Since 1949, the iconic Welcome Arch spanning Golden’s Main Street has proclaimed “Howdy Folks!  Welcome to Golden – Where the West Lives!”   

At no time is that more appropriate than when the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo comes rip-roaring into town, Jan. 6-21, 2024. Golden is just 12 miles west of the National Western Complex in Denver, but it’s the undisputed Cowboy Capital of the Denver Metro area, especially during Golden’s Western Heritage Days, January 6 - 30, when the town celebrates its cowboy connections. 

Arts MuralWalking down Golden’s main street is like a stroll back into the Old West with historic storefronts, colorful murals, and covered arcade sidewalks. The most famous character of the West, Buffalo Bill Cody, is buried in Golden, and here you’ll also find Colorado’s largest collection of historic steam locomotives.   Right downtown is the 1878 Pearce Ranch, an authentic homestead with a barn, working blacksmith shop and a chicken coop where youngsters can feed a variety of exotic chickens. And of course, Golden is home to Coors Beer – the largest brewery in the world and home to Coors Original, the favorite drink of Yellowstone’s ranch hands and cattle barons alike. 

Here are ways to “get your Western on” in Golden during the Stock Show and Western Heritage Days. 

  1. Miss Kristyn Harris Playing and sing for audience.Hang out with Cowboys and Cowgirls! While at any time, you just might sidle up to a cowboy in a Golden bar - or even see a horse hitched out front! - .the Colorado Cowboy Gathering, January 12-14, features famous Western poets and story tellers who gather to celebrate the cowboy heritage, traditions and entertainment that grew out of the traditions of cattle drives in the American West. 

  2.  Meet Buffalo Bill Cody, who was the most famous character in the history of the American West. He was a buffalo hunter, Pony Express rider, and scout for the U.S. Army. His Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show was performed in more than a thousand cities in 12 different countries. A version of his show takes place at the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo every year. Buffalo Bill was visiting his sister in Denver in 1917 when he died and his funeral on top of Lookout Mountain was the largest in Colorado history. Today, a fun museum near the grave brings his incredible story back to life with costumes, guns, artifacts like Chief Sitting Bull’s headdress, posters and pictures from the show. 

  3. Group listening to tour guide at Coors Brewery TourTour Coors – Coors is the official beer of the National Western Stock Show. So come on out and see how it’s made and enjoy three samples! The brewery has a 60-minute tour of the malting, brewing and packaging of Coors Beer. Reservations are required so be sure to book asap. You get to explore a room full of giant copper kettles and then stop in the packaging room, where thousands of cans and bottles whirl by, marching one-by-one on tread mills to be filled with beer and slotted into six packs. Cowboy Tip: If you already know how beer is made, ask for the “short tour,” which is no tour at all. They’ll direct you straight to the free tasting room and gift shop. 

  4. Climb Aboard a Steam Locomotive – It was the railroads that won the West and the Colorado Railroad Museum has the largest collection of steam locomotives, private cars, and model trains in the state, all of which offer hands-on experiences. Climb up into the cab of a locomotive and ring the bell. Ride the famous Galloping Goose (on select Tuesdays) – a 1928 Pierce Arrow limousine put on train wheels with a bus welded on the back that helped deliver mail in the mountains of Colorado. There’s a huge HO model railroad in the basement, and beginning in mid-January on Saturdays, you can hop on-board a passenger car pulled by a powerful locomotive! 

  5. Holiday Carriage Rides Through Downtown GoldenEnjoy Downtown Golden - There’s no place else on the Front Range of Colorado quite like downtown Golden. Stroll along plank board sidewalks under a covered arcade past historic storefronts that now are filled with outdoor recreation stores, boutiques, art galleries, Western wear, Native American jewelry, toys, ice cream, and candy.  Or take a stroll down the paved path that follows Clear Creek up into the mountains. There are several craft breweries in Golden, many with outdoor dog-friendly beer gardens. Golden offers a variety of great restaurants, from the Southwestern ambiance of Table Mountain Inn to mouthwatering bbq at the Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse (housed in the building that served as the first capitol of the Colorado Territory).   

  6. Take a Wild West Walking History Tour by Golden History Tour. Guides regale tour-goers with true stories from the Wild West, transporting you back to those rough-and-tumble times. Hangings to hijackings, shootouts to showmen, Golden boasts many firsts and some outrageously true Wild West stories. The tour runs through the streets and parks of Golden while your tour guide takes you back to those frontier days and brings Golden's and Colorado's past to life through entertaining storytelling. Tours run most weekends and some weekdays and can be requested on demand. 

  7. Enjoy LIVE COUNTRY & WESTERN music in Golden - Many Golden taverns are featuring country and western tunes and live acts during Western Heritage Days.