23 Best Things to Do in Golden in 2023 (By a Local)
Looking for the best things to do in Golden? I put together this guide to help inspire you to discover the best attractions, sites, museums, and activities in Golden.
Though just minutes from Denver, Golden provides a different sort of Colorado experience. Downtown Golden is full of Wild West history, and you’ll find plenty of year-round outdoor recreation nearby.
This guide covers a variety of interests, along with popular Golden attractions and hidden gems — literally! If you’re staying overnight, you might also like my guide to the places to stay in Golden.
Table of Contents
- 23 Best Things to Do in Golden
- Downtown Golden
- Lookout Mountain Nature Center & Preserve
- Golden History Museum
- Windy Saddle Park
- Coors Brewery
- Golden History Park
- Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
- Clear Creek Whitewater Park
- Colorado Railroad Museum
- Lariat Loop
- American Mountaineering Museum
- Golden City Brewery
- Golden Gate Canyon State Park
- Mines Museum of Earth Science
- Old Barrel Tea Company
- Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
- Foothills Art Center
- Clear Creek Trail
- Buffalo Rose
- Golden Moon Distillery
- Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
- North Table Mountain Park
- FAQs About Activities in Golden
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23 Best Things to Do in Golden
Wander a Wild West town and find some great souvenirs
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator
Walk through the arch reading “Howdy, Folks! Welcome to Golden” and immediately feel like you’ve moseyed onto the frontier. Western storefronts and statues of cowboys and fishermen add charm to one of Colorado’s best mountain towns.
Along Washington Avenue, you’ll find gift shops, restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops. You can also spot a large mural, plus a few bronze sculptures that commemorate the town’s past.
Lookout Mountain Nature Center & Preserve
Learn about local wildlife inside the Nature Center and outside on the trail
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 497-7600 | Lookout Mountain Website | Nature Center Hours: 11 am – 4 pm Friday – Sunday, Closed Monday – Thursday | Preserve Hours: One hour before sunrise – one hour after sunset daily | Entrance: free
The Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve is one of the best day trips from Denver! The exhibits in the center are fun, and many of them are hands-on so kids can explore. The trail near the center is also family-friendly and is one of the best hikes close to Denver.
Boettcher Mansion, which is more than a century old, is next to the nature center. If it’s not being used for a private event, you can also tour this structure.
Golden History Museum
Learn about the people and industries that shaped Golden
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 278-3557 | Golden History Museum Website | Hours: 10 am – 4:30 pm Tuesday – Saturday, Closed Sunday – Monday | Entrance: free
The Golden History Museum shares some of the 15,000 historic artifacts that the city owns. You can see how families of the past lived in Golden, experiment with engineering principles that help with mining, and more. Several hands-on exhibits and planned programs are especially great for kids.
Windy Saddle Park
Connect to Lookout Mountain hiking trails, mountain bike, and even hang glide at this park
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 271-5925 | Windy Saddle Park Website | Hours: One hour before sunrise – one hour after sunset daily
Windy Saddle Park is a popular spot for hang gliders, who soar over southern Jefferson County from this perch. Chimney Gulch Trail is a good spot for mountain bikers, and hikers can connect to Beaver Brook Trail and more.
Taste the beer synonymous with Golden
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 277-2337 | Coors Brewery Website | Tour Hours: 10 am – 3:40 pm Friday – Sunday, Closed Monday – Thursday | Sample-Only Hours: 10 am – 3:40 pm Thursday, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm Friday – Sunday | Entrance: Sample-Only from $10, Tours from $20 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator
The Coors Brewery tour is one of the most popular things to do in Golden! A 30-minute tour shares the history of one of the most famous breweries close to Denver, and in Colorado as a whole.
You’ll also see vintage photos and memorabilia, and how the beer is brewed and packaged today. At the end, you can visit the tasting room to try some of the company’s most popular brews.
Golden History Park
Visit early 1900s buildings and see how ranchers lived
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 278-3557 | Golden History Park Website | Hours: 5 am – 11 pm daily | Entrance: free
Golden History Park was previously called the Clear Creek History Park. It has many buildings originally from Pearce Ranch in Golden Gate Canyon. You’ll see cabins, a barn, a chicken coop, and the 1876 Guy Hill schoolhouse.
