view from the deck at Colorado State Capitol

Staycation: Colorado State Capitol

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Outside the Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol building was opened in 1894 in Denver, Colorado.  It is constructed of Colorado white granite and topped with a copper dome that is gilded in gold leaf from a Colorado mine.  The capitol sits on the eastern edge of Denver’s Civic Center and houses the Colorado General Assembly as well as the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer.

Outside, its western steps feature the official elevation of Denver.  The original marker on the fifteenth step is an engravement “One Mile High Above Sea Level”.  The elevation has been remeasured from time to time and as a result there is a marker on step 18 from 1969 and a marker on step 13 from 2003.

Denver Capitol

Inside the Colorado State Capitol

Inside the Colorado State Capitol, the building is comprised of the entire known supply Colorado Rose Onyx.  The rose marble which comes from Beulah, Colorado features patterns that look like people, animals, and objects.  White Yule Marble from Marble, Colorado is also used throughout the building. 

patterns of the rose marble at the Colorado State Capitol
Can you see the lady in the hat profile?

The dome includes an observation deck which opens to the outside.  After eight years of being closed for safety reasons, the deck is now open to visitors.  The level below the deck features stain glass windows that depict historical Colorado figures and events.  Its top floor includes Mr. Brown’s Attic Museum.

Tour of the Colorado State Capitol

While visitors may tour the Colorado State Capitol on their own, it is worth signing up for a free hour-long tour.  Tours are offered every hour from 10am to 3pm, Monday through Friday.  Reservations are not required, but tours do fill up, so be sure to arrive early.  In addition, reasonably priced parking downtown is difficult to find, so allow extra time.

My friend Ann and I joined a morning tour at the Colorado State Capitol and then went to lunch at nearby City O’ City.  We had a lovely tour guide who covered a significant amount of Colorado history, pointed out many of the wall hangings, the governor’s office, the House and Senate, and was frankly very enthusiastic about leading our group of mostly foreigners through the building.

Lunch at City O’ City

After our tour we walked to lunch at City O’ City. City O’ City is a popular vegetarian restaurant with a cute atmosphere located just one block south of the capitol.  It was packed when we arrived, but we were able to squeeze the last two seats out of the back bar.  Dishes served include salads, soups, sandwiches, and pizzas.  I had chorizo spice cauliflower tacos, and they were excellent. 


The short tour of the Colorado Capitol building plus lunch was a perfect staycation day in Denver! ETB


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

photographic note card, chinstrap penguin in Antarctica
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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

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