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6 Staycation Ideas in Denver (that you might not have thought of)

Staycation Denver

With many people traveling TO Colorado for vacations this summer, why not have a “staycation” if you already live here?! This guest post is by Desiree Allen. Desiree is a freelance writer, social media enthusiast and Denver metro native with Jersey tendencies. She lives with her family in Boulder County, Colorado. You can follow her at @desireenallen

 Staycation Denver

Growing up in the suburbs of Denver during the 1980s and 1990s, my siblings and I were lucky enough to tour the metro area with our parents and friends while on summer vacation. What we did wasn’t called a “staycation” back then, but that’s totally what we did!

Water World, Denver Zoo  and Elitch Gardens were always at top of our list (especially in the years before Elitch’s was bought by Six Flags ­ who else loved the carousel, gum tree and log ride?), followed by the touristy Casa Bonita  (we went for the cliff divers and sopapillas, if you must know).

If you’re looking for ideas for your family’s Denver staycation (especially if you’re on a budget), I have six places that you might not have thought of and the cities where you can find them:



16th Street Mall ­ Come to Denver’s mile­-long pedestrian mall to people ­watch or bring your family to one of the area’s family­friendly events. Be sure to use the free shuttle to get up and down the mall.

Southwest Movies at Skyline Park ­ Outdoor movies for you and your family, free at Skyline Park! On the schedule this season: Mary Poppins, Princess Bride and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Walking Tours LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver) has a couple of options, including an all ages guided tour that ambles through Historic Larimer Square and LoDo districts. Check out the site for pricing, schedule and a map if you’d rather do it sans guide.



Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities (Arvada)  ­ So many things to do, especially in summer, like classes, kids’ camps, children’s theatre, art exhibits, a playground … and Disney’s Tarzan, opening in July. (Hat ­tip to Morgan M. for this idea. She is going to be working behind the scenes at Tarzan, making everything sound good!)

Farmers’ Markets (various suburbs)  Denver Metro’s oldest farmers’ market, having been operating for over 35 years. Locations include Wheat Ridge, Broomfield and Littleton.

88 Drive-­In Theatre (Commerce City) ­ Remember all the great memories of your childhood visits to the drive-­in? There is still ONE theatre left in town, and admission is a STEAL! Only $8 per person, and kids under 12 are FREE for three first­run feature films!


Want to spread your wings and fly further than the Mile High City? Here are a few more ideas:


  • Garden of the Gods
  • Cave of the Winds
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


  • Boulder Dinner Theatre
  • Rocky Mountain Natl Park
  • Eldorado Canyon State Park
  • Pearl St Mall
  • Celestial Seasonings Tour


Have you visited any place on this list? Where else have you taken your kids?