Travel

8 Suburbs Near Denver You Should Absolutely Visit

You could use a little space.

Denver is jam-packed with things to do, eat, and drink. And usually when someone says, “suburbs,” that means shopping centers filled with chain stores and restaurants and manufactured houses that all look the same. But not all suburbs are equal, and Denver’s lucky to have some nearby towns that make the ‘burbs look good. Really good. From stellar international dining and some of the best hiking in the state to historic sites like the real, actual Buffalo Bill’s grave, these eight towns near Denver are enticing enough to make you forget all about the Mile High (well, for a little bit anyway).

Golden 

About 25 minutes west of Denver, Golden is best known as the home to Coors Brewery, the largest single-site brewery in the world. Well, the brewery tours are still closed because of COVID, but there are a ton of other reasons to visit Golden, starting with a drive up Lookout Mountain where you can see sweeping views of the Front Range and a visit to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave 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

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 in 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 Uncle Zoe’s where along with soup dumplings and mapo tofu you can also find “Chinese-style pies” or rou bing, a round pastry stuffed with fillings like shrimp and pork or beef and celery. 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.

Boulder

A 30 minute drive northwest of the Mile High City lands you in this town that’s known for being an outdoor lovers’ 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 hiking and climbing 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 table side 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? Yeah, just go to Boulder already. 

Fort Collins

Sure, it’s an hour north of Denver and so maybe not exactly a “suburb” but we can’t talk about cool towns near Denver without including this one that’s known as Fort Fun. So how’d it get that nickname? Let’s start with Old Town, the name of the downtown area which is packed with bars and restaurants (and is a favorite destination for Colorado State University students looking to take a break from studying). And 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.

Morrison

Why is this small community in the foothills 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 sure, it’s 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 famed stage where some of the world’s best musicians have played. Wanna make a mini staycation out of your Morrison adventure? Check out Cliff House Lodge where you can stay in a cottage with a private hot tub (bonus: They’ll even bring complimentary breakfast to your room).

Littleton

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

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. 

Evergreen

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.
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