Joined at the hip to the famed Mile-High City, Aurora (Colorado), forms one third of the colossal Metro Denver area; a sprawling metropolitan hub that totals more than two million locals in all.
However, unlike its near neighbors of Denver and Lakewood, Aurora has done well to retain something of its small town character, balancing that carefully with huge developments like the great Southlands Lifestyle Center and its countless 18-hole golf courses.
That makes for an interesting and welcoming town, where local breweries meet family-owned restaurants between the lively roadways around Havana Street; where residents barbecue and kick-back on the sands of nearby reservoirs and creeks, and where line-dances and country music are the order of the evening.
And then there’s Aurora’s historic connection to the Great Plains.
This fascinating touch of heritage pops up in small museums and nature reserves, offering a taste of the real prairie in the shadow of the mighty Rocky Mountain peaks! Let’s explore the best things to do in Aurora!
1. Kick back on the sands of Aurora Reservoir
Aurora Reservoir was once a distant recreational space on the south-eastern edges of the city, sat hidden between the rolling prairie on the dry and dusty windward side of the Rocky Mountains.
In recent years, however, speedy urban growth in neighborhoods like Southshore have brought communities right up to the banks of the water, imbuing the 800-acre manmade lake with some of the top outdoorsy attractions in town.
Today, locals and travelers flock here to rent canoes, participate in SCUBA diving excursions (try and spot that submerged airplane!), enjoy a spot of trout fishing, or simply kick back on the maintained beach – perfect for sunbathing in those sultry Coloradan summers.