Centennial, Colorado: Attractions and Events


From its beginnings as a small mining settlement to its current status as an attractive Denver suburb, Centennial retains its pioneer spirit while being one of the safest, most appealing cities in the United States.

Only twenty minutes from downtown Denver, one of Centennial’s unique appeals is the way it allows residents and visitors to enjoy both urban amenities and natural splendor. Local parks and open spaces connect to an extensive regional trail system with hiking and biking access to destinations like Red Rocks Park.

This article outlines what makes Centennial one of the best places in Colorado to live.


  • Centennial provides convenient access to iconic Colorado routes like Independence Pass and Pikes Peak.
  • Visitors can experience local cuisine, cultural events, and enriching community interactions.
  • Each season offers different activities, from summer biking to winter skiing on Breckenridge's slopes.
  • Accommodations range from family-friendly hotels to cozy mountain cabins.

Local Cultural Immersion

Centennial’s local eateries allow visitors to sample authentic Colorado cuisine, from bison burgers to Rocky Mountain oysters. The city’s diverse dining scene ranges from family-run diners to upscale restaurants utilizing locally sourced ingredients. More adventurous palates can sample local game like elk chops or rabbit sausage. From grab-and-go sandwiches to white tablecloth service, Centennial offers savory treats for your budget and taste.

Local craft fairs and cultural events offer opportunities to mingle with Centennial residents while browsing locally-made art, jewelry, clothing, and more. The city’s western roots come alive at rodeos, square dances, and reenactments of historical events like the 1859 Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Visitors can also tour pioneer homesteads like the 1864 Four Mile House to experience early settler life firsthand.

Cultural attractions include the Streets at SouthGlenn shopping and dining complex, the High Line Canal trails, and the Family Sports Center ice arena. Annual events like the Western Welcome Week rodeo and parade in August provide glimpses into Centennial’s Western heritage. The city also boasts the 12,000-acre South Platte Park, one of the country’s largest urban wildlife refuges.

Scenic Drives Showcase Colorado’s Beauty

Centennial provides easy access to some of Colorado’s most iconic scenic drives outside of town. Drives along Independence Pass reward visitors with breathtaking views of mountain peaks and lush aspen groves. Alternatively, Pikes Peak Highway winds nineteen miles to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak, which is the inspiration for America the Beautiful.

About ninety minutes from Centennial, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway climbs to 14,264 feet for panoramic vistas across the Rockies. Peak fall foliage colors in September and October make driving along the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway spectacular. Most scenic routes close in winter due to heavy snowfall, making summer and early autumn the best seasons for scenic drives.

Seasonal Events Entice Year-Round

Centennial offers enticing seasonal events and activities that attract visitors year-round. Summers bring opportunities for hiking Colorado’s legendary 14ers or white-water rafting on the frothy Cache La Poudre River. Just two hours away, summer festivals like the Colorado Renaissance Festival recreate medieval life with jousting knights, artisan shops, and turkey legs.

As the aspens erupt into golden hues each fall, visitors flock to Centennial for hiking and mountain biking. Nearby fall attractions range from Breckenridge’s annual Oktoberfest to Denver’s Great American Beer Festival showcasing over 500 craft breweries.

Once winter arrives, ski resorts like Breckenridge and Vail offer world-class downhill and cross-country skiing less than two hours from Centennial. Annual events like the International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge transform giant blocks of snow into astounding works of art.

When spring wildflowers blanket Colorado’s mountain meadows, visitors can embark on scenic hikes before whitewater rafting season begins. Just an hour away in Colorado Springs, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Garden of the Gods showcase wildlife and unique sandstone formations to amaze and educate you and your family.

Outdoor Adventures Abound

Surrounded by over 4,700 acres of open space, Centennial offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Hikers and mountain bikers enjoy extensive city trails connecting to regional paths like the High Line Canal. Anglers can cast for trout in the South Platte River, while the 60-acre DeKoevend Park has a model airplane airfield.

Wildlife enthusiasts can spot mule deer, coyotes, red foxes, and over 200 bird species in South Platte Park without venturing far from downtown. Guided activities like llama treks and hot air balloon rides provide unique vantage points to observe Centennial’s natural beauty while minimizing environmental impact.

Family-Friendly Attractions Galore

Centennial delights kids and parents with interactive museums like the Children’s Museum of Denver and Lakeside Amusement Park. At the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, you and your family can admire over 1,600 butterflies in an indoor rainforest habitat. Meanwhile, the adjacent Spider Monkey Exhibit showcases adorable primates.

Other kid-pleasers include the Denver Zoo, one of the most popular zoos in the country, and the Downtown Aquarium with stingrays, sharks, and even mermaids. In the winter, tubing hills like Frisco Adventure Park offer snowy thrills for all ages.

Accommodating both families and couples, Centennial’s lodging includes national hotel chains and cozy mountain retreats. Family-sized suites allow comfortable stays for parents and children.

Essential Tips for an Ideal Visit

Centennial’s mild climate makes for pleasant weather much of the year, but visitors should prepare for afternoon mountain thunderstorms in summer and heavy snowfall in higher elevations during winter. Staying hydrated and wearing layers will help keep you comfortable regardless of conditions.

Since many key attractions like ski slopes and mountain passes lie just outside the city, having a car allows easy access. However, downtown Centennial is walkable, and public transit connects to Denver’s airport and Union Station.

Creating a balanced itinerary mixing relaxation and adventure ensures an enjoyable visit. Allocating a few days simply to wander Centennial’s neighborhoods and parks offers a taste of local life. From hiking and history to food and family fun, Centennial serves up quintessential Colorado.


What is the best time of year to visit Centennial?

Late spring through early fall provides the most pleasant weather, but winter sports expand options.

What is the easiest way to get to Centennial?

Denver International Airport has many direct flight options with car rentals available. Otherwise, shuttles and buses connect the airport to Centennial.

What attractions are unique to Centennial?

South Platte Park offers incredible urban wildlife watching and recreation opportunities right in the city. Events like Western Welcome Week celebrate local history.

Does Centennial have a good school system?

Yes, Centennial is known for having fantastic public school districts.

What is one of the best pizza places near Centennial?

Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza in Denver and Englewood is considered one of the best pizza places near Centennial. Here, diners can watch their artisanal pizza bake in a flaming oven.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.