The Centennial State is one of the most visited in the country. There must be something in the air, which isn’t too surprising since the average elevation of the state is well above a mile over sea level. Whether you are hiking the Rockies, skiing one of its numerous snowy slopes, or strolling down the streets of Denver, the state of Colorado is one of a kind. Colorado isn’t just an outdoorsman’s paradise, however. While the sights are indeed beautiful and the outdoor experiences are plentiful, the state also has numerous cultural offerings from nationally renowned art museums to professional sports league games. Here are some things that you don’t want to miss on your visit to this beautiful state.
10. Fort Collins
Only an hour north of Denver, this gorgeous town inspired the atmosphere and design of Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland. This peaceful village frequently finds its way onto lists of best places to live in the nation. If you are a beer drinker, enjoy some of the craft breweries in town, such as New Belgium and Odell.
9. Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum
Trains have a magical quality to them. There is always an adventure to be had when you hear that familiar whistle. At the Colorado Railroad Museum, discover steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses, a HO model railroad, and a G-scale garden railway on 15 acres of railyards.
This collection of artifacts from the railroad industry is a must-see for history buffs. The route, originally constructed for the transportation of minerals, was opened in the 1880s.
8. Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods is a U.S. National Natural Landmark in Colorado that has some of the most unique geological formations in the country. The beautiful green foliage contrasts with the bright blue of the sky. In between the two, rusty orange-brown rock formations literally jut up into the sky. Lance up your boots, grab a water bottle, and prepare to be amazed.
7. Pueblo Levee Mural Project
Along the Arkansas River lies the Pueblo Levee Mural Project, which holds the record for being the longest painting in the world. Working at night to avoid arrest, students from nearby universities began painting the stretch of graffiti in the 1970s. Now, it is a recognized landmark.
6. Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
This ecological preserve allows guests to see wolves, coyotes, and foxes in their natural habitat. As you learn about their role in the ecosystem, you will hear from tour guides who are passionate about the animals. Many visitors particularly love the wolf howling aspect at the end of the tour.
5. Continental Divide at the Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park plays host to some of the most breathtaking views on the planet. One of its main talking points is the Continental Divide, whose trail stretches over five different states, making it a favorite of hikers and photographers alike. It’s the separation point for rivers that flow toward the east and west coasts.
4. Williams & Graham
Dating back to the speakeasies of the Prohibition Era, Williams & Graham still maintains the elusiveness of the time period. This secret bar has a pretty constant line waiting outside and was recently added to the prestigious list of 50 best bars in the world.
3. Cliff Palace
Constructed out of sandstone by the Puebloans, these cave dwellings are carved into the side of the ravine. An impressive testament to human will and creativity, this marvelous structure brings visitors from miles around. These ancestral Puebloan dwellings are the oldest standing buildings in North America.
2. Dinosaur Dig with the Museums of Western Colorado
As you move out west, be sure to check out the Museums of Western Colorado, which leads guided digs for fossils in the area. The museum contains a wealth of information about life in the American West, particularly as it pertained to the mining industry.
A former gold and silver mining town, Telluride now holds international acclaim for its year round skiing resort. Many celebrities escape the struggles of fame by riding these slopes. Telluride also hosts an annual international film festival that brings in artists from all over the world.