Best Time To Visit Aurora, Colorado


Known as “The Gateway to the Rockies,” Aurora is a vibrant city just outside Denver, Colorado, offering visitors a unique blend of urban excitement and outdoor adventure. Aurora provides something for every type of traveler, from its rich cultural heritage and historic landmarks to the plethora of parks, nature reserves, and scenic drives showcasing Colorado’s natural splendor.

The best time to visit Aurora depends largely on the types of experiences you hope to have, as the seasons offer their own charms. Are you hoping to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights and need to consider the Aurora forecast? Or are you more interested in the crisp weather and clear sky of a national park in early April? To make the most of your Aurora getaway, use this guide, which covers everything from attractions and activities to travel planning and local cuisine.


  • Spring and fall provide mild weather perfect for outdoor adventures in Aurora's plentiful open spaces.
  • Summers promise cultural festivals and events, while winters cater to skiing and winter sports enthusiasts.
  • Dining on local flavors, exploring historic sites, photographing natural beauty, and relaxing at spas and retreats round out any Aurora itinerary.

Overview of Aurora, Colorado

Set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Aurora spans the plains and foothills with a diverse landscape ranging from prairie grasslands to pine-dotted mountains. As its name would suggest, the Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights, are visible from Aurora, Colorado, and attract aurora hunting enthusiasts every year who love to escape the light pollution and gaze into a clear sky.

The Space Weather Prediction Center can help aurora chasers plan their Northern Lights tour by detailing solar activity, such as a solar storm, solar wind, or cloud cover, which might affect visibility, especially in the winter months. During solar flare events, they can be an excellent resource to learn more about your aurora viewing experience.

But Northern Lights season is not the only game in town. Aurora’s convenient location allows easy access to Denver’s amenities while retaining a small-town charm evident in local shops and eateries.

While many know Aurora for its collection of acclaimed restaurants showcasing global flavors, the city also claims cultural institutions like the Aurora History Museum and venues hosting events from film festivals to rodeos. Outdoorsy types have their pick of activities, with over 100 parks, 22 miles of trails, and 3 reservoirs within city limits.

This blend of urban and natural attractions means Aurora appeals to everyone, from families and adventurers to eco-tourists and foodies. The best times to visit include March through May and September through November, when Aurora enjoys mild weather perfect for hiking in a national park, biking, wildlife viewing, and exploring historic sites and hot springs.

Local Experiences and Culture

Beyond the natural landscapes, Aurora’s diversity shines through in the local arts, cuisine, and cultural events held throughout the year. The city’s Mexican heritage, dating back to the 1800s, permeates restaurants serving authentic tacos, margaritas, and other specialties. Locally owned eateries also serve global flavors, from Ethiopian to Vietnamese. Look for one of the many restaurants offering outdoor dining to enjoy the beautiful night sky.

For those craving culture, a favorite Aurora activity is visiting a museum or art gallery, like the Aurora Cultural Arts District, giving a glimpse into the area’s history. Annual events range from the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival to the Plains Conservation Center Powwow, which honors Native American traditions. The Aurora Fox Arts Center and venues like the Paramount Theater also host concerts, theater performances, and more.

Outdoor Adventures and Activities

Aurora is one of the most enjoyed spots in North America for outdoor enthusiasts, spoiling them with a mild, sunny climate, delivering over 300 days of sunshine each year. The plethora of parks and open spaces provide plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and camping under the night sky, away from light pollution. Some top spots include the High Line Canal Trail, Cherry Creek State Park, and the Aurora Reservoir.

The city also boasts over half a dozen pristine golf courses, along with boating, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing on the area’s reservoirs and waterways. Adrenaline junkies can skydive at Mile High Skydiving Center or catch air at one of Aurora’s skateparks.

When winter hits, skiing and snowboarding take the spotlight at nearby resorts like Copper Mountain and Vail. Back in the city, visitors can lace up their skates for some ice skating at one of Aurora’s indoor and outdoor rinks.

