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Steamboat Magazine

City of Art

02/15/2024 07:00AM ● By Ski Town Media
(Photo: “Stylin’,” by Pati Stajcar, bronze. Part of “Wild West: Wildlife Masters Past and Present” at Steamboat Art Museum, Friday, Dec. 1,-Saturday, April 13.)

Featured in Steamboat Springs Visitors' Guide Ski Season 2023-2024.

Steamboat Springs, CO - Perhaps it’s the soft golden light or the vibrancy of a college town. Perhaps its Routt County’s rich history or its lively gallery scene. They all come together to create an artistic spirit that flows as strongly through the Yampa Valley as does its free-flowing river. 

Steamboat Springs’ creative essence infuses everything from Western art to whiskey. 

Those in search of bears, buffalo and bull moose will find plentiful examples of Western art. Start at Steamboat Art Museum, which hosts “Wild West: Wildlife Masters Past and Present” this winter, then go across the street to Wildhorse Gallery to find iconic examples of this timeless style. 

Step beyond the traditional to find yourself surrounded by an astoundingly diverse world of art. Contemporary artists work in fused glass and metal, oils and graphite, paper-on-edge and custom printmaking, fine-art photography and jewels – to name a few of their favorite mediums. 

Others make less conventional choices: ice sculptures adorn the streets of Old Town during Winter Carnival. Locals strap on snowshoes to create landscape-scale snow drawings, while the distillers create handcrafted whiskey at Mythology Distillery. Hot air creates its own art at the January Balloon Glow.

(Sierra Ferrell is one of four headliners at the WinterWonderGrass festival in March. Courtesy of Sierra Ferrell / Moma Hot Dog Photography.)

Music sets the tone for ski season, from banjo-player Béla Fleck at Strings Music Festival in November to the Infamous Stringdusters at WinterWonderGrass in March. Only in Steamboat would people party on the pavement in the middle of winter! 

And how could music exist without dance? Reserve seats early for Steamboat Dance Theatre’s annual concert, which showcases the vibrant world of dance, an artform as old as the town itself. 

Public art is everywhere. Steamboat Springs native Sage Sullivan won a nationwide talent search to create the new work that greets skiers as they arrive at the resort this winter. Even the Old Town alleyways are decked in colorful murals. Take a stroll through downtown on the first Friday of any month: sip wine, sample hors d’oeuvres and surround yourself with art at local galleries and other venues. 

Steamboat’s edible – and drinkable – art is delectable. Mythology recently opened its award-winning distillery on the west side of town just in time for ski season. Not to mention, of course, the breweries: so many so that a pub tour could well be in order! 

Complementing Steamboat’s pub scene are its diverse culinary offerings, which include masterpieces created by chef Hannah Hopkins of James Beard fame; she oversees the menu at Besamé on Lincoln Avenue, as well as the nearby Mambo Italiano and Yampa Valley Kitchen. Then there’s Backdoor Grill, where you’ll find the “Best Burger in Colorado,” according to Trip Advisor. 

If art is life, Steamboat Springs is living well.