Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Longmont, CO

  • Published 2023/02/28

Longmont, Colorado, is a lovely gateway to the northern Front Range of Colorado.

This city lies one hour north of downtown Denver, just west of Interstate 25, spanning Boulder and Weld Counties.

The city is smack in the heart of the busy metropolitan corridor linking Boulder and Fort Collins.

Spend the day in the Rocky Mountains, and then finish with some small-town charm and culture in Longmont.

Check out a few of the city’s top attractions, especially since they’re free.

Here’s a look at the free things to do in Longmont, Colorado.

Catch Fish at Golden Ponds Park & Nature Area

The waters of Golden Ponds Park & Nature Area

Jeff Olivier /

Golden Ponds Park & Nature Area features four ponds totaling 56 acres with stunning vistas of Longs Peak and the Front Range.

The park features 2.6 miles of trails, an ADA-accessible fishing pier, two bathrooms, and nine picnic shelters and serves as a trailhead to the western terminus of the St. Vrain Greenway.

It also has a bridge across the river at 140 feet, connecting the gravel and concrete activities that formed the ponds.

At Golden Ponds Park & Nature Area, wading birds like cormorants and great blue herons abound.

Former gravel miner Vernon Golden gave this area to the people of Longmont so they might fish, hike, and relax in the great outdoors.

Along the walkway to the west of the parking lot is a bronze sculpture the family contributed, which depicts ‘Vern’ teaching a little kid to fish.

Spot the Wildlife at Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain

Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain features nearly 3,000 acres at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

The Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain is in eastern Boulder County.

It is home to various flora, fauna, and interesting geological formations.

The network of nature paths available to those who like being outside ranges in difficulty from very easy to moderate.

They are suitable for visitors of varying levels of experience.

Choose from the easier 2.2-mile Indian Mesa Trail, the 1.5-mile Little Thompson Trail, or the 2.5-mile, moderately challenging Eagle Wind Trail.

Elk, coyotes, and prairie dogs are just a few creatures that thrive in the region, making it a paradise for kids passionate about wildlife.

Go Hiking at Lagerman Agricultural Preserve

Just west of Longmont is the once-named Lagerman Reservoir, now called Lagerman Agricultural Preserve.

The new Open Sky Loop Trail and this extension are now available to hikers.

People who visit Lagerman Reservoir for these activities or more will not be disappointed.

In this artificial reservoir, you’ll find some of the most excellent warm-water fishing in the area.

Wetlands, a seasonal osprey nest, and a picnic area ensure that everyone in the family will have a good day.

Around 660 more acres of productive farmland have been added to the 960-acre Lagerman Reservoir by the Lagerman Agricultural Preserve.

There are now 5.5 miles of trail, with the addition of the 4.9-mile Open Sky Loop and two-mile connecting trails.

There are diverse plant and animal life in the wetlands and their surroundings due to the presence of grasses, wildflowers, and trees.

You may catch some species at Lagerman Lagerman Agricultural Preserve: black crappie, channel catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, and walleye.

Some of the 30 bird species that call Lagerman home are the American avocet, bald eagle, American white pelican, great blue heron, and great horned owl.

Spot the Wildlife at McIntosh Lake Nature Area

Signage of McIntosh Lake Nature Area

Red Herring /

In 2004, the City of Longwood opened McIntosh Lake Nature Area to the public.

This 265-acre water storage reservoir lies in northwest Longmont, featuring simple walking routes and stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, especially Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker.

McIntosh Lake Nature Area’s wildlife includes bald eagles, prairie dogs, pelicans, and many other species of animals.

McIntosh Lake is an integral element of the water management infrastructure, including ditches and reservoirs across the state.

Many visit the lake for its fishing spots and popularity among kayakers and paddleboarders.

Dawson Park and Flanders Park are beside the lake, great options for those looking to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Walk through St. Vrain Greenway

There’s no shortage of walking opportunities in Longmont like the St. Vrain Greenway.

