Grand Junction might aptly be described as a "suburb without a city." This does not mean that the area lacks a vibrant downtown; rather Grand Junction offers the outlet stores and conveniences of a suburb, but without the big city problems of traffic jams, pollution and high crime. Grand Junction is the only major commercial and transportation hub between Denver and Salt Lake City. Yet it derives its name not from the railroads, but from the Colorado River, formerly named the Grand. The city it located at the confluence, or junction, of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers.
Grand Junction is an ideal spot to plan a series of day trips to the surrounding natural beauty of Southwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah. But the city should not be overlooked for its own attractions. There are a variety of things to do in Grand Junction. Dinosaur museums, wine tasting, fine dining, excellent shopping, arts and theater, pedestrian malls and outdoor recreation combine to make this a location worth enjoying.
Surrounded by mesas, the Grand Valley is an area of high desert beauty. To the North are the austere tan bluffs of the Bookcliffs, which culminates in Mount Garfield, an icon of the area. To the east lie the evergreen slopes of the Grand Mesa, largest flattop mountain in the world, and home to many great activities such as skiing, hiking, fishing and horse back riding. (No fall trip to the mesa would be complete without a drive to see the changing aspen leaves). To the South are the red sandstone formations of the Colorado National Monument. You can visit all these mesas, since they are interlaced with a variety of roads, as well as hike-able and bike-able trails.
Because of the area's (usually) mild winters and spectacular scenery, locals joke about "Chief Ouray's Curse," named after the Native American Ute leader who used to live in the region. The curse says that once you've visited the Grand Valley, you're destined to return again and again.
Between 250 and 1300 AD, the Fremont people were the area’s first inhabitants. Their culture can still be glimpsed today in the many petroglyphs and pictographs they created on canyon walls. Circa 1500, the Ute nation moved into the Grand Valley.
With the conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521, the Spanish formed the Viceroyalty of New Spain and claimed a large part of North America for themselves, including the Grand Valley.
As Spanish settlers established colonies along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico during the 1590s, they introduced horses to various Native American nations. It was the Utes' turn in the 1630s. Through both bartering and theft, the Utes acquired their horses from the Spanish. This transformed Ute society as they became skilled horsemen.
The first Europeans arrived in the Grand Valley in 1776, when the Dominguez-Escalante expedition passed through the area. Silvestre Vélez de Escalante was a Franciscan friar who attempted to discover an overland trade route between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Monterey, California. After six grueling months, the expedition was abandoned and Escalante returned to Santa Fe through Arizona.
In 1821, the Viceroyalty of New Spain successfully revolted, splitting with the Spanish crown. The Grand Valley became part of Alta California, a province in the new nation of Mexico.
Hoping to develop the area, Mexican officials opened the land up to mountain men, trappers and traders. Between 1821 and 1840, explorer Antoine Robidoux ventured through the Grand Valley in search of beaver pelts. Robidoux built Fort Umcompahgre (then known as Fort Robidoux) near present-day Delta. With this influx of adventurers and speculators came many of the men who would later lead U.S. Army expeditions and Government Surveying parties through the region: Kit Carson, John Charles Fremont and Captain John Gunnison.
In 1846, the U.S. Army invaded and defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American War. With the Treaty of Guadalupe y Hidalgo, the U.S. gained control of the Grand Valley, as well as California, Nevada, Utah, and portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Friction between the Utes and whites over resources was inevitable. In 1868, the U.S. Government and the Ute Indians signed a treaty that designated the Grand Valley as part of the Ute reservation. But the Grand Valley's rivers offered both a reliable source of water and arable land. This was compounded by the discovery of gold in the San Juan Mountains to the south. These factors proved to be too great for the settlers to resist. Eventually the Utes were pressured to leave the area. After the Utes' forced relocation, settlers poured into the area.
In 1882, the City of Grand Junction was founded. The railroad came to town a few months later. Canals were dug to tap into the Grand and Gunnison Rivers, and Grand Junction built its economy on farming and ranching.
