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17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Denver, CO

Written by Lana Law Updated Dec 27, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Carri Wilbanks lives near Denver and enjoys exploring the sights of the city.

Denver, the Mile High City, so named because it sits at 5,280 feet above sea level or one mile high, has been rocking since the late 1850s, when gold was discovered around Cherry Creek . Today, it is one of America's hottest cities to live and play in and a great place to visit in Colorado .

With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop and more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Denver is a visually appealing metropolis, filled with a variety of sights and attractions for everyone, from families to couples. Whether you are wandering the Denver Art Museum, doing some shopping and gallery-hopping in Cherry Creek North, or visiting animals at the Denver Zoo, day or night, there is no shortage of things to do.

The city is also home to several parks, including Civic Center Park in the heart of downtown, Washington Park, Cheesman Park, and City Park in surrounding neighborhoods. Just outside the city limits is Denver's most famous park: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, which is one of the top outdoor concert venues in the U.S.

Learn more about the best places to visit in the city with our list of the top attractions in Denver.

See also: Where to Stay in Denver

1. Union Station

2. larimer square, 3. stroll and shop along 16th street mall, 4. take a tour or see a game at coors field, 5. denver museum of nature & science, 6. see a show at the denver center for the performing arts, 7. denver botanic gardens, 8. kirkland museum of fine & decorative art, 9. denver art museum, 10. denver zoo, 11. colorado state capitol, 12. enjoy live music at red rocks park & amphitheater, 13. denver public library, 14. united states mint, 15. civic center park, 16. cherry creek north, 17. clyfford still museum, where to stay in denver for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to denver, map of attractions & things to do in denver, co, denver, co - climate chart.

Union Station in downtown Denver

Anchoring downtown Denver , Union Station is a hub of activity for locals and travelers alike. This Beaux Arts train station is a historic landmark dating back to 1881.

Completely revitalized in 2014, today Union Station is a bustling attraction that doubles as a working train station. You can catch the A-line train to the airport, RTD transit around Denver, or embark on Amtrak rail trips across the country from here.

Union Station is also home to many shops, restaurants, and The Crawford Hotel, which often puts on special themed-stay events. It's fun to take a stroll through Union Station just to look at the impressive architecture.

Also, make sure to pay a visit to the branch of the Tattered Cover Book Store located here. It is one of the best independent bookstores in the U.S.

Address: 1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado

Larimer Square

A successful example of urban refurbishment in Denver is Larimer Square, with well-restored buildings of the Civil War period. In 1971, Larimer Square became Denver's first historic district. Today, it is a major entertainment district. The area is home to art galleries, shops, cheerful restaurants, and gas lamps.

It continues to evolve and is popular with both locals and tourists. During the day, most people come here to shop. In the evening, this is a great place for dining or seeing some live entertainment, such as comedians or bands. This area is also famous as the place where Buffalo Bill lived at one time.

Address: 1430 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado

16th Street Mall

Running through the city center, the 16th Street Mall is a European-style pedestrian precinct, with shady trees, flowerbeds, and park benches. The only traffic here is a free shuttle bus.

The mall is lined with department stores, boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants, and the stalls of street traders. Near the south end of the street are numerous modern and Post-Modern skyscrapers.

The mall was designed by the late world-famous architect I.M. Pei, the same architect that designed the pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. At night, the mall is illuminated by over one million lights, making it an ideal place to stroll on a warm summer evening.

Originally opened in 1982, the 16 th Street Mall is currently undergoing an overhaul that will create wider pedestrian walkways, modernize existing infrastructure, and introduce new art, among other objectives.

The renovations of this 13-block mall between Market Street and Broadway will take place in phases and are expected to be finished by late 2024. The area remains open during renovations, however.

Coors Field

Coors Field is the home of the Colorado Rockies baseball club. The stadium, which opened in 1995, has a seating capacity of 50,200. From the seats along the 1st base line, it's possible to see the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

Tours of the facility are available year-round and are a good way to learn about the stadium and see a bit of the behind-the-scenes action. Tickets are limited to a certain number each day, so advance purchases are a good idea. Tours last just under 1.5 hours and are accessible to those with disabilities.

Address: 20th and Blake Streets, Denver, Colorado

Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science sits in City Park's southeast corner and is one of Denver's top cultural attractions. Among the most notable exhibits are the imposing dinosaur skeletons, remains of Ice Age animals, the collection of minerals presented by the Coors family, and one of the largest nuggets of gold found in Colorado.

The museum features changing exhibitions, so there is always something new to see. An IMAX theater and a Planetarium are also on-site. When you've finished wandering this museum, take time to check out City Park, which is popular with locals, and hosts a free summer jazz concert series.

The Space Odyssey exhibit has been renovated and revitalized and is now better than ever. You'll be able to step into the new Fantasy Spaceship and fulfill your dreams of blasting off into space.

Address: 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, Colorado

Read More: Denver with Kids: Top-Rated Things to Do

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts sits on the south side of Larimar Square and is a gigantic cultural center. The center consists of multiple venues, including the Boettcher Concert Hall, Auditorium Theater, and Ellie Caulkins Opera House. If you are looking for things to do in Denver at night, you can usually find something to entertain you here.

A night out at the Center for Performing Arts could mean watching a Broadway Show or enjoying a play or a variety of other performances. This venue hosts all kinds of major events. It is home to the Denver Center Theater Company, the Denver Center Attractions, and the Denver Center Theatre Academy. The center also functions as an educational facility, offering acting classes and programs, as well as professional development opportunities.

Address: Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street, Denver, Colorado

Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens , first laid out in the late 1950s, is one of the largest botanical gardens in the United States , occupying 23 acres next to Cheesman Park.

The garden emphasizes native plants and sustainable, environmentally responsible practices. However, the various gardens display plants from all over the world. There are 43 individual gardens, some of which are laid out in natural landscapes, others of which are in more formal gardens.

Some of the highlights include the Japanese Garden; Marnie's Pavilion with orchids, ferns, and waterfalls; and the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory, with exotic tropical and subtropical species. The Denver Botanic Gardens also hosts special events throughout the year, including concerts that draw in nationally recognized talent.

Address: 1007 York Street, Denver, Colorado

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art displays a major collection of decorative art from 1880 to 1980. Every major design period is represented, from Arts & Crafts to Pop Art. Regional modernist art, from 1875 to 1980, with a focus on Colorado, is also documented with hundreds of works.

The museum features a retrospective of Colorado's distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland (1904-1981). All three collections are housed in a 1911 Arts & Crafts building, the oldest commercial art building in Denver. Kirkland Museum is a member of Historic Artists' Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Address: 1311 Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum

The massive, fortress-like Denver Art Museum has a vast collection, which includes American Indian, African, European, Asian, and Oceanic Art. Collections also include Spanish colonial and pre-Columbian works.

The remodeled Native American galleries are particularly impressive, covering a broad range of cultures and tribes from the United States and Canada. This extensive collection has gained a reputation throughout North America, with pieces that span 2,000 years of history.

This modern and contemporary art collection features both well-known names and emerging talent in a variety of media. Don't miss the separate gallery dedicated to photography. Also of note is the museum's African art collection.

The Denver Art Museum began in a building now known as the North Building, designed by Italian Architect Gio Ponti and opened in 1971. In 2006, the 146,000-square-foot Hamilton Building, an expansion designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, was opened to the public. The new building captured attention with its unique design, inspired by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Address: 100 W 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, Colorado

Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo is beautifully laid out, with enclosures adapted to different species, from the polar bears' den to monkey island. The zoo was begun in the late 1800s and has a rich history of conservation. Over the years, it has managed to remain one of Denver's most popular tourist attractions.

Exhibits that are sure to delight families with children of all ages include Stingray Cove, where you can pet a stingray as it swims by; the Toyota Elephant Passage, consisting of two miles of trails in a natural habitat featuring African animals; Harmony Hill Bear Habitat, home to the park's resident Grizzly Bear; and The EDGE, an enclosure that lets you get within six inches of two gorgeous Amur Tigers from Siberia.

Address: 2900 E 23rd Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Colorado State Capitol

On a low hill on the east side of Civic Center Park is the classical-style State Capitol, crowned by a gilded dome 250 feet high. From the viewing platform on the drum of the dome, there are magnificent views of the city's imposing skyline and the Front Range. The 13th step on the west side of the Capitol is exactly one mile above sea level, thus the name "mile high city."

Address: Broadway and East Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is about 15 miles from the city center but is well worth the commute as this is the most revered attraction around Denver — and there is a shuttle to get you here should you not have a car.

Red Rocks is both a live music venue and a city park owned by Denver. The name comes from the striking red sandstone rock formations found along the trails that also form the walls of the outdoor amphitheater.

The venue attracts major live music talent weekly in season and is most famous for its acoustics. Music buffs will want to stop by the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, which tells the stories of Colorado's music greats.

Address: 18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colorado

Denver Public Library

Famed architect Michael Graves designed the Denver Public Library , which opened in 1995. The library is noted for its western history and genealogical collections. Outside, the 30-foot-tall, red-orange steel sculpture is often used for reference as a landmark.

Address: 10 W. Fourteenth Avenue, Denver, Colorado

United States Mint

Immediately beyond the City and County Building is the U.S. Mint , one of the United States' six facilities. This is where the American currency is created and part of the country's gold reserves are stored.

Be sure to take a free guided tour of the facility to learn about the history and process of making money. Following your tour, visit the small gift shop on-site selling commemorative coins, souvenirs, games, and other items. Reservations for the tours are always required and can be scheduled online through the website.

Address: 320 West Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Civic Center Park

In the heart of Denver is the green and, in summer, agreeably shady Civic Center Park, laid out in Classical style with numerous monuments. Principal administrative buildings of the state of Colorado are scattered around the outskirts of the park. Along its north side is Colfax Ave, which is the longest street in America, running for 26 miles east to west through Denver.

Address: 101 14th Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Aerial view over Cherry Creek

Located just south and east of the Downtown, Cherry Creek North is Denver's best-known shopping district , especially if you're looking for luxury and boutique shops and art galleries. Covering some 16 blocks laid out in a square, the leafy and flower-strewn neighborhood is also home to numerous restaurants, offering cuisine from around the globe.

Cherry Creek hosts a number of different events throughout the year, the most famous of which is the Cherry Creek Arts Festival , held around July 4th, which attracts national and international artist vendors in mediums ranging from painting and jewelry to ceramics. The district runs along 2nd and 3rd Ave between Steele Street to the east and University Boulevard to the west.

Clyfford Still Museum

Part of the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists, Clyfford Still is considered one of the 20th century's most influential painters. The Clyfford Still Museum , which opened in late 2011, is home to an archive of more than 3,000 artworks by the late artist and showcases his life's work and legacy in exhibits in a minimalist-style building.

Address: 1250 Bannock Street, Denver, Colorado

The best place to stay in Denver is right downtown in the heart of the action. This is where the main attractions are located, as well as the Convention Center, restaurants, and entertainment. Below is a list of highly-rated hotels in convenient locations :

Luxury Hotels :

  • The landmark Brown Palace Hotel and Spa has been one of Denver's top luxury hotels since it first opened in 1892. This opulent hotel, in the heart of downtown, is also known for its superb customer service.
  • Opened one year earlier, in 1891, is another of Denver's top hotels, The Oxford Hotel , near Union Station.
  • By contrast, if you are looking for a contemporary luxury hotel, the uniquely designed The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton , near the Denver Art Museum, is the place to stay.

Mid-Range Hotels :

  • Near the Convention Center and just a short walk from the 16th Street Mall is the conveniently located Hilton Garden Inn .
  • Nearby, and also in a great location is Aloft , with a modern look and trendy feel.
  • The Hyatt House is a newly opened, extended-stay hotel in the city center, with standard rooms and suites featuring fully equipped kitchens, perfect for families.

Budget Hotels :

  • The Days Inn is on the periphery of the city center, either a long walk or short drive from the main downtown area.
  • If you are willing to drive 30 minutes, the Comfort Inn is well outside the city center but offers quality rooms at budget prices.

Joining an organized tour is a great way to see all the highlights of Denver and its surrounding mountains without the hassle of finding your way around. Along the way, you'll learn fascinating stories about the city's history and the ecology of the surrounding areas. These tours include convenient hotel pickup and drop-off, saving you time and money. Below are some fun sightseeing tours and day trips that guarantee the lowest price:

Take a Day Trip:

  • Soaring mountains surround Denver, and a convenient way to experience this alpine wilderness is on the Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder . Accompanied by the narration of an expert guide, this tour takes you in an air-conditioned coach across the Continental Divide, reaching altitudes of up to 12,000 feet. After exploring Estes Park and passing by the famous Stanley Hotel, you can look for wildlife such as bighorn sheep and black bears in Rocky Mountain National Park. The tour includes admission to the park, lunch, and hotel pickup.
  • If you're short on time but still want to venture into the wilderness, consider the Foothills Explorer Tour From Denver . This four-hour adventure includes a visit to Red Rocks park, a natural amphitheater; a drive through the scenic Lariat Loop, where you can look for wildlife; and stops at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave and the historic town of Evergreen. Hotel pickup and entrance fees are also included.

Summit a 14neer :

  • From Idaho Springs, the highest mountain road in the U.S. runs steeply up past the beautifully situated Echo Lake to the alpine pastures on Mount Evans (14,266 feet). From the summit, there are breathtaking panoramic views out over the mountains and valley below. A variety of wildlife also frequents the area. At these elevations, it is not uncommon to see mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, and pika. The Mount Evans Highway (State Highway 5) is a seasonal road, which is closed during the winter months, usually reopening in late May. Opening dates may be weather dependent. Mount Evans gets particularly busy on summer weekends. Weekdays and early mornings are some of the less visited hours and maybe a better option for people looking to escape large crowds.

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The Mountains: Denver is a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Less than two hours away are some of the best ski resorts in Colorado , including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin. You can also find smaller and budget-friendly ski resorts near Denver . But you don't have to be a skier to enjoy the beautiful scenery. In summer, hiking , camping, biking, and sightseeing opportunities attract tourists from across North America.

Fun mountain towns you may want to include on your Colorado itinerary include nearby Boulder and Colorado Springs , and in the far southwest of the state, Durango and Telluride , where you'll also find excellent skiing and snowboarding, as well as hiking and biking in summer. Mountain bikers should look to Fruita and Grand Junction for some awesome rides. For more ideas, see our article on the top attractions and places to visit in Colorado .

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30 Best & Fun Things To Do In Denver (Colorado)

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: October 16, 2019  - Last updated: October 15, 2023

Things To Do In Denver

Denver is full of exciting points of interest, must-see tourist attractions and some of the best vacation spots .

With so many places to see, you’ll want to have a good plan for where to go while you’re in this bustling city.

Here are the 30 best and fun things to do in Denver, Colorado.

Table of Contents

1. Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens

Sherry Little Fawn S / Shutterstock

The Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the must see locations for anyone who’s looking for a peaceful, relaxing walk.

This gorgeous oasis spans 24 acres and is covered in stunning sights, including numerous sculptures, pools, and different garden types.

For the coolest sculptures, check out the huge, spiky red-and-yellow piece entitled “Colorado” made by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, or the Deborah Butterfield piece depicting a horse stripped bare.

For the most fascinating gardens, xeriscaped drought-resistant lands, the Mordecai Children’s Garden, and a Japenese garden are all great options.

And don’t forget the beautiful Monet Pool packed with pretty lilies!

You can also stop by the gift shop for some quaint little trinkets.

Address:  1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206, United States

2. Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum

The Clyfford Still Museum is situated right next to the arguably much more popular Denver Art Museum, but it is just as worthy of stopping by while you’re in this Colorado city.

It houses a whopping 3,200 pieces created by Clyfford Still, who is world-renowned as an abstract expressionist artist.

Originally opened in 2011, the Clyfford Still Museum celebrates some of Still’s most loved works, beginning from his early sketches from the 1920s to his more well-known canvas masterpieces made back in the 1950s.

Witness the bright bursts of colors, supplemented with a variety of informational placards that keep things concise yet interesting.

This Colorado museum also gives you great insight into the way that an art style can slowly but surely evolve and change over time.

Unlike many more crowded museums, this one is intimate and feels very much like a unique, personal experience that you can enjoy without the masses.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Denver!

Address:  1250 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

3. Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Grossinger / Shutterstock

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a stunning spot for sightseeing that is located on Colorado Highway 5.

It’s a great way to take in some stunning views without exerting yourself in a hike if that’s not something you feel like doing.

The concept is simple: pay a simple car entrance fee and drive up from Echo Lake’s Highway 103 to the top of the Summit Lake road.

The road is only open at certain times of the year, but it’s one of the best places to visit in the area.

This is the tallest paved road that you’ll find not just in this city, but in all of America.

At the very peak of Mount Evans and its road, you’ll be a huge, impressive 14,264 feet over the level of the sea.

A number of useful stopping points allow you to step out and look out over the edge of the road to see views of the Rocky Mountains.

It’s certainly among the top things to do in Denver!

4. Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum

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The Denver Art Museum is among the top 10 art-related locations in Colorado.

It is the biggest of its kind within the city.

Located in the famed Golden Triangle Creative District, it hosts over 70,000 different gorgeous works of art in two lovely buildings, from all manner of artists, from all walks of life.

The museum showcases a good mix of permanent fixtures as well as sophisticated and fantastic temporary exhibitions that change with the seasons.

The building itself is made with eye-catching architecture that provides a wow factor from the get-go, and there’s something within for everyone, from art aficionados to those who just popped in.

There isn’t any specific exhibit that truly stands out, as so many of them are incredible and worth viewing.

You’ll see countless different pieces that will make you gasp in delight!

Whether or not you’re an art fan, this museum easily makes the list for what to do in Denver.

Address:  100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204, United States

5. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Federico Curcio / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some music and entertainment tonight, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is among the greatest that you’ll find in Colorado.

It is famous for being exceedingly beautiful thanks to its natural amphitheater design, which benefits from the gorgeous red sandstone rocks that encircle it.

If you’re in Denver anytime from spring to fall, you’ll be able to witness some pretty interesting shows, from musical performances to film screenings.

Better yet, pretty much all seats in the entire amphitheater are good ones, and shows go on through all sorts of weather.

