Confluence Park

Confluence Park, on the banks of the South Platte River, may be better known for sunbathing, people watching and kayaking, but this urban park rises above the rest for one important reason when it comes to picnics: the distinct absence of goose poop. While many of Denver's other green spaces are blanketed in the stuff, Confluence doesn't suffer from the same fowl problem.

With its gorgeously neon-lit grounds, Lakeside Amusement Park looks like an idyllic movie set, which makes it the perfect place for a summer date night. Whether you're canoodling on the Ferris wheel, jointly steering the Skoota Boats or peering out over Lake Rhoda from the cockpit of the shaky, hydraulically powered Satellite rocket ship together, the park encapsulates old-fashioned romance. End the night with some soft-serve ice cream and take your honey on a train ride around the lake to catch a panoramic view of the 105-year-old amusement park's blinking lights and stately trees. Without the modern distractions of a high-tech theme park, it's the ideal place to nurture a new love, surrounded by an old one.

City Park

Yes, construction and goose poop pose constant challenges, but its 7.5 miles of bike paths make City Park a clear favorite for cyclists of all bents — especially the ones who don't want to brave the hordes of "serious" cyclists at Washington Park. Great views of the skyline, water features, creature features, and quick access to Uptown restaurants, a vibrant slice of East Colfax and the quiet streets of Park Hill (not to mention the zoo and the museum) add to the allure of this heart-of-the-city ride.

Bear Creek Lake Park
Lauren Monitz

Good fishing close to home can be hard to come by in landlocked Colorado. But Bear Creek Lake Park is an exception. For $7 per vehicle, anglers both new and experienced can try their hand at catching rainbow trout, perch, smallmouth bass and saugeye during the summer or winter. And if your family and friends aren't into sitting around and waiting for the fish to bite, Bear Creek Lake Park also has a swim beach, boat rentals, a water-ski school and horseback-riding stables.

Washington Park is like the Studio 54 of running: Anyone who's anyone jogs there. But there's a good reason for its popularity: miles of wide and well-kept trails. The bounty of fellow runners also means it's easy to eavesdrop on personal conversations, which is always entertaining. Plus, running sucks, and it's comforting to be among other people who are suffering as much as you are.

One of Denver's newest neighborhoods, Stapleton was specifically designed and laid out with modern families in mind. And at the heart of that foresight is the eighty-acre Central Park, Denver's third-largest, which includes a stage, a playground, lakes, paths, and a giant hill that turns into a winter wonderland for kids after a storm. The slope rises about thirty feet, but the grade isn't that steep in most places, so parents don't have to panic about their little ones picking up too much speed. Now if only it would snow more often.

An indoor retail oasis in the middle of the city, the Cherry Creek Shopping Center has banked on its elite status since opening in 1990. But if you're not shopping, buy a latte and grab a seat — there are several living rooms' worth of cushy furniture and a giant flat-screen TV in front of Abercrombie & Fitch — because you could sit for hours watching people. Who's there? Everyone from early-morning Silver Sneakers Club mall walkers and the lady with her dog in a stroller to international shoppers, teenagers, well-heeled fashionistas, and solo moms with a cell phone in one hand and a pocketbook in the other.

Parks usually make for good people-watching, but Washington Park, which pops off with free entertainment year-round, is the cream of the crop. You'll find moms pushing strollers the size of ATVs and dads on rollerblades with ski poles; bar-based running clubs in the afternoons and lane-weaving cruiser-bike fanatics; overzealous triathlon types on racing bikes; tanned-and-toned sorority gals; school groups; and, of course, people who look like their dogs. It's a melting pot of eye-catching splendor.

Situated at a lower elevation than many of Colorado's other favorite snowshoeing trails, Lost Lake, in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, is also fairly simple to get to and includes a variety of trails for a variety of skill sets. The path starts either at the Hessie Trailhead or about a mile before it, depending on conditions, and gets more and more beautiful as you walk. The last part of the trail is steeper as it approaches the lake, but the view will leave you breathless before the exertion does.

Best Place to Train for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Woodward at Copper

The International Olympic Committee has decreed that the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next year will host the ski halfpipe and ski and snowboard slopestyle events for the first time. And the road to Sochi for every aspiring Team USA shredder will run through Copper Mountain, host of the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) U.S. Grand Prix, an Olympic qualifier. Most will also be ducking into Woodward at Copper, a world-class indoor/outdoor training facility now run by former Olympic gymnast Phoebe Mills, to work on the technical rail tricks and aerial awareness it's going to take to win medals. Woodward's programs are also kid-friendly and beginner-friendly; to start building up to some double and triple corks of your own, spring for the $59.99 "One Hit Wonder" intro session on the trampolines, foam pits and Snowflex training slopes in the Barn before progressing to day sessions and week-long camps (including summer-camp options for both kids and adults).

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