From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
With its tree-lined downtown streets and communities filled with beautiful, well-kept homes, Littleton is way more than a suburb of Denver. This town has its own diverse activities, attractions, and history — and in this guide, we’re going to help you get familiar with all things Littleton!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Folks who live in this area of Colorado know that they’re blessed to be in one of the biggest outdoor playgrounds in the country. The Denver metro is absolutely surrounded by wildernesses and green spaces; here are just a few of the best state and national parks in proximity to Littleton, CO.
Known for its sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding foothills, Chatfield State Park encompasses nearly 4,000 acres of diverse landscapes, from rolling green hills to shimmering water reservoirs to forested footpaths. Licensed Colorado fisherfolk also love to cast lines in the water to reel in rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, and catfish.
Cherry Creek State Park is a popular destination for Denverites looking to swim, hike, and explore the nearly 900-acre wilderness. Its reservoir makes for a great fishing site (even in the winter, though you’ll have to drill through some ice to do it!), and its 35 miles of trail, including 12 miles of paved trails, makes it a great spot for hikers and cyclists, too.
A world-class destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all types, but rock climbers in particular, Eldorado Canyon State Park offers more than 500 technical rock-climbing routes, as well as a host of other activities such as hiking, biking, fishing and boating. The park consists of more than 800 acres of beautiful Colorado countryside and is sure to please everyone from serious adventure enthusiasts to those just looking for a walk in the park.
Spanning nearly 12,000 acres, Golden Gate Canyon State Park truly offers an incredible diversity of habitats for wildlife and activities for humans. With over 50 miles of trail, 22 miles of which are set aside for cyclists and equestrians, this park is an incredible place to get out on the land — and potentially experience encounters with critters like mule deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion, Abert's squirrel, pine squirrel, and even moose!
At nearly 4,000 acres, Roxborough State Park is an epic landscape characterized by its dramatic red sandstone geological formations. The park is also home to a variety of unique plant and wildlife communities, and is known for its seasonal wildflower blooms.
Covering more than 1,100 square miles, the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests beckon to those who live on the front range, offering nearly endless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and so many other adventures. There are also several campgrounds and rentable cabins in this wilderness area, though keep in mind that some activities and campsites require permits and passes.
John Denver talked about the “Colorado Rocky Mountain high,” and anyone who’s visited Rocky Mountain National Park certainly understands his adoration. Stunning, snow-capped peaks surrounded by beautiful forests, alpine lakes, and a plethora of plant and animal life it’s tough to find elsewhere, the Rockies really are a retreat for anyone who lives nearby — or travels from afar to see them.
Given all the incredible natural spaces around Denver, it might not surprise you to learn that you don’t have to venture very far afield at all to find some great footpaths. Here are some of the best hiking trails in and around Littleton, Colorado.
One of the most popular hikes in the area — and for good reason — Carpenter Peak Trail offers a great ratio of effort to payoff. At about six and a half miles in length and seeing about 1,000 feet in elevation gain, this trail will certainly raise your heart rate… but not in a way that’ll make you feel overwhelmed. Plus, you’re rewarded with sweeping valley views and, in the right seasons, beautiful wild flowers. It’s a win all around.
Tucked into Deer Creek Canyon Park, the Meadowlark Plymouth Creek and Plymouth Mountain Loop Trail runs about six miles and sees approximately 1,300 feet of elevation gain during that span, putting it firmly into the moderate-to-challenging category. However, this trail is popular and well worth the climb thanks to its beautiful green hillsides, towering forested trails and a great opportunity for wildlife viewing.
Looking for a trail that’s a little less taxing — but doesn’t short on the views? The Fountain Valley Loop Trail is a popular option inside Roxborough State Park, offering hikers the opportunity to view the stunning red rock formations this area is so renowned for over the course of a two-mile hike seeing only 300 or so feet of elevation gain. Because it’s relatively flat, this trail is popular amongst rail runners, too!
Nestled into Chatfield State Park and incredibly close to downtown Littleton, the Waterton Canyon Short Hike is short… by Colorado standards. Which is to say, the trail runs about six miles all told (it’s an out-and-back adventure) and sees less than 400 feet in elevation gain. Featuring a lake and some beautiful forested areas, it’s relatively easy — but not as short as its name might make you think!
