Summer in Denver is almost in full swing, and visitors near and far are flooding into the city. If you’ll have family in from out of town or are just looking for something to do, Colorado boasts no shortage of fascinating and edifying tours of local factories, historical buildings, castles and so much more. Even if you’re a Denver native, you’ll get to enjoy being a tourist in your own city this summer.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best tours that Colorado has to offer, whether you’re visiting with family, friends or just spending a day by yourself.

Factory Tours

Hammond’s Candy Factory

Courtesy of Hammond’s website

Where: 5735 Washington St., Denver
Cost: Free
Time needed: About 30 minutes

The Lowdown: Standing for over a century, the beloved Hammond’s candy factory will be sure to delight visitors of all ages, and especially those with children. Spend 30 minutes wandering through the factory and be transfixed by the candy making process. Be sure to book your spot on the tour at least 24 hours in advance online.

Coors Brewery

Photo courtesy of Coors Brewery.

Where: 13th St & Ford Street, Golden
Cost: $10 for non-Colorado residents, $5 for Colorado residents 
Time needed: About 30 minutes

The Lowdown: There are few tours more iconically Colorado than the one at Coors Brewery. And while they recently added a small fee, the 30-minute look inside the malting, brewing and packaging processes of this nearly 150-year old brewery is worth the extra cash. You can choose either to do the full tour or skip right to the good stuff and get the complimentary three eight-ounce pours and a commemorative glass you get at the end of the tour. Just make sure to bring your I.D. so you can sip on your sweet prize.

Celestial Seasonings Factory Tour

Photo courtesy of Celestial Seasonings on Facebook.

Where: 4600 Sleepytime Dr., Boulder
Cost: Free
Time needed: About 30 minutes

The Lowdown: If you are an avid tea drinker or just love the flavorful aromas that Celestial Seasonings produces, chances are that you might have already visited this idyllic factory set at the end of the thematically named Sleepytime Drive right outside of Boulder. However, this free factory tour is sure to satisfy every time. Learn all about how this iconic Colorado-native brand blends and packages its tea and indulge in the free aromatherapy before stopping in at the cafe and their cute store. Will you survive the mint room? More information can be found online.

Government Tours

United States Mint — Denver Mint

Courtesy of Visit Denver website

Where: 320 W. Colfax Ave., Denver
Cost: Free
Time needed: About 45 minutes

The Lowdown: While this tour is limited to adults and children over seven years old, that still allows plenty of learning about the loaded history of the Denver Mint. Billions of coins are produced here each year, and the Mint gift shop boasts a wide variety of the coins and other collectibles. Learn about the rich history and be sure to admire the beautiful architecture along the way of this free, guided tour. Be sure to carefully follow all of the instructions listed on the Mint’s website prior to arriving for the tour.

Colorado State Capitol

Courtesy of Colorado General Assembly website

Where: 200 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
Cost: Free
Time needed: 45 minutes to 1 hour

The Lowdown: Learn about the rich history of the Colorado General Assembly, the beautiful and historic Capitol building and more about your Colorado heritage with this free and educational tour. They recommend arriving for a tour a minimum of 20 minutes in advance as they do fill up quickly. If you cannot make a tour slot, you are welcome to self-guide yourself through the building. However, you won’t be able to visit the dome on these self-guided tours. You can find more information here.

Mansions and Castles

The Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion

Photo by Graham Wetzler via Flickr

Where: 400 E. 8th Ave., Denver
Cost: Free
Time needed: About 45 minutes

The Lowdown: You won’t want to miss out on this beautiful and historic mansion house that has been home to Denver’s many governors since 1960. Built for Walter Cheesman’s family in 1908 and purchased by Claude Boettcher in 1923, this residential building is just as beautiful in the summer as it is when decorated for Christmas time. This summer, tours will be offered from June 18 to August 13, exclusively on Tuesdays.

