3-Day Grand Junction Adventure: Local Cuisine, Wine, and Sightseeing

Grand Junction, Colorado

3 days

Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction
Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction
Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction
Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction
Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction

About Grand Junction, Colorado

Discover the natural beauty of Grand Junction, Colorado, nestled between the majestic Rocky Mountains and the desert mesas. This vibrant city offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. Explore the Colorado National Monument's stunning red rock formations, hike through the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-top mountain, or bike along the Kokopelli Trail. Wine enthusiasts will enjoy the region's renowned vineyards and wineries. Downtown Grand Junction boasts a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and the historic Avalon Theatre. Experience the local cuisine, with farm-to-table restaurants serving up fresh, regional produce. Grand Junction is a year-round destination, offering skiing and snowboarding in winter, and rafting, golfing, and fishing in the warmer months. Come and immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and friendly atmosphere of Grand Junction, Colorado.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Natural Wonders and Local Culture

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Colorado National Monument, a stunning natural wonder that offers breathtaking views of the Grand Valley. Take a leisurely drive along the Rim Rock Drive, stopping at the various viewpoints to take in the scenery.

Lunch

Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the designated picnic areas in the Colorado National Monument. Pack a basket with local produce and delicacies for a truly local experience.

Afternoon

After lunch, head to the Museum of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Journey, where you can learn about the prehistoric creatures that once roamed this area. The museum features interactive exhibits, real fossils, and a working paleontology laboratory.

Dinner

For dinner, enjoy a meal at a local winery. Grand Junction is known for its wine, so take the opportunity to sample some local vintages.

Evening

End your day with a stroll through Downtown Grand Junction. The area is known for its vibrant nightlife, with live music, art galleries, and unique shops.

Morning

Begin your second day with a visit to the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-top mountain. Take a hike or drive along the scenic byways to enjoy the stunning views.

Lunch

Have lunch at a local brewery in Grand Junction. The city is known for its craft beer scene, so this is a great opportunity to sample some local brews.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. The gardens feature a variety of plant species, including a tropical rainforest, a cactus garden, and a butterfly house.

Dinner

Dine at a local farm-to-table restaurant in Grand Junction. These establishments pride themselves on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Evening

Spend the evening at a local theater in Grand Junction. The city has a vibrant performing arts scene, with a variety of shows to choose from.

Morning

Start your final day with a visit to the Cross Orchards Historic Site, a living history museum that offers a glimpse into the area's agricultural past.

Lunch

Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a local café in Grand Junction. The city has a variety of cafés serving everything from gourmet sandwiches to homemade pastries.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Art on the Corner outdoor sculpture exhibit in Downtown Grand Junction. The exhibit features over 100 sculptures by local and national artists.

Dinner

For your final dinner, enjoy a meal at a local steakhouse in Grand Junction. The city is known for its high-quality beef, so this is a great opportunity to sample some.

Evening

End your trip with a visit to a local jazz club in Grand Junction. The city has a vibrant jazz scene, with live performances happening every night.

Attractions in Itinerary (7)

Colorado National Monument

1
Colorado National Monument

A stunning red rock canyon with panoramic views, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Attractions
Monuments
Parks
Museum of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Journey

2
Museum of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Journey

The Museum of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Journey is a fascinating destination for all ages. It offers a glimpse into the prehistoric era with its extensive collection of dinosaur fossils and interactive exhibits that bring the ancient world to life.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Downtown Grand Junction

3
Downtown Grand Junction

The heart of the city with a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

Neighborhoods
Shopping
Food and Drink
Entertainment

4
Grand Mesa

The world's largest flat top mountain offering outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and camping.

Attractions
Parks
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens

5
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens

A beautiful garden featuring a variety of plant species, butterfly house, and a tropical rainforest.

Attractions
Gardens
Cross Orchards Historic Site

6
Cross Orchards Historic Site

A living history museum that offers a glimpse into the daily life of early 20th-century fruit ranchers in Colorado, with original buildings, antique farming equipment, and educational exhibits.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Landmarks
Art on the Corner

7
Art on the Corner

An outdoor sculpture exhibit located in downtown Grand Junction, featuring over 100 sculptures from various artists.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain Oysters

A unique delicacy in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Oysters are actually deep-fried bull testicles. They are a must-try for adventurous eaters visiting Grand Junction.

