Divers and an indoor waterfall at Casa Bonita

by Angelica Leicht

Casa Bonita in Denver isn’t just a Mexican restaurant. It’s a Mexican restaurant on gold-leaf and arcade-game steroids. This Colorado roadside attraction is massive – we’re talking over 52,000 square feet of massive – and not only can it seat 1,000 people, it can entertain those thousand people with a little help from the restaurant’s indoor dive team.

No, your eyes do not deceive you, friends. The restaurant really does have indoor cliff divers, and, of course, an indoor waterfall. You can’t have indoor cliff divers without a waterfall, can you? That would just be absurd.

This restaurant, located in the heart of Lakewood, has been around since 1974, and it is EXTRA extra. The exterior resembles something you’d see in old time Las Vegas. There is a looming pink tower topped with a large dome that is covered with 22-karat gold leaf, because what Mexican restaurant DOESN’T have the same features as a fancy ass church. Sitting directly on top of that dome is a statue of Quahuatomec, the last Aztec emperor. And, the fountain that sits at the front of Casa Bonita was shipped in pieces from Mexico, making it about the most authentic Mexican piece of this puzzle.


The interior is even more awe-inspiring (and slightly baffling). The restaurant is home to a huge arcade – and it’s not just pinball; there are freakin’ skee-ball machines in there – a gift shop, and that absurd waterfall.

About that waterfall… It’s 30 friggin’ feet high with a 14-foot deep pool, and it’s designed to resemble the cliffs of Acapulco. And, you know, actual humans dive off of it into the pool, because hell. Why not? Sounds like a good time to us.

And, there is plenty more to see than those famous (or perhaps infamous) cliff divers, who do their damn thang at regular intervals throughout the day. Casa Bonita also offers a full food menu and a full menu of show times – pirate shows, gunfights, puppet shows, something with a gorilla, and about a million other options – for entertainment that runs from the lunch rush until well into the evening.

There are over 30 attractions piled into this place, including something called Black Bart’s secret hideout, which is apparently full of mystery and intrigue. You cannot possibly get bored with the sights and sounds of Casa Bonita, making it the perfect dining option for anyone who hates their dining partner and wants to avoid talking, or for those of you who like your dining partners but are kids at heart. Or… you know, just take your kids. We don’t care. It’s your Casa Bonita party.

Angelica Leicht


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