1.Visit a brewery
Colorado is home to hundreds of breweries. Literally. Whether you want craft beer, or a good ol’ Coors light, check out one of the many brew tours Colorado has to offer. There are multiple “microbreweries” scattered along the state, but if you’re looking for a full-on tour, check out Coors Brewery Tour in Golden or New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins.
Although I visit Coors more often (3 free beers… whaaat) because I live close, I’d have to that New Belgium takes the cake. The tour is FUN and incredibly interesting. Plus, I love supporting a company that is 100% employee owned. It doesn’t hurt that you get 5-6 free beer “samples” (they aren’t tiny, friends) during the tour. La Folie, the sour, is one of my favorites!
2. Play at Red Rocks
No trip to Colorado is complete with taking a trip to Morrison to soak in the breathtaking views of the front range. Year-round you can find exercise enthusiasts making the most out of this outdoor gym — run the stairs a couple of times and you’ll find out why! Better yet, if you find yourself in the area during summertime, be sure to check out a concert or Film on The Rocks at this beloved amphitheater.
3. Go to a sporting event
If you have any ties with Colorado, you may know that we bleed orange and blue. However, Broncos Country has more than just Peyton Manning (go figure). Have a cold one at Coors Field while watching the Rockies play during the summer (Rockpile tickets are ~$5), head over to the Pepsi Center in the winter to check out The Nuggets or The Colorado Avalanche, or support other local teams like The Colorado Mammoth, The Denver Outlaws or Colorado Rush.
… but if you are here in the Fall. Please do yourself a favor and park your butt at Mile High Stadium (NO. It will never be called Sports Authority Field in my book) and do some good ol’ fashion tailgating.
4. Hike a 14-er
Get your climb on and hike one of the 53 fourteeners in the state (a 14-er is peak with a summit of l14,000 feet). Take note: Arrive to the base in the early morning in order to off the summit before noon. Nasty storms can roll in during the late afternoons and you do not want to get caught up in that! The peaks vary based on ability, but for a first-time 14-er I would suggest Mt. Elbert or Gray + Torreys (You can summit both in one day!) For more 14-er tips, check out this post: How to Hike a Fourteener.
5. Eat pizza at Woodys
For a slice and a cold brew, stop at Woody’s on your way home from the mountains. Located in quant Golden, Colorado, Woody’s offers some of the best pizza in the state (MY FAVORITE. We eat here at least 1x per month). They have an all-you-can-eat pizza, salad and soup buffet for $10.99… which is to die for. Go there and have a slice of buffalo chicken pizza, beer-cheese soup and a salad with extra ranch for me… pretttttty please!
Not to mention, they also have Golden City Brewery, a small microbrewery up the road, on tap.
6. Get Ice Cream at Little Man Ice Cream
Head over the to the Highlands one evening and take a bite into a creamy, delicious cone from Little Man Ice Cream. It’s hard to miss — the stand has a 28-foot ice cream can on top! The lines tend to get crowded during summer months, but it’s fun to just hang out and people watch.
7. Head West To The Mountains
Skiing, hiking, breathtaking views… Head up I-70 and you”ll get it all. Nothing says Colorado quite like the Rockies, regardless of the season.
8. Take a run around Washington Park
If you’re staying in Denver, it may be hard to find a running spot that isn’t stoplight-ridden without heading west. Take a stroll to Washington Park to pound pavement. The 2.5 mile loop is home to many seasoned runners and newbies alike. Make it a short morning jog or log a couple loops for a more intense run.
9. Watch the Cliff Divers at Casa Bonita
The food is gross…the sopapillas are good… but the cliff divers are better. This is one of my all-time favorite places of my childhood, mainly for the waterfall and creepy cave. While I wouldn’t recommend the microwaved mexican food that is served, there is plenty of entertainment to make up for it. They often have “shows” involving the cliff divers and a variety of other activities to keep the whole family entertained. You just can’t go to Denver and NOT go to Casa Bonita! Am I right, locals??
10. Grab A Latte at Cork + Coffee
The Highlands is a quant little sub-area of Denver, which is where this unique house-turned-coffee-shop is located. Get a toasted bagel with basil pesto and a white chocolate mocha. Boom. THE BEST. The service is awesome and the regulars are super friendly. Oh, if it’s sunny out I suggest sitting out on their dog-friendly patio. It’s one of my favorite places to spend a morning.
11. Visit the Denver Museum of Nature + Science (and hit up the Denver Zoo next door)
The zoo is literally right next door. Hit up the museum in the morning and then spend the afternoon having lunch at the zoo and perusing the animals!
12. Go rogue with a VooDoo donut
Expect to wait in line at least thirty minutes for one of these crazy concoctions. These donuts are OUT OF THIS WORLD. VooDoo Donuts, originally only in Oregon, made it’s way to Denver last summer and has been a hit ever since. Imagine a chocolate donut with peanut butter, chocolate frosting and oreos on top. To. Die. For. Other flavors include: Mango, Captain Crunch, Miami Vice and Bacon Maple. The flavors vary daily, but every one that I’ve tried I’ve liked. Not to mention, they aren’t very expensive, all less than $1.50 depending on the flavor.
Warning: they are SUPER sweet, so plan on getting a couple and sharing.
If you can’t tell, I love my home state and love to share it with others. If you plan on visiting Colorado, shoot me and email and I’ll let you in on even more fun stuff do in the Rockies.