Please don’t take this the wrong way, but Colorado is one of the weirdest places in America. Hear me out. In this case, we mean that it is quirky, colorful, and flat-out unique! Ready to see the weird side of the Centennial State? Here are the 11 oddest places you can possibly go in Colorado:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Museum of Colorado Prisons (Cañon City)
Have you ever wanted to see the inside of a prison without having to be an actual inmate? You, my curious friend, are in luck. The Museum of Colorado Prisons in Cañon City is a former women’s prison that has been transformed into a place of learning, established to preserve the historical heritage of the Colorado Prison System. Their collection exhibits inmate art and contraband items collected from prisoners, as well as a glimpse into what life looks like from inside an actual jail cell. You’ll find it at 201 N 1st St., Cañon City, CO 81212.
2. International Church of Cannabis (Denver)
The name speaks for itself, but we will try to explain it in a little more depth: this less-than-traditional place of worship boasts itself as being a place for adults to come in and enjoy marijuana (or the "cannabis sacrament," as they call it) in peace. While the general public may not partake in consumption on church property, they are invited to tour the premise during its regular business hours (Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.). It's located at 400 S Logan St., Denver, CO 80209.
3. Cano's Castle (Antonito)
Eat your heart out, Disney World, as Colorado is home to Cano's Castle; an impressive structure created entirely of old hubcaps, empty beer cans, and other recycled materials. Inspired by "Jesus and weed" (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), the Castle sits empty, as its architect built it strictly for God. You can stop by and see if from the sidewalk at State St & E 10th Ave., Antonito, CO 81120.
4. Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum (Cripple Creek)
Didn't get your fill of the slammer from the Museum of Colorado Prisons? Before you go out and commit a petty crime, hightail it on down to Cripple Creek's Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum, which offers an exact replica of prison life during the days of the Old West. The museum is located at 136 W Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, CO 80813.
5. Casa Bonita (Lakewood)
C'mon... you knew we couldn't have a list of the oddest places in Colorado without mentioning the most unusual restaurant in the WORLD! For those who have never had the - err, pleasure? - of visiting, Casa Bonita is home to - err, food? - and a mangy gorilla who chases you around the restaurant, as well as waterfalls and other quirks. It's located at 6715 W Colfax Ave., Lakewood, CO 80214.
6. Mike the Headless Chicken (Fruita)
The epitome of the roadside attraction, Mike the Headless Chicken is a five-foot-tall metal sculpture that pays homage to the legendary Mike! How did poor Mike lose his head? Well, he was supposed to be Sunday dinner, but survived his own decapitation and lived for 18 months on a diet of milk, water, and small grains of corn. You'll find the statue at 128 E Aspen Ave., Fruita, CO 81521.
7. UFO Watchtower (Saguache County)
In the hearty of the San Luis Valley, you’ll find the mystical UFO Watchtower. The observation area offers visitors a pristine view of the night sky with no light pollution, making it a perfect place to (potentially) spot a UFO. During the daylight hours, the 360-degree view of the surrounding valley is pretty spectacular as well, and there’s even a campground on-site, should you want to stay a few nights during your search for alien life. The UFO Watchtower can be found along Highway 17 near Center, CO.
8. Bishop Castle (Rye)
Do you think the castle fun ends with Cano? Think again! Located in Rye, Bishop Castle is the jaw-dropping work of one man who started out building his family a small stone cottage, but continued to expand upon it after hearing neighbors say the materials made it look like a castle. Today, Bishop Castle stands at an impressive 160 feet tall and features wrought iron stairs and bridges, stained glass windows, and even a fire-breathing dragon made of discarded stainless steel warming plates! You'll find it at 12705 CO-165, Rye, CO 81069.
9. Blucifer (Denver)
I just saw Blucifer again the other day and once again thought, "Why?" Commissioned by Denver International Airport in 1993, Blue Mustang (nicknamed Blucifer) is a 32-foot-tall, 9,000-pound cast-fiberglass sculpture that actually killed its sculptor after a section of it fell on him and severed an artery in his leg.
10. No Name
Though a town with the No Name should require no introduction, let us just briefly explain that the community was named for its nearby No Name Canyon and No Name Creek. You'll find this tiny town just a few miles east of Glenwood Springs along I-70.
11. America’s Best Restroom (Minturn)
If you drink coffee like it is water (or water like it is water) and/or had your bladder destroyed during pregnancy, this one is for you, as America's best and most beautiful bathroom is hiding out right here in Colorado! Located in Minturn, this public restroom was designed to resemble the horizontal passageways found in mines, making for Perfection with a capital P (pun completely intended)! You can learn more about this wonderfully weird (and truly beautiful) public bathroom in our previous feature article