But even if you’re not big on live shows, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is still one of the things to see that you won’t want to miss, even if it’s purely for its aesthetic quality!

Address:  18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465, United States

Going on a road trip around Colorado? Check out our list of things to do in Colorado !

6. Coors Field

Coors Field

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Baseball fans unite!

Coors Field is one of the most fun locations in Denver to take a trip to if you’re looking for a ballpark that’s suitable for the whole family.

Named after the beer that this city is so well-known for, this field is the home turf of the Colorado Rockies, a Major League Baseball team much-loved by many.

Coors Field is a stadium that covers 76 acres and more than enough space to seat 50,000 spectators.

If you’re lucky enough to sit in the right-field or first-base areas, you’ll have a gorgeous view ahead of you to accompany the game: the Rocky Mountains loom overhead.

But what about off-season?

Well, there are still plenty of activities to do that will keep all ages entertained.

Ground tours can be still be embarked on off-season, giving you a great glimpse into the world of baseball.

An interactive area allows you to take your chance at video batting cages and speed pitches.

Whether you’re here to see a game, sample some tasty snacks, or just explore, visiting Coors Field is one of the most awesome things to do in downtown Denver!

Address:  2001 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205, United States

7. Empower Field at Mile High

Empower Field

APN Photography / Shutterstock

The Empower Field is located within the well-known Mile High Stadium of Denver.

It’s the site of many amazing events in Super Bowl history, including the multiple wins and record-setting efforts of the local Broncos.

Football fans in this Colorado City are sure to love catching a game over the weekend – or on a weekday, too! – in this 76,000-seater stadium.

But this field isn’t just pure sports.

Believe it or not, public art displays can be found around the field for you to scrutinize.

Still, no one can deny that catching a home game on the Empower Field is among the top things to do in Denver.

You can also go on a tour of the stadium, including walking through the locker rooms, broadcast areas, entrance tunnel, and more.

Address:  1701 Bryant St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

8. Forney Museum of Transportation

Forney Museum of Transportation

Neal Wellons / flickr

The Forney Museum of Transportation is one of the more quirky Denver attractions in Colorado.

Originally, the museum’s extensive collection began with the private collection of Forney Industries founder J.D. Forney.

His wife and children presented him with a special antique car in 1961, and that kickstarted his love of collecting unusual, special, one-of-a-kind, and sometimes downright weird automobiles!

If it had wheels, he would consider it!

Now, the collection comprises of 600 different pieces, and it continues to expand in the spirit of Forney’s efforts.

The car of Amelia Earhart, a “Big Boy” locomotive, and even a banged-about Herbie the Love Bug are all noteworthy entries to this museum.

Hilariously, to add a little more life to their displays, mannequins with silly eyes are posed around and in these vehicles.

It’s a very strange museum indeed, but if you’re looking for what to do, it’s one that shouldn’t be missed!

Address:  4303 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216, United States

9. Larimer Square

Larimer Square

littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock

Known as one of the most beautiful places in the US , Larimer Square is full of sights, sounds, and stores that make it an absolute must-visit in downtown Denver.

It is from here that all of Denver slowly grew into the wonderful Colorado city that we know it as now.

Teeming with history, it slipped into a deteriorated state a good while ago and was slowly refurbished and brought back to life.

The square isn’t exactly the “plaza” type of square.

Instead, it is a street spanning just a block that contains a wide range of interesting shop lots, including clubs, boutiques, bars, restaurants, and more.

Delicious food and a delightful atmosphere await you!

Address: 1430 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

10. Adams Mystery Playhouse

Adams Mystery Playhouse

Adams Mystery Playhouse

The Adams Mystery Playhouse is the only establishment of its kind in all of Colorado.

So, what is it exactly?

It is a mystery dinner theatre, which essentially provides a delicious buffet meal for you to enjoy while actors bestow their hilarious and delightful comedy on you.

And it’s all family-friendly, so it’s among the greatest things to do in Denver this weekend with kids!

Then, surprise! Something happens!

A murder mystery takes place right after dinner is done!

Help look for clues, have a few snacks, and watch more performances – then enjoy the culmination of the mysterious case.

The winning team that solves the case gets some great souvenirs.

If you’re looking for some fun while you’re in town, this is a fantastic option.

Address:  2406 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80211, United States

Exploring other areas of Colorado? Why not check out some of the things to do in Colorado Springs  & some of the things to do in Estes Park ?

11. Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo

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The Denver Zoo first opened in the 1890s, and since then, it has only gotten better.

Designed after a nature preserve in Kenya, it’s among the most fun tourist attractions in Colorado that will make you feel like you’re far away in the wilderness!

More than 4,000 animals call the Denver Zoo their home.

It takes up a whopping 8 acres and spans across City Park, with a wide range of different types of areas that showcase some awesome animals.

You can view mammals, reptiles, aquatic creatures, invertebrates, birds, and more!

The Denver Zoo also offers plenty of activities.

If you get there during the standard feeding times, you’ll get to listen to some fascinating lectures from staff members.

Special events involve giant Lego replicas of the animals that litter the compound, photo safaris, animatronic dinosaurs, and more!

Address:  2300 Steele St, Denver, CO 80205, United States

12. Tattered Cover Book Store

Tattered Cover Book Store

Epiglottis / Shutterstock

If you’re a book-lover figuring out what to do while you’re in Denver, the Tattered Cover Book Store is arguably among the most loved.

It is one of the most impressive independent bookstores in Denver today.

Since it opened in 1971, the bookstore has grown outside of Colorado to earn four locations, and for good reason!

This homey bookstore is full of things to see, with great books, warm coffee, and cozy little armchairs to sit in.

Staff is very knowledgeable, and sometimes authors drop by to host seminars.

Gorgeous stationery is also available for sale, alongside a huge variety of books that spawn across all the genres you can think of.

Whether you’re here to just browse, to pick up some books or gifts, or to rest in an armchair while reading for a few hours, this bookstore feels like a sophisticated library that anyone would love to spend an afternoon in.

Address:  2526 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206, United States

13. Craft Beer Tour

Denver Craft Beer Tour

Master1305 / Shutterstock

Denver is pretty well-known for its beer.

That’s why you can’t miss out on a Craft Beer Tour if you’re in this Colorado city this week.

Head to downtown Denver to be taken through a two- or three-hour tour that teaches you just how all that renowned craft beer is made.

Many different types of these tours are held, but the most popular one brings you through four stops.

You’ll learn how brewing happens, take a trip to one of the initial brewpubs that started the Denver craft beer craze, get to drink in a special governer-founded brewery, and finally wind up in one of the state’s greatest bars.

Throughout this tour, which is one of the most fun things to do in Denver, you’ll find out about which beers have the most incredible tastes, receive a tasting glass as a souvenir, and learn historical facts and bits of trivia.

So if you want to sate your craving for good alcohol without going out tonight, this is a great way to do it!

14. Cheesman Park

Cheesman Park

jennifer_crowder_artist / Shutterstock

Cheesman Park is located in the central area of Denver, and it’s known for being pretty haunted.

In fact, it’s one of the most haunted spots not just in Colorado, but in all of the United States.

Spanning 80 acres, the park features landscaped grounds and looks perfectly serene, but don’t let that fool you when you visit today, tomorrow, or whenever!

Originally, this area of land was part of 320 acres used by the Colorado city as a cemetery.

Back then, it was known as Mount Prospect.

One end was reserved for the rich to be buried while the other was used for criminals and beggars, and people on either end of the spectrum were buried in between.

The cemetery eventually began deteriorating, and the city eventually got control over it and disposed of 5,000 bodies that had been unclaimed, often by cutting them up into tiny pieces.

No wonder this place has its scary reputation now!

It may not be the most conventional of Denver attractions, but it’s certainly worth a visit if you’re there to view the macabre and odd!

Address: 8th Ave & Franklin St, Denver, CO 80206, USA

15. American Museum of Western Art

American Museum of Western Art

Miguel Rodríguez / flickr

If you love history but don’t want to deal with overcrowded museums, the American Museum of Western Art is one of the best places to visit – so much so that you should drop in if you’re near Denver.

The building itself began its life in 1880, where it was used as a school for women known as the Brinker Collegiate Institute.

After that closed down, it was, surprisingly, turned into a brothel, which could be entered via a secret tunnel underground.

Eventually, William Foxley purchased the building, and he used a huge amount of money to turn it into the museum we know now.

The museum’s primary goal is promoting Western life, spanning from the early 1800s all the way to modern living.

A wide range of different collections provides insights into more than just Colorado, especially through the Anschutz Collection.

Tours are also available, through which you can get in-depth examinations of over 200 pieces.

Address:  1727 Tremont Pl, Denver, CO 80202, United States

Exploring other parts of Colorado? Why not check out some of the things to do in Breckenridge  & some of the things to do in Boulder ?

16. Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey

Infinite_Eye / Shutterstock

In need of a fun night in Denver, but you want to make it as unique an experience as possible?

You could visit a bar, but you could also be classy and get yourself a tour of the coolest places to visit in Denver – Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.

If you would rather get your drinks sorted during the day, this operational distillery has you covered as well.

While the in-house bar itself has a rustic feel with its Western decor, the rest of the distillery (and the tasting room) retains that industrial feel with steel beams and corrugated metal.

No matter where you’re drinking your whiskey, however, one thing’s for certain – it’s some of the yummiest liquor in the city.

Don’t be surprised if you bump into people camping overnight for bottles of the distillery’s limited edition Snowflake!

Address:  200 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223, United States

Planning another vacation? Don’t forget to check out some of the most beautiful places to visit in California !

17. Union Station

Denver Union Station

Jon Osumi / Shutterstock

There’s a lot of history to be found in Denver, thanks to it being the center of Colorado’s Gold Rush heyday.

Now, the century-old Union Station not only serves as a standing legacy to the city’s colorful past, but it also serves downtown Denver as a functioning public transit station!

In addition to that, Union Station is also a one-stop hub for entertainment and eateries.

If you have the time for it, one of the best things to do in Denver is to try having a night out at the station.

Head down over to the Union Stations Orient Express-style Cooper Lounge if you’re in the mood for snazzy cocktails, or catch happy hour at the Terminal Bar!

If you aren’t hungry yet, the renovated landmark has plenty of shops and boutiques you can look in.

Maybe you’ll find something in this entertainment center that’ll catch your eye!

Address:  Denver, CO 80202, United States

18. City Park

City Park

Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

While hunting for tourist attractions around Denver, you may have heard of the City Park – and for good reason.

Located in the approximate LoDo side of Denver, this park sprawls across an incredible 330 acres and houses the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in proximity to each other.

While Colorado as a whole is no slacker in the scenic views department, you’d be hard-pressed to find backdrops that this park can provide.

Whether you just want to marvel at the sight of the city’s skyline against the Rockies or enjoy the romantic silhouette the Spanish-style pavilion provides, there are some breathtaking views this park is ready to offer!

And when you’re done with being outdoors all day, you can just duck into the Museum for an air-conditioned learning experience.

It’s a win-win situation no matter which way you slice it!

Address: Colorado Blvd. and York St., Denver, CO 80205, USA

19. Denver Mint

Denver Mint

Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock

Should you still be wondering about other Denver attractions you can visit, then why not consider this chance to see a working coin mint in action?

A relic of Colorado’s mining heyday, the Denver branch of the national Mint was originally meant to take advantage of the Gold Rush and produce coinage for the U.S. Mint.

While it’s still an active mint pumping out 50 million coins daily, the facility also doubles as a museum.

Located near the Denver Art Museum, you can pop on by to learn about coin design, manufacturing, and Colorado’s rich mining legacy in great detail.

While the tours are free, they are often in high demand and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

So make sure to show up there first thing in the morning and give yourself at least 30 minutes to clear security!

Address:  320 W Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204, United States

20. Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

f11photo / Shutterstock

For a day full of fun, why not check out the Denver Museum of Nature & Science ?

This impressive facility is home to tons of scientific exhibits that are sure to delight anyone who has a love for the natural sciences.

It’s easy to find this museum too – there’s plenty of buses that have this museum as a dropping off point.

If you were already visiting the Denver Zoo earlier that day, this fantastic museum is just to the south!

And here’s a fun little thing – one of the top things to do in Denver is to find mythological creatures that really should not be in a museum about the physical world.

A tradition that was started by painter Kent Pendleton in the 1970s, the museum is now full of hidden gnomes and elves just waiting to be spotted by an eagle-eyed visitor!

Address:  2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205, United States

Looking for more thrills? Why not check out some of the things to do in Fort Collins  & some of the fun things to do in Durango, CO ?

21. Washington Park

Washington Park

Faina Gurevich / Shutterstock

Known for its beautiful landscape and forests, Colorado remains one of the most worthy sightseeing destinations in the nation.

Denver itself is home to Washington Park – one of the city’s most treasured outdoor regions.

Why not take a break from the humdrum of city life and treat yourself to its soul-soothing aesthetics?

If you need some points of interest to keep you oriented in this park, why not try hopping on a paddleboat or a rented bike to explore Smith Lake with?

Just make your way down to the historical boathouse next to it to get started.

The park’s second lake, Grasmere Lake, has a sprawling playground should you decide to bring your families along.

For green-thumbed enthusiasts, Washington Park is also home to the Mount Vernon Garden – a green haven that welcomes any tired citizens with loving arms.

Here you can wander along meandering paths as you take in the richness of the plant life, and when you’re tired, simply relax on one of the garden’s many benches.

Address: S. Downing St. & E. Louisiana Ave, Denver, CO 80209, USA

22. The Room of Lost Things

The Room Of Lost Things

The Room Of Lost Things

With such a unique name, you would hope that The Room Of Lost Things would live up to the expectations it has set for itself.

And thankfully, it does.

Located in the Sante Fe Arts Districts, this shop is themed on the macabre and the strange.

If oddities are your thing, then you need to put visiting this shop on your list of things to do in Denver today.

Check out the mummified Prairie dogs lining the shelves, or buy a fossil to bring home as a souvenir.

If you’re struggling to identify what it is that’s caught your attention, the employees and artists within are more than happy to help you out.

Address:  987 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, CO 80204, United States

23. Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown House Museum

Kirstie Warner / flickr

The name “ Molly Brown House Museum ” may not seem fantastical enough to make it to your list of “What To See in Denver”, but to bypass this simple museum would be a mistake.

Margaret Brown was an activist and a philanthropist who boarded the ill-fated Titanic.

And contrary to most expectations, Brown actually survived the sinking of the ship to tell the tale, earning her the nickname of “Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

But there’s more to her tale than just surviving the Titanic – and this museum is here to show you just what you’ve been missing.

Built in the late 1800s, the museum itself is a historical building called the House of Lions – named so for its decorative lion statues.

Why not pop on over to explore what life was like in Victorian Colorado, or check out a guided tour of Molly Brown’s life – and her efforts in the suffrage movements of the time!

Address:  1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203, United States

24. Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Jose A Feliciano / Shutterstock

Art aficionados ahoy – Denver is host to one of Colorado’s many art museums, making it a must see destination if you want to complete that national art tour.

If you’re just an average person who appreciates art, then please understand museum-trawling can be one of the best things to do in Denver.

Why not give it a shot?

Located in Denver, the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art is still relatively unknown, despite its recently elevated profile.

Which is a shame, since it stands out from other museums nearby by its salon-style organization of its collection.

And what a collection it is!

If you’re not interested in international art collection (that contains pieces from all the major design periods since 1870), then perhaps this will whet your artistic appetite.

You can take a look at Vance Kirkland’s original three-room studio, and see where the state’s most distinguished painter worked!

Address:  1201 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

25. Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

photo.ua / Shutterstock

Are you in Denver for a fun weekend trip?

Then why not reserve a night on your schedule to do cool things – like visiting all eight theaters handled by the nation’s largest nonprofit theater organization?

Whether you’re interested in musicals, cabaret, or innovative plays, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts probably has a program for you.

If you would rather have an intimate experience with the stage and its performers, look towards the cabaret-style Garner Galleria Theatre with its 200 seats.

Or would you perhaps rather some flashy, Broadway-style musical?

If so, look no further than Buell Theater.

With room to seat 2,800 people, the largest theater in the DCPA’s arsenal is host to bigger productions you can use to wow your friends into being Broadway fans!

No matter your preferences or age, there’s always something for you to enjoy at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts!

Address:  1101 13th St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

26. Children’s Museum of Denver

Children’s Museum of Denver

Children’s Museum of Denver

Museums are one of the coolest tourist attractions for a reason, but they’re not normally attractive to small children.

Where’s the fun in just staring at exhibits?

You need to have activities of some kind to keep them entertained.

So if you have little ones in town on your visit to Colorado, why not drop by Children’s Museum of Denver instead?

Full of interactive activities that are sure to delight the little minds and hands, this museum’s features will surely be the highlight of the trip for your children.

If the climbing walls, electricity demos, hands-on engineering stations, and the interactive art studio won’t capture their fancy, then check out their website.

Perhaps one of their other periodic workshops might be of further interest to them!

Address:  2121 Children’s Museum Dr, Denver, CO 80211, United States

27. Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol

While Denver is well-known as the mile-high city, reality falls a little short of that claim.

If you really want to stand a mile above sea level, you’ll have to make your way to the Colorado State Capitol .

And if you’re already somewhere near Denver, why not put in a little more leg work to nab that fun claim?

Not only is it the heart of the state’s government, one of the Colorado State Capitol’s steps should put you exactly one mile above sea level – though the step differs depending on who you ask.

This gorgeous building has not one, but three different granite steps that have been officially identified as the exact elevation that lives up to Denver’s mile-high claim.

That aside, the Capitol is one of the best places to visit if you’re interested in Denver’s history.

You can book a free tour of the historical building’s interior, or admire the architecture of granite and gold – a beautiful handover of the state’s 1890s Gold Rush era.

Address:  200 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203, United States

28. Denver Public Library

Denver Public Library

Jim Lambert / Shutterstock

If you are a self-professed bookworm of any kind, then a visit to the Denver Public Library is a must do.

Just head on over to downtown Denver, and you’ll find the city’s central library!

Or you could, alternatively, visit any of its 23 branches depending on what’s near you.

Established in 2003, this library is one you can lose yourself in.

Not only you can learn about Colorado in there, you can also dive into its archive of over 2 million items.

There’s just something in there for everyone.

