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Colorado is a state that truly offers something for everyone. Its largest city, Denver, has become a huge foodie destination, and craft beer lovers will be in paradise as it hosts more homebrewers than any other state, along with an impressive number of breweries. Of course, the Rocky Mountain State is famous for its gorgeous mountain towns, great skiing and beautiful national parks. If you want to experience the best it has to offer, these amazing places to visit are sure to do trick.
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Manitou Springs, nestled between Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak, is popular for its eight different mineral springs, believed to offer healing powers by Native Americans, as well as its art, attracting art lovers around the world with its many galleries, sculpture displays, theater and music. The Historic District is lined with magnificently restored buildings that host boutiques, restaurants and art galleries, and it makes a great place to base your stay to enjoy outdoor adventures on and around Pikes Peak. It’s also a great base to explore Garden of the Gods, named the No. 1 park in the U.S. by TripAdvisor which its majestic fiery red rocks that merge with the mountain forests of Pikes Peak.
Aspen, is of course, one of the state’s most famous mountain towns. Numerous celebrities, including Hollywood actors like Jack Nicholson, fell in love with it so much that they decided to purchase homes here, with its main allure the jaw-dropping mountain scenery. Tourists and locals head to the slopes in the winter for world-class skiing and boarding, available at four different ski areas, and enjoy fly-fishing, hiking, rafting and mountain biking in the warmer months. The town is also famous for its high-end shops, galleries, upscale eateries, hip bars and excellent venues for live music.
This popular college town is famous for its especially fit residents who appreciate the great outdoors, as well as for its progressive values. Sitting at the base of the foothills of the Rockies, Boulder offers practically an endless number of hiking trails, including treks through the breathtaking Flatirons that serve as its most recognizable landmark. Other favorite outdoor activities including climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and tubing – right through downtown along Boulder Creek. Pearl Street Mall, one of the country’s top open-air pedestrian malls, is considered a must-experience with its free, live entertainment, talented buskers, wide array of shops and outstanding eateries.
Fort Collins is a craft beer mecca, offering a wide range of well-known craft breweries where visitors can enjoy a brewery tour and samples, including New Belgium, the third-largest craft brewer in the U.S. It’s also an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with an endless number of trails, lakes, rivers and streams in the surrounding foothills and mountains. Horsetooth Reservoir, just minutes from downtown, is a popular recreation spot for fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, hiking, camping and more. The Poudre River is the state’s only nationally designated “Wild & Scenic” river and is surrounded by dramatic cliffs and captivating rock formations. You’ll see visitors and locals alike taking advantage of the cool waters on a hot day, on kayaks, rafts and tubes. After a day of play, come back to Old Town Fort Collins, and in the summer, you’ll often have the chance to take in some great, free live music too.
Estes Park sits on the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’re looking for breathtaking mountain scenery, there are few better places to go in the entire country. Not only will you be just minutes from miles and miles of hiking trails in the park, but in town, there are all sorts of things to do, including the Family Amusement Park with miniature golf, bungee jumping, go-karts and a big slide. You’ll also find lots of art galleries, shops, restaurants, and the famous Stanley Hotel, a historic landmark for which author Stephen King based his novel, “The Shining.” Spend the night if you dare – it’s known for its many ghost sightings and other paranormal encounters.
Photogenic Breckenridge is a veritable winter wonderland, ideal for those who are looking for the picture-perfect Christmas town, with its sparkling lights and glistening icicles, as well as world-class skiing. But it offers something for everyone all year long. History buffs will also appreciate that it hosts the largest historic district in the state, with many original, magnificent buildings that housed dance halls, saloons and saloons back in its early days, and many still standing over 150 years later. Travelers also come for the hot air balloon rides that offer an unforgettable birds-eye view, as well as whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, great restaurants, spas and even the theater.
Glenwood Springs houses the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool and has been drawing visitors from across the globe since 1888. It’s open year-round for swimming, soaking and splashing, with plenty of room to spread out and play, or relax. The surrounding area is fabulous for hiking too, including the Hanging Lake hike, one of the most popular in the state. The trail will bring you to this natural geologic wonder that’s suspended on the edge of Glenwood Canyon’s cliffs. A clear, cerulean-hued lake and waterfalls spill right into it, offering a mesmerizing sight after the challenging uphill climb.
In a state with lots of beautiful towns, Telluride is one of the most picturesque of all. It’s often called the most beautiful ski town in North America, with Telluride Ski Resort sitting just above it. The Victorian-era silver-mining community is tucked deep within a box canyon, surrounded by the soaring peaks of the San Juan Mountains, and hikes throughout the area bring the chance to view roaring waterfalls and tranquil streams. In town, there are no stoplights or billboards, just Frontier-era facades and Victorian storefronts, many of which host outstanding eateries with extensive fine wine lists as well as trendy bars filled with a spirited culture of passionate mountain enthusiasts.
Durango, located in the southwest corner of the state, is a great place to visit for multi-sport adventurers, history lovers and those who just appreciate breathtaking scenery. The downtown area is filled with magnificent historic buildings, and visitors can also take a journey on the historic steam train, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railwood, which makes a spectacular 50-mile trip to the tiny town of Silverton and back. As the Animas River winds right through town, it draws kayakers and rafters, while just minutes away, visitors can enjoy hiking, skiing and even ice climbing, as well as year-round access to mountain biking in the lowlands, with over 1,000 miles of trails in the Durango area alone.
Cripple Creek was a booming city home to more than 55,000 during its heyday around the turn-of-the-20th-century. Today, only about 1,000 residents live here, but it’s a popular place to visit for those who want to experience an authentic look at the Old West or to test their luck in the casinos. If gambling isn’t your thing, you can explore fascinating museums like the Old Homestead House, a former high-end brothel, watch an outstanding melodrama at the historic Butte theater or even head 1,000 feet underground to walk in the footsteps of gold miners in an original 1890s gold mine.
If you’re looking for an alternative to high-priced Aspen, and it’s somewhat pretentious feel, head to Leadville instead. The country’s highest incorporated city, it sits at 10,152 feet above sea level, and boasts 70 square blocks of downtown that’s been designated a National Historic Landmark of Victorian architecture. It’s a fascinating, authentic mining town with a very rich history, filled with dramatic tales of real-life characters who made, and often lost, fortunes here. Explore it by visiting its eight museums, taking a mine tour, or a historic walking tour. Nearby, you’ll find skiing, hiking, fishing, golfing, mountain biking, rafting and more.
Colorado’s largest city is a metropolis that dates back to the Old West era. It stretches along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and offers spectacular views along with a ton of attractions, indoors and out. It’s become an increasingly popular foodie destination and ranks fourth in the country when it comes to the number of breweries per capita. A shopper’s paradise, the famous 16th Street Mall hosts big-name stores along with local, independent shops and more than 40 outdoor cafes. You can catch a major league baseball game at Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies, and explore a long list of interesting museums too.