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Golden, Colorado, is one of the most underrated destinations to visit, located right outside Denver. One day in Golden Colorado is all you need to dip your toes into what this beautiful town has to offer. From epic hikes in places like Golden Gate Canyon State Park to delicious foods from local restaurants, Golden has it all. Plus, many of the best things to do in Golden Colorado are located near each other, making visiting with only 24 hours even easier.
Are you wondering how to spend one day in Golden, Colorado? You’re in luck! This Golden Colorado itinerary covers all of the best things to do there, including where to stay, eat, and spend your time.
Without further ado, here’s how to spend 24 hours in Golden.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
How to Get to Golden Colorado
There are quite a few ways to get to Golden, Colorado. The following modes of transportation are specifically for getting to Golden from Denver, but many of them can be applicable no matter where you’re traveling to Golden from.
The easiest way to get to Golden is by car. It only takes about twenty minutes from downtown Denver to get to Golden. The drive is easy, and the scenery gets more beautiful the closer you get to Golden because you’ll be getting closer to the mountains.
Another option is to take a combination of Lyft/Uber and the light rail. From Union Station, you can hop on the W train towards Jeffco and get off at Jefferson County Government Center – Golden Station. From there, order a Lyft/Uber to somewhere in downtown Golden, like the Table Mountain Inn. This may seem like many steps, but if you’re visiting the area without a car, it’s completely doable to get to Golden this way.
Transportation in Golden Colorado
Simply enough, the easiest way to get around Golden is to use your own two feet, especially if you plan on mostly exploring the downtown area. Many of the top attractions are near each other, which is why it’s so easy just to walk.
Another option is to use a car if you happen to drive to Golden. Lyft and Uber are also other ways to get around Golden if you travel a bit wider in the area versus just exploring downtown.
Lastly, FlexRide is a choice for getting around. This bus has quite a few stops throughout Golden, making it easy to get around at an affordable price. Keep in mind that it’s not in use during weekends or on Sundays.
When to Visit Golden Colorado
Truth be told, there is no wrong time to visit Golden. Colorado is one state that has near-perfect weather no matter the time of year, which is a bit of a secret!
As you might have guessed, the majority of people visit Golden during the summer. The weather during this time can get pretty hot, averaging high 80s. Try visiting during another time of year because this is considered peak season if you can avoid it.
The winter is a great time to visit if you want to do winter adventure sports. Golden gets quite a bit of snow, usually during the winter, and the temperature averages around 44°F.
Spring and fall can also be great times to visit if you can get the time off too! Spring has temperatures around 60°F, as does the fall.
Where to Stay in Golden Colorado
Because Golden isn’t a large city, there aren’t a whole lot of places to stay here. Luckily, there are still some great places worth staying.
Hands-down the best place to stay in Golden is the Table Mountain Inn! It’s located directly in downtown Golden, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even have a room with a balcony that has great views of Lookout Mountain.
This can be a pricier hotel, with nightly rates averaging between $200 to $300 a night, depending on what room type you choose to book. What makes this hotel even better is that it has its own cantina that has fantastic food (speaking from experience!). The quesadillas are to die for.
For a more homey accommodation, you could consider staying at The Silk Pincushion. Prices are usually around $150 a night to start, and no room costs more than $200 (depending on the time of year).
The Silk Pincushion is a bed and breakfast with strong Victorian vibes. It tends to be a great place to stay if you’re traveling with just two people, making it an excellent accommodation for a romantic getaway in Golden. This bed and breakfast is not that far from Coors Brewery or Dinosaur Ridge.
Another option for accommodation is the Hampton Inn. It’s about three miles from downtown Golden and has a lot of room options. Some of the rooms can even host up to five guests at a time. If you’re traveling with a large group, this could be an excellent place for you to stay!
Rooms range in price between $200 and $220 depending on the time of year. Breakfast is included, and every room includes a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker. Plus, there’s a gym that all guests are allowed to use.
How to Spend 24 Hours in Golden Colorado
One day in Golden Colorado is the perfect amount of time to explore the town, especially if you’re a first-time visitor! If you plan out your day wisely, you’ll easily have an unforgettable trip.
Grab breakfast from a local shop
Because Golden is a small town, there are many different local places to eat! Luckily, this itinerary includes many of them.
Start your day out right by grabbing a coffee from Higher Grounds Cafe. It’s located near downtown Golden, and it’s one of the most popular coffee shops in town for both locals and tourists.
They also have delicious cafe treats like donuts, scones, and more. Plus, Higher Grounds Cafe opens early, around 5:30 a.m., so no matter what time you start your day, they’ll probably be open.
For a more sit-down type of breakfast, consider heading to The Golden Diner. They offer almost any kind of breakfast you can think of, including pancakes, waffles, eggs, and even breakfast burritos.
