Colorado is packed full of things to do year-round. From family attractions, Western heritage and outdoor adventure to cosmopolitan cities and welcoming towns, these Colorado vacation ideas will fill your trip itinerary to overflowing.
Colorado Springs is the state’s second-largest city, but it’s first in the hearts of many visitors as a place of spectacular beauty with dozens of family attractions, natural landmarks and unique museums. Such as Pikes Peak Mountain, upon whose summit Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write “America the Beautiful.” Tourists still converge on the peak, where they can drive, ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or even hike to its 14,115-foot summit. One of the nation’s three U.S. Olympic Training Centers is located in Colorado Spring, and visitors can watch world-class athletes in action.
Welcome to Denver, Colorado, the outdoor city with 300 days of sunshine and spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. The Mile High City’s walkable city center offers urban adventures for all ages, from museums, parks and street art to boutiques, chef-driven restaurants and craft breweries.
Upscale shopping awaits in Cherry Creek, while Denver’s seven professional sports teams entertain year-round. It’s easy to get to the walkable city center with direct rail service from Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station. The city’s neighborhoods are easy to explore on bike or on foot, and the free 16th Street Mall shuttles in the heart of downtown run from early morning to late at night.
Attraction Pass Options
A great deal! Pick from the city’s best attractions. The Mile High City offers you two different passes to take advantage of the great attractions throughout the city. The Mile High Culture Pass gives you three days to explore many of Denver’s top art and cultural museums, while the Denver CityPASS gives you access to three, four or five of Denver’s most popular attractions for seven days.
Example of some participating attractions:
Denver Union Station has undergone a massive restoration that transformed the landmark into a transportation, dining, shopping and entertainment hub, complete with the Crawford Hotel. The historic, Beaux Arts 1914 train terminal is now a foodie destination, featuring local favorites like the farm-to-table restaurant Mercantile and the Terminal Bar, serving Colorado craft beer and food from the station’s former ticket windows. A handful of local retailers includes the popular Tattered Cover Bookstore. Denver Union Station is also fulfilling its original role as a major ground transportation hub for AMTRAK, buses, light rail, and the direct rail service to and from Denver International Airport.
Denver Beer Trail
Take a self-guided tour along the Denver Beer Trail and sample the craft beer paradise in The Mile High City. Explore the featured breweries, most of which are in the walkable downtown area, and you will find everything from Stouts to Lagers and all the flavors in between. Denver’s craft beer culture is thriving and creative.
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum is home to renowned collections of Western and Native American art. Explore the bold contemporary art inside and out of the new Frederic C. Hamilton building, designed by world-famous architect Daniel Libeskind. The museum, located in downtown’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, also offers free general admission on the first Saturday of every month and is free for kids under 18 at all times.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is famous for its one-of-a-kind outdoor concert venue that is surrounded by giant, ancient rock formations. Seeing a concert under the stars at Red Rocks is on every music lover’s bucket list. And, during the day, Red Rocks is a free city park with easy hiking trails and a visitor center that includes a Performers’ Hall of Fame, where you can learn about all the great musicians who have performed on the stage, including the Beatles in 1964. Red Rocks is located 30 minutes west of downtown Denver.
Surrounded by towering Western buttes in the town of Golden, the Colorado Railroad Museum features more than 100 narrow and standard gauge locomotives, cabooses and cars. Exhibits in and around the 1880s-style depot include a working Roundhouse and model railroads. Train rides every Saturday on the Galloping Goose take guests on a one-third-mile loop of track, while “Steam ups” and special events including “A Day Out With Thomas” occur throughout the year. The museum is located 30 minutes west of downtown Denver.
Glenwood Springs is located in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Famous for its geothermal amenities and outdoor adventures, Glenwood Springs is home to one-of-a-kind attractions. The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is considered the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool; it features two enormous outdoor pools and an award-winning spa. Iron Mountain Hot Springs is situated along the Colorado River and boasts 16 smaller pools, all varying in temperature. The mountain-top Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park combines spectacular cave tours and thrill ride amusements with breathtaking views. The Yampah Vapor Caves features naturally-occurring mineral steam baths, a rare geological feature. Another geological wonder is Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, one of the most beautiful hikes in the state of Colorado.
Grand Junction is located 4 hours west of Denver directly off Interstate 70, close to the state of Utah border. The most popular route of AMTRAK in the U.S. runs directly through Grand Junction, from Denver to Salt Lake City. Grand Junction Regional Airport features over 20 flights daily from Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Dallas. Discover a dramatically different landscape from the Rocky Mountains in the Grand Junction area. The eastern side of the valley features Grand Mesa, the largest flat toped mountain in the world, with an alpine environment and over 300 lakes. Driving over the Grand Mesa on a nationally designated scenic byway is very popular. The western side of the valley includes the red rock canyons of the Colorado National Monument with dramatic rock formations and spires.
The colorful sandstones and shales that form the cliffs of Colorado National Monument had their origins in deserts, beaches and rivers 200 million years ago. Colorado National Monument is part of the National Parks system and features Rim Rock Drive, an historic 23-mile loop road that was built by the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. A scenic drive along the edge of the canyons is an awe inspiring adventure.
The Colorado River dissects the center of the valley as it winds its way towards the Grand Canyon and the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the wonderfully mild year round climate, the valley boasts some of the best orchards in the region that grow peaches, pears, apricots, apples, cherries, and plums. Grand Junction is Colorado’s Wine Country featuring 23 wineries with tasting rooms. One of our most popular activities is to ride a cruiser bike through the vineyards. The area also features 6 craft breweries, 1 distillery and over 15 lavender farms. Come enjoy a “Taste of Grand Junction” at a variety of award winning farm to table restaurants.
Downtown Grand Junction is one of the area’s top 3 attractions featuring over 100 shops and restaurants, in a 7 block area, as well a unique sculpture exhibition on the sidewalks called “Art on the Corner”, beloved by locals and visitors alike. Lodging options include, hotels, motels, bed and breakfast, vacation home rentals and RV Campgrounds.