Explore arts and culture through Northwest Colorado’s vibrant Creative Districts. Nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, these creative hubs are entrenched in arts, culture, history, and heritage.
Instead of telling you what to do day by day, we’ve organized this road trip by sections and provided various options for you to choose your own adventure.
Lakewood → Grand Lake → Steamboat Springs
- Starting in Lakewood, navigate to US-6 W
- Merge onto 1-70 towards Grand Junction
- Exit and follow US-40 W heading to Grandby/Empire
- Turn onto US Highway 34 until you reach Grand Lake
- From Grand Lake, follow US 34 W
- Continue on to US-40 W
- Follow US-40 W until you arrive in Steamboat Springs
40 West Arts is a nonprofit, state-certified creative district along Lakewood’s historic West Colfax Avenue. Experience the arts, exhibitions, and events that engage the whole family. Create, connect, and celebrate as you begin your Art 2 Art tour.
BREAKFAST: Start your morning with a cup of joe on the outdoor patio at Mint & Serif Coffeehouse. For a full meal, head over to the original Colfax Davies Chuck Wagon Diner. Opened in 1957, this diner includes tabletop jukeboxes, hearty food of the old west, and the charm of a 50s Diner.
LUNCH: No matter what kind of meal you have in mind, Pho 2 Love Vietnamese Noodles & Grill Restaurant is ready to prepare it for you. Or, if you are looking for something quick, head to Chicago Style Beef & Dogs for some of the best Italian Beef west of Harlem Ave.
DINNER: Treat yourself to a unique dining experience at Edgewater Public Market. The Edgewater Public Market is Denver’s most eclectic collective of local food stalls, retail boutiques and rotating events. It’s where food trucks graduate beyond the truck and where regional favorites bring their flavor. For an elevated meal, head to the West 29th Street Restaurant and Bar where they blend the Old World with the New West, delivering French-influenced cuisine in an elegant, Colorado-inspired setting.
PERFORMING ARTS: The Lakewood Cultural Center features a 320-seat theater, art galleries, fine art and dance studios, meeting and event spaces, and a full calendar of fine and performing art classes and camps, performances and special events. The Benchmark Theatre is a small, professional theatre company founded in 2016. High-quality productions and unique programming with an emphasis on why stories need to be told.
VISUAL ARTS: Lakewood boasts several, extraordinary galleries including, 40 West Gallery, NEXT Gallery, Core New Art Space, Flourish Gallery, Kanon Collective, EDGE Gallery, Lakewood Arts, and Pirate: Contemporary Art. Don't miss the 40 West ArtLine, a 4 mile walkable, bikeable art route located in the heart of the 40 West Arts District along the iconic West Colfax Avenue and the W Line light rail in Lakewood, CO.
LITERARY: Full Moon Books and Event Center is a metaphysical bookstore, gift shop and event center. Striving to be a place of spiritual healing and spiritual growth for people on a wide variety of paths. The Edgewater Civic Center & Public Library is centrally located and provides equal access to information and opportunities to community members and visitors.
HIT THE LAKE: Sloan's Lake is the biggest lake in Denver, and at 177 acres, it’s the city’s second-largest park. Boasting two playgrounds, tennis courts, multiple athletic fields, boating, basketball courts, multi-use trails, and picnic areas, there is something for everyone at this park.
Day 3 and 4: Grand Lake
Visit Grand Lake Creative District: a vibrant, walkable community with rich history and culture. Enjoy creative ventures throughout!
• With amazing views of Winter Park Ski Resort, and just a few steps from the Base Village it's easy to see why Fraser Crossing & Founders Pointe is a desirable place to own. Each unit has been designed for utmost comfort and style, tastefully decorated for a contemporary mountain feel.
• Family-owned and operated, the rustic Black Bear Lodge lodge is located minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, the Village of Grand Lake, the Colorado River, and several lakes.
• Every season there’s entertainment and activities for everyone at Granby Ranch.
FOOD: Discover local unique and delicious food throughout Grand county along the Grand County Culinary Tour. Each stop offers hand-crafted foods with locally grown ingredients.
DRINK: Find a designated driver to visit Grand County’s distilleries and breweries at the Liquid Arts Tour. Check out hand-crafted wines and beers at the 11 stops located throughout the valley.
