Location: Sitting in the heart of a valley at the junction of two rivers, Grand Junction is western Colorado’s largest city and a major hub between Denver and Salt Lake City. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Utah—the city’s streets are numbered based on mileage from the state border. The proximity shows itself through the unexpected, but awe-inspiring landscape. “People think of Colorado as mountains and lakes, but they don’t think red rock canyons in view of downtown, and that’s what we have here,” says Mistalynn Meyeraan, marketing and public relations director, Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau.
Transportation: Grand Junction Regional Airport has direct flights to Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. There is Greyhound Bus service, and an Amtrak stop on the scenic California Zephyr route, which goes from San Francisco to Chicago. Interstate 70 cuts through the north side of the city, making it easily accessible for interstate traffic.
Must-See: Colorado National Monument is west of the city while Grand Mesa (the world’s largest flat-top mountain) is east. The city is also within the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway, and visitors can go looking for dinosaur bones along numerous hiking trails. Those preferring urban entertainment can enjoy a vibrant art scene with museums, theaters and art festivals.
Conference Center & Hotels: There are 34 hotels with 3,000 rooms. There are also six bed-and-breakfasts and two RV parks for the outdoorsy types. Two Rivers Convention Center, located downtown, offers 22,920 square feet of meeting and exhibit space and can accommodate up to 1,900 people.
Wineries: Known as Colorado’s Wine Country, Grand Junction and its surrounding valley boast 22 wineries, all featuring tasting rooms. “This is what distinguishes us from the rest of Colorado,” says Meyeraan. Two Rivers Winery at the foot of Colorado National Monument has its own inn and is a popular location for meetings, corporate retreats and weddings. On the other side of the city, Grande River Vineyards produces the largest crop in Colorado. Its on-site winery offers a large selection of reds and whites to suit any palate.
Restaurants: As a heart of Colorado’s agriculture region, Grand Junction cuisine is all about local flavor. Bin 707 Foodbar serves new American cuisine made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. So does 626 on Rood, but with a Mediterranean and Latin twist and “one of the best wine bars in the country,” says Meyeraan. Il Bistro Italiano serves homemade pasta and hand-tossed pizza. For lighter fare like salads and panini, try Cafe Sol downtown.
How Grand Juncation VCB Helps: The bureau acts as a liaison between visitors, businesses and event planners. “We are the con- nection to the community,” says Meyeraan. “We’re funded through lodging taxes, so there are no service fees. Use us as a resource; it’ll make the planning much easier.”