Just 30 mins west of Denver, Golden is a charming town with amazing access to outdoor recreation.
The mesas of the South and North Table Mountains flank the town, which is filled with breweries, shops, and so many more things to do in Golden, CO.
I’ve lived in Colorado for nearly 15 years, and I’m in Golden multiple times a week. I know Golden inside and out, so if you’re looking to travel like a local, not a tourist, I’ve got the inside scoop of things to do in Golden, Colorado for you in this post.
About this Guide to Golden
Inside this local guide to awesome things to do in Golden, CO you’ll find:
- Why Golden, CO is worth visiting
- A map of Golden
- Things to do in Golden, CO
- Where to stay in Golden
- Additional local Colorado travel resources
Where is Golden, Colorado?
You can find Golden about 20 minutes west of Denver, nestled to the north of I-70 right at the edge of the foothills. Click here to access a map of all the best things to do in Golden CO.
Why Visit Golden, CO
Golden has an old west vibe with modern attractions and is surrounded by adventure in the foothills. Just a quick day trip from Denver, the town is home to the esteemed engineering college, Colorado School of Mines, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
With its outdoor recreation opportunities and close proximity to Denver, Golden truly is one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
The Best Things to Do in Golden, CO
The list of awesome things to do in Golden, CO is a long one and features something for everyone, from outdoor concerts to brewery tours to museums to hiking, biking, and climbing.
1. Hit the Trails
One of the absolute most popular things to do in Golden, CO is hiking on the many amazing trails around town.
Explore some nice easy hikes near Denver on the Peaks to Plains Trail along Clear Creek or up the mesas of North and South Table Mountains.
Lookout Mountain offers a variety of excellent hikes, including Chimney Gulch, and you can head to Golden Gate Canyon State Park for more of the best Golden hikes.
2. Tackle Epic Climbing Routes
Another one of the main outdoor Golden attractions is rock climbing. Clear Creek Canyon climbing is some of the best sport climbing in the area, while North Table offers a mix of sport and trad on basalt cliff bands.
3. Tour & Taste at the Coors Brewery
Beyond the mesas and foothills, the main landmark in Golden is the Coors Brewery.
You can visit the brewery and take a tour of the facility and get to sample some Coors beverages, or sign up for just a sampling in the lounge.
Reservations are required, and the tour is $20/person while the tasting is $10/person.
4. Have a Pint at a Local Brewery
Golden attractions include a bunch of breweries beyond Coors.
- New Terrain – At the base of North Table Mountain, this popular brewery is a great stop after hiking or biking up the mesa and often features live music on its outdoor stage.
- Mountain Toad – Just a block away from Clear Creek, Mountain Toad features interesting beers and a homey vibe.
- Golden City – It’s all about the patio seating at Golden City, which offers excellent sours along with other brews.
- Cannonball Creek – Located off of CO-93, Cannonball Creek is convenient for a pit stop after hiking Mt. Galbraith or the west side of North Table.
- Barrels & Bottles – This fun spot has several of their own beers on tap, along with wine and their signature wine slushie. The original location is in downtown Golden, and there is now a second location in the Denver West area.
5. Seek Out the Speakeasy
If you prefer cocktails to beers, head to the Golden Moon Speakeasy.
Hidden, but not too hard to find, next to the saloon in Miners Alley, Golden Moon makes outstanding artisanal cocktails that change with the seasons.
6. Get Your Caffeine Fix
When you’re in need of a pick me up, Golden’s got you covered with plenty of lovely coffee shops.
- Windy Saddle – A mainstay in downtown Golden, Windy Saddle is a community gathering place serving tasting breakfast, lunch, & coffee drinks.
- Cafe 13 – A modern cafe with delicious egg dishes, salads, and sandwiches, Cafe 13 also offers a variety of mimosas and breakfast cocktails.
- Launch Cafe – At the junction of I-70 & Colfax, this is the perfect place to grab coffee and breakfast to go before heading out to the mountains for the day, although the charming space is great for lingering, too.