• Granby Mural Tour: In the summer of 2018, the Town of Granby partnered with So-Gnar Creative Division to create the first community murals in Grand County. After seeing the community come together to support this public art initiative, a mural festival was undertaken in 2019. Experience the fruits of this labor by following the trail of Granby’s murals. The Fraser Mountain Mural Festival is held annually in August.
• Plein Air @ Altitude: Plein Air @ Altitude 2021 (Sept. 7-11) will highlight a selection of noteworthy artists painting Colorado Headwaters Land Trust easements, Rendezvous Colorado properties, as well as showcasing Grand County natural and historical attractions.
• Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre: Just as Rocky Mountain Rep tells stories to its beloved audience throughout the seasons, the Rep has a rich story of its own dating back to the 1960’s. RMRT is a treasured destination for thousands of Grand Lake visitors. Check out their calendar of events here.
• Grand County Historical Society Tours: Grand County is rich in history with old wagon roads and homesteads and stage stops. Tours include Homestead and Stage Stops & Historic Driving Tours. Check out the several museums in the area here.
• Grand County Historical Association: Grand County Historical Association (GCHA) was founded in 1974 following in the footsteps of the Grand County Pioneer Society. The organization was created to bring together people interested in history and to preserve the history, historical artifacts, and historical buildings in Grand County, Colorado. GCHA operates four historical museums.
AUTHORS AND POETS
• Mountain Shire Bookstore: Independently owned bookstore with a wide variety of books and games.
Day 5 and 6: Steamboat Springs
Explore the frontier of imagination in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
$ Holiday lnn: Your basecamp for adventure in NW Colorado! Located on U.S. Highway 40, our hotel is a great location for business and leisure travelers alike.
$$ The Steamboat Grand: Near the base of the ski mountain. Easy access to all mountain activities + great views!
$$$ Moving Mountains. Luxury Home Rentals: Treat yourself to a luxury stay in Steamboat Springs with all amenities included.Rabbit Ears Motel. 201 Lincoln Ave.
Iconic and historic Steamboat Motel in Steamboat’s Downtown Creative District.
Breakfast: Sit by the creek at Creekside Cafe and listen to the water flow by as you eat food prepared from local ingredients. Enjoy time outside under the morning sun or in the bustling atmosphere of Freshies with fresh combinations of food and down home hospitality as you start your day.
LUNCH: Seedz is all organic, all delicious and tucked downtown on the main street. You can find it by the white picket fence that surrounds it. Backdoor Grill has the best burgers in town with combinations you never thought of.
DINNER: Located on the Yampa River, Aurum is a summer favorite to watch the tubers float by as you sip a Moscow Mule or dive into their brussel sprout appetizer or duck wings. For an intimate dining experience head to a staple of Steamboat, Cafe Diva, for some of the richest, most flavorful food in Steamboat.
• Western Heritage Artwalk: Don’t miss October’s Western Heritage Artwalk. Local artists across multiple galleries compete for the honor of being the annual winner of a pair of cowboy boots and cowboy hat from F.M. Light & Sons.
• Mural Walking Tour: Take a walk downtown and discover vibrant murals that explore the themes of heritage, arts and culture and nature. The 18 murals included in the Steamboat Mural Tour are displayed onto buildings and walls all around town and painted by artists from around the world.
• Steamboat Art Museum: Established in 2006, the museum presents rotating exhibitions of artwork by living masters whose work is relevant to the culture and heritage of the West
• Steamboat Symphony Orchestra: The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra has been putting music at the heart of our community for years. Enjoy the season opener at Strings Music Festival on September 11-12.
• Piknik Theater: Piknik Theater creates diverse and professional quality performing arts for the Yampa Valley. Check out the Shakespeare Performances in the Fall.
• Strings Music Pavilion: Live performances have returned to Strings Music Festival. Don’t miss one of the iconic Steamboat institutions bringing world-class music to the valley. Performances throughout the fall.
• Tread of Pioneers Museum: Experience all that Steamboat has to offer and discover the people and events that shaped this once wild western frontier outpost into a beloved Rocky Mountain destination resort town. Visit the museum or join a walking tour.
AUTHORS AND POETS
• Off the Beaten Path Bookstore: There’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee and a good book. Off the Beaten Path Bookstore has both. Discover local authors as well as nationally acclaimed authors at this locally owned bookstore.
NATURE WALKS AND TALKS
• Yampa River Botanic Gardens: A place of serenity, celebrating the trees, shrubs, plants, and birds of the Yampa River Basin.