Colorado

When it comes down to planning your day-to-day list of things to do, ShermansTravel experts have you covered. To make sure you get the most out of your vacation, we recommend the can't-miss museums and attractions, as well as the off-the-path activities and unique local experiences that will make your trip truly memorable.

Things to do in Colorado

Allegria Spa

Achy and sore from tearing up the slopes? Soothe your muscles with a rub or a soak in the aroma-therapy and mineral pools at this spa - new-and-improved after a $12 million renovation and expansion to 30,000 square feet in 2006.

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, 100 E. Thomas Place, CO, 907-748-7500, www.allegriaspa.com
Tags: things to do

Anderson Ranch Arts Center

Remarkable hands-on workshops with leading artists and curators are mostly held in summer, but winter visitors can still tour the exhibition galleries, meet artists in ateliers, and hear lectures.

5263 Owl Creek Rd., CO, 970-923-3181, www.andersonranch.org
Tags: family | culture | things to do | art

Aspen Art Museum

Make time to visit this museum’s well-thought out contemporary exhibitions by emerging and established artists like Karen Kilmnik and Jeremy Deller. Programs also include art talks from national curators and multi-media performances.

590 N. Mill St., CO, 970-925-8050, www.aspenartmuseum.org
Tags: family | architecture | culture | things to do | history | art

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

See fascinating displays on Aspen’s fragile ecosystem at this wildlife rehabilitation center. From mid-December through mid-April they run snowshoe tours of Aspen and Snowmass mountains.

Hallam Lake Nature Preserve, 100 Puppy Smith St., CO, 970-925-5756, www.aspennature.org
Tags: family | tour | wildlife | things to do | outdoors

Backcountry Skiing

Solid skiers and boarders can carve the first tracks in out-of-bounds powder on guided tours along unmarked trails that are inaccessible by lifts.

Paragon Guides, CO, 877-926-5299, www.paragonguides.com
Tags: sports and adventure | skiing | things to do | outdoors

Beaver Creek Golf Club

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the 18-hole course is famous for its gorgeous mountain views. It's open to the public from May to mid-June, after that it's reserved for members only.

103 Offerson Rd., CO, 970-845-5775, beavercreek.snow.com/info/summer/golf.bc.asp
Tags: golf | things to do | outdoors | views

Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center for the Arts

This 530-seat theater hosts a selection of symphonies, theater performances, dance companies, musicals, and more, year-round.

68 Avondale Lane, CO, 888-920-2787, vilarcenter.org
Tags: culture | things to do

Black American West Museum and Heritage Center

This museum gives African-American ranchers, homesteaders, and rodeo performers their due. See vintage photos of Bill Pickett taming longhorn steers by biting their lips, and examine tools and equipment used by black settlers in the late 1800s to build homes.

3091 California St., CO, 303-292-2566, www.blackamericanwest.com
Tags: family | culture | museum | things to do | history

Botanic Gardens

Set out on grand avenues styled after classic European green-spaces, move through Tuscan gardens of bronze, purple and lavender, and sit under the shade of 500-year-old trees in the Japanese garden. In summer evenings, attend jazz, folk, and pop concerts at the amphitheater.

1005 York St., CO, 720-865-3500, www.botanicgardens.org
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors | gardens

Denver Art Museum

Striking buildings designed by Gio Ponti and Daniel Libeskind house an impressively diverse collection of Picassos, pre-Colombian art, European landscape paintings, and more. Kids will love interactive activities like the Costume Closet, where they can try on the clothes they see in paintings.

100 14th Pkwy., CO, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org
Tags: family | architecture | culture | things to do | history | art | editor pick

Denver Performing Arts Complex

Operas, ballets, symphonies, plays, and nationally touring musicals appear in ten performance spaces. Take a backstage tour if you don’t have time for a show. Pre-event dinners are served onsite at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House.

14th and Curtis, CO, 303-893-4100, www.artscomplex.com
Tags: family | culture | performing arts | things to do

Downtown Aquarium

Snorkel in a tank with more than 50 species of fish, dodge a flash flood, and explore a misty rain forest at Denver’s top family attraction. After learning how stingrays, Pacific groupers, and desert rattlesnakes survive in their habitats, head to the restaurant and survive on a crab salad sandwich, fish and chips, or a shrimp Caesar wrap.

700 Water St., CO, 303-561-4450, www.aquariumrestaurants.com
Tags: family | aquarium | wildlife | things to do

Get active outdoors

It may be quieter when the snow melts, but this tour operator keeps summer guests active by taking advantage of the areas rivers (rafting), mountainous trails (biking, hiking, horseback-riding) and skies (hot-air ballooning).

