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, it will feel like you’ve transported back in time about 150 years. 


Learn more about Central City

Downtown Central City with red-brick buildings with red awnings on a blue-sky day.
Downtown Central City
Red-barn Coeur d' Alene Mine surrounded by green trees.
Coeur d' Alene Mine
Streetview of Grand Z Casino and Hotel in Central City
Central City's Casinos
Black engine train in Central City
Train in Central City
Madam Lou Bunch Bed Race with man in hat holding onto footboard, woman dressed in black behind him on the bed and man in red pushing the bed down the Main Street.
Madam Lou Bunch Bed Race
Two shots of beer with Central City Colorado on the side.
Stout in Central City
Summer photo of the stone Central City Opera.
Central City Opera
Downtown Central City's Visitors Center
Central City Visitors Center
Red inflatable boat with three people whitewater rafting through rapids.
Whitewater Rafting near Central City
Aerial view of Central City
Experience Central City today.
Central City
103 Eureka Street, Central City, CO 80427

If you’re looking for things to do near the Mile High City without going too far, Central City may be the perfect destination for you. The historic town of Central City still has many of the original buildings, architecture, gold mines and Old-West cemeteries intact and visible. Those interested in Colorado history may love taking a tour of the Coeur D’Alene or Hidee mines.

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 is also the proud home of 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. You may also want to check out the Gilpin County Arts Association, which displays galleries and exhibits from various artists year-round.

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. Stay at Century Casino & Hotel or Grand Z Casino & Hotel in upscale hotel rooms to live the full Central City experience.

While Central City is best known for its history and gaming, to not mention its breathtaking mountain setting and the recreation opportunities that come with it would be a disservice. At more than 8,000 feet 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. Visitors can fly-fish, paddleboard or kayak. In the surrounding trail systems are also opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, running, mountain biking and other great high-altitude activities.

Central City is close enough to Denver to just take a day trip, but if you prefer to stay a night or two, check out the many hotels or the KOA campground. There are several restaurants throughout town to keep you fueled for hours of casino fun or historical tours. Whatever you choose to do in Central City, it’ll be a visit you won’t forget.

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