Tour compiled by Danielle Krolewicz
Art by Book Williams Jr.
Denverites are known for being outdoor enthusiasts. In the winter you find us on the slopes, and in the summer bikers, hikers, and campers fill the mountains. But if you don’t have time for a multi-day escape, there are lots of ways to get away for a day and enjoy Colorado’s beautiful outdoors in and around our city.
Take the Tour de Museums.
Before you go: sign up for a library card and use it to print off free passes. Go to denverlibrary.org and search the catalog for museum. Follow the prompts to reserve a pass. Most are available day-of and are good for two adults. Tickets are available for Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), History Colorado Center, Molly Brown House, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
While the museums are inside, get your outside time in on the rooftop bar of the MCA, walking or biking between the museums, and then watching the sunset outside of DMNS. In our opinion, it’s the best view of the city!
To spread your tour into two days, consider Denver’s “Culture Pass,” which costs $32.50 per person and gets you into the previously mentioned museums plus the Clyfford Still Museum and Denver Botanic Gardens, as well as discounted admission to the Butterfly Pavilions and Byers-Evans House Museum, and 50 percent off B-cycle rentals.
Available through the Denver Public Library
Enjoy a Bike Ride to Golden.
Before you go: rent a bike or use your own. Make sure you carry plenty of water and a helmet!
When you’re there, take a picnic break at Parfet Park or have a well-deserved beer on the outdoor patio of Golden’s second largest brewery, Golden City, then take a stroll along the creek. If you’re not tired, bike up Lookout Mountain to check out Buffalo Bill’s Grave and see great views of Golden and the mountains beyond.
Don’t feel like biking back? The W line will return you and your bike to downtown Denver.
The Clear Creek Trail starts at the Platte River Trail near I-76.
Go star-gazing at Chamberlin Observation Tower.
The tower is open to the public on most Tuesday and Thursday nights beginning at 8:30 p.m. – a tradition that began in 1894. Space is limited and reservations can be made online. The tower also hosts open houses on select Saturday nights. These events are geared for the non-astronomer of all ages. In addition to presentations and a tour of the observatory, guests can check out telescopic views of the night sky through their historic telescope.
Observatory Park, 2930 E Warren Ave.
Bike the Cherry Creek Trail to Cherry Creek State Park.
The 16-mile trail from Denver to the State Park follows Cherry Creek for a majority of your ride. There are lots of places to stop along the way, including Four Mile Historic Park and Lollipop Lake. Walk-in admission at the state park is free, or pay $9 per car. Bring your annual state parks pass for free entry (or check one out from the Denver Public Library with your library card. There’s always a wait list, so plan for that in advance). Once you’re there, you have access to 12 miles of hiking trails and a beach that’s open from Memorial to Labor Day. Camping is available for an extra fee.
4201 S. Parker Rd., Aurora
Take the D line to Littleton Mineral Station and Tube the Platte River.
Access to the river is about a 10-minute walk from the light rail station. The river isn’t fast moving, so don’t count on it to get you back to the city. It’s more of a leisurely afternoon activity. We’d suggest getting in just north of Cooley Lake and riding the river to Reynolds Landing, where you can get a bite or a beer at the Breckenridge Brewery farmhouse. If you plan ahead, you might be able to catch a tour of the premises or a concert. When you’re finished, catch the D line back to town. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can bike the Platte River trail from Denver. It connects to the Mary Greenway trail, which will take you the rest of the way to Littleton.
2920 Brewery Ln., Littleton • breckbrew.com/beers