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Cherokee Ranch and Castle via Facebook

Where: 6113 N. Daniels Park Rd., Sedalia
Cost: $20
Time needed: About 1 hour

The Lowdown: Spend a day pretending to be royalty with the backdrop of this beautiful castle that blends together the Western culture of the United States with 1450s Scottish architecture in Sedalia. While the price point for guided tours is high, the castle is home to beautiful art, antiques, rare books and cares for the local wildlife. The Cherokee Ranch team also offers guided hikes around the backcountry. Not up to a tour of any kind? You can also experience the castle through their “Tea at the Castle” programming. Find more information here.

Glen Eyrie Castle

Courtesy of Glen Eyrie website

Where: 3820 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs
Cost: $9
Time needed: About 90 minutes

The Lowdown: Keep the royal theme going by visiting this stunning castle nestled down in Colorado Springs. If you’re a history buff, then this is the tour for you. You will be guided through the castle with stories of railroad wars at the turn of the century, oil tycoons and the story of General Palmer and the Navigators. Like Cherokee Ranch, Glen Eyrie also offers quaint little tea times. Tour tickets are $9 a person, and more information can be found online.

Venues

Red Rocks Backstage

Red Rocks backstage photo by Brittany Werges.

Where: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison
Cost:
 $8 – $50
Time needed: Three hours (NOTE: The tour is seasonal, happening on select dates from November to March)

The Lowdown: Red Rocks Local Set series is one of the best-kept tour secrets in Denver. The $50 ticket is well worth the price as it is all inclusive with a buffet dinner, entertainment from local musicians and capped by a walk through the most famous backstage in Colorado. The night starts off with dinner, drinks and music in the visitor center with tours scheduled throughout the night so you can pick when you’d like to mosey downstairs. You’ll start off with a look at the green rooms, followed by a brief history of the amphitheater. Then comes the show stopper — the walk through the infamous tunnel where everyone from the likes of Prince to Jimi Hendrix have left their marks. Take your time to sift through thousands of signatures and don’t be afraid to ask questions — as the tunnel holds many secrets. If you’re not in town during the select dates of Local Set, there are additional (and cheaper) tour options throughout the year including ones that go more into the ancient history of the geological wonder.

Pepsi Center

Photo Courtesy of Pepsi Center Facebook

Where:  1000 Chopper Cir., Denver
Cost: $10
Time needed: About 90 minutes

The Lowdown: Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite concert and athletic venues? Now’s your chance to find out. The Pepsi Center offers guided tours through the arena that has been home to Colorado’s beloved teams like the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth as well as some of the biggest names in the music industry. With backstage access, you’ll get to learn how they convert a basketball field to an ice hockey rink and so much more. More information can be found here.

Coors Field

Courtesy of MLB Coors Field website

Where: 2001 Blake St., Denver
Cost: $12
Time needed: 70-80 minutes

The Lowdown: Take yourself out to the ball game. History buffs and baseball fans can both rejoice with this tour of the historic Coors Field. These guided tours will provide visitors with a behind-the-scenes look at what makes this premiere ballpark special, talking through the history and functionality of the building itself. You can purchase tickets here.

Broncos Stadium at Mile High

Photo by Roman Tafoya.

Where: 1701 Bryant St., Denver
Cost: $25
Time needed: 75-90 minutes

The Lowdown: Do we even need to say more about this one? A fun and informative tour for visitors of all ages, guided tours of the Broncos Stadium at Mile High are sure to be enjoyable for both diehard football fans and those just looking for something to do. The tour will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner operations of the stadium and take you through the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Booking information can be found here.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Courtesy of DCPA website

Where: 1101 13th St., Denver
Cost: $12
Time needed: About 90 minutes

The Lowdown: If sports and historical buildings really aren’t your thing, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts provides a behind the scenes tour of their theater spaces. Productions are born of beautiful collaborations between costume designers, set builders, prop makers and more to bring the stage to life. DCPA’s guided tours will take you through the costume and set shops, design studios, Actor’s Alley (where touring cast members sign posters) and the various performing spaces. Find more info and bookings here.

 

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