Golden is a city in the Denver Area of Colorado. It sits at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and distance-wise is roughly halfway between the cities of Boulder and Denver. It is the home of the Coors Brewery, the Colorado School of Mines, and the Colorado Railroad Museum.
The city of Golden has a distinct country-western atmosphere due in part to its gold-mining history and in part to its proximity to the front range. A slogan often used to describe the city claims that it's "Where The West Lives". Also, an iconic, antique signboard draped over Golden's Main Street ushers in travelers with "Howdy Folks! Welcome To Golden".
In keeping with the general spirit of the Rockies, Golden is an outdoor, active town. It's not unusual to see kayakers lugging boats around town and playing in the mile long whitewater course that runs through town, or mountain bikers returning from a ride up to the surrounding hills.
Golden is a tourist town in summer and a college town the rest of the year.
Golden is not between Boulder and Denver. It is west of Denver and south of Boulder. There are other cities between Golden and Denver, e.g. Lakewood and Wheat Ridge.
Golden is easily reached from the Denver metro area. From Boulder, take Highway 93 south approximately 25 miles to Golden. From Denver, head west on Highway 6 or on Colfax Avenue to Golden. From north Denver/Westminster/Arvada/Northglenn/etc., take Interstate 76 west, which merges with Interstate 70 west (an alternative), and exit onto Highway 58, which takes you directly into Golden. Golden can also be reached from south Denver/Littleton/Highlands Ranch/Parker by taking C-470 west directly to Golden.
There is no long-distance bus service directly to Golden. Regional public transit is provided by RTD, with half-hourly service on route 16L to downtown Denver between roughly 6AM and 7PM daily, followed by hourly service on the slower Route 16 until midnight. Routes 44/44L also serve downtown via an indirect route. Fare is $2.25.
Route GS offers express service to and from Boulder, weekdays only. Check the schedule in advance, as there aren't very many trips and they're spaced unevenly.
Downtown Golden consists of a strip of businesses surrounded by residential neighborhoods. This commercial and business portion of Golden is relatively small, and can be driven or biked through, or even covered by foot, in a short amount of time. In fact, Golden is very alternative-transportation friendly, and groups of walkers or bikers are always seen moving through town. The downtown area is an active hub for area residents. Numerous events are sponsored there throughout the year. One of these is a weekly Friday night street party with music and local restaurants selling tapas and beverages. In August the city sponsors a popular fine arts festival. In 2012 professional cyclists will, for the second consecutive year, begin a day of racing in the middle of town.
- Buffalo Bill's Museum and Grave, 987 Lookout Mountain Rd, ☏ .
- Astor House Museum, 822 12th St, ☏ .
- Clear Creek History Mueseum, 822 12th St, ☏ .
- 1 Colorado School of Mines campus, Elm St. south of 19th St. Each building on the compact Mines campus was considered modern architectural design when built, giving the campus as a whole a wide range of styles tied together by the use of the same sandy-colored stone for most façades.
- 2 Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, 200 Violet St, ☏ .
- 3 Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum.
Activities in Golden are usually split between visiting its historical sites including the Coors Brewery, and doing outdoors activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking.
- Coors Brewery, 13th & Ford Streets, ☏ . Tours operate M-Sa 10AM-4PM; guests over 21 y.o. offered limited free samples, guests under 18 y.o. must be accompanied by an adult. The main tourist draw for the city, the Coors Brewery in Golden is also the largest beer brewing plant in the world on a single site. It is easily recognized for its sheer size and space consumption, and in particular, its plain grey walls and large, red "Coors" sign mural. If you visit Golden, you will undoubtedly notice the distinct fragrance of grains, hops, and alcohol wafting through the air at any point in town, any time of the year. The brewery is a popular attraction mainly because of the free guided tours it offers. These tours last about 45 minutes, and guests over the age of 21 are treated to a free sample of the brewery's confectionery.
- 1 Colorado Railroad Museum, 17155 W. 44th Ave, ☏ . Open every day, excluding holidays, 9AM-5PM. Created in 1959 to preserve the history of Colorado's rollicking railroad era, this museum is now a haven for aficionados of heritage railways, antique cabooses, and steam locomotives. Railfans will want to check out the museum's periodic train ride days, where you could have a wine & cheese tasting on a train, or let the kids meet "Thomas the Tank Engine". Also, the museum is a non-profit establishment that publishes its own books about railroad history.
- Clear Creek Whitewater Park. Along 10th St in Clear Creek. Considered to be the heart of the Colorado kayaking social scene, the mile long course in Clear Creek provides a playspot for both playboaters and slalom kayakers, as well as a plethora of tubers and boogie boarders. Even if you don't want to get in the water, head down to the park to watch kayakers ripping it up in the holes some of the best kayakers in the state practice here on a regular basis. If you want to try kayaking, local kayak school RA Guides provides lessons here regularly during the summer months, or, if you having boating experience, kayaks can be rented from either of the two river stores in town, Golden River Sports or Alpenglow. The park is beginner friendly and folks are more than happy to help out newcomers, as long as you have some common sense and basic courtesy. Look but don't touch others' boats, wait your turn and be safe.
