river through grand junction co

Located at the far western slope of Colorado, at the base of Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction CO is known for outdoor activities and never-ending vistas. It is also home to Colorado’s wine country and Palisade Peaches. It is the nearest largish city to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park. The area is spectacular and attracts avid outdoor enthusiasts.

Our family has driven through Grand Junction CO many, many times and visited the area to explore Colorado National Monument, stop on the way to and from Utah. But as we discovered on a recent visit, Grand Junction has more to offer than just the great outdoors. Now it is also has its own new chic hotel and fancy restaurant to add to its offerings.

No longer do you have to love camping and the outdoors to have a good time in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Hotel Maverick in Grand Junction CO, from the BMX track behind it.

Where to Stay in Grand Junction: Hotel Maverick

Hotel Maverick is a new boutique hotel with a sleek modern design and seemingly endless views in all directions. In a convenient location, on the grounds of Colorado Mesa University, it has all that you need in a sleek and simple package.

It is a fairly small hotel, with about sixty room of varying types. We had the opportunity to stay in the double king room. There’s just one of these room types and it can only be booked directly with the hotel. This was a fun and unique room for a family. We relegated the kids to the top level. They didn’t mind at all.

If I were to return without the kids, I might splurge on the Veranda Suite to watch the sunset.

Unique double king room at Hotel Maverick.

If you have kids, you will appreciate that there is a BMX track right next door. Our son is an early riser and it was the ideal spot to let him get some energy out while the teen slept in just a bit.

The Eureka Math & Science Center, a version of a kid’s science museum is at the corner as you turn on the street where the hotel is located.

The hotel lobby is filled with interesting Colorado art and modern, comfortable furniture. The coffee from Betty’s, adjacent to the lobby, is excellent. And, there are some basic food offerings here as well.

One of the things I found interesting about the hotel is that it is operated in conjunction with the college. Students staff many positions and seemed genuinely happy to welcome us both to the hotel and the restaurant with its expansive outdoor deck and craft cocktails.

Where to Dine in Grand Junction

taco party in downtown grand junction co
Unique local flavors abound at Taco Party in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Taco Party

I will admit that part of my motivation to visit Grand Junction was for some good tacos at Taco Party. While it wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was a really fun restaurants with lots of unique flavors.

We arrived fairly early and were glad about that as a line formed around the building just after we had ordered. You order at the counter and then find a table.

Local ingredients are incorporated at every turn. There’s something for everyone. But not everything is for everyone. Some items have spice. Others don’t. My only piece of advice is to NOT skip the homemade soft serve ice cream. And, that is coming from someone who isn’t a dessert person.

I’ll definitely be in again next time I’m in Grand Junction.

Delicious cocktails at Devil’s Kitchen.

Devil’s Kitchen

Devil’s Kitchen is located in the Maverick Hotel. We only stopped in for a drink on the expansive deck. It is a beautiful place to enjoy a drink or dinner for a special occasion. In a city that isn’t necessarily known for its food scene, Devil’s Kitchen delivers an upscale and unique dining experience with an interesting menu. Had it just been my husband and I, we would have made this our restaurant of choice.

Pufferbelly Station

Located in the historic train station, Pufferbelly is the ultimate diner. A friend raved about the included cinnamon rolls so my family insisted on going. The portions were HUGE. Food was good, and certainly on the hearty side. Plan on sharing or taking left overs to go.

The staff are also super friendly. Our waitress was awesome.

Colorado lasts many beautiful spots where you can really get in touch with nature. Sometimes you do really need to sleep in a tent and strap on some hiking boots to see these special places are their best. At Colorado National Monument we had the opportunity to see the most spectacular sunsets, a blood moon, wildlife such as Turkey Vultures, Black Widows, Mountain Goats and more, and to endure a pretty good sand storm. #visitcolorado #colorado #coloradotravel #coloradonationalmonument #nationalparks #hiking #camping
One of the greatest landscapes of the American West.

Things to Do in Grand Junction

Shop for Clothes

Living in the Vail area, we have mostly high end boutiques for shops. Sometimes you just want a good old mall to shop for clothes for the kids. Grand Junction is a great alternative for this for us over Denver. So, we made the most of our time here to stock up on back-to-school clothes for the kids at Mesa Mall.

Colorado National Monument

Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument may be the largest attractions in the Grand Junction area. But even if you aren’t into the outdoors, you won’t be able to help still appreciating the dramatic landscapes they offer. Take a drive and spot wildlife.

Big Horn Sheep at Colorado National Monument.
Big Horn Sheep at Colorado National Monument.

Eureka! Math and Science Center

Eureka! Math and Science Center in Grand Junction is a really cool science museum. It opened a new facility a couple of years ago and the exhibits are outstanding. A glass bee hive will enthrall the dads as the kids bounce from one engaging exhibit to another. I was most sad that I couldn’t spend enough time on one puzzle exhibit that I really wanted to figure out.

Mountain Bike

We knew that we weren’t going to have time this trip to get in any mountain biking, sadly. But next time we visit my to do list includes riding Grand Mesa and the new downhill mountain bike track at Powderhorn. There’s no shortage of mountain bike parks. Three Sister’s Park and Rustlers Loop are others that we’d like to check out.

The Colorado River cuts through Grand Valley making it an ideal location for wine growing, and SUPing on the calm waters. Photo courtesy Colorado Wine.

Stand Up Paddle Board

This area boasts a calm stretch of the Colorado River. If we had extra time to kick around I would bring the paddle board and take it out on the river here.

Taste Wine

One of these days I’ll make it over just to taste Colorado wines. Wine production in Colorado goes back as far as 1890 when Governor George A. Crawford planted 60 acres of grapes near Palisade. Now with more than 25 wineries, Palisade is the center of Colorado wine country. It is one of two federally designated AVAs in Colorado.

Take in a Concert

Our family are big fans of musician Keb’ Mo, whom we had the pleasure of meeting on a recent trip from Bergen to Flam, Norway. Well, lo and behold, he is performing this month in Grand Junction at the Amphitheater at Las Colonias Park. Colorado is home to many outdoor amphitheaters with stunning backdrops. I look forward to reporting back on this one.

Grand Junction CO

This article just touches the surface of the many fun things to do and experience in the Grand Junction area. Tell us in the comments below some of your favorites!

Grand Junction CO: Where to Stay, Play & Dine

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

One thought on “Grand Junction CO: Where to Stay, Play & Dine

  • September 12, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Looks like an interesting place to visit!


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