The 11 Most Exciting Suburbs Near Denver

From Morrison to Golden, these are the best Denver suburbs to move to or or just for a quick weekend getaway.

Sure, Denver is where it’s at for all things food and festivities. But outside the city lines are some fantastic neighborhoods boasting fun of their own. And don’t let the term “neighborhood” or “suburb” fool you; after all, Red Rocks is technically in Morrison and Boulder’s Flatirons offer some of the best hiking the Front Range has to offer. But no matter which direction you head out of Denver, you’re guaranteed to stumble upon a quaint and historic town center, restaurant-filled main street, or attraction totally unique and interesting in its own right. Plus, once you’re done exploring, the Mile High City will be right where you left it—though you’ll probably have a new favorite day-trip spot upon your return.

Old Town Lafayette
Old Town Lafayette

Lafayette

Distance from Denver: 40 minutes
You might’ve heard of its sibling, Louisville, but Lafayette boasts small-town charm and still tons to keep you busy on any given morning, afternoon, or night. A half-hour north of Denver puts you in the heart of this historically agriculture-driven city, specifically in Old Town where you’ll find the superbly roasted beans of East Simpson Coffee and recently opened Ghost Box Pizza. Take your treats to go as you picnic in Waneka Lake Park, get a few rounds in at Indian Peaks Golf Course, or skip the takeout altogether and dine at one of Three Leaf Farm’s farm dinners for an unforgettable and enchanting evening.

Parker

Distance from Denver: 40 minutes
Head about 30 minutes southeast of Denver and you’ll hit Parker, a town full of commuting residents and folks who love where they live. Why? For one, Mainstreet is charming and full of fantastic shops and restaurants, like date night and special occasion favorite Parker Garage. For another, there’s an abundance of local trails and parks to get your fresh air on and an engaging art scene—be sure to check out the Parker Arts, Culture & Events Center for what’s going on when you visit. And in the summer, take the kiddos (or just go yourself) to the H2O’Brien Pool with its epic water slides, water features, and lap pool.

City of Westminster Parks, Recreation & Libraries
City of Westminster Parks, Recreation & Libraries

Westminster

Distance from Denver: 25 minutes
A hop, skip, and jump slightly northwest of Denver, Westminster is another popular residence for commuters but with its own special appeal. It’s where you’ll find the stunning, fluttering colors of the Butterfly Pavilion, the picturesque vineyard and tantalizing natural wines of Balistreri Vineyards, the kayaking and fishing potential of McKay Lake, and Westminster Castle, which at one time hoped to be the “Princeton of the West.” (Things didn’t work out that way but it is a historic landmark and still really cool.) And when your stomach rumbles, plenty of top-rated options like Sakana Sushi and Ramen, Hideaway Steakhouse, and Big Mac & Little Lu’s Seafood Restaurant are well within reach. There’s even a Polish restaurant, Cracovia, if you’re fiending for some homemade pierogi or tender, spiced gulasz.

Visit Golden, CO
Visit Golden, CO

Golden

Distance from Denver: 30 minutes
About 25 minutes west of Denver, Golden is best known as the home to Coors Brewery, the largest single-site brewery in the world. The famed brewery tours are back on, which includes their free, post-tour samples, but there are a ton of other reasons to visit Golden. For example, a drive up Lookout Mountain offers sweeping views of the Front Range and a visit to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is where the Old West comes to life. Back down in town, take a walk along Clear Creek which runs through Golden and, in the warmer months, is a popular tubing spot. And if you work up an appetite, the town’s home to some stellar food options like Bob’s Atomic Burgers which boasts one of the best burgers in the state, and D’Deli where sandwiches come loaded with… basically everything and anything, from house-made smoked and corned buffalo and elk to marshmallows and bananas.

Aurora

Distance from Denver: 30 minutes
Denver’s eastern neighbor sometimes gets a bad rap but if you skip out on spending time here you’re missing something pretty major: Some of the best international cuisine aross the Front Range. Like let’s talk about the epic feasts awaiting you at Seoul Korean BBQ & Hot Pot, where you should definitely bring friends and opt for one of the combos. Or well-known local favorite, Cora Faye’s Soul Food Cafe, where heaven awaits in the form of crispy fried chicken, chop-licking BBQ rib tips, and a sweet slice of peach cobbler for dessert. Then there’s the ropa vieja at Cuba Bakery & Cafe, and Colorado’s first Burmese restaurant Urban Burma, and $1.50 tacos at Tacos Selene, and tajines at Cafe Paprika, and… you get the point. Now start eating.

