5 Lesser-Known Denver Attractions Full of Mile High Surprises

Fun Things to Do in Denver, Colorado. Denver is full of fun and unique family activities, including many historical attractions. Discover the ideal itinerary for your family trip to Denver.

At the foot of the picturesque Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Old West meets a thriving modern culture in Denver. The capital of Colorado averages 300 days of sunshine a year, providing the perfect backdrop for experiencing a few lesser-known attractions this city offers. Here’s a guide to five family-friendly mile-high surprises.

Look into the Past at the History Colorado Center

Head into the 1920s to get a glimpse of Keota, a boomtown in the eastern plains of the Centennial State that’s nearly a ghost town today, or walk through exhibits detailing a wide range of Colorado stories over the years such as what hard-rock mining was like in the Silverton Silver Mine around 1880, or skiing in Steamboat Springs in 1915. The History Colorado Center gives families a chance to experience the living West, see gold coins used as currency before Colorado even became a state and more.

History Colorado Center Discover Colorado’s storied past at the History Colorado Center. Photo courtesy of History Colorado, Flickr.

Scout for Western Attire at Rockmount Ranch Wear

Denver’s original fashion pioneer, Papa Jack Weil, opened the first Rockmount Ranch Wear shop in 1946. Now operated by Weil’s third-generation descendants, the flagship store at 1626 Wazee Street features a museum and an impressive selection of Western-style shirts, hats and accessories. Weil is credited with inventing the Western snap-button shirt sold to rock stars such as Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen.

Rockmount Ranch Wear Outfit the entire family in authentic western gear at Rockmount Ranch Wear. Photo courtesy of Rockmount Ranch

Relax at  the Legendary Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa opened its doors in August 1892 and celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2017.  While there are many great hotels in Denver, this historic gem remains one of the iconic downtown constants. Discerning travelers wanting to experience a piece of Colorado history need look no further than this hotel that’s hosted royalty like Queen Marie of Romania; U.S. presidents including Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bill Clinton; and cultural icons like the Beatles. In addition to the hotel’s historic charm, Brown Palace guests and visitors will appreciate the establishment’s accommodations and resort amenities, including six dining venues and a full-service spa and salon.

Brown Palace Hotel & Spa Stay at the historic Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, which is the second-oldest hotel in Denver. Photo courtesy of Jeramey Jannene, Flickr.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Hammond’s Candy Factory

Hammond’s Candy Factory has been making candy in Denver since 1920. Every 30 minutes, the factory offers free tours where it doles out lots of samples and allows visitors to watch as candy is made the old-fashioned way: in small batches by hand. Award-winning for its innovative gourmet chocolate bars, Hammond’s also makes taffy, Mitchell Sweets (marshmallows covered in caramel), ribbon candy and more.

Hammond’s Candy Hammond’s Candy has been satisfying anyone with a sweet tooth in Denver since 1920. Photo courtesy of Aranami, Flickr.

See Colorado Creatures at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Located less than 30 minutes away from downtown Denver, the 15,000-acre Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 330 species of wildlife. The visitor center offers nature programs and guided tours along more than 10 miles of trails. Once a toxic military weapons manufacturing site, the refuge was cleaned up in the 1990s, illustrating to visitors how an ecological site can be transformed and restored. Bison, birds, deer, black-footed ferrets and many other animals now call the refuge home.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Arrive at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge when it opens and see if you can catch a glimpse of the mostly nocturnal black-footed ferret.

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