Commerce City is a northern suburb of Denver that’s located between Westminster to the west and Thornton to the east. At the time of the last census, it had a population of slightly more than 45,000 residents.
One of the city’s largest employers is the massive oil refinery that’s also one of the skyline’s most notable features.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is another well-known attraction that’s the home of Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids. The area is brimming with outdoor activities, as well as historical, cultural, and entertainment options too.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Commerce City, Colorado.
1. Goldstrike Colorado Adventures
Gold and the insatiable quest for it have always played prominent roles in the state’s lore and history. Though the old gold rush days are long gone, for those who fancy panning for bits of the valuable yellow metal, there’s a perfect place to do it in Commerce City.
Located on East 99th Way, Goldstrike Colorado Adventures gives guests the opportunity to learn about gold and how to find it before being turned loose to see what they can dig up.
A variety of techniques are available, and there are several package options that range from just a few hours to multiple days, including meals and on-site lodging.
2. Pioneer Park
Commerce City’s Pioneer Park is located near the downtown area and is the city’s largest park.
It’s conveniently located and full of amenities, making it a popular destination for those who’d rather not waste valuable vacation time driving to more distant attractions.
The park is probably most well-known for its waterpark that’s aptly named Paradise Island, which features a massive swimming pool, multiple water slides, and a lazy river tubing area.
There’s a pool that’s restricted to use by toddlers and their parents only, as well as changing rooms and showers for when it’s time to dry off, wash up, and head off to other adventures.
3. Ted’z Place
It’s been said that Ted’z Place isn’t exactly in the running for most attractive area restaurant, but as they say, looks can be deceiving.
Previous one-time guests and regulars alike have commented that not only does Ted’z have friendly staff, a chill vibe, and a menu full of reasonably priced comfort food items done to perfection, but they have great beer deals too.
Ted’z is particularly well-known for its Mexican food, which includes traditional classics like enchiladas and tacos, but they serve Italian food and hearty breakfasts like steak, eggs, and potatoes too.
Ted’z is located on East 52nd Avenue and is a favorite happy hour destination.
4. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
At nearly 16,000 acres, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is located just a short drive from both Commerce City and downtown Denver and is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals.
The refuge was once a World War II-era chemical weapons plant, but lovers of fresh air and contamination-free attractions need not fret, because it’s been totally cleared of all pollutants, at least according to Army brass.
The area is crisscrossed with a network of nature trails from which it’s common to see deer, coyote, woodpeckers, and cute prairie dogs – which kids just seem to adore.
5. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
With seating for nearly 20,000 spectators, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is the home of MLS’s Colorado Rapids. In addition to its professional soccer field, it features more than 20 other fields that are used for amateur soccer leagues as well as kickball, dodgeball, and touch football.
When it’s not overrun with sports fanatics, the facility often hosts live entertainment events, and there are rentable areas that are perfect for special occasions such as corporate outings, birthdays, and family reunions.
The park’s experienced staff offer a variety of camps and kid’s programs, and there are plenty of food and drink options on-site.
6. Buffalo Run Golf Course
Buffalo Run Golf Course is an 18-hole tournament-caliber course that’s known for its panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, undulating greens, and well-manicured fairways.
The course has six sets of tees that make it appropriate for players of most ages and skill levels, and it measures between 7,400 and 5,200 yards, depending on which tees you choose to play from.
For those in dire need of a little professional guidance before hitting the links, a number of instruction options are available. There are also practice areas, a pro shop, and a top-notch restaurant on-site.
It’s a good idea to reserve tee times if you’ll be visiting during peak hours.
7. Springvale Park Disc Golf Course
Though it often takes a back seat to its more traditional golf cousin, disc golf is a fun and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon in the great outdoors and doesn’t require a pricy set of clubs or spiked shoes.
The Springvale Park Disc Golf Course is located on Holly Street in nearby Thornton, but unlike regular golf, players use a Frisbee-like disc instead of a little white ball.
The course features a lake, lots of stunning mountain views, and plenty of wide-open spaces that make it ideal for those looking for activities to suit kids.
There’s a playground, trails, and picnic areas near the course as well.
