Discover Pikes Peak And The Garden Of The Gods
A couple more things to do near Denver that you should consider are visiting Pikes Peak and the Gardens of the Gods, both of which are near Colorado Springs, to the south of Denver. Although separate areas, the Garden of the Gods provides a tremendous opportunity to take in a gorgeous view of Pikes Pike.
Within the Garden of the Gods is an impressive group of picturesque red rock formations and a nice collection of hiking trails. In fact, it has such a reputation that TripAdvisor named it the nation’s best park, ahead of runner-up Central Park in New York.
Meanwhile, Pikes Peak has an elevation of 14,115 feet and is the highest point in the United States from it to the east. One memorable and comfortable way to climb it is taking a guided tour via the Pikes Peak Highway.
Free Things To Do This Weekend
There’s sure to be no shortage of free things to do in Denver this weekend, as the city hosts many free events, concerts, and festivals throughout the year. Check out the city’s free events calendar to find out what’s happening this season. For year-round free fun, take a stroll and enjoy public art in any of the city’s multiple art districts, check for weekly or monthly free days at the area’s museums and cultural institutions, and enjoy the city’s beautiful parks. Denver’s City Park periodically offers free outdoor jazz concerts through City Park Jazz. Those interested in history and the democratic process might enjoy taking a free tour of Colorado’s Capitol. Got a sweet tooth? Take a free tour of the Hammond’s Candies factory and try a free sample!
Indoor Activities For Any Colorado Day
We all know there is plenty to do outdoors in Colorado, but there is also plenty to do indoors as well. While Colorado is known for its days of sunshine, 300+ to be bragging, it also has its days of rain, bitter cold, and snowstorms that make most want to stay inside.
But being the active people that we are, most Coloradans dont want to just sit at home and do nothing. For those who want to keep moving, there are plenty of things to do indoors in the beautiful state of Colorado. Save these indoor activities in Colorado for the next rainy day or winter storm.
Here are some of fun indoor activities in Colorado, in no particular order:
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Forney Museum Of Transportation
The Forney Museum of Transportation is one of the more quirky Denver attractions in Colorado.
Originally, the museums extensive collection began with the private collection of Forney Industries founder J.D. Forney.
His wife and children presented him with a special antique car in 1961, and that kickstarted his love of collecting unusual, special, one-of-a-kind, and sometimes downright weird automobiles!
If it had wheels, he would consider it!
Now, the collection comprises of 600 different pieces, and it continues to expand in the spirit of Forneys efforts.
The car of Amelia Earhart, a Big Boy locomotive, and even a banged-about Herbie the Love Bug are all noteworthy entries to this museum.
Hilariously, to add a little more life to their displays, mannequins with silly eyes are posed around and in these vehicles.
Its a very strange museum indeed, but if youre looking for what to do, its one that shouldnt be missed!
Address: 4303 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216, United States
If Youre Looking To Be Entertained
Catch a live show, whether its from the Colorado Symphony or a nationally touring musical theatre production, from one of the many great performing arts centers in Colorado. Colleges, high schools, and community theaters put on some stellar productions throughout the year that wont break the bank. On a similar note, youd be doing yourself a disservice if you didnt check out some of the live music opportunities in Colorado we have tons of great music venues, from dive bars to stadiums, that bring the absolute best in both local talent and internationally-known artists. For something a little more low key, take in a movie at one of Colorados theaters, where you can sit back with a big tub of popcorn and watch the latest blockbuster or independent film.
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See The Tropical Plants In Denver Botanic Gardens In Winter
One of the attractions that our Denver Passport had free entry to were the Denver Botanic Gardens.
You might wonder why visit the Botanical Gardens when everything is either bare or covered by snow, but these gardens located on York Street look pretty spectacular even in winter.
While the outdoor garden is a frozen winter wonderland with fall leaves frozen on some trees and red apples on others, the indoor tropical conservatory is ablaze with color.
The tropical conservatory has hibiscus, orchids, and other tropical flowers native to Africa, Asia, and South America.
Apart from flowers you will also find big leafy palm trees, citrus trees, and a warm, humid climate which will make you forget that you are still in Denver.
If Youre Looking To Watch A Game
Colorado happens to be home to several professional sports teams, and some of those teams play indoors. The Denver Nuggets regular season usually runs from October through April, and tickets to their games at Pepsi Center are pretty easy to come by. Also playing at Pepsi Center are the Colorado Avalanche, the NHL hockey team, and the Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team. But if youre not in Denver, theres also plenty of college and regional sporting events that take place indoors. For an exciting way to spend an evening, check the local calendar for events and tournaments, or seek out your areas local roller derby team.
