Festivals + The Arts in Telluride, Colorado

The Telluride lifestyle goes far beyond its myriad of outdoor activities. For being so small in size, Telluride is big on personality when it comes to its culture and entertainment scene, leaving one’s social calendar busting at the seams. Holiday parties, music concerts, theater and dance performances, fundraising galas and art openings are just a few of the gatherings that happen at three main performing arts venues:

Michael D. Palm Theater is a state-of-the-art performing arts center in the town of Telluride. The 30,000-square-foot facility is a grand acoustically-engineered venue with a stage, wing spaces, proscenium, fly space and 650-plus seats.

Telluride Conference Center, located in the Mountain Village Center, is an integral part of the business community, as well as an entertainment/special events hub. Built in 1999, the 10,000-square-foot sophisticated facility includes meeting and gathering space, high-speed communications systems, top-of-the-line audiovisual equipment and catering services.

Ah Haa School is Telluride’s homegrown art school, offering a number of courses for kids and adults such as ceramics, creative writing, papermaking, photography, silk dyeing, jewelry, metalwork, languages, cooking, salsa dancing, and more.

Sheridan Opera House, Telluride’s historic vaudeville stage, provides an intimate setting for live performances and films. It was originally built in 1913, restored during the mid-1990s and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown Telluride, the quaint theater has 240 seats and is managed by the nonprofit Sheridan Arts Foundation.

Summer festivals occur virtually every weekend. Some are music-oriented, like Bluegrass, Jazz, Chamber Music and Blues & Brews, bringing such headliners as the late B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, The Allman Brothers and James Brown to the Town Park Stage and local venues. A few are film-obsessed, like Mountainfilm and Telluride Film Fest, attracting Hollywood stars like George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Meryl Streep, Annette Benning, Sean Penn and Philip Seymour Hoffman to the cinematic premieres of big screen blockbusters. Others are focused on food and libation, like Culinary Arts and Wine, where chefs and aficionados gather to taste and indulge. And still there are more as the list goes on.

Cuisine is taken rather seriously in Telluride and with more than 40 restaurants and bars, there is a vast selection. Just about every type of cuisine is represented from Japanese to Thai, French to Italian, Latin to eclectic American. There are upscale menus, reserve wine lists and world-renowned chefs at the fine dining restaurants, as well as comfy, casual atmospheres to grab a simple burger and a beer. There are also a multitude of private chefs and catering companies willing to come and cook, or deliver hot fresh meals to your home.

Shopping: The latest in fashion, studio jewelry, fine art, classic Western garb and elegant home furnishings are all neatly packaged behind classy storefronts that line downtown Telluride and the Mountain Village Core.