It connects several parks, schools, other trails, and even some business sectors, earning the nickname “crown gem” of Longmont’s path network.

St. Vrain Greenway is a popular destination because it features miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and concrete and gravel walkways for strolling.

Trailheads are in place at 119th Street, the western end of the Harvest Junction North commercial development, Sandstone Ranch, Golden Ponds, Roger’s Grove, the Boulder County Fairgrounds, Izaak Walton Pond, and South Pratt Parkway.

Admire Art in Longmont Creative District

Longmont Creative District has exciting shops, galleries, and restaurants, making it the ideal destination for window shopping or people-watching.

The murals that adorn the walls of the city’s downtown buildings are a popular kind of public art.

Other exciting places to visit are the record store Absolute Vinyl or the ceramic painting and mosaics lessons at Crackpots Pottery Studio.

On the second Friday of every month, Longmont Creative Districthosts special events for tourists, including discounts at local eateries, longer store hours, and invitation-only shows at local galleries.

Let Your Kids Run Wild at Sandstone Ranch

Main building of Sandstone Ranch

Hustvedt, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 313-acre Sandstone Ranch Park is rich in both historical and environmental significance.

It serves as a district park and a natural preserve for the surrounding neighborhood.

There is also a four-field baseball facility on the western side of Sandstone Ranch.

Meanwhile, you can find sports fields, an adventure playground, a skate park, a group picnic shelter, and the park’s visitor center on the eastern side.

The bespoke play equipment and themed play spaces stimulate active play and learning via climbing, splashing, digging, spinning, hopping, and exploring.

In the middle of the playground, kids may have hours of fun with water and sand play.

There are also lily pads for hopping, water spray jets for cooling down, fossils to explore, and large aquatic animals for kids to climb.

Parents or caretakers may also find a shady spot to rest here.

Soak up the Sun at Stephen Day Park

Stephen Day Park is a small public park close to Fall River Elementary School in northeastern Longmont near the Union reservoir.

It is accessible through the Spring Gulch Trail.

The park is open from early morning to late night every day.

It is a convenient location for weekend picnics, after-work sports, and off-leash dog play.

The park honors local war hero and Bronze Star recipient Stephen Day and spans about five acres.

Stephen Day Park is great for people of all ages to spend time together since it features ample greenery, clean facilities, and a wide range of recreational amenities.

The playground in Stephen Day Park features an aquatic motif, with slides, swings, and other playset components inspired by the sea and other parts of the world.

It also features a global map depicting notable ship trips and an exciting rope-climbing structure.

The enormous, brightly colored compass at the playground’s center doubles as a splash pad in the summer by spraying water up from underneath.

The smaller shelter has two picnic tables and a BBQ grill occasionally used as an exercise or performance space.

The bigger one has enough for four tables and two barbecue pits.

Play with Your Pets at Rough and Ready Park

Three miles northeast of downtown Longmont lies the nine-acre Rough and Ready Park.

The park is a local favorite because of its convenient location and many amenities, including a small off-leash dog area.

Play with your dogs and let them socialize with other dogs.

The Rough and Ready Ditch, one of the oldest irrigation ditches in Longmont, runs right through the middle of the public park that bears its name.

Rough and Ready Park features two meandering rivers, a little irrigation pond, a vast grassy field, walking trails, sports areas, and a playground.

Rough and Ready park’s expansive, well-maintained lawn is perfect for various activities.

Creek sections are also open to exploration, and visitors can stumble into crawfish and other water-dwelling critters in these locations.

Catch an Event at Roosevelt Park

Aerial view of Roosevelt Park

Alvaro Camilo Pineda /

The city established Roosevelt Park to commemorate President Theodore Roosevelt’s groundbreaking visit to the Longmont area in 1900.

It is one of the first urban parks in the Chicago-Colorado Colony.

