The Rocky Mountains dominate the western half of Colorado, offering a variety of recreational activities—from hiking in Bighorn Canyon to whitewater rafting in the Royal Gorge. There's also skiing in luxurious Aspen, where celebrities gather on the slopes, sometimes on their way back from the renowned film festival at Telluride.
But Colorado's mountainous attractions aren't just for the rich and famous. The state, after all, is home to Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can enjoy the changing flora and fauna as you move to higher and higher elevations. And at Mesa Verde National Park, you can step back in time and imagine what life might have been like for the Pueblo Indians. Six hundred of their cliff dwellings are preserved on site.
If you want to step even further back in time, try Dinosaur National Monument. The former Douglass Quarry is one of the few places in the United States where such fossils have been left in place. You can see more than 1,400 fossil bones, untouched for 150 million years.
Not all of Colorado's attractions are out in the wild. Denver, for example, is the Mile-High City, and at the capitol they prove it, with a marker that indicates the spot precisely 5,280 feet above sea level. The city offers some first-class museums, notably the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. You can also reserve a spot on a tour of the Denver Mint, the single largest producer of coins in the world. Just make sure to understand the rules before visiting—for security reasons, the Mint has a fairly long list of prohibited items.
As well as seeing where money is made, you can also spend it in Denver. Try Santa Fe Drive for art galleries, Broadway Avenue for antiques and retro items, and the 16th Street pedestrian mall for excellent people watching as well as shopping.