In 1900, dinosaur bones were discovered at Riggs Hill to the west of town by Elmer S. Riggs, Assistant Curator of Paleontology at the Field Museum in Chicago. Huge Jurassic era dinosaurs like bracchiosaurus, apatosaurus, allosaurus, and stegosaurus were pried from the desert soil.
By the mid-20th century, Grand Junction began to ride out a series of boom-and-bust cycles related to mining. In the 1950s, the Atomic Energy Commission set up shop in town to buy uranium for making atomic bombs. Over 35 mining companies used Grand Junction as a base to mine the radioactive element found throughout the Colorado Plateau. During the energy crisis of the 1970s, oil shale was discovered on the Roan Plateau east of Grand Junction. This boom came to a crashing halt in 1982, leaving the Grand Valley in a decade long local recession.
In the last 25 years, the Grand Valley was discovered as an optimal place to grow wine grapes. An eclectic mix of aging hippies, hopeless romantics, artists and entrepreneurs flocked to the area. They all shared a common dream of creating a wine culture in Western Colorado. Slowly, with a lot of trial and error, this core group of self-taught winemakers began growing grapes and crafting award winning wines.
Grand Junction now serves as a recreational hub for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. Leisure travelers can hike, camp or enjoy boating and fishing in the surrounding national parks, forests and recreation areas.
When to go
The mild, sunny days of spring and fall are why people move to this mini-sunbelt. Late March is usually when the fruit orchards blossom, with the days averaging about 70°F (21°C) and the nights in about 40°F (4°C). Spring barrel tastings happen at many of the vineyards in April and May, and are accompanied by food and wine pairings. High season occurs during the summer months of June, July and August. Late summer can range around 90 to 100°F (32 to 37°C) in this desert biome, but is well worth the visit because the peaches and other fruit crops fill the fruit stands throughout the region. September is harvest time for the grapes. The third week in September is also the height of the fall color season in Colorado, when the aspen and cottonwood trees change many brilliant colors of yellow, red and orange. October is a shoulder season where the weather is usually decent, but minus the crowds and high hotel prices. November through February are the slow months, when the Grand Valley shuts down for the winter. Bargain hunters can still book hotel rooms at drastically reduced prices, while a majority of the wineries and tasting rooms remain open. Be sure to call ahead, however. Western Colorado is home to an oil shale and natural gas boom, and many hotels are already full of energy workers needed to work the fields.
- Denver International Airport, (IATA: DEN). Commonly referred to as DIA. It is located about 20 miles to the east of downtown Denver. Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines all maintain hubs at the airport in Concourses A, B, and C respectively. Most other major domestic carriers also have service here.
- Grand Junction Regional Airport, (IATA: GJT), otherwise known as Walker Field, is served by six airlines with nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Some service is seasonal. For private pilots, it is also possible to fly your small plane into the airport and leave it while you tour the area. Most hotels on Horizon Drive offer shuttle service from the airport. Taxi service is also available at the airport.
- Sunshine Taxi, ☎ +1 970-245-8294.
- Rental car agencies at Walker Field include:
- Advantage Rent-A-Car, 2828 Walker Field Dr, ☎ +1 970-243-4469.
- Alamo, ☎ +1 970-243-6626. Daily 07AM-11:15PM.
- Avis, ☎ +1 970-244-9170. Su-F 8AM-10:30PM,Sa 8AM-8:30PM.
- Hertz, ☎ +1 970-243-0747. Daily 7:30AM-11PM.
- Interstate 70 runs east-west just north of town. Grand Junction is about 30 minutes east of the Utah border and 4 hours west of Denver.
- US 50 runs north-south beginning in downtown, running south to Delta and Montrose, then turning east towards Gunnison and Pueblo.
- US 6 runs east-west parallel to Interstate 70.
- US 139 runs north south, rejoining I-70 west of Grand Junction, in Loma. US 139 travels north over Douglas Pass to Rangely.
- See also: Rail travel in the United States
Amtrak serves Grand Junction with the California Zephyr, which runs daily between Emeryville (in the San Francisco Bay Area) and Chicago. Grand Junction Amtrak is located on 339 S 1st St, a few blocks west from downtown.
