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Be a tourist for a day – visit the quintessentially Colorado

In the same way that Parisians may rarely visit the Louvre or New Yorkers deem the Empire State Building essential to the cityscape but rarely visiting its observation deck, far too many Rocky Mountain locals miss the attractions that helped earn our state its “Colorful Colorado” nickname.

Whether you’re a history buff, entertaining out-of- town guests, in need of educational kids activities, or you just want a change of scenery, any one of these nine nearby attractions is a must-see.

A. Denver Mint

Tours are free at this federal coin factory housed in a turn-of-the-century building and responsible for producing roughly half of the U.S. coins in circulation. Tours review the history and technology behind the minting process. Considering the waning popularity of cash over “plastic,” it may be worthwhile to see the Denver Mint before a day when coins become obsolete.

B. Four Mile Historic Park

Barb Gibson, executive director of this historic park 4 miles from downtown Denver on the banks of Cherry Creek, says roughly 50,000 people visit the site each year. They come for special events like “An Affair of the Heart,” a recent program about Franklin D. Roosevelt. They also turn up to survey the area’s oldest structure still standing on its original location, along with “Living History Days” on the second Sunday of each month, in which costumed docents sew, quilt, cook and blacksmith much in the same way they would have 150 years ago.

C. Lakewood Heritage Center

It’s easy to zip past Belmar Park coming or going on