Edgewater, Colorado: A Year-Round Family and Cultural Haven


Known for its easy access to nature, thriving local arts scene, and family-friendly vibe, Edgewater, Colorado, offers unique experiences for travelers throughout the year.


  • Edgewater provides a wide range of outdoor activities with its lakeside location and proximity to nature areas like Mount Evans.
  • The city celebrates its cultural diversity through local cuisine, artistic events, and community gatherings.
  • Edgewater caters to families through kid-friendly attractions like the Edgewater Public Market and Lakeside Amusement Park.
  • Seasonal attractions like winter sports, fall harvest festivals, and summer water recreation shape tourism year-round.

Located in Jefferson County, Colorado, Edgewater is a cozy city that forms an integral part of the Denver metropolitan area, situated to the west of Denver. It is defined by its close proximity to the bustling city of Denver to the east and the picturesque Sloan’s Lake to the south. One of Edgewater’s key appeals is its strategic location, offering easy access to downtown Denver and a variety of attractions and services in the vicinity.

From hiking and biking the scenic Lariat Loop to learning about indigenous history at Sloan’s Lake Park to sampling local craft beer at Edgewater Public Market, visitors won’t run out of things to experience in Edgewater. The city’s natural landscapes, outdoor recreation, family offerings, and seasonal events make it an ideal base to explore the Front Range area.

Local Experiences and Culture

Edgewater’s diversity shines through in its blend of local shops, ethnic cuisine, cultural events, and opportunities to engage with the community. Getting to know the city means learning about the different groups that call the Edgewater area home.

Visitors can discover Latino culture through events like Fiestas Patrias in Sloan’s Lake Park or by exploring Mexican and Latin American restaurants and bakeries along West 20th Avenue. Asian influences also abound, from the popular Dumpling House restaurant to cultural celebrations like the Tet Festival hosted annually.

The Edgewater Public Market serves as a hub for community gatherings and hosts a weekly farmer’s market from June to October where local artists and growers sell their wares. The market features crafts, prepared foods, produce, and other homemade goods that provide a taste of Edgewater’s creative culture.

Annual cultural festivals range from Indigenous Peoples’ Day, honoring native history, to the Edgewater Arts Festival, showcasing over 100 local artists and performers. These lively events offer visitors a chance to experience Edgewater’s diversity firsthand through music, dance, food, and handicrafts.

Outdoor Adventures

Edgewater’s lakeside location and proximity to nature make it a prime spot for outdoor recreation. Sloan’s Lake Park serves as a gateway to experiencing the area’s natural beauty via activities like hiking, biking, birdwatching, paddling, and wildlife viewing.

The park features over 200 acres of open space surrounding the lake along with trails that connect to nearby parks and greenways. Visitors can rent stand up paddleboards, kayaks, or pedal boats during summer to explore the lake or embark on scenic shoreline strolls year-round.

In winter, Sloan’s Lake transforms into a popular ice skating destination when conditions allow. Groomed trails around the lake provide family-friendly skating as well as opportunities for hockey and even curling.

For two-wheeled adventures, Edgewater connects directly to Denver’s extensive urban trail system. From Sloan’s Lake Park, paved paths follow the Lakewood Gulch and Weir Gulch greenways, offering scenic riding with views of the Front Range. Road cyclists can challenge themselves by tackling the Lariat Loop, a 30-mile ride traversing picturesque foothills and mountain roads west of town.

Serious hikers have a wealth of trailheads within a short drive of Edgewater to explore alpine scenery. Less than 25 minutes away lies Red Rocks Park, with its iconic geological formations and peaceful pine forests crisscrossed by hiking trails. Further afield, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway leads to mountain vistas, wildflower meadows, and Rocky Mountain goats roaming amid the jagged Sawtooth Ridge.

Seasonal Attractions

Edgewater earns its reputation as an ideal year-round getaway thanks to diverse seasonal events and constantly changing scenery. Each season offers its own character, from winter holidays and snow sports to sunny summers filled with festivals.

As the summer warms up, Lakeside Amusement Park springs to life with rides and games for families while restaurants open up patio seating along the lake. Independence Day brings free concerts and a fireworks spectacle to Sloan’s Lake Park, kicking off a slate of summer cultural celebrations. The annual Edgewater Arts Festival livens up the Public Market in August with local artists, hands-on workshops for kids, and the Salsa and Soul music festival.

When fall arrives, trees exploding with color provide the backdrop for popular harvest and Halloween happenings. Each October, the city hosts its Fall Festival in Sloan’s Lake Park, featuring pumpkin carving, hayrides, a petting zoo, and trick-or-treating. Many restaurants and breweries also get into the autumn spirit with seasonal craft beers, spiced treats, and decorations.

As winter weather rolls in, Edgewater transforms into a winter wonderland. Neighborhoods light up with colorful holiday displays while seasonal events include Breakfast with Santa at the Edgewater Recreation Center, ice skating under twinkle lights at Sloan’s Lake, and New Year’s Eve fireworks. For snow lovers, winter activities like sledding, snowshoeing, and skiing await just a short drive away in the foothills and mountains.

When spring melts away the snow, wildflowers start blanketing the Front Range while patios reopen and festivals return. Annual events welcoming warmer weather include Earth Day celebrations and the Cinco de Mayo Festival, both at Sloan’s Lake Park. As Edgewater shakes off winter, hiking, biking, and paddling pick up along the lake and surrounding trails.

Family-Friendly Offerings

From kid-centric museums and amusement rides to family dining and holiday events, Edgewater goes out of its way to keep younger visitors entertained. Top attractions provide interactive learning experiences tailored to children’s curiosity and energy levels.

