Aerial view of the town of Parker, with all the best things to do in Parker

19 Best Things to Do in Parker, CO (in 2023)

Just 26 miles south of Denver, there are a ton of things to do in Parker, Colorado. Parker has a population of over 55,000, but has managed to preserve its small-town feel even as it continues to grow in size and popularity.

That small-town feel is thanks in part to Parker’s downtown area which features charming buildings and shops. Nearby Discovery Park has fountains where kids play in summer and an ice trail for skating in winter.  Whether you want a date night out or a place for the kids, there are activities in Parker for you.

I’m a Colorado local, so if you’ll be visiting or staying in Parker and are looking for great things to do, I’ve got you covered. And while you’re here, be sure to read my picks for the most fun stuff to do in Colorado.

Let’s dive in!

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19 Best Things to Do in Parker

Downtown Parker

Stroll down charming streets with shops and restaurants 

Cars parked on the side on a street in Downtown Parker
(photo: photo-denver / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 841-0353 | Website 

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.

Sulphur Gulch Trail

Take a hike through town

Scenic view from the Sulphur Gulch Trail during sunset

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 805-3244 | Website 

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! 

Discovery Park 

Discover year-round fun at this park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 841-4500 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 10 pm daily

The Discovery Park play fountain is great for kids in summer, and 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 through the park also has three fire pits where you can warm up at various spots along the trail.

Be sure to check out the Discovery Park summer concerts in warmer weather also.

Jay Moore Working Studio

See a Colorado artist at work 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 588-4152 | Website | Entrance: free

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.

Purgatory Cellars

Sample local wines at this Colorado winery

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 600-8209 | Website | Hours: 3 pm – 8 pm Mon – Fri, 1 pm – 8 pm Sat, 12 pm – 8 pm Sun 

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.

Day Trip to Denver 

Spend a day in Colorado’s capital

People buying ticket on the ticketing booth of Denver Zoo
(photo: Kit Leong / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator

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.

👉 Traveling with children? Check out our guide to fun things to do in Denver with young kids

Parker Recreation Center

Cool off with a swim or play a pickup game

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 841-4500 | Website | Hours: 5 am – 10 pm Mon – Fri, 7 am – 5 pm Sat – Sun | Entrance: $7, adults, $6 under 15

Get some exercise at the Parker Recreation Center. The aquatics center features a lap pool, therapy pool, activity pool with water features for kids, a waterslide, and a rock-climbing wall over a pool to drop into. 

The Rec Center also has a weight room and cardio machines, plus courts for volleyball and basketball.

Visit Castle Rock

Check out a nearby small town

View of blurry Castle Rock landscape during sunset

📍 Google Maps

Go outlet shopping, hike one of Castle Rock’s several hiking 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.

Castle Rock is just 13 miles from Parker, and has plenty of things to do for a day if you want to visit a nearby town.

📚 Related Reading: 17 Best Things to Do in Castle Rock, Colorado

Cherry Creek Trail

Meander more than eight miles on this scenic path

The McCabe Meadows Bridge during sunset in Parker
The McCabe Meadows Bridge in Parker

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 805-3244 | Website

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.

Rosie’s Ranch

Learn more about therapeutic riding for kids at this horse ranch

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 851-0927 | Website | Hours: 8:30 am – 2:30 pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator

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.

Westcreek Disc Golf Course

Send discs soaring at this disc golf course

A disc golf basket in Westcreek Disc Golf Course

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 805-3244 | Website | Hours: dawn – dusk

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. 

Hikes near Denver

See the beauty of the Colorado Front Range on foot

View of the author's daughter in Castlewood Canyon with lots of trees around her
Castlewood Canyon State Park in Franktown is a great place for a hike

📍 Google Maps | Website 

There are hiking trails all across the Front Range near Parker that are 100% worth checking out. This list includes hikes at Red Rocks, Castlewood Canyon, and one at Roxborough State Park that rewards you with panoramic views of snowcapped mountain peaks. 

While the Castlewood Canyon hike is closest to Parker, it’s worth the drive to check out the hikes in the foothills on the western side of the Denver metro area as well. You’ll get cooler temperatures, creeks, and shaded woods that are a relief on warm summer days.

📚 Related Reading: 23 Best Hikes Close to Colorado Springs

Rueter-Hess Reservoir Recreation

Paddle on the reservoir on a lovely summer day

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 347-5999 | Website

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.

Boondocks Food & Fun Parker

Try laser tag, bumper boat, and other fun attractions

People enjoying their day in Boondocks Food & Fun Parker
(photo: Red Herring / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 842-1100 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 10 pm Sun – Thurs, 10 am – 12 am Fri & Sat 

Boondocks offers 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. 

USMC CPL David M. Sonka Dog Park

Let your pup run free

A small dog on leash in USMC CPL David M. Sonka Dog Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 805-3244 | Website | Hours: dawn – dusk daily 

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.

📚 Related Reading: 13 Best Small Towns in Colorado

Vehicle Vault

Spend an afternoon with showstopping cars

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 626-8920 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Wed – Sat, 12 pm – 5 pm Sun, Closed Mon & Tues | Entrance: $12, adults, $8 under 13

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 PACE Center from the outside
Orchestra concerts and other events take place at the PACE Center (photo: photo-denver / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 722-2776 | Website

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)

Downhill Brewing 

Sip a Colorado craft beer

Different kinds of beer on a wooden board

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 805-2739 | Website | Hours: 3 pm – 9 pm Mon & Tues, 3 pm – 10 pm Wed & Thurs, 12 pm – 10 pm Fri & Sat, 12 pm – 8 pm Sun | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator

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.

Parker Fieldhouse

Climb the walls at the Parker Fieldhouse

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 805-6300 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 11 pm Mon – Fri, 7 am – 10 pm Sat & Sun | Entrance: $7, adults, $6 under 

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.

📚 Related Reading: 21 Best Places to Move in Colorado

FAQ’s about Things to do in Parker

What is Parker Colorado known for?

Parker CO is known for its Western-Victorian downtown buildings, and for being an easy drive from Denver. Parker CO is 26 miles from Denver, so it’s an option for people who want space but need to commute to Denver for work.

Does Parker Colorado have a downtown?

Parker CO 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 CO was ranked by as the second-best place to live in America. It gets high marks for being close to nature and wildlife, but it’s within an easy drive of Denver. Parker CO is in the Douglas County school district, and the schools are good. 

Although Parker CO 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. 

Is Parker a suburb of Denver?

Parker is a suburb of Denver. It lies 26 miles south of the city, and many people who live in Parker work in Denver. 


Thanks for reading my guide to the best things to do in Parker, Colorado! And while you’re here, be sure to check out our picks for the best things to do in Colorado.

Have fun exploring all the fun things to do in Parker!

(cover photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

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