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Garden Of The Gods Visitor & Nature Center
The Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center is the gateway to our world-class Garden of the Gods Park. Serving as the educational heart of the park, The Visitor & Nature Center offers 30 state-of-the-art interactive exhibits that teach visitors of all ages about the plants, wildlife, geology, and ecology of the area, as well as the history of the Indigenous Americans who visited the park.
From nature walks, Geo-Trekker Theater, arts & crafts, childrens programs, and history talks — the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center hosts a wide variety of fun and educational experiences year-round. Every guest has different passions and interests, so a variety of programs have been created to encourage visitors to enjoy the park in the way which is most meaningful to them. There is an expansive activity calendar with programs and events for every member of the family – rock climbing, hiking, yoga, adventure tours, interpretation, meditation, painting the skys the limit at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center! Stop by and learn what makes us one of the premiere family destinations on the Front Range!
Santa Fe Art District
Santa Fe Avenue is the place to be if you want to check out cool art galleries, hipster hangouts, or unique museums like the Museo de las Americas. The monthly First Friday event brings out a crowd as patrons hop from gallery to gallery to watch performances and imbibe. If youre in town for the first Friday of the month, its a cant-miss thing to do in Denver!
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Take In Blossoms Of Light At The Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens signature event for over 30 years, this annual holiday lights festival transforms the York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland.
With fresh and exciting new features every year including a 360-degree immersive light experience, the Blossoms of Light event is not to be missed.
Stroll the gardens and be sure to take a break for warm drinks, holiday treats or even dinner.
Perfect for families, holiday date nights or just a fun, festive winter activity with friends, be sure to purchase tickets well in advance.
Art Programs For Kids
The world-class Denver Art Museum free for those 18 and younger every day and free for all the first Saturday of each month is a great place to introduce kids to the wide and wonderful world of art. Every gallery on every floor of this expansive museum has something fun for families.
First, stop by the family space on level three of the Hamilton Building for activities. Then pick up Gallery Games small activity boards that help kids learn about artwork through games similar to I spy, bingo and memory matching which you’ll find in various galleries and exhibits throughout the museum.
Smudge, squiggle and splatter at Create Playdates on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. . Drop in with your little ones to meet up with other tots for artmaking, storytime throughout the museum and instructor-guided “close looking” to explore artwork. Create Playdates explore a new theme every other month and are available in English and Spanish. Got some little detectives? They’ll love Foxy and Shmoxy: Art Detectives, held the second Sunday of each month from September to May.
DAM also offers a wide array of art-centric classes and camps for kids every spring break, fall break, Thanksgiving break, winter break and throughout the summer.
MCA Denver is free for all kids and teens 18 and younger.
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Go Sledding At Ruby Hill Park Or Sledding Hill Park
You know the best kind of winter activities? Those where you get to actually play and have fun in the snow!
We love sledding because there is absolutely no learning curve as there is for skiing, its simply much more fun than other purpose-driven snow activities like snowshoeing and its super cheap compared to snowmobiling!
If you dont have snow sleds, you can use any kind of large tray/saucer or even the water tube works well.
Just climb up a snowy hill and push yourself down easy peasy!
Denver has lots of free sledding areas, most of which are urban parks.
The most popular by far in Denver is the Ruby Hill Park for its awesome slopes and huge space.
The park also has hiking trails, picnic tables, and great city views so you grab your sleds, a picnic lunch, some wine, and make it an outdoors day.
Other popular sledding locations include the Scott Carpenter Park in nearby Boulder and the Sledding Hill Park in Littleton.
Children’s Museum Of Denver At Marsico Campus First Tuesday Free Nights
Children can do it all at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. They can scramble through a 3½ story climber, step inside a 6-foot bubble, sculpt a clay masterpiece or power a hot air balloon. There’s always something new to explore! During Target Tuesdays, the first Tuesday of each month is free from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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Go On A Dog Sled Ride At Winter Park
If you thought you had to visit Alaska or Norway to enjoy dog sled rides, then let us remind you of the most popular Colorado activity at Winter Park fun dog sled rides for the entire family!
While the dog sledding is offered year long, it is definitely more fun in the snow.
Getting pulled by Siberian and Alaskan huskies on a sled ride through the snowy countryside is honestly the most fun experience you will ever have.
