The Denver-area suburb offers a myriad of tourist attractions, including the world-renowned Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, one of the most famous outdoor concert venues of the 20th century. Morrison gained international acclaim during the late 19th century for significant dinosaur discoveries at the site that is now known as Dinosaur Ridge.
1.Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is the home of the internationally-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which gained a reputation in the mid-20th century as one of the world's top outdoor concert venues, hosting legendary popular and classical music acts such as U2, the Beatles, and the Grateful Dead. Park visitors can walk through the historic 10,000-seat amphitheatre at their leisure throughout the day and jog up and down the park's rock stair seating arrangement, which has become a popular exercise spot in the Denver area. Two pedestrian trails at the park offer sections for horseback riders and mountain bikers to explore the region's beautiful mountain scenery. The free-admission Colorado Music Hall of Fame honors notable popular musicians who hail from the state, while the Red Rocks Visitor Center details the venue's history through a variety of interactive exhibits.
18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colorado 80465, Phone: 720-865-2494
2.Morrison Natural History Museum
© Morrison Natural History Museum
Morrison Natural History Museum preserves the phenomenal natural history of the Morrison area, with a focus on the world-renowned paleontological discoveries at nearby Dinosaur Ridge. The museum, which has been featured in international publications such as Smithsonian Magazine, was founded in 1989 and showcases a wide variety of hands-on exhibits meant to be explored as part of guided tours, including a Jurassic Morrison exhibits showcasing rare Stegosaurus fossils and other finds from the Jurassic era. Triceratops, Pteranodon, and Tylosaurus fossils are showcased in the Cretaceous Colorado exhibit, while ongoing fossil excavations are on display at the museum's Paleontology Laboratory. On the museum's grounds, a Time Garden details the region's geology, while a fossil dig pit allows children to dig for their own small fossil finds.
501 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-1873
3.Mount Falcon Castle Trail
Mount Falcon Castle Trail is a popular hiking trail in Mount Falcon Park, offering an exercise alternative to the amphitheatre stairs at nearby Red Rocks Park. The challenging scenic hike begins at the park's parking lot and traverses a gravelly route to the site of the castle-like mansion of John Brisben Walker, the founder of Cosmopolitan magazine and a noted early 20th century renaissance man. Though Walker's mansion burned to the ground in the early 20th century after a lightning strike fire, visitors can view its remains from the trail, along with the cornerstone and foundation rubble of Walker's proposed summer White House facility meant to accommodate presidents visiting the Denver area. Visitors should note that the hike is a moderately strenuous uphill climb and can take approximately three hours to reach the summit.
Castle Trail, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-271-5925
Dinosaur Ridge is one of the world's most renowned dinosaur fossil sites, originally excavated in 1877 as part of paleontological efforts that first uncovered skeletons of some of the most recognizable dinosaur species today, including the Apatosaurus, Allosaurus, and Stegosaurus. The ridge, which is located within the Dakota Hogback area of Jefferson County near Morrison, was designated as the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark in 1973 and has been overseen by the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge organization since 1989. Visitors to the site can explore the Dinosaur Ridge Exhibit Hall, which displays information about dinosaur species found at the site, or explore several interpretive trail areas that detail the region's geology and paleontology.
Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark, Jefferson County, CO
5.Lair O' the Bear Park
Lair O' the Bear Park is a wilderness park maintained by Jefferson County, located approximately 40 minutes from downtown Denver near the city of Morrison. The lovely green park offers a large area of day-use picnic tables and convenient access to nearby Bear Creek, a prime fishing spot in the Denver region. Hiking trails are offered throughout the park, including the moderately challenging 12.6-mile roundtrip Bear Creek Trail, which connects the park to three adjoining Denver Mountain Parks. The park is a veritable birdwatchers' paradise, home to large populations of American dippers, yellow warblers, lazuli buntings, broad-tailed hummingbirds, and spotted towhees. Other animal species that populate the park include the beautiful Weidmeyer's Admiral butterfly, though despite the park's name, no bears are located in the area.
