Once a small mining town that rapidly grew after the railroad came to take the silver riches to nearby Denver, the Georgetown of today is proud of its past. The historic downtown has a number of renovated old buildings such as the legendary Hotel de Paris (today a museum), an old fire station with a bell that still rings on the hour and half hour, and a number of nice restaurants, including a popular Mexican one. There is even a local brewery, offering what they call “a real mountain beer.” You can take a carriage ride through downtown or take a narrow-track train tour through the mountains.
1.Alpine Hose Number 2
© Alpine Hose Number 2
The Alpine Hose building is one of the first buildings you notice when you arrive in Georgetown, and it is the city’s icon. Built between 1875 and 1880, the building was home to the Alpine Hose Company No. 2, one of the town’s four firefighting stations and the reason this small mining town did not suffer the fate of many other small towns that burnt down. The tower that dominates the fire station and its 1,200-pound bell were donated by one of the city’s notables, William Hamill. The bell can still be heard in town ringing every hour and half hour. The Alpine Hose #2 is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been converted to a fire-fighting museum after careful renovation. The museum has its original carpet, uniforms, trophy case, fixtures, furnishings, and many photos. The original hook-and-ladder truck that belonged to the Star Hook and Ladder Company is also part of the museum exhibit.
507 5th Street, Georgetown, Colorado 80444,
2.Georgetown Energy Museum
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Georgetown’s Hydroelectric Plant, owned and run by Xcel Energy, has been powering the city since 1900. It is still doing its job, but it also houses the Energy Museum, which features the history of hydroelectric power in Georgetown and other places in general. It has a number of exhibits and photos along with the old generator and some of the first original appliances powered by electricity in the city. The original water wheels are the main museum attraction. The United Light and Power Generation Company originally built the power station in 1900, and it is today the second oldest still operating hydroelectric facility in Colorado. The museum is a great place to learn about hydropower and how it is created as well as about the use of hydropower in Colorado.
600 Griffith St, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-3557
3.Georgetown Heritage Center
© Georgetown Heritage Center
The Georgetown Heritage Center is a great place to learn about the history of Georgetown and see a number of fascinating exhibits and traditional art. The Center is a popular gathering place that hosts many public meetings, live performances, conferences, folk art workshops, art exhibits, and various activities. The center is located in the historic 1874 schoolhouse that has been meticulously renovated and restored, and it opened to the public in 2015. The focal point of the Heritage Center is a Local History Archive, owned and run by the Clear Creek County Library District. The archive collects the historic records, maps, photographs, and other objects documenting the city past. The library sponsors popular film and diverse children's programs. The Cultural Arts Program teaches traditional folk arts and Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener program runs a demonstration garden and holds gardening classes.
809 Taos St, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-0285
4.Georgetown Loop Railroad
© Courtesy of brueckenweb - Fotolia.com
The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a three-foot wide narrow gauge heritage railroad and one of the oldest tourist attractions in Colorado. This spectacularly beautiful stretch of railroad was finished in 1884 and at the time was considered as one of the engineering masterpieces. The steam-powered locomotive pulls a tourist train today between Georgetown and Silver Plume and is about 4.5 miles long, climbing to an elevation of 640 feet. It winds through the beautiful, rugged Rocky Mountains trough Clear Creek canyon, trestles, fills, cuts, and a grand loop, passing by remains of silver and gold mines, offering spectacular views all along. The trip is a great family outing and the kids love it.
646, Loop Dr, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-2030
5.Guanella Pass Scenic & Historic Byway
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Starting in historic charming Georgetown, Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway runs for about 22 miles to the town of Grant. While not long, this pass can at times take hours depending on the weather. It has been recently paved, but it still might be closed in winter if the weather is bad. The byway runs along South Platte River and South Clear Creek and offers fantastic views of Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans. The byway is a slight detour from Highway 285 and offers a perfect example of Rocky Mountain ecosystem – don’t be surprised if you come across beavers and bighorn sheep. You can stop and take a break at many scenic picnic areas along the way or you might want to wait until you reach the famous Coney Island Hotdog Stand on Highway 285.