Family Vacations in Aurora

Aurora offers plenty of kid-approved attractions for families, like the Children’s Museum of Denver. Interactive exhibits like Animation Station allow kids to star in their own stop-motion movies, while Create-n-Take workshops spark creativity. Outdoors, the Plains Conservation Center’s resident raptors and reptiles fascinate animal-loving kids.

The city’s many parks and trails also entice families looking to explore the outdoors together. After working up an appetite, families can chow down on pizza, burgers, and ice cream at kid-friendly eateries. Accommodation-wise, hotels like the Gaylord Rockies Resort offer family suites with water parks and kids’ activity programs.

When it comes to events, families flock to Aurora’s cultural festivals and trick-or-treat at the city’s safe and walkable neighborhoods each Halloween. Throughout December, the Magic of Lights Display at the Aurora Reservoir celebrates the holiday season with festive light displays.

Historical and Cultural Landmarks

History buffs can dig into Aurora’s past at cultural sites like the Aurora History Museum, which showcases artifacts from the city’s founding days as a trading post in the 1800s. The Plains Conservation Center also hosts a replica trading post and farmstead that recreates pioneer life in the late 1800s.

Other architectural and historical landmarks include the Fletcher House, a sandstone home built in 1891 that offers tours. Fans of the Old West can also visit venues like the Plains Conservation Center to experience a traditional powwow or step back in time at living history exhibits.

To delve further into Aurora’s past, visitors can book guided tours covering topics from the city’s haunted history to its street art and architecture. Self-guided walking tours like the Public Art Tour also allow you to take in over 40 art installations at your own pace.

Aurora’s Natural Beauty and Scenic Drives

Aurora’s natural beauty shines through in places like the Plains Conservation Center’s wide-open grasslands and wetland habitats. For sweeping city views, travelers drive up to Delaney Buttes Park, which sits atop a mesa formation.

For scenic drives surrounded by nature, the Piney Creek Trail offers gorgeous views as it winds through pine forests and rock formations. The drive through Deer Trail follows the eastern plains, showcasing wildlife, native grasses, and brilliant sunrises and sunsets.

Shutterbugs also flock to spots like the Aurora Reservoir at sunrise and sunset when the skies ignite in dazzling shades. Cherry Creek State Park also makes a great photo backdrop with its rolling hills, wetland areas, and views of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.

Local Shopping in Aurora

Aurora’s Antique Row and charming downtown districts promise some low-key browsing and shopping away from crowded malls for some retail therapy or picking up local goods. The Stanley Marketplace also houses artisan boutiques, restaurants, and even a craft brewery under one roof.

Planning Your Visit to Aurora

Thanks to its proximity to Denver, reaching Aurora by air or ground transportation is convenient for travelers. Visitors flying into Denver International Airport can take the RTD A-Line train straight to the heart of Aurora in under 30 minutes. Rental cars are also readily available for easy access to attractions across the city.

Within Aurora, travelers can get around using local buses and light rail lines, rideshare services, bike rentals, and scooters. Cyclists can also explore many of the city’s trails and greenways.

Accommodation-wise, Aurora boasts everything from family-friendly resorts like Great Wolf Lodge to unique stays like the old-world charm of the European-style Castle Marne Bed and Breakfast. Budget-friendly hotels and motels offer comfortable rooms without breaking the bank.


What is the best time of year to visit Aurora?

The best times to visit Aurora are spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when mild weather in the 60s makes for pleasant days outdoors. Summers promise cultural events and festivals, while winter offers skiing and snow sports.

What outdoor activities can you do in Aurora?

Top outdoor pursuits in Aurora include hiking and biking, going to the many parks and trails, boating and paddleboarding at Cherry Creek Reservoir, birdwatching at nature centers, playing golf, fishing for trout, and exploring via scenic drives.

What family-friendly attractions does Aurora offer?

Must-see attractions for families include the Children’s Museum of Denver, Aurora Sports Park, Plains Conservation Center, Aurora Reservoir Beach, Cherry Creek State Park, and Water World Water Park.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.