Living in Denver affords you the ultimate two-for-one. You’ve got access to all of the great staples that come with city life like award-winning restaurants, a thrumming arts and culture scene, and major sports teams. Then, come the weekend, you can access the stellar amenities that Colorado and its surrounding states have to offer. Soak in the hot springs, surf on sand, explore a Margarita Trail—every weekend is truly a chance to choose-your-own adventure.
From watching talented street performers in Boulder to zip lining over Colorado’s beloved gorge in Canon City, here are five unique weekend trips bidding for your attention:
Hop on the Historic Hot Springs Loop
Mother Nature has blessed Colorado’s mountain towns with an abundance of all-natural hot tubs. In fact, there are so many of these steamy geothermal hot springs bubbling throughout the state that the Centennial State boasts a “Historic Hot Springs Loop.” Five unique hot springs destinations make up the 720-mile loop. Individually, each one of the hot springs towns would make a unique weekend getaway. If you’ve got a long weekend, the hot springs in Ouray—dubbed the “Switzerland of America”—are worth checking out. But for a shorter trip, you can get to Glenwood Springs in about 2.5 hours. Here, you’ll find the family-friendly Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which has an outdoor hot springs pool that’s the size of a football field and is kept between 90 and 93 degrees. Water slides are a draw in the warmer months.
Road Trip to Santa Fe
Santa Fe is only 5.5 hours away from Denver, but it feels a world away (its nickname is “The City Different,” after all). As a draw for art lovers, Santa Fe boasts dozens of galleries along the half-mile stretch known as Canyon Road. There, you can shop for an abstract masterpiece for your living room or Southwest-inspired jewelry. Set aside an afternoon to experience Meow Wolf, an interactive fantasyland with immersive exhibits that strikes a balance between sci-fi and art. As for dinner? This New Mexican city is not just known for its posole and green chile. It’s also home to the Margarita Trail, with 45 restaurants showcasing tequila cocktails.
Explore Colorado’s National Parks
Four national parks call Colorado home, and they each offer wildly different experiences for weekend warriors. Visitors to Mesa Verde National Park, for example, can explore well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan dwellings. At the Great Sand Dunes National Park, the tallest sand dune ascends 750 feet high. For some quintessential Colorado fun, you can sled or surf down the sand. Camping and stargazing are favorite pastimes in Black Canyon of the Gunnison, which is revered as Colorado’s mini Grand Canyon. And Rocky Mountain National Park is the closest to Denver. It’s fun year-round, with sledding in the colder months and hiking amid patches of wildflowers in warmer temps. Rocky Mountain National Park is a huge draw in the fall when the elk are bugling.
Find Adventure in Canon City
Adventure-seekers, Canon City is bidding for your attention and is especially fun in the summertime. A 360-acre amusement park at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park will surely get your adrenaline pumping. Instead of a roller coaster, though, the prime attraction is a zipline that rips 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River. Should you dare, strap into a harness on the Royal Rush Skycoaster and go for a thrilling free fall, soaring 50 miles per hour and flying out over the gorge like a superhero. In summer months, cool off with a whitewater rafting trip along the Arkansas River. The rustic-but-luxe Royal Gorge Cabins make for a perfect nearby basecamp.
Watch Street Performers in Boulder
If you’ve got just a day to spare, Boulder makes for the perfect getaway. Set against the foothills, this college town is less than 45 minutes from downtown Denver and has great hiking trails, craft breweries and serene spots to picnic along the Boulder Creek. Plus, when the weather is favorable, you can witness some jaw-dropping street theater along the Pearl Street Mall, a pedestrian mall that stretches through downtown Boulder. On any given day, you’ll be able to witness a fire juggler, a contortionist and the “Zip Code man,” whose superpower is being able to tell you where you’re from based on the 5-digit zip code you shout out. The street performances are free, but be sure to bring some cash to tip.
So, are you ready to plan an upcoming weekend adventure?
For more amazing things to do in the Mile High City, check out Eave’s Insider’s Guide to Denver, written by our neighborhood experts.