6.Hamill House Museum
© Hamill House Museum
Completed in 1879 for the Georgetown’s most famous silver baron William Hamill, Hamill House was built for his family to his exacting specifications, using only the finest materials available. Most of the furnishings and décor were brought from as far away as England. The lovely Gothic Revival building is today a house museum, and visitors can see its original details such as the marble fireplace, walnut woodwork, and hand-painted wallpaper. The house is a great example of the lifestyle of rich families in thriving Colorado mining towns at the end of the 19th century. It is part of the National Historic Landmark District.
305 Argentine Street, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-2840
7.Hotel De Paris Museum
© Hotel De Paris Museum
When it opened its doors in 1875, Hotel de Paris was one of the major hotels and restaurants in Colorado. Frenchman Louis Dupuy, who came to Georgetown in 1870 to try his fortune in mining, built the establishment. After an explosion in the mine, Dupuy's mining career was finished, but he stayed in Georgetown, bought a Delmonico bakery, and quickly transformed it into a large, popular luxurious hotel with gourmet French restaurant. The inns of Normandy from his native France served as his inspiration. In 1954 the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Colorado bought the hotel and made it into a museum. The museum has a number of period objects on display in the hotel’s former rooms. The objects, part of the larger collection, rotate on display. The museum is open to the public by appointment.
409 6th Ave, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-2311
© Lucha Cantina
Located in the historic purple Red Ram Saloon in the heart of Georgetown, Lucha Cantina is a fun Mexican restaurant opened in 2007 by Minnetonka native Chuck Holcomb. With freshly made, delicious Mexican food, generous portions, and fresh fruit margaritas Lucha Cantina quickly became a popular hangout place with locals and visitors. The menu is simple, with dishes you would expect in Mexican restaurants like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, with the inevitable burgers and fries for those who want something American. But it is affordable, the drinks are honest and generous, the space is cozy and down-to-earth, and there is even live music occasionally.
606 6th St, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-2300
9.Mountainbuzz Cafe & Pizzeria
© Mountainbuzz Cafe & Pizzeria
Mountainbuzz Café and Pizzeria is a surprise on many levels. Looking like a hole-in-the-wall on the outside, it is a small, cozy and clean counter-serve place on the inside. It is a one-man show, but you can listen to the owner sing country songs while he is tossing your pizza or making your fresh sandwich. There are only a few tables with a few more outside, but the pizza is legendary, with just a perfect thin crust with a large selection of toppings. The décor is quirky and ski-themed, and there is free Wi-Fi so you can check your emails or Facebook while you are waiting, or you can sit down and enjoy your hot pizza with some cream soda. Dogs are welcome, and when the weather is nice, sitting outside is a pleasure.
1200 Argentine St, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-2020
10.Guanella Pass Brewing Company
© Guanella Pass Brewing Company
If you believe that where you drink your beer is as important as what beer you drink, you will really enjoy visiting Guanella Pass Brewing Company. Located in the heart of the Rockies in the small former mining town of Georgetown, Guanella Pass is a true mountain brewery with a range of excellent craft beers you can explore at their rustic, fun, and always busy tap room. The brewery and the adjoining tap room are located in the small yellow house in the town center. You cannot miss it – there are plenty of tables and chairs outdoors when the weather permits where people enjoy their brews, listen to some local live music, and taste the food from one of the food trucks parked nearby. Dogs are welcome. Take some of their beer with you – not only does it taste great but the bottles also have fun labels that are true art.
501 Rose Street, Box 952, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-5167
10 Best Things to Do in Georgetown, Colorado
- Alpine Hose Number 2, Photo: Alpine Hose Number 2
- Georgetown Energy Museum, Photo: Courtesy of 0605alex - Fotolia.com
- Georgetown Heritage Center, Photo: Georgetown Heritage Center
- Georgetown Loop Railroad, Photo: Courtesy of brueckenweb - Fotolia.com
- Guanella Pass Scenic & Historic Byway, Photo: Courtesy of arinahabich - Fotolia.com
- Hamill House Museum, Photo: Hamill House Museum
- Hotel De Paris Museum, Photo: Hotel De Paris Museum
- Lucha Cantina, Photo: Lucha Cantina
- Mountainbuzz Cafe & Pizzeria, Photo: Mountainbuzz Cafe & Pizzeria
- Guanella Pass Brewing Company, Photo: Guanella Pass Brewing Company
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SNEHIT - Fotolia.com