Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Arapahoe County, CO

  • Published 2023/05/20

Along its historic sites, Arapahoe County, Colorado is also buzzing with a rich and vibrant lifestyle, which has drawn many people to live and work here.

I love the serenity of its nature preserves and the people are beyond amazing.

Not only that the county offers a vibrant lifestyle, but it also has a progressive economy and exciting attractions no matter the season.

Founded in 1861, is recognized as Colorado’s First County with its origins that came before the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.

It has a population of 655,070 as of the 2020 census and was named for the Arapaho Native American tribe, who settled in the area.

From corn mazes, haunted houses, festivals, hiking trails, and to dining or shopping, the county never runs out of fun and exciting adventures for everyone.

My visit to the county was one for the books, and I’d love to share it with you.

So, I’ve rounded up a list of the best things to do in Arapahoe County, Colorado that can surely help you in your travels.

Play in the Water at Aurora Reservoir in Aurora

Fishing at Aurora Reservoir

Jim Lambert /

Whether you’re here to go fishing, swimming, boating, or simply to enjoy nature and get closer to the water, Aurora Reservoir doesn’t disappoint.

I was impressed by how clean the water is at the reservoir, and the beach area is a perfect spot to swim or just soak in the sun while relaxing.

Boating was tempting, especially since you get to maximize the entire reservoir with breathtaking views, but as soon as I learned that they rent out kayaks and canoes, I hit it off.

Bird's eye view of the Aurora Reservoir

denver_flyer, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was great to paddle in the water and swim at the same time.

There are lifeguards on duty and you can also enjoy a picnic and barbecues on the grill.

You can either purchase a day pass or a season pass to enter Aurora Reservoir.

Bring a Picnic to Great Plains Park in Aurora

Not all parks offer a great spot for picnics and barbecues, but Great Plains Park in Aurora doesn’t disappoint.

The park features picnic shelters with tables to use, where you can settle down and share a delicious picnic with your loved ones.

There are also grills at the picnic area for delicious barbecues while enjoying the park’s relaxing atmosphere.

Also, if you visit here sometime between May and September, your little ones can enjoy the park’s splash pad.

They can also have their time of life at the playground, where they can play with other children visiting the park.

So, if you’re in the Aurora area, Great Plains Park is the best spot to spend a family picnic.

Get Caffeinated at 303 Coffee Company in Centennial

When we were driving around in the Centennial area, we passed by a quaint, locally-owned coffee shop called 303 Coffee Company, which offers the best cup of coffee in town.

As a coffee connoisseur, I find the coffee here special with its handcrafted drinks and delicious breakfast eats.

I love its relaxing and laid-back atmosphere, especially on easy days when you only have to sit and enjoy your favorite latte or espresso.

The espresso here was my best choice.

I’m not a fan of pastries or anything to eat when I’m having coffee, but I did try its delicious croissant and breakfast burrito, and they’re all worth the penny.

303 Coffee Company only sources its beans and other ingredients locally, which is a good sign of supporting local products.

Go Back in Time at the 17 Mile House Farm Park in Centennial

View of the 17 Mile House Farm Park in Centennial

Thomas Stockman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See a 160-year-old farmhouse in Centennial, which used to be the resting stop of the first settlers in the region in the 1860s on the Cherokee wagon trails to Denver.

The 17 Mile House Farm Park features a historic house, a loafing shed, a silo, a red barn, and a milk house.

These were all restored to their state in the 1900s alongside the two windmills and open spaces.

This 70-acre farm is part of the county’s open space and is one of the rest stations along Cherry Creek to cater to travelers passing by.

Among these rest stops though, only two of them exist today, including the 17 Mile House Farm Park, and the 4 Mile House.

The names were based on downtown Denver’s distance from them.

This place is also great for taking photos, which I did when I was here, and you can walk around and see the 19th-century farm from its own perspective.

In n1983, 17 Mile House Farm Park entered the National Register of Historic Places.

Catch Live Performances at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village

I love going to concerts and plays, and one of the best places I’ve been to is Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre.

It’s a huge outdoor amphitheater that can seat up to 18,000 guests and is the largest one in the Denver metropolitan area.

I’m a fan of the rock band Alice in Chains, so when they had a show here, I didn’t hesitate to buy a ticket to watch them live.

The lawn at the amphitheater was amazing and I also had a chance to see the sunset, which was one for the books!

Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre opened in 1988 and is owned by the Museum of Outdoor Arts.

Dine at Tocabe in Greenwood Village

When I was looking for a spot to satisfy my umami cravings, I stumbled upon Tocabe in Greenwood Village, which serves American-Indian cuisine.

The moment I stepped inside the restaurant, I can smell the aroma of Native American cuisine.

It’s a counter-served restaurant known for its mouthwatering signature fry bread in different kinds of preparation, but my best choice was its delicious Indian Taco.

I also love its vegan options for those who have diet restrictions.

But you should also try its delicious chipotle, hominy, grilled bannock bread, bison ribs, and buffalo ribs.

All these are prepared in Native American style, which is amazing.

Spend a Day at Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora

Pelicans at Cherry Creek State Park

Images by Dr. Alan Lipkin /

The great outdoors is endless in Arapahoe County and is one of the best ones to visit, especially Cherry Creek State Park with amazing wildlife.

Established in 1959, the 3,346-acre park consists of an 880-acre reservoir, a beach, a shooting range, trails, wetlands, and natural prairies.

