Unique Things To See and Do in Colorado

Colorado is one of the best destinations in America to visit for outdoor activities and adventures while surrounded by beautiful natural scenery. From world-class skiing in the winter to mountain biking and hiking through the national parks during the summer, there is outdoor fun to be had here all year-round, it just varies with the season. There’s also a never-ending supply offbeat activities, breathtaking sights, and unique things to do in Colorado that make it a great destination for the entire family.

It is this one-of-a-kind combination of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, rich history, delicious food and friendly people that makes Colorado such an amazing destination for people of all ages and interests. This list will keep growing as I keep exploring Colorado 😉

Presenting The Top Unique Things To Do In Colorado

  View the entire HoliDaze Offbeat Travel Guide collection!

Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour

  Silverton
  $10-20/person depending kid/senior/adult
  Official Web Site

With history dating back to the 1870s, the Old Hundred Gold Mine hit pay dirt just after the turn of the century when they began supplying gold bars to the Denver Mint for use in coining. However the ever-increasing yields from the mine were the begin of the end and before long it was officially “mined out”.

The Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour in Silverton is one of the many unique things to do in Colorado
Not recommended for the claustrophobic

The hour-long tour begins by bundling up (it is a little chilly underground) before boarding the railcars and proceeding underground. There we explored a couple of the original veins with a guide who gave us a firsthand history lesson of both the mine and mining processes. But the scenery does not stop there; even outside of the mine shafts the backdrop of the local mountains is breathtaking. One neat part of the tour includes a view of the original miners’ cabin, which if I remember correctly dates back to 1904. The thing is perched way up on the mountain and just barely is hanging on. As a matter-of-fact, when they first built the cabin they had to secure it to the nearby rock face with metal cables to prevent it from falling down the mountain. Wild!

The Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour in Silverton is one of the many unique things to do in Colorado
About to start the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour in Silverton, Colorado

And of course no tour of a gold mine would be complete without a stop at a real-life sluice box where you can take your turn at panning for gold, silver, and other semi-precious stones just like the gold-panners of the past did. And, yes, no worries: you get to keep whatever you.

Due to the local weather this tour only operates during the warm season, from May to October. And, as with any decent tour, there is also a gift shop selling all sorts of related souvenirs and trinkets as well as snacks and drinks. Check the official web site for more information on directions, rates, and operating hours.

Gold panning at the Old Hundred Mine in Silverton, one of the top offbeat, unique things to do in Colorado
Ever been gold panning before?

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

  Canon City
  $19-25/person depending kid/senior/adult
  Official Web Site

Wow, where to start. Think amusement park combined with natural wonder and you might be headed in the right direction. Covering 360 acres and featuring nearly two dozen rides, shows, and attractions to keep you amused, it is hard to get in and out of this place in less than a couple hours — but then again, why would you want to rush it.

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

The prime attraction and namesake of this park is the Royal Gorge and its sky high suspension bridge, one of the highest in the world. It was built in 1929 for only $350,000 but the cost today would exceed $15,000,000. You can walk or drive across it but I definitely recommend walking, as that allows you to better enjoy the scenery as well as take some fantastic pictures using the 360° view. There is also an aerial tram that is apparently the world’s longest single-span tram.

After enjoying the view from above, you can also admire it from below by riding down the 45° incline railway. Seeing it from this angle really puts it all in perspective; the towering bridge you just walked across is nothing more than a thing string stretching across the canyon like the tight-wire of a circus performer.

See the train tracks down by the river below? There’s a way to see Royal Gorge from another angle 😉

But the sights don’t stop there! You can explore the gorgeous countryside by taking a mule rule ride through the pines and evergreens or strolling the Wapiti Western Wildlife Park. There is one of those free-fall skycoasters and a plaza theatre, a Mountain Man Trading Post (not sure what that is actually, I skipped it), and even a mountaintop lodge for those wanting to stay overnight.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

  Keenesburg
$10/person, $5/kids ≤12 yrs
Official Web Site

Located just 30 miles northeast of Denver and covering a grand total of 720 acres and sheltering around 300 lions, tigers, leopards, mountain lions, bears, wolves, and other large carnivores, the Wild Animal Sanctuary of Colorado is the first sanctuary of its kind to create large acreage species-specific habitats for its rescued animals. Since 1980 the Wild Animal Sanctuary has responded to nearly 1,000 requests from private citizens and government agencies to rescue animals from across the United States and even in Mexico.

Lions at the Colorado Wild Animal Sanctuary

After breaking free of the Welcome Center & Gift Shop, with a guide book in hand, you’ll be set free to wander. They have huge closed-off habitats surrounding the main complex but by far the best thing is the pedestrian observation ramps and decks that stretch over the animals in the center of the park. Walking up ramps and along observation decks suspending above the animals you can get a birds-eye view of some of nature’s most impressive and majestic mammals.

Keenseburg Wild Animal Sanctuary is one of the best offbeat things to do in Colorado
Elevated pedestrian walkway — bring your big lens 😉

Each of the main observation decks was thoughtfully designed with picnic tables and chairs, as does the small garden area at the foot of the main ramp. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch, or if all else fails the gift shop does also sell a few drinks and snacks. A great family expedition, absolutely perfect for the kiddos.


Beer? I like beer.

Exploring craft beer breweries is one of the unique things to do in Colorado
Colorado is a craft beer state ????