22550 State Highway 74, Idledale, CO 80453
© Tiny Town
Tiny Town is a charming family fun center located in Morrison, renowned throughout the Denver area for its kid-sized buildings and miniature railroad. The attraction, which was originally opened in 1915 as Turnerville, was the vision of area resident George Turner and was constructed on the site of the former Denver-Leadville Stagecoach Station. By 1924, the site was home to more than 125 miniature family-friendly buildings, including a grocery store, church, school, and barber shop. Though Turnerville closed down in 1966 after several fires and floods, it reopened in 1988 under the renovation management of the Northern Colorado Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management. Today, visitors can embark on miniature train rides aboard one of the attraction's unique historic trains or explore its miniature structures at their leisure. Picnic tables are provided for relaxation, with birthday party packages available for young guests wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the park.
6249 South Turkey Creek Road, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-6829
Bandimere Speedway, commonly referred to as Thunder Mountain within National Hot Rod Association circles, is a quarter-mile drag racing facility located near Morrison, best known as the site of the annual NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals event. The speedway was the vision of John Bandimere, Sr., who envisioned the facility as a safe track for young racers to develop skills and practice away from city streets. Since its 1958 opening, seating capacity has increased from approximately 8,000 to more than 23,500 and the facility has grown to more than 10 times its original size. The track is noted as a unique track on the NHRA circuit due to several factors, including the impact of altitude on track times.
3051 S Rooney Rd, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-6001
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Action Karting is an exhilarating go-karting track located adjacent to the Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, offering go-karting experiences for families and visitors of all ages. A ¾-mile outdoor track utilizes high-performance go-karts with Honda engines, capable of reaching speeds of up to 55 miles per hours. Each go-karting session lasts approximately 12 minutes, with all excursions fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis. Full racing gear is provided for all participants, including young racers. Racers ages eight and older can race at any time throughout the week, with special times offered for children between the ages of five and seven on weekdays. Groups of more than six should call ahead to ensure track availability. The facility is open seven days a week, with the exception of posted special events on the attraction's calendar.
3051 S Rooney Rd, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-781-4483
© Adrián Lipcsei/stock.adobe.com
Spirit, also known as the Statue to John Denver, is a noted bronze statue located outside the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, created in 2002 by American sculptor Sue DiCicco. The statue, which was created at Berkeley's Artworks Foundry, stands 143 inches tall and weighs an estimated 1,300 pounds, depicting the famed singer-songwriter in a pose with an American bald eagle. It was originally commissioned by the Windstar Foundation nonprofit environmental organization, which was founded by the singer-songwriter in the early 1970s. Between 2002 and 2013, the statue was on display at Windstar's main facility in nearby Snowmass. After the foundation's dissolving in 2013, the statue was transferred to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2015 and can be viewed for free by all Red Rocks Park visitors.
17900 Trading Post Rd, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-320-7599
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10.The Cow: An Eatery
© The Cow: An Eatery
The Cow: An Eatery is a quaint Morrison diner that has been owned and operated by Sherri and David Lind since 2014, located on the banks of lovely Bear Creek, which provides water supply for the Denver area. The restaurant, which was originally opened as the Blue Cow by Pam and Charlie Nathan in 1990, serves up comforting homemade fare at breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, with a focus on fresh, locally-sourced fare. All meals are cooked to order, with menu offerings pulling from Mexican and classic American influences. Popular breakfast entrees include breakfast burritos, waffle sandwiches, and the restaurant's unique Angry Cow breakfast stack, which layers hash browns, eggs, sausage, and pork green chili. At lunch and dinner, diners can enjoy made-to-order burgers, grilled cheese and melt sandwiches, and a variety of shareable appetizers, including loaded buffalo chips and deep-fried chicken skins.