Colorado Lamb

Colorado Lamb

Colorado is known for its high-quality lamb. In Grand Junction, you can find it prepared in various ways, from roasted to grilled.

Palisade Peaches

Palisade Peaches

Grand Junction is located near Palisade, which is famous for its juicy and sweet peaches. They are a must-try during the summer season.

Elk Sausage

Elk is a common game meat in Colorado. In Grand Junction, elk sausage is a popular local dish, often served with sauerkraut or in a bun.

Green Chili

Green Chili

A staple in Colorado cuisine, green chili is a spicy stew made with pork and green chilies. It's a favorite comfort food in Grand Junction.

Trout

Trout

Colorado is known for its freshwater fish, and trout is a local favorite. In Grand Junction, you can find it grilled, smoked, or pan-fried.

Colorado Craft Beer

Colorado Craft Beer

Colorado is famous for its craft beer scene, and Grand Junction is no exception. There are many local breweries producing a wide variety of beers.

Palisade Wine

Palisade Wine

Grand Junction is located in Colorado's wine country. The local wines, especially those made from grapes grown in nearby Palisade, are a must-try.

Bison Burger

Bison Burger

Bison is a lean and flavorful meat that's popular in Colorado. In Grand Junction, a bison burger is a tasty alternative to a traditional beef burger.

Chokecherry Wine

Chokecherry Wine

Chokecherry wine is a unique local product of Grand Junction. It's made from chokecherries, a type of berry native to Colorado.

Colorado Whiskey

Colorado Whiskey

Colorado is known for its high-quality whiskey. In Grand Junction, you can find local distilleries producing a variety of whiskeys.

Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a staple in Colorado cuisine. In Grand Junction, they are often served as a side dish or used in soups and stews.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Grand Junction, Colorado is from late spring to early fall, specifically between May and October. During this period, the weather is warm and pleasant, perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and exploring the national parks. The vineyards in the area also have their wine tasting events during this season. However, if you're interested in winter sports, late November to early March is the ideal time to visit.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 15

Mon

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 19

Mon

Presidents' Day

May 27

Mon

Memorial Day

June 19

Wed

Juneteenth

July 4

Thu

Independence Day

September 2

Mon

Labor Day

October 14

Mon

Columbus Day

November 11

Mon

Veterans Day

November 28

Thu

Thanksgiving Day

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Renting a car is a convenient way to get around Grand Junction. There are several car rental companies available at the Grand Junction Regional Airport and throughout the city. This gives you the flexibility to explore the city and its surrounding areas at your own pace.

Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft are available in Grand Junction. This is a convenient option if you prefer not to drive or if you're planning to go out for the evening. Simply download the app, request a ride, and a driver will pick you up and take you to your destination.

Grand Junction is a bike-friendly city with numerous bike lanes and trails. You can rent a bike from one of the local bike shops or bring your own. This is a great way to enjoy the city's beautiful scenery and get some exercise at the same time.

Grand Valley Transit (GVT) operates a public bus system that serves Grand Junction and the surrounding areas. The buses run on a regular schedule and cover most parts of the city. This is an affordable and eco-friendly way to get around.

Taxis are available in Grand Junction. You can hail a taxi on the street, call a local taxi company, or book one through a smartphone app. This is a convenient option if you prefer a private ride and don't want to worry about parking.

Grand Junction's downtown area is pedestrian-friendly with many attractions, restaurants, and shops within walking distance. This is a great way to explore the city, enjoy the local atmosphere, and get some exercise.

If you have your own vehicle, driving is a convenient way to get around Grand Junction. The city is easy to navigate with well-marked roads and ample parking. However, be aware of the local traffic rules and regulations.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency$ USD

Time zoneUTC-5

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone911

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type APower socket type B

Voltage120 V

Things to know about Grand Junction, Colorado as a first time visitor

1

Grand Junction is located in western Colorado, in the United States.

2

The city experiences a semi-arid climate, with hot summers and cold winters.

3

The average summer temperature ranges from 90-100°F (32-38°C), while winter temperatures can drop to 16-43°F (-9-6°C).

4

The city is known for its wineries, so consider trying some local wines.

5

Grand Junction is located at an elevation of about 4,593 feet (1,400 meters), so you may experience altitude sickness. Stay hydrated and take it easy for the first few days.

