For a place with such a small full-time population, Estes Park has a remarkable amount of attractions within city limits. From museums and galleries to restaurants and historical monuments, Estes Park has a little bit of everything. Aside from all the natural beauty in the surroundings, downtown Estes Park excels in its wide array of different boutiques, shops, historic hotels and the two rivers which run through the community, the Big Thompson and the Falls River, respectively.
Estes Park History
The region around Estes Park had been inhabited by indigenous peoples since time immemorial. However, when its formal establishment began in 1859, like many burgeoning towns throughout the West, mining was the principle force of development. Over time, the population grew and declined, but it has always remained quite small. The downtown area follows this trend with quaint shops and galleries. For art aficionados, check out the Golden Leaf Gallery, the Aspen & Evergreen Gallery, and since Estes Park is one of the main gateways to the Rocky Mountain National Park, don’t forget to visit the aptly named Images of Rocky Mountain National Park gallery for inspiration before or after entering the actual park.
Colorado is a state that is known for its considerable craft beer production. From corner to corner, the Centennial State knows how to brew an ebullient, effervescent keg of suds. Downtown Estes Park does not disappoint in presenting a couple of places to enjoy a cold beverage or two. Visit the Estes Park Brewery for handcrafted pints and pub grub, or The Barrel for an innumerable amount of beers from around the world. When the weather is just right, the outdoor beer garden at The Barrel provides the perfect note to finish the day after exploring the great outdoors. The Snowy Peaks Winery will cover the oenophiles in your crew and for those who love a unique and handcrafted coffee, definitely visit Inkwell & Brew or Kind Coffee.
Shops & Restaurants
One of the great things about downtown Estes Park is the fact that the ratio of small business to big box stores favors the little guy. Start at the Historic Park Theater and Café and make your way north to visit the different shops along Moraine Avenue. Make a left at Elkhorn Avenue for more boutique stores as well as a bite to eat at Penelope’s Old Time Burgers. On the other side of Elkhorn Avenue, the shops and restaurants continue. With all the museums, shops, restaurants and galleries here, visitors can easily spend a whole day window shopping.