Downtown Estes Park is a little gem nestled between peaks in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Taking a stroll down the block may not be a priority on your list of things to do in this haven for nature-lovers, but once you experience it firsthand on a family vacation, you may change your mind. Each small shop is independently owned and adds unique flavor to this charming little area. Here are some highlights to consider for your next visit.
There are so many little shops along the main street of downtown Estes, you simply have to check them out. For the boutique lover, you can find lots of shops that sell cute home decor, costume jewelry, Vera Bradley bags and accessories, and even high-end baby clothing. Even the outdoor shops feel boutique-y and remind visitors that the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park isn’t too far away.
The Christmas Shoppe
No little shopping complex would be complete without a charming Christmas store, and Estes Park has three. Our favorite was The Christmas Shoppe with is located in the middle of the stretch, where even the shop keeper’s enthusiasm for the holiday mid-March will have you feeling in the holiday spirit. Let the kids roam about the store and look at all the shiny lights and funny little Santa ornaments. Collecting a destination-themed Christmas ornament from every trip you take is actually a great way for children to start a souvenir collection that the entire family can enjoy.
The Taffy Shop
This unassuming little shop is easy to pass by—except when they are pulling taffy right in the front window. The kids won’t be the only ones who want to stop and observe for awhile. If you walk into the shop, it’s like taking a step back in time. The brightly colored candies are on display and you’ll have to from the classic flavors of peppermint, chocolate, molasses, Texas pecan, lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla. On each cooking day, specialty flavors such as huckleberry, root beer, and salted caramel can be found as well. You never know what will be available until you get there!
Mountain Blown Glass
You’d be surprised how captivated children can be by art, and downtown Estes Park is filled with it. You can find local galleries, Native American Art, and even a glass studio. Mom and dad will be blown away by the stunning, hand-crafted decor, and if you can make it through the shop without your little one touching things, you might get to see the free glass blowing demonstration, which is an amazing sight for all ages to see. Mind blown.
Ore Cart Rock Shop
Hands down, our favorite stop on this quaint walk was the Ore Cart Rock Shop. For little explorers who are captivated with science, this place is a real treat. Rocks are everywhere, both large and small, in every shape and color you could imagine. This is a great place to stop for off-the-beaten-path gifts and for a little educational detour. Kids will love to pick out their own geode and watch as it gets cracked open right before their eyes. The suspense of what crystals are lurking within is almost too much to bear! We couldn’t leave the shop without some fossilized dinosaur poop because, you know, five-year-old boys.
Good Eats And Great Atmosphere
Along Big Thompson Avenue—where the main street of Estes Park lies—there are lots of places to eat. Our favorite was Mama Rose’s where the yummy Italian food and fine dining atmosphere also welcomed the little people with a menu which comes to life with the right smartphone app. (Download it before you visit if you want to enjoy your bread in peace! Also, try the mushroom ravioli.) On the same side of the street as Mama Rose’s a riverwalk runs behind all the shops. It’s a great place to run and explore before finding a little patio to plop down and relax on while you and your family soak in the fresh mountain air after an afternoon of shopping in downtown Estes Park.
Do you like shopping when you travel? What’s your favorite kind of souvenir to take home?