A Golden Opportunity… Tucked in along the base of the foothills, Golden, Colorado is the perfect weekend getaway spot. Just far enough off of the interstates to feel secluded, yet conveniently located to so many amazing attractions. Golden gives the feeling of a small town, but the access of a large city and is the perfect “base camp” for your next family vacation.
Golden is located just west of Denver near the C-470 and I-70 interchange about 1.5 hours from Colorado Springs. To get there head north on I-25 towards Denver. You can either take exit 194 to C-470 or continue on to the I-70 West interchange and take the Highway 6 interchange to Golden.
Golden was founded in 1859 during the Gold Rush, when a small amount of gold was discovered in Clear Creek. Founded for its own mineral sources, Golden soon became known as the “last flat place.” It served as a supply center to other mining camps in the surrounding mountains thanks to its favorable conditions for agriculture.
Soon, new industries were booming including smelters, mills and rail access to the mountains which developed to process the resources being sourced from nearby areas. In 1873, Adolf Coors founded a brewery on the banks of Clear Creek that has grown into one of the world’s most well-known brands of beer. Shortly thereafter, in 1874, the Colorado School of Mines was founded. Still today, it one of the top universities for engineering and applied science in the county.
Coors Brewery Tour. If you have never taken a brewery tour, Coors is the place to start. Coors is steeped in a long (150 years!), rich history and is a giant in their industry.
Driving Tour of a “14er.” Mount Evans Summit Scenic Byway– One of the most breathtaking tours in the country. Take advantage of the easy access available and stand at the top of one of Colorado’s most famous peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation. Make sure to book your reservation for timed entry in advance as passes are not sold at the gate.
Explore Golden Gate Canyon State Park. If you are looking to connect with nature, or just need a little fresh air, Golden Gate State Park is the way to do it. Gorgeous views, tons of wildlife and recreational activities spend the day or check out the camping opportunities.
Experience Colorado’s water recreation industry at Clear Creek Water Park. Clear Creek is a naturally running stream that cuts through the heart of Golden. It’s popular for its hiking, biking, tubing and kayaking. It can be a great opportunity to get a taste of Colorado’s outdoor recreation opportunities all in one spot. Make sure to understand how to recreate safely by checking out the Creek Info website. And take advantage of one of the many available local outfitters to get the most out of your experience.
Catch a concert and take a tour at the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
There are few venues out there like Red Rocks. Tucked into the red sandstone formations, curved seating in this sets the stage for an amazing experience, whether catching your favorite band or sunrise yoga, you won’t forget your visit.
5 Family-Friendly Activities
Golden, is a ‘goldmine’ (pardon the pun) of awesome activities for active, outdoorsy kids. If your kids are into Dinosaur Train, Emily’s Wonder Lab or Spirit, Golden is the family-friendly playground for you. Below are my top picks for kid-friendly activities sure to spark your child’s inquisitive mind.
Colorado Railroad Museum. Located just outside downtown Golden, the Colorado Railroad Museum is an amazing way to spend a morning. Get tickets onboard the train, where you’ll hear the history of some of the museum’s most interesting features. Spend time inside, watching all the intricate features of the model rail and ring the bell in a real, live stream engine.
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. Located on top of Lookout Mountain. Enjoy incredible views while you learn about the life of one of the Wild West’s most notable characters, Buffalo Bill Cody.
Dinosaur Ridge. A short 15-minute drive, Dinosaur Ridge is a dinosaur lover’s dream. Easily accessible for everyone, take a walk back through time where the dinosaurs walked. An amazing collection of fossils and footprints, take the self-guided audio app walking tour or book a tour with one of the park’s amazing staff members.
Golden Farmers Market. Stop by the market on Saturdays from 8 am-1 pm between June and October. Enjoy some local culture, food and fun. See what’s happening and give them a follow on their Facebook page here.
Mines Museum of Earth Science. As a kid, I was obsessed with rock collecting. I had fossils and gems of every kind. This museum holds a treasure trove of Colorado’s rocks and gems as well as some rocks that are out of this world (moon rocks collected from the Apollo 17 mission). If you have a budding rockhound, this is the place for you.
5 Great Places to Stay
Table Mountain Inn. If you are coming to Golden from the Springs and looking to stay, you might as well get the full experience. Staying downtown at Table Mountain Inn will put you close to the action and attractions that Golden has to office.
The Golden Hotel. Wild west ambiance, creek front location and gorgeous rooms. All you can ask for in a local hotel.
Bed and Breakfast
Pansy’s Parlor Bed and Breakfast. Take a walk back in time at this adorable, western-style national register historic site.
Try renting a cabin in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Book your site through Colorado Parks and Wildlife online reservation site and experience Colorado’s outdoors in the best way.
Have your own RV or travel trailer? Check out Clear Creek RV Park. Located on Clear Creek in the heart of Golden, you can enjoy a local stay with direct access to over 5000 miles of trails.
Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza. Looking for lunch or dinner and have a family in tow? Stop in at Wood’s Wood-Fired Pizza. Fast seating, friendly servers and an all you can eat, pizza, soup and salad buffet, trust me, your kids will thank you.
Sherpa House Restaurant and Culture Center. Not what you might expect in a western Colorado town. But the Sherpa House will provide amazing food and an awesome dining experience.
Bridgewater Grill. Check them out for brunch or dinner. American cuisine with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.
Miners Saloon. A great place to start your night out on the town, the Miners Saloon serves up delicious, light bar fair along with an impressive bar menu.
Indulge Bistro and Wine Bar. Looking for a night out with your partner to share in a delicious, high end dining experience? Indulge Bistro might be right for you. Located downtown with full brunch, dinner and wine menus.