- Grand Junction, Clifton and Palisade
For extreme mountain bikers, it's possible to follow the Kokopelli Trail from Moab, Utah, then join up with the Colorado River Front Trail system and bicycle all the way to downtown. This is a five or six day, strenuous excursion where you must pack in your own food, shelter and water.
There's another north-south running slick rock trail that fat tire enthusiasts can follow into town:
- Tabeguache Trail, ☎ +1 970-244-3000. Trail crosses public land for 142 miles connecting Montrose and Grand Junction. The Tabeguache Trail begins in Shavano Valley and weaves through the canyons, mesas and highlands of the Uncompahgre Plateau before ending in "No Thoroughfare Canyon," a few miles west of Grand Junction.
The Grand Valley's roads were originally designated by how many miles they were from the Utah border to the West. This "grid" was further defined by a North-South axis of roads demarcated by letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, etc. Unfortunately, the map collided with reality; the roads had to skirt a patchwork of fields and orchards. No one was willing to relinquish valuable arable land for orderly roads. The results are a bewildering amalgam of added fractions and decimals. Travelers may find themselves at F 3/4 Rd or D.50 Rd. The best answer is to grab a free map at one of the local Visitor's Centers or Chambers of Commerce.
Travel by car, bike, or rent a limo or shuttle service.
There is a local bus system called Grand Valley Transit. +1 970 256-RIDE (7433). The downtown transfer station is at 6th St. & South Ave. Fare for one ride is $1.50. An all day pass costs $3. A pass good for 11 rides is $15.
- Downtown Grand Junction is a pedestrian mall, and easily navigated on foot. For the rest of the area, however, you will need a car or bike.
- Art on the Corner (Located along Main Street in downtown), ☎ +1 970-245-9697. Local artists display sculptures. They are bolted down to the sidewalks. The art is changed every 6 months or so. Some of the work is absolutely incredible, but some of it is not.
The Cross Orchards Historic Farm, Dinosaur Journey Museum and Museum of the West are all part of the Museum of Western Colorado.
- Cross Orchards Historic Farm, 3073 F Rd, ☎ +1 970-434-9814. Living history museum featuring historic buildings and agricultural equipment from the early 1900s.
- Dinosaur Journey Museum, 550 Jurassic Ct, Fruita, toll-free: +1-888-488-DINO (3466). Real fossils, cast skeletons and robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs. The hands-on, interactive museum includes paleontology displays, a working laboratory where dinosaur bones are prepared for display, a collections room where scientists study dinosaurs and other animals, a simulated earthquake ride, a dinosaur library reading area, a sandbox for making your own dinosaur tracks and a “quarry site” where kids can uncover actual Jurassic dinosaur bones.
- Museum of the West, 462 Ute Ave, ☎ +1 970-242-0971. Navajo art and rugs as well as artifacts from 19th century Grand Junction. Go “underground” into full size uranium mine and examine a miner hard at work and learn about the area's uranium boom
- Western Colorado Botanical Garden & Butterfly House, 641 Struthers Ave, ☎ +1 970-245-3288. Tu-Su, 10AM -5PM summer, 10AM -4:30PM winter.. Butterfly house, greenhouse and outdoor gardens featuring the plants of Western Colorado
- The Art Center - Western Colorado Center for the Arts, 1803 N 7th St, ☎ +1 970-243-7337. Changing art exhibits and art classes. Catch a gala opening if you can.
- Western Colorado Math & Science Center, 2660 Unaweep Ave, ☎ +1 970-254-1626. Hands on math and science "exploratoreum" for kids.
- Palisade to Grand Junction The wineries are clustered in the town of Palisade and on Orchard Mesa. After your tour, follow Interstate 70 along the Colorado River from Palisade to the foot of the spectacular Colorado National Monument just west of Grand Junction.
- Delta, Montrose, Paonia & Hotchkiss Follow US 92 west along the Gunnison River. Turn north on US 65 and stop at the wineries along Surface Creek, on the south slope of Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the world. Or, travel along the North Fork of the Gunnison River on US 92 east out of Delta and then US 133. This will take you to Hotchkiss and Paonia, where you will find yourself in the West Elks AVA.
