I’m infatuated with the glory of the west, and Denver has a grab bag of awesome just outside the city limits. These surrounding towns are a wonderland of adventure, booze, and soul-rejuvenating splendor. The best part? Because Denver is nested in the peaks of the Rockies, more than a mile above sea level, both golf balls and cocktails go farther. Booyah!
Since Tawny and I are the true American couple, we loved making a pilgrimage to Golden. This tiny township hugs Denver and is the birthplace of Coors. On the free tour, you’ll learn about the history of the brand; they were one of the only breweries to have survived prohibition. For me, of course, the highlight of the tour was that at the end, we all got three free beers. I’m not talking little Dixie cups of beer either. I’m talking full frosty mugs of the stuff. The menu included all of the beers that Coors makes, such as Blue Moon, Irish Red, and the exclusive Batch 19. If you’re used to live on the seashore (like I am), you’ll want to pace yourself. A pint of Coors at more than 5,000 feet feels more like a keg.
Viewfinder tip: Pace yourself; at altitude, it takes a lot less beer to get you drunk.
If you prefer the high of nature over beer (I guess, somebody might?), hit up Red Rocks Amphitheatre, in Morrison. Truly one of the wonders of the world, Red Rocks is a naturally occurring amphitheater with almost perfect acoustics. Even if there isn’t a show or concert, you still can bask in the glory of the sunrise/sunset as it fills the wide-open sky behind the stage. If you’re super-ambitious you can even join the hundreds of daily citizens that come from Denver to run the stairs. Or you can just watch these paragons of humanity sprint up and down with seemingly no regard for elevation or gravity. It’s a thing of beauty. (And insanity.)
Personally, I always make a beeline from the airport to Lookout Mountain. Every turn is a new treasure box of amazing views and every turn off is a new trail begging to be explored. On my last trip I spent several days poking around these trails. This area also is home to the grave site of “Buffalo Bill” Cody. You can sit on any of the vistas and get a good feel for what the Colorado wilderness used to feel like in Buffalo Bill’s days.
For the greatest end to a vacation of highs, I would hop on a bar bike. This diversion literally is a bicycle with a bar on it that patrons pedal around Denver. You and up to 15 friends can book one of these bad boys and cycle from microbrewery to microbrewery, drinking all the while. The guide handles the steering while you handle the pints.It doesn’t get much better than that.
What are your favorite attractions in and around Denver?