8. Woody’s Wings N Things
Woody’s Wings N Things is a unique dining destination that offers an odd mix of traditional American fare, as well as Southeast Asian cuisine from countries like Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Woody’s is located on Lowell Boulevard in Westminster and is just a short drive for those staying in Commerce City.
Wings are probably their most popular items, but vibrant Asian dishes are big hits too, including crispy fried fish with sweet and sour sauce, fresh spring rolls, and Vietnamese rice noodle soup called pho.
Expect a laid-back atmosphere, reasonable prices, and lots of vibrant, exotic flavors your taste buds may not be familiar with.
9. The Frightmare Compound
Though museums and parks are key components of many visitor’s vacations to the Rocky Mountain State, there are those who long for more frightening and hair-raising experiences.
If you and your travel companions fall into that category, then the Frightmare Compound on Yukon Street in Westminster is a must-visit attraction.
The facility was established in the early-‘80s by a local man obsessed with theatrics, terror, and the macabre. Since then, it has been shrouded in dark lore that draws a unique crowd.
It may not be suitable for those of weak constitution, but for lovers of fear and panic attacks, it’s just the ticket.
10. GQue Championship BBQ
With its abundance of cattle ranches and hardworking cowboys and ranch hands who prefer hearty, protein-rich grub to salads and cucumber sandwiches, it’s no wonder that Colorado has so many steakhouses and barbecue restaurants.
GQue Championship BBQ is one of the Denver area’s trendiest Q restaurants. Though it’s slightly more upscale than most of its contemporaries, it’s still comfortable and inviting.
Their menu includes all the barbecue classics, like ribs, pulled pork, and brisket; they’re prepared in a variety of ways, like Kansas City and Carolina-style.
Their adult beverage options include craft beers, regional wines, and craft cocktails.
11. The Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center
Bugs get a bad rap, and though they’re all vital to healthy ecosystems, they’re not all fun to look at up-close.
Unlike many of their insect cousins, however, butterflies are beautiful and lead amazing lives that include many unique lifecycle stages.
The Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center in Westminster features hundreds of species of native and exotic butterflies. Guests will not only get to appreciate their splendor, but learn about their lives, many of which include epic yearly migrations.
The cost of admission to the insect center is relatively inexpensive, and for kids, it’s usually one of the highlights of their trip.
12. Reunion Coffee House
Colorado may just have the most independent coffee shops per capita of any state in the country. For those visiting the Commerce City area, there are plenty of choices.
Reunion Coffee House is located on Reunion Parkway and features stunning lake views and a menu jam-packed with tasty coffees, teas, and frozen drinks.
Previous guests have noted that Reunion was contemporary and comfortable, and they especially appreciated the patio seating when the weather was nice.
Free Wi-Fi and an attentive staff make it a popular destination for remote workers, but they close in the early afternoon, so plan on a morning visit.
13. Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
For aviation and history enthusiasts, Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is a must-see attraction boasting an impressive collection of historic commercial and military aircraft that have been restored to near-original condition.
The museum is spread over multiple hangars and more than 100,000 square feet and includes bombers, fighters, and interceptors from various eras in aviation history.
There are plenty of interactive exhibits to keep little ones engaged and entertained, and each aircraft includes informative signs that detail things like its lifespan, cost, engines, and armaments.
There’s a great gift shop on-site too, so consider picking up a few keepsakes before heading out.
14. American Museum of Western Art
Western art has always captured the hearts of local and out of state visitors who appreciate its traditional themes and depictions of the rugged landscape and hearty souls who call it home.
The American Museum of Western art features an impressive collection of works from some of the biggest names in art, like Frederic Remington and Thomas Moran.
The museum’s art spans the pre-settlement and Native American eras all the way up to the present day; they’re done in a variety of mediums, like bronze sculptures and oil and watercolor paintings.
There are age restrictions due to the priceless nature of many works on display, so check online before heading out.
15. Coors Field
More than most Major League Baseball stadiums, Coors Field combines both traditional and contemporary architecture, giving it a unique feel that’s appreciated by local fans and visiting baseball aficionados alike.
It’s located in downtown Denver, making it an easy to reach venue for those staying in Commerce City.
It’s the home of the Colorado Rockies, and though a day at the park with the family isn’t as inexpensive as it once was, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.
The stadium’s iconic clock is one of its most notable features, and the area around the park features restaurants and bars that are popular with pre-game regulars.