Colorado

Things to do in Colorado

Colorado makes a great destination for all kinds of travelers, but it calls to nature lovers in particular. Every year, thousands of visitors strap on their hiking boots or snap into their skis to explore the slopes of the Rocky Mountains and take in some of the country’s most breathtaking views. So it’s not surprising that some of the best things to do in Colorado revolve around the mountains, like hiking Mount Princeton or the Spanish Peaks – named for their Old Mexico heritage – or skiing Vail Mountain and Snowmass, located northwest of Aspen.

There’s certainly more to Colorado than hitting the slopes. Summer travelers will want to hike to the Grottos, a series of short trails that lead to scenic waterfalls and sculpted gorges, visit the Dinosaur National Monument, which preserves one of North America’s largest dinosaur fossil beds. Tour New Belgium Brewery, which merges three passions of Centennial State residents: cycling, sustainability, and beer. History buffs will find a number of things to do in Colorado, like riding the vintage steam locomotives of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad or learning about local cultures at the El Pueblo History Museum and the Trinidad History Museum. And art lovers will want to visit some of the Centennial State’s fine art galleries and museums, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Denver Performing Arts Complex and the Denver Art Museum.

The modest spa’s hour-long Swedish massage is intense and the perfect cure for ski-weary muscles.

The products from this fair-trade, certified-organic coffee roaster garnered Roast Magazine’s 2011 Micro Roaster of the Year award. Located in Boulder’s Arapahoe Ridge neighborhood, Conscious Coffees uses beans from co-ops in East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America.

The town’s first contemporary-music dance venue brings in world-class acts (MSTRKRFT, Seal, Cake) year-round.

Rent climbing shoes here, where the in-store museum features dozens of ice axes and an early pair of Rossignol skis.

A hipper-than-thou vibe permeates this chic hotel bar that spills out to a heated pool, waterfall, and pair of fire pits.

Buy a lift ticket and hit the slopes at Breckenridge Ski Resort, which dazzles skiers and snowboarders with a 3,398-foot vertical rise and 155 trails (most of them moderate to expert). The legendary Freeway Terrain Park is de rigueur for hard-core snowboarders.

Frequented by visitors looking to stock their resort kitchens, this grocery store is housed in a red-brick building conveniently located in the center of town. Regular and organic groceries fill the shelves, along with a bulk section that includes nuts and candies.

One of the premier retailers of ski equipment and skiwear in Vail, Pepi Sports spans three stories in Vail Village.

One of the West's largest art institutions, the Denver Art Museum has been showcasing collections in its 210,000–square-foot North Building since the 1970s, and in 2006, the DAM completed the 146,000-square-foot Frederic C. Hamilton Building, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.

This aristocratic tavern inside the Hotel Boulderado has a high ceiling, tall windows, and wood everywhere, including the classy Old West-style bar area. The Corner Bar’s happy hour runs from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., and includes deals on beer, martinis, wines and appetizers.

Aspen Brewing Company turns out small batches of brown and hefeweizen-style ales, along with four other brews (including a cleverly named I.P.A., the Independence Pass Ale).

The Regal Watering Hole is a popular destination for Aspen’s young and party-ready crowds. The club often attracts a line of patrons waiting to gain entrance. During a 2007 remodel, the Regal added a back room with an additional bar, high-backed, white seating, and an aged-leather floor.

The Chautauqua National Historic Landmark, built in the 1800s as a Methodist retreat, now serves up salmon with salsa verde on a wraparound porch. The on-site summer-camp-type cottages provide eagle-eye views toward the flatlands.