Those after a more serious adventure might consider tackling Colorado Trail: Segment One. A smaller segment of a longer through-hike, this trail still measures 18 miles, running from Chatfield State Park down to the South Platte area. Over that time the trail does run into some fairly steep hills, seeing almost 3,000 feet in elevation gain altogether. In short: be sure you’re prepared. But if you are, prepare for some stunning scenery!
With all the outdoor (and indoor!) adventures to engage in while you’re in Littleton, you’re definitely going to need to stop for a meal or three. Here are some of the best restaurants to check out in the Littleton area, from Italian to Mexican to Indian and everything in between.
Tacos, tequila, guacamole and more are on offer at Palenque Cocina y Agaveria, which is widely considered one of the best Mexican restaurants in Littleton. Having been covered by a wide variety of press outlets in the Denver area and the nation at large, this isn’t a place you want to skip!
When the place’s name literally means flavor, you can’t go wrong, right? Zaika Indian Cuisine is a beloved Littleton staple for those craving some delicious Indian eats. Serving authentic, handcrafted plates piled high with all your favorites, this is the perfect spot for lunch or dinner any day of the week.
Colorado may be landlocked… but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some delicious, fresh fish. Sushi Basho serves everything from handcrafted rolls to a la carte sashimi, as well as a full menu of hot Japanese and Asian dishe to please those in your group who might be a little less adventurous.
Earning their reputation for fresh and delicious food over generations of service, Romano’s Italian Restaurant is family owned and operated… and will make you feel like family as soon as you walk in the door. From classic favorites like Pasta con Olio e Aglio to gluten-free pastas and stunning desserts, one look at this menu will leave your mouth watering.
A great option for those searching for vegan and vegetarian eats, Damascus Grill is widely considered one of the best restaurants in Littleton under any category. Serving up delicious and nutritious Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, from spanikopita to oven-roasted lamb to shawarma, there’s no shortage of incredible options at this place.
It looks unassuming from the outside, but Wild Ginger is arguably the best Thai food you’ll find in the metro area. Whether you’re in the mood for some classic pad Thai or one of the deliciously spicy specialties, Wild Ginger is always a good bet. They don’t water down or Americanize their cooking; the flavors are dynamic and the presentation is beautiful.
If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, I would recommend J Street Food Truck. Their sweet and spicy Brussels may change your life – and I haven’t even mentioned their tacos yet. I’m not sure how they pack so much flavor or so many unique profiles into their dishes, but I do know this truck is worth your time.
While the great outdoors and the great dining might keep you occupied for a while, there are plenty of other incredible things to see, do, and explore in Littleton. Here are some of our favorite options.
The Denver metro is an excellent place to raise a family — and there are some great things to do with the kids within an easy drive of Littleton.
Need a little break to get some stuff done — or simply have some kids who are chomping at the bit to have a great time in a fun, kid-friendly atmosphere? JoJo’s Playground offers pre-school and school-age care complete with arts and crafts activities, playground equipment and more. Your kids will love their time there… and so will you!
Getting kids involved and engaged with science is sometimes easier said than done. But at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, there are an endless array of interactive and educational exhibits that make learning fun… for real!
While there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Littleton and the greater Denver area during the daytime, there’s also some fun stuff to get into after hours. Here are some of our top things to do in Littleton once the sun goes down.
Interested in spirits… and spirits? Nightly Spirits - Denver offers unique and exciting tours and pub crawls with a ghostly spin: you’ll get all the insider deets of the souls who used to frequent these streets — and who may be hanging around with some unfinished business to attend to. Corporate and bachelorette-themed events are also available.
The last remaining drive-in in the Denver metro, 88 Drive-in Theatre is one of our top picks for folks looking for things for couples to do in and around Littleton. Sit back with you sweetie in the comfort and privacy of your own car and enjoy new films as well as old classics. There’s also an incredible snack bar that goes well above and beyond popcorn and candy: share a fresh pizza or chow down on a cheeseburger, and save some room for funnel cake after!