- Grand Mesa National Scenic and Historic Byway. Road traversing the world's largest flattop mountain. Begins at Cedaredge Pioneer Town Museum Welcome Center on US 65 off US 92. The Land O'Lakes Visitor Center, Land's End, and Plateau Valley Area offer fishing, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, photography and amazing views.
- Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Consisting of Highways 141 and 145, this loop trail takes you through sandstone canyons, with wildlife, dinosaur bones and Native American pictographs along the way. Visit the historic Driggs Mansion or the Hanging Flume, a 19th century wooden water pipe hanging off the canyon walls.
- Dinosaur Digs, 462 Ute Ave, ☎ +1 970-858-7282, e-mail: email@example.com. Unearth your own apatosaurus! The Museum of Western Colorado offers a variety of paleontology expeditions in which you will help museum scientists excavate Jurassic dinosaur fossils from quarries, search for new sites, and locate dinosaur tracks in Colorado and Utah.
- Adobe Creek National Golf Course, 876 - 18 1/2 Rd Fruita, ☎ +1 970-858-0521, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Framed against the backdrop of the scenic Colorado National Monument, this course offers 27 holes. With three separate nine holes for all skill levels and ages.
- Chipeta Golf Course, 229 - 29 Rd, ☎ +1 970-245-7177, e-mail: email@example.com. 18 holes with views of the Grand Mesa, Bookcliffs, Uncompahgre Plateau and the Colorado National Monument. Club house, driving range.
- The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa, 2325 W Ridges Blvd, ☎ +1 970-263-9270, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 18 hole course surrounded by pink sandstone buttes next to the Colorado National Monument. 11 Elevated Tees, 41 Bunkers, deluxe, elegant clubhouse.
- Lincoln Park Golf Course, 800 Mantlo Cir, ☎ +1 970-242-6394. This 9 hole course, 36 par public golf course is located in one of Grand Junction's fine old municipal parks in a Victorian neighborhood.
- Tiara Rado Golf Course, 2057 S Broadway, ☎ +1 970-254-3830, e-mail: email@example.com. When this course went into bankruptcy during the energy bust of the 1980s, the city bought the course. Called "The Rock" by locals, the fairway plays along the base of the Colorado National Monument's red cliffs. A member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program, Tiara Rado is home to quail, pheasants, owls, herons, deer, rabbits, foxes and all three species of bluebirds in the United States. Home to the Pinon Grill Restaurant.
There are a handful of day spas outside of the resort towns, offering facials, manicures, pedicures, hot stones, body wraps, massages, aromatherapy and other indulgences.
- La Belle Amie Day Spa & Salon, 344 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-0622.
- Grand Junction Athletic Club Day Spa & Salon, 2515 Foresight Cr, ☎ +1 970-245-4100.
Grand Junction is a great place for the outdoor enthusiast. Activities range from rock climbing and whitewater rafting, to skiing, golf, and horseback riding. The Colorado National Monument is only a 15-minute drive from most of the area hotels. Guided tours are available. While in the monument tourists can enjoy a leisurely stroll down scenic paths or take long hikes (like Monument Canyon Trail).
- Riggs Hill dinosaur hiking trails, 462 Ute Ave Grand Junction (mailing address), ☎ +1 970-242-0971. Both stegosaurus and allosaurus bones have also been uncovered at this paleontology hot spot. The 0.8 mile, self-guided interpretive trail winds over the old quarry site.
- Rattlesnake Canyon Arches Trail (Accessible via dirt road near the western entrance to the Colorado National Monument. Enter the park and ask the ranger for a map and directions.), ☎ +1 970-244-3000, fax: +1 970-244-3083, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may have heard of the highest concentration of natural arches in the world in Moab, but what about the second largest? That would be Rattlesnake Canyon, with its nine arches. Hike along the mesa top, even walk through a couple of the arches. Like the more famous Arches National Park, but without the crushing summertime crowds. You may see deer, mountain lion and a herd of bighorn sheep as well as bald and golden eagles.
