Lakewood Colorado

Lakewood Colorado is a Denver suburb that got its start as a residential retreat for the wealthy back in 1889. In addition to being directly west of Denver, this city of around 140,000 residents sits at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills. The attractive location had a lot to do with Lakewood's conception as a place for summer estates, and visitors can learn all about this early history at the Heritage Center at Belmar Park. There's more to Lakewood Colorado than just an interesting history, and when visitors aren't getting insight into the past at the Heritage Center, they will have no shortage of options for other interesting things to do.

The list of things to do in Lakewood Colorado is a long one, especially when you consider the fact that Denver is located to the immediate east and the Rockies rise up to the near west. In Lakewood proper, shopping and dining figure among the top pursuits, thanks to the city's enticing collection of restaurants and shops. In the modern downtown area, an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants abound, and shopping enthusiasts can also look to hit one of the two local malls. The best specialty shops are arguably found along Colfax Avenue and along the culturally rich Sheridan Boulevard, while the malls tend to have the usual chain brand stores. As for the Lakewood Colorado restaurants, most can be found near the top shopping spots, making it easy to find something good to eat when a break from stores is in order.

In addition to shopping and dining, dropping by the Heritage Center at Belmar Park is one of the top things to do in Lakewood, and for good reason. This museum offers ten historic structures for visitors to examine, as well as thousands of artifacts that help to tell the story of the city's history. There's also an art gallery at the museum, and it displays works by both local and national artists. Self-guided tours offer insight into the various exhibits. These exhibits include a farmhouse from the 1870s and a one-room school that was used primarily in the 1920s. Self-guided history walks around the surrounding 130-acre park can also be enjoyed, and picnic areas are available if you want to follow your tour up with an outdoor dining experience. Information on the tours and attractions can be obtained at The Heritage Center at Belmar Park's visitor's center.

As is true of the parkland that surrounds The Heritage Center at Belmar Park, Bear Creek Lake Park is ideal for outdoor recreational pursuits. One of the best attractions in Lakewood Colorado, this delightful park has a large lake for boating and plenty of trails that can be used for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Other options for things to do at Bear Creek Lake Park include fishing and swimming, and for outdoor enthusiasts who don't want to call it a day when the sun goes down, taking advantage of the park's campground is worth considering.

At the Indian Paintbrush Campground, there are 47 total campsites, and these sites can accommodate either tents or recreational vehicles, such as RVs. If you don't have a tent or a recreational vehicle, you can always rent what is called at yurt at the Bear Creek Lake Park campground. Akin to simple cabins, the yurts can accommodate up to four adults and are equipped with bunk beds and a small table with chairs. Outside of each yurt are a picnic table and a grill, as well as a fire ring.

Lakewood Colorado offers a more laid-back appeal than the neighboring city of Denver, and this helps to make it a popular travel base for those who are visiting the area. Side trips to Denver will be easy to manage when some bustling urban exposure is in order, and anyone looking for things to do in Lakewood can also take a short trip to nearby Golden to tour the Coors Brewery. The city is also very close to the renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater, and for golfing enthusiasts, local courses such as Fox Hollow and The Homestead at Fox Hollow shouldn't fail to impress.

With options like these for things to do, it's little wonder that an increased number of travelers are taking an interest in Lakewood Colorado. Add in the fact that there are some good Lakewood hotels to choose from, and the city only becomes an even more attractive place to consider when looking for that next great vacation destination.

Image: Todd W. Carpenter (Flickr)

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