- Heritage Square, West Colfax Ave (Hwy 40). Theme park built in the 1950s with Victorian architecture. Several touristy shops, the Alpine slide, Knotz Landing ('50s food and ice cream), and the Music Hall (featuring live plays always fantastic).
- 2 Golden Gate Canyon State Park, 3873 Highway 36, ☏ .
- 3 Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
- Gold-N-Detectors, 802 Washington Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . Metal detectors and gold prospecting gear.
Despite being a college town, a surprising number of Golden's restaurants close early, or are only open for breakfast and lunch. The late night crowd moves to bars (or Denver proper) instead.
- Ali Baba Grill, 109 North Rubey Dr., F, ☏ . Daily 11AM - 9PM. Friendly and elaborately-decorated Lebanese restaurant in the northern part of town.
- Café 13, 1301 Arapaho St, ☏ . M-F 6:30AM - 3PM, Sa 7:30AM - 3PM, Su 7:30AM - 1:30PM. Coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and other light fare. The locally-made muffins are excellent.
- D'deli, 1207 Washington Ave, ☏ . One of two adjacent sandwich shops.
- Windy Saddle Cafe, 1110 Washington Ave, ☏ . Su-We 7AM - 6PM, Th-Sa 7AM - 9PM. Comfortable spot to grab a sandwich for lunch and watch the activity on Washington outside. Kid-friendly.
- Woody's Woodfired Pizza and Watering Hole, 1305 Washington Ave, ☏ . Family owned restaurant located a block from the Coors Brewery
Bars abound up and down Golden's main street (Washington Ave), and tend to be fairly busy even on weeknights. Keep in mind, the altitude for those not used to it will speed up the effects of any alcohol consumed, and make sure to drink lots of water while out.
- Ace Hi Tavern, 1216 Washington Ave, ☏ . If one bar is the locals' watering hole, this is it. Music is from the jukebox and the place isn't the prettiest, but on any night of the week this place will be full of college students and old-timers alike. Great place to drop in and get to know the residents of the town. Located on Washington next to Foss Drug.
- Blue Canyon Grill, 1301 Washington Ave, ☏ . The quietest bar in town, but still popular with those who like to shoot some pool while drinking or just enjoy a location with a tad more ambiance. Located just off Washington next to the Starbucks.
- The Buffalo Rose, 1119 Washington Ave, ☏ . A stereotypical biker bar on Washington Ave, with loud and often live music and plenty of Harleys parked out the front. It's big and hard to miss, with a large sign out the front.
- Golden City Brewery, 920 12th St, ☏ . 2nd largest brewery in Colorado.
A number of hotels, particularly the chain hotels, that claim to be in Golden are often well outside the city proper – no more than a few minutes' drive away on US-6, but not within walking distance. Addresses on 6th Ave., or any name including "Denver West", are both tip-offs.
- Ascend Collection The Golden Hotel, 800 11th St, ☏ .
- Comfort Suites, 11909 W. 6th Ave.
- Hampton Inn Denver West/Golden, 17150 W. Colfax Ave (1 block west of the junction of US-40 and US-6), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Fairly generic, but in a good way: simple and well-maintained.
- Quality Suites Evergreen, 29300 U.S. Highway 40, ☏ . All-suites hotel, free breakfast, free Internet, a swimming pool, wedding event facilities.
- Residence Inn Denver West/Golden, 14600 W. 6th Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 12PM. Equipped kitchen with a refrigerator & microwave. Complimentary high-speed wireless internet access and in room cable TV, HBO, and pay-per-view movies. $120.
- Table Mountain Inn, 1310 Washington Ave, toll-free: . Southwestern-style hotel in downtown Golden, right next to the Colorado School of Mines campus.
- Jefferson County Library - Golden Branch, 1019 10th St, ☏ . M-Tu 12-8, W-Th 10-6, F-Sa 10-5, Su 12-5.
- The cities of Denver and Boulder are nearby.
- The ski resort town of Winter Park is about 60 miles away.
- Hop back on I-70 and take it westbound into the Rocky Mountains, through the famed Eisenhower Tunnel at the peak of the range (highest elevation on a freeway in North America), and across into Northwestern Colorado.
|Routes through Golden|
|Grand Junction ← Idaho Springs ←||W E||→ Arvada → Denver|
|Grand Junction ← Idaho Springs ← Jct N ←||W E||→ Lakewood → Denver|
|Steamboat Springs ← Idaho Springs ←||W E||→ Lakewood → Denver|