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With some expert help from our friends at City Cast Denver, we have meticulously curated a list of unparalleled experiences and must-see attractions for your next visit to this amazing city. This comprehensive guide goes beyond the conventional tourist spots, diving into the heart and soul of the city to unveil hidden gems and local Western favorites. While you’re at it, check out all City Cast Denver has to offer and what Denver is talking about today on their podcast.

Three cowboys riding horses in a dusty field, with focused expressions, under a cloudy sky.

Where to Ride Horses Near Denver?

Denver is a place second to none to outfit yourself in Western style and learn about the history of the folks who settled it, but is there anywhere to saddle up for a horse ride?

Sure is! Take in the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park the cowboy way with Hi Country Stables, offering day-long rides and overnight stays. Plus, the park pass is included, so you don’t have to pay extra to get yourself and your horse into the park.

If you’re looking for a full-immersion ranch experience, check out Ranchlands. They offer weekly accommodations at two different ranches in Colorado, where you’ll learn about sustainable ranching. Yee haw!

Where to Learn About Western Culture

Don’t let anyone tell you that Denver is the Midwest. We are an essential part of Western culture, so where can you go to learn about the history of the Old West?

The History Colorado Museum is a great place to start. There, you can learn about the evolution of Denver from the Wild West to modern times, including exhibitions about the Native tribes that call this area home.

Or head west of the city to Buffalo Bill’s Museum and Grave for a deep dive into one of the most iconic figures of Western history.

Denver, the vibrant capital of Colorado, is steeped in the rich tapestry of the American West. Amidst its modern urban sprawl lies a treasure trove of history waiting to be explored, and there's no better way to dive into the city's past than through The Denver Story Trek – Historic Walking Tours. This innovative approach to experiencing Denver's heritage offers a unique window into the Old West, blending educational insights with the pleasure of outdoor rambling.

A family walks on a sidewalk in a sunny city street, with a historic building with the text "union station" in the background.

These walking tours are self-guided journeys that allow locals and tourists alike to uncover the stories of Denver's yesteryears at their own pace. Each trek is thoughtfully designed to highlight significant aspects of Denver's Western heritage, including the homes of famous figures, historic landmarks, and sites pivotal to the city's development.

How It Works:
Utilizing a mix of modern technology and traditional storytelling, participants can access detailed maps and audio narratives through their smartphones or online. As you walk from one point of interest to another, these narratives provide context, sharing fascinating tales of the people who shaped Denver, and the events that made the city what it is today.

If you want to experience wildlife as it might have looked in the Old West, take a drive through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal & Wildlife Refuge, where you might just see bison, coyotes, and more.

Three cowboys riding horses in a dusty field, with focused expressions, under a cloudy sky.

Unique Western Cuisine

Ready to chow down like a cowboy and cowgirl in Denver? Bring your appetite! This is a cuisine often born out of necessity, from long packing trips and cattle drives. Here’s where you can have a real deal Western culinary experience:

The National Western Stock Show is in town, so take advantage of the dozens of food vendors participating in the annual event. My go-to is a giant turkey leg, but you can also find some of the best steaks, soups, and BBQ throughout the complex.

Nestled in the foothills of Denver, The Fort is not just a restaurant but a portal to the past, offering a dining experience steeped in the rich traditions of the American West and Native American cultures. This establishment is a meticulously crafted replica of Bent's Old Fort, an important 19th-century fur trading post on the Santa Fe Trail. The Fort's architecture is a homage to the frontier spirit, built from adobe bricks and surrounded by the rugged beauty of Colorado's landscape. Inside, guests are welcomed into a warm and rustic ambiance, where crackling fires, period furnishings, and Western artifacts transport them to a bygone era. The Fort's commitment to authenticity extends beyond its walls to its menu, which is a celebration of Western and Native American cuisine, offering dishes that are both traditional and inspired.

Dining at The Fort is an immersive experience, with a menu highlighting the culinary diversity of the West, featuring game meats like bison, elk, and quail, prepared with time-honored techniques and complemented by indigenous ingredients such as corn, beans, and squash. Signature dishes, such as the bison marrow bones or the award-winning buffalo steak, are not only delicious but also tell the story of the region's culinary heritage.

The dining experience is elevated by stunning views of the surrounding mountains and attentive service, making a meal at The Fort a memorable journey through the flavors and history of the American West.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try the famous Rocky Mountain oysters — fried bull testicles — at The Buckhorn Exchange. (Wait, fried what?? You read that right. We tried them recently: Here’s the scoop.)

Where to go Line Dancing in Denver

You’ve got your boots, you’ve got your cowboy hat, and now you’re itchin’ to go line dancing. Here’s where you can brush up on your dance skills:

The Grizzly Rose has been a Denver institution since it opened in 1989. It’s a must-visit for live country music and a guaranteed good ol’ time.

Drive east to Aurora and spend the night at Stampede, where you’ll find everything from line dancing to Mexican regional bands and more.

Charlie’s on Colfax is an iconic gay bar with cowboy nights and a very competitive dance floor. Bring your best moves!

And, of course, during the National Western Stock Show, the Stockyard Saloon is the place to grab a cold drink and take your partner for a twirl.

A man in a cowboy hat dancing closely with a smiling woman in a denim jacket in a warmly lit room.
A person in fishing gear casts a line in a rocky river with a hill in the background under a clear sky.