- Dominguez Canyon (From Grand Junction, travel south on US 50 for approximately 17 mi to the Bridgeport Rd turnoff (CO Rd 39.50) turn right. It's 4.5 mi on the Bridgeport Rd to the parking area. The footbridge is 1 mi upriver from the parking area.), ☎ +1 970-244-3000, fax: +1 970-244-3083. Consists of two major canyon systems, Big Dominguez and Little Dominguez. Biomes range from upper Sonoran piñon-juniper desert along the Gunnison River, to Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine to aspen at higher elevations.
- Gunnison River Bluffs Trail, ☎ +1 970-244-3000, fax: +1 970-244-3083. Runs along the Gunnison River and the historic Old Spanish Trail. The spring and fall are the best times to do this trail
- Chuck Davies Guide Services, 1480 13 Road Loma, ☎ +1 970-858-0370, fax: +1 970-858-0191, e-mail: email@example.com. Offers hunting for elk, deer, bear and mountain lion using archery, muzzleloader, rifle or handgun.
Another activity that the Grand Junction area is known for is mountain biking. Some of the most appealing single track is between Grand Junction and Fruita on of I-70. Kokopelli Trail runs the 142 miles from Grand Junction Colorado to Moab, Utah. Depending on your riding ability it can take 5 to 7 days to complete. There are several sections that can be accessed by country road and 4x4 trail. Parts of the trail are only accessible by bike. The trail is pretty well marked at every 1/2 mile or so. To get there you take I-70 to the Loma exit. That's exit 15. Cross over the interstate to the south. At the access road turn right. Just before you get to the weight station you will turn left onto a gravel road. Follow that for about a half mile and you will find the parking lot.
The Colorado National Monument is also home to technical climbing. Locals have on several occasions scaled Independence Monument to have a wedding on top. It's quite a climb, about 500 feet. But you don't have to get married to do it. There are several tour guides that can take you in.
- Colorado Alpine & Desert Adventures, P.O. Box 2803, ☎ +1 970-245-8313, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Kris Hjelle is a guide that takes people canyoneering, climbing and repelling.
Whether you're looking for a day trip or a week long expedition, Grand Junction is a decent base for trips down the Colorado, Green, Yampa and Gunnison Rivers.
- Westwater Canyon, ☎ +1 435-259-7012. With eleven named rapids sporting wicked names like Big Hummer, Funnel Falls, Surprise, Skull, Bowling Alley and Sock-It-To-Me, this is a hairy whitewater experience. Go with a professional outfitter. Just 40 minutes west of Grand Junction in Utah.
- Adventure Bound River Expeditions, 2392 H Rd, ☎ +1 970-245-5428, toll-free: +1-800-423-4668. Whitewater rafting trips on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon and Cataract Canyon, as well as, whitewater rafting on the Green River through Lodore Canyon and Desolation Canyon and the Yampa River in Colorado and Utah.
- Catfish Canoe Co, 2944 I-70 Business Loop Ste 206, ☎ +1 970-255-7377. Self guided tours with rentable canoes and innertubes. Outfitter provides shuttle Service at both ends of your trip, rafts, canoes, kayaks and tubes in any combination, detailed river maps, paddles and lifejackets. And you'll have to sign a release form freeing the Catfish people from all liability.
- Rimrock Adventures, 927 Hwy 340 Fruita, ☎ +1 970-858-9555, toll-free: +1-888-712-9555, fax: +1 970-858-9465, e-mail: email@example.com. Enjoy one-and-a-half hour to three-day adventures down the Dolores, Gunnison and Colorado Rivers.
- Powderhorn Ski Resort, 48338 Powderhorn Rd Mesa Co 81643 (45 minutes east of Grand Junction on the Grand Mesa), ☎ +1 970-268-5700.
The Little Bookcliff Wild Horse Area is about 10 miles east of town. That is an area known for its wild mustang herd. People can go by jeep or car. Take I-70 east to the Cameo exit. Go across the Colorado River and stay on the main road. You will pass the power plant. After about a mile and a half you will find the parking lot. Please respect the seasonal closures for nesting and birthing of wildlife.