The park now has the St. Vrain Memorial Center, which may be hired out for private events and features a public auditorium, a gymnasium, and a multi-use pavilion.

In 1945, the Longmont Lions Club established a rose garden at the park’s western edge to honor local veterans.

Roosevelt Park is home to the Longmont Senior Center and a seasonal ice skating rink that welcomes families during the colder months.

The park also has a stone shelter, a collection of sculptures by artist Michele VandenHeuvel, and a children’s playground.

Practice Your Tricks at Stephen Day Skatepark

Coloradoans tend to be more physically healthy and active.

Many of the state’s urbanites prioritize time spent outdoors when they have spare time.

Skateboarding is more popular than walking and bicycling among cool kids.

Five skate parks in Longmont offer skateboarding facilities like half-pipes, quarter-pipes, rails, and other fun and challenging features.

One example is Stephen Day Skatepark, located at the intersection of East Mountain View Avenue and Deerwood Drive.

Stephen Day Skatepark also features various amenities for visitors of all ages, such as a basketball court, multi-use playfield, sand volleyball court, off-leash dog exercise area, and water spray grounds.

Take Photos of the Tower of Compassion

The Tower of Compassion is an attractive pagoda in Longmont’s Southmoor neighborhood.

The 1966 tower was a gift to the city from the Kanemoto family.

The Kanemoto family cultivated the now Kanemoto Park property, which spans seven acres.

Learn about the Kanemoto family and the tower’s history by visiting this site.

A plaque in the area provides background on the tower’s five stories.

The five tiers of the Tower of Compassion symbolize love, empathy, understanding, thanksgiving for everything, and selfless giving.

A children’s activity pool with a slide is at the park’s eastern end.

Ride a Bike around Downtown Longmont

The road of Downtown Longmont

David Shankbone , CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seeing Downtown Longmont on two wheels is a greener way to experience it.

It’s possible to park your bike at one of more than 60 racks located around the Downtown area.

Downtown Longmont combines old-town allure with a contemporary urban buzz.

You’ll find attractive public art installations and historic buildings as you roam around the city.

It’s all thanks to its location between the Historic East Side and West Side districts, its three modern mixed-use housing complexes, and its proximity to three public parks.

See the Art in Public Places around Longmont

City authorities collaborated with local artists and enthusiasts to create the innovative Art in Public Places program.

It has given much of the downtown area a hip and appealing new ambiance.

In every corner of the city, you’ll find unique public art, ranging from bronze and stone to cloth, glass, and photography.

Take in Art in Public Places’ 75 permanent art installations that provide vibrancy and individuality across town.

You may also spot the remaining ten geese sculptures by 22 artists from Colorado.

They were commissioned to create sculptures in 2002 to honor the enormous number of Canadian geese in Longmont.

Take a stroll, ride your bike, or drive around the city!

See Local Talent at Firehouse Art Center

Exterior of the Firehouse Art Center

Thcipriani, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Since 1986, one of Longmont’s preeminent arts groups, the Arts Studio, Inc., has operated the Firehouse Art Center as a public gallery.

Since 1987, the organization has presented up to 12 yearly solo and group exhibitions by artists working in various conventional and modern art mediums within the city’s historic downtown firehouse.

The Main and South Galleries of the facility are available to the public Wednesdays through Sundays in the late afternoons.

Firehouse Art Center hosts numerous public special events, like the center’s Firehouse Films series, poetry evenings, and monthly Second Fridays art walk events.

Other yearly special events include a Catrina Ball honoring the Mexican Day of the Dead and a Canvas Carnival with working artists, food vendors, and family-friendly games.

Final Thoughts

Longmont is the place to start your next journey any time of year.

Great parks and vistas, a flavorful local arts scene, and convenient access to outdoor activity make Longmont a must-visit destination for anybody traveling through Colorado.

For a budget-savvy vacation, use this guide to the free things to do in Longmont, Colorado.

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