7. Tube Down Clear Creek
One of the quintessential things to do in Golden, CO is tubing down Clear Creek on a sunny summer day.
Bring your own tube or inflatable or rent from Golden River Sports, then hike up the Peaks to Plains trail to the put in and enjoy the refreshing water on your ride back down the creek.
Clear Creek is also one of the most popular places for white water rafting in Colorado. So if you want to kick it up a notch, you can hire a guide to take you rafting through the rapids.
8. Find Fossils at Dinosaur Ridge
A National Natural Landmark, Dinosaur Ridge is the top dinosaur track site in the country. You can see more than 250 dinosaur tracks, along with many bones and fossils.
9. American Mountaineering Museum
One of the unique things to do in Golden, CO is wandering around the American Mountaineering Museum and take in the climbing history.
The museum features a variety of exhibits including historical climbing gear and incredible photos. Admission is $7/person.
10. Explore Red Rocks Amphitheater
Visiting Red Rocks amphitheater is one of the very top things to do near Golden. Located in Morrison, right next door to Golden, seeing a show at this iconic amphitheater is definitely a Colorado bucket list item.
You can also check out some cool hikes near Denver by hiking the trails around Red Rocks, including the short but super steep Mount Morrison.
11. Golden History Museum & Park
The Golden History Museum & Park offer a view into how the town was built and how it has evolved over the years.
Visiting the museum and walking through the outdoor park is one of the fun free things to do in Colorado.
12. Bike Through the Foothills
Golden is a very bike-friendly place with plenty of trails to ride.
The under-construction Peaks to Plains Trail is a paved path that runs along the creek, while North Table Mountain, Lookout Mountain, and White Ranch Park offer plenty of hilly trails.
13. Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
Delve into the history of “Buffalo Bill” Cody at this museum of the wild west. The museum is located at the top of Lookout Mountain, and admission is $5/person.
14. Lariat Loop Scenic Drive
Lariat Loop is a wonderful scenic drive near Denver. Head from Golden to Morrison to Evergreen and back in a loop that encompasses some of the best Golden attractions.
15. Golden Farmers Market
From June to October, local vendors sell produce, baked goods, and hand-crafted goods at the Golden Farmers Market.
Bring your appetite and some reusable bags to the parking lot of the Golden Library on Saturdays to check it out.
16. Satisfy Your Hunger & Your Taste Buds
Golden really is a foodie town, with local institutions and new food halls offering something for every palate.
- The Golden Mill – The happening spot in Golden these days, this food hall has an awesome two-story outdoor space and self-pour taps for drinks to go along with tasty meals from the food vendors.
- Sherpa House – A classic Golden restaurant featuring generous portions of extremely tasty Himalayan cuisine.
- Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza – You’ll almost always find a line out the door at this Golden institution with an all-you-can-eat pizza, soup, and salad bar. Don’t forget to put honey on your crust!
- Thai Gold – Get some delicious Thai food in a historic building in downtown Golden.
- Bob’s Atomic Burgers – This unpretentious burger joint is always full of locals and visitors building their own burger combos.
- Bonfire Burritos – You can’t beat Bonfire for an epic breakfast burrito to start your day or sate your hunger post-adventure. But order ahead online or be prepared for a wait – everyone knows that Bonfire is the place to be!
17. Stroll & Shop on Washington Ave
Washington Avenue is Golden’s main street and has plenty of shops to stop in, including Bentgate Mountaineering for your outdoor gear needs, Marrygrams for cute gifts and stationery, and both The Red Wagon and Blue Moose for local souvenirs.
Where to Stay in Golden
Golden is a great stop on a Colorado road trip itinerary and has a few excellent places to stay.
Get a room at The Eddy Hotel at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon, The Golden Hotel right along the banks of Clear Creek, or the boutique Dove Inn downtown.
There is virtually no camping in the area, but the Clear Creek RV park is in a beautiful location along the creek and does offer a few tent sites in the summer.