Golden is a western suburb of Denver that’s the seat of Jefferson County.
For beer drinkers all over the country, Golden has been immortalized as home to the Coors brewery, and the city has also played significant roles in the settling and gold rush eras.
Golden’s location at the foothills of the majestic Rockies makes it the perfect place for visitors to stay; it’s equidistant between the state’s most amazing natural attractions, and historical, artistic, and cultural ones in Denver as well.
Finding things to do won’t be a problem, regardless of the ages and interests of those you’re traveling with.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Golden, Colorado.
1. Colorado Railroad Museum
Over the years, railroads have played significant roles in the history and development of Colorado.
The Colorado Railroad Museum is located on West 44th Avenue in Golden and is hands-down a must-visit attraction for history buffs and railroad enthusiasts.
The museum’s collection includes a variety of exhibits containing equipment, memorabilia, photographs, and firsthand accounts – as well as a historic rail yard that’s spread over nearly 20 acres.
Locomotives and an array of unique rolling stock are often the stars of the show, but consider checking out the welcome video inside first before setting off on your self-guided tour.
2. Coors Brewery
These days, Colorado’s beer scene is most well-known for its small craft breweries that can often be found in even small rural towns.
For much of the state’s existence, however, Coors was King, and it’s still a much-loved brand that’s enjoyed all over the country.
The Coors brewery in Golden is the largest single-location brewery in the world. For lovers of beer who want to get a unique insight into how it’s made, a guided tour would be a great way to spend a few hours.
Tours include tastings for those of legal age, and there’s lots of interesting historical memorabilia along the way as well.
3. Café 13
For more than two decades, Café 13 has been one of Golden’s hot spots for those in need of sustenance after a long day on their feet.
The restaurant is located on Arapahoe Street and offers breakfast and lunch, as well as an in-house bakery, coffee, and a full bar with lots of beer, wine, and craft cocktails.
For those who’ve already eaten who are just in need of a bit of adult refreshment, happy hour specials are offered daily from 3 to 6 PM.
Café 13 has recently undergone significant upgrades that have made it even more contemporary and welcoming.
4. Golden Moon Distillery
When it comes to intoxicating beverages, Colorado is definitely most well-known for its abundance of beers produced by micro and craft breweries, but local distilleries have been making big waves in recent years as well.
Golden Moon Distillery is located on Violet Street in Golden and was founded in 2008.
They pride themselves on using only the highest quality ingredients, traditional distilling methods, and recipes that are centuries old.
Their products include gin and absinthe – the latter of which is a mysteriously green French liquor that’s said to have mild hallucinogenic properties.
Guided tours and tastings are regularly available, so check their schedule online.
5. Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve
Located along the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve is just a short drive from Golden, which makes it a popular day trip option for those looking to experience the mountains without spending hours in the car.
The center is spread over more than 100 acres and includes several interactive exhibits, as well as an extensive trail network, from which it’s common to see lots of wildlife and some fantastic views of the mountains.
Elk, mule deer, and foxes are abundant, as are tons of birds, including raptors, woodpeckers, and owls.
6. Barrels & Bottles Brewery
Folks in Colorado love their beer and dogs; for those who prefer to enjoy them together, Barrels & Bottles Brewery is the perfect place to do just that.
As you’d expect, Barrels & Bottles has an extensive beer collection that includes everything from crisp lagers to hoppy IPAs; their frozen wine drinks are big hits as well.
Previous guests have commented on their comfortable outdoor patio and ample space for canine guests. Unlike many bars, it has a low-key atmosphere in which it’s easy to meet other likeminded visitors without having to scream over annoyingly loud music.
7. Woody’s Woodfired Pizza
Whether you’re in Italy, New York, or Golden, Colorado, woodfired pizza is a tasty way to fill your empty stomach.
Woody’s Woodfired Pizza has been around since 1993 and is open every day from 11 AM until midnight.
Their pizzas are available with a number of toppings, and they also offer hearty burgers, spicy wings, and fresh salads.
For those who’ve spent a few hours touring the Coors brewery, Woody’s is a great post-tour stop because it’s just a mile away.
It’s also a popular place on game day, especially during football season when its big-screen televisions are showing games from around the country.
