As I sit at my desk watching the rain outside, drinking a warm mug of what I wish was hot chocolate (but is instead weird, sugary almond milk because I forgot to buy cocoa), I can’t help but feel the tiniest bit claustrophobic. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rainy day as much as anyone, but since Denver gets bombarded with sunshine approximately 245 days out of the year it’s way too easy to take all of the outdoor activities for granted. I work from home during the week and tend to lose my mind if I don’t leave the house the second I wake up on Saturday, so that makes things even harder. Unfortunately for me, the rain has become less of a relaxing excuse to lay in bed until noon and more of a nuisance that prevents me from venturing into the wilderness just outside my door.
Luckily, I’ve had the other 120 snowy/rainy days of the year to wander around the city and check out some sweet indoor activities that are enough to hold me over until the next time I can grab my tent or hiking boots. If you’re a nerd like me who digs tours, or are someone who tries to be fiscally responsible (read: super cheap) like me, check out these rad places that will kill an hour or two and won’t break the bank. Which means you’ll have more money to buy important grocery items. Like cocoa.
If you’re obsessed with tea
Celestial Seasonings Tea, Boulder, CO – FREE: Yes, that same Celestial Seasonings that you see on every grocery store shelf. Take a free tour and drink unlimited samples of almost every tea they make, and see if you can last longer than 5 minutes in the “mint room” where they store the peppermint!
If you want to get your booze on
Coors Brewing, Golden, CO – FREE: Take a self-guided audio tour of their massive factory and enjoy free “samples” (2-3 full size beers) in the tap room.
Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver, CO – FREE: Though they don’t provide samples during the tour, a good chunk of the proceeds from their taprooms go to local charities. They have two downtown locations that offer free tours. I recommend their signature Yeti Imperial Stout.
Vapor Distillery, Boulder, CO – FREE: Unique flavors and the creative cocktails abound. Take a tour and enjoy free samples of every spirit they make, but beware: the Arrosta Coffee Liquor can be dangerous if you’re a coffee fiend like me.
Redstone Meadery, Boulder, CO – FREE: Release your inner Viking with a free tour that includes a tasting, but good luck leaving without trying a pint!
If you’re addicted to chocolate
Hammond’s Candies, Denver, CO – FREE: A free tour of a candy factory is just as whimsical as it sounds. Leave your wallet in the car unless you want to spend $30+ on chocolate at the end of the tour like I did. Whoops.
If you’re into history
Molly Brown House, Denver, CO – $11: If you love old houses, Titanic history, ghost stories or any combination of the three, you have to do this tour. Seriously.
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, Lookout Mountain, CO – $5: This epic mountaintop museum is absolutely crammed full of Old West history and Buffalo Bill memorabilia, which is fitting since it’s also his resting place. Bonus: the scenery outside can’t be beat!
If you totally dig science
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO – FREE: Weather is pretty fascinating, and this visitor center proves it. Take a self-guided tour through interactive exhibits, watch videos about extreme weather and even hike a scenic trail that is just outside.