Sure, Denver is great. But there's a lot to do and see outside the Mile-High City, too. The best day trips from Denver surround you with natural wonders, historic sights, restaurants serving great cuisine, and cultural treasures. The celebrated Rocky Mountain region is one of the great travel areas in the United States, ideal for soul-restoring day trips from the bustling downtown of Denver. As the world begins to travel again, now is the perfect time to day trip from Denver.
Hands-down one of the most gorgeous concert locations in the United States. The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, near Morrison, Colorado, offers remarkable views and live music from top-tier singers and bands. Sit back and absorb not just the music but the breathtaking views of Denver and its surrounding areas. To prepare yourself, check out the fabled U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky music video, shot at the venue at the height of the band's power.
A little over an hour south of Denver, Colorado Springs features plenty of things to do for the day traveler. For baseball fans, this includes UCHealth Park, home of the Rocky Mountain Vibes. The Vibes play as the rookie-advanced farm team for the Milwaukee Brewers — beer seems to be a common theme between Denver, Milwaukee, and Colorado Springs. The ballpark is a top minor-league destination with typically excellent Colorado views, great food and drink offerings, and ballgames that will have you up and shouting.
Colorado has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best beer states in America. Nearby Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton is one of the top breweries in the state. Breckenridge is a quick walk away from the Platte River and its bike trail. Stop in after a day hiking or biking to try favorites like the Hop Peak IPA, Avalanche Amber Ale, or Vanilla Porter in a laid-back outdoor atmosphere. The brewery has something for everyone: fire pits, bocce, Jenga, corn hole, a restaurant, and a beer garden.
A few miles away from Denver, the Colorado Railroad Museum is an ideal destination for travelers with kids. This 15-acre railroad celebrates the history of the railroad in the state and includes an optional train ride. The museum itself looks just like a turn-of-the-century-style railroad depot with gallery spaces. Special seasonal events include a Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine, Steam Days celebrations, a Harvest Haunt at Halloween, and a winter holiday Polar Express Train Ride.
Speaking of Golden, Colorado, the city is also home to one of the most recognizable Colorado brands: Coors beer. This half-hour tour takes visitors through the history of Coors beer, paired with plenty of classic memorabilia and — plenty of samplings of the legendary Coors banquet beer, Coors Lite, and other styles. Colorado might be a craft beer heaven, but there is still something fun and legendary about one of America's more famous large-scale brews.
In Golden, Clear Creek Trail features everything indoor people and outdoor people could want. This trail is less than 2 miles long and features some of the natural beauty of Colorado, including a beautiful tree-lined river and Clear Creek itself. Quite helpfully, the trail ends right in the shopping district of downtown Golden. Once you get into Golden, pick through some of the fun local shops downtown. Highlights include Baby Doe's Clothing, Bent Gate Mountaineering, and the Blue Moose Trading Company.
One of America's most famous peaks is right outside Denver, about 12 miles west of Colorado Springs and 14,115 feet above sea level. Take the famed Barr Trail up to the top if you're an experienced hiker. Other options include a winding drive up the Pikes Peak Highway or just taking the shuttle system to the top. Don't miss the special Summit House donut snack at the top of the Peak, too. These donuts get specially crafted for the high-altitude eater.
In nearby Littleton, the SeaQuest hands-on Zoo Aquarium features animal fun for the entire family. Try the Snorkel With the Stingrays session to get up close and personal with these aquatic wonders, or walk around marveling at the 36,000-gallon exhibit with all manners of wildlife. A special Animal Whisperer tour brings families around to learn first-hand about food preparation, habitat maintenance, and medical care.
Just outside of Denver, Commerce City is home to Colorado's Major League Soccer team, the Rapids. A former MLS-cup winning team, the Rapids play at the lively Dick's Sporting Goods Park. As with other arenas in Colorado, this stadium includes excellent views and great local food and beer specialties. Listen for the colorful cheers and chants of the Centennial 38, the Rapids' die-hard group of supporters. A trip to see the Rapids makes for one of the best day trips from Denver you can take.
Along with craft beer, Colorado is home to a thriving wine scene. Head over to Creekside Cellars in Evergreen to enjoy some of the Rocky Mountain State's finest wines along with fresh focaccia, ciabatta, and other Continental cuisines. The winery pours red, white, and specialty dessert wines. A highlight includes the Rose' of Malbec, produced in Grand Valley from 100% Malbec grapes. Creekside also produces Colorado-grown rieslings with a "bright and expressive" palate.
What would a trip to Colorado be without a ski adventure? Take the hour-or-so drive out to the Loveland Ski Area in Clear Creek County for 1,800 acres of skiing and outdoor fun. Fuel up at the signature Loveland Grill for a day on the slopes or sit down for a meal at the Loveland Wedge Bar. The Mountain also features plenty of shopping destinations and the Rathskeller beer hall, featuring a wide selection of Colorado beer.
For one of the best day trips from Denver, hop on a bike to explore the South Platte River Trail. Lush and leafy, this 11.5-mile trail typically hops with activity and things to see — including some of the best birdwatching in Colorado. One benefit of exploring the trail? You'll get a splendid view of Mile High Stadium, where the Denver Broncos play. Trail-goers will also be able to see the lovely Centennial Gardens and Ruby Hill Park.
If you're an adventurous eater, Colorado's specialty Rocky Mountain oysters are a must-try — figure out what they are if you don't already know. Try some of them at Boulder's Dark Horse Bar and Grill alongside one of Colorado's signature craft beers from breweries like Avery, Wynkoop, and New Belgium. Or, if that's not your thing, be sure to order one of the world-famous Dark Horse burgers or chicken wings.
A 40-minute drive to Boulder will get you to one of Colorado's hidden gems: the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. Take a free factory tour and sample some of their signature flavors:
Once you get done with the tour, you can browse the shelves at their colorful tea shop. Visitors can also sit down for a bite, and a cup of tea, of course, at the factory's in-house Celestial Cafe.
How about the OTHER type of tee time? Colorado's natural beauty means some of the most picturesque golf courses in the country. Try your luck on the links at Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden, a challenging 18-hole course right next to the stunning Table Mountain. A cool bonus when you golf at Fossil Trace? You can see dinosaur footprints from millions of years ago in a special display near the course's 12th hole green.