Books? Of course.

Movies and DVDs? Tons galore.

Reference materials for the desperate student? They’ve got your back.

Historical photographs for the visiting researcher? All at your fingertips!

But what about your children?

Not to fret, there’s a kiddies area filled with all sorts of activities and materials for your little ones to discover and enjoy too.

And thanks to the library’s full-service lending department, you can take your time to learn about just anything you want!

Address (Central Branch):  10 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204, United States

29. Denver Firefighters Museum

Denver Firefighters Museum

Craig Talbert / flickr

To make the most of your trip to Colorado, why not check out downtown Denver?

There are all sorts of things to see and do here – and if you happen to wander into Tremont Place, you might find Denver’s history just waiting to be explored.

Nestled within the building of the city’s very first proper firehouse is Denver Firefighters Museum – a museum dedicated to the Denver Fire Department, first established in the 1880s.

But why so much hubbub over some firefighters?

If you don’t find 150 years of firefighting techniques and equipment a fascinating subject in and of itself, then maybe learning about how the state’s infamous wildfires are dealt with may interest you.

Thanks to the region’s dry climate, the Department is no stranger to dealing with conflagrations.

Did they have those in the past? How did they deal with it then?

It’s time to find out!

Address:  1326 Tremont Pl, Denver, CO 80204, United States

30. Colorado Symphony

Colorado Symphony

Kent Kanouse / flickr

If you’re bumbling around Denver at night with a partner in tow, why not skip the bars and get yourself some culture at the Boettcher Concert Hall?

Built in Denver in 1978, the first (and only) 360-degree concert hall in the country is a sight to behold in and of itself.

With the hall’s unique arrangement for its 2,700 seats, you will never be more than 85 feet away from the stage – no matter where you’re located in its five seating areas!

If this fascinating architecture isn’t enough to put this on your Denver must-visit list, then what about listening to some professional symphony orchestra?

With Andrew Litton as its music director, the Colorado Symphony presents all sorts of year-round performances and events.

For those of you who would rather get your hands dirty, the Symphony also hosts all sorts of community outreach programs too.

Why not listen to the orchestra, and then learn about their equipment afterwards?

Address:  1000 14th St #15, Denver, CO 80202, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Denver

There are countless Denver attractions that make great places to go while you’re here for your holiday.

So what are you waiting for?

Plan a trip and hopefully, this list of the top fun things to do in Denver will help you find lots of cool things and stuff to do as you enjoy the best of Denver!

Top 11 things to do in Denver from baseball to tubing South Platte River

Liza Prado

Jul 23, 2023 • 7 min read

places to visit in colorado denver

Vendors sell everything from gelato to bao buns at Denver Milk Market © Chip Kalback / Lonely Planet

A Rocky Mountain megastar, Denver is a thriving city that blends its rich Old West history with a modern, cosmopolitan vibe. Here you’ll find dynamic arts and cultural options woven with a booming food, craft beer and cannabis scene. And with endless sunny days, green spaces galore and a spectacular mountain backdrop, outdoor play is always part of the local ethos. Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, you’ll find Denver is buzzing with activity.

Here are its top things to do.

A long exposure shot of the Union Station at dusk

1. Eat, drink and play in Union Station

Enjoy a drink or a fancy meal at Union Station , an iconic landmark and beautifully restored 19th century train station. Sure, it’s Denver’s main transportation hub – local buses, light rail and cross-country trains use it – but this Beaux Art beauty also is home to tony restaurants and cocktail bars, a place locals come for a night out on the town.

Local tip: If you need a sightseeing break, chill out in the Great Hall, a waiting area and chic lounge with leather couches, shuffleboard and wifi. It’s all free and open to the public – no need to buy anything.

2. Cheer on the Rockies

Join baseball fans at Coors Field in downtown Denver, one of the MLB’s most hitter-friendly ballparks (thank the thin air for all the homeruns). Eighty home games mean lots of opportunities and with tickets in the Rockpile (aka centerfield) starting at just US$1, it won’t break the bank. Come decked out in your purple, black and silver best to fit right in.

Detour: If you’re a die-hard baseball fan, cross the street to the National Ballpark Museum, which is jam-packed with memorabilia from the country’s 14 classic ballparks.

Exterior of the Denver Art Museum illuminated at night

3. See masterpieces at the Denver Art Museum

The crown jewel of the Mile High City’s art scene, the Denver Art Museum houses an eclectic collection of some of the world’s greatest works of art, from Old Master painters to modern contemporary artists. It includes a stunningly rich collection of Native American art, integrating both historic and contemporary work, with signage that prioritizes Native perspectives. The complex itself is a work of art – the titanium-paneled Hamilton Building with its jutting angles connected by bridge to the newly-renovated Martin Building, a fortress-like structure covered in millions of glittering glass tiles.

Local tip: No need to hesitate about coming if you’re traveling with kids – there are loads of interactive art stations and activities throughout the museum plus two eateries for mid-visit treats. Admission is free for everyone 18 and under too.

4. Take in back alley street art

Nowhere has street art more transformed a neighborhood in Denver than the one-time-industrial-wasteland-turned-hipster-enclave of RiNo (aka River North Arts District). Unexpected and ever-changing, the streets and alleys are draped in hundreds of murals covering every sort of surface, from parking lot walls to transformer boxes. Walking through the neighborhood, the art stops you in your tracks, the images speaking to the city’s diversity, politics and day-to-day life.

Local tip: If you want a bit more structure to your mural walkabout, check out RiNo’s own mural map . For an even deeper dive into the art, take a guided tour with Denver Graffiti Tour , a two-hour stroll past notable works, including details on the artists and their historical context.

Crowd at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado

5. Go to a Red Rocks concert

There’s something almost primal about attending a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater : the sounds of instruments enveloping you, the sight of people dancing under an umbrella of stars and the iconic 300ft-high red sandstone monoliths standing guard on either side. Renowned for its natural acoustics and stunning beauty, Red Rock has been a rock 'n’ roll venue ever since 1964 when The Beatles played there. Today, Red Rocks is synonymous with big name bands of all genres – even symphony orchestras – and a place where memorable albums are often recorded. For many, it’s reason enough for a trip to Denver. Concerts are held all summer long.

Detour: If a Red Rocks concert isn’t in the cards, the venue and its surrounding 816 acres are free to visit during the day, including several hiking trails that wind through the red rock landscape. The amphitheater also hosts other events like early morning yoga and movie nights.

6. Have a flight at Great Divide

Colorado takes its beer seriously, raising craft brewing to a high art. And with over 150 breweries in Denver, you certainly won’t go thirsty in this town. For an OG experience, head to the downtown brewhouse of Great Divide Brewing Company , a small brick building housing one of the most decorated breweries in the country with a whopping 18 Great American Beer Festival medals and five World Beer Cup Medals to its name. Weekend evenings bring wall-to-wall crowds but stop by on a weeknight for a seat at the bar and a flight of Great Divide’s exquisitely bold and balanced brews. If you want to go all in, geek out on a behind the scenes tour to learn how their magic sauces are made. 

A sculpture of a giant blue bear peering into a building in Denver

7. Take a selfie with the Blue Bear

Stop for photos with the playful and ever-curious symbol of the city, a 40ft-tall sculpture of a blue bear entitled I See What You Mean . Located in Downtown Denver, the bear stands upright peering into the Convention Center – the artist Lawrence Argent’s riff on a local newspaper’s photo of a bear looking into a home (a not unfamiliar occurrence in the state). The bear’s color represents the famous Colorado skies.

8. Spark your sense of wonder at Meow Wolf

Step into Denver’s most immersive art experience at Meow Wolf Denver , an extension of the renowned art collective started in New Mexico. Here, wander through a multi-story building that tells a story of the convergence of four worlds through 70+ fantastical art installations. Enter dark tunnels and tipping hallways, man towering spaceships and touch psychedelic coral reefs, and keep your eyes peeled for the live performers who somehow creep onto the scene. It’s wonderfully bizarre and totally unforgettable.

The Dancers public sculpture at night, in front of the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

9. Catch a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Denver is home to the second largest theater complex in the country: the Denver Performing Arts Complex , a four-city-block-wide collection of stages connected by a sky-high glass canopy, with large-scale art pieces dotting its walkways and green spaces. Weekends bring thousands to the complex, a river of people flowing into its different venues to see everything from Broadway shows to experimental theater. Join the crowd! While big ticket shows sell out fast, there are enough venues to almost guarantee a seat most nights.

Detour: If homegrown theater is more your speed, head to nearby Curious Theater . Housed in a repurposed church, this award-winning theater company stages thought-provoking plays with a social justice bent. Stay afterwards for the talk-backs, when actors engage with the audience about everything from the plot to the set.

10. Float through Denver

Float down the South Platte River, taking in the downtown skyline as you dip your toes into the cool, gentle water. A historic waterway, gold was found along its shores way back in 1858, sparking the Colorado Gold Rush and the founding of Denver itself. Today, the South Platte winds its way through the center of the city, popular pedestrian walkways and small sandy beaches following its path. Ask about tube and kayak rentals at Confluence Kayaks near Confluence Park.

11. Meditate in the International Cannabis Church

You don’t have to be high to feel the full effect of the light show at the International Cannabis Church (in fact, onsite cannabis use is technically prohibited by the public). Every day of the year, the one-time Lutheran church turned multi-colored Elevationist sanctuary comes alive in a spectacular 3D video mapping show while a guided audio meditation leads visitors on a journey towards self-discovery. People leave feeling at peace, happy and well, high on life.

Local tip: Come early to take full advantage of the old school arcade, complete with Galaga and Ms. Pacman machines plus Mario Kart projected onto a 26-foot movie screen, all included in the price of admission.

This article was first published June 2021 and updated July 2023

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ColoradoSpotter

11 Best Places To Visit in Denver, Colorado

Avatar photo

Welcome to Denver, the "Mile High City"! From its beautiful mountain views to its lively downtown, Denver is a great vacation spot for people who want to have fun and try new things.

Since there is so much to see and do, it might be hard to decide where to go while in town. We have made a list of the best places to go in Denver because of this.

There is something for everyone in Denver, whether they want to do something outdoors or visit a museum. Visit one of the city's many parks or gardens, or take a stroll through one of its many different neighborhoods.

With a lively music scene, many different kinds of food, and a long cultural history, there is always something to do here.

This blog article will showcase the best attractions in Denver that will make your visit memorable.

From iconic landmarks to hidden gems off the beaten path, we will provide an overview of all that this amazing city has to offer – so you can make sure your time here is well spent!

1. Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens are a tranquil sanctuary in the heart of the city. Anyone in search of a peaceful respite from their hectic life would do well to visit this location.

The manicured gardens and grounds are adorned with numerous varieties of beautiful flowers, trees, and plants.

The kind and knowledgeable personnel at the Denver Botanic Gardens will be able to answer any questions visitors may have about the garden's flora or other attractions.

There are activities and events for individuals of all ages, making it an ideal location for families to go trekking and learn about nature. During the year, concerts, seminars, and other events are often organized.

Parking is abundant and well-lit, and entry is inexpensive, so the entire family or a big group may attend. There are several indoor and outdoor activities that you may enjoy with your loved ones.

The Bistro offers fresh food options at reasonable prices, making it easy to grab lunch or dinner on-site without having to leave the garden!

Overall I would highly recommend visiting Denver Botanic Gardens!

From its beautiful landscape to its educational programs, there is something here for everyone – whether you’re looking for an escape from your daily hustle or just some time outdoors with friends or family.

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2. Coors Field

Coors Field

The Colorado Rockies play their home games at the historic Coors Field in Denver. It's one of the greatest locations to watch a baseball game, with its 76-acre field and seats that give vistas of the Rocky Mountains.

Tickets are reasonably priced, and a range of concessions are provided to accommodate diverse dietary requirements and tastes. The staff goes above and beyond to ensure that each visitor has a pleasant experience. Parking may be challenging on game days, however shuttles will bring you from your vehicle to the stadium.

While waiting for the game to begin, both adults and children have access to a variety of activities inside the venue. The restrooms are immaculate, and the menu has both basic fare and dishes from nearby eateries.

The whole Rookies crew worked relentlessly to give great customer service. In addition to seeing the action on the field, viewers may also see it on a large screen inside the stadium.

Overall Coors Field offers an unforgettable experience worth every penny! From top to bottom, it's welcoming and fun; parking may be expensive but there are other options like shuttles or walking/riding a few blocks away where you can find free parking on weekends within a 5-block radius!

The food selection includes something for everyone including those who are gluten-free; leg space is good too – making sure everyone has enough room in their seats no matter how crowded it gets inside the ballpark!

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3. Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Denver Museum Of Nature And Science

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, situated in City Park, is an excellent location for visitors of all ages. Locals and visitors alike can find something of interest in this museum.

With accessible parking and several exhibits, this is an excellent educational excursion.

It is a delight to use this facility due to its attractiveness. Several hand sanitizers are easily situated around this facility, allowing guests to feel at ease.

Also, the facility has mother's rooms, family restrooms, and accessible access. The staff enforces the usage of masks and does an excellent job of keeping the atmosphere clean.

There are a wide variety of educational exhibits to see, from interactive displays about ecology to 3D films on big screens presenting the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

There are also many hands-on exhibits such as water play areas and huge open grass spaces that make exploring even more fun. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the content at each exhibit which makes for an informative day out!

The price is fair considering all you get out of your visit here – from learning more about nature to enjoying 3D films on giant screens – plus there are also food options available within the museum or you can pack your own lunch if desired.

All in all, it's a great spot for anyone looking for something fun and educational to do in Denver!

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4. escapeworks denver.

Escapeworks Denver

EscapeWorks Denver is a pleasant and interesting day excursion, and it has been praised for its imaginative themes and riddles. Those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life will appreciate its central position.

With Helen and Stephanie as your hosts, you can expect a warm welcome at EscapeWorks Denver.

The premises are tastefully designed and well maintained; the attention to detail in each room will make you feel like you've been transported to another world.

The crew was also willing to give guidance upon request. The challenges were sufficiently difficult to be engaging without being unsolvable by anybody, allowing both beginners and specialists to enjoy them.

The lodgings were reasonably priced, particularly in light of the excellent quality of service. The personnel was kind and accommodating, and they ensured that we had a fantastic time despite the inconvenience of parking.

One of the staff, Patrick, ensured that everyone was included in our team-building exercise, which was immensely appreciated by all participants!

Overall, EscapeWorks Denver is a wonderful location for people seeking a family- or friend-friendly escape room adventure.

Due to its excellent customer service, innovative designs, and cheap costs, this business comes highly recommended!

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5. Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Kirkland Museum Of Fine & Decorative Art

Frequently, it may be tough to locate a location that is both economical and pleasant while seeking something to do. This is precisely what the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art provides.

In downtown Denver, you may validate your parking ticket for $5 and park right at the entrance. The structure itself is stunning, and the personnel is really polite.

The museum is packed with unique furnishings and artwork, complimented by soft, soothing background music. There is an abundance of art in a variety of genres, making it an entertaining experience for everyone.

The arrangement of the exhibits makes it simple to locate anything of interest and to spend as much or as little time as desired in each area. There are constantly fresh things to view, making it worthwhile to join up for an annual membership if you want to come more than once each year.

The museum staff is also informative, friendly, and helpful; providing facts about various pieces throughout the museum. Western landscapes and assorted crafts by Vance Kirkland are also featured along with over 3,500 art nouveau, art deco, Pop Art & postmodern works.

Overall I had an amazing experience at this museum; everything was well presented and organized making it certainly worth the admission price!

  • 12 Best Museums in Colorado

6. Denver Free Walking Tours

Denver Free Walking Tours

The Denver Free Walking Tour has significantly improved the city's sightseeing. This two-and-a-half-hour tour of the downtown area is certain to wow.

The tour guide's extensive expertise and excellent customer service made it simple to organize the day.

The trip is conducted at a slow speed so that you can take in all of the sites and anecdotes along the route.

You may also make use of free public transit with their 16th Mall Drive bus, which allows you to jump on and off anywhere you like!

Our tour guide was kind, enthusiastic, responsive to our requirements, and knowledgeable about Denver's history. Even during the hottest summer days, they ensured that we had shade during pauses and breaks as necessary.

Plus they provided great tips for parking at places like the art museum which is cheaper than other spots around downtown!

Overall this walking tour is highly recommended for both tourists and locals alike! It not only gives you an amazing history lesson but also provides insight into what other attractions are worth exploring afterward.

And best of all it's free (although gratuity is always appreciated)! So be sure to check out Denver Free Walking Tours if you're ever in town!

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7. Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum

Merely a stone’s throw away from the Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum is a unique and beautiful property with multiple levels of exhibits.

The collection includes large-scale paintings, archives, and other works of art by Abstract Expressionist Clifford Still. Admission is only $10, making it an affordable destination for a weekend outing or an afternoon activity.

The museum provides an interesting experience with its curation of works.

The combination creates many interesting feelings in the museum as visitors explore chronologically organized rooms and thematic rooms that explore various topics related to Still’s art. Professional-level art supplies are also available for visitors to work with.

The staff at the Clyfford Still Museum are passionate about their work and friendly towards guests. The reception staff is particularly pleasant and knowledgeable about the artist's work, while the gallery staff is welcoming and helpful in providing information about exhibits.

They have also created instructions for children and young moms that make exploring more fun and playful!

Overall, visiting this small museum in LODO is definitely worth it!

With expert curation in a beautiful modern space, intriguing artwork from all eras of Clifford Still's career, plus free programs available on certain days – this is one place you won't want to miss out on!

8. 9th Street Historic Park

9Th Street Historic Park

The 9th Street Historic Park is an excellent spot to meander and learn about Denver's past. This greenway on the Auraria campus is bordered by Victorian-era residences that have been maintained and registered with the National Register of Historic Places.

The park offers a self-guided walk with informational plaques that give visitors an understanding of the history of these ancient dwellings and their original residents.

The architecture of these antique residences is exquisite; however, such buildings are no longer constructed. Visitors may receive a short history lesson on the upper class of Denver while taking in the views and sounds of this tranquil island in the center of downtown.

It is also situated next to the LightRail and Denver B-Cycle stations, making it simple to reach.

The best aspect of 9th Street Historic Park is that it holds the story of a displaced community that has since been forgotten by many people living in Denver today.