Festivals & events
Be sure to attend the Colorado Mountain Wine Fest, the official wine festival of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, the state-funded entity that promotes Colorado wine. This increasingly popular four day festival is the Oktoberfest of Colorado's wine industry, so book your rooms early. It is the biggest event of the year in the Grand Valley, and hotel rooms fill quickly. The Wine Fest is accompanied by Tour of the Vineyards, a bike-a-thon and chance to cycle to area wineries and sample the fare.
- April - Spring Barrel Tasting, Fruita Fat Tire Festival
- May - Downtown Art and Jazz Festival, Spring Barrel Tasting, Junior College World Series (JUCO)
- June - Country Jam USA Music Festival, Thursday Farmers' Market Festival
- July - Thursday Farmers' Market Festival, Reds, Whites, & Blues Festival & 4th of July Celebration, Independence Day Parade, Mesa Country Fair
- September - Rock Jam Music Concert, Pork 'n' Hops, Colorado Mountain Winefest, Tour of the Vineyards, Downtown Car Show, Thursday Farmers' Market Festival, Air Show! Western Colorado
- October - Downtown Spooktacular Parade
- November - Downtown Wells Fargo Tree Lighting
- December - Winter Festival, Parade Of Lights, Spirit Of Christmas Walk
Grand Junction has a mall with all of the Big City stores. And of course there are two Wal-Marts. However, if you go down to Main Street, that is the historic shopping park. There are many different shops to choose from. Keep in mind, Main Street is also a step back in time. Everything shuts down about 6PM. Thursday evenings in the summer would be the exception to that rule. That is when they do the farmers market. That is fun for all. It's not just a bunch of vegetable vendors. There are all different kinds of businesses there on Thursdays. And, the stores stay open late. There are even clowns making animals out of balloons for the children.
- 13 Photography Gallery & Shop, 354 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-2220. Art gallery, photography classes, prints, original sculpture, darkroom.
- A Haggle of Vendors Emporium, 510 Main St, ☎ +1 970-245-1404. Antique store with a little bit of everything. Attached to a 1950s-themed diner next door.
- Alida's Fruits, 557 Main St, ☎ +1 970-434-8769. Gourmet fruit specialties, jams, jellies, syrups, chocolate dipped dried fruit and fresh Colorado peaches and apples in season.
- Author's Gallery Bookstore, 537 Main St, ☎ +1 970-241-3696. Antique and collectable books, used hardbacks and paperbacks, out of print books
- Enstrom's Almond Toffee, 701 Colorado Ave, ☎ +1 970-683-1000. Chocolate, ice cream, coffee shop and retail outlet
- Girlfriends, 316 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-3234. Accessories, women's apparel, beauty supplies, gift items, home decor, stationery
- The Muse, 126 South Park Sq. Fruita. 11- 6PM mon - thur. Women's fashions, musical instruments, CDs, and guitar lessons
- Native Imports, 127 South 6th St, ☎ +1 970-243-7735. Native American imports, including pottery, baskets, chile ristras, photographs, rugs and kachina dolls.
- Planet Earth & the 4 Directions Gallery, 524 Colorado Ave, ☎ +1 970-256-9630. Gallery, antiques, clothing, exhibits, events.
- Razzmatazz, 552 Main St, ☎ +1 970-245-8318. Women's clothing, accessories, jewelry, home decor.
- Toys for the Fun of It, 519 Main St, ☎ +1 970-248-3511. Great educational toy store with all kinds of neat finds. There should be more kid's stores just like this one.
- Triple Play Records, 530 Main St, ☎ +1 970-243-3974. Great vinyl collection.
- Unique Expressions, 336 Main St, Suite 105, ☎ +1 970-241-2142. Pottery, glass, fabric art, jewelry, apparel, stationery, children's items.
- Working Artists Studio & Gallery, 520 Main St, ☎ +1 970-256-9952. Original painting, sculpture, photography, pottery, stained glass by local artists.
- Zephyr of Grand Junction, 554 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-3890. Women's clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes.