Outdoor and Adventure Activities

Near Denver, the echoes of the Gold Rush era still resonate through the streams and valleys, offering adventurous souls the chance to try their hand at gold panning. Locations such as Clear Creek Canyon in Golden and the historic town of Idaho Springs provide accessible spots where beginners and enthusiasts alike can sift through the waters in search of gold flakes. These areas, rich in history and scenic beauty, were once bustling with miners during the 1850s gold rush, and today, they invite visitors to experience the excitement of discovering gold for themselves. Local outfitters and tour companies offer guided gold panning adventures, providing all the necessary equipment and expertise to give participants a genuine glimpse into the gold panner's hopeful quest.

Beyond the thrill of the hunt, these gold panning adventures offer a tangible connection to Colorado's pioneering past, allowing individuals to step into the shoes of the miners who once dreamed of striking it rich in the rugged wilderness of the Rocky Mountains.

Shopping for Western Wear

Nestled in the upscale neighborhood of Cherry Creek North, Denver, Colorado, this Tecovas store brings a touch of timeless elegance and craftsmanship to the heart of the city's shopping district. This location stands as a beacon for those who appreciate the finer aspects of Western wear, offering a meticulously curated selection of handcrafted boots, leather goods, apparel, and accessories.

The Cherry Creek North Tecovas store provides a warm and inviting atmosphere where customers can explore the brand's collection in a setting that mirrors the sophistication and laid-back luxury of the surrounding area. Whether you're a long-time fan of Western aesthetics or discovering it for the first time, Tecovas in Cherry Creek North offers a shopping experience that's both authentic and accessible, embodying the spirit of the West with a refined edge.

Storefront of Tecovas featuring large glass windows, displaying boots and western wear, with the store name prominently displayed above the entrance.

Rockmount Ranch Wear stands as a Denver landmark, a testament to the city's deep-rooted connection to Western culture. Founded in 1946 by Jack A. Weil, who lived to the ripe old age of 107, this iconic store revolutionized Western wear by introducing the snap-button Western shirt, a design that has since become synonymous with cowboy fashion. Located in the heart of downtown Denver, Rockmount Ranch Wear attracts visitors from around the globe, drawn to its rich history and unique offerings.

Inside, shoppers can find a wide array of authentic Western apparel, including the original snap-button shirts, intricately designed with vibrant patterns, as well as cowboy hats, boots, and accessories. Each item in the store embodies the spirit of the American West, offering quality and style rooted in a rich heritage.

Cry Baby Ranch encapsulates the vibrant spirit of the West with its eclectic mix of Western clothing, accessories, and home decor. Located in the bustling Larimer Square of Denver, this boutique stands out for its quirky and colorful approach to Western fashion. From hand-tooled leather boots and belts to whimsical jewelry and playful home furnishings, Cry Baby Ranch curates a collection that blends traditional Western motifs with a modern, fun twist. The store's interior is a visual feast, with every corner filled with unique finds that celebrate the cowboy culture with a contemporary twist.

Shoppers at Cry Baby Ranch are not just buying a piece of clothing or decor; they're taking home a slice of the New West, infused with creativity, humor, and a bold sense of individuality. It's a must-visit for those seeking to add a touch of Western flair to their wardrobe or living space, served with a side of Denver's distinctive charm.

A woman rides a palomino horse on a dusty trail at sunset, with another horse's ears visible in the foreground.

Annual Western Events

The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo is an iconic event that transforms Denver into the epicenter of the Western world every January. Celebrated as one of the largest stock shows and rodeos globally, it attracts over 700,000 visitors annually. This two-week extravaganza showcases the best of Western heritage through a dazzling array of events, competitions, and exhibitions. Participants and spectators can experience everything from professional rodeo competitions, including bull riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling — to livestock shows featuring cattle, horses, sheep, and more.

The event also features a sprawling trade show, educational programs, and entertaining activities like the traditional parade and mutton bustin' for kids. The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo is more than just an event; it's a celebration of the American West's rural culture and spirit, bringing together communities from across the nation to honor their roots and traditions.

The Denver March Powwow is a vibrant celebration of Native American culture, held annually in Denver, Colorado. This three-day event gathers over a thousand indigenous dancers and singers from across North America, showcasing the rich traditions and cultural heritage of Native American peoples. Spectators are treated to an array of competitive dances, including traditional, fancy, grass, and jingle, set to the powerful beat of drums.

The powwow also features music performances, storytelling, and a market filled with art, crafts, and jewelry made by Native American artisans. It's a dynamic exhibition of living traditions, offering a unique opportunity for all attendees to experience the beauty and spirit of Native American cultures. The Denver March Powwow serves as an important cultural gathering, fostering a sense of community and continuity among the indigenous peoples while inviting others to learn about and appreciate their enduring heritage.

Final Thoughts

As you reflect on your time in Denver, it's impossible not to be captivated by the rich tapestry of Western experiences that this vibrant city has to offer. From its rugged landscapes to its storied history, Denver is a treasure trove of Western culture waiting to be explored.

We'd love to hear about your own Western experiences in Denver or your plans to explore the activities we've highlighted. Share your stories and insights by tagging @tecovas to continue celebrating the enduring legacy of the American West with the wider world.


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Visit Golden, Ranchlands, The Fort