It's also great for those who are looking for something interesting to do during their lunch break or while waiting for their child to finish class nearby – it's only 30 minutes long! All in all, 9th Street Historic Park is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a peaceful outdoor activity with lots of historical significance!

9. Observatory Park

Observatory Park

Observatory Park is a great place to spend an afternoon because it has an old observatory, tennis courts, and a lot of trees.

The park is in the Denver neighborhood of University Hills and has great views of the city. It's easy to find because it's close to a busy street, but the trees make it feel like it's in a different world.

Observatory Park has many things to do for people who want to do something. Families with kids can use the playground, picnic area, and grassy areas to practice soccer, baseball, or frisbee.

Locals also like to use tennis courts, which are fun for people of all ages. On clear nights, the observatory is also a great place to look at the stars.

Observatory Park offers something for everyone; from peaceful strolls under shady trees to active sports activities – there’s something here for everyone!

The park is beautifully maintained with huge trees providing relief from hot summer days and cozy places to relax or have a picnic lunch. With its convenient location in Denver and numerous activities available, Observatory Park makes a great choice for an afternoon outdoors!

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10. Big Blue Wreck Salvage

Big Blue Wreck Salvage

Denver's subterranean areas have a unique and enthralling sight. Lawrence Argent's 40-foot-tall piece of art, Great Blue Wreck Salvage, stands out in comparison to its surroundings.

This famous piece of art, which depicts a blue bear peeking inside, sits situated outside the Denver Convention Center. It is conveniently positioned next to other artworks and the 16th Street Mall, and admission is free.

Huge Blue Wreck Salvage is a creative design that gives the contemporary city character.

Tourists may approach this artwork up and personal to take some interesting photos or just to admire its beauty. Also, it's a fun way to introduce visitors to the city!

If customers ever get lost, the Big Blue Wreck Salvage crew is kind and willing to provide instructions.

The place is usually crowded, but there are plenty of interesting selections available for purchase such as food and souvenirs from Denver. Parking is also easy to find nearby, as well as public bathrooms inside the Convention Center itself!

Overall, Big Blue Wreck Salvage is definitely worth walking a few blocks out of your way for during your visit in Colorado!

Highly recommend taking pictures here when traveling through Denver – it's truly a unique experience that won't disappoint!

11. Denver Firefighters Museum

Denver Firefighters Museum

The Denver Firefighters Museum tucked away in Denver's Golden Triangle, is a terrific spot to go and learn about the city's firefighters' history.

The museum provides engaging children's activities in addition to instructive exhibits and displays. At a $12 admission fee, it's a really cost-effective family activity.

The personnel is helpful and hospitable, and they are always happy to answer queries or give further details about the exhibits.

Kids may dress up as firemen and tour an exhibit with a fire pole that has thick plexiglass covers between levels, among other interactive places. The museum also hosts activities and summer programs all year long.

The structure itself is kept up beautifully, and there is a tonne of neighboring street parking. Within, you'll find a tonne of fascinating historical information on a variety of firefighting-related topics, along with thorough exhibits that show how far the profession has advanced through time.

Overall it's a great experience for all ages that provides an educational look at what it takes to protect cities from fires.

6 Best History Museums in Denver

Make sure to also check out the web story and Pinterest pin of this article.

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Denver Bucket List: 61 Best Things to Do in Denver CO

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If you find yourself in Denver, Colorado, you may be wondering what there is to do in this vibrant city. Luckily, we have compiled a list of the top things to do in Denver CO so that you can make the most of your visit.

From outdoor activities to cultural experiences, Denver has something for everyone! It’s one of the reasons we love living in Denver so much; you can have both the city vibes and fancy bars but also escape into the great outdoors with just a short drive.

As Denver locals, we’ve spent so much time exploring all that this city has to offer. Living here for three years has allowed us to experience it during every time of year, too.

Below, find all of the best things to do in Denver CO.

🚗 Click here to rent a car for your trip to Denver !

Table of Contents

Best Things to do in Denver CO

Visit the denver art museum.

Red sculpture in front of a silver pointy building under a blue sky.

For those who love visiting museums, be sure to head to one of our local art museums, like the Denver Art Museum .

It is located in downtown Denver and houses many unique works of art. The museum is home to an extensive collection of Latin American art, as well as European, Asian, and contemporary art. The museum also features a variety of educational programs and events.

The museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Tuesday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Admission to the museum is free for children under 18, and there are discounts available for seniors, students, and military personnel. There are also select free days throughout the year.

Dine at The Source

bbq meat and mac and cheese on a metal tray

There are so many food halls in Denver, but one of the most underrated is The Source ! This is located in the northern part of the city and has tons of fun restaurants to dine at, and you’ll often find locals here.

One of the best places to eat at The Source is smōk . This BBQ restaurant has mouth-watering food that you’ll dream about after you eat it!

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See a game with the Colorado Avalanche

People sitting in a stadium while watching ice hockey in Colorado.

Calling all sports fans! In the winter season, one of the best things to do is to see a Colorado Avalanche game. Tickets can get pretty expensive, but our pro tip is to check ticket apps (like Gametime) the day of; this is normally when you can grab tickets the cheapest.

The experience is unlike any other, and the fans are some of the most passionate in the NHL. Don’t forget to wear your maroon and navy to show your Avalanche pride!

Take a walk or bike ride through one of Denver’s many parks

There are many free things to do in Denver , and one of the best is to visit one of the parks in the city. Denver is home to many parks, and each one is worth visiting.

Biking in a park is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the scenery. Denver has many beautiful parks, so it’s a great place to go for a bike ride .

There are also many trails that are perfect for walking. Visit these parks earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds that come later in the day.

Wake up with coffee from Grounds for Dismissal

flight of tall glasses of iced coffee

The absolute best spot for coffee in Denver is Grounds for Dismissal . This queer-run cafe features tons of amazing morning foods and drinks that will leave you wanting more!

The best thing on their menu is definitely their coffee flight. They change what is in the coffee flight each month, and it usually has to do with the season or an upcoming holiday. It’s perfect to split with a friend!

Browse the eclectic shops in historic Larimer Square

Colorado flags hanging on lights surrounded by brick buildings.

If you’re looking for things to do in Denver, look no further than Larimer Square . This historic block is home to some of the best shopping, dining, and nightlife in the city.

Larimer Square is also one of the most popular spots for visitors to Denver. It’s Instagram-worthy and is often decorated! Located in the heart of downtown, it’s easy to get to, and there’s always something going on. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Denver downtown.

Whether you’re looking for a great meal, a unique gift, or just a place to people-watch, Larimer Square is the perfect place.

Explore Meow Wolf Convergence Station

replica bus and bus station sign inside of a museum exhibit

Meow Wolf Convergence Station is one of the top things to do in Denver for anyone who loves art, music, and good vibes. It’s a newer addition to Denver, and when we visited it during opening week, we were absolutely in awe.

This community-based art gallery features work from local artists as well as hosts musical performances, workshops, and other events. It’s the perfect place to explore your creativity and connect with others in the city.

Plus, it’s immersive and brings the word “immersive” to a whole new level. Like, you actually walk through the exhibits, almost like you’re a part of it. It’s hard to explain… but you’ll love Meow Wolf Denver!

See the Colorado Rockies play at Coors Field

view of baseball diamond from the first base line

If you’re a baseball fan, catching a game at Coors Field is a must-do while in Denver. The stadium offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, and the experience of watching a game here is like no other.

Plus, what better way to see the Coors Effect in action? Basically, this term came to be because, at the elevation of Coors Field (and Denver), the balls tend to fly here like no other. It’s worth witnessing in person!

Similar to seeing the Avalanche, wait for the price of tickets to drop right on game day on apps like Gametime. We’ve snagged tickets as low as $12 on there before!

We also think it’s way more beneficial to sit higher up. You get more of a breeze, and you’re less in the sun, which is great in the summer months.

Have a donut from Voodoo Donuts

Box filled with colorful donuts.

If you’re looking for tasty things to do in Denver CO, you can’t go wrong with eating some delicious Voodoo Doughnuts . Though they hail from Portland, there’s a location in Denver that’s almost always busy over on Colfax.

These unique treats are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, and they’re definitely a memorable experience. Trust us; you’ll be talking about these donuts long after you’ve left Denver!

Plus, they come in a cute pink box. Try their Grape Ape or their Portland Cream; these are our two faves!

Sip on a craft beer at one of Denver’s many breweries

flight of small glasses with cider

Obviously, no trip to Denver is complete without testing out the breweries here. It’s what we are pretty well known for, after all!

Not only will you get to sample some delicious local beer, but you’ll also learn about the brewing process and how different beers are made.

Plus, most breweries offer tours so you can see first-hand how your favorite brews are created. And, of course, there’s always the opportunity to buy some beer to take home with you!

So if you’re curious about craft beer or just want to try something new, be sure to check out a Denver brewery during your next visit.

For a planned tour of some of the local breweries, check out Denver Brewery Tours .

Attend a show at one of Denver’s many live music venues, such as Ogden Theatre or the Bluebird Theater

There are plenty of things to do in Denver CO, but one of the best things to do is see a concert. We go to a concert in Denver at least once a month because the music scene is very alive and well here!

Denver is home to some great venues that host a variety of music genres. So, whether you’re a fan of rock, pop, country, or anything in between, there’s sure to be a concert for you.

Our personal favorite place to see a concert is at Ogden Theatre . It’s by downtown and has had great artists like Tones & I and Noah Kahan.

See the exhibits at the Molly Brown House Museum

Brick building with Victorian style architecture. A sign out front says Molly Brown House Museum.

Many people know Denver as a historic gold mining town, but it has so much more to offer visitors today. One of the top things to do in Denver CO is to visit the Molly Brown House .

This house was built in the 1800s and was home to one of the most famous residents of Denver, Margaret “Molly” Brown. Molly Brown was an American socialite, actress, and philanthropist who is best known for surviving the sinking of the Titanic.

Many people know her as the “Unsinkable Molly Brown!”

When you visit her house, you can take a tour and learn all about her fascinating life. You can also see how she lived during a time when most people in Denver were living in poverty.

The Molly Brown House is a great example of how far Denver has come since its early days as a mining town.

Stroll through 16th Street Mall

A red and blue bus is picking people up on the street in a city.

Even though it’s super touristy, we think it’s worth stopping at 16th Street Mall at least once, and it deserves a spot on this list. This street is filled with shops, restaurants, and more.

Plus, you can ride the 16th Street Mall Ride up and down the street for free. It’s a great way to get around the city on a budget.

During the holiday season, this street gets all jazzed up with fun lights, and you can even see the city’s electric tree.

Explore Denver Union Station

union train station sign

Located right in LoDo, it’s near impossible to miss a visit to Denver Union Station . It’s where the California-Zephyr Amtrack comes through and also is where most people will come into the city for the first time if they take the airport train.

The train station is truly beautiful both indoors and outdoors. It has a huge sign that welcomes you in, and the marble and gold accents inside feel so opulent.

Watch a Denver Broncos game

Exterior of a big arena that says Empower Field at Mile High.

If you’re a football fan, there’s no better place to watch a game than at Mile High Stadium . The Denver Broncos fans are some of the most passionate in the league.

There’s nothing like experiencing a Broncos game firsthand, so if you’re in town, be sure to check out a game! Don’t forget to wear orange and blue.

Find a new book at the Tattered Cover Bookstore

Girl holding a book that says Subpar Parks in front of a sign that says Tattered Cover in Denver.

If you’re looking for things to do in Denver CO, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Tattered Cover Bookstore . This local bookstore has been around since 1971 and is beloved by both locals and visitors alike!

What makes Tattered Cover so special?

For starters, it’s one of the largest bookstores in Denver, with a few locations in the area. It stocks both new and used books, so you’re sure to find something to your taste.

Plus, there’s always something going on at Tattered Cover, whether it’s a book signing or a reading group meeting. In other words, it’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon.

Visit the galleries in the Santa Fe Art District

The Santa Fe Art District is one of the more unique places to visit in Denver. The area is well known for its art galleries and museums.

One of the most fun times to explore the Santa Fe Art District is during the First Friday Art Walks . It happens all year long, and it’s a time when you can go and explore the galleries, mingle with others, and even enjoy some great food.

Sample some delicious Rocky Mountain oysters

Okay… hear us out. Rocky Mountain Oysters are something you should try as a first-time visitor to Denver.

These delicious morsels are actually fried bull testicles. While they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they are definitely worth trying if you’re looking for a unique culinary experience.

There are many places throughout the city to try them, but the most popular place is the Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant . This steakhouse has many other unique dishes on the menu, too!

See a performance at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre

large red rock formation on a sunny day

This world-famous amphitheater is nestled by the beautiful Rocky Mountains and offers stunning views no matter where you sit! The acoustics are also incredible, making it a popular spot for both concerts and other live performances.

If you’re visiting in the summer, you can also take advantage of the hiking and biking trails in the area. Or, if you’re feeling sporty, you can even attend Yoga on the Rocks. No matter what you do, Red Rocks Park is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Denver.

For a real treat, visit in the morning to catch the sunrise there. It’s the perfect way to start a day in Denver !

This is easily one of the best things to do in Denver in the summer.

Take a scenic drive or hike through the beautiful Rocky Mountains

large welcome sign arching over street

Why not take the time to explore the rest of the area by Denver during your trip? Hop in a car and explore some of the Rocky Mountains.

The Rocky Mountains are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Every year, millions of people flock to the mountains to enjoy the scenery, the wildlife, and the many activities that can be found there.

Some fun places in the area to explore include Golden, Boulder, Estes Park, Idaho Springs, and even Rocky Mountain National Park.

Visit the Colorado State Capitol Building

Historic building with a gold dome near manicured grass under a blue sky.

The Colorado State Capitol Building is one of the most iconic structures in Denver. It’s also one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, thanks to its beautiful architecture and rich history.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Denver and the state of Colorado, a visit to the Capitol Building is a must. Guided tours are available, or you can explore the building on your own. Either way, you’re sure to be impressed by this beautiful and important landmark.

Don’t forget to snap a photo at the mile-high step in the front of the building!

Relax in Confluence Park

river flowing under a metal bridge

Confluence Park is one of the most underrated places to visit in Denver. This urban oasis offers stunning views of the cityscape and is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day.

When we lived in Lodo, we visited this spot all the time. It’s nestled kind of behind a bridge near 16th Street Mall, and you’re more likely to find local residents there than tourists, which is what makes it so great.

This is the perfect place to jog, relax, or even have a picnic. It’s where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte River.

Explore the memorabilia and exhibits at the National Ballpark Museum

Visiting the National Ballpark Museum is one of the unique things to do in Denver, Colorado. The museum is dedicated to the history of baseball and the role that ballparks have played in the game.

The museum features exhibits on the history of baseball, the construction of ballparks, and the evolution of the game.

The museum also has a collection of baseball memorabilia, including many artifacts from the first professional baseball stadium, Fenway Park.

The National Ballpark Museum is a must-visit for any baseball fan and is right by Coors Field.

Have fun at Elitch Gardens

People riding a yellow roller coaster under a blue sky.

For those visiting Denver with kids, you’ll want to head to Elitch Gardens . This amusement park has something for everyone, from thrilling roller coasters to family-friendly rides.

It’s located right by downtown (yes, you read that right), so it’s super easy to get to no matter where in the city you are staying.

There are also plenty of places to eat and drink, as well as live entertainment. Whether you’re looking for a day of fun or a romantic night out, Elitch Gardens is the perfect place for you.

Grab a bite to eat at the Dairy Block & Milk Market

street alley with string lights and metal tables

The Denver Milk Market is in the heart of downtown Denver. The area is home to some of the best things to do in Denver today, including shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The Milk Market is home to many one-of-a-kind shops that you won’t find anywhere else in Denver. From fashion and beauty stores to home decor and gift shops, there’s something for everyone!

The Dairy Block is home to some of the best restaurants in Denver. From casual eateries to fine dining, you’ll find something to suit your taste here. There’s especially good pizza at Bonnano Brothers Pizzeria, one of our fave pizza places.

Once you grab a bite to eat, sit and enjoy it in the beautiful alleyway here, look up, and you’ll see there are lights shaped like milk bottles!

See a Colorado Rapids Game

The Colorado Rapids are a professional soccer team here in Denver. They play their home games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids were founded in 1996, so the team is still fairly new!

Since their founding, the Rapids have won the MLS Cup once in 2010. The amount of support at these games is higher than we’ve witnessed at any other stadium here in Denver. Plus, none of the seats are bad!

Walk around the Denver Botanic Gardens

large greenhouse at a botanical garden

The Denver Botanic Gardens is a must-see for anyone visiting the Mile High City. With many plants from all over the world, it’s one of the best botanic gardens to visit in Colorado.

Even if you’re not a plant lover, the gardens are still worth a visit for their beauty and serenity.

One of the best things to do at the Denver Botanic Gardens is to take a stroll through it all. We recommend grabbing a map and just exploring. There are lots of hidden spots throughout the garden that you’ll wander upon.

If you’re looking for something a little more active, the Denver Botanic Gardens also offers yoga classes, botanical art classes, and gardening workshops.

Boat in Washington Park

Washington Park is one of the most popular parks in Denver, Colorado, and for good reason.

The park is home to a beautiful lake where you can go boating, paddleboarding, or simply relax on the shore. There is a place right by the water where you can rent these by the hour. Try to go earlier in the day, because in the afternoon, it gets hot in the sun!

There are also plenty of walking and biking trails to explore, as well as a playground and picnic area. Washington Park is the perfect place to spend a day outdoors with friends or family.

Have drinks at a rooftop bar

Rooftop bars offer stunning views of the cityscape, and they’re a great place to enjoy the warm weather. And what’s more, Denver has some of the best rooftop bars in the country, in our opinion!

Some great ones include Avanti , Tap Fourteen , and 54Thirty Rooftop . There are also quite a few downtown in Lodo heading towards RiNo.

Go shopping in Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek is one of the best places to shop in Denver. It is an upscale neighborhood with a variety of shops and boutiques.

You can find anything you need at Cherry Creek, from clothes to home decor.

There are also a number of restaurants and cafes in the area, so you can grab a bite to eat while you shop. One of our personal favorite spots here is the Cherry Cricket !