Lakeside Amusement Park offers over 45 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, a log flume, a historic carousel, and the iconic Cyclone roller coaster, which has been open since 1940. Adjacent to the park, the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus provides hands-on STEAM exhibits focused on innovation, design, and tinkering.

At the Wildlife Experience Museum, dioramas transport visitors on a journey through Colorado’s diverse ecosystems to learn about local plants and animals. Interactive elements allow kids to build beaver dams, identify animal tracks, and watch raptor flight demonstrations. Special events like summer camps and themed days with animal meet-and-greets further cater to families.

When it comes to dining out as a family, Edgewater offers plenty of options from fast casual chains to local eateries. Family favorites include breakfast joints like the Original Pancake House and Egg and I, while the Edgewater Public Market hosts affordable choices like pasta, pizza, pho, and build-your-own rice bowls. For sweet treats, Little Man Ice Cream’s giant creamery churns out inventive flavors and hosts events like sundae-building contests.

Historical and Cultural Sites

Though Edgewater itself is a relatively young city incorporated in 1901, the area holds centuries of cultural heritage. Lakeside Amusement Park stands on lands that once belonged to the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes before European settlement.

Today, Sloan’s Lake Park protects ancient Indigenous sites and more recent historic structures. The park contains over 600 archaeological sites, some dating back over 7,500 years to the Archaic Period when nomadic hunter-gatherer peoples occupied the lakeshore. Visitors can view remnants of stone circles, campsites, and hunting blinds left behind along the Greenway Trail.

Later, settlers built homesteads and ranches around Sloan’s Lake, as evidenced by 19th-century building foundations.

Beyond the park, the Lakeside Amusement Park area holds several structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most notable is the 1908 Elitch Gardens Carousel Building, which still houses its original Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel. The neighboring 1920s-era Mardi Gras roller coaster building also stands as a preserved historical icon.

Dining and Nightlife

Edgewater’s dining scene impresses visitors with diverse cuisine and intimate dining spaces, all within walking distance. The small downtown area along West 20th Avenue offers a culinary tour ranging from sushi to tacos to pho. More unique eateries like Steuben’s Food Service’s retro diner and Little Man Ice Cream’s eccentric creamery draw diners from across the metro.

Those seeking a lively night out can find great craft beer and cocktails at several local breweries and distilleries clustered downtown. Edgewater Brewery crafts an ever-changing lineup of beers to sample in its laidback taproom, while the adjacent Burns Family Artisan Ales features more experimental brews.

On the spirits side, State 38 Distilling infuses local ingredients into its vodka, gin, and whiskey served at its tasting room which often hosts live music. Cocktail lovers can also mix and mingle at one of Edgewater’s wine bars like In Vino and Acova, both known for their lengthy wine lists, small plates, and romantic ambiance.

For entertainment beyond dining, the historic Edgewater Inn provides comedy shows and concerts in its intimate theater while the Thin Man Jazz Club keeps the jazz scene alive with nightly performances. During summer, the city also hosts free weekly concerts in Sloan’s Lake Park, allowing visitors to soak in views of the Front Range while listening to local bands.

Accommodations and Staying in Edgewater

Despite its small size, Edgewater offers convenient places for visitors to stay that enhance the local experience. The city contains a handful of chain hotels and motels along the main arterial streets, including Sheraton, Quality Inn, Super 8, and La Quinta. Most of these lodging options sit a short drive from dining and attractions around Sloan’s Lake Park.

For alternative stays, travelers can choose from a selection of boutique hotels, house rentals, and RV parks. The historic Edgewater Inn charms guests with its 20 uniquely decorated rooms filling a converted motel. Those seeking more space and amenities can find multi-room vacation home rentals available both downtown and along the lake. RV travelers also have waterfront options at the Lakeside KOA Holiday campground.

When choosing accommodations in Edgewater, travelers should factor in their interests and budget to select the best location. Visitors planning to spend most of their time enjoying downtown’s walkable breweries and restaurants may prefer staying at hotels along West 20th Avenue. Families visiting attractions around Sloan’s Lake can minimize driving with lodging options directly surrounding the park.

Regardless of where visitors stay, Edgewater’s small-town accessibility allows them to experience most major sights within a short drive. With cozy lodging options and a wealth of year-round recreation, Edgewater offers an ideal home base for exploring the lakes, trails, mountain vistas, and urban attractions along Colorado’s Front Range.


What are the top things to do in Edgewater with kids?

Some of the most popular family-friendly activities in Edgewater include Lakeside Amusement Park, with over 45 rides and attractions, the Children’s Museum of Denver for hands-on learning exhibits, and the Wildlife Experience Museum to discover Colorado’s animals.

Where are the best hiking trails near Edgewater?

Top hiking trails close to Edgewater include Sloan’s Lake Park, along with connecting greenway trails, Red Rocks Park, just 20 minutes away in the foothills, and numerous mountain trailheads off Mount Evans Scenic Byway within a 40-minute drive.

What winter activities can you do in and around Edgewater?

When snow falls, top winter activities in Edgewater include ice skating at Sloan’s Lake, sledding at nearby parks and nature areas, skiing and snowboarding within an hour’s drive, and seasonal events like Breakfast with Santa at the Edgewater Recreation Center.

What makes Edgewater a popular foodie destination?

Edgewater offers an eclectic mix of dining options in its small downtown area, ranging from sushi joints to taco shops to Vietnamese restaurants. More unique eateries like Little Man Ice Cream and Steuben’s retro diner also attract foodies from across the Denver metro.

Where should visitors stay when exploring Edgewater?

Most major hotel chains offer convenient lodging right off the main streets in Edgewater. Travelers can also choose historic stays at the Edgewater Inn, vacation home rentals near Sloan’s Lake, or RV camping along the lakefront.


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.