Bring quarters for chicken feed or just watch them hop around the coop. The buildings are also open for occasions like Homestead Open House in the summer.
Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
Learn about the life and times of this buffalo hunter and Wild West showman
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 865-2160 | Buffalo Bill Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $5 adults, $1 under 16, free under 6
William Frederick Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, is synonymous with the Old West. He performed Wild West shows all over the world. This gave people in far-flung lands a definite impression of American cowboys — however distorted it might be.
You can visit the Buffalo Bill grave and the museum on Lookout Mountain. It features show outfits, Native American objects, guns, and other items that factored into his life.
Clear Creek Whitewater Park
Tube, kayak, or paddle along Clear Creek, which runs right through downtown
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 384-8000 | Clear Creek Whitewater Park Website | Hours: Sunrise – sunset daily
Golden features a whitewater park that’s a popular summer inner tubing spot. Experienced kayakers and paddleboarders also like to test themselves against the small rapids.
Several local companies rent tubes you can use on this section of Clear Creek. However, be sure to check local warnings, as the creek can be high and fast-running at times.
🚣♀️ Love Water Sports? Book a whitewater rafting tour, one of the best things to do in nearby Idaho Springs!
Colorado Railroad Museum
Learn about Colorado’s vital railroad history and see the trains that made it happen
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 279-4591 | Colorado Railroad Museum Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Tuesday – Sunday, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $10 adults, $5 under 18
The Colorado Railroad Museum is one of the greatest things to do in Golden with kids — or with anyone who loves trains! After enjoying hands-on activities in the museum, head to the railyard for a short ride on one of the passenger cars.
Take a scenic drive through the foothills
📍 Google Maps | Lariat Loop Website
The Lariat Loop Scenic Byway is one of the best Colorado road trips. It’s beautiful year-round, but my favorite time to drive it is in the fall! You’ll pass through downtown Golden, several parks with lots of open space and hiking trails, and see the bison at Genesee Park. If you have extra time, try some of the many fun things to do in Evergreen as you finish the drive.
American Mountaineering Museum
From Everest to Elbert, learn about mountaineering around the world
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 996-2747 | Mountaineering Museum Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Monday – Friday, Closed Saturday – Sunday | Entrance: $7 adults, $3 under 17, free under 6
The American Mountaineering Museum is one of the more unique things to do in Golden. The museum is considered the best in the country for sharing mountain history. There are more than 5,000 pieces of gear, prints, outfits, and other artifacts. You’ll also learn about climate, science, and cultures relating to the mountains at this fascinating museum.
📚 Related Reading: 17 Best Museums in Denver
Golden City Brewery
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 279-8092 | Golden City Brewery Website | Hours: 11 am – 7 pm daily | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator
In the early 1990s, two geologists established Golden City Brewery inside of their home. Although it’s expanded today, the family-owned brewery still serves up German-style ales in the same spot. It’s majority female-owned, and is home to the first female Head Brewer in Colorado.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Go hiking and mountain biking on tree-lined trails
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 582-3707 | Golden Gate Canyon State Park Website | Hours: 5 am – 10 pm daily | Entrance: $10 per vehicle
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is one of the best state parks in Colorado. It features mountain biking and hiking trails through the foothills. There’s also fishing, horseback riding, and hunting in the park, and it’s one of the best places for camping near Denver. The park is breathtaking, especially in the fall when the aspens turn a striking yellow.
Mines Museum of Earth Science
Explore 15,000 feet of sparkling gemstones, minerals, and fossils
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 273-3815 | Mines Museum Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Monday – Saturday, 1 pm – 4 pm Sunday | Entrance: free
It’s no surprise that the museum at the Colorado School of Mines features an amazing display of fossils, rocks, and minerals. You can see the Miss Colorado Crown, which has more than 600 gemstones. There’s also a recreated mining tunnel to walk through as part of your experience.