8. Boettcher Mansion
The Boettcher Mansion is a historic home that’s more than a century old, and it’s located on Colorow Road in Golden.
Built in 1917 with local timber and rock, it was the summer retreat for a successful and influential local businessman, who spared no expense in furnishing his opulent home.
The mansion has been preserved to near original condition and is full of historical information, furniture, art, and housewares that were the height of luxury by the standards of the day.
Self-guided tours are available on weekdays from 8 AM until 4 PM, and it’s a popular special event venue as well.
9. Clear Creek History Park
Golden has an interesting history that stretches back to the early days of the 19th century when the area was mostly wild and unexplored.
Clear Creek History Park is located on Arapahoe Street near the downtown area and features an impressive collection of historic buildings, including barns, cabins, and a one-room schoolhouse.
The park’s distinct areas are connected by well-marked paths that offer visitors the opportunity to stretch their legs and breathe lots of fresh mountain air while getting interesting insights into the area’s past.
There are also actors in period dress doing things like cooking and working in the blacksmith’s shop.
10. Buffalo Bill Museum
William Cody is a fascinating historical character that’s most commonly known as Buffalo Bill.
Cody was born in the mid-1800s when Colorado was wild, dangerous, and full of herds of wild buffalo; he made a name for himself by hunting them.
Buffalo Bill also founded his own theater production called The Wild West, which thrilled visitors with acts of horsemanship and harrowing tales of life in the wilds of Colorado.
The facility includes a museum that’s chock-full of memorabilia pertaining to the man’s life. Though he’s famous mainly for killing huge numbers of buffalo, his life is historically significant and warrants a look for history lovers with a few hours to spare.
11. The Cussler Museum
The Cussler Museum was founded by best-selling author Clive Cussler, a man who has always had an interest in rare and vintage automobiles.
The museum’s collection features cars from all over the world, most of which were built in the years between the turn of the 20th century and the ‘60s.
There are more than 100 automobiles on display; they’ve all been restored to near original condition and include brands that haven’t been in production for decades.
The museum is located on West 69th Avenue in nearby Arvada, and most visitors spend a few hours on-site before heading off to their next adventure.
12. Indian Tree Golf Club
With its dramatic changes in elevation and stunning scenery, Colorado offers golfers a unique experience that they won’t find elsewhere.
Also in Arvada, Indian Tree Golf Club is an 18-hole championship level course that plays more than 7,000 yards from the long tees, making it significantly longer than many of its contemporaries.
For those who’d rather not spend four or five hours on the links, there’s a 9-hole, par-3 option that plays just 1,100 yards.
The club’s amenities include a driving range, practice putting and chipping areas, a fully stocked pro shop, and a restaurant that’s open year-round – even when the course is buttoned up for winter.
13. Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
For aviation aficionados visiting the Golden area, there’s no better place to spend a morning or afternoon than Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.
The museum’s impressive collection of military and commercial aircraft is housed in a vast hangar that encompasses nearly 200,000 square feet and includes restored examples from almost every era in aviation history.
For those traveling with kids, there are a variety of interactive exhibits that are both engaging and educational. The docents that lead the guided tours are knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Don’t forget to swing by the gift shop to pick up a keepsake or two before heading out.
14. The Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
The Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities is an expansive arts and entertainment venue that includes museums, galleries, theaters, and classrooms, which offer a variety of instructional and educational programs to the community.
The center has been around since the mid-‘70s and is located on Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada, just a short drive from Golden.
Their year-round schedule includes dramatic theater, recitals, contemporary and classical music, and a variety of art shows and special events.
Their seasonal holiday performances are perennial favorites, and not surprisingly, tickets tend to go quickly, so consider buying yours before making a special trip.
15. Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens are located just a stone’s throw from downtown Denver and are comprised of distinctly themed cultivated areas spread over more than 20 beautiful acres.
The gardens’ amenities include a conservatory, visitor center, and an amphitheater that features a popular summer concert series.
Due to the garden’s size, it can be a walking-intensive attraction, but the paths are paved and accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
There are also two restaurants on-site that are the perfect places to fill your tank and relax after a long day on your feet.
Picnics are also okay for those who prefer to dine in nature.