I spent time here swimming and paddle boarding with my family, which was fun and exciting, especially in the summer.

You can also see people kayaking or canoeing.

Hiking trail at Cherry Creek State Park

Chris Anthony Brian /

If you’re into fishing, horseback riding, or camping, you can do all these at the park.

Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora is also home to many wildlife that roam throughout the park.

Look out for birds, deer, coyotes, beavers, muskrats, raccoons, squirrels, and a lot more.

Boating at Cherry Creek State Park

Susan Hodgson /

Hang Out at The Sportsbook Bar and Grill in Greenwood Village

After a long day, cap the night and enjoy at The Sportsbook Bar and Grill, where you can watch your favorite sport while having a drink and mouthwatering food.

The bar features lots of TVs everywhere to ensure that you get to watch sports wherever in the bar you’re settled.

Don’t miss out on its popular signature wings and sauce that are way out of this world!

There are also pool tables and shuffleboards to play with.

I also love that The Sportsbook Bar and Grill is consistent with its Colorado draft beers on tap.

Cool Down at Del Mar Park in Aurora

In the summertime, it can be hot in Arapahoe County, but Del Mar Park in Aurora got your back.

Take a plunge into its swimming pool with a diving board and water slide, as well as lifeguards on duty for everyone’s safety.

I also love its grassy areas, where you can just lay your blanket and relax.

You can also use the picnic tables to share a delicious snack or lunch with your loved ones.

Overall, Del Mar Park is a perfect spot for families with or without smaller kids.

Take the Kids to Belleview Park in Englewood

Model of a missile at Belleview Park in Englewood

Alan Wilson from Weston, Spalding, Lincs, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re traveling with kids in tow, there’s a place in Englewood called Belleview Park, which is a great spot to burn off the kids’ energy.

My nieces and nephews here love the petting zoo and the little train, as well as the two different play structures for smaller and bigger kids, where they had a chance to run, climb, swing, and slide.

It was a great interaction for them with other kids and before we knew it, they were knocked out early at night, but they had a lot of fun.

The creek that runs through Belleview Park is also great to cool your feet in.

Overall, it was a fun day for the littles, and I’m sure your kids will also love the park!

Buy Unique Gifts and Souvenirs at Heritage Cards & Gifts in Englewood

Don’t be empty-handed when you head back home.

Drop by at Heritage Cards & Gifts and enjoy browsing its unique items perfect for gifts for your loved ones and as a souvenir for this trip.

Choose from any of its wonderful collectibles, greeting cards, puzzles, candles, ornaments, home decor, and several vintage and antique finds.

Any kinds of gift for all ages are available at Heritage Cards & Gifts, which is perfect for anyone visiting the area who wants to grab something for their loved ones.

I was engrossed in its eclectic collection and I love the friendly atmosphere.

Browse Beautiful Antiques at Colorado Antique Gallery in Littleton

I’m also an antique lover, and I was glad to bump into Colorado Antique Gallery during our road trip to Littleton.

The mall houses over 250 vendors selling unique and charming antiques you can’t find elsewhere.

Recognized as the largest antique mall in the Denver area, I was impressed by its eclectic antique collection and fabulous finds.

From collectibles, glass furniture, and memorabilia to spectacular vintage and shabby chic home decor, Colorado Antique Gallery is a gem in the hood!

As soon I step in, I was automatically occupied by all its amazing collection.

Learn Local History at Littleton Museum in Littleton

Interior view of a cabin at Littleton Museum

Jim Lambert /

Get a slice of local history while in the Littleton area and visit Littleton Museum, which will expose you to immersive experiences and exhibits.

I was impressed by the museum’s permanent exhibit, which tells the story back in time and how life was in the 1860s.

I’ve seen historic photographs, artifacts, unique objects, animal homes, and lots of farm animals to see.

I recommend watching a short video at the museum about the history of Littleton and all its significance from the past before touring around.

The living history farms at Littleton Museum offer a glimpse of the Front Range of Colorado in the 19th century.

Have a Good Read at Smoky Hill Library in Centennial

If you love reading as much as I do, Smoky Hill Library is one of the Arapahoe Libraries that keeps a great selection of books to read while in the area.

The library gives you access to its printed materials like books with lots of categories to choose from according to your needs.

There are also movies & TV, music, graphic novels, ebooks, audiobooks, and many other resources for kids teens, and adults.

I like its comfortable reading nooks that I get to enjoy my thriller book I didn’t realize I spent almost five hours here.

Smoky Hill Library in Centennial also hosts events and programs like Storytimes, Book Clubs, and more.

Sway Your Club at Meadow Hills Golf Course in Aurora

I’m not a pro when it comes to playing golf, but Meadow Hills Golf Course is a great spot to play at my own pace.

This charming 18-hole golf course is known for its signature tree-lined fairways, lush grounds, and large lakes with amazing vistas.

The big greens are a challenge and fun at the same time, especially for someone like me who is not an expert in this sport.

However, the small greens and tight fairways are loved by many.

So, if you want to spend a few rounds of playing traditional golf, Meadow Hills Golf Course in Aurora is your place to be.

Final Thoughts

A true gem in the hood, Arapahoe County is one of Colorado’s extraordinary places to visit.

Everything around here is magical for all travelers.

Get your bags packed, and make it grand at Arapahoe County, Colorado!

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