Telluride: a must-experience festival town

Discovering why Telluride’s festival scene is so hot

Here at Expedia Viewfinder, we recently ranked the best festivals across the nation, because it’s high time for fun in the sun, beer gardens, live music, and artsy vibes. Of course, some seriously epic festivals made the cut, but the Telluride Film Festival really stood out. After all, it’s hard to argue with cinematic masterpieces set in the natural beauty of the San Juan Range.

Telluride pulls out all the stops for its annual film frenzy in September, but we soon realized that the mountain village has plenty of appeal no matter the season. It gears up for a number of wild and wonderful festivals, but don’t limit yourself to event itineraries. Telluride serves up enough good grub and adventure to keep your extracurricular calendar flush with fun.

Whether you’re longing to rub elbows with swarms of Colorado locals, surrounded by the majestic mountain backdrop, or you’re looking for a cool place to set up shop while you wait for the next big event to roll through town, Telluride is your ticket.


Via Flickr/Doug Anderson

Festivals galore
Mark your calendar for the film fest, but keep your schedule open for other awesome events like the fungi-focused Telluride Mushroom Festival and the boozy Blues & Brews Festival. The 37th annual Mushroom Festival takes place in mid-August, showcasing all things ’shrooms, while the September Blues & Brews Festival will have rad music and over 50 participating microbreweries.

For a smaller-scale festival that still packs a punch, look toward the sky during the Telluride Balloon Festival in June. Hot air balloons float along the horizon, creating a whimsical sight to be sure. Another equally fascinating event is the Telluride Plein Air festival, an artsy affair in which creatives paint local scenes on canvases in the great outdoors. Attend the art festival in late June and purchase a painting that speaks to you.

Good eats
Festival fare has certainly stepped up its game from the days of corn dogs and funnel cake, but if you’re not in the mood for vendor grub, grab a bite to eat from one of the sweet nearby restaurants.

For some down-to-earth Telluride vibes, Cornerhouse Grille, located in a little blue home, is your calling. The menu runs the gamut, with choices from tacos and reubens to burgers and grilled cheese. Meanwhile, farm-to-table eats and local beers are the name of the game at Smugglers Brew Pub, a Telluride haunt that sources its ingredients from the surrounding community. Chow down on a white truffle burger (made with Colorado beef!) paired with a pint of Road Rash Red, and you’ll be feeling fine for festival time.


After roughing it at multi-day festivals and braving long lines and packed crowds, it’s time for a taste of the finer things. Find respite at Allred’s Restaurant, a glam eatery that’s located along the gondola route. At 10,551 feet in the sky, you’ll dine on bourbon marinated elk with remarkable views of mountainous Telluride below.

Pre- and post-festival fun
It’s nearly impossible to attend one of these fairs and not imagine all the adventures to be had in nature’s playground surrounding the event space.

Of course, Telluride Ski Resort is the town’s pride and joy with fresh power and shred-able trails come winter. But the summer months prove just as cool, with endless mountain biking and hiking trails. Between attending festivals, ride the gondola from Telluride to Mountain Village for amazing views of Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a way to kill some time before your festival starts, get ready for one of the best Telluride activities: hiking to Bear Creek Falls. After a morning trek to these rushing water falls, you’ll be feeling rejuvenated and ready to party hardy all day long.

The festival lifestyle can take it out of you, so why not relish some down time at The Spa at The Peaks? It’s here where you can indulge in an aromatherapy massage, followed by a stint in the eucalyptus-infused steam room and a dip in the Roman tubs. A little relaxation will go a long way when you’re prepping for a festival extravaganza.

The allure of this mountain town is undeniable—check the Telluride festival schedule and start planning your romp to this rustic region today.

Is Telluride on your festival circuit?

Header photo via Flickr/Stephen Cochran

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Chloe Mulliner

As a staff writer for Expedia, Chloe Mulliner is dedicated to providing top travel tips for your jaunts around the world. She believes there are adventures to be had on every inch of the globe from surf spots on the Peruvian coast to the charming villages of the English countryside. Chloe specializes in showcasing all the must-see attractions on your travel wish list. She lives by the belief that every adventure is a story worth sharing.