According to Golden’s welcome sign, this is where “the West lives.” It’s also where Coors “taps the Rockies,” and you might guess it from the faint smell of hops and barley in the air. Sample some of the real stuff on a tour of the Coors facility, the largest single brewery in the nation. If you’d rather steer clear of beer, there are plenty of other things to do here. Lookout Mountain is an exceptional scenic drive leaving right from town. Wind to the summit, where you can take in views of Denver and the Front Range, visit Western showman Buffalo Bill’s grave and tribute museum, and have a snack. Lookout Mountain Nature Center and restored 1917 Boettcher, nearby, are also open to the public.

Downtown, you can walk the 12th Street Historic Residential District, home to the largest cobblestone building in the U.S, or check out the acclaimed School of Mines. Other top cultural attractions include the Golden Pioneer Museum, the Colorado Railroad Museum, Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, and the American Mountaineering Center library.

Golden is also a great “jumping off” point for paragliding; first-time lessons are available from local guides. Golden Gate Canyon State Park, 15 miles north of town, is a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts, especially mountain bikers. There’s also a new, world-class kayaking park on Clear Creek, just a short walk from downtown.