Located just 12 miles from downtown Denver, Golden offers a host of small-town delights for visitors to the Rocky Mountain foothills. To learn about the history of Golden, you can visit Clear Creek History Park, the Buffalo Bill Museum, and the Colorado Railroad Museum, while outdoor enthusiasts will find a great network of hiking trails to explore in Golden Gate Canyon State Park and the Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve. You can enjoy kayaking and tubing at Clear Creek White Water Park in summer and go snowshoeing on Lookout Mountain in winter. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
© Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
The life and times of the legendary Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody) are celebrated and showcased at the Buffalo Bill Museum in the Lookout Mountain Preserve. Cody was born in 1846 and became famous for his unique buffalo hunting skills, which earned him the name Buffalo Bill. Later, Cody became an actor and staged his own award-winning stage show, The Wild West. Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain and his modest tomb is visited by thousands of people each year. Inside the museum you can watch an orientation video before going on a self-guided tour. There are several interactive exhibits, and children will love the Kid's Cowboy Corral. There is also an observation deck offering wonderful views as well as a museum shop.
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, 987 Lookout Mountain Rd, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-526-0744
© Boettcher Mansion
You'll find the historic 100-year-old Boettcher Mansion in a quiet and secluded setting in the lovely Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve. The lovely old residence was built in 1917 using timber and stone, most of which was sourced on site. Originally intended to be the summer getaway of prominent Denver businessman Charles Boettcher, the home was certainly opulent, and the style incorporated the best of both English and American Arts and Crafts elements. Today, the mansion is mainly used as an event venue, but most of the original rooms have been carefully maintained in their original state. You can take a self-guided tour of the mansion and grounds Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 4.00pm.
Boettcher Mansion, 900 Colorow Rd, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 720-497-7630
3.Golden History Museum and Park
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Located just a short walk from central Golden, Golden History Museum and Park will transport you back to the homesteading days of the 1800s. The history park is a part of the Golden History Museum and showcases many original 1800s cabins and other farm buildings that have been sourced from all around Colorado and brought to their present location. A stroll through the park will give visitors an idea of what life was like during the homesteading era – you will see an original school, barn, chicken house, and even a two-seater outhouse. On certain days you can enjoy cooking and blacksmithing demonstrations presented by costumed guides.
11th and Arapahoe Streets, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-278-3557
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4.Clear Creek White Water Park
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Clear Creek White Water Park is an innovative and fun water park that gives you the chance to practice your kayaking skills as you make your way through three levels of rapids. If you're not into kayaking, you can enjoy the ride on a tube – it is easy to avoid the more hectic rapids if you stick to the middle part of the course, which is a broad section with flatter eddies. The third section is probably the most exciting and features more extreme rapids and drops. There is no fee to come and enjoy an afternoon of fun in the park and there is plenty of free parking available at both ends of the 800-foot course.
Clear Creek White Water Park, 1201 10th Street, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-384-8100
5.Colorado Railroad Museum
© Colorado Railroad Museum
Train spotters can have the time of their lives at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, where you can see a great collection of vintage rolling stock and other railroad-related exhibits. A stroll through the museum's 15-acre rail yard will give you plenty of time to admire over 100 locomotives, cabooses, passenger coaches, and freight cars. There is also an extensive G-scale garden railway to fascinate the kids. You can tour the roundhouse, where maintenance was carried out, and visit the Depot Museum, which has been re-constructed to resemble a small-town railway station from the 1800s. The museum offers introductory videos and hands-on interactive exhibits.
Colorado Railroad Museum, 17155 W 44th Ave, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-279-4591
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One of the highlights of a visit to Golden is the chance to go on a tour of the famous Coors Brewery, where one of America's most popular beer producers has been in business since 1873. The Coors brewery is the largest single-site brewery in the world and a tour of the premises will give you an insight into the labor-intensive methodology required to produce a bottle of your favorite brew. You will see the entire brewing process, from the malting of the barley through the mashing process to the final fermentation and aging process. At the end of the tour you can see some memorabilia from the early days and enjoy a tasting.
