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Your Insider’s Guide to Creative Crested Butte

With knockout scenery and a renegade spirit that hearkens back to Colorado’s early mining days, it’s no wonder inspiration thrives in Crested Butte.

Check out this artsy mountain town on your next Colorado vacation.
Check out this artsy mountain town on your next Colorado vacation.
See public art in motion.
See public art in motion.
Hop on a bike and explore everything Crested Butte has to offer.
Hop on a bike and explore everything Crested Butte has to offer.
Snack on delicious cuisines along Elk Avenue.
Snack on delicious cuisines along Elk Avenue.
Explore the town's many events that take place throughout the year.
Explore the town's many events that take place throughout the year.
Artists in action abound in Crested Butte.
Artists in action abound in Crested Butte.
View one of the many public art sculptures.
View one of the many public art sculptures.
A trip to the Centennial State wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Crested Butte Arts Festival.
A trip to the Centennial State wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Crested Butte Arts Festival.
The sunsets are just better in this mountain art haven.
The sunsets are just better in this mountain art haven.

The creativity of the community shines through in everything from public art installations, to artisan cocktails, to locally crafted goods. Read on to find out how to experience Crested Butte’s unique sights, sounds and flavors like a local. 

Things to See & Do

Crested Butte offers an amazing array of options for exploring the local arts scene. Start by finding out what’s on tap at the Center for the Arts Crested Butte located in Town Park. This new, state-of-the-art venue serves as the premier cultural hub for the region, presenting an annual lineup of live concerts, dance performances, theater, visual and literary arts, speakers, culinary demonstrations and film screenings. You can even brush up on your own artistic skills during your visit to the center. Drop by the monthly Literary Salon or sign up to paint a masterpiece at a Creativity and Cocktails class. Don’t depart without checking out Town Park’s new sculpture garden, which features installations by local and nationally recognized artists. 

You’ll also find a vibrant gallery scene in Crested Butte. Make a day of gallery hopping around town and see the latest works in all styles and mediums. Must-stops include the Center’s Kinder Padon Gallery, RedLine Gallery, Oh Be Joyful Gallery, Paragon Art Gallery and The Design Collective. Or, take a little field trip on the free town bus to visit Alpenglow Gallery at The Lodge at Mountaineer Square, located slopeside and just steps from the ski lifts. Grab a delicious hot drink at Coffee Lab nearby, where all proceeds support the scientific research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.

Local boutiques showcase the community’s makers and artisans as well. Shop for homegrown wellness products and cosmetics at Rooted Apothecary, or indulge in a botanical massage, body ritual or facial in the store’s spa room. Colorado Real Soap Company allows you to take a little slice of Crested Butte’s natural beauty home with you, as owner Valerie Jaquith creates micro-batches of nourishing body and hair products using wild medicinal plants she gathers from the nearby mountains.

If you’re visiting in the summer, plan your stay to coincide with one of the town’s fun arts festivals. The free Alpenglow Summer Concert Series happens every Monday evening throughout the summer, rain or shine, at the Center for the Arts Outdoor Stage in Town Park. Bring your picnic blanket and plan to grab some grub from local food and drink vendors. Mark your calendar for the last weekend in July for the Crested Butte Arts Festival, featuring art by more than 165 international visual artists, as well as family activities and live music and entertainment. The renowned Crested Butte Film Festival rolls into town in September with a roster of nearly 80 films, along with filmmaker talks, panel discussions and parties. 

The Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum is also not to be missed! With weekly historic walking tours, home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, world-class exhibits and more, the small museum boasts some big treasures. 

Crested Butte is home to the Majestic Theater, a fabulous independent movie theater showing multiple new releases a day, along with a full bar and some of the best popcorn in the county.

Dine Out

The dining and libations landscape in Crested Butte is as varied and exciting as its famous mountain terrain. Montanya Distillers is an environmentally sustainable distillery known for its creative rum-based concoctions. Grab a seat in the tasting room and pair your cocktail with seasonally and internationally inspired small plates served up by local chef Rose Reyes. 

Serious pizza aficionados should head straight to The Secret Stash and order the Notorious F.I.G, a devilishly delicious pie heaped with mozzarella, blue cheese, asiago, thinly sliced prosciutto and, of course, black mission figs. Insider’s tip: Make sure to ask for the salt-and-pepper crust. 

When you need a little caffeine fix, Camp 4 Coffee has you covered. The beloved hometown roaster has been voted “Best Cup of Joe” in town every year since Crested Butte started its annual poll. 

Get Outside

Outdoor recreation is the heartbeat of Crested Butte for good reason — with its jaw-dropping, snow-capped peaks and endless miles of trails to explore. And no matter your level of athletic prowess, you can enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. Set out on foot or bike using this free, handy map designed to take a self-guided outdoor Public Art Tour all around Crested Butte. The map includes the narrative and history of each installation you’ll encounter on your alfresco adventure. Marvel at the license plate-covered house at Fourth Street and Elk Avenue and don’t miss the fanciful, light-catching Knight and the Dragon sculptures at Seventh Street and Red Lady Avenue.

Crested Butte is unmatched for its variety of year-round outdoor recreation activities that will leave you feeling refreshed, invigorated and inspired — perhaps even a bit creative! Take your pick from world-class skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, ice skating, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, climbing, rafting, paddle boarding and much more.

Want more?

Download a brochure and map as well as a five-day itinerary spanning several artsy towns featured in the Colorado Creative Corridor.