Here in Colorado, we are lucky enough to enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year. Combined with the incredible beauty of our state, that means Colorado is comfortably in possession of some great outdoor activity options. But on those days when it’s raining, or snowing, or you just don’t feel like facing Mother Nature, Colorado also has some fun and exciting indoor attractions as well.
Trying to keep the little ones entertained when the weather isn’t being cooperative can be tough, but in Colorado, your options for fun are just as plentiful as if it were a sunny day. For active adventure, try an indoor ski and snowboard park, which can help kids learn to handle themselves on the slopes no matter what the time of year. Some popular ones include Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park in Boulder, and Woodward at Copper Mountain Ski Resort. There’s also the tempting call of indoor amusement parks, like Bananas Fun Park in Grand Junction, or Lollipop Park in Centennial, which has indoor rides like a carousel, teacup ride, and train rides, as well as other fun attractions like a house of mirrors, a bouncy castle, and a snack bar. Look out for indoor swimming pools in your area as well, many of Rec Centers have kid-designated swimming areas and even waterslides.
So maybe you’re still trying to get on Mother Nature’s good side, even if you don’t want to be out in her backyard. Colorado has lots of indoor activities that involve nature, and you can check them out next time you’re in the mood. The Botanic Gardens in Denver have a beautiful indoor conservatory filled with tropical plants, winding walkways, and even some critters like frogs and birds. In Westminster, the Butterfly Pavilion is an incredible way to not only learn about butterflies, but also get up close and personal with them. The pavilion even offers low sensory mornings for visitors with special needs who might be overwhelmed by regular admission hours. Another great way to experience nature from the safety of an enclosed building is at the downtown Aquarium, located in Denver, where you can get up close and personal with lots of marine wildlife and learn about their habitats.
Indoor climbing and bouldering gyms can be found all over the state of Colorado, so no matter where you are and what the weather’s like, there’s an opportunity for you to train on a wide variety of routes of varying skill levels. Being stuck indoors is also no excuse not to be able to practice your moves for the ski slopes, no matter the time of year. SNÖBAHN Indoor Ski + Snowboard Center in Centennial and Woodward at Copper Mountain both offer year round indoor ski and snowboard opportunities, whether you’re looking for lessons or just need to tune up your skills before the temperature drops and the resorts open for the season. Indoor ice complexes offer a great opportunity to go ice skating or play hockey year round, and indoor swimming pools mean you can break out that bikini no matter the weather. At Spin City in Grand Junction, you can roller skate with friends or family to a loud and fun soundtrack. Looking for even more of a thrill? Try indoor skydiving at iFLY Denver, where you’ll float and soar on a column of pressurized air, or indoor go-kart racing at Unser Racing. For some all ages fun that will bring you back to your childhood (and most likely leave you breathless), check out Jump Street, where you’ll find over twenty thousand square feet of wall to wall trampolines.
Arcades are definitely a fun way to spend a rainy day or an otherwise boring evening. Grab a craft beer and get nostalgic as you play Pacman or Skeeball at The 1-Up in Denver, or try some new age Virtual Reality games at the VR Arcade in Breckenridge. For a little bit more of a mind workout, grab some friends and sign up for an Escape Room. These challenging puzzles test your ability to work under pressure as you work together to try and escape an enclosed space, and they’re offered all over the state, from Colorado’s biggest cities to some of our smaller mountain towns. Maybe you're looking for a different type of game: the kind where the stakes are high and the atmosphere is electric. In that case, head on over to one of the many casinos in Colorado to try your luck.
There’s no shortage of museums in Colorado. In Denver alone, there’s the Museum of nature and Science, the Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the History Colorado Center, the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, and the Forney Museum of Transportation, just to name a few. But there are also great museums all over the Centennial State, and they cover a huge variety of subject matter. In Durango, you’ll find the Durango Cannabis Discovery Center, which details the rise of the cannabis industry in Colorado and around the world, and educates visitors on the production and history of marijuana. In Silverton, the Mining Heritage Museum and 1902 Jail offers an insightful look at the lives of miners during the Colorado Gold Rush. For a different look at history, try the Summit Ski Exhibit in Breckenridge or the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame in Vail to learn about the Rockies as a ski destination and the rise of snow sports in general. And we haven’t even mentioned the art galleries in Colorado, where you can find incredible souvenirs and look at art, ceramics, jewelry, and other amazing visual creations made by both local and nationally recognized artists. Who knows? Looking at all these exhibits and art might even spark some creativity in you, in which case you might want to check out some of the painting and ceramics studios in Colorado, where you can create your own.
