Hello! We just got back from a few days in one of our favorite places – Durango, Colorado. It’s about a 3 -3 1/2 hour drive from Albuquerque in southern Colorado. It is the cutest small town with a really great ski resort about 30 minutes from town. We have been coming here 1-2 times a year since moving to Albuquerque. This year we did the Polar Express train with the boys and it was so much fun! I thought I would put together a little guide to Durango with our favorite hotels, places to eat, and things to do. Plus I also have a few tips for you if you plan on doing the Polar Express!
Places to stay in Durango
Wyndham Durango: This is where we stayed this last trip with the boys and it was great. Each room has a separate bedroom and full kitchen. Like full range and full size fridge and freezer. Both of these things are so great to have with little kids! It was really clean, good size, and the bed was really comfy. It is also really close to everything. We walked everywhere! One of the really big pluses here, especially at Christmas time, is that it is literally next to the train station. We could see the train from our balcony! (We were in room 441 and I think we probably had the best view from this room – not all rooms would have the view) From the window in the hallway we had an even better view! We watched the train every day, multiple times!
Double Tree: This is the hotel we usually stay in. We love it, its clean, nice, walking distance, and on the Animas River. It just doesn’t have that bedroom for the kids.
Best Western: we haven’t stayed here, but have several friends who have and said it was really nice. They have an indoor pool which is great for kids, and also rooms with separate bedrooms. It’s pretty close to the train and Main st. Right next to the Wyndham.
Purgatory: We haven’t stayed here, but if you are looking for ski in/out this is where you want to be and it looks amazing! There is even an outdoor heated pool with a slide that is open in the winter!
If you are a history lover/haunted fanatic, check out the Strater or General Palmer. We haven’t stayed at either of these (I don’t do haunted. I don’t know if these are, but I feel like they could be, so no.) They are beautiful old buildings. We have had drinks at the Strater and looked around – its really pretty!
Places to eat in Durango
Fired Up: Our favorite place in Durango! Get a hard basil lemonade!
Steamworks Brewing: really good beer and food! Kid friendly. They have crawfish boils that look really good if you are into that kind of thing. (Shrimp allergy here, so I stayed far away)
Carver Brewing : good food for lunch/dinner (vegan options!) and really good breakfast too! Try a Razzmosa! They also have this huge bike out back that is a cool thing for the kids to go see.
Ore House : really cool, old western steak house.
Ken and Sue’s : good option for a nice dinner out – probably not best for kids.
College Drive Café : Best breakfast! It’s off Main St and a really small, locals place. They have really good eggs benedict and some vegan options!
Durango Coffee Company : really cute coffee shop with vintage furniture and art on the lattes!
Hermosa Coffee: right next door and also really good! We got chocolate chip muffin that was delicious!
Paradise Pizzeria at Purgatory: get the mac and cheese. It’s the best mac and cheese ever.
Things to Do in Durango
Ski/snowboard at Purgatory: This mountain is awesome! I will say it’s a bit more of a skier mountain (there are a bunch of flatter spots which stinks on a board), but still really fun on a board! It’s a great family and beginner mountain with plenty of runs that are not super steep! Be sure to head to the backside and try lift 8 and also Dante’s! Great views and a good place for a rest and a drink! They also have a whole separate area for ‘bunny hills’ which I think is awesome if you are just learning!
If you come in the summer, they have mountain roller coasters( one of them goes in the winter now too) and zip lines, and all sorts of hiking and biking.
Honeyville : we did this, and honestly, it’s not much of an attraction but kind of fun to taste the honey. They also have whisky and wine tasting but we went early with the kids.
Vallecito lake : if you go in the summer, you may want to consider spending some time here. It is beautiful. And the drive is beautiful too. Rent a pontoon boat and enjoy the mountain air.
Polar Express : Okay here it is. This was so much fun to do with the boys (well, Elijah – Isaiah slept the whole time) It takes you out 30 minutes to the North Pole where you see Santa, elves, the buildings of the North Pole, and a light show.
– Get the Deluxe Coach seats if you can fit it in your budget. The seats on these cars face each other which was great for both of us to be able to see Elijah. I think first class seats have a table and also a bar on the car, but I personally don’t think that would be worth the extra money.
– You don’t need to be there a full 30 minutes early like your ticket says. I would say get there about 20 minutes before.
-You get your golden ticket on board the train. No need to wait in line at the ticket counter.
-When you do get there head out of the train station and to your left, all the way to the fence. The train comes around the corner at 5pm and is pretty fun to watch.
–If you want a photo with Santa when you get back to the train station – do this first. Head straight in to the museum to the Santa line. The line gets pretty long, and you can always go back out to see the reindeer and everything else.
-Stay at the Wyndham! This is not sponsored in any way. But if you can, stay here and try to get room 441 or 442. I think these probably have the best view. If you can’t you can still head up to the 4th floor and watch the train from the window in the hallway on the nights you are not going on the train. If you are in 441 this window is right next to your room!
Ok there it is! We love Durango so much, and thought the Polar Express was well worth the money with little kids! Again, none of this is sponsored, just my honest opinions! Is there anything you would add?