6

The city is relatively small, with a population of around 60,000 people.

7

The local time zone is Mountain Standard Time (MST).

8

The city is served by Grand Junction Regional Airport, which offers flights to several major U.S. cities.

9

Public transportation is available, but renting a car is the best way to get around and explore the surrounding areas.

10

The city is known for its outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and fishing.

11

Grand Junction is home to Colorado Mesa University.

12

The city is surrounded by vast public lands, including the Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa.

13

The local economy is driven by healthcare, education, and tourism.

14

The city has a low crime rate compared to other U.S. cities of similar size.

15

The cost of living in Grand Junction is lower than the U.S. average.

16

The city has a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and a performing arts center.

17

Grand Junction is known for its peaches, so try some if you're visiting during peach season (late summer).

18

The city hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Colorado Mountain Winefest and the Grand Junction Air Show.

19

The city has a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants.

20

Grand Junction is a great base for exploring other parts of Colorado, including Aspen and Telluride.

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Underwear (3 pairs)

  • Socks (3 pairs)

  • T-shirts (3)

  • Long-sleeve shirts (2)

  • Pants/Jeans (2 pairs)

  • Shorts (1 pair)

  • Sweater or Jacket (1)

  • Sleepwear (1 set)

  • Swimsuit (1)

  • Hiking shoes

  • Casual shoes

  • Hat/Cap

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Floss

  • Deodorant

  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Body wash

  • Razor

  • Shaving cream

  • Lotion

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • First-aid kit

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport/ID

  • Wallet

  • Cash/Credit cards

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel booking confirmation

  • Car rental documents

  • Maps/Guidebooks

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Headphones

  • Camera

  • Charger for camera

  • Power bank

  • Adapter plug

  • Laptop/Tablet

  • Charger for laptop/tablet

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle

  • Travel pillow

  • Earplugs

  • Eye mask

  • Books/Magazines

  • Travel games

  • Umbrella

  • Backpack/Daypack

  • Reusable shopping bag

Weather Conditions

Grand Junction, Colorado, is known for its diverse climate, ranging from hot summers to cold winters. Therefore, it's essential to plan your visit according to the weather conditions you prefer. During the summer months (June through August), temperatures can reach highs of around 90°F (32°C), making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and exploring the national parks. However, it's advisable to stay hydrated and wear sun protection due to the intense heat. The winter months (December through February) in Grand Junction can be quite cold, with temperatures often dropping to around 23°F (-5°C). If you're planning a winter visit, pack warm clothing, as snowfall is common, making it a great time for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. The shoulder seasons - spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) - offer more moderate temperatures, ranging from 40°F to 70°F (4°C to 21°C). These periods are ideal for those who prefer milder weather. The fall foliage is particularly beautiful, and spring is a great time to see the wildflowers in bloom. Regardless of when you visit, remember that Grand Junction is located at a high elevation, so it's important to take time to acclimate to prevent altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous activity for the first day or two, and consume foods high in potassium. Lastly, always check the local weather forecast before heading out for the day, as weather conditions can change rapidly. Enjoy your visit to Grand Junction!

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

4° / -9°

January is the coldest month in Grand Junction, with snowfall common, so pack warm clothing.

February

7° / -7°

February is still quite cold, with a chance of snow, but temperatures start to rise slightly.

March

12° / -3°

March sees the beginning of spring, with temperatures rising and snowfall decreasing.

April

17° / 1°

April is a mild month, with temperatures comfortable for outdoor activities.

May

22° / 6°

May is a pleasant month, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine.

June

29° / 11°

June is the start of summer, with hot temperatures and long, sunny days.

July

33° / 16°

July is the hottest month in Grand Junction, perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the city.

August

32° / 15°

August is still very hot, but temperatures start to decrease slightly towards the end of the month.

September

26° / 9°

September is a comfortable month, with mild temperatures and less crowds.

October

18° / 3°

October sees the start of fall, with cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage.

November

10° / -2°

November is a chilly month, with temperatures dropping and the chance of snow increasing.

December

5° / -7°

December is a cold month, with snowfall common, so pack warm clothing.

Did you know?

Did you know that Grand Junction is known as the 'Wine Country' of Colorado, with over 20 wineries in the area?

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