Though set far from the bright lights of the big city, Durango enjoys contemporary
amenities and a rich cultural history, as well as the cohesiveness and caring spirit
traditional in rural communities.
La Plata county is considered “tri-ethnic”, embracing Native American, Latino
and Anglo cultures. With Southern Ute Tribal lands stretching across a portion of
the county, residents and visitors have opportunity to participate in annual celebrations
and festivals, plus learn more about these “first residents” at the growing cultural
center in Ignacio.
With names such as Rio de las Animas, Escalante Crossing and Santa Rita Park,
the region’s Hispanic heritage is well-documented, and the culture is celebrated
with the arts and during annual festivals such as Fiesta Days and Cinco de Mayo.
Fort Lewis College lends a spirit of progressiveness and youth to the fabric of
the region, as student involvement and enthusiasm is woven throughout the community.
On campus, the growing arts complex sports the acoustically perfect Community Concert
Hall, the world renowned Center for Southwest Studies and the Arts Center, which
showcases local as well as national artists. A prestigious faculty reaches out into
the community through lectures, seminars and more.
From locally roasted coffee beans and award-winning hand-crafted beer, to gourmet
foods and farm-fresh produce and meats, great food is a given in La Plata County.
Unique dining establishments rival those of the big city, with cuisine ranging from
progressive and ethnic to the more traditional eateries that embrace the area’s
ranching heritage. In season, the bustling farmers market is not only a source for
fresh, natural and organic foods, but a community reunion as well.
Durango’s historic downtown offers a “locals” experience to visitors, with independent
retailers creating unique shopping and social opportunities. As Durango is a growing
arts community, galleries are also plentiful, showcasing the fine artists and photographers
who have captured the essence of the region in their mediums.
The more familiar shopping opportunities are also a part of the county, including
nationally-known and popular retail chains located in the Durango Mall, and large
discount stores for home, building and office supplies along the 160/550 corridor.
Music festivals of all types offer something for nearly everyone – from the internationally-respected
classical series, Music in the Mountains, to the grassroots Bluegrass Meltdown,
the hills are indeed alive with the sounds of music.
Athletic endeavors are a natural part of the lifestyle, including downhill skiing
and boarding activities at Durango Mountain Resort, and the event that launched
Durango’s reputation as a cycling mecca: The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
The Snowdown winter festivities, Durango Independent Film Festival, Arts & Crafts
Architectural Conference, and even Bayfield’s Sheep Festival are just a sampling
of the activities that add sparks to life in La Plata County.
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