While it’s easy to spend more than you mean to while you’re having a good time, there are some great ways to get familiar with Littleton without overwhelming your wallet. Here are some of the best options for things to do in Littleton for those on a budget.
Denver’s Tattered Cover is one of those independent bookstores you just have to give yourself an hour or so to browse — or a couple of hours, if you’re a bibliophile. With a wide range of genres, a rotating calendar of literary events and an excellent cafe on site, we wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up staying a whole day, to be honest.
With a mission to “make art a part of everyday life,” the Museum of Outdoor Arts, located in the nearby neighborhood of Engleton, CO is an incredible place to enjoy unique installations and exhibits. Sculpture Valley make it possible to literally walk through the experience of art… and also makes for an excellent Instagram photo opp.
It’s true: there are a variety of things to do in town that are absolutely free of charge. Here are a few to consider.
What’s the only thing on earth better than candy? Why, free candy, of course. When you take a tour of the Hammond’s candy factory, you’ll get the opportunity to learn how delights like lollipops, candy canes and other sweets are crafted… and you’ll even get to take home a sample of your own, fresh from the factory floor.
The community of Littleton has a unique and surprising history — and the Littleton Museum, set aside on 40 acres adjacent to Ketring Lake, was built to preserve and display that legacy. Visitors have the chance to grow a deeper understanding of this town as it was then and as it is now, and best of all, the museum offers free admission.
Come here with an appetite for movies – and an appetite in general. While this Austin franchise has spread far and wide across the U.S., each location is unique to its surrounding (the Colorado outpost has a shrine to The Shining, which Stephen King wrote after being inspired by a local hotel, so don’t miss your chance for a “Here’s Johnny” photo op). Don't expect just regular movies here: their calendar typically includes themed sing-alongs, a movie paired with a three-course meal and beers from a local brewery, special showtimes for babies and their parents, kids camps, and film screenings with live comedy team Mile High Sci-Fi.
Everyone needs to pamper themselves from time to time. Here are some of the best day spas and salons in Littleton.
The Woodhouse Day Spa is a local chain that’s earned its success through its reputation — a reputation for tranquility and transformation that explains why it’s such a popular option. Offering a wide range of spa services such as skin care, massage therapy, hand and foot care, and even sleep treatments, this place is all about making you look and feel healthy, well-rested, and ready to take on anything.
Massages and facials are one thing — but if you’re looking to step up your game, Five Wellbeing Studio and Spa offers a truly unique and holistic experience, including extra services such as acupressure and the option to use sound vibrational chairs.
Using Aveda products — which are crafted with natural botanicals and ingredients — Avalon Salon & Spa offers a beautiful and serene experience and a wide range of treatments, from hairstyling and color to nail care, aromatherapy massages, foot reflexology and more. It’s all offered in a space whose atmosphere is definitely part of the package: chic, beautiful and welcoming.
Want to be in good enough shape to tackle those mountains on the horizon? Here are the best gyms and yoga studios to check out in the Littleton area.
True health is about more than just working out or eating a certain way — it’s about the whole package, about how you feel in your body every day. At the Whole Health Club, clients are trained in both exercise and diet, as well as being brought into a community, creating a holistic way to achieve health goals while also making friends and having fun.
The Maha Soul Yoga Studio gets its name from the Sanskrit word meaning “great, mighty, abundant” — and you’ll feel all three when you commit to a yoga practice with this unique community. With a range of practices taught by compassionate and motivated teachers, you’ll feel welcomed and grounded right from the start.
Clearly, you don’t have to go far from Littleton to have a great time… but the fact remains that there are some great places to see within just a couple hours’ drive. Here are some fun day trips to consider while you’re calling Littleton home base!
A thriving community just over an hour south of Denver, Colorado Springs is home to some incredible outdoor spaces and activities. For example, you could attempt the physical challenge that is climbing the Manitou Incline… or take it a bit easier by kicking back to watch the sunset over the Garden of the Gods. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your time here!
Did you know that Fort Collins is considered Colorado’s craft beer capital? Along with its array of local fare, this town is also home to one of the best-known breweries in the world: Anheuser-Busch! And like other parts of the state, it also has a whole outdoor playground in its backyard.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Littleton that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Littleton? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.