bouldering
Matt Koffel/Unsplash

Boulder

Distance from Denver: 30 minutes
A 30-minute drive northwest of Denver lands you in this town known for being an outdoor lover’s dream. The nearby Flatirons (slanted, sandstone formations jutting out of the landscape) are an iconic landmark and popular destination for hiking and climbing. In fact, the whole area is packed with outdoor adventure musts for all experience levels, from the tough-but-rewarding trek up Mount Sanitas to beginner-friendly trails like the Bobolink Trail along South Boulder Creek. The only thing that rivals Boulder’s outdoor recreation game is it’s culinary scene. The town is home to some of the best restaurants in the state, including the award winning Frasca Food & Wine, Corrida, which offers rooftop views of the Rockies, and Steakhouse No. 316, where old-school hospitality lives on with tableside caesar salads, prime cuts of meat, and plenty of wine flowing. And did we mention the breweries? Or shopping on Pearl Street? Or the must-visit farmers market? Boulder’s kind of a big deal when it comes to fun things to do.

Fort Collins

Distance from Denver: 1 hour 15 minutes
Sure, it’s an hour north of Denver so not exactly a “suburb,” but we can’t talk about cool towns near Denver without including this one, known as “Fort Fun.” Let’s start with Old Town, the name of the downtown area packed with bars and restaurants (and is a favorite destination for Colorado State University students looking to take a break from studying). Then there’s the brewery scene, which boasts big-name Colorado favorites like Odell and New Belgium. It’s also got all the hiking, biking, and climbing you’d expect in a city on the edge of the Rockies, along with Horsetooth Reservoir, a must for aquatic adventures like paddleboarding, boating, water skiing, and swimming. So basically, it’s got it all. Fort Fun indeed.

Cliff House Lodge
Cliff House Lodge

Morrison

Distance from Denver: 20 minutes
Why is this small foothills community (only 20 minutes west of Denver) a must visit? Two words: Red Rocks, aka one of the best music venues in the world, which also happens to be a free public park maintained by the city of Denver. So it’s both an amazing place to see live music but when the schedule’s clear, you can also spend time hiking among the giant red sandstone formations and even stand on the stage where some of the world’s best musicians have played. Want to make a mini staycation out of your Morrison adventure? Check out Cliff House Lodge in the quaint downtown area where you can stay in a cottage with a private hot tub.

Farm House Restaurant at Breckenridge Brewery

Littleton

Distance from Denver: 20 minutes

Just 20 minutes south of downtown Denver is this suburb with historic small town vibes and lots of independently owned shops. Littleton has maintained many of its historic buildings, which you can see on a walking tour that will take you by sites like the Columbine Mill, the Coors Building, and the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad depot. While you could spend the better part of the day exploring Main Street, Littleton’s also got a few hidden gems outside of its downtown area, including the Greenway Foundation trail that runs along the South Platte River, Hudson Gardens where you can enjoy the free walking trails around features like the rose garden, turtle pond, and honey bee apiary, and Breckenridge Brewery’s expansive outdoor beer garden.  

Idaho Springs

Distance from Denver: 40 minutes

A 40-minute drive west on I-70 will take you to Denver’s closest mountain town getaway. Founded in 1859 at the beginning of the gold rush, Idaho Springs still has that Old West feel, with historic buildings like the Argo Gold Mine, which is open for tours that include the chance to try gold panning yourself. It’s also home to two Colorado culinary icons: Tommyknocker Brewery, which has been a craft beer favorite since 1994, and the OG location of Beau Jo’s, which specializes in a unique style of mountainous pizzas made with a braided crust and served by the pound. Don’t forget to drizzle that crust with honey before eating. And for some serious relaxation, make a pit stop at Indian Hot Springs where you can soak in the pool or opt for the geothermal caves or indoor private baths. 

Unsplash/Aidana Khabdesh

Evergreen

Distance from Denver: 40 minutes

Another hub for outdoor activities, Evergreen is a quiet mountain town about 40 minutes from Denver where many Mile High commuters live. Evergreen Lake sits near main street and in the winter months, is one of the most scenic spots to go ice skating in the state. In the summer, you can walk the 1.4 loop around the lake, or try out paddle boarding and boating (rentals are available). A short drive from main street is Alderfer/Three Sisters Park with 1,127-acre of wilderness and more than 15 miles of hiking trails. The town is also a hub for artists and is home to five galleries including the Shadow Mountain Gallery which is owned collectively by over 40 artists and features rotating exhibits throughout the year. 

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Molly Martin is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @mollydbu on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on food, fun, and life in the Mile High.

Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.