Dine at Stanley Marketplace

biscuit sandwich with meat and eggs on it

Located right outside of Denver in Aurora, Stanley Marketplace is one of the most unique places to visit in the city. We go here so often!

The marketplace is filled with different vendors offering a wide variety of cuisines, so there’s something for everyone. A new churro place even opened in 2022, which is incredible and is called Churreria de Madrid .

You can also eat at Denver Biscuit Co here, which serves over-the-top biscuit sandwiches!

The marketplace is located in an old airplane hangar, so it has a really cool industrial vibe. In addition to the food vendors, there are also several shops selling things like clothes, jewelry, and home goods.

The marketplace regularly hosts events like live music, farmers’ markets, and craft fairs.

See a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Statue of two people holding hands in front of a big glass building under a dark sky at night.

The Denver Performing Arts Complex is one of the top places to visit in Denver. There is always something going on here, and it’s the place where you can often see theatrical performances in the city.

Throughout the past year, they’ve even had Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton ! We saw Hamilton, and it was incredible. If you plan on seeing a show here though, book your tickets well in advance!

Attend BBQ Fest

If you love BBQ, then you’ll definitely want to attend the BBQ Fest in Denver ! This event is one of the best in the country and features some of the most popular BBQ vendors from around the nation.

You’ll be able to try out different styles of BBQ and find your new favorite! It usually happens over a weekend in the month of June.

Drive Mount Evans Scenic Byway

People standing by the side of the road lined by trees. Around them are the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is one of the most popular ways to see the beauty around Denver. The byway takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado and offers stunning views of Mount Evans and the surrounding area.

Just as a heads up, make sure you’re okay with heights before driving this! Be sure also to check the weather before you begin the drive.

Take a stroll through the picturesque LoDo (Lower Downtown) neighborhood

denver city skyline at sunset

Lodo, short for Lower Downtown, is one of Denver’s most vibrant and historic neighborhoods.

Situated just south of RiNo, Lodo is home to a variety of businesses, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. The area is home to Coors Field and Union Station, too! If you’re staying in a hotel, you’re most likely staying in LoDo.

Take the time to walk around this neighborhood and see what you stumble upon. You never know what you might find!

Have fun at the Children’s Museum of Denver

One of the best things to do in Denver with kids is to visit the Children’s Museum , especially if you are visiting with kids. The Children’s Museum is a great place for kids of all ages to learn about different subjects.

The museum has many interactive exhibits that teach kids about science, art, history, and more. The Children’s Museum is a great place to take the family for a day of fun and learning!

Stroll through City Park

Green space with a lake in front of the city skyline under a blue sky. Rocky Mountains can be seen in the distance.

If you’re looking for things to do in Denver, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Denver’s City Park. This park is home to a number of attractions, including the Denver Zoo.

The park is absolutely massive , so take the time to park and just walk around it. This is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city because it’s a lot quieter. You could also consider biking here if you want to.

Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) is a world-class museum featuring the best in contemporary art. MCA Denver offers something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned art lover or just getting started.

MCA Denver is home to an impressive collection of contemporary art. The museum offers a variety of exhibitions and events throughout the year, so there’s always something new to see. They even had a Keith Haring exhibit in 2021.

It is located in the heart of downtown Denver, making it easy to get to and from. The museum also has a cafe and a shop, so you can refuel after exploring all the amazing art on display.

Throughout the year, there are also “penny days” where you can basically visit the museum for free. Visit their website to see when these occur!

Read at the Denver Public Library

entrance to the denver public library

The Denver Public Library is one of the must-visit spots if it happens to be raining during your trip to the city. It is a beautiful building with a lot of history and plenty of things to do inside.

Why not take the time to stroll through the library, see what it offers, and maybe even pick up a book or two to read? There are lots of spots throughout the library, too, where you can sit and read at your leisure!

Learn at the Denver Museum of Nature and History

Statue of a bear in front of a glass window building under a blue sky.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of the coolest places in the city, and it’s a great place to learn about the natural world. The museum has a ton of exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to space, and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

Families and solo travelers alike will love this museum. Plan on spending at least a few hours there to see everything!

Shop at a local farmer’s market

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Denver this weekend, one great option is to visit a farmer’s market. Shopping at a farmer’s market supports local farmers and helps to ensure that you’re getting fresh, high-quality produce.

Plus, it can be a lot of fun to browse the different stalls and see all the different kinds of fruits and vegetables that are available.

Farmer’s markets are typically held on weekends, so if you’re visiting Denver on a weekend, be sure to check out one of the city’s many farmer’s markets.

Some of the best include the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market , the Boulder Farmer’s Market , and the Denver Union Station Farmer’s Market .

Have a bite to eat at the Denver Central Market

People walking in front of a building that says Denver Central Market.

The Denver Central Market is a great place to eat, and it’s located right in the beautiful RiNo. The market offers a wide variety of food options, so you’re sure to find something to your taste.

Once you peruse the market and grab whatever food you’d like (we absolutely love and suggest Green Seed for smoothies), find a spot to eat by the street art outside the market.

Check out the sealife at the Denver Aquarium

turtles sitting on a log at an aquarium

If you find yourself in Denver, then you absolutely must visit the world-renowned Denver Aquarium . While many people visit here to try out the restaurant (which is consistently voted as one of the best places to eat in Denver), the aquarium itself is fun, too.

Head upstairs and walk from exhibit to exhibit. Take your time; there are lots of signs throughout the aquarium where you can learn more. Surprise, but there is a tiger there too!

You can also consider going on one of the Denver Aquarium free days.

Bike the Cherry Creek Trail

Empty trail next to the water by a green sign that says Cherry Creek Trail in Denver.

The Cherry Creek Trail is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast visiting Denver. This popular trail follows Cherry Creek for over 40 miles, offering beautiful views of the creek and the city skyline.

The trail is well-maintained and perfect for biking, walking, running, or rollerblading. There are also plenty of places to stop along the way to rest or grab a bite to eat.

Whether you’re a local looking for a new place to explore or a visitor looking to get outside and experience all that Denver has to offer, the Cherry Creek Trail is definitely worth checking out.

Ride the Denver Trolley

The Denver Trolley is a unique and fun way to see the city. It’s a great way to get around, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. Plus, it’s just really cool to ride on a trolley!

The Denver Trolley costs $7 for adults or $3 for children under 13 and over 4, as children under 4 are free. It stops at the Denver Children’s Museum and also the aquarium. Note that they only stop on the southbound part of the ride.

Golf at Urban Putt

Located in Lodo, Urban Putt is one of our favorite hidden gems . This indoor golf course has two different courses set up to replicate parts of Denver! Golf through Denver International Airport, downtown, and even Red Rocks.

Visit during the day to avoid the rush from happy hour. This is fun for both kids and adults, no matter how many times you go! (We’ve gone a handful of times and plan on going many more.)

See the exhibits at the Denver Firefighter Museum

Brick building under a blue sky with a black sign that says Denver Fire Department Museum.

The Denver Firefighter Museum is awesome, and it’s a great way to learn about the history of firefighting in Denver.

The museum is located in an old firehouse, and it has a few exhibits. You can learn about the equipment that firefighters use, see old photos of fires, and more. This spot is mentioned on almost every free tour of Denver!

Drive through and see the animals at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

group of bison standing in a large field

If you want to see wildlife during your trip to Denver, you won’t want to miss Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge . This refuge is home to bison, prairie dogs, deer, and more.

There are plenty of things to do at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. You can go hiking or biking on the trails, take photos, or, our favorite, hop in your car and drive through to see what animals you’ll find.

Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for things to do in Denver, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The drive takes around an hour.

Eat a burrito at D’Corozan

smothered burrito, chips and salsa, and queso on a table

D’Corazan is one of the best places to get a burrito in Denver ! We ate here during our first-ever trip to Denver, and since moving here, it’s where we go all the time.

Their cheesy queso with green chile has a nice spice but is incredibly tasty. Their a la carte beef burritos are also so delicious. Order both at the same time and put some of the queso on the burrito for a real treat.

This restaurant is located downtown, so if you’re exploring 16th Street, this is a great place to go to escape the commercial restaurants and eat local.

Drive the Peak to Peak Highway

One of the best things to do in the Denver area is to drive the Peak to Peak Highway . The highway connects Estes Park to Black Hawk and Central City. The views from the road are simply breathtaking, making it one of the most popular scenic drives in Colorado.

In addition to the incredible views, driving the Peak to Peak Highway is also a great way to experience some of the state’s best foliage. In the fall , this highway is truly one of the most spectacular in the entire country.

Tour Stranahan’s Whiskey Distillery & Cocktail Bar

The Stranahan’s Whiskey Distillery & Cocktail Bar offers tours of their facilities, allowing visitors to see how they make their award-winning whiskey. The tour is perfect for those who enjoy spirits.

Explore more about their tour by clicking here . Many of their tours include up to four different tastings, so you can try it while also learning more! Talk about a good time.

Go ice skating downtown

Close up of someone ice skating in jeans.

In the winter, go ice skating in Denver!

Ice skating is a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and take in the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and the city. Plus, it’s a perfect activity for both adults and children.

There are several ice skating rinks in Denver, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. And if you’re new to ice skating, don’t worry; just stay to the side. It’s what we do!

So put on your warmest coat and gloves and head out to one of these top ice skating spots in Denver.

Get up close and personal with some of nature’s most amazing creatures at the Denver Zoo

Big sign that says Denver Zoo by statues of animals surrounded by greenery under a blue sky.

The Denver Zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, and for good reason. The zoo is an exciting place to explore for people of all ages.

In addition to its impressive animal collection, the Denver Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs, events, and exhibits throughout the year.

Whether you’re interested in learning about the zoo’s conservation efforts or you just want to see some of the animals, there’s something for everyone at the Denver Zoo.

Discover some amazing street art in Denver’s RiNo (River North) Arts District

street art on the side of a large building

Denver’s RiNo (River North Art District) is home to some of the best street art in the city. The area is also home to a number of breweries, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring!

There are a number of ways to explore street art in RiNo. You can take a walking tour, rent a bike, or even take a Segway tour. No matter how you choose to explore, you’re sure to see some incredible artwork.

Learn at the United States Mint

Exterior of a stone building with a wrought-iron fence that says United States Mint.

The United States Mint in Denver produces coins for circulation, as well as collector coins. It is also a great tourist destination, especially for those interested in American history or numismatics.

The Mint offers tours of its facility, which is the best way to learn. Tours are free and open to the public, making the Mint a great option for things to do in Denver CO that are both educational and enjoyable.

After taking a tour of the facility, visitors can browse the gift shop, which sells a variety of items related to coins and money. The Mint also has an exhibit gallery, which features rotating exhibitions on topics such as the history of American coinage or the Mint’s involvement in world events.

Whether you’re interested in American history, numismatics, or just want to see how coins are made, the United States Mint in Denver is a great option for things to do in the city.

Take a photo at the Big Blue Bear

large blue bear sculpture leaning against a bulidng

The Big Blue Bear is one of the most iconic sculptures in Denver, and for good reason! This massive sculpture is impossible to miss, and it makes for a great photo op. Trust us; your Instagram followers will be jealous.

Find it right by the Denver Convention Center. It’s leaning up against the building!

Visit the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Denver.

This museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying the history of aviation travel. The museum has an impressive collection of aircraft artifacts, as well as interactive exhibits that will teach you about the science of flight.

The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is a great place to learn about the history of aviation and space travel, and it’s also a lot of fun!

Explore the outdoors at Cherry Creek State Park

Pink, orange, and blue sunset over a river surrounded by snow.

Cherry Creek State Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Denver. The park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, biking, picnicking, and fishing.

There are also several playgrounds and picnic areas. The park is open all year round, making it a great place to visit no matter what time of year it is.

If you live in Denver, be sure to grab a free state park pass from the library. Keep in mind there are often waitlists for these, but you can keep it for a week!

Attend the National Western Stock Show

The National Western Stock Show is the perfect event for any Western fan. This annual event features some of the best in rodeo, livestock, and more.

It normally takes place in January each year and is truly fun for the entire family. It’s been going on since the early 1900s and takes place over the course of about 16 days, so you can choose a date to attend that works best for you.

Go on a free walking tour

A Denver free walking tour is the perfect way to get an insider’s view of the city. You’ll learn about the history and culture of Denver, see the best sights in Denver, meet new people, and make new friends. Plus, it’s a great way to get some exercise!

We actually have gone on walking tours before when family and friends have visited us here. Visit here to see some great walking tours in Denver.

Don’t forget to bring some cash to tip your guide. While they are free, tipping is encouraged!

Take a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park

mountain lake with fall colored trees along the bank

Last but not least, consider taking a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park . Just a short drive from the city, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the state. It’s easily one of the best day trips from Denver .

There are several outdoor activities one must do near Denver, Colorado… but this is one you can’t miss out on.

Here, you’ll find towering mountains, stunning alpine meadows, and pristine lakes. There are plenty of things to do in the park, whether you want to go hiking, camping, or fishing.

And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife! With just a day, spend the morning hiking in the Bear Lake area (we recommend Emerald Lake trail, and if you have the time, also see Lake Haiyaha) and then spend the afternoon on Trail Ridge Road.

FAQs: What to do in Denver Colorado

What are the best attractions to visit in denver.

The city of Denver is home to many wonderful attractions. The top five include the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Zoo, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and Denver Union Station.

Are there any great outdoor recreational activities in Denver?

Denver has plenty of outdoor activities for visitors, including hiking and biking trails throughout the city, kayaking on one of the many lakes in the area, or skiing in the nearby Rockies.

Is there a safe place to stay when I’m visiting Denver?

Denver is a very safe city with many hotels and Airbnbs offering comfortable accommodations for travelers. It’s best to stay downtown in LoDo!

What type of food can I find when I’m in Denver?

There are so many great dining options in Denver! From classic American eateries to international restaurants, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your taste. Don’t forget about trendy cafes where you can grab coffee or a bite to eat!

Is there nightlife and entertainment in Denver?

There’s plenty to do when it comes to nightlife and entertainment in Denver – from dive bars to fine dining establishments, live music venues, and comedy clubs.

Final Thoughts: Denver Bucket List

This post was all about the best things to do in Denver CO! We hope you enjoy your time in the Mile High City.

Want to read more? Check out these next:

19 Best Things to Do in Denver at Night

  • 10 Delectable Spots for Afternoon Tea in Denver
  • 13 Tasty Spots for Brunch in Denver
  • 7 Best Places to go Apple Picking Near Denver
  • 49 Best Free Things to do in Denver (& the Surrounding Area!)
  • How to Have the Perfect 1 Day in Denver

23 Romantic Date Night Ideas in Denver

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places to visit in colorado denver

After moving to Denver in 2020, KP & Jessie absolutely fell in love with the beauty of the city (and the entire state of Colorado). Together, they're always seeing more of what Colorado has to offer. They love exploring, going on hikes, and trying tasty foods! When they're not traveling, they can be found watching the latest season of Love Island or hanging out with their cat.

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16 Best Things to Do in Denver

By Megan Barber and Nicholas DeRenzo

exterior of Denver Art Museum. Metal facade. Skyline in background.  Clear sky.

If you’ve always thought of the Mile High City as simply a gateway to Colorado’s world-famous ski resorts , you’re still thinking of the old Denver. The capital has spent the past two decades coming into its own as one of America’s most progressive and creative cities, with a host of top-notch museums, wildlife-filled green spaces, and a slew of up-and-coming neighborhoods filled with food halls, street art, and buzzy design hotels. And you’ve probably heard a little something about the craft beer scene, which is now matched by equally exceptional distilleries and even urban wineries. Here are our picks for the best things to do in Denver.

Read our complete Denver travel guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

United States Colorado Denver Attraction Denver Union Station

Denver Union Station Arrow

Union Station, Denver's so-called “living room,” sits in the center of Lower Downtown. It's a busy transit center with an outdoor play fountain, patio-filled restaurants, and boutiques. But this is all new; for decades the historic Beaux Arts building—first constructed in 1881 before several fires required renovations in 1914—was a desolate and run-down train station. A $54 million restoration and a dedicated train to the airport changed all that, and the station’s Grand Hall has returned to its glory days. Tourists and locals alike come to gawk at the historic architecture, linger over drinks, or enjoy community events, including a weekend farmer’s market. Grab a farm-to-table dinner at Mercantile Dining & Provision, then finish the night slinging cocktails at the Terminal Bar.

fake car on display with colorful lights and animation

Meow Wolf: Convergence Station Arrow

Meow Wolf installations are, by design, indescribable. Three hundred artists, including more than 110 from Colorado, collaborated on 79 projects, spread over four floors, to create a loud, neon-lit dreamscape that has something important to say if you scratch beneath the surface of the surreal, Instagram-friendly tableaus. Hidden catacomb passageways, trash-strewn cityscapes, alien bodegas and pizza parlors, and tons of Easter eggs about Denver culture and history allude to big-picture topics like accessibility and Indigenous rights. As the Denver Convergence Station iteration of Meow Wolf warns on its website, the exhibit features “dark spaces, low lighting, low overhangs, tight spaces, crawl spaces, narrow walkways, steep stairways, flashing/strobe lights, theatrical fog effects, music, some loud noises, and exposed materials.” In other words, be prepared for everything—especially if you’re claustrophobic or hate crowds.

United States Colorado Denver Museum Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum Arrow

Serious art lovers, this one’s for you. The city’s biggest art museum is a bustling hub at the center of the Golden Triangle Creative District known for both its vast permanent collection and its blockbuster temporary exhibitions. But just because art aficionados can geek out on everything from the 1971 Gio Ponti building to colorful, large-format murals, that doesn’t mean the DAM is reserved for stuffy nerds in sweater vests. No, the best part of the DAM is that art experts and novices can both find things to love. An extensive collection of Native American Art is one of the best in the world; Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” stops people in their tracks; and kids will enjoy hunting down the family-friendly activity centers scattered throughout the building. Grab a map at the entrance and don’t forget to check out the first floor gift shop for a treasure trove of glimmering vases and artsy gifts.