The dogs are super enthusiastic and pull the sleds at amazing speeds the guides drive the sleds and direct the dogs through the pine forests and mountain peaks.
The dog sled rides at Winter Park have amazing views of the towering, icy peaks of the Continental Divide.
After the ride you can also pet the cute dogs and take pictures with them.
Colorado State Capitol Building
Colorado’s State Capitol Building, the only LEED Gold-certified state capitol, typically offers free public tours 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, along with self-guided tours. Currently, tours are suspended due to COVID and the dome is closed, but there are free virtual tours about different parts of the building on the capitol’s website. Opened in 1894, the building was designed by Elijah E. Meyers to evoke the layout of the nation’s capitol. The white granite, rose onyx and marble were quarried in Colorado, and the 200 ounces of gold it took to gild the dome were a gift from Colorado gold miners in 1908. Inside, there are carved statues, stained-glass windows and renderings of U.S. presidents. Outside, view memorials dedicated to state and national patriots. The 13th step on the building’s west side is the place to snap a selfie at exactly 5,280 feet above sea level, a mile high.
Recommended for Free Things to Do because: The Colorado State Capitol Building provides state history, insight into the building’s architecture and design and a place to stand exactly a mile high.
Christine’s expert tip: Because school groups book many of the tour times as much as a year in advance, consider going when school isn’t in session. While tours are temporarily suspended, check out the capitol website to access free virtual tours.
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Take In Denvers Beauty While On Horseback
Various locationsTake a romantic horseback ride with your SO at sunset or book a pony ride or pony party for the kids at Bear Creek Stables in Morrison, and enjoy the Front Range views. 12 Mile Stables, based out of Aurora, also offers guided trail rides through prairies, over streams, and offers a Sunset and Dinner Ride featuring hearty cowboy fare for after your trek. In a different light, The Right Step, Inc. offers horseback riding but in a therapeutic way for people with special needs, and is also a 5013 organization.
Enjoy A Mountain Retreat In Estes Park
Estes Park is located about an hour away from Denver and is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
From November to April, Estes Park transforms into a winter wonderland.
You can spend a day at a romantic retreat, soak in a hot tub, and sip wine by the fireplace or have fun skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or simply playing in the snow.
Estes Parks main street of Elkhorn Avenue is also perfect to explore as a romantic day trip: here you will find cute taffy and fudge shops, blown glass galleries, boutique shopping, independent bookstores, and popcorn.
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Sample Local Eats At A Food Hall
Various locationsHoly hell are there a lot of food halls in Denver now, and most are open and filled with culinary delights. Avanti, an OG of the movement, boasts an impressive lineup of rotating concepts. Denver Central Market not only has prepared foods from their vendors, but also great items to take home and cook including meats, cheeses, and other provisions. Milk Market currently has 10 venues open from restaurateur Frank Bonnano serving everything from pasta and pizza to burgers and salads. Stanley Marketplace is not only home to eateries like Annette and Rosenbergs, but also has shopping. Edgewater Public Market also has shopping, and houses over 15+ unique food concepts. And theres Zeppelin Station! And The Source! And ! And the new Golden Mill. And… you get the point.
If Youre Looking To Relax
Check out some of the amazing spas in Colorado, many of which are conveniently located in resort towns, so if youre already on vacation and looking for a day away from the cold of the slopes, youll have easy access. Treat yourself to a massage, a facial, body scrub, or other treatment to rejuvenate yourself and feel like a whole new you. If you were hoping to check out some of the hot springs in Colorado, then youre also in luck, because the weather doesnt need to get you down. There are several indoor hot springs options, like the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center, which boasts the largest indoor hot springs in North America. For another unique way to relax, try a float studio, where youll float weightless in salt water with complete sensory deprivation to allow your mind to fully relax in a way like no other.
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Molly Brown House Museum
Those who enjoy the movie, “Titanic,” know who Molly Brown was. She was an activist, socialist and philanthropist who survived the Titanic’s sinking in 1912. At the age of 18, she moved to Leadville, Colo., a town of 3,000 today that had a population of 13,000 then, and later married J.J. Brown there. After they accumulated significant wealth, they bought a mansion in Denver. That is the Molly Brown House Museum today.
Once you enter the home, you will be enveloped by the feeling of what it was like for her when she lived there. Contributing to that will be the exhibits displayed there that help tell the story of her life. The building also shows what general life was like in Colorado during the time that she was there. Interestingly, she had also allowed Colorado’s governor to use it as his official residence in 1902 while his original residence was being remodeled.