Free Tours in Denver, Boulder & Colorado Springs

There are plenty of quality free tours to round out any expedition in Colorado, especially in the Front Range cities of Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs.

Colorado State Capitol building in Denver

Take these suggestions, and you’ll walk away with money in your pocket and enlightenment for your brain.

The United States Mint Tour

Alas, there are no free samples at the conclusion of this free tour, but you do get a fascinating view of the mint’s history and of present-day coin manufacturing. Denver’s mint facility was established in 1863, a year after Denver was founded when miners rushed to stake their claim on the gold that was discovered here. Today, the Denver Mint typically produces more than 50 million coins a day including all denominations of circulating and commemorative coins.

Know Before You Go:
Tours run Monday through Friday, with the exception of federal holidays, and six tours are offered each day. Tickets are required, and you get those from the info window on Cherokee Street on the same day of your tour. The ticket window opens at 7 am on tour days and stays open until tickets for all six of the day have run out. Kiddos have to be at least 7 to take the tour, and the only thing you can carry in with you is an ID-sized wallet. Find more details about touring the U.S. Mint in Denver

The Money Museum

Explore your love/hate relationship with greenbacks at The Money Museum in the Denver branch of the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Want to wrap your mind around what $30 million looks like? You can do it here. Think you have a better design for the nation’s currency? They provide the supplies for you to take a stab at creating the United States’ next dollar. Learn how to tell the difference between a counterfeit and a legit $20 bill. When was your last chance to view a $100,000 bill? This might serve as your one and only. Find tour insights and a kids' scavenger hunt for your tour of The Money Museum

Know Before You Go:
No reservations are required for self-guided tours Monday through Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 9:30am–4:30pm (the last entry is 3:30pm). For guided group tours, reservations must be made at least 15 days in advance using the online form. Photo ID is required for those 18 and older. Learn more about touring The Money Museum

The Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion

The Colorado Governor’s mansion in Denver was constructed as a private residence in 1908. Today, visitors can see art and artifacts from three prominent pioneer families — Cheesman, Evans and Boettcher — who lived in the home from 1908 to 1958. The last private resident, Edna Boettcher, bequeathed the glorious home to the state to be used as a governor’s residence. Known fondly as Colorado’s Home, a highlight of the tour includes a Waterford crystal chandelier in the ground-floor drawing room that previously hung in the White House ballroom in the late 19th century.

Know Before You Go:
To book a school or group tour, fill out this request form well in advance of the date you'd like to visit. The residence also offers public tours for select days in December, when visitors can see the majestic home decked out in festive seasonal finery. Find more information about touring The Colorado Governor's Residence

Colorado Capitol Building Tour

Among the many things you’ll learn on a Colorado Capitol Building tour is that the 24-karat-plated dome capping the building commemorates Colorado’s Gold Rush days. More details about the building’s construction and stained glass, early Colorado history, presidential portraits and more are unveiled to tour participants. On your way out be sure to spot the plaque that marks one mile above sea level on the 13th step on the building’s western side. 

Know Before You Go:
First come, first served guided tours are offered every hour, on the hour, Monday through Friday between 10am and 2pm. Visitors should use either the north entrance (at Colfax and Sherman avenues) or the accessible entrance (at 14th and Sherman avenues). Note that tours include a 99-step climb to the capitol's dome; a closed captioned video tour of the dome is available near the third floor elevators so that everyone can experience it. Learn more about touring Colorado's Capitol Building

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

If you’ve been perplexed by weather phenomena, perhaps it’s time to head to Boulder to visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Devoted to atmospheric and related NCAR's one-hour tour that informs guests about climate and weather from the perspective of a world-class laboratory. The views of beautiful Boulder from atop the center’s perch can’t be beat.

Know Before You Go:
Tours are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 1pm, with the exception of federal holidays. In summer (June through August), an additional tour is offered on Saturday. Self-guided tours of the NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor center are available via their app, and visitors can check out iPads from the front desk on weekdays during the hours of 8am and 4pm. Find more info on touring NCAR

U.S. Air Force Academy

Tour on your own timetable and stop by the visitor center and the Cadet Chapel, catch a show at the planetarium, and walk along the nature trail at the U.S. Air Force Academy at the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. If you visit on Monday, Wednesday or Friday at noon, you might spot the cadets marching to lunch.

Know Before You Go:
Backpacks and large bags are prohibited. The visitor center is open daily from 9am to 5pm, excluding holidays. The Cadet Chapel is currently closed for renovations until 2027. Enter the academy through the north (exit 156B from I-25) or south (exit 150 from I-25) gates. All adults are required to carry photo ID. Learn more about visiting the Air Force Academy

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Photo: Colorado State Capitol building in Denver; copyright flickr/krossbow.