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Colorado Vacation Stops

The Mighty Arvada, Denver's Satellite Olde Town

Stop and stay in Arvada, 15 minutes from downtown Denver, for a charming
historic downtown experience.

Arvada’s history began when Lewis Ralston discovered gold here in 1850, at the confluence of an unnamed tributary of Clear Creek, now known as Ralston Creek. It was the first documented gold strike in Colorado. Today, Arvada’s unique amenities include the historic downtown, Olde Town which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Old Town provides an eclectic shopping and dining experience with more than 70 businesses located around a central town square.

Boutique Shopping

Arvada’s Olde Town is full of locally owned shops and restaurants. Head to Sock, which literally sells hundreds of pairs of socks from sports team themes to silly ones with hamburgers or iconic sights. At Lovely, discover jewelry, women’s clothing, scarves, hats, shoes and purses. In Vouna, you’ll find all made-in-America goods from lifestyle gifts to women’s clothes and home decor. There’s a little something for everyone in this historic downtown. 

Food Scene

Arvada’s proximity to downtown Denver has led to a thriving local food scene. Bluegrass Coffee & Bourbon Lounge offers coffee, pastries and breakfast sandwiches in the morning and bourbon (along with wine and beer) at night. Its pizza has garnered awards for the Best of Arvada two consecutive years. Denver Beer Co. opened up the Olde Town Arvada Taproom here, which features a vintage Airstream trailer called The Mighty where you can order artisan burgers and French fries.

School House Kitchen and Libations in Arvada, Colorado
School House Kitchen and Libationshoto by Rich Grant courtesy of Visit Arvada

The only bell you have to worry about at School House Kitchen & Libations in Arvada is the dinner bell.

Located in a schoolhouse built in 1882, this restaurant features the Library Bar, Home Room dining room and the upstairs Teachers Lounge. You’ll recognize the small plastic classroom chairs you sat on during elementary school as repurposed bar stools. Hundreds of No. 2 yellow pencils make up the bar countertop and pictures of presidents hang on the wall over the bar, which stocks more than 1,100 types of whiskey. (

“He [owner Scott Spears] took the school house concept to heart,” says Jean Gordon, Arvada Visitors Center director. “It’s a great place to hang out.”

Wildlife Refuge

Friends Pond at Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge in Arvada, Coloarod
Friends Pond at Two Ponds National Wildlife RefugeSeth Eres/USFWS

You’ve been to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and Colorado National Monument. But have you been to the smallest urban refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge system? In Arvada, Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge covers 72 acres and is home to three ponds. One hundred and twenty bird species use the refuge. It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is part of a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants.


The Pearl, The Hummingbird and The Garden are the names of the three fully-furnished apartments that make up the Victorian-style boutique hotel, Arvada Dragonfly. Located in Olde Town, it’s steps away from restaurants and shopping and can be rented by the night, week or month. All units have kitchens. On the other side of Olde Town is the Hilton Garden Inn, which opened in 2017 and offers modern decor, an indoor saline pool and fitness center to keep you in shape.

Fun Facts About Arvada

Arvada was named “The 2nd Happiest Mid-Sized City in America” by Movoto in 2014, and ranked number 13 in the “Top 50 Most Livable Cities in America” by in 2015.

Back in the 1870s, agriculture was the mainstay of the town and Arvada was renowned as the “Celery Capital of the World.”

For more information:
Arvada Visitors Center