Looking for the perfect getaway destination? Denver, Colorado, is a wonderful mix of eclectic cultural charm and adventurous outdoor activity. Whether you come to tour some the city’s many historical sites, or to experience Colorado’s picturesque natural environment, there are many unique treasures enjoy. Read on for our list of locations to explore and activities to do in Denver and its surrounding areas – as recommended by Colorado natives!
1. Soak in the Colorado Landscape
Ready to be immersed in Colorado’s breathtaking scenery? Enter the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and be swept off your feet by the majestic rock formations and stunning views of the Pikes Peak region. From biking, hiking, and rock climbing activities, to guided park tours and unique museum exhibits, the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center offers adventure to all ages – and admission is free!
Just a 15-minute drive away, in the city of Manitou Springs, is the storied Cave of the Winds, another must-see attraction if you’re looking for exploration and thrill. Discovered in 1869 by early settlers, the Cave of the Winds is one of Colorado’s original visitor destinations, offering a variety of walking tours, rides, and group activities that are fun for the whole family.
2. Savor a Spot of Tea
Take a day trip into the lovely city of Boulder and follow the sweet aroma to the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. Once there, you can take a free tour through various tea rooms (the mint room is a favorite!), where you will learn about how tea is blended, packaged, and shipped – and can even try some free samples.
If you’re still in the mood for herbal delightfulness, visit the beautiful and historic Dushanbe Tea House, also located in Boulder. A monument to cultural diversity and friendship, the teahouse was a gift to the city of Boulder, originally constructed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, then disassembled, shipped, and rebuilt in Colorado. Marvel at the intricate artwork and architecture, then stay for a traditional Afternoon Tea, served English-style, complete with all the tea time accoutrements.
3. Get the Lowdown on LoDo
Spend your afternoon on the town in the Lower Downtown Denver district (LoDo), the oldest and original seciton of the city. The neighborhood has been restored and updated over the years, but its rich history and cultural charm remain intact. Be sure to check out the newly remodeled Union Station with its eclectic collection of bars, restaurants, and shops – like the famous Tattered Cover Book Store – to experience the true LoDo vibe.
If you’re looking for other things to do or snack on in the area, duck into Upstairs Circus, a DIY craft workshop and bar in one where you can create fun art projects with a group of friends and a round of drinks. Need to cool off? Treat yourself to Little Man Ice Cream for quality treats made from local ingredients, all within an atmosphere of vintage flair.
4. Taste the Local Libations
The history of beer in Denver dates back to its founding when gold miners needed something to cap off long days of work. Today, Colorado’s beer scene has gained nationwide clout with its “Napa Valley of Beer” moniker, and Denver continues to host the Great American Beer Festival every fall season. You can always tour the Coors Brewery and learn about the beer giant’s humble beginnings, but you might also consider the craft beer route to discover what the local breweries are concocting. Check out New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, a mainstay of the city, or order a drink from the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver’s first brewpub. Can’t decide which tasting room to venture into? Take a brewery tour to try out several stops, like the Boulder Brew Tour that offers both walking and driving options, depending on which breweries you’re interested in visiting.
After such a fun Colorado experience, you may decide you want to stay a bit longer in the Denver-Metro area – like perhaps move to the area. If so, consider some of the smaller towns surrounding Denver. From Erie to Highlands Ranch, Reunion to Parker, there are many communities within a quick 30-minute drive of the state’s capital and mere hours from various ski-worthy mountain towns.
Do you think we missed anything? If you have any other favorite spots in the Denver area, share them in the comments below!