Red Rocks Amphitheater Denver

Red Rocks Amphitheatre Arrow

There’s a reason Red Rocks is considered one of the most beautiful outdoor music venues in the country. Bright red sandstone rocks jut out from either side of the stage to create a natural amphitheater with truly remarkable acoustics, and concert-goers are treated to views of downtown Denver and the surrounding foothills. Even if you can’t see a concert, Red Rocks is worth visiting; fitness groups often run the stairs of the amphitheater on the weekend and the 1.4-mile Trading Post Trail rewards hikers with brilliant rock formations and valley views.

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United States Colorado Denver Attraction Larimer Square

Larimer Square Arrow

Picture the prettiest street in any city: wide sidewalks, red brick buildings, and restaurant patios full of well-dressed 30-somethings sipping wine. Boutique storefronts threaten your pocketbook, twinkle lights sparkle at night, and a pie shop hides a Prohibition-era “speakeasy” Green Russell , named for a Colorado gold miner. This is Larimer Square, the city’s first historic district. And even though you haven’t really been to the Mile High City unless you’ve Instagrammed the street’s signature twinkling lights—pro tip, they look especially amazing around the holidays—Larimer Square somehow manages to remain an authentic, non-touristy destination.

tub being filled with beer. rose petals

The Beer Spa Arrow

Colorado’s first beer-themed spa opened this February in a residential area near Denver's RiNo (River North Art District). Owners Damien Zouaoui and Jessica French were inspired to bring the beer spa concept back to the States after traveling through Eastern Europe, where many spots offer the chance to bathe in hot beer. In translating the idea for an American audience, they stripped out all the Mitteleuropa kitsch and modernized the concept, borrowing from Japanese and Korean spas. Rather than book a traditional spa treatment, you’re left to your own devices in the hushed but comfortable private therapy rooms. Begin the circuit in the infrared sauna, which can reach up to 170-degree Fahrenheit, and extend the relaxation with an optional session in a zero-gravity massage chair that scans your body, tilts you back, and then comes at you from all angles like some kind of super-relaxing robotic carwash. 

United States Colorado Denver Museum Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum Arrow

If there’s one museum that surprises you in the Mile High City, our money’s on the Clyfford Still Museum. At first glance, your eyes might slide over the imposing, cantilevered concrete building located adjacent to the much larger Denver Art Museum in the Golden Triangle. But don’t miss this rarely crowded, under-the-radar gem. Inside, a 3,200-piece collection focuses on the life and work of Clyfford Still, a modern artist famous for his groundbreaking abstract paintings. Spacious exhibition halls guide you chronologically through Still’s body of work, beginning with small sketches and landscape paintings from the 1920s and culminating in colorful canvases from the 1950s that cover the whole wall. This is a museum that educates without pretension; conversational placards prompt visitors to look at specific lines or colors in each painting and well-placed benches are the perfect place to contemplate Still’s influential contribution to the modern art movement.

United States Colorado Denver Attraction Denver Botanical Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens Arrow

Set on 24 acres in the tree-lined Cheesman Park neighborhood, the Denver Botanic Gardens is a peaceful oasis that's perfect for a one- or two-hour stroll. Gravel and stone paths meander through dozens of different types of gardens, from drought-tolerant xeriscaping to a traditional Japanese garden. Don’t miss the rotating exhibits that showcase internationally recognized artwork peeking out from behind the plants, a socially distanced alternative to the city's museums . Also, be on the lookout for a giant orange- and red-glass Chihuly sculpture and So Proud of My Children , a carved stone piece depicting maternal love by Zimbabwean artist Nicholas Kadzungura. Plant lovers won't ever want to leave.

Kirkland Museum of Fine  Decorative Art Denver

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art Arrow

Unlike other museums in Denver, the Kirkland is organized salon-style, displaying everything from Andy Warhol paintings to chairs designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The international decorative art collection spans every major design period since 1870, but the museum is at its best displaying the work of Colorado’s most distinguished painter: Vance Kirkland. The museum moved Kirkland’s original three-room studio eight blocks to its new location, and visitors can tour the space that the artist worked on his famous abstract and dot paintings. It’s now a stone’s throw from the Denver Art Museum , making it easy to visit both in a day.

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Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Arrow

Colorado is chock full of national and state parks, but you don’t have to venture far from the Mile High City to immerse yourself in one of the state’s most wildlife-rich green spaces. Located about a 10-minute drive northeast of downtown, this 11-mile wildlife drive cuts through open prairie, past waterfowl-filled lakes, over creeks, and through fields of wildflowers. Think of it as one of those drive-through theme park safaris, but instead of elephants and giraffes, you might spot mule deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, or even the continent’s most-endangered mammal, black-footed ferrets, which were reintroduced in 2015.

alley way lit up by Christmas lights overhead

Dairy Block Arrow

In the early 20th-century, the Windsor Farm Dairy Building, in what’s now called LoDo, used to churn out butter, cheese, and milk, but these days it offers the cream of a different crop as the city’s trendiest new “micro-hood.” Within the space of one compact square block in the shadow of Coors Field, the development includes a hotel, a coworking space, shops, restaurants, bars, and a food hall. Make time to explore the pedestrian-friendly Alley, which slices through the block like a narrow canyon and is lined with unique hangouts, like Blanchard Family Wines and Deviation Distilling, where the Mountain Herb Gin is made with wild-foraged juniper and spruce tips. Don’t miss BØH—the counter-service counterpart to Latin tasting-menu restaurant spot Brutø—for tacos, tortas, tostadas and excellent Mexican-inspired cocktails.

United States Colorado Denver Park City Park

City Park Arrow

City Park, a sprawling 330-acre park east of Downtown Denver, is way more than green space—it’s also home to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Manicured gardens and two scenic lakes show off views of the city skyline, and paths attract walkers, runners, and bikers. A Spanish-style pavilion in the center is often used as an event space, and its columns, arches, and waterfront location also make it a photogenic backdrop. For an epic sunset, park at the museum and walk west around the building toward Ferrill Lake. On the way, you’ll pass a kids' splash fountain and a playground; from there, you’ll see the sunset with the lake, city skyline, and Rocky Mountains all glowing in magic-hour light.

Downtown Brewery Trail Walk Great Divide Brewing Company

Downtown Brewery Trail Walk Arrow

There are plenty of organized brewery tours in Denver , but it's just as easy (and maybe more fun) to create your own thanks to this interactive beer ma p put out by the city. Downtown has a high concentration of quality tasting rooms, and we suggest starting at Wynkoop Brewing Company , Denver’s first craft brewery. Next, make your way to Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery for modern takes on traditional ales. Then it’s time for a heavy-hitter on the Denver beer scene: Great Divide Brewing Company . Finally, finish up at Woods Boss , a relative newcomer on the Denver scene that goes all in on Colorado kitsch.

The Tattered Cover Denver

Tattered Cover Book Store Arrow

Denver’s best independent bookstore has been a community gathering place since 1971. In an era when online sales threaten brick-and-mortar stores everywhere, the Tattered Cover has thrived. It now has multiple locations—including an outpost at LoDo’s gleaming new McGregor Square district, across the street from Coors Field—thanks to knowledgeable staff, comfy armchairs, and a lively event series that hosts well-known authors for seminars. There are all types of books here, but don’t miss the curated selection of staff picks, all marked with handwritten notes that detail why a reader might like the book. A whimsical children’s section and an array of calendars and paper supplies make buying housewarming gifts here a no-brainer.

Denver Zoo Denver

Denver Zoo Arrow

The 80-acre Denver Zoo campus is a mostly outdoor journey on wide, well-spaced paths to see over 3,000 animals. Recent renovations make certain exhibits feel like you’ve taken a trip away from the city for the day . The Stingray Cove exhibit, opened in 2020, is an open-air interactive experience that lets you touch and feed cownose and southern stingrays as they swim around a 15,000-gallon tank. An extra $5 admission fee gets you into the exhibit with one piece of food to feed, and the space also showcases bamboo and bonnethead sharks. Another don’t-miss exhibit is Predator Ridge, a five-acre recreation of the African savanna that rotates African lions, spotted hyenas, and African wild dogs through the enclosures.

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The Source Market Hall Arrow

When it opened in an 1880s iron foundry on the edge of downtown in 2013, The Source food hall signaled a sea change for the former industrial zone that would blossom into the RiNo Arts District. Five years later, the historic brick complex welcomed an attached 100-room hotel, done up in polished concrete and Baltic birch, with an outpost of New Belgium Brewing dedicated to barrel-aged beers. Today, the twin “market halls”—one in the original building, one in the new tower—house various food stalls and design shops, plus a barbershop, a florist, and a vintage store. Standouts include Reunion Bread Co. , where baker Ismael De Sousa turns out incredible Venezuelan- and Portuguese-inspired pastries (try the golfeados, walnut-studded sticky buns topped, improbably, with cotija cheese), and Safta , an Israeli stunner from James Beard Award winner Alon Shaya.

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The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton

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The 15 Best Things to do in Denver, Colorado

You can’t leave Colorado without taking some time to explore Denver. Colorado’s capital city is chock full of history, world-class museums, top-notch breweries, epic sports venues, a vibrant art scene, and so much more!

Nicknamed the “Mile High City,” Denver reaches an elevation equivalent to one mile, or 5,280 feet, above sea level. If you’re not used to the higher elevation, you may feel more winded than usual. Keep this in mind if you plan to exercise during your trip!

As you leave the Denver airport, don’t forget to look for Blucifer, the 32-foot tall blue mustang statue. Its glowing red eyes just add to its sinister appearance, making it almost unsurprising that the fiberglass horse actually killed its sculptor, Luis Jiménez, when a piece fell on him.

Aside from this piece of dark history, we promise that there are plenty of fun things to do in Denver. So many that it might be difficult to craft the perfect itinerary, which is why we’ve come up with the 15 coolest Denver bucket list activities to help you get started.

And, of course, remember to wave hello (and goodbye) to Blucifer!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

The Top 15 Things to do in Denver, Colorado

1. shop, dine, and stay at the historic union station.

places to visit in colorado denver

It’s worth stopping by Union Station just to marvel at the stunning interior. Look up and take in the 65-foot ceilings, elegant chandeliers, and ornate decorations. It’s hard to believe a train station could be so glamorous!

Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also an important historic landmark. The station was originally built in 1881, rebuilt in 1914, and renovated in 2014 with the original architecture intact.

Today, locals call it “Denver’s Living Room,” as you can also shop and eat at this historic landmark – or even stay the night. The station is home to The Crawford Hotel, a boutique hotel with 112 unique rooms and suites.

Cool Things to do in Denver, Colorado: Union Station

Situated in the trendy Lower Downtown, or “LoDo,” neighborhood, Union Station is one of the best Denver attractions. It’s a great jumping-off point to explore the rest of the city, since it’s a train station, after all! 

Book a Stay at The Crawford Hotel

2. Immerse Yourself in Another Universe at Meow Wolf

places to visit in colorado denver

Meow Wolf is an immersive art experience that takes you on a journey through surreal, sci-fi-inspired rooms and portals. With over 70 unique art exhibits spread across four floors, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another world!

While you’ll find Meow Wolf in several cities in the US, each location is unique. Denver’s installation is called “Convergence Station,” based on the story it tells about converged worlds. Building this exhibition was no small feat – it took three years to finish and features art from 300 artists, over 100 of which are from Colorado.

After you’ve returned from your voyage, stop by the Galleri Gallery to shop for local art. There’s always new artwork for sale, which varies from traditional paintings to more experimental pieces.

Visiting Meow Wolf is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Denver – there’s really nothing else like it! 

3. Check Out the Denver Botanic Gardens

places to visit in colorado denver

If you love plants, add the Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street to your Denver bucket list. Explore 24 acres of plants from all over the world, from the faraway tropics to greenery you’d find in your backyard. You’ll see everything from gnarled bristlecone pines to spiny green cacti to vibrantly purple lilacs.

When you work up your appetite from walking all day, grab one of the signature deep-dish quiches from Offshoots Café or a fresh seasonal meal from Hive Garden Bistro. They even incorporate fresh herbs and produce from the Le Potager garden into some of their meals! Love art? The gardens have an art gallery too! See the latest exhibitions at the Freyer – Newman Center , which may focus on a design element (like color) or art by famous creatives like Ansel Adams.

Denver, Colorado Bucket List: Denver Botanic Gardens

Check out the calendar if you’d like to take a tour or attend an event . Glow at the Gardens takes place every year around Halloween, and features intricately carved lit-up pumpkins. Or take in the twinkling Blossoms of Light installation that dazzles attendees from November to January.

4. Cheer for the Colorado Rockies

places to visit in colorado denver

Partake in America’s favorite pastime at Coors Field ! There’s no better way to spend a warm afternoon in Denver than cheering on the Colorado Rockies while sipping on a cold beer from The SandLot Brewery, grabbing a frose from the Silver Bullet Bar, or chowing down on some crispy fries at The Rooftop.

Cool Things to do in Denver, Colorado: Coors Field

Did you know that the first game took place in 1995? Or that a ball goes further at higher altitudes and that the thinner air also influences pitching? If you want to learn more about Coors Field, there’s good news: you can take a tour to find out what really goes on behind the scenes at this spectacular ballpark! Choose between a private tour or a group tour, both lasting around 70 to 80 minutes.

5. Visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

places to visit in colorado denver

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science covers a lot of ground in just one institution. Exhibits include Egyptian mummies, a genetics lab, gems and minerals, the prehistoric world, an odyssey through space, and so much more. And because some displays rotate, there’s almost always something you haven’t seen before!

Discover interactive exhibits and immersive experiences throughout the museum. Kids will love the Discovery Zone, where they can build whatever their imagination dreams up or play in the clouds. 

Denver, Colorado Bucket List: Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Take a journey through space at the Gates Planetarium . You’ll soar through the universe to learn about black holes, the Milky Way galaxy, and more about our very own solar system. If space isn’t your thing, you can watch another show at the Giant Screen Theater.

You might even get lucky and be in town during one of their free days or nights , which happen about a dozen times each year. 

6. Appreciate art at the Denver Art Museum

places to visit in colorado denver

Whether you’re an artist yourself or simply appreciate art, you’ll enjoy the pieces on display at the Denver Art Museum ! Peruse paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles, and more, in an array of both ancient artifacts and contemporary works.

Browse through art from all around the world, like Europe and Asia, as well as local Western art inspired by the Rocky Mountains. The museum is well-known for its world-famous Indigenous Arts of North America exhibit, as well as its extensive Latin American Art and Art of the Ancient Americas collections.

Must do things in Denver, Colorado: Denver Art Museum

Order locally sourced food at The Ponti, and enjoy their seasonal creations on their large outdoor terrace (although you can also dine indoors if you prefer). Want something more casual? Café Gio has you covered!

Here’s a huge plus for parents: the museum is completely free for anyone under the age of 18! This makes it one of the best Denver activities for families with kids.

7. Experience the International Church of Cannabis

places to visit in colorado denver

The International Church of Cannabis is certainly one of the most unique things to see in Denver! The church itself is stunning and worth a visit to see the brightly colored designs and neon murals that cover the interior. Look up to spot the vivid rainbow painted by Okuda San Miguel, or admire the facade painted by Kenny Scharf.

Members of the church are called “Elevationists” and believe that using cannabis helps people along their own life journey and search for meaning. Whether you partake in cannabis use or not, you can still buy tickets for BEYOND, a guided meditation and psychedelic laser light experience.

The church doesn’t allow cannabis consumption during BEYOND, which begins 20 minutes after the hour every day of the week, Fridays to Mondays from 12 pm to 8 pm, and Tuesdays to Thursdays from 4 pm to 8 pm. Come 20 minutes early (on the hour) to tour the church before the show!

8. See Lions, Tigers, and Bears (oh my!) at the Denver Zoo

places to visit in colorado denver

The Denver Zoo is one of the top things to do in Denver if you love animals. In the warmer months, don’t miss Stingray Cove, an interactive experience where you can feed stingrays as they zip through the water. Take a ride on the wild side (literally) on the Denver Zoo Railroad, or immerse yourself in the action at the 4-D Experience.

The worldly exhibits scattered throughout the zoo allow you to take a tour around the world right in the middle of Denver! Head deep into the jungle at Tropical Discovery, where you’ll find bats flitting about in a cave, Daphne the Siamese crocodile, and sloths (slowly) climbing the 22-foot sloth tree.

Unique Things to do in Denver, Colorado: Denver Zoo

Teleport to Asia’s wilderness by visiting the Toyota Elephant Passage, one of the biggest elephant habitats in North America. Catch glimpses of Asian elephants, rhinos, and tapirs meandering across the 10 acres of habitat – perhaps wallowing in the mud or swimming in the many pools!

Love big predators? The Denver Zoo has plenty! Dash over to the African Savanna at Benson Predator Ridge, where you’ll find lions and hyenas roaming about. Or head to The Edge to see the zoo’s two Siberian tigers keeping watch over their kingdom! See Tundra the Grizzly Bear in the Harmony Hill Bear Habitat as she naps at The Den or sunbathes in the meadow.

9. Admire the Architecture of the Colorado State Capitol

places to visit in colorado denver

It’s worth stopping by the Colorado State Capitol , both because it’s an important political building and because it’s simply stunning. The white granite walls shimmer in the sun, and the brilliant golden dome enchants passersby.

The capitol was built in the late 1800s, with gold leaf added to the dome in the early 1900s to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush. You may notice the building’s resemblance to the United States Capitol – this was done on purpose!

The interior is just as (if not more) magnificent than the exterior. Colorado Rose Onyx decorates the inside of the building, a rare rose marble with swirling pinkish hues. In fact, the building supposedly used up all the Colorado Rose Onyx in the world – oops! 

Must do things in Denver, Colorado: Colorado State Capitol

White Yule Marble (Colorado’s state rock) makes up the floors, the walls are sprinkled with stained glass, intricate brass chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, and impressive columns skyrocket upwards.

As impressive as the building is, there’s more to see than just the marvelous architecture. Check out the “Women’s Gold” quilt, which has images of amazing women from Colorado. Stop by the third-floor rotunda to see portraits of US presidents. Head to the exterior steps to view the “One Mile Above Sea Level” marker.

If you want to learn more, you’re in luck: the capitol offers free tours to the public. Tours are first come, first serve and last about an hour. You’ll get to visit the observation deck for panoramic views of the Rockies, something which is only allowed on tours and is a must on your Denver bucket list!