Hike Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Like there are many free things to do in Denver, there are also free things to do in Golden. Hiking Lookout Mountain is easily one of the best free things to do here.
After filling your stomach with delicious local breakfast food, head over to Lookout Mountain and be prepared to get one of the best views in the entire town! No visit to Golden is complete without hiking up at least one trail on Lookout Mountain.
Arguably the easiest trail to hike on Lookout Mountain is the Windy Saddle Trail. This trail is only about 4.5 miles long, and the elevation gain is a little more than 700 feet. It’s ranked as a moderate trail but can become more difficult if you happen to hike after it rains because the path is prone to getting muddy.
Overall, this trail, in particular, will take, on average, between two and three hours.
If you’re not a fan of hiking, consider going for a walk along the Clear Creek Path. This is a lot easier of a walk and still is very calming and has excellent views along the way.
Visiting this area is one of the best outdoor activities in Golden!
Eat lunch at a local restaurant
Similar to breakfast, there are a lot of great places to eat locally for lunch. Here are a few of the top-rated options!
Bonfire Burritos is the perfect place to go to try delicious Colorado burritos. Make sure you order one with green chile, which is a local delicacy. There isn’t a lot of outdoor seating here for you to enjoy the weather, but there are many seats inside.
For an A+ burger, head to Bob’s Atomic Burgers. This restaurant offers tons of burgers, hot dogs, and more. Plus, no burger is complete without a side of fries and a milkshake, which also are on the menu.
Woody’s Pizza is the top-rated pizza place in the area and is one of the best restaurants in Golden. There’s tons of outdoor seating, and it’s been a Golden staple for twenty years and counting. Plus, there are tons of pizza choices, so even if you’re a picky eater, you’ll be able to find something for yourself on the menu.
Go on a Coors Brewery Tour
A trip to Golden Colorado isn’t complete without going on a tour of Coors Brewery. Luckily, there’s a shuttle that will bring you from downtown right to the brewery, so you can still go on the tour if you aren’t traveling with a car.
Tours are usually only during the afternoon, so make sure you hop in line to be able to go on the tour ASAP. If you can book tickets ahead of time, make sure that you do!
Learn at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
Because of the old west heritage in Golden, you’ll have to make sure you head over to Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. It’s filled with exhibits about William F. Cody (also known as “Buffalo Bill”) and has been open for 100 years as of 2021.
The museum isn’t massive, so it won’t take a lot of time to explore. However, it’s still well worth it to go in and at least spend an hour or two learning about more of the local history while visiting Golden.
Explore downtown Golden
Before you grab dinner and get ready to wind down for the evening, head to historic downtown Golden! This is where you can find most shops, restaurants, cafes, and more. Even if you’re just window shopping in Golden, this is a super fun place to explore.
While you’re in downtown Golden, make sure you take a photo with the giant “Welcome to Golden” arch sign that crosses over the road. It’s pretty iconic and looks great in photos.
Eat dinner at another local restaurant
After exploring downtown Golden, you’re probably ready for dinner! Here are a few of the best restaurants for dinner in the area.
Buffalo Rose doubles as a restaurant and an entertainment spot, making it the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. It opened in 1859 and has been a staple in Golden ever since. The menu is filled with cocktails, sandwiches, salads, and more. There’s also a kids menu in case you’re traveling with children.
Another great place to grab a bite to eat is the Table Mountain Cantina! If you happen to be staying at the Table Mountain Inn, you’re in luck; the restaurant is located inside the hotel. There’s indoor and outdoor seating. If there are spots outside, definitely ask to be seated out there. You’ll be rewarded with great views of Lookout Mountain. The menu here is a lot of great Mexican dishes, including quesadillas, tacos, and more.
Are you traveling with picky eaters, or do you want to have more options when dining? Go to Tributary Food Hall. There are around ten different vendors inside, with foods including gyros, poke, pizza, pasta, bbq, and more. Plus, there’s a gelato shop and a crepe place so that you can grab dessert right after!
Finish the night with drinks
There’s no better way to finish the night and your 24 hours in Golden Colorado than by heading to a local joint to grab a drink. This is one of the best things to do at night in Golden.
If you want a place that will bring you back in time, head to the Miners Saloon. They have tons of drinks, and the inside will immediately take you back in time to when the city was home to lots of miners.
Golden Moon Speakeasy is another excellent place to grab a drink in downtown Golden. They have tons of cocktails, and the interior is gorgeous with tons of fun fairy lights and a speakeasy vibe.
As you can see, there are tons of great things to do in Golden. No matter what time of year you’re visiting, you’ll have a memorable experience here. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your next trip to Colorado!