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9 Free Things to do in Durango this winter

Tired of spending money after the holidays? Well, put your wallets away and get your kicks with this hand-selected array of totally [or mostly] free indulgences.

Durango Public Library: 1900 East Third Ave, 970.375.3380. Hours vary Monday through Saturday. With books, music, movies, and even board games available for checkout, the DPL is your answer to snowy day angst. Spend your winter moments wisely and learn a new hobby or two. Pick up an audio book for your next road trip (be sure to check out the free app, OneClickDigital, to access the library’s audio books with your phone). Find new music or simply sit and enjoy a lovely view of the Animas River. At the DPL, there’s a little something for every generation: Baby Storytime on Tuesdays at 2pm, Family Storytime at 10:30am on Thursdays, and events for Teens and Tweens throughout the week.

Durango Public Library

Why it’s cool: A whole building dedicated to providing the community with access to free knowledge? What’s not cool about that, is a better question.

Bonus: Not all DPL events are teetotalling. Whether you’re currently reading a book or have ever read a book in your entire life, then grab a pint and checkout Books & Brews on Monday, January 23, 2017, at 7:00pm at Animas Brewing, 1560 E 2nd Ave. A non-traditional book club open to all. Meets one Monday a month. Check the calendar for upcoming dates.  

D&SNGR Museum: 5th Street and Main Ave, 970.247.2733. Winter hours 1:00pm till 4:00pm on days the train is running. Grab a hot chocolate from Durango Bagel next to the train station and spend an afternoon perusing antique trucks, trains, tractors, photos and all sorts of historical relics in Durango’s only free museum. A knowledgeable and passionate staff is available to answer questions, share stories behind the scenes, or lead the curious on a guided tour of the trainyard.

Why it’s cool: If you like time traveling, you’ll love the D&SNGR Museum experience.

Strater Hotel: 699 Main Ave, 970.247.4431. So much more than a hotel, the historic Strater is one of downtown Durango’s best preserved buildings. Step back in time and take a tour of the hotel, or settle in for breakfast at the Mahogany Grill, lunch at the Diamond Belle Saloon, or a cocktail at the Office Spiritorium. Also cool (but totally not free) is a show at the Henry Strater Theatre. Click here for a current schedule of events.

Strater Hotel

Why it’s cool: It’s no wonder Western author, Louis L’Amour, found so much inspiration in this old-timey establishment.

Honeyville & Honey House Distillery: 33633 US 550, 11 miles north of Durango, 970.247.2474. Open 7 days a week. If you like honey and/or Colorado bourbon, you must check out this newly-remodeled factory and showroom on your way to or from skiing Purgatory. See the bees, sip some warming whiskey, and learn the wondrous process behind producing the sweetest honey this side of the Continental Divide.

Why it’s cool: It’s not just cool; it’s the bee’s knees.  

Yoga at Lively Boutique: 809 Main Ave, Friday’s, 8:30am till 9:30am. Bring a mat and a friend and get your downward dog on. Store hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am till 6pm; Sunday, 11am till 5pm.

Why it’s cool: Free yoga is like free coffee: we all need it, but it can be expensive. Treat yo’self and feel good about saving some scrilla.

Animas River Trail: 7 miles of paved trail through Durango along the Animas River. Open year-round, rain or shine. Walk, run, bike, slip, slide, or simply sit on the side of this shared-use path and watch people and the river roll by. The ART is your canvas; create your own adventure. Connecting some of Durango’s best city parks, like the playgrounds of Animas City Park and Santa Rita Park, the ART is basically one long park itself. Nothing is free-er than the freedom of the great outdoors!

Animas River Trail

Why it’s cool: From commuting to recreating, the ART is a true highlight of the Durango experience, one that will hopefully keep elongating each year. Enjoy this sweet community gift!

Bonus: Get your bird geek on and amble with other cool nerds during the free Bird Walk on Wednesday mornings, 9:00am till 10:30am. Meet at Rotary Park (near Animas Brewing and the Railroad Bridge). BYO binoculars.

Clean out your garage: Take the free-things-to-do idea one step further and - boom - you’ve got MAKE MO’ MONEY! If your skis are gathering dust, you’re finally ready to let go of those boots that never fit right, or you made a New Year’s resolution to simplify your life, then bring your unwanted outdoor gear and apparel to Durango Outdoor Exchange. Durango’s first consignment shop specializing in quality, used gear and apparel helps move your stuff into the hands or feet of someone who will create more wonderful memories than when it sat in your garage. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get into a winter activity but aren’t ready to commit to a brand-new setup, checkout their storeroom at 546 East College Drive.

Why it’s cool: Because reusing and recycling are cool...so are adventure, community, and the environment, the tenets of this locally-owned and operated establishment.

Wild West Squares: Lessons at St. Columba, 1801 East 3rd Ave, Thursday’s from 6:00pm till 7:00pm. Dust off your dancing shoes, grab your partner and dosey-do with square dancing extraordinaire, Carla Roberts. Free and open to the public throughout the month of January, beginner and refresher square dance lessons welcome singles, couples, families. No experience necessary. Drop-ins are welcome, but give Carla a call at 970.903.6478, if you think you’ll make it.

Why it’s cool: Doctor’s across the country are calling square dancing “the perfect exercise,” with the potential to add 10 years to your life because it combines all of the positive aspects of exercise with none of the negative elements. Besides, says Carla, it builds teamwork, stretches the mind and body, builds friendships and is just good ole-fashioned fun.   

Trivia nights: Various locations, days and times around Durango. Grab a friend or two, put your thinking caps on, and settle in for a round or two of trivia. Free to play, drinks and food are usually available (and encouraged) for purchase. For a list of current trivia nights, please see below or click here for an updated calendar.

Super Ted’s Super Trivia Night: Ska Brewing, 225 Girard Street, Tuesday’s from 6:15pm till 8:00pm. Hosted by Ted Holteen, know-it-all’s compete for pizza and other satiating prizes as they turn their useless information into beer!

Tuesday Trivia Night: Durango Brewing Company, 3000 Main Ave, Tuesday’s at 7:00pm. Friends & family combine forces and movie quote knowledge to sip suds and strut their brain power.

Geeks Who Drink: Brew Pub & Kitchen, 117 West College Drive, Wednesday’s at 6:30pm. Braniacs unite. Drink beer. Feel good.

Brew Pub Food

Geek Out With Trivia: Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino del Rio, Thursday’s 6:00pm. Teams of five battle it out, opting (or not) to toast local brews. Cheers!


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