10. Explore the Attractions Along the 16th Street Mall

places to visit in colorado denver

As you stroll through 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver, don’t forget to look down. The red, white, and gray granite tiles that make up the pathways aren’t an accident: the pattern purposely mimics the scales of a diamondback rattlesnake!

Sit down and enjoy the sunshine at one of the 42 ​​outdoor cafes, or grab a bite at Appaloosa Grill , which has live music every night. Don’t miss the D&F Tower, a smaller replica of the Campanile of St. Mark’s in Venice. Walk south to Denver Pavilions to watch a movie or shop ‘til you drop. Or head north to cross over to Commons Park and the LoHi neighborhood.

Best Things to do in Denver, Colorado: 16th Street Mall

Stay at the mall until the sun goes down, and you’ll be treated to thousands of twinkling lights in trees that line the walkway. Tired of walking? Hop in a pedicab or horse-drawn carriage! During the day, you can also take a free shuttle bus, called the MallRide, along the mall.

11. Hang out in Larimer Square Both day & Night

places to visit in colorado denver

Larimer Square , dubbed the “beating heart and creative soul of Downtown Denver,” is just around the corner from the 16th Street Mall. Not only does Larimer Square have tons of restaurants, shops, and fun activities, but it’s also steeped in history. The square was home to an abundance of firsts: Denver’s first block, commercial district, residence, and city hall.

Larimer Square is small but mighty. The area boasts over a dozen restaurants and close to 10 stores. There’s plenty to do after dark, too. Head to Comedy Works to laugh with (or at) stand-up comedians, Disco Pig for a night of dancing, Corridor 44 for a bit of bubbly (it’s Denver’s only champagne bar!), Cru Food & Wine Bar to sip on some vino, or Băo Brewhouse for tea-centered cocktails and Chinese food!

Best Things to do in Denver, Colorado: Larimer Square

Colorado State flags crisscross above the walkway, accompanied by string lights at night. The cozy ambiance invites you to stay awhile, listening to live music as you walk or simply enjoying the crisp evening air.

12. Tour Empower Field at Mile High

This one’s for the sports fans! Empower Field at Mile High is the home of the Broncos, Colorado’s football team. Attend a game and create “mile-high thunder” by stomping your feet alongside thousands of other fans. Scream “Incomplete!” until you’re hoarse (pun intended), which is the word fans use to cheer on the Broncos.

Tour the stadium for a behind-the-scenes look, and to check out the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum. You’ll also stop at the locker room, end zone, and executive suite over the course of 70 to 90 minutes. Expect to walk about a half mile.

The venue also hosts concerts, with performances from big artists like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Check the schedule for other events, like the Supercross Championship, and see if there’s something that catches your eye while you’re visiting!

13. Catch a Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater

places to visit in colorado denver

Although Red Rocks Amphitheater is about 30 minutes from Denver, it’s one of the most unique concert venues in the US (and possibly the world) and definitely worth the trip! Where else can you listen to live music surrounded by jagged red rocks that seem to poke the sky?

Visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame to see memorabilia, photos, videos, and more ​​that celebrate Colorado musicians. Check out famous performers that have “made their mark” on the amphitheater in the Red Rocks Hall of Fame.

Denver, Colorado Bucket List: Red Rocks Amphitheater

The amphitheater is also a popular place to squeeze in some exercise. Several short trails intersect throughout Red Rocks Park, which encompasses the venue and the surrounding area.

Walk the short Geologic Overlook Trail for stunning views, or the 1.4-mile Trading Post Trail for incredible rock formations. Bring your hiking boots, as the trails get a little rocky! Jog up and down the hundreds of steps at the amphitheater for a more intense workout. Or, attend a Yoga on the Rocks class on select Saturdays during the summer months.

14. Drive the Mount Evans Scenic Byway

places to visit in colorado denver

14ers (mountains that are at least 14,000 feet high) are a pretty big deal in Colorado, and Mount Evans is one of them. But you don’t have to slog up the mountain to get a taste of life above 14,000 feet. Instead, you can simply drive up to the summit of Mount Evans on the highest paved road in North America! Don’t forget to make a reservation before you go.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway offers plenty of mountain views and, if you’re lucky, glimpses of mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and marmots. The 28-mile road starts in Idaho Springs (about 40 minutes from Downtown Denver) and gains over 7,000 feet in elevation.

What to do in Denver, Colorado: Mount Evans Scenic Byway

This is a unique chance to get above the treeline without breaking a sweat (although there is a short walk to the very top). Take in views of the Continental Drive, alpine wildflowers, and Rocky Mountain Bristlecone pines along the way. Because this is a mountain road, it closes in the winter when there’s too much snow. It usually opens sometime in June and shuts down in the fall.

If you’re not renting a car or just don’t want to drive up the twisty mountain road, you can sign up for a tour from Denver instead. This way, you can relax and focus on soaking up the epic views!

15. Drink and Bathe (yep, you Read That Right) in Beer

Craft beer is one of Colorado’s specialties, with some of the best breweries located right in Denver – about 150 of them!

While you can’t really go wrong visiting any Denver brewery, some stand out above the rest. Cerveceria Colorado serves Mexican-inspired brews, like a churro stout and horchata blonde ale. Try one of the creative concoctions at Cerebral Brewing , like their peppermint mocha coffee stout or the passionfruit raspberry sour (although their beers constantly rotate, so they might be gone when you visit). Head to Odell Brewing Co. for some classic beers that taste just as good as you’d imagine!

When you’re done drinking beer, you might as well…bathe in it? Yep, you can literally sit in a bath full of beer at The Beer Spa ! This truly unique establishment gives guests a chance to experience “Beer Therapy.” 

Over the course of 90 minutes, guests can relax in the infrared sauna, enjoy a rain shower, and soak in the tub. The beer bath is probably the most unique part of the experience, during which you take a dip in a cedar hydrotherapy tub immersed in an unfermented bubbly blend of hops, barley, and herbs.

Stop in the Taproom before and after your visit to the Beer Spa, which gives you a chance to try beers from a local Colorado brewery. You can also sample various types of cider, wine, kombucha, herbal tea, and other non-alcoholic beverages.

There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Denver, Colorado! Which activities will you add to your Denver bucket list?

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Best Things to do in Denver, Colorado

About the Author:

Valerie Wheatley

Val grew up in Portland, Oregon but moved to Oahu on a whim back in 2013. She sold her house and all of her belongings and bought a one-way ticket. Since then she’s taken two around-the-world trips and has visited 60-ish countries while living out of a duffel bag. Val started documenting the Wandering Wheatleys travels back in 2013 as a way to update friends and family about her whereabouts and to relay humorous daily interactions. The only readers were her mom and her mother-in-law but that didn’t stop her! These days you’ll find Val dreaming up future trips, creating new travel content, managing a team of amazing travel enthusiasts, and chasing around her two adorable but naughty kids.

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Home » Travel Guides » United States » Colorado (CO) » 25 Best Things to Do in Denver (Colorado)

25 Best Things to Do in Denver (Colorado)

Denver is nicknamed Mile High City due to the fact it is exactly one mile above sea level (I mean, how convenient is that?) making it one of the highest cities in the United States. The city comes with a seriously stunning backdrop of Rocky Mountains to the west of it and High Plains to its east, sitting in the South Platte River Valley.

Denver has plenty of opportunities to ski, climb and enjoy many other outdoor pursuits. And for those of a more reflective disposition, there are lots of museums and other activities to choose from.

Let’s have a look at all the many options on offer.

1. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

What an interesting museum for all aircraft fans and their families.

This fascinating venue, situated in a circa 1930’s former Air Force hangar, houses 150,000 sq ft of a truly awesome collection of more than four dozen aircraft and space vehicles, including such rarities as a B-18A Bolo, an RF-84K Thunderflash Parasite, an Alexander Eaglerock built in Colorado and a Star Wars X-Wing fighter!

Nicest of all, kids are more than welcome to try out the various apparatus which in the end can turn out to be very educational. The museum guides are extremely knowledgeable, and there is a great gift shop to visit at the end.

2. Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown House Museum

Molly (or Margaret as she was christened) was the brave socialite and activist who found fame when she survived the 1912 sinking of the legendary RMS Titanic and then urged the crew of Lifeboat No. 6 to go back to the capsize are to look for any survivors.

The Molly Brown Museum was built in dedication to her, and welcomes over 50,000 visitors every year. On site museum programs include a guided tours of her 1889 home in which you can find out all about her, her life and the influence she had before and after that historic event.

There is also a fabulous gift shop full of interesting items.

Included in : Denver: Haunted Walking Ghost Tour

 3. Denver Climbing Company

Rock Climbing

Learning to climb (or developing your technique, if it comes to that!) would be a great day out for all the family. The Denver Climbing Company Outdoor Climbing School provides rock climbing instruction and guiding and, best of all, is carried out by extremely professional guides who ensure the whole family have a fun and safe time.

The company caters for beginners, kids and experienced climbers alike, with routes set up appropriate for everyone’s skill level while at the same time allowing for a progression in challenges.

Your experience of climbing in the Colorado Rockies will be something joyous for the family to remember for many years to come.

4. Coors Field

Coors Field

Baseball fans will certainly enjoy a visit to the 76 acre Coors Field. This family friendly ball park has been a league leader in attendance with those in the know sitting in the first-base and right-field areas because they know they’re going to be treated to a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains, plus there are plenty of tasty amenities to keep the kids happy all day!

There are also tours of the grounds available both on and off season, offering a fascinating behind the scenes look at the ballpark.

The tours last about an hour and a half, covering a distance of one mile, and are accessible for visitors with disabilities.

5. Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens

These are gorgeous gardens in which to have a family stroll, whatever season you are visiting the city. The gardens have worked hard on their conservation programs in protecting natural habitats and saving species and as you walk through the area you will be able to see and enjoy the ongoing results.

Whatever time of year, this lovely area with its tropical biosphere and Japanese garden complete with pool and lily pads plus lots more, makes for a perfect outing.

Bring a picnic, or enjoy a meal at one of the two high quality restaurants.

Book online : Denver Botanic Gardens General Admission Ticket

6. American Museum of Western Art

American Museum of Western Art

For all those interested in the area, a visit to this gallery which focuses on depicting life in the west from the early 1800s through the present day will not disappoint! The museum’s mission is to promote the appreciation and understanding through its art exhibits by displaying the history, character and beauty of this amazing location, the American West!

The resident Anschutz Collection offer guided and self-guided tours of the museum and also provides more than 200 pieces, including Bierstadt, Maynard Dixon, Remington, Russell, Thomas Moran and many more.

Kids under the age of 8 are not permitted due to the critical art content, and kids between the age of 8 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

7. Empower Field Field at Mile High

Empower Field Field at Mile High

The Mile High Stadium has always been popular and are well known, being host to the Broncos – and even more so now that they have reached Super Bowl winning status again.

In fact, not only did the Broncos win consecutive Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998, but they established all-time pro football records for most wins in two seasons (33), most playoff wins in two seasons (seven), and most wins ever in three seasons (46, from 1996-98), and all of this accomplished while playing at the Mile High Stadium. (You can wonder if there might be something in the air, perhaps.)

Attending a Broncos game, enjoying the huge replay screens which certainly take you close to the action, is a great experience for all the family.

8. Empower Field at Mile High Tour

Empower Field Field at Mile High

Carrying on in the same vein, why not take advantage while you’re here and join a public “behind the scenes” glimpse into some the inner workings of one of the most state-of-the-art stadiums in North America.

The stadium tours are informative, educational and enjoyable for both sports fans and non-fans alike, with each tour taking 75 – 90 minutes over a distance of ½ mile, and conducted by knowledgeable and friendly tour guides from the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

The tour includes stops at the Executive Suites, the NFL Visiting Team Locker Room Facilities, Thunder Stall, Keg Room, Team Field Entrance Tunnel, and loads more besides. Facilities for strollers and wheelchairs are available but you have to bring your own.

9. Mount Evans

Mount Evans

Are you and your family in the need of some significant fresh air? You won’t get air more significant than the air you’ll breathe at the top of Mount Evans. With an elevation of 14,271 ft and Colorado’s 12th highest peak, the amazing views and fresh air will certainly knock any remaining cobwebs off you.

The peak dominates the western skyline of the Great Plains along with Pikes Peak, Longs Peak, and nearby Mount Bierstadt. There are a few options available when planning your drive; and though Pikes Peak is a good though rather concentrated drive, the Mt Evans route is easier with less traffic to contend with. The road has some strange bumps in it as you pass through the different climate zones, but is paved all the way up.

If you’d rather hike, it takes about 3-4 hours from the lake up to the peak. And if you’re visiting during the spring you’ll see the amazing array of flowers, with any remaining snow at the top, where the observatory is. You’ll probably also see some mountain goats.

Suggested tour : Red Rocks Amphitheater and Mount Evans Tour

10. Larimer Square

Larimer Square

Enjoy a walk in one of Denver’s most historic areas, Larimer Square. Its history extends back to the 19th century when Colorado was all about gold and the famous gold strikes that put this beautiful State firmly on the map.

The square was once home to a lot of ‘firsts’; first bank, first dry goods store, first bookstore, first theater, and also the site of the city’s first post office! Some of the old buildings remain but the new ones are just as nice, and home to some great restaurants and shops selling unusual and unique gifts.

It’s worth taking the family to see the stores’ decorations too.

11. Denver Public Library

Denver Public Library

I’m always happy to recommend decent libraries; to me, there’s nothing more pleasurable than losing myself in an hour or three of literary entertainment. You’ll feel the same when you visit this tremendous library, consisting of over 2 million items which include books, movies, DVD’s, reference materials and even photographs.

It’s a real treat for those in the family interested in Western history and genealogy too, as there are so many informative avenues to explore.

And let’s not forget the little ones; with many children’s story time activities and an excellent and well designed kiddies area, everyone will be happy.

12. Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol Building

This is such a beautiful building and worth a brief stop while you’re here in Denver. Constructed in the 1890s from Colorado white granite, the building officially opened in 1894. You will be amazed at the care that went into its decorations too, the structure’s gold dome consisting of real gold leaf, commemorating the Colorado Gold Rush.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Place, becoming part of the Denver Civic Center National Historic Landmark District in 2012.

Take a tour and climb the narrow staircase up into the dome itself; you will be amazed at the spectacular views you’ll see.

13. Downtown Aquarium

Denver Downtown Aquarium

This is a really fun venue for all the family. With an aquarium that features more than a million gallons of water and housing over 500 species, an interactive Stingray Reef touch tank, Dive Lounge, Aquarium Restaurant, Nautilus Ballroom and much more, there is plenty to keep busy with.

The aquarium is very well designed, and a fantastic way for young and old to learn about sea life and have fun together at the same time. The kids in particular will love seeing the live mermaid show and the flash flood exhibit (stand back or you will get soaked).

The Aquarium Restaurant is also worth a visit, offering good food at reasonable prices.

14. Children’s Museum of Denver

Children’s Museum of Denver

This wonderful museum has come a long way since its days of inception in a converted school bus in 1973.

Originally targeting ages newborn through eight years, it has turned into a ‘must visit’ venue for all, with the museum offering lots of hands on, unique and engaging interactive opportunities which include wood working, grocery marketing station, rocket launching, nature climbing & caves, and lots more.

The museum now welcomes over 350,000 visitors per year. It is particularly wonderful for the youngest members of the family with a separate safe area for them to run, roam and explore, complete with snack bar.

15. United States Mint

United States Mint, Denver

The Denver Mint branch struck its first coins in 1906, imagine that. Built in 1897, the mint is still operating and producing coins for circulation, together with commemorative coins.

The highly educational and interesting tours available are something to be enjoyed by all the family, so try and make time for a visit. You’ll be able to watch the coins being made and learn a lot about the minting process from the informative and interesting guides.

There is also a great gift shop on site where you can pick up lots of unique memorabilia. It’s a good idea to book in advance if possible as the tours fill up fast.

16. Forney Transportation Museum

Forney Transportation Museum

This museum is a real car lover’s dream. The Forney Museum is simply one of a kind, with a collection of more than 600 artifacts that relate to historical transportation.

Built 60 years ago with a single 1921 Kissel it expanded rapidly and now includes not only vehicles, but also motorcycles, aircraft, carriages, steam locomotives, rail equipment, public transportation, fire apparatus, bicycles, toys & diecast models, vintage apparel and much more – phew.

The collection includes Amelia Earhart’s 1923 Kissel ‘Gold Bug’, Forney Locomotive, Colorado & Southern Caboose, 1923 Hispano-Suiza, 1913-53 Indian Motorcycle Collection, 500 Piece Matchbox Collection, Stutz Fire Engine and lots lots more.

There’s even an old Model T you can sit in! The volunteer staffers are helpful and informative. Be prepared to spend a good few hours here.

17. Adams Mystery Playhouse

Microphone

This is Colorado’s first and only mystery dinner theatre and fun for all members of the family, being appropriate for every age. You will enjoy the actors’ special brand of comedy, while they keep everything politically correct.

Once you’ve enjoyed a delicious, plentiful buffet dinner with the character actors mingling amongst the tables, a murder occurs to which you are the witness. After a search for clues and a stop for refreshments, the performance then continues with songs, impressions and other fun surprises, then back to the case in hand.

At the end, souvenir prizes are handed out to the team who solved the crime.

18. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Denver

This is not your usual outdoor world shop and I wouldn’t normally add it to my ‘things to see’ list. However, the kids in the family won’t want to miss the fish feeding event that takes place in the store’s 21,000 gallon super aquarium.

There are more than 15 various fish species involved, including an 82 lb blue catfish plus other trophy fish. It is of course worth a visit to buy some of the best hunting and fishing gear on offer too. Bass Pro is regarded as part museum, part art gallery, part education, conservation and part entertainment center, with a great restaurant attached.

The location is very kid friendly with super friendly and helpful staff.

19. Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

This fascinating museum, a super venue for all the family, comes with an even more fascinating story.

Beginning its life in 1868, the naturalist and pioneer Edwin Carter, who had devoted his life to his true love – birds and mammals of the Rocky Mountains – had deciding to assemble what turned out to be one of the most inclusive collections of Colorado fauna, and started displaying his treasures from his log cabin home, dubbed the Carter Museum. This later expanded into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

There are lots of interest exhibits to see, including the striking wildlife exhibit halls and a hands on space exhibit. The museum also has many travelling exhibits, including the Robot Exhibit, where kids actually get to build their own robot using robotic cubes, each of which serving a different function.

