If you’re looking for Colorado small town charm, look no farther than Golden. Located in the foothills about 20 minutes west of downtown Denver, Golden welcomes families with a wide range of activities from hiking, biking, tubing, cultural attractions, museums, and Old West history. Read on for seven family friendly things to do in Golden.
7 Family Friendly Things to do in Golden, Colorado
Family-friendly Golden embraces its Old West roots with a “Howdy folks” welcome sign on its Main Street. Its small-town charm embraces families with a slew of activities for all ages, including hiking, biking, shopping, cultural attractions, and the world’s largest single-site brewery.
Pack up your family and make it a road trip to experience these seven family friendly things to do in Golden, Colorado — many of which are free!
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1. Golden Public Art Walking Tour
Put one foot in front of the other with a free self-guided walking tour of downtown Golden’s public art collection. International renowned, the 30+ statues feature some of the best bronze statues in Colorado. The 30+ statues are located throughout the city and along Clear Creek. Highlights include “Cowboy’s Day Off,” “Rotary Butterflies,” and “The Monarch,” the latter the large buffalo statue in front of the Buffalo Rose.
My favorite statue is located in front of the Golden Visitor’s Center –Buffalo Bill with his grandchild on his shoulders. Also look for Golden’s murals along streets such as Miners Alley and on the sides of many downtown buildings including Mountain Toad Brewery.
2. Shop til You Drop!
The heart of this historic town is its four-block Washington Street, a walkable shop-lined street. Stroll at your leisure, window shop, and pop into a variety of stores, from unique boutiques, antique stores, and more. At Goozell Yogurt & Coffee, parents can get their caffeine fix while kids load up on a yogurt and add more fun at the toppings bar.
3. It’s All about the Rocks!
Admission is free at the Geology Museum at the Colorado School of Mines, the second most visited university gem museum (next to Harvard). Rocks rock at this geology museum with its extensive displays. See moon rocks from 2 Apollo missions, minerals, fossils, gemstones, meteorites, and historic mining artifact exhibits. There’s even an outdoor geology trail with many fossils. Don’t miss the walkthrough, glow in the dark, simulated uranium mine.
4. Foothills Art Center
Inspiring the Golden community to love art, the Foothills Art Center offers free admission, and an opportunity to families to awaken their love of art. Founded in 1968 and a member of the U.S. National Registry of Historic Buildings, the main gallery is an 1872 Gothic style church and an 1892 Queen Anne Style manse, surrounded by a sculpture garden. The Foothills Art Center Community Gallery is located next door, in Victorian-era mansion built in 1899 by Perre O. Unger. Admission is free.
5. Lookout Mountain & Buffalo Bill
Another family-friendly thing to do in Golden is a road trip to the top of Lookout Mountain, where you’ll also discover the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, one of metro Denver’s most popular attractions. In 1917, with some 20,000 mourners in attendance, Buffalo Bill was laid to rest atop Lookout Mountain, where he’d have a permanent view of his beloved mountains and plains. A few years later his friend started the museum, near his grave. The Buffalo Bill Museum houses some pretty fascinating stuff — photos and memorabilia from the Wild West Show years, Native American artifacts, period firearms and equipment, and interactive kid’s exhibits. A one-mile mountain trail connects the Buffalo Bill Museum to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.
6. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
Truly unique to the area, Red Rocks combines natural geological wonders with a stellar concert and event schedule. Come during the day for the best view of the red sandstone formations, over 250 million years old and 300 feet high. A moderate 1.4-mile trail loops around the area for the best views. Return in the evening to experience acoustic perfection as some of the biggest stars in music take the stage.
7. All Aboard! Colorado Railroad Museum
Home to fifty models of old trains, the museum also houses the famed D&RG locomotive, the oldest working locomotive in Colorado. Walk the Museum’s 15-acre railyard and train lovers will be impressed with its 100 narrow and standard gauge steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses, HO Model Railroad and G-scale garden railway. Take the train ride around the Colorado Railroad Museum, and be rewarded with a trains-eye view of grounds. With over 200 locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses, HO Model Railroad and G-scale garden railway, you’ll spend hours just checking out the fun train memorabilia. Also, spend some time browsing their exhibit galleries, renowned library. This is also one of the stops on the Thomas the Tank Engine tours.
Want more? Check out Golden’s Festivals and Events!
Time for your bonus family-friendly things to do as I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the variety of festivals and events held in Golden. Some of my favorites include the annual Buffalo Bull Days, Wild West Auto Round-Up, First Friday Street Fair, Golden Music Festival. To get into the winter holiday spirit, celebrate with an authentic hometown holiday with Olde Golden Christmas, featuring parades Saturdays in December and a Candlelight Walk on the first Friday in December.