Leadville, CO: The Best Historic Small Town

Almost an hour south of Vail, CO is the town of Leadville. At 10,152 feet above sea level, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. Expect to see snowy mountain tops while you are out there starting as early as September. Leadville has a colorful history that starts with the Gold Rush and includes figures like The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Poker Alice, Doc Holliday, and Meyer Guggenheim of the Guggenheim family. There is a ton to explore, eat, and shop in Leadville so make sure you budget for at least a full day here.

Some notable things to do while you are in town include:

Antique shopping at Western Hardware Antique Co. This store is huge and packed full of treasures. Give yourself at least an hour to explore both floors.

This home is a vacation rental, you can check it out here.

Scope out the beautiful historic Victorian homes in town. Some have been beautifully restored to their original glory and if you are an architecture lover they are quite the treat.

Leadville has the most museums per capita in Colorado, 8 in total! You can purchase a Leadville Museum Passport at the Chamber of Commerce (809 Harrison Ave) which will have you exploring historic homes, Jewish pioneer life, as well as the Matchless Mine.

Stroll the shops on Harrison Ave. This is the main street in town and where many of it’s attractions are located. There are many locally owned shops and restaurants.

Make sure you stop in at the Silver Llama for a bite to eat.

Grab a drink at The Legendary Silver Dollar Saloon. You will feel like you are stepping right into the old west. It was also a favorite watering hole of many of the historical figures mentioned above and is rumoured to be haunted!

Attend a show or take a tour of the Tabor Opera House. The city has been working to meticulously restore this National Treasure back to it’s boomtown days. Oscar Wilde, John Philip Sousa, and Buffalo Bill have all taken their turns trodding the boards.

For a fun activity, check out the Leadville Train. It is a scenic train that will take you along the old Denver, South Park & Pacific and Colorado & Southern lines to the Continental Divide. Make sure you book your tickets in advance because it is a popular attraction.

Leadville is home to a scenic paved walkway called the Mineral Belt Trail. It is great for walking, biking, or skating and stretches 11.6 miles. It boasts spectacular views of the town and surrounding mountain ranges.

There are quite a few ghost towns from the town’s mining boom in the area to go see. Make sure you stop by the Chamber of Commerce office to pick up a driving map to give yourself a guided tour.

Leadville is an incredible town with rich history, great restaurants, and many activities to enjoy. It should be at the top of your list for a visit!