With a fairly large population of close to 45,000, Littleton, Colorado still manages to hold onto its small-town charm despite being a suburb of Denver, which is only ten miles away. Upon arrival in Littleton, the first thing visitors notice is the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
The natural beauty doesn’t stop there; the South Platte River runs through the city, which is also known for its numerous parks and miles of green spaces. Outdoor lovers can hike and bike hundreds of miles of trails or simply enjoy the serene, natural surroundings of the mountain foothills.
Littleton is known for its family-friendly, laid-back way of life, with friendly locals and a variety of things to see and do. The combination of cultural events, historical landmarks, and modern attractions provide visitors with a delightful combination of old and new.
The vibrant downtown neighborhood with its quaint, tree-lined streets lacks the towering skyscrapers of nearby Denver. It’s an interesting mix of old buildings, antique shops, small local retailers, modern restaurants, relaxed cafes, lively bars, and galleries featuring local artists.
Throughout the year, the city hosts various events, including Western Welcome Week, Candlelight Walk, and Twilight Criterium.
Below are 15 of the best things to see and do in and around Littleton, Colorado.
1. The Littleton Museum
Visitors who are interested in learning about the history and culture of Littleton should first head to the Littleton Museum, where the town’s past, present, and future is showcased across several galleries and a number of interactive exhibits.
Situated in a beautiful location close to Ketring Lake, the history outlined in this museum goes all the way back to prehistoric times. On-site, there’s a children’s gallery with fun exhibits, The Fine Arts Gallery with local art and photography, and two replicas of living farms detailing the agriculture history of the area.
2. Chatfield State Park
Outdoor lovers can spend an entire day participating in a wide variety of activities in the beautiful natural setting of Chatfield State Park in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. Water sports, such as canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, and sailing, are very popular in the park.
Bikers and hikers have access to 26 miles of trails, or visitors can spend a relaxing evening fishing for trout, bass, crappie, and catfish. In winter, ice-fishing and snowshoeing are popular activities. On-site amenities include a floating restaurant, a marina, boat rentals, and campsites.
3. SeaQuest Littleton
Visitors of all ages can discover rainforests and deserts with an interactive tour of SeaQuest Littleton. About 12,000 animals across several hundred species make their home in habitats as close to their natural ones as possible, and many of these animals were rescued due to illness or injuries.
Some of the experiences you can take part in include wading with stingrays, feeding and petting some of the animals, and viewing various species such as sharks, snakes, caimans, lizards, and birds.
4. Littleton Golf and Tennis Center
Golfers can get in a quick game at the 18-hole executive golf course at Littleton Golf and Tennis Center. Situated in a scenic location close to the South Platte River and the Mary Carter Greenway Trail, this par 63 course also features a driving range, and restaurants and lessons are available.
If tennis is more your thing, there are six indoor tennis courts on site.
5. St. Patrick’s Brewing Co.
Since 2012, St. Patrick’s Brewing Co. has been brewing top-quality artisan beers. These prize-winning, Colorado-inspired lagers and ales are served up in a laid-back taproom. Visitors can sample a wide variety of options with names such as Irish I Was on the Beach, Strawberry Blonde Ale, and Luminosity Blonde.
All are made with fresh, premium ingredients. If you like to have some munchies with your beer, food trucks are parked outside the brewery on weekends. Throughout the week, the brewery hosts various events such as ping-pong tournaments and craft beer drawing parties.
6. The Denver Botanic Gardens
In the center of hectic Denver is a serene refuge away from the noise and crowds of the city. At the Denver Botanic Gardens, visitors enjoy a peaceful stroll through 45 gardens filled with more than 33,000 plants.
On-site is a Japanese Garden, Rock Alpine Garden, and the Mordecai Children’s Garden. The Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory, which is one of the largest in the United States, is also open to the public.
7. Cafe Terracotta
Visitors looking for upscale, creative dining in a friendly, laid-back atmosphere can head to Cafe Terracotta in Littleton. The layout of this eatery was planned to allow diners the chance to interact with the people preparing their meals, so they can be a part of the process.
At breakfast and lunch, you can expect to find familiar items, such as eggs Benedict and club sandwiches, combined with Mexican-inspired choices like breakfast burritos. Dinner is an extravagant affair serving up options that include chicken Wellington and braised short ribs. The wine list is long and features both Californian and European wines.
8. Fifty-Two 80s
Visitors to Littleton can take a little trip to Denver and a short trip down memory lane with a visit to Fifty-Two 80s. This antique shop is unlike any other antique shop you’ve ever been to. It specializes in collectibles and nostalgic items from the 80s and 90s.
Many of the items are related to the Saturday morning cartoons that were so popular in that era. Pac-man, Care Bears, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-related items are among the everyday items on display. Trading cards, action figures, pinball machines, posters, and cassette tapes can also be found among the more than 4,500 things in the shop.
9. Roxborough State Park
Visitors to Littleton can spend an entire day wandering the beautiful landscape of Roxborough State Park. The defining feature of this 3,300-acre National Natural Landmark is the prominent 300 million-year-old red sandstone rock formations that set the backdrop for an extraordinary day in nature.
There are six hiking trails in the park, and along the way, you will see notable archaeological sites and wildlife, including more than one hundred different bird species, black bears, and coyotes.
10. Littleton Depot Art Gallery
Art lovers visiting Littleton can stop at the Littleton Depot and Art Gallery, which showcases local art. You can view stunning watercolors, unique sculptures, oil paintings, and photography. There are even galleries located in the caboose from the 1890s, which is also on-site.
11. South Platte Park and the Carson Nature Center
South Platte Park and the Carson Nature Center is the perfect mix for a day spent in the great outdoors. With 878 acres of nature at your fingertips, there’s no shortage of relaxing and exciting outdoor activities to participate in.
There are five lakes in the park, including the Chatfield Reservoir, which is said to be one of the top fishing locations in Colorado. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing are also popular activities on these lakes. For hikers, there are several hiking and biking trails, as well as a horseback riding area.
While exploring the park, you may also spot some wildlife as hundreds of animal species make their homes there. The on-site nature center has interesting exhibits that provide information about the park and surrounding area.
12. Colorado Antique Gallery
Visitors looking for a large selection of antiques to admire or purchase can do so at the Colorado Antique Gallery. As the biggest antique mall in Denver, it has been a go-to for antique lovers and collectors for almost 30 years. Several hundred of Colorado’s top antique dealers showcase a wide assortment of items, including furniture, art, jewelry, and much more.
Knowledgeable staff are available to help you find what you are looking for and provide information on individual items. Most importantly, they can arrange for any item you purchase to be shipped to your home.
13. Hildebrand Ranch
Visitors can explore the preserved workings of a historic working ranch at Hildebrand Ranch. Pioneer settlers built this ranch that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Living history can be explored through a 19th-century schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and a granary.
14. Robert Clement Park
For a day of outdoor fun, locals and visitors alike head to Robert Clement Park in Littleton to use the numerous facilities available and embark on a variety of outdoor adventures.
Tennis courts, a skate park, batting cages, softball fields, and volleyball courts are on-site for those interested in some athletic fun. A 1.4-mile nature trail provides a light hike through a pretty, natural area, and kids enjoy the splash park in warmer weather and two playgrounds. Fishing is enjoyed at the Johnston Reservoir.