Golden sparkles with more than liquid amber: Beyond the Coors Brewing Company, the historic town harbors antiques stores, progressive restaurants, and the mountain-chilled waters of Clear Creek.
From Denver, drive 12 miles west on U.S. 6 and turn right on 19th St., then left on Washington Ave. For more information, visit www.goldencochamber.org or call 303/279-3113.
Riverboarding Splash down Clear Creek's rapids on a riverboard; just catching on in the States, it's similar to a bodyboard. INFO: Golden-based manufacturer RipBoard offers half-day lessons from $50, including equipment; 303/904-8367.
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum Kaleidoscopic marvels stitched by masters. INFO: Closed Sun; $5; 1111 Washington Ave.; 303/277-0377.
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave Don cowboy duds, lasso a calf (made of fiberglass), and discover the hunter, scout, and famed showman of the Wild West show. INFO: $3; 987½ Lookout Mountain Rd.; 303/526-0744.
For fireworks and small-town charm, check out the Heritage Square Independence Day Celebration (Jul 1-4; 18301 W. Colfax Ave.; 303/279-2789). For a real western showdown, don't miss Buffalo Bill Days (Jul 25-29; Parfet Park on Washington Ave.; 303/384-0003).
Pickets Adornments for home and garden: handmade jewelry, matching mother/daughter aprons, and kids' knits ― many crafted by local artists. INFO: 1118 Washington Ave.; 303/278-1601.
Foss General Store Shop for old-timey treasures like vintage pinball machines and 1950s dinette sets. INFO: 1224 Washington Ave.; 303/279-3373.
Buffalo Rose Saloon Live bands play at one of Colorado's oldest taverns, dating back to the late 1800s. INFO: 1119 Washington Ave.; 303/278-6800.EAT
Hilltop Bistro Dine on the secluded garden patio for fresh renditions of the classics. The turkey sandwich is a standout. INFO: $$$; closed Sun; 1518 Washington Ave.; 303/279-8151.
Bridgewater Grill Enjoy a Chardonnay at the outdoor bar while you wait for a table on the justifiably popular creekside deck. INFO: $$$; 800 11th St.; 303/279-2010.
The Golden Hotel (from $109; 303/279-0100) has creekside rooms with Old West decor; pets are welcomed with a goodie bag.
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