Coors Brewery Tours, 13th Street & Ford Street, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 800-642-6116
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7.Golden Gate Canyon State Park
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At Golden Gate Canyon State Park, you can leave the hustle and bustle of the city far behind you and get back to nature amid some of the best scenery in the whole of Colorado. The park is located just 30 miles from Denver and encompasses over 12,000 acres of mountain, forest, and meadows, offering visitors a wide variety of outdoor activities all year round. The best way to immerse yourself in the park would be to set up camp in one of the campgrounds or rent a cabin or yurt to be your base for a few days. There is a wide network of hiking trails to be explored, you can fish on any of the ponds or rivers, and biking, horseback riding, picnicking, and rock climbing are just some of the activities on offer.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park, 92 Crawford Gulch Rd, Golden, CO 80403, Phone: 303-582-3707
8.Higher Grounds Cafe
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Located in the heart of historic downtown Golden, the Higher Grounds Café is an ideal place to relax with friends over a tasty cup of coffee or a light meal. The café is just a short walk from the Foothills Art Center and the Colorado School of Mines Campus, and is a favorite place for students to meet in a relaxing and laidback atmosphere. While you are sipping an espresso or latte, you can make use of the free Wi-Fi to plan the rest of your day in Golden. Besides serving great coffee you can also grab a breakfast burrito to get your day off to a great start. When the weather is good you can enjoy your meal and coffee alfresco on the deck.
Higher Grounds Café, 803 14th St B, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-271-0998
9.State 38 Distilling
© State 38 Distilling
State 38 Distilling is a boutique artisan distillery where you can learn all about the intricate art of producing fine liquor by hand, from scratch. State 38 welcome visitors to come and see how their famous products are produced, using the finest locally sourced ingredients and pure Rocky Mountain water. Your tour of the distillery will take you through the entire process, from the acquisition of the raw materials to the bottling process, and you will then have the opportunity to sample two of the liquors (over 21s only). The company currently produces five drinks distilled using organic blue agave as well as a bourbon and peat-smoked Scottish whisky.
State 38 Distilling, 400 Corporate Circle, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 720-242-7219
10.Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve
© Courtesy of Nikita Shevchenko - Fotolia.com
Forming part of the foothills of the mighty Rocky Mountains, Lookout Mountain is located just 12 miles from downtown Denver, making it a popular destination for day trips out of the city. A good place to start your tour is the Lookout Mountain Nature Center, where you can view several interactive exhibits that will give you a good overview of the 110-acre Lookout Mountain Preserve. You can explore the preserve on foot along a network of hiking trails that meander through scenic ponderosa pine forests and pretty meadows, which are home to several species of wildlife including black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, mule deer, and elk. There are several scenic spots perfect for a picnic and the trail is suitable for snowshoers and cross-country skiers in winter.
Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve, 910 Colorow Rd, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 720-497-7600
11.Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
© Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
Back in the 1800s, quilting was a necessary skill handed down from one generation to the other, and enabled housewives to produce attractive bed coverings. At the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, you can trace the history of quilting and the evolution of the craft from its early days to the present. You will be able to see both beautiful traditional family heirlooms and modern, cutting-edge works of art. The museum features a large permanent collection of antique pieces, presents regular exhibitions by contemporary modern quilters, and holds regular workshops, talks, and competitions. Tours can be arranged for groups and individuals can visit any day of the week.
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, 200 Violet Street, Unit 140, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-277-0377
© Spinster Sisters
Spinster Sisters is a boutique microsoapery, apothecary, and skin care brand originally founded in 2011 by Kelly Perkins. The company now offers more than 30 varieties of handmade soaps, along with a full lineup of lotions, salves, salt soaks and scrubs, and shaving products. Men's and women's skin, facial, and hair care products are also sold, as well as a full line of scented soy lotion candles and an assortment of travel products. Many of the company's products offer natural alternatives to mass-marketed products, including products with nearly zero-waste packaging. Products are crafted with fair-trade ingredients, including essential oils, in-house-grown herbs and botanicals, and sustainably-sourced palm oil and shea butter.
1116 Washington Ave, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-827-9371
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13.Golden Moon Distillery
© Golden Moon Distillery
Golden Moon Distillery is one of Golden's premiere craft distilleries, founded in 2008 by Karen Knight and Stephen Gould. The environmentally-conscious distillery is known for the production of handcrafted herbal liquors and liqueurs, crafted with the finest-available botanicals, herbs, and spices using 19th-century artisan production processes. Variants of gin, absinthe, and grappa are available for sale and tasting, along with apple jack and specialty liqueurs such as the company's amer dit picon and crème de violette. Guests can enjoy delicious craft cocktails and pre-Prohibition punches at the company's Golden Moon Speakeasy, which also serves up a variety of bar bites, including cheese and charcuterie plates. Live music performances are showcased at the venue throughout the week.