Old Barrel Tea Company
Shop for tea and other charming treasures
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 328-5441 | Old Barrel Tea Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily
This tea shop along Washington Ave. has a variety of teas and tisanes to promote health and well-being. The shop also has all the accouterments you need for making and serving tea, from teapots and spoons to infusers and more. It’s one of my favorite tea houses in Denver!
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
Explore a practical, beautiful American art form
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 277-0377 | Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Monday – Saturday, 11 am – 4 pm Sunday | Entrance: $12 adults, $6 students and children under 13, free under 6
At the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, you can trace the history of quilting. Admire practical blankets from the 1800s and interesting, impressive contemporary quilts of today. If you’re really into quilting, the on-site library has more than 7,500 books and research documents. The museum also offers sewing camps, special exhibits, and other unique events.
Foothills Art Center
See local artist displays or pop in for a class
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 279-3922 | Foothills Art Center Website | Entrance: free
The Foothills Art Center showcases local artists, including art from local schools. You can tour to see the artwork, or sign up for one of the many classes to create your own masterpiece! See the museum’s calendar for upcoming events.
Grab some fuel for the day at this delicious deli
📍 Google Maps | D’Deli Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm daily
At this Washington Ave. deli, order a classic sandwich like the Golden Club, or try something adventurous like the Buffalo Reuben. My suggestion? Get your meal to go, wander down to the bridge over Clear Creek, and sit at the tables to enjoy your meal al fresco.
📚 Related Reading: Foodies, don’t miss our guide to the best Denver area restaurants!
Clear Creek Trail
Enjoy sculptures and views of the creek and surrounding mountains
📍 Google Maps | Clear Creek Trail Website
Clear Creek Trail wanders the creek and provides beautiful views of the area. It’s a popular spot to walk dogs, and there are several statues and sculptures to see. During the holidays, the trail segment near town is beautifully lit with Christmas lights.
A slide near Washington Ave. is fun for kids, and there is another playground if you walk further west. Park at the Visitor Center and you can begin the trail there.
Enjoy a meal, cocktails, and live music at this popular Golden saloon
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 638-5597 | Buffalo Rose Website | Hours: 11 am – 10 pm Monday – Thursday, 11 am – 12 am Friday, 10 am – 10 pm Sunday
The Buffalo Rose has adventurous cocktails, a great beer and wine list, and plenty of hearty options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also have live music most weekends to round out the experience.
Golden Moon Distillery
See how local spirits are made during a distillery tour, complete with samples
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 993-7174 | Golden Moon Distillery Website | Entrance: Tours from $12
Golden Moon makes a variety of whiskeys, plus bourbon, gin, and other spirits. A half-hour tour shares the production process, and you’ll see the pilot plant, fermentation area, still hour, and bottling area. You’ll finish with a complimentary tasting of four Golden Moon products. This is an adults-only tour, so while it’s a fun choice for friends and couples, it’s not family-friendly.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Visit a uniquely Colorado amphitheater
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 865-2494 | Red Rocks Park Website | Entrance: Free to visit, concert prices vary
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Golden, so it’s easy to work into your itinerary. It’s one of the best things to do in Denver and completely free to visit! You can also explore the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and the Red Rocks Visitor Center to learn more about the park.
North Table Mountain Park
Hike or climb the striking red rocks
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 980-7300 | North Table Mountain Park Website | Entrance: free | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator
North Table Mountain Park has more than 15 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, and it links to other trails for even longer rides. Rock climbing is popular at the park as well, and several routes are great for beginners.
FAQs About Activities in Golden
Is Golden, Colorado worth visiting?
Golden, Colorado is worth visiting. It’s just 20 minutes from downtown Denver. In that short distance, you’re transported to a Wild West town with mining roots (hence the name). There are plenty of things to do in Golden, including historical attractions, outdoor activities, and more.
What is Golden, Colorado known for?
Golden, Colorado is known for the Coors Brewery and the School of Mines. Clear Creek is a popular spot to cool off in summer. It’s full of tubers, kayakers, and people walking along the shore when the weather is warm.
Hopefully, this article has given you plenty of ideas for things to do in Golden! It’s the perfect Denver day trip and one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
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