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Come to Cool, Colorful Colorado

Known far and wide for its natural wonders, Colorado would make for a great group getaway if nature was all it had to offer. But as anyone who has traveled within the borders of the Centennial State can attest, it is also blessed with crackerjack cultural attractions, exceptional eateries and even one of the best music venues on the planet. 

Overwhelmed by all the possibilities? Check out the guide below for can’t-miss additions to your tour’s itinerary.

Popular Demand

Great Outdoors

Blessed with four celebrated national parks and dozens of ski resorts, Colorado is an outdoor lover’s paradise. But with so many activities and amenities from which to choose, deciding where to bring your group and what to do there can be difficult. For downhill fun or just a rollicking apres-ski scene, you might want to think about planning a stop in Breckenridge, which boasts a charming and historic town to go along with its mountain majesty. Or head to Rocky Mountain National Park for 355 miles of hiking trails, fishing, wildlife-watching and more.

Red Rocks Parks and Amphitheatre

The best way to experience the acoustically perfect Red Rocks Amphitheatre is by seeing a concert under the stars, but there’s plenty else to do there even for groups that don’t have tickets for a live performance. Guided morning tours offer a look at the stunning ochre sandstone outcroppings that act as the venue’s “walls”; the tours include tales of the musicians who have graced Red Rocks’ stage. Or groups can take a walk through the 30,000-square-foot visitor center, which has a performers Hall of Fame. Red Rocks is tucked away in Morrison, about 17 miles from Denver.

Denver Art Museum

Boasting a show-stopping titanium-clad building designed by legendary architect Daniel Libeskind, the Denver Art Museum also gives group visitors a gander at some 70,000 works of art from around the world and throughout the ages. Look for a massive renovation to the Gio Ponti-designed building on the north end of campus to debut by late October; improvements will include new and expanded gallery spaces and a new welcome center with two eateries. The Denver Art Museum offers private, docent-led tours to groups. 

Up and Coming

Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center

The much-anticipated Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center opened this summer, featuring accessible elevated pathways that wrap around the exterior of the building. The views from the top of the 14,115-foot mountain are breathtaking, but groups should be sure to take in the center’s interactive digital displays, which explore Pikes Peak’s history, geology and more. Though the Pikes Peak Highway restricts the use of some motorcoaches, the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway has just reopened to ferry passengers on a thrilling and scenic ride from Manitou Springs to the summit.

Palisade Plunge

Mountain bikers and hikers in your group will go gaga for Palisade Plunge, a brand-new downhill single-track trail that descends a whopping 6,000 feet from the top of Grand Mesa to the town of Palisade. Along the pathway’s 32 miles, bikers will ride through the gorgeous Grand Mesa National Forest on just about every kind of terrain imaginable, including desert, forest, meadow and lava field. Few mountain bike trails in the country can match this one for length, scenery and net descent.

Meow Wolf

After gangbuster installations in Las Vegas and Santa Fe, New Mexico, the immersive arts and entertainment company Meow Wolf launched a new, mind-bending bag of treats and tricks in the Mile High City. The four-story “Convergence Station” features the work of 300-some creatives and 110 artists that have given birth to more than 70 colorful installations, some soaring three stories high. Psychedelic and not a little surreal, Meow Wolf offers groups a mysterious, magical experience they’ll never forget. 

Overnight Sensations

The Broadmoor

On the shores of a man-made lake in Colorado Springs, the celebrated Broadmoor has been welcoming guests into its gracious and glamorous confines since 1918. World and national championships in a wide range of sports that includes skating and golf have been held in the Broadmoor’s facilities, and other activities available to guests include falconry, fly-fishing, tennis, zip lining and rock climbing. The resort also boasts an award-winning spa and 19 boutiques, with the cog railway to Pikes Peak less than 10 miles away.

Hotel Boulderado

Sure, the Hotel Boulderado’s location, a block from Boulder’s famed Pearl Street, is ideal. But the interior of this gem is what really dazzles. The property, which was built in 1909 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, incorporates jaw-dropping design elements like a sweeping grand staircase and a stained-glass canopy ceiling in the atrium lobby. Guests can even hop aboard the original Otis elevator. The Hotel Boulderado’s star-studded history is impressive, too; Louis Armstrong, Helen Keller and Clarence Darrow have all walked its hallways. 

Memorable Meals

Spencer’s Steaks and Spirits

A favorite with Breckenridge locals for its all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, Spencer’s Steaks and Spirits sits happily ensconced inside the town’s Beaver Run Resort. In the warmer-weather months, groups will want to sit on the restaurant’s outdoor deck overlooking Peak 9 — it’s been called the best mountainside deck dining in Breck. Your group can check out the magnificent views while munching on goodies like steak and burgers. After all, ordering beef is a must while in Colorado, one of the country’s top cattle producers.

Dushanbe Teahouse

Given to Boulder from its sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the brilliantly colorful, intricately hand-painted and -carved Dushanbe Teahouse is one of the most beautiful spots to dine in Colorado. Made in Tajikistan following a nearly 2,000-year-old artistic tradition and then reassembled by its master woodcarvers in Boulder, the teahouse serves not only its titular beverage to groups but also brunch, lunch and dinner. In keeping with its theme of global friendship, dishes take their inspiration from a variety of countries, among them India, Japan, Morocco, Korea and Peru.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.