So You Want to Plan a 420 Vacation to Colorado?

7 Things to Know About Cannabis Tourism in Colorado

Small business marijuana dispensary
••• Heath Korvola/Getty Images

Wherever you stand on the laws, it’s no question that cannabis tourism is a big draw to Colorado.

And while you won’t find tourism boards here promoting cannabis as a reason to come visit Colorado, many travelers attracted to the novelty of legal recreational marijuana come to Colorado to see a “pot shop” for themselves.

Especially on April 20. You know, 420.

Cannabis tourism is a real industry in Colorado, whether you like it or not.

So for those of you looking for a little Rocky Mountain high (groan), here are seven things to help you get the most out of your trip (the puns are really endless). 

1. You can plan all kinds of interesting 420 tours.

My420Tours.com is just one of many companies (and the offerings are always growing) that organizes free (safe) transportation to various pot-related activities. For example, on select Saturdays, you can visit a dispensary and get deep discounts on purchases, or plan a Cannabis Foodie Tour that also includes stops at some of Denver’s top restaurants. There are even cannabis cooking classes, spas and more. But be warned: These guided tours can get pricey, even if they offer discounts on purchases.

2. Check out an MJ-friendly hangout.

Just because a cannabis tour stops at a restaurant most definitely does not mean you can smoke freely there — or anywhere you want. In fact, bars (and all public places) are not cannabis-friendly.

But there are a few places you can visit to openly imbibe, like private clubs and private events. In private membership clubs, like iBake Denver, members of legal age can buy and smoke marijuana on site. Because this is a private club, it does not fall under public consumption laws. You have to buy a membership to join this club, although it's super cheap (just $10 per person).

Although worth noting: Private cannabis clubs are rare. (iBake claims to be the first members-only cannabis club in the Denver Metro area.) It's best to take your cannabis and enjoy it in the privacy of your own home or one of the few (though uncommon) cannabis-friendly hotels in Colorado. 

3. Plan a classy, sophisticated trip.

A cannabis-centered vacation doesn’t have to be like Cheech and Chong. Some companies, like Cultivating Spirits, aim to offer educated and responsible experiences. Try three-course, three-strain cannabis pairing dinners or book a food, wine and cannabis tour. "Cannabis pairings are the new wine pairings," Cultivating Spirits says. It uses small-batch, craft cannabis. 

You can also book a private cannabis tasting event at your private residence or for a private party. 

4. Relax with a cannabis massage.

Primal Therapeutics brings cannabis-infused massage therapy to your location, in the Denver metro area. The company aims to educate people about plant medicine and holistic health, as an alternative medicine. The company offers a wide range of massage services, as well as guided meditation and full body scrubs. Even pregnancy massage. 

Cannabis spa treatments are a growing trend in Colorado.

Find CBD or cannabis-inspired body wraps, scrubs and facials. You can even find cannabis oil treatments at big-name, luxury spas, like at the Hilton Inverness hotel in south Denver. 

5. Shop for high-end, artistic glassware.

Pipes can be a true work of art. Visit a glassblowing shop to see a demo, or swing by one of the reputable glass shops, like Illuzion Glass Galleries in Denver. Whatever you think you’ve seen before, expect to be surprised. Even if you don’t smoke, galleries like this can provide creative insight into this dimension of Colorado’s culture. 

You can find high-end glass shops that feel like museums and art galleries in many cities, from Boulder to Dillon. 

6. Stay in a 420-friendly place.

Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you can use it anywhere, not even in your own room.

In fact, many hotels that explicitly forbid smoking cannabis, including vaporizers, on grounds. Even on balconies. A balcony is considered a public space, like a sidewalk (and you definitely can't smoke on the street). 

It’s hard to find many 420-friendly places to stay up I-70 and around the ski resorts, but you can find some in the Denver-metro area and in southern Colorado. 

B&Bs, vacation rental properties and even Craigslist (believe it or not; but take precautions, of course) are a good place to start. You can even find homes whose owners will help you find the best shops. Some allow you to smoke in your room and anywhere on property and even offer distillery tours.  

In Fort Collins, you can vape indoors and smoke outside at the Shrangri-La Inn at Gaia’s Farm and Gardens, an “eco-friendly, hippie-friendly, Bohemian-style farm stay bed and breakfast.” (When you click on this website, a John Denver song starts playing.) This old farmhouse also includes access to gardens, a petting zoo, a koi pond, flowers, fruit trees and mountain views. But beware: Because not every hotel offers this “luxury,” many of the 420-friendly lodgings and private homes have steep rates, especially around mid-April.

7. Visit a 420 celebration. A big one is the Denver 420 Fest, with vendors and booths, music and entertainment. 

There is also a weekly CannaBingo event at Studio A64 in Colorado Springs, various expos (including a cannabis wedding expo), a women's grow leadership summit and more.