Not flying to the Mayan Riviera for spring break, this year? That’s okay, Colorado isn’t such a bad place to be in March. After all, our mountains are the spring break mecca for Texans and other snow lovers. If you do have some cash—the snow is still holding—head up the hill for a day trip of skiing or snowboarding. But if you really want to save some bucks, opt for a super-relaxing staycation and take advantage of the freebies going on all around us.
Hudson Gardens-Daily, 9am-5pm
While this is a no-brainer destination in the growing season, Hudson Gardens is a beautiful place to explore this time of year, too, from the conifer grove, ponds, and wetlands, to the adjacent trail that runs for miles along the Platte River. Learn more.
Free Day at Four Mile Historic Park-Mar. 7, noon-4pm
Travel back to 1859 at this Denver landmark, where you’ll pan for gold, tour the city’s oldest structure, meet many farm animals, and enjoy a snapshot of frontier life. Learn more.
Denver Mint-Every Monday through Thursday, 8am-3:30pm
Take a free, 45-minute guided tour to learn about the history of the United States Mint and the craftsmanship required at all stages of the minting process, from original designs and sculptures to the actual striking of the coins. And don’t miss the gift shop for unique memorabilia. Reservations required.
National Center for Atmospheric Research-Daily
Through exhibits, self-guided tours, and guided tours (held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon), learn about global warming, the 21st century’s hottest topic. See a hailstone the size of a softball, watch as a miniature tornado is whipped up in front of your eyes, and get an up-close look at how lightning is created. Learn more.
Colorado State Capitol Tour-Weekdays, 10am-3pm
Tour the just-repaired, golden-domed Colorado Capitol Building, which boasts 200 ounces of 24k gold. Stand at exactly a mile high on the 13th western-facing step. Marvel at Allen True’s beautiful murals, the rose onyx wainscoting, and the live shenanigans of Colorado General Assembly. Learn more.
Celestial Seasonings Tour-Mon.-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun., 11am-3pm
A 45-minute tour gives you the inside scoop on how the largest specialty tea manufacturer in North America blends, packages, and ships its teas. Prepare yourself for the sinus-clearing Mint Room, then enjoy free samples of every variety and discover a gallery of original artwork from their famous tea boxes. Learn more.
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame-Thurs.-Sat. 10am-3pm
Housed on the west side of Sports Authority Field At Mile High Stadium, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum honors the legacies of the city’s greatest sports heroes, and features the Gallery of Legends, a “Great Moments in Colorado Sports” exhibit, and a section celebrating the achievements of girls and women in Colorado sports. Guided tours are 75-90 minutes and include both the museum and stadium. Learn more.