With all there is to see and do in Durango, it’s sometimes hard to fit everything in. But did you know there are many things that you can do that are free and fun for the whole family? Check out our Top 10 list of budget-friendly free things you can do in Durango.
Visit Downtown Durango and snap a pictures with some the beautiful public art Downtown and on 2nd Ave. Stop by the cowboy that sits out front of the Downtown Main Mall in the 800 block of Main, or Whinny & Friends, a set of horse sculptures down by the Durango & Silverton Railroad Depot. And don't miss Puck - he's outside the Durango Arts Center on 2nd Ave. (and he actually moves). This is kid-friendly and a perfect opportunity to get a quick shot of the kids enjoying art in Downtown. And don't forget to get a photo in front of the Historic Strater Hotel!
Animas River Trail
Walk or roll down the Animas River Trail. The Animas River Trail has approximately 9 miles of paved trail that follows the Animas River. Walk, ride, or roll down the trail. Bring a picnic lunch and stop at some of the parks along the way. Before you embark, stop by the Durango Welcome Center for a map of the Trail, which gives you access points and a location of all the parks (and they'll share with you where you can grab some snacks to-go). See a digital map here.
Historic Walking Tour
Take a self-guided Historic Walking Tour. Durango is rich in history, with numerous buildings that date back into the late 1800s. Discover a bit of the history behind some of Durango's most historic buildings. Review our self-guided walking tour here or pick up a copy at the Durango Welcome Center.
Durango Botanical Gardens
Visit the Durango Botanical Gardens behind the Durango Public Library at 1900 E. 3rd Ave. along the river trail. It's a beautiful local garden with native plants, art and more designed to educate the public about utilizing water-wise plants specific to the Four Corners. find out more information at durangobotanicgardens.org/
They also offer a full list of events including the Great Garden Series with different speakers and topics.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
Check out the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Historic Downtown Durango. The museum has a giant interactive train model, authentic train cars and engines for the kids to explore, and many interesting artifacts about the history of the railroad, and exhibits are regularly updated. It is free to visit. Learn more here.
Fish Hatchery & Wildlife Museum
Stop by the Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum. This unique facility is located in the North Main District at 151 E. 16th Street. (You can also access this from the Animas River Trail.) The Hatchery produces more than 1.3 million fish a year, and you can feed the fish via coin-operated dispensers. Bring some quarters so you can feed the fish! Download a brochure here Inside the museum view displays of wildlife and learn more about the animals that live in Southwest Colorado. The Hatchery is open from 8am-4pm daily. The Wildlife Museum is open May- September.
Free Music in Buckley Park
Enjoy music in Buckley Park. Each summer the Community Concert Hall hosts free concerts in the park starting in June through July. Concerts are held at Buckley Park on Thursdays from 5-7pm. Bring your own lawn chair, picnic dinner or enjoy food from one of the food vendors.For further information, visit www.durangoconcerts.com.
Hikes Near Downtown
Go for a hike! Durango has more than 300 miles of trails that are within 30 minutes of Downtown Durango. Visit the Durango Welcome Center for maps and directions to all local area hikes. Several hikes close to town include: Animas Mountain Trail, Colorado Trail, Horse Gulch, and Ned Overend Mountain Park. Check out Durangotrails.org for more information on these trails and other fantastic trails in the area. You can find books and trail maps at Maria's Bookshop downtown or stop at a local bike shop.
Enjoy the Animas River
Take a dip in the Animas River. Toward the end of summer, July- August, the weather is warm, and the water is calmer on the Animas. There are several spots along the Animas River trail to stop and put your feet in to cool off. You can access some beach spots off of 32nd St. Keep a good eye on all kids and pets to not wade too far in especially when the water is high. Check out this map for access points and location of summer beach areas.
Views & Photo Ops From The Lion's Den
Take a drive up to Fort Lewis College and visit the Lion's Den and snap a photo from the top of the mesa. This can also be access by a short hike from in town which is a relatively easy trail and great for kids. The Lion's Den trailhead is located at Chapman Hill Ice Skating rink at the dirt lot at the end of the rink. Lion's Den features an overlook of the Animas Valley and the La Plata Mountains. At the top there is a brick covered area. It's a great place to get a family photo to remember all your adventures in Durango. Lions Den is also right across from the Fort Lewis College recreation complex that is complete with a playground, covered picnic area, restroom and softball fields.
Located in the North Main District, they offer a variety of exhibits and program for all ages. The museum is housed in the former Animas City school building, and features an authentic restored classroom from the early 1800s. Located at 3065 West 2nd Avenue. Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, Saturday 10-4pm and Wednesday & Friday 1pm- 4pm.