Blazing Adventures, CO, 800-282-7238, www.blazingadventures.com
Tags: family | hiking | biking | things to do | sports

Golden Peak Terrain Park

One of Vail mountain's most popular spots for airborne stunts, the Golden Peak Terrain Park comes complete with a groomed, 400-foot-long superpipe with 18-foot-walls, tabletops, rails, and jumps.

Accessed by the Riva Bahn high-speed quad in Golden Peak, CO, vail.snow.com/terrainpark/vr505.html
Tags: sports and adventure | skiing | things to do | outdoors

History Colorado Center

See Denver in the context of its roaring past through displays that tell of buffalo hunts, mining in the Rockies, and the nascent days of Denver. Paintings and photographs depict the city’s western heritage and changing exhibits highlight events that shaped the city. Formerly the Colorado History Museum, the History Colorado Center opens in its new location in April 2012.

1200 Broadway, CO, 303-447-8679, www.historycolorado.org
Tags: family | culture | museum | things to do | history

Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

This mining and ranching museum is located on the site of one of only 18 mills worldwide that used the experimental Russell Lixiviation process to refine low-grade ore.

40180 Highway 82, CO, 970-544-0820, www.aspenhistory.org
Tags: family | things to do | history

Molly Brown House Museum

See Titanic survivor Molly Brown’s piano, Victrola, and an invoice to her insurance company for jewels, gowns, and an Egyptian good luck charm that went down with the famous ship. Tea is set in the salon where Ms. Unsinkable courted Denver society.

1340 Pennsylvania St., CO, 303-832-4092, www.mollybrown.org
Tags: family | architecture | culture | things to do | history | editor pick

Mountain Biking

Free-wheeling summer thrills can be had on Vail Mountain, thanks to some 20 trails open to bikers and rated from beginner to expert. The Eagle Bahn gondola will get you to most of them; rent your wheels when you arrive at Adventure Ridge.

Adventure Ridge, gondola’s drop-off point, CO, 970-476-9090, vail.snow.com/winter/ae.mtnactivities.asp
Tags: sports and adventure | family | biking | things to do | outdoors

Ski Biking

This daring nighttime activity entails donning a helmet (with headlamp) and hopping on - what can be described as - a bike with skis in the place of wheels on a downhill guided tour; instructions and tours start at 5pm.

Adventure Ridge, 600 Lionshead Circle, CO, 970-476-9090
Tags: sports and adventure | things to do

Ski Crested Butte

These uncrowded, powdery Rockies' slopes come minus the icy patches more common to Eastern resorts, making them a resounding hit with tumble-prone kids and adults alike. Tubing, movie, and pizza-dinner evenings keep the young ones entertained, while this historic-mining-town-cum-ski-resort - completely devoid of traffic lights and chain stores - serves to charm the skis right off of adults. Access is via a 5-hour drive southwest of Denver, or just 45 minutes from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC).

CO, 800-810-7669, www.skicb.com
Tags: skiing | things to do | winter activity

Streetbeat Concert Series

Every Wednesday night, mid-February through mid-April, a series of music concerts, from rock to gospel, are performed at 6pm at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail Village.

Vail Village, CO, 888-883-8245, www.vvf.org
Tags: family | culture | things to do

Technique Week

Guest instructors like Chris Anthony, star of 17 Warren Miller films, and Deb Armstrong, former gold medalist in the Giant Slalom, teach students during these five-night, ski-and-stay packages at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (tickets, lessons, après-ski events, and some dinners are included).

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, 50 West Thomas Place, CO, 970-949-1234, www.beavercreek.hyatt.com
Tags: sports and adventure | skiing | family | smart splurge | things to do

Telluride Helitrax

This part of the San Juan Mountains is known for its altitude, stunning vistas, and dry, fluffy snow. Flying birds since 1982, Helitrax is Colorado's oldest heli-ski company and boasts of a sterling safety record. It squeezes in six runs a day, each with a vertical drop of 1,000 to 2,500 feet. Helitrax picks the best runs in 250 square miles of Rocky Mountain snow and claims to access the highest peaks (up to 13,500 feet) of any North American operator.

CO, 877-500-8377, www.helitrax.com
Tags: skiing | things to do | outdoors | adventure | jim's pick

The Wheeler/Stallard Museum

Aspen’s changing lifestyles have been scrupulously documented here—from the indigenous “Ute Indians” and mining camp days onward. Rotating main exhibits showcase everything from Victorian women's fashions to Thomas W. Benton’s politics.

620 W. Bleeker St., CO, 970-925-3721, www.aspenhistory.org
Tags: family | architecture | things to do | history

Wheeler Opera House

This splendid sandstone brick opera house, one of Colorado's finest performance venues, offers film and lecture series, plays, dance recitals, concerts, operas, and celebrity standup (Robin Williams to Whoopi Goldberg).

320 E. Hyman Ave., CO, 970-920-5770, www.wheeleroperahouse.com/wheeler
Tags: family | architecture | culture | things to do

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