412 Violet St, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-993-7174
© Bonfire Burritos
For several decades Bonfire Burritos has been ensuring that residents of and visitors to Golden have a reliable source of delicious authentic Mexican food. Operating out of a rustic food trailer, Bonfire Burritos serves up mouth-watering burrito options including a variety of breakfast burritos (as well as a vegetarian option) designed to get your day off to a flying start. Rumor has it that Bonfire Burritos also offers the best green chili in Colorado and also has a catering option to set your next party or event on fire. Bonfire Burritos is very popular, and you may have to spend a little time waiting for your freshly prepared Mexican treat.
Bonfire Burritos, 17025 South Golden Rd, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 720-556-6269
© Holidaily Brewing
Holidaily Brewing came about as the result of a gluten-intolerant beer-lover's dream to be able to enjoy a great brew along with her friends. Holidaily Brewing are pretty unique in that they specialize in producing top-quality gluten-free craft beers. Not content with just producing a gluten-removed product, Holidaily ensures that only completely gluten-free ingredients, such as millet and buckwheat, are used in the brewery so that there is no risk of any cross contamination with regular beer ingredients such as barley. You can taste their selection at their tasting room and buy some of the great brews to take home with you.
Holidaily Brewing, 801 Brickyard Circle, Unit B, Golden, CO 80403, Phone: 303-278-2337
16.Windy Saddle Cafe
© Windy Saddle Cafe
The Windy Saddle Café is one of Golden's favorite meeting places, where locals and visitors can enjoy a great cup of coffee, home-made food, beers, wine, and a relaxing atmosphere. The cafe is very centrally located (right by the Golden Arch) and offers an extensive menu of made-from-scratch breakfasts, lunches, pastries, and snacks as well as craft beers and great wines. You can bring the children too – there is a children's menu and a play area. In winter the cafe features a cozy log fire, while in summer you can enjoy your meal out on the deck. The Windy Saddle Café also hosts baking demonstrations, cupcake walks, and other events on a regular basis.
Windy Saddle Café, 1110 Washington Ave, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-279-1905
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17.Bob's Atomic Burgers
© Bob's Atomic Burgers
When you need to give your feet a break and satisfy your taste buds, you can pop into Bob's Atomic Burgers for an all-American treat. Bob's is family owned and run and strives to serve up the freshest and tastiest burgers in town using top quality locally sourced ingredients and all the toppings and sides you need to personalize your very own Atomic Burger. To accompany your traditional or fried chicken burger, you can enjoy a milkshake, soda, or specialty bottled drink. Bob's offers a gluten-free burger bun option and vegetarians can forgo the meat and try a delicious quinoa burger. Students (with ID) get a 20% discount on Wednesdays.
Bob's Atomic Burgers, 1310 Ford Street, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-278-1601
17 Best Things to Do in Golden, Colorado
- Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, Photo: Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
- Boettcher Mansion, Photo: Boettcher Mansion
- Golden History Museum and Park, Photo: Courtesy of eunikas - Fotolia.com
- Clear Creek White Water Park, Photo: Courtesy of Marek - Fotolia.com
- Colorado Railroad Museum, Photo: Colorado Railroad Museum
- Coors Brewery, Photo: Courtesy of hiddenhallow - Fotolia.com
- Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Thin Air Photography - Fotolia.com
- Higher Grounds Cafe, Photo: Courtesy of Chinara - Fotolia.com
- State 38 Distilling, Photo: State 38 Distilling
- Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve, Photo: Courtesy of Nikita Shevchenko - Fotolia.com
- Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Photo: Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
- Spinster Sisters, Photo: Spinster Sisters
- Golden Moon Distillery, Photo: Golden Moon Distillery
- Bonfire Burritos, Photo: Bonfire Burritos
- Holidaily Brewing, Photo: Holidaily Brewing
- Windy Saddle Cafe, Photo: Windy Saddle Cafe
- Bob's Atomic Burgers, Photo: Bob's Atomic Burgers
- Cover Photo: City of Golden, Colorado
Attraction Spotlight: Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
Located in Golden, Colorado, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is a museum dedicated to the preservation of the cultural legacy of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, a noted Army scout, hunter, entertainer, and icon of the Old American West. William Frederick Cody was born on February 26, 1846 Le Claire, Iowa Territory and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Cody began working as a freight carrier at the age of 11 following his father’s death, and at the age of 14, embarked on a journey to California to participate in the Holcomb Valley Gold Rush, which resulted in a job as a rider for the Pony Express. Following military service with the Union Army during the American Civil War from 1863 to 1865, he married Louisa Frederici and served as a civilian scout for the United States Army, developing a reputation as an accomplished bison hunter, which earned him the nickname “Buffalo Bill.” In 1869, Cody developed a relationship with author Ned Buntline, who went on to publish a number of serialized novels based on fictionalized accounts of Cody’s adventures as a bison hunter.
