People visiting Boulder tend to find that the town and its surrounding area offer just about anything they could want. There are excellent bars and restaurants, easily accessible hiking trails, theaters and galleries, luxury hotels and spas, and of course, some of the best breweries in the United States. One thing guests won’t actually find in Boulder, however, is a casino. One can certainly imagine a western-style venue of this kind opening up if the laws change one day. But for now, Colorado’s casinos are confined solely to American Indian territory.

The good news though is that those who may wish to enjoy a bit of casino activity while traveling to Boulder, there is an option quite close by (even more convenient than some of the skiing and golf options commonly associated with the city). It only takes about an hour to drive from Boulder to Black Hawk, and there you’ll find arguably Colorado’s best live casino property.

Here’s a bit more on what to know if you’d like to plan this as a day trip during your stay in Boulder.

There Are Multiple Casinos

We’re framing this as a piece about a single casino, and to be clear we mean the Black Hawk Ameristar Casino Resort. However, anyone planning on making he top would do well to know that there are actually more than a dozen casino properties in the town of Black Hawk. It’s something of a gaming and entertainment hub, given that it’s one of just a few cities where such activity is legal. All of that said, Black Hawk Ameristar is the most impressive of the bunch, and the one that’s really worth the trip in.

Poker is the Highlight

Another important thing to know is that poker is the highlight at this particular venue. There are other games, to be sure, and you can have a good time without ever sitting down at a poker table. But there are more than 10 such tables and plenty of friendly tournaments as well — which is quite a lot for a casino that’s not particularly massive. All this really means is that you’ll want to be prepared to play some cards! Brushing up on beginner guides to poker is simple enough, and so long as you go in knowing the rules to the game and how the betting works, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself at a live table.

Timberline Grill is a Must

Gaming aside, you should also know that the Timberline Grill inside the Black Hawk Ameristar is a must. As you may well know if you’re exploring a trip to Boulder, Colorado is known for having its share of incredible steakhouses. And while Timbeline tends to fall under the radar (the most famous restaurants are naturally in Denver), it’s absolutely up to the state’s extremely high standard. It’s a charming, western-rustic venue just like what many might imagine they’d find in a town called Black Hawk, Colorado, and the food is worth the trip in and of itself. (Splurge a bit on the Wagyu and you don’t regret it!)

The Spas Are Worth a Stop

You may not find a spa in Black Hawk quite as unique as Timberline Grill is among steakhouses. But there are some truly incredible places to relax in and around the Black Hawk Ameristar, and a bit of time at the spa is an excellent way to break up a day of gaming and dining. At the tranquil Ara Spa inside the Ameristar, you can book any of a number of different massage treatments, and/or a warm body wrap and plenty of add-on treatments. And there’s just something nice about pampering yourself while you’re out enjoying the entertainment and charms of a live casino.

Boulder’s Bars Are Better

Finally, if you’re considering wrapping up your day in Black Hawk with some time at a local bar, we’d actually recommend you head back to Boulder. First and foremost, this is the only responsible decision if you’re driving yourself! Additionally, though, the best bars of Boulder are simply too good. Even if Black Hawk has some fun spots for a drink (and it does), it’s a shame to spend an evening outside of Boulder if that’s where you’re primarily vacationing. You’ll want as many opportunities to check out the city’s bars as you can get. So in a roundabout way, the best way to end a fun day trip to Black Hawk is to drive on back to Boulder and round out the evening at the Bohemian Biergarten or The Bitter Bar.

You can of course have plenty of fun simply staying in Boulder to explore its innumerable charms as well. But for those with an interest in casino entertainment, a day trip to Black Hawk is a great idea. The trip is short, and after some fun at the tables, a great meal, and maybe a spa treatment or two, you can be right back in Boulder enjoying a nightcap.