If you stick to the hotel/motel row along I-70, or only venture along the I-70 business loop by the Mesa Mall, you will find many fast food and chain restaurants. But food in Grand Junction does not have to be generic Americana. Restaurants in the Grand Valley have matured in the last 30 years. From a handful of mom and pop diners in the 1980s, Grand Junction's dining scene now embraces many great sidewalk cafes, bistros, espresso bars, bakeries and high-end eateries. A small influx of immigrants have also opened up a variety of ethnic restaurants. Choose from sushi to burritos to Pad Thai and Vietnamese egg rolls. Most of the best places to eat are clustered along the Main Street pedestrian mall downtown.
- Good Pastures, 733 Horizon Dr, ☎ +1 970-243-3058. Old fashioned family style restaurant. Attached to the Quality Inn on the main drag into town, this understated restaurant has solid, well prepared food. It started life as a health food restaurant 30 years ago, and still serves up homemade granola, fresh squeezed apple, orange and carrot juice, as well as homemade desserts. Breakfast is when Goodpastures shines. Try the French toast, Belgian waffle or a breakfast burrito.
- Main Street Bagels, 559 Main St, ☎ +1 970-241-2740. The best bagel place. Awesome atmosphere. Sometimes you will go in for lunch to find local musicians playing banjos and guitars. It is usually very entertaining. It is like something you would have seen on the old TV show "The Waltons" Remember the DO Drop In? It is like stepping back in time.
- Main Street Cafe, 504 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-7225. 1950s diner full of period kitsch, with outdoor sidewalk seating, attached to a great antique store. Burgers, breakfast, shakes and malts. Classic American food and music.
- Thai Chili, 2536 Rimrock Ave # 700, ☎ +1 970-242-3299. Curry and spicy noodle dishes. Inexpensive and delicious.
- Crystal Cafe & Bake Shop, 314 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-8843. Airy, gallery like space with skylights, serving omelets,fresh-baked breads, rolls, pastries, and desserts. Great spot for breakfast.
- Garfield's Restaurant & Pub, 2148 Broadway, ☎ +1 970-245-8080. An unadvertised jewel. Good steaks and expertly prepared seafood. A friendly bar with fabulous hamburgers. A local secret.
- Nepal Restaurant, 356 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-2233, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Delicious Himalayan food of Tibet and Nepal served in a relaxed atmosphere. Be sure to order a lassi, a drink made from homemade yogurt with a touch of rose water. Many different vegetarian dishes.
- No Coast Sushi (1119 N 1st St # A, Grand Junction), ☎ +1 970-255-1097, fax: +1 970-255-1372, e-mail: email@example.com. Hipster sushi bar serving stir fry dishes, miso soup, teriyaki meats, grilled fish, udon noodles and homemade desserts. Wash it down with cocktails, sake, wine, beer or mixed drinks.
- Suehiro Japanese Restaurant, 541 Main St, ☎ +1 970-245-9548, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Traditional Japanese restaurant, where you sit cross-legged on the floor. A Grand Junction institution. Teriyaki, hibatchi, stir fry, California rolls, unagi. Try the dynamite shrimp tempura rolls, hot and crispy.
- 626 On Rood, 626 Rood Ave, ☎ +1 970-257-7663. Goat cheese, pate, Mediterranean olive plates, calamari, truffle oil, Prince Edward Island mussels, prime angus --this restaurant uses many high end ingredients in its dishes. Plus and extensive wine list with vintages from Colorado, California, Washington, Germany, France and Spain.
- Bin 707 Foodbar, 225 N 5th St, ☎ +1 970-243-4543, e-mail: email@example.com. Carpaccio, salami, shrimp cocktail, salmon filets, prime and natural steaks, wild game, chops, duck breasts and other poultry, as well as salads and vegetarian dishes. Using local produce and meats, on premise vegetable garden, extensive wine list
- il Bistro Italiano, 400 Main St, ☎ +1 970-243-8622. Excellent brick kiln thin crust pizzas. The pastas, breads, sauces, and desserts are all made at the restaurant from fresh ingredients. Wine list features a large selection of wines from Italy and from Colorado.
- Le Rouge Restaurant & Piano Bar, 317 Main St, ☎ +1 970-257-1777. Real French food prepared by an expat chef from the Loire Valley in France. Owner also gearing up to open his very own Maison la Belle Vie Colorado winery in summer 2009.