Visit A Colorado Brewery Or 3

  Fort Collins, Longmont, Boulder, Golden, & literally every city
  Varies; Mid-range
  Colorado Brewers Guild

Craft beer is something that every real man should appreciate. It is something to be proud of, unlike that mass-produced swill that relies on a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to get you to buy their crap. It is said that pairing beer and cheese is akin to holding hands, whereas wine and cheese is like arm wrestling. Never is that more true than with a proper Colorado craft beer. And if you are like me you’ll be happy to learn that Colorado has a lot of microbrews — good microbrews.

  Colorado is one of the best states for craft beer lovers. They have more breweries per capita than any other state in the USA. And for those that like the [ugh] mass-market beer, Colorado is also home to Coors. They even offer tours. (I didn’t go on one. Nothing fancy about mass production. Craft breweries however are always cool and quirky!)

Craft beer for the people!
Cheers to that! ????

Almost all of the larger cities have breweries. If in doubt just inquire in a local bar. I even found a restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs that has a glass-encased brewery right in its main dining room. The food was good but the beer was better. If you are in the area, definitely look up Phantom Canyon Brewing Company.

    Notable Colorado breweries include:

  • New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins
  • Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins
  • Boulder Beer Company, Boulder
  • Twisted Pine Brewing Company, Boulder
  • Crabtree Brewing Company, Greeley
  • Left Hand Brewing Company, Longmont
  • Golden City Brewery, Golden
  • Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver

Craft beer for the people!

See More     Alcohol Around The World

Casa Bonita

  Denver
  Entrees @ $15 – $20
Official Web Site

Forever immortalized by an episode of the television show South Park, Casa Bonita offers an eating experience unlike any other and I just had to check it out for myself. True to the episode, this restaurant actually features shoot-em up gunfights, cliff divers, strolling mariachis, puppet shows, magicians, games, prizes, and more.

Casa Bonita is the Colorado restaurant famous for it's elaborate jungle interior and one of the quirky, unique things to do in Denver. And yes, it's the same place from South Park.
Casa Bonita is the Denver restaurant famous for it’s elaborate jungle interior and one of the quirky, unique things to do in Colorado

The restaurant is huge, covering over 50,000 sq ft and seating well over 1,000 people. Hell it has a 30-foot indoor waterfall. You pay for the show though with the cost of the food. Casa Bonita specializes in Mexican cuisine, but their menu is very limited and stereotypical. Everything except the kids meals is over-priced and none of what we ordered stood out or overly impressed us. But the sights, now that was a different story!

Kids will never want to leave this place, but even for adults it is worth at least one visit. Just one though.


United States Mint

  Denver
  Free!
  Official Web Site

How can you beat free? You can’t! So why not visit the Denver location of the US Mint and learn a little bit about the coin and currency we Americans use every single day.

Tours are fairly short, only about thirty minutes, but the the guides are very knowledgeable in all aspects of the Mint from the gold rush days up to its present day production of coins. There wasn’t too much crazy stuff to see as far as the machinery that actually produces the coins, but there are some interesting displays and videos. And of course the mandatory gift shop.

Take a tour of the Denver Mint, one of the best FREE unique things to do in Colorado
Unique and free? Show me the money!

However, there are a few warnings: first off, you must make a reservation online first or you will not be allowed entry. Additionally, don’t plan on taking any pictures for obvious security reasons. And as security is just as tight as at the airport, don’t bring with you what you do not need. Finally, there is no public parking. Not a big deal but noteworthy nonetheless.

Pike’s Peak

  Manitou Springs
  $10/adult & $4/kid or $35/vehicle
  Pike’s Peak Guide

Colorado has 54 “Fourteeners,” otherwise known as mountains with peaks over 14,000 feet above sea level. One of the most well-known however is Pike’s Peak. With a 19-mile paved road that winds and stretches all the way up to its 14,110 foot summit, it is no wonder this is the most visited mountain in North America.

Pike's Peak in Manitou Springs, Colorado
View from Pike’s Peak

Pike’s Peak National Park is open year round, weather permitting. In addition to extreme winds, the temperatures at the 14,110 summit can easily be 40°F less than at the base, which is only at around 8,000 feet elevation. The road to the summit, although just recently fully paved (apparently the last stretch used to be gravel), still features on a couple guardrails, sheer drops, breathtaking views, and scenic view spots you can pull over to park and take pictures.

  wwworks fritzmb wasd42 bubbashark
kkanouse roblee kenlund nigelmenzies

See More       Offbeat Travel Guides USA Travel Guides   Colorado Activities

Like what you read?
About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

9 thoughts on “Unique Things To See and Do in Colorado”

  1. Glenwood Cavern Adventure Park – for adventure lovers only! A swing will shoot you out over the royal gorge along with a number of other crazy rides.

    Reply
  2. Great article. Colorado is definitely a place we should be hearing more about in the travel world for all these reasons and more. I also love the fact that they are one of the rare spots in the States to have actual natural hot springs.

    I’ve never heard of Casa Bonita before but I really want to go, it sounds amazingly fun.

    Reply
    • Colorado is absolutely amazing, isn’t it? Easily one of the top states to visit in the USA — it has a bit of everything, almost like a smaller version of California. (Just with less international food options hahaha.)

      Everyone knows about the natural beauty of the state but the deeper you look, the more you discover. As far as Casa Bonita, definitely more of a family spot but still a very unique experience.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous

20 Awesome Things You Do Not Know About Finland

A First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Vienna

Next