A highlight of any trip to Colorado is a visit to Boulder. Located a short 45-minute drive from the Colorado Convention Center and home to the University of Colorado, Boulder is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s most liveable and beautiful cities. At the center of town is the Pearl Street Mall, one of the nation’s first pedestrian-only malls. It now includes six blocks of fascinating shops and even more fascinating people watching. Recognized as one of the nation’s hottest “foodie” towns, Boulder is home to every imaginable cuisine, including the one-of-a-kind Dushanbe Tea House and an impressive series of Colorado brewpubs.

A must visit is the Colorado Chautauqua, a National Historic Landmark located at the foothills of the spectacular Flatiron mountains. Colorado Chautauqua is one of only a few remaining Chautauquas in the US. It is considered the western representation of the cultural movement that swept the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is also the only site west of the Mississippi that has been in continuous operation since its founding, with original structures intact and used for their original purposes. Furthermore, some of the best hiking trails in Colorado are located at the entrance to Chautauqua.

To get to Boulder, take I-25 north to US 36 northwest.


One of the few 19th-century mining towns not destroyed by fire, Georgetown offers a fascinating and beautiful assortment of experiences, including Victorian houses, a few grand homes, and an unusual variety of surviving business and public places. Visitors can walk or drive among charming houses that are mostly tiny but all adorned with an abundance of gingerbread woodwork. A few grander residences survive, including the Hamill House, which is open for tours.

One particular gem is the Hotel de Paris Museum, which offers historians a rare look into a late 19th-century hotel, including its kitchen, dining room, and the ornate spaces in which commercial travelers displayed their wares to potential customers. Other public spaces include the Alpine Hose Firefighter Museum, which can take much of the credit for the town’s architectural legacy. The Georgetown Loop Railroad will run until December 30 for those who arrive before the conference.

The trip itself is a treat, 45 miles straight up Interstate 70 from Denver, passing through scenic foothills into the Rocky Mountains. Caveat: Altitude is the source of so much beauty as well as the associated risks for travelers. Thus, mid-winter weather could set the stage for an adventure into an exquisite snowscape or make the trip impossible.

Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), one of the jewels of the National Park System, lies less than a two-hour drive north of the Colorado Convention Center. RMNP and Estes Park, the town at the foot of RMNP, present the opportunity for a wonderful day trip from Denver. Many of the roads in the park are open year round, offering the chance to soak in phenomenal vistas, including incredible views of Longs Peak, one of Colorado’s most famous mountains. The wildlife viewing is great, and there is the chance for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing to some of the more remote mountain lakes and valleys in the park. Many argue that winter is the best time for a visit to RMNP due to the lack of crowds and the crisp, bracing air.

Stopping by Estes Park on the way to or from RMNP promises fudge, hot chocolate, and other wintertime treats. While there, don’t forget to visit and take a tour of the beautiful, historic, yet haunted Stanley Hotel, built by auto entrepreneur F.O. Stanley in 1909. The hotel was also the site for the movie The Shining. To get to Estes Park, take I-25 north to US 36 west through Boulder and continue on US 36.