- The Winery Restaurant, 642 Main St, ☎ +1 970-242-4100. Grand Junction's original fine dining experience. Located in a 90 year old building that used to house a horse drawn carriage fire station. Steak and seafood and an extensive Colorado wine list. Reservations recommended.
- The Ale House, 2531 North 12th St. Produces small batch India Pale Ale and Scottish Ale. Crab dip, pastas, sandwiches, burgers, burritos, BBQ, pizzas and calorie-laden desserts.
- Blue Moon Bar & Grille, 120 N 7th St, ☎ +1 970-242-4506. A favorite lunch spot for downtown's office workers. Sandwiches, burgers, artichoke dip, Greek food.
- Kannah Creek Brewing Company, 1960 North 12th St, ☎ +1 970-263-0112. Stout, Hefeweizen, Pilzner, Irish Red, porter, Stout and other hand-crafted beers. Brewpub grub of grilled burgers and paninis, plus pasta. pizza and calzones.
- Smugglers Brewpub. Handcrafted ales and lagers.Shred Betty Raspberry Wheat, Rocky Mountain Rye, Wildcat Wheat, and San Juan SkyHop are some of the brews. Chicken strips, buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks.
- Quincy Bar, 609 Main St, ☎ +1 970-243-1044. Small bar on Main st frequented by many of the Grand Junction's HBTQ-community.
- Rockslide Brew Pub & Restaurant, 401 Main St, ☎ +1 970-245-2111. Located in an old brick storefront, the Rockslide serves pizzas, pasta, burgers and micro-brewed beer in the middle of the downtown pedestrian district.
Grand Junction offers most of the national chains when it comes to hotels. They are mostly clustered along I-70 (Exit 31) on Horizon Drive between Walker Field and 7th Ave. There are additional hotels downtown, as well as in surrounding Fruita, Clifton and Palisade.
- Historic Melrose Hotel, 337 Colorado Ave, ☎ +1 970-242-9636. With a cheerful, painted grey exterior. The Melrose is the sole survivor of 12 hotels once located in downtown Grand Junction. This 101-year-old hostel/jotel offers 23 rooms with TVs, VCR, cable, and free local calls. Some ensuite bathrooms.
- Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Dr (I-70 and Horizon), ☎ +1 970-243-6790, fax: +1 970-254-3130, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM.
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Grand Junction, 625 Rae Lynn St (Off Us Hwy 6), ☎ +1 970-245-8164.
- Quality Inn, 733 Horizon Dr, ☎ +1 970-245-7200, toll-free: +1-800-790-2661, fax: +1 970-243-6709, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Los Altos Bed & Breakfast, 375 Hill View Dr, ☎ +1 970-256-0964. Elegant surroundings, tastefully appointed. Sits on a bluff, so unobstructed views of the Grand Mesa, Colorado National Monument, and the city of Grand Junction. $115-$205.
- Two Rivers Winery, 2087 Broaddway, ☎ +1 970-255-1471. French chateau-style stone mansion located in its own vineyards with views of the Bookcliffs, Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument. Tasting room, small bed and breakfast of eight rooms.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Grand Junction, 743 Horizon Dr, ☎ +1-970-241-8888. Check-in: 3pm, check-out: 12pm. $139.
Most Starbucks, hotels and coffee shops throughout the region offer wireless Wi-Fi access. But if you don't have a computer, try the public library.
- Mesa County Public Library, 530 Grand Ave, ☎ +1 970-243-4783.
- Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau, 740 Horizon Dr, ☎ +1 970-243-7393.
Neighboring Palisade and Fruita are worth seeing. Grand Junction can also act as the hub for a series of day trips to Telluride, Aspen and Vail, as well as Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park.
|Routes through Grand Junction|
|Salt Lake City ← Green River ←||W E||→ Glenwood Springs → Denver|
|Cove Fort ← Fruita ←||W E||→ Clifton → Denver|
|Spanish Fork ← Fruita ←||W E||→ Clifton → Denver|
|Delta (Utah) ← Fruita ←||W E||→ Delta (Colorado) → Pueblo|