A Quick Guide to the Town of Minturn

From authentic Old West saloons to boutique drive-in movies and outdoor markets, the valley's version of Main Street USA has it all

By Kirsten Dobroth July 2, 2020 Published in the Summer/Fall 2020 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Main Street Minturn

Minturn's downtown hearkens back to the dawn of the 20th century, when it was a busy crossroads for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad that connected mining towns throughout the state to the Front Range. That means colorful period storefronts with intricate gingerbread architecture and just enough eating, drinking, and shopping options to keep the sidewalks bustling. That’s especially true during the summer months, when the Minturn Market (July 4–Sept 5, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; minturn.org)—a smaller and more eclectic cousin of the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show (Sundays, July 5–Oct 4, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.; vailfarmersmarket.com)—takes over downtown every Saturday. Much of Minturn’s Main Street core sold to a real estate holding company in 2018, but plans haven’t leaked about what the company plans to do—if anything—with its newly acquired assets. In the meantime, Minturn officials have passed zoning rules stipulating building height (nothing above 28 feet) and mandating that lower-level square footage remain dedicated to artsy storefronts and mom-and-pop eateries, preserving the unique character preferred by locals.

Where to Sleep

The Bunkhouse

You have three options for lodging on Minturn’s main drag. The Minturn Inn offers nine homey guest rooms in a 100-year-old B&B in the heart of downtown (from $159; 442 Main St, 970-827-9647, minturninn.com). Anticipating a fall reopening, The Bunkhouse, the valley’s first boutique hostel, offers Japanese-style sleeping pods for budget-minded travelers (from $50; 175 Williams St, 970-827-4165, vailbunkhouse.com). A few doors down, Hotel Minturn has traditional kitchenette-equipped quarters (from $119; 167 Williams St, 970-331-5461, hotelminturn.com).

Where to Eat & Drink

The Minturn Saloon

For such a small downtown area, Minturn’s main thoroughfare packs a punch when it comes to eats. Start the day with a chai smoothie and powdered sugar–covered brioche French toast from Sunrise Café (open daily 7 a.m.–4 p.m.; 132 Main St, 970-827-5353, sunriseminturn.com). Refuel later with jumbo smoked turkey legs at Kirby Cosmo’s (open Tue–Sat 4–8 p.m.; 474 Main St, 970-827-9027, kirbycosmos.com), beer-battered French fries and a basket of wings from BC Backcountry Wings (open Mon–Thu 3–11 p.m., Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; 455 Main St, 970-763-5621, backcountrywings.com), or a specialty pie from Magustos—try The Stache, with jalapeños, tomatoes, garlic, and pepperoni (open Mon–Sat 10 a.m.–midnight, Sun 11 a.m.–midnight; 101 Main St, 970-827-5450, magustos.com). After 3 p.m., stop by the Minturn Saloon (a landmark watering hole on the river) for a salty après-hike house marg (open daily 3 p.m.–midnight; 146 Main St, 970-827-5954, minturnsaloon.com). And if you’re at the Saturday market, duck into Monkshood Cellars for a taste (and a bottle for camping down the road) of the winery’s lauded syrah (open during market hours; 107 Williams St, 970-470-4404, monkshoodcellars.com).

The Minturn Country Club

For dinner, head to the Minturn Country Club—a family-run favorite known for its grill-your-own steak (open daily 5:30–9:30 p.m.; 131 Main St, 970-827-4114, minturncountryclub.com). New to the Minturn dining scene is Rocky Mountain Taco: The valley’s beloved taco truck had opened its first dine-in restaurant at the onset of the pandemic in March. So it quickly shifted gears, offering the house specialty “Hippie Crack” vegetarian tacos and a new selection of burgers for carryout (open daily 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; 291 Main St, 970-393-5187, rockymountaintaco.com).

Where to Play

Minturn’s Little Beach Park, which hugs the banks of the Eagle River, has its own play center for kids plus an amphitheater that hosts summer concerts (July 9–Aug 25, 6–8 p.m.; minturncommunityfund.org). On most nights through August, Blue Starlite High Rockies, the self-proclaimed world’s highest drive-in, projects summer blockbuster classics on a giant outdoor screen to car-bound cinephiles (Wed–Sun; bluestarlitedrivein.com/high-rockies-co).

Where to Shop

Hit Holy Toledo, a thrift store quartered in an old church, to score vintage duds—often cast off from the valley’s luxury retailers (open Mon–Sat 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; 191 Main St, 970-827-4299, holytoledo.co). Nearby, The Scarab boutique caters to interior design aficionados and fashionistas (open Mon–Fri 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; 201 Main St, 970-940-1730, thescarab.com).

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