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Get Inside: Three Cozy Walks for Frigid Days

As the days turn colder, one 5280 staffer went in search of warm places to take a stroll (outside of the gym). Here's what she found. 

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In a perfect world, I’d walk, hike, or run outside every day of the year. Fortunately, Colorado’s weather is nearly perfect—except for last week.

I grew up in the tundra North Dakota, so I can handle plunging temps, but even I know when it’s best to stay indoors. There are certain temperatures (say, below 20) that are too dangerous for me to venture out in. Sure, I worry about exposed skin, but I stress out more about the drivers who aren’t expecting pedestrians and Advertisement

Just go to the gym, you might say. But I hate treadmills, and I usually work out with my toddler (he rides in luxury in a stroller). I needed a place where I could stretch my legs. Just walk around the office, you might say. And I tried that, but one loop revealed that I’d need to complete another 28 to hit a mile. Plus, there was a pumpkin pie in the kitchen. I skipped nabbing a slice on the first pass, but there was no way I’d have that same amount of willpower on the last one. Just go to the mall, you might also say. And, yes, that would work just fine. (Although, every time I contemplated that, I couldn’t stop thinking of mall walkers from the 1980s decked out in tracksuits.)

(Check out the five best fall city walks)

So, I started to quiz people: Where could I walk indoors to clock some mileage but also have something to look at? One editor told me about naptime at Centennial’s IKEA, where tired parents can be found wheeling around their sleeping babes. Another suggested the Butterfly Pavilion, which is on the small side, but would offer plenty to stare at. I compiled a list, set my odometer, and tested three Denver-area locations. Here’s what I found.

1. Denver Museum of Nature & Science: The $13 entrance fee is comparable to a gym’s day use fee, but instead of looking at juice heads lifting weights, I got to stare at stuffed animal panoramas.

The Workout: After wandering through all the exhibits, I clocked a measly .88 miles.

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2. Costco: While not scenic, rolling a cart up and down every single aisle was tiring. The good news? I handled some holiday shopping as I walked.

The Workout: I easily logged 1.45 miles, but disliked navigating the traffic jams around the free food sample carts.

3. Denver Art Museum: As I walked quickly, not reading placards or stopping to admire paintings, I collected a good number of stares from art patrons. But by cruising, I also managed to see—and appreciate—the museum’s expansive collection in a new way.

The Workout: The clear winner. With just a $10 admission fee, I managed to log 1.64 miles in one complete lap. DAM, I’ll see you again when the mercury drops.

Follow senior editor Natasha Gardner on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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