Some of the incredible products and resources you use every day are made right here in Colorado, and many of those facilities offer tours so you can get a good look at exactly how they do it. Visit the US Mint in Denver to learn about the production of coins and money, or check out the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder to learn about how they make their world famous herbal tea. At the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour in Silverton, you can learn about production from a more historical standpoint, and see how miners searched for gold in the caverns they dug through the mountains. Then, of course, there’s the booze. Colorado is a major destination when it comes to craft beer, and many of the breweries throughout the state offer detailed tours of their brewing facilities. There’s Coors in Golden, which is undoubtedly the largest of Colorado’s breweries, but also other options like New Belgium in Fort Collins, which makes the popular Fat Tire amber ale, and other, smaller breweries which offer tours as well. (Most offer samples of their product, too!) Also make sure to check out some of the distilling operations in Colorado, like Breckenridge Distillery, or Stranahan’s Whiskey Distillery, both of which offer great tours.
Check out some of the amazing spas in Colorado, many of which are conveniently located in resort towns, so if you’re already on vacation and looking for a day away from the cold of the slopes, you’ll have easy access. Treat yourself to a massage, a facial, body scrub, or other treatment to rejuvenate yourself and feel like a whole new you. If you were hoping to check out some of the hot springs in Colorado, then you’re also in luck, because the weather doesn’t need to get you down. There are several indoor hot springs options, like the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center, which boasts the largest indoor hot springs in North America. For another unique way to relax, try a float studio, where you’ll float weightless in salt water with complete sensory deprivation to allow your mind to fully relax in a way like no other.
Colorado happens to be home to several professional sports teams, and some of those teams play indoors. The Denver Nuggets (basketball) regular season usually runs from October through April, and tickets to their games at Pepsi Center are pretty easy to come by. Also playing at Pepsi Center are the Colorado Avalanche, the NHL hockey team, and the Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team. But if you’re not in Denver, there’s also plenty of college and regional sporting events that take place indoors. For an exciting way to spend an evening, check the local calendar for events and tournaments, or seek out your area’s local roller derby team.
Catch a live show, whether it’s from the Colorado Symphony or a nationally touring musical theatre production, from one of the many great performing arts centers in Colorado. Colleges, high schools, and community theaters put on some stellar productions throughout the year that won’t break the bank. On a similar note, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t check out some of the live music opportunities in Colorado; we have tons of great music venues, from dive bars to stadiums, that bring the absolute best in both local talent and internationally-known artists. For something a little more low key, take in a movie at one of Colorado’s theaters, where you can sit back with a big tub of popcorn and watch the latest blockbuster or independent film.
Restaurants in Colorado offer a wide variety of delicious food options. Foodwise, we’re particularly well known for the spicy green chile that is served both as a soup and also smothered over practically everything, as well as for Colorado lamb and bison, but restaurants in the Centennial state are much more diverse than that. You’ll find amazing burgers, steakhouses, seafood, and international offerings on the table, in a variety of environments from casual to fine dining. And make sure you wash that meal down with a fantastic drink. Colorado is an absolute mecca when it comes to craft beer, with more than three hundred individual breweries including four of the top 50 breweries in the country. We’ve also got some prime distilleries, so make sure to add those to your list as well. Relaxing with friends over a flight of beer, or savoring the taste of a mixed drink handcrafted from the best Colorado-made whiskey, is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend an evening, especially when it’s accompanied by a great meal and better company.
So this year when the temperature drops, or in the spring when the rainy season’s got you down, take heart in the fact that your day doesn’t have to be ruined. Colorado has so many great and fun indoor activity options just waiting for you to discover them.