While the Telluride Film Festival stays mum on the cinema line-up of their annual September event, Telluride sets the stage for an experience like no other when this cozy Southwestern Colorado mountain town’s popularity increases hundred-fold during the annual Telluride Film Festival.
Opening night of the Telluride Film Festival — Photo courtesy of Pamela Gentile
Festival-goers choose from luxurious and historic accommodations and relax in plush spas, while eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see these films first. The streets of Telluride are a constant flow of people; either waiting for the next film’s viewing or hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity.
Although you may not see your favorite stars at a hotel (many stay in private homes), celebrity sightings are not uncommon during the Telluride Film Festival, especially when dining at more than 50 world-class local restaurants. Sweeping scenic views are paralleled only by an incredible culinary scene.
The charming 221 South Oak, a restored historic house, is a restaurant serving fresh ingredients (grilled elk chop and Rocky Mountain trout) prepared by chef/owner Eliza H. S. Gavin; it's an intimate culinary experience steps from the gondola. Feast at the heart of downtown Telluride at the Chop House at New Sheridan Hotel with its nitrogen wine bar and American cuisine.
Also near the gondola is the Cosmopolitan and Tasting Cellar at Hotel Columbia, the casually elegant, contemporary American with its fusion menu items. Unique creations such as lobster corn dogs, house-made Burrata, and spaghetti & lamb meatballs keep guests coming back for more.
A popular sunset gondola stop at Station Saint Sophia, Allred’s is located between Telluride and Mountain Village. Happy hour is always hopping here, but the crumb-crusted rack of Colorado lamb is worth a dinner reservation.
America’s highest-altitude restaurant at 11,966 feet, Alpino Vino, is also one of Telluride’s most exclusive on-mountain dining experiences with just 26 seats, a wood-burning fireplace and a prix-fixe five-course dinner menu. Count yourself lucky if you score a reservation.
If pre-planning is not your cup of tea, stroll downtown Telluride and take your chances at the more casual eateries.
Seasoned and allergy-sensitive foodies feel energized at the Mexican restaurant, La Cocina de Luz, offering regional Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. Sustainable, organic, free range and additive-free ingredients are the norm at this restaurant.
Local watering holes, such as O’Bannon’s Irish Pub (locals call it O.B.’s) and the Brown Dog Pizza (owned by former University of Michigan football player Jeff Smokevitch), also serve tasty pub fare, and who knows which celebrity you might rub elbows with while tipping back a mug of cold brew?