316 Bear Creek Ave Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-5721
© The Fort
The Fort is one of the Denver area's most acclaimed fine dining restaurants, honored in 2017 as America's most scenic restaurant by OpenTable. The upscale Western-style restaurant has been hailed by major international publications such as Bon Appetit and The New York TImes and has been featured on The Today Show for its reputation as the United States' top independent seller of buffalo steaks. A comforting menu of elegant dishes showcases high-quality beef, buffalo, and seafood cuts in entrees such as buffalo filet mignon, teriyaki grilled quail, and el St. Vrain. Creative appetizers such as duck quesadillas and buffalo empanadas are also served up, along with a menu of historic signature cocktails. The National Register of Historic Places-listed restaurant may also be toured by appointment by groups of 10 guests or more.
19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-4771
© Cafe Prague
Cafe Prague is a delicious European-style bistro in Morrison, owned and operated by restaurateur Dennis Cionetti and executive chef Ales Zabilansky. The restaurant, which is open Tuesdays through Sundays for dinner service, serves up a variety of European and American-style dishes, including unique international entrees such as Hungarian goulash and Czech-style wiener schnitzel. All dinners are served with a cup of the restaurant's soup du jour or a Caesar salad, including classic fare such as veal marsala, duck a l'orange, and steak tournedos Oscar. Appetizers range from Bramborak-style potato pancakes to escargots, with homemade desserts such as apple strudel, palacinky, and sabayon with fresh berries. An extensive wine list is available by the glass or by the bottle, highlighting Pacific Coast favorites.
209 Bear Creek Ave, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-9722
13.The Red Rocks Grill
© The Red Rocks Grill
The Red Rocks Grill is a laid-back dining experience in Morrison, originally opened to the public in 1993. The restaurant, which is located conveniently near the Red Rocks Amphitheatre for pre- and post-concert service, serves up a variety of American and Mexican dishes at breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a menu cultivated by owner and chef Ana Dejesus. Clever burgers feature toppings such as jalapeno jam, green chili, and teriyaki sauce, while house specialties include Mexican comfort fare favorites such as fajitas, burritos, street tacos, and tamales available with a variety of fillings, including build-your-own options. At breakfast, diners can choose from south-of-the-border favorites such as huevos rancheros or Southern-style options such as buttermilk pancakes or sausage gravy and biscuits.
415 Bear Creek Ave, Morrison CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-9290
14.Tony Rigatoni's Italian Kitchen
© Tony Rigatoni's Italian Kitchen
Tony Rigatoni's Italian Kitchen is a family-friendly Italian restaurant in Morrison that was originally opened to the public in 1990 by owners Reza Ardelahi, Gary Conte, and Fred Williams. Today, the restaurant is widely acclaimed for its award-winning chicken cara mia dish, which blends artichokes, scallions, mushroom, and avocado into fettuccine tossed with white wine cream sauce. Other delectable pasta dishes served up at lunch and dinner include penne arianna, ravioli roberto, and fettuccine della casa, with classic dishes such as eggplant parmesan and lasagna Bolognese also available. Diners can also choose from a variety of calzone options or create their own 10" or 14" pizza pies. Wine is available by the bottle or by the glass, including the restaurant's house Chianti Chablis wine.
215 Bear Creek Ave, Morrison CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-5508
14 Best Things to Do in Morrison, Colorado
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Photo: Brad/stock.adobe.com
- Morrison Natural History Museum, Photo: Morrison Natural History Museum
- Mount Falcon Castle Trail, Photo: richardseeley/stock.adobe.com
- Dinosaur Ridge, Photo: eickys/stock.adobe.com
- Lair O' the Bear Park, Photo: RobbinLee/stock.adobe.com
- Tiny Town, Photo: Tiny Town
- Bandimere Speedway, Photo: tuiphotoengineer/stock.adobe.com
- Action Karting, Photo: master1305/stock.adobe.com
- Spirit, Photo: Adrián Lipcsei/stock.adobe.com
- The Cow: An Eatery, Photo: The Cow: An Eatery
- The Fort, Photo: The Fort
- Cafe Prague, Photo: Cafe Prague
- The Red Rocks Grill, Photo: The Red Rocks Grill
- Tony Rigatoni's Italian Kitchen, Photo: Tony Rigatoni's Italian Kitchen
- Cover Photo: yobab/stock.adobe.com