Cody’s career as an entertainer began in 1872 with the Chicago production of The Scouts of the Prairie, produced by Buntline. Though the production itself was critically panned, Cody became a popular performer with crowds, leading to a decades-long career as a traveling entertainer in shows depicting the culture of the Old American West. In 1883, Cody founded the Buffalo Bill's Wild West touring show, which traveled across the United States and Europe with prominent figures such as sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler and Lakota leader Sitting Bull. Cody’s Wild West shows are credited as an early precursor to modern rodeos, employing real-life cowboys and cowgirls to demonstrate skills such as bronco riding and roping.
Following Cody’s death in 1917, he was buried at Colorado’s Lookout Mountain, overlooking the Great Plains area he devoted much of his life to. Four years later, the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum was opened near Cody’s gravesite by close friend Johnny Baker, displaying a collection of artifacts related to Cody’s life and military and performance careers, including items donated by his wife Louisa. Until 1956, the museum was operated in a joint arrangement between the Bakers and the City of Denver, Colorado, with the city retaining control of the museum’s property and the Bakers overseeing collections, but following Olive Baker’s death, control of the museum and its collections was transferred to the City of Denver.
Today, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Gravesite is owned and operated by the City of Denver, serving as a memorial preserving the legacy of Cody’s status as an icon of the Old American West. The City of Denver maintains the Buffalo Bill gravesite and all related museum structures within Lookout Mountain Park, including an Observation Deck area, which offers 360-degree views of the Rocky Mountain Front Range and Great Plains areas. A Pahaska Tepee, which originally housed the museum’s collections when it opened in 1921, now is home to a gift shop and a cafe, which serves buffalo burgers and entrees, as well as homemade fudge and ice cream. Several year-round picnic areas are offered, as well as a one-mile hiking trail which connects the museum with the nearby Lookout Mountain Nature Center.
Inside the Buffalo Bill Museum, more than 3,000 square feet of exhibit space focuses on Cody’s life and legacy.The Buffalo Bill Story chronicles Cody’s life using up-to-date research, showcasing a variety of rare artifacts connected to the entertainer, such as a peace pipe belonging to Sitting Bull, a collection of personal posters and archival materials, and the Stetson hat worn during his final performance. At the Visit to the Wild West exhibit, visitors can inquire about their personal connection to sites where Buffalo Bill’s Wild West performed.The Americans explores Cody’s relationship with indigenous people, while Firearms features displays of weapons related to Cody’s work and performances. A Kids’ Cowboy Corral area also offers interactive dress-up and play areas for young visitors. Outside the museum, the Buffalo Bill’s Death exhibit serves as a companion to Cody’s gravesite, reflecting on his 1917 funeral.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Guided and self-guided tour opportunities are available for groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated tours for elementary and secondary students with hands-on activities emphasizing aspects of indigenous American cultures. Group rates are available by booking advance tour reservations through the museum’s offices. Discounted rates are also available for active and retired military service employees, including free admission during summer months as part of the Blue Star program. The museum and gift shop are fully wheelchair accessible, with closed-captioned videos available within exhibits.
A variety of public special event programming is offered throughout the year, including a Buffalo Bill Birthday Celebration in February, which includes a ceremonial cake cutting, a chip tossing contest, and family-friendly games and activities. In June, a Buffalo Bill Burial Ceremony Reenactment is offered, following the Masonic burial ceremony traditions of Cody’s funeral. A Buffalo Bill’s Western Roundup event showcases indigenous cultures and Civil War-era weaponry technology, and a Christmas with Cody event kicks off the holiday season in early December.
987 Lookout Mountain Rd, Golden, CO 80401, Phone: 303-526-0744
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