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Sightseeing suggestions in/around Denver?

ivorius007

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I'm going to be in Aurora, near Denver for a few days in mid-October and would like some suggestions for sightseeing either in Denver or the surrounding area. I was told October is a good time to see the Fall color in Colorado. Any ideas about things which might appeal to a teenager as I'll have my 17 y.o. daughter along. I'm looking for something simple, maybe a day trip.

Thanks.

Ivory
 

Cathyb

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They have a wonderful aquatic 'museum' with lots of fish I think.
 

CATBinCO

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Actually, the leaves are changing here in CO right now. I was just in Breckenridge over the weekend and it's beautiful. Breck is about an hour's drive from Denver, easily do-able in a day trip. Main Street is fun to walk and shop, lots of eating places. It was still in the 70's when we were there, but in a couple weeks I would think the weather will be 60 during the day if it's sunny. If you're hikers or enjoying riding bikes through town you will like it. Still too early to ski/snowboard, snow usually arrives tail end of October, but in Breck it could easily be snowing in mid-October (actually they've had dustings of snow already in the last week or so). If weather rules out a drive to Breck, the Denver Aquarium is indoors, there is also the Denver Natural History Museum, Denver Museum of Nature & Science (has an IMAX) and the Butterfly Pavilion up in Westminster (north of Denver) If weather is nice, but Breck doesn't sound appealing, there's an amusement park (Elitch Gardens) right in downtown Denver as well as the Denver Zoo, which is HUGE. There is also a gi-normous mall called Park Meadows Mall in south Denver - always appealing to teens. And in general - the people who shop at Park Meadows - at least all the times I have ever been there, are DARN GOOD LOOKING!!!
 

ivorius007

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Thanks so much for the great ideas

Wow, Breckenridge sounds like a wonderful day trip. If it did snow a little, what would the road conditions be like, particularly for someone with no experience driving in snow/ice and would chains be necessary?? If it doesn't snow, is it a scenic drive through a representative sample of Colorado countryside?

What is the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster? It sounds interesting.

Thanks so much for all the great ideas. I'm excited as I'd love to take advantage of this opportunity to at least get a little taste of Colorado.

Best,

Ivory
 

Dave*H

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There are so many fantastic day trips from Denver, it is hard to know where to start. Some of my top picks would be Estes Park / Rocky Mtn Park, Summit County (Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, etc), Winter Park, Mt Evans, or south to the Pikes Peak area (Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, etc). Regarding winter driving, if I-70 is so bad that cars need chains, it will likely be closed and/or you won't want to bother. Not much sightseeing to be had in the middle of a snowstorm. With a little more info, it would be possible to give you more direction. What do you like to do? Sight see from the car, hike, shop, etc?
 

ivorius007

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Goal--easy day trip

My preference would be some sort of day trip which does not involve too much driving (approx. one hour each way would be okay), that would take us through a scenic area--I'm from S.Cal and love to see a complete change of scenery. So driving and viewing, yes. I'm not into vigorous hiking, but would welcome some short, easy ramble that doesn't involve much of a grade--that translates into, I'm out of shape but love nature, in small doses! Also would love to see a charming small town with nice little restaurants for lunch and shops for browsing and anything else that would make for a memorable day.

Thanks for the help.

Best,

Ivory
 

CATBinCO

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From Aurora, you'd drive probably an hour to 90 mins on the freeway to get to Breckenridge, going from all city to beautiful mountain scenery. If by chance we have our first snowfall early (typical is around Halloween) it *usually* is an inch or two and melts the next day. However we have had blizzards in October before, but that's not typical. If it's an inch or two you could still drive to Breckenridge. Just slow down, stay in the right lane and you'll be just fine. Once you get to Breck, Main Street is about 3 or 4 walkable blocks of shops and restaurants. About 20 mins. from Breck would be the Silverthorne Outlet Mall if you want to do some shopping. Actually, you would exit right at Silverthorne and then turn left to go onto Breck, so you'd see it and could decide if you wanted to do that.

Another option for Colorado scenery is Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which is about an hour or 90 mins. from Aurora as well, but south on the freeway instead of west (to Breck). Gorgeous red rock formations. Next door to Garden of the Gods is Manitou Springs, a charming town with again, several walkable blocks of shops and restaurants. My favorite fondue restaurant is there - Mona Lisa Fondue.

So, I guess it depends on what you want. Trees/mountains or gorgeous red rock formations.
 

ivorius007

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Is Boulder worth seeing?

Both the Breckenridge and Colorado Springs trips sound appealing, although I think I'd lean towards mountains and trees just because that's what I was hoping for in Colorado.

What about Boulder? It looks like it's much closer, maybe only 30 min. drive. Would it make a worthwhile day trip??

Thanks so much. It is really helpful to get the inside scoop from people who live there.

Best,

Ivory
 

CATBinCO

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Depending on the area of Aurora you will be staying in, Boulder could be 45-60 minutes away. Boulder is a college town, I love it and actually plan to do an overnight trip there in mid-October as well. Several blocks of shops and restaurants, plus University of CO at Boulder is there. (Could be something your 17 year old might be interested in seeing.) Since it's a college town you'll see lots of bookstores, CD stores, clothing stores, cute cafes, etc. When I think of mountains and trees though, I don't think of Boulder. The Butterfly Pavilion I mentioned earlier is in Westminster which you could definitely hit on your way to or from Boulder. If you elect to do Boulder I would recommend a tour of the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory up there. Their tours run every hour and are free, and their gift shop is fun to peruse. Their mint room will clear out your sinuses!
 

PigsDad

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What about Boulder?
Boulder is on the plains, just like Denver, but just a little bit closer to the foothills. If you are looking for "mountain country", Boulder is not it.

Kurt
 

CATBinCO

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Ivory - just wanted to add that parents' weekend for CSU is Oct 11 and for CU Boulder it's the following weekend Oct 17. I wasn't sure when you were going to be here but like you, I was considering Boulder and of course it is for the weekend when scads of people will be around. I am considering NOT going to Boulder Oct 17!
 

ivorius007

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Thanks for the heads up

Thanks for all the great info. I'm going to be there the following weekend, and thanks to all your wonderful input, I've extended my stay an extra day to get in a day trip which I'm really looking forward to. I'm leaning towards Breckenridge at this point as it sounds like a charming little town to visit set in a very scenic area. I really couldn't ask for more--except maybe decent weather, that would be a huge bonus. (I was in Aurora in Sept for a very short stay and it rained most of the time which didn't really matter as I was in meetings all day. Hopefully my timing will be better this trip and I'll get to enjoy some of the surroundings).

Thanks again for all the great ideas. I won't be able to try them all this time, but will maybe get to them on future trips.

Best,

Ivory
 
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