Things to do in Colorado
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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