I’m a Colorado local with insights into the absolute best things to do in Parker, CO!
This guide features popular Parker attractions like its downtown district and nearby trails, as well as easy-to-access day trips. I also share lesser-known spots that truly capture Parker’s small-town feel, despite its growing size and popularity.
Table of Contents
- 20 Best Things to Do in Parker
- Downtown Parker
- Poulette Bakeshop
- Sulphur Gulch Trail
- Cherry Creek Trail
- Boondocks Food & Fun Parker
- Hiking Trails
- Castle Rock
- Discovery Park
- Jay Moore Working Studio
- Purgatory Cellars
- Parker Recreation Center
- Rosie’s Ranch
- USMC CPL David M. Sonka Dog Park
- Westcreek Disc Golf Course
- Rueter-Hess Reservoir Recreation
- Downhill Brewing
- Vehicle Vault
- Parker Symphony Orchestra
- Parker Fieldhouse
- FAQs About What to Do in Parker, CO
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20 Best Things to Do in Parker
Stroll down charming streets with shops and restaurants.
Downtown Parker is a mix of Western storefronts and old-fashioned Victorian-style buildings. There are boutiques, a candy store, restaurants (including a farm-to-table eatery), bars, cafes, and more.
Wander the streets and soak in the small-town feel, and pop into a cafe for lunch and some people-watching.
Indulge in a variety of artisanal pastries, carefully created by remarkable chefs.
Poulette Bakeshop is owned and operated by chefs Alen Ramos and Carolyn Nugent. The husband-wife duo has an impressive resume, to say the least.
Their experience includes working for “chef of the century” Joël Robuchon. They attended schooling in France and worked in several European restaurants. They also established several pastry programs at high-end eateries. Most recently, Carolyn acted as Chef Assistant on the Netflix show, School of Chocolate.
Witness their repertoire with a visit to Poulette. It creates a wide variety of sweet and savory artisanal pastries. Popular items include flaky croissants, macarons, eclairs, and scones. My favorites are the spandauers, a custard pastry, and the decadent salted caramel Paris-Brest.
Sulphur Gulch Trail
Take a hike through town.
The Sulphur Gulch Trail is four and a half miles long and winds through Parker, connecting Main Street, Town Hall, and the PACE Center. It connects to the Cherry Creek Trail so you can continue your hike or bike ride for even longer.
🥾 Looking for more hikes? Check out this list of the 15 Best Hikes in Colorado for more inspiration!
Cherry Creek Trail
Meander more than eight miles on this scenic path.
The Cherry Creek Trail in Parker is more than eight miles long and connects Norton Farms Open Space with Stroh Ranch Park. It features both a paved walking and biking trail and a dirt horse trail.
It passes McCabe Meadows Park, Bar CCC Park, and Cottonwood Trailhead Park so you can pick the trail up in any of those places. It’s perfect if you’re up for a long hike, or you can just hike partway of the trail and still see some great Parker sites.
Boondocks Food & Fun Parker
Try laser tag, bumper boat, and other fun attractions.
Boondocks offer lots of fun things like indoor golf, go-karts, bowling, arcade games, and more. It’s a great spot to host a birthday party, or for kids to run off some steam for a few hours.
You can purchase tickets to each attraction individually or purchase package deals. An on-site restaurant serves up pizza and other favorites so you can stay for lunch or dinner.
Spend a day in Colorado’s capital.
Denver is about a half-hour drive north of Parker, and you can spend a day or several checking out the sights there. The Denver Zoo, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and many more attractions await you in the biggest city in Colorado.
In fact, we have an entire guide of things to do in Denver that will keep you busy for days. We also have a separate article on the best things to do in Denver with kids, perfect for traveling families.
See the beauty of the Colorado Front Range on foot.
There are hiking trails all across the Front Range near Parker that are 100% worth checking out. This includes hikes at Castlewood Canyon, Red Rocks, and Roxborough State Park.
Castlewood Canyon is closest to Parker, but consider exploring the foothills on the western side of Denver as well. Here, you’ll find many of the best hikes near Denver as well as creeks and shaded woods that are a relief on warm summer days.
📚 Related Reading: 23 Best Hikes Close to Colorado Springs
Check out a nearby small town, offering outlet shopping and entertainment.
Castle Rock is just 13 miles from Parker, and one of the best things to do near Parker, CO. It has plenty of things to do, making it easy to fill a day’s itinerary.
Go outlet shopping, hike one of Castle Rock’s several trails, or spend a crazy afternoon ziplining and enjoying Colorado’s scenery. Finish off the day with a delicious craft beer from a local brewery, or pop into a restaurant in downtown Castle Rock for dinner.
Discover year-round fun at this park.
In summer, the Discovery Park play fountain entertains children and concerts frequently occur.
Come winter, the Parker Ice Trail makes a wonderful winter outing for the whole family. The Parker Ice Trail is one of just a few ice trails in the entire country. This path also has three fire pits where you can warm up at various spots along the trail.
