As Colorado continues to navigate the complexities of opening back up and managing the safety of it’s 5.8 million people, the state is also working to allow the beauty of its landscape is enjoyed by all who desire to explore it.
I’ve rounded up three of my favorite, mask-mandate abiding, social distance-friendly, local attractions to visit this summer. Whether you’re a local, or traveling here for a visit, these places should be at the top of your must-see list. They’re easy to drive to, free or low cost, and safe to enjoy during the current restrictions.
1) Garden of the Gods Park
1805 N 30TH ST., COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80904
Located in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods Park is just a 1 hour + 15 minutes drive from the center of Denver and a little over and hour from Parker. It is, and always has been, my favorite place to take out of state visitors. I am constantly in awe of its beauty, the views of the mountains are spectacular, and you can capture some really fun photos adventuring through the towering sandstone rocks. It is a registered National Natural Landmark, spread over 480 acres, and full of beautiful red rock formations. The park and visitor center are free to enter and explore. Explore the park on your own, or take one of the free guided walks or trail hikes. Also available for a fee: rock climbing, electric bike, trolley, Segway, and jeep tours.
During our visit in June, masks were recommended and many guests were compliant. A visit to the Garden of the Gods Trading Post does require masks for anyone over the age of 10.
Learn more at: https://www.gardenofgods.com/
2) Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
18300 W. ALAMEDA PARKWAY, MORRISON, CO 80465
Located in Morrison, CO, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is famous for is beautiful views, sold-out concerts, and historic entertainment experiences dating back to the early 1900’s. It is truly a one of a kind amphitheatre that hosts some of the biggest names in music – and I mean MAJOR (Dave Matthews, Stevie Wonder, U2, Imagine Dragons, Snoop Dogg…)! Currently, you can visit the park, amphitheatre, Trading Post and Colorado Music Hall of Fame for free. Due to the pandemic, the Visitor Center and box office are closed. Face coverings are required during your exploration of the park and amphitheatre, and social distance is requested.
During our visit in July, a majority of visitors wore their masks and respected social distancing. This made us, and our out of town guest feel more comfortable and safe exploring. We trekked up to the theater seating and then up to the top plaza. The stage was open to explore as well. I highly suggest taking photos from the bottom of the seating area looking up the rows, and again from the top plaza looking down. The landscape views are outstanding from the top areas as well!
Learn more at: https://www.redrocksonline.com/
3) Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 YORK ST, DENVER, CO 80206
The Denver Botanic Gardens was the first place my husband and I became enamored with during our visit to Denver in 2017. It was also the first membership we purchased when we made our move to the city later that fall. The colorful gardens are a beautiful escape right in the heart of the city. So much so, you don’t feel like you’re in a metropolitan city while walking through the 24 acres of diverse plants.
Peaceful and serene, the gardens are full of multi-directional paths bordered with benches dedicated as tributes. You can take a seat in your favorite garden and enjoy the view or set up for a romantic picnic on one of the open lawns.
Denver Botanic Gardens tickets are available by advanced reservation only, and masks are required at all times covering nose and mouth (except while eating or drinking) by all visitors over 3 years old. Entry time is in 30-minute blocks and the number of tickets are limited. The Shop at the Gardens is open for shopping with no more than 10 people inside at any time. Social distancing and handwashing are encouraged.
Learn more at: https://www.botanicgardens.org/
I hope this guide is helpful as you plan your summer weekends, fall travel, and family adventures during the pandemic. Be safe, wash your hands, wear your mask, practice social distancing, and HAVE FUN!