Drawn to its spellbinding landscape of table mesas, pine-blanketed mountains, and rushing rivers.
A historic crossroads and recreation mecca, this energetic college town pairs rural landscapes with show-stopping fun
A history steeped in ranching and agriculture planted the charismatic, country roots of Gunnison, the county seat of Gunnison County and home to Western Colorado University. The community appeals to the adventurer and the artist alike, both drawn to its spellbinding landscape of table mesas, pine-blanketed mountains, and rushing rivers.
Originally the summer hunting grounds of the Ute Tribe, Gunnison was first explored by European settlers in the mid-1800s and saw its population rise with miners, ranchers, and farmers once the advent of the railroad made travel through the state more accessible. Current-day Gunnison still carries aesthetic vestiges of the wild west, paired with the academic atmosphere fostered by Western Colorado University.
Homes in Gunnison are as eclectic as its population, running the gamut between historic single-family abodes and luxury condos to dazzling ranch estates and rustic cabin properties. In the outer boundaries of town lies a market rich with large acre lots, and discerning buyers will appreciate the opportunity to build their own dream estate on such picturesque swaths of land.
A diverse population of college students, families, and year-round visitors makes Gunnison one of the most upbeat Rocky Mountain communities. A surprisingly active music and arts scene pushes this rural-feeling retreat into a level of sophistication typically expected of larger cities, meaning that residents can enjoy adrenaline-pumping sports and recreation without sacrificing every bit of urban entertainment.
The retail and culinary heartbeat of Gunnison is centered around the intersection of Main Street and W Tomichi Avenue, a buzzy commercial hotspot right next door to the campus of Western Colorado University. The irresistible small-town feel is amplified by the presence of niche specialty shops and independent boutiques.
Shoppers can browse beauty and plant-based health wares from retailers like Rooted Apothecary, grab their pet supplies from Pawsitively Native, or take their bikes for repair and maintenance at Double Shot Cyclery. The Blue Mesa Music Store is both an instrument retailer and a live music venue, and All Sports Replay provides top-tier sporting goods at incredible prices.
I Bar Ranch is Gunnison’s premier multi-purpose venue for weddings, live music performances, special events, and community movie nights. Each year, the venue also hosts Gunnison’s KBUT Kampout, a spectacular fundraising event that features two nights of camping and dining on the best of local vendors. Gastronomes will love the diversity of cuisine available at Blackstock Bistro, where the menu includes an impressive selection of steaks, seafood, and other American classics in addition to a full bar.
There’s no shortage of jovial festivals and community events in Gunnison. Visitors and full-time locals alike will find there’s an occasion for every season, as well as frequent town gatherings that cater to a wide variety of interests. Those passionate about rare and exotic cars, for example, eagerly await the annual Gunnison Car Show, a decades-long tradition of celebrating unique vehicles and their owners while treating attendees to live entertainment and food vendors.
Cattlemen’s Days is a world-renowned rodeo that’s been running in Gunnison for more than 120 years, bringing the best of the true wild west back into the city with every event. Families, in particular, enjoy attending the holiday-oriented affairs of December like the Annual Night of Lights, where kid-friendly games, local shopping, and a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony help infuse the town with a festive spirit.
The Gunnison River Festival embraces the town’s beloved river heritage and natural splendor through a three-day celebration that includes whitewater rafting, kayak and other races, mountain biking, food vendors, and of course, live music. Sports junkies and competitive athletes won’t want to miss out on the competitions of the Growler Endurance Mountain Bike Race, the three-day event that challenges even the most skilled cyclists with the Valley’s tough terrain.
Gunnison residents have the option to attend any of the schools in the Gunnison Watershed School District. Top educational opportunities include:
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