Jay Moore Working Studio
See a Colorado artist at work.
Local artist Jay Moore has been painting Western landscapes in Colorado for more than 25 years. You can view his paintings at his downtown gallery or schedule a studio tour to see how his artwork is created.
Sample local wines at this Colorado winery.
Purgatory Cellars Winery has been around since 2014, and about 90% of the grapes come from Colorado vineyards.
Parker is home to one of three Colorado tasting rooms by this company, so come in for some samples and leave with a few bottles of Colorado wine. They even have wine specials on certain days, so be sure to check their website ahead of time.
🍷 Love wine? Try one of these food and wine tours in Denver or nearby areas.
Parker Recreation Center
Cool off with a swim or play a pickup game.
Get some exercise at the Parker Recreation Center. The aquatics center features a lap pool, therapy pool, and an activity pool with water features for kids. This includes a waterslide and an aquatic climbing wall with a pool to drop into.
The Rec Center also has a weight room and cardio machines, plus courts for volleyball and basketball.
Learn more about therapeutic riding for kids at this horse ranch.
Rosie’s Ranch provides therapeutic horseback riding for kids with and without special needs. Visitors can tour the ranch and pet, groom, and feed a horse. There are also options for rides and summer day camps for kids.
USMC CPL David M. Sonka Dog Park
Let your pup run free!
Let your furry pal run free on almost five acres at this fenced-in dog park. The park has structures for shade, drinking fountains for you and your dog, a small dog area, and an agility course to challenge and stimulate your furry BFF.
Westcreek Disc Golf Course
Send discs soaring at this disc golf course.
This 18-hole disc golf course in Parker is near the dog park and is perfect if you’re looking for a day out on the green. It was designed with input from disc golf lovers and experts and includes a Sculpture Zone, a Riparian Zone, and a Sandhills Prairie Zone.
Rueter-Hess Reservoir Recreation
Paddle on the reservoir on a lovely summer day.
The Rueter-Hess Recreation Area hosts events like Summer Paddle Days where you can paddleboard, canoe, and kayak. There are also day camps for kids and other activities.
It’s important to note that while the reservoir hosts plenty of fun events, registration is required to participate and the reservoir isn’t open to drop-ins.
Sip a Colorado craft beer.
Downhill Brewing was founded by two guys who bumped into each other (literally!) on a ski slope. After yelling at each other and having some chats, the two decided to open a brewery together.
They took over the brewery that was previously Elk Mountain Brewing and opened Downhill. This is a great spot in Parker if you’re a craft beer enthusiast. Try beers like the Saturday Nut Fever, Fraggle Rock, and Fist of Fury, and grab a pizza to make this a dinner spot.
Spend an afternoon with showstopping cars.
The Vehicle Vault was originally a place for people to store their fancy cars, but it’s now a museum. Here, you’ll find fancy, exotic, and rare cars from every decade beginning in the early 1900s through the present day.
Many of the cars are numbered and still have low mileage this many years later. Take a museum tour, or check out the special exhibits and events.
Parker Symphony Orchestra
Enjoy a classical evening.
The Parker Symphony Orchestra is a volunteer orchestra that performs each year from October through May. Concerts are performed at the PACE Center in Parker.
The orchestra not only performs on its own but collaborates with local high schools and chorales to offer music with their combined talents. It’s a great way to experience local music life in Parker.
📚 Related Reading: 8 Best Train Rides in Colorado for 2022 (By a Local)
Climb the walls at the Parker Fieldhouse.
The Parker Fieldhouse has an indoor climbing wall, batting tunnels, a fitness loft and track, an indoor sports turf, and a gym for playing basketball or volleyball. There is also cardiovascular and circuit equipment you can use to work out. Pop in for a few hours, or get a membership or multi-visit pass if you think you’ll be there often.
FAQs About What to Do in Parker, CO
What is Parker, Colorado known for?
Parker, Colorado is known for its downtown district featuring Western-Victorian buildings, and for its proximity to Denver. Parker is 26 miles from Denver and a good option for people who want space but need to commute to the city.
Does Parker, Colorado have a downtown?
Parker, Colorado does have a downtown. Downtown Parker is a quaint area of shops, restaurants, and businesses. During the holidays, the area is ablaze with Christmas lights, and there are events in the downtown area throughout the year.
Is Parker, Colorado a good place to live?
Parker, Colorado is a good place to live. In fact, Parker was ranked by Money.com as the second-best place to live in America. It gets high marks for being close to nature and hiking trails, but it’s within an easy drive of Denver.
Parker, CO is also in the impressive Douglas County school district. Although Parker has grown quickly in the last few years, it still has a small town feel that residents love.
What’s the average snowfall in Parker, Colorado?
The average snowfall in Parker, Colorado is 77 inches per year. This is higher than Denver’s average of 60 inches per year.
Thanks for reading my guide on all the fun things to do in Parker, Colorado! Be sure to check out our picks for the best things to do in Colorado next.
(Featured Image Credit: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)
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