Those planning vacations in Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs and the nearby mountains can turn to a number of sources for background on the state and its major cities. Among my favorites is A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, a fascinating compilation of Isabella L. Bird’s letters to her sister; they were written in the late 1800s as she traveled alone through the Rockies, usually on horseback. Those who enjoy lengthy novels will want to get their hands on a copy of James Michener’s 1,000-page Centennial, inspired by the northeastern plains of Colorado. For a more bohemian point of view, look no further than Jack Kerouac’s classic, On the Road. Also engrossing is Wallace Stegner’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 1971 novel, Angle of Repose. Horror fans will surely appreciate a pair of Stephen King classics with Colorado ties: The Stand is set in Boulder and The Shining was inspired by the writer’s stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park (but actually filmed at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon).
Travelers interested in seeing wildlife will likely be successful with help from the Colorado Wildlife Viewing Guide, by Mary Taylor Gray. You'll probably see a lot of historical sights here, too, so it's good to first get some background from the short, easy-to-read Colorado: A History, by Marshall Sprague.
Movies set on the Front Range are limited, although Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, About Schmidt, and WarGames are exceptions, at least in part. Television shows in the area are more noteworthy: Dynasty (Denver), Mork & Mindy (Boulder), and South Park (50 miles southwest of Denver).
Musically speaking, the region has a rich heritage and a diverse current scene. John Denver; Earth, Wind & Fire; Big Head Todd and the Monsters; and the String Cheese Incident are among the bands that broke it big with strong ties to Denver or Boulder. In parts of the world, the “Denver Sound,” a roots-based genre that melds Gothic and country, has been gaining notoriety, with bands like 16 Horsepower, Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, DeVotchKa, and Slim Cessna’s Auto Club gaining an international following. The Denver music scene arguably finally arrived in the last few years with the emergence of the Fray (Denver) and 3OH!3 (Boulder) on the national charts.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.