creativity. A kitchen that started in a 1966 Airstream trailer has grown into a cozy restaurant, Eatery 66, cooking up homespun, seasonally sourced dishes (from Colorado beef chili to roasted chicken). Taco del Gnar is a true Ridgway original with handcrafted fillings, from house-made lamb sausage and smoked pork belly to portobello mushroom and ahi tuna.

On Clinton Street, you can step into a former grocer and barber shop from 1894 that today houses Provisions at the Barbershop: a European-style café serving up gourmet dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner (hint: start with a charcuterie and cheese board). Newcomer Crumb Bakery and Café has already amassed a local following with its line-up of baked treats, creative salads and gluten-free and vegan options for breakfast and lunch. On the corner, Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery is known for its cold pints of locally brewed English-style ales served alongside artisan pizzas, while its sister pub, Colorado Boy Depot, serves up beer in Ridgway's industrial district on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.

The True Grit Cafe is a Western, saloon-style restaurant that pays tribute to John Wayne and the film by the same name, one of many movies filmed in the Ridgway area. Full Tilt Saloon welcomes you to town near the corner of highways 550 and 62 with a hearty menu of burgers (including yak), salads, sandwiches, pastas, steak and a full-service bar. Across Highway 550 in Trail Town, Panny's Pizza is a family-friendly spot to fill up on pizzas, salads, calzones and ice cream.

Plus, the restaurant scene in Ridgway goes well beyond borders with exotic flavors at Thai Paradise, Oriental Chinese Restaurant, the Adobe Inn Cantina, Land & Ocean Costa Rican and Four Corners Cafe, with southwestern fare and a coastal influence. When you’re ready to start all over again, kick off your morning with locally roasted coffee at Cimarron Coffee & Books and Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters or breakfast at Kate’s Place.

Want More?

Read up on the four other towns of the Creative Corridor: Crested Butte, Carbondale, Paonia and Salida

Discover can't-miss events along the Creative Corridor

Download the Colorado Creative Corridor brochure and map

View a 5-day Colorado Creative Corridor itinerary