Central City

Founded in 1859 by gold miners, Central City is a hidden gem in the Rocky Mountains. Although it is only 35 (scenic) miles west of Denver, you might feel like you've been transported back in time.

Central City History, Gold & Mine Tours

The historic town of Central City still has many of the original buildings, architecture, gold mines and Old-West cemeteries intact and visible. History buffs and mining enthusiasts can take tour sof the Coeur D’Alene or Hidee mines and even pan for gold.

When gold was discovered in 1859, Central City’s population boomed to 10,000 in just two months. A city full of miners hoping to strike it rich makes an excellent setting for wild tales. Buildings such as the Teller House Hotel have seen many fistfights and knife fights. Madam Lou Bunch owned the most successful brothel (or “sporting house”) and is still remembered today with the annual Madam Lou Bunch Day and bed race.

Central City Opera House

Central City is also the proud home of the Central City Opera House — home to the fifth oldest professional opera company in the country. Each summer, the opera festival brings in hundreds of visitors to experience the magic of a world-class opera production in the original jewel-box opera house, built in 1878. Learn all about it — and other historic buildings — at the Gilpin History Museum, or book a tour. And check out the Gilpin County Arts Association, which displays galleries and exhibits from various artists year-round.

Central City Casinos

The town is also a popular destination for gamers. The six casinos, near Denver, are open 24 hours a day and are all within walking distance of each other, making for endless chances to try your luck at slot machines, table games, video poker and more. 

Outdoor Adventure

At more than 8,000 feet of elevation, nearby Clear Creek Canyon has some of the best whitewater rafting and rock climbing in Colorado. Chase Gulch Reservoir is open to the public for water recreation, like fly-fishing, paddleboarding or kayaking. The surrounding trail systems are also opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, running, mountain biking and other great high-altitude activities.

Nearby Accommodations