20. Rocky Mountain Hot Air

Hot Air Balloon Over Colorado Mountain Landscape

Another chance to reach for the skies, and this time, even higher than before. The company specializes in hot air balloon trips for all ages (in fact when I called to check, Ken the owner told me that one of his recent customers had been a 100 year old lady.) so every age from 5 and up are welcome and safely looked after.

You will enjoy gliding high above the fields and streams of the area while enjoying a fabulous view of the mountains, ascending about 1,500 – 1,800 ft. so not too intense.

After the flight you will receive a cute certificate of ascent, pin, and bottle of champagne upon landing.

21. Hammond’s Candy Factory

Hammond's Candy

What could be more fun than a tour with a sweet ending – literally. Hammond’s complimentary candy factory tours are educational and fun for candy lovers of all ages.

The factory has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world who have seen how the well know handcrafted candy canes, lollipops and ribbon candy are pulled, twisted, and shaped by hand the way it used to be in 1920.

Within the tour you’ll also learn quite a bit all about Colorado history, learn a little bit of science and hear some tidbits about nostalgic candy. There’s plenty of opportunity to chat with the clever folk who make these delicious offerings and, best of all, receive your free samples at the end. Strollers, wheelchairs and walkers are easily accommodated.

22. Union Station

Denver Union Station

Even if you’re not planning on using Union Station for any transportation purposes, Union Station is still worth a visit of its own. This beautiful building first opened in 1881 and has since undergone major renovations, now including a hotel, lively restaurants, interesting stores and a train hall.

Walk through this lovingly restored gem where you can admire the stunning architecture from days gone by, and stop for an ice cream, meal or some shopping.

You can also play some free shuffleboard while you’re about it –the kids will love the experience.

23. Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour

Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey Tour

If you have time and the kids are busy elsewhere, why not treat yourselves to a tour of Stranahan’s?

Over time, the company was able to develop a recipe for what they name as ‘the smoothest, most flavorful whiskey in the world, using the purity of their mountain surroundings to their advantage’ (or, as they put it, to your advantage).

Lasting about an hour and a half, you’ll learn all about the history of how Stranahan’s whiskey was founded with guides providing lots of information all about process of making, distilling, and aging whiskey, finishing with a tasting. The tour is free and well worth a visit!

24. National Ballpark Museum

National Ballpark Museum

For all the baseball fans of the family, a visit to this museum will definitely be something to remember. The Ballpark Museum’s collection is actually recognized by Smithsonian Books as being one of the top 21 finest private baseball collections in the world. It all started when its owner, Bruce Hellerstein, decided to display his amazing collection of ballpark memorabilia from the basement of his house and the rest, as they say, is history. His meticulously acquired artifacts, bricks, postcards, jerseys, books and pictures just grew and grew, and now welcomes visitors who have come to see his amazing collectables which include anything and everything from the “NY” drainage cover that Mickey Mantle tripped over in the 1951 World Series that permanently injured his leg, to an Old Yankee Stadium turnstile, that has etched on its side “Property of the New York Yankees”. The helpful staffers will be happy to give one of their insightful tours.

25. Unser Karting

Go Kart

If your kids like a bit of racing the go kart way, Unser Karting is the place to take them. The venue offers arrive and drive racing, kids karting and kart training classes for everyone. And if you’re also a new or inexperienced driver (young or old.)

Unser Karting offers the opportunity to gain confidence and push your limits in a comfortable and safe environment. The company is fully equipped with everything you need including a new driver training session and safety gear. The highly trained and friendly track crew will make sure you’re completely comfortable.

There is also food and drink to enjoy at the Trackside Tavern that also has great track views.

25 Best Things to Do in Denver (Colorado):

  • Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
  • Molly Brown House Museum
  • Denver Climbing Company
  • Coors Field
  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • American Museum of Western Art
  • Empower Field Field at Mile High
  • Empower Field at Mile High Tour
  • Mount Evans
  • Larimer Square
  • Denver Public Library
  • Colorado State Capitol
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • Children's Museum of Denver
  • United States Mint
  • Forney Transportation Museum
  • Adams Mystery Playhouse
  • Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Rocky Mountain Hot Air
  • Hammond's Candy Factory
  • Union Station
  • Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey Tour
  • National Ballpark Museum
  • Unser Karting
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  • City Vacations

23 Best Things to Do in Denver, From Brewery Visits to Red Rocks Hiking

These are the top things to do in the Mile High City.

Evie Carrick is a writer and editor who’s lived in five countries and visited well over 50. She now splits her time between Colorado and Paris, ensuring she doesn't have to live without skiing or L'As du Fallafel.

places to visit in colorado denver

Denver has seen something of a resurgence in recent years, with people "discovering" the destination that seems to have it all — big-city amenities and easy access to the mountains. In fact, in the last decade alone (2010 to 2020), the city's population grew about 20 percent, according to data from the Colorado census . The growth makes perfect sense when you consider all the city has to offer — from a tater tot fueled drag brunch to yoga at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Ready to see what all the fuss is about? Here are 23 of the best things to do in Denver, Colorado.

Drop by for drag brunch (and bottomless mimosas) at Hamburger Mary's.

The uber-campy Hamburger Mary's Denver serves up Tater Ta-Ta's (a.k.a. tater tots) alongside an unbeatable drag performance. Swing by on Saturday for the Drag Brunch , a sell-out show with bottomless mimosas and good eats.

See a show or do a downward dog at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

The naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater nestled among red rock formations at the foot of the Rocky Mountains has long been a destination for big acts like The Beatles, Widespread Panic, and Halsey. But even if you don't make it for a show, you can enjoy the mix of nature and entertainment at the park's Yoga on the Rocks and Film on the Rocks events.

Make your way through Meow Wolf, a surreal art experience.

If you want to enter another world (without leaving the heart of Denver), head to Meow Wolf , an art experience with interactive exhibits, mind-bending art, and psychedelic encounters you can literally feel. The four-story exhibition includes more than 70 installations, portals, and rooms dreamed up by 300 creatives.

Christopher Larson/Travel + Leisure

Visit the Denver Art Museum.

Housed in a wildly angular, eye-catching building, the Denver Art Museum houses more than 70,000 diverse works with a revolving door of exhibitions that have included the work of Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera.

Sip on tea at the iconic Brown Palace Hotel.

At The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa , a Denver mainstay since 1892, you can step back in time (and to another continent) by joining their daily afternoon tea. Choose your tea of choice, then sit back and nosh on handmade pastries and tea sandwiches while the sounds of the grand piano float through the stained-glass-ceilinged atrium.

Catch a game at the Mile High Stadium.

Whether or not you like football, it's hard to deny the novelty of watching a game at 5,280 feet (one mile) above sea level. And if you're really not into the game, you can cruise around the Empower Field at Mile High until you find a vantage point where you can see the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Denver skyline to the east. Not bad for a football stadium.

Take on the thrill of Elitch Gardens.

If you find yourself in Denver during the summer months, make a trip to the Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park . Take on the Tower of Doom's 200-foot drop or stop by Twister II, a world-class wooden roller coaster, before rewarding yourself with a funnel cake.

Get lost in the bookshelves at Tattered Cover.

Barnes & Noble has its place, but there's something special about perusing the aisles at an independent bookstore. And while the Tattered Cover has become one of the largest independent booksellers in the U.S. since its humble start in 1971, it's a Denver institution and shouldn't be missed.

See a show at a Theater Company housed inside an old church.

The Curious Theatre Company , which is based out of an old church, has been pushing the theatrical envelope for decades. It remains the home of thought-provoking plays, many of which are written by local playwrights.

Spend the weekend bowling and brunching.

If you need to let off some work-week steam, head to Punch Bowl Social to throw some balls and eat some Sriracha peanut fries. If bowling isn't your game, try your hand at shuffleboard, life-size Jenga, pool, or some old-school arcade games.

Travel to another world at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Check out the big screen (the big, big screen) at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science , which is home to both an Imax and a planetarium. If none of the shows catch your eye, walk through the museum's Space Odyssey exhibition or brush up on your dino knowledge at the Prehistoric Journey exhibit.

Have a beer (or three) at Denver Beer Co.

With an outdoor, dog-friendly patio just begging for visitors and a good location in Denver's LoHi (Lower Highland) neighborhood, Denver Beer Co. is the place to be when the sun is out and the weather is warm.

Find a little bit of everything at Number Thirty Eight.

If you're with a group and not sure where to go, head to Number Thirty Eight , a sprawling food hall with 24 taprooms (serving beer, cider, wine, and hard alcohol), live music, games, and a giant outdoor patio.

Visit Nocturne for a high-end supper club experience with live jazz.

For a fancy night out, drop by Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club , Denver's must-visit spot for modern jazz, classic cocktails, and a three-course menu.

Soak up some humidity at Denver Botanic Gardens.

Denver isn't known for its humidity (the state is generally dry), but inside the Denver Botanic Gardens conservatory, you can soak up the moisture while checking out thousands of tropical plant species. The garden also has a collection of native, aquatic, and alpine plants, and on certain days, you can see it all while grooving to live music or checking out a visiting art installation.

Check out the Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive.

The first Friday of every month, Santa Fe Drive comes alive for the First Friday Art Walk . You can pop in and out of galleries and shops, pick up some grub from a food cart, and enjoy some five-star people-watching.

Visit the dramatic rock formations at Roxborough State Park.

Garden of the Gods in the neighboring city of Colorado Springs gets all the attention, but under an hour south of Denver is a park with red sandstone formations that are just as dramatic. Roxborough State Park is a 3,339-acre oasis with natural scenery that will make your jaw drop.

Rent a bike and cruise along the river.

The South Platte River passes right near downtown Denver and is paralleled by a paved bike path. Hop aboard one of the local scooter or bike-share providers (Lyft and Lime) and enjoy the view as you make your way to Blue Moon Brewing Company for a well-deserved beer.

Go vintage and thrift store shopping on Broadway.

Broadway is lined with the city's best vintage and thrift shops — especially between 1st and Bayaud avenues. All you have to do is park (or get off the bus) and make your way up and down Broadway, popping in and out of the street's cool stores, coffee shops, and bars. If you need a little pick-me-up, swing by Voodoo Doughnut .

Order a giant cinnamon roll at the Denver Biscuit Company.

It may be called Denver Biscuit Company , but it's all about the biscuit cinnamon roll (giant and amazing). If you're not into sweets, The Winona, a biscuit sandwich stuffed with fried chicken and doused with house-made cheddar pimento cheese, is hard to beat.

Visit the house of "Unsinkable Molly Brown."

Molly Brown, a philanthropist, activist, and socialite who survived the sinking of the Titanic, lived in Denver. And now, her home near downtown Denver has been converted into a museum. Inside the Molly Brown House Museum , you'll follow along with the ups and downs of Molly's life, including her fateful journey on the Titanic.

Eat your way through Union Station.

What was once a train station in the heart of Denver is now filled with some of the city's best restaurants and bars (in addition to still being a train hub ). You can spend an entire day hopping from eatery to eatery — breakfast at Snooze, lunch at Acme, drinks at Terminal Bar, and ice cream at Milkbox Ice Creamery — with some shopping and people-watching thrown in.

Catch a Rockies game at Coors Field.

It's hard to beat beer, brats, and baseball on a bluebird Colorado day. And the views from Coors Field , which is located right in downtown Denver, will keep even the most skeptical baseball onlookers happy.

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41 Seriously Fun Things to Do in Denver

Home » Blog » U.S.A. » 41 Seriously Fun Things to Do in Denver

Situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is an exciting city that’ll keep you on your toes. We’re sharing the best things to do in Denver, Colorado — from outdoor adventures to free activities to the most delicious food in town. This Denver city guide is filled with insider tips and unique ideas for planning your trip to the Mile High City!

Union Station Denver Colorado

With snowcapped peaks looming in the distance and promising adventure, as well as a top-notch foodie scene and ever-growing list of craft breweries, Denver has something for every type of traveler.

Outdoor adventurers and city slickers alike will fall in love with Colorado’s capital city.

  • Epic, heart-thumping adventures?  Yep.
  • World-class dining?  You bet.
  • Lively nightlife scene?  Sure thing!
  • Free things to do?  Oh yeah.

There are so many fun things to do in Denver that it can kind of make your head spin as you’re trying to plan a trip.

Denver is a city we’ve been to a handful of times, but usually on our way to other destinations. So we never properly explored it… until now.

Our editor, Amanda, called Denver home for more than 2 years and knows the city well. Like,  really  well. So when we were planning to stay in Denver for a few days on a road trip, we asked for a few suggestions, and she replied to us with 10 pages worth of suggestions. TEN PAGES!

We decided it would be a shame for our eyes to be the only ones to see her suggestions of things to do in Denver, so we decided to co-author this article to share all the goods with you. 

It’s part local insight (Amanda!) and part outsider eyes (us!).

The Denver guide is packed with unique and fun things to do, local tips, best restaurants, where to stay, and a few other important tidbits. We hope this guide helps you plan an amazing trip to the Mile High City, filled with adventure, good eats and a few surprises sprinkled in!

Article Contents

  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Food & Booze  
  • Free things to do in Denver
  • Rainy Day Activities

Day trips from Denver

Where to eat in denver, where to stay in denver, a note on safety.

Psst! If you have more time , be sure to check out our bucket list of  epic things to do in Colorado !

Outdoor Adventures in Denver

Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains, it should come as no surprise that there are seemingly endless outdoor activities in and around Denver.

We’re sharing some of the best things to do outside in the “mile high city”, from heart-thumping adventures to low-key ways to enjoy some time outdoors.

1. Practice Yoga on the Rocks

Red Rocks Yoga on the Rocks Colorado

If you want to get your downward dog on, you’ll have no shortage of places to choose from in crunchy Denver. But if you want to practice yoga with a twist —  literally and figuratively  — you might be interested in heading out of town for a morning session.

Yoga on the Rocks  is a longstanding Denver tradition, and after hearing about it for years, this was at the top of my “to do” list in Denver.

While it looks quite a bit different lately — people are spaced  at least  6 feet apart, advanced tickets are required, and masks must be worn the entirety of the class — it was still a pretty wonderful experience. Plus, it was good to know they’re doing everything they can to keep people safe.

Going through a flow in such a beautiful place with incredible acoustics is, well, blissful to say the least.

Yoga on the Rocks (summer only)

  • Friday:  7 a.m., 8:30 a.m. & 10 a.m.
  • Saturday:  7 a.m. & 8:30 a.m.
  • Sunday:  7 a.m., 8:30 a.m. & 10 a.m.
  • Admission:  $17 per person (annoyingly, when we bought tickets they had all been snatched up by a third party, so we had to pay a bit more money)

Yoga on the Rocks Red Rocks Colorado

Shoutout to our instructor!  On a related note, I just have to take a minute to shout out the instructor of our class, Ali Duncan.

She was a fantastic teacher (I’ve never cried at a yoga class until this one!), and she is the founder of  Urban Sanctuary , a yoga studio and wellness center. The space looks heavenly, and they offer a wide variety of classes from regular yoga flows to naked yoga (yep!).

And the even cooler part about Urban Sanctuary is that they are focused on creating a space for POC and those who are often left out of the typical “yoga world”. There are PRIDE-only and POC-only classes as well as those open to all. If you have time while in Denver, check them out!

Planning a trip to Colorado? Find out the best time to visit Colorado based on seasonal weather patterns and your personal travel style.

2. Catch a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater

Red Rocks Ampitheater Colorado

Speaking of this incredible venue… If you ever have the chance to see an artist you like perform at Red Rocks, DO IT. Make a trip out of it. It is an experience you will cherish, and quite honestly, it will spoil most other concerts for you.

Back in 2011, Ben and I booked a trip to Denver to see our favorite band play at Red Rocks and to this date it is still our favorite concert ever. 

  • Perhaps it was because we got our seats upgraded from row 52 to row 2…
  • Perhaps it was because we’re both obsessed with outdoor venues…
  • Perhaps it was because the band we were seeing had just reunited after several years of not touring…
  • Perhaps it was a combination of all of the above.

There are lots for tailgating and vendors onsite selling everything from Coors to local craft brews. Oh, and food too. Because that’s important. 

There is something pretty incredible about the venue — rock formations rising from the ground to create the illusion of an intimate space and nearly perfect acoustics. 

It is pretty incredible watching the venue shift from being bathed in afternoon sunshine to cast in a red glow at sunset to becoming an undulating movement of people grooving to their favorite artist beneath the stars. Like we already said, if you have the chance, book a show here. You won’t regret it. 

Plus, being that it’s just a quick 30-minute drive from downtown, it’s makes it easy to combine a show into a trip to Denver.

Important Note:  Currently, the  summer concert series  is not taking place at Red Rocks, but keep this in mind for future travels. 

Can’t catch a show?  Even if you don’t have the chance to see a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater, it is still very worthwhile checking out the venue and the surrounding area (yes, even while empty!). The park is open to the public daily, subject to scheduled events, and is a popular place for early morning grinders (aka stair runs!), hiking and biking enthusiasts, and a great place to catch a sunrise. 

3. See an outdoor movie in the summertime

places to visit in colorado denver

Since we’re still on the topic of Red Rocks, another cool event series they offer in the summer is  Film on the Rocks . It’s exactly what it sounds like: movies in an epic outdoor venue… and you can bring your own snacks. Sounds like the perfect date night to me!

But Red Rocks isn’t the only place to catch an outdoor flick during the summertime in Denver. Below is a list of more venues where you can catch a movie under the stars. (Some are even free!)

  • Founders Green in Stapleton:  Starting in June, the  Movies on the Green Series  is open to the public and free to attend. Come early to snag a seat and enjoy a concession stand with fresh popcorn and food trucks. 
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods Field:  Hosts a pop-up drive-in movie theater during the summer time in Lot G at the park. Check the  MCA website  for dates and details. 
  • Avanti F&B:  Every Thursday night at 9 p.m. during the summertime, bring your lawn chair and receive a free beer from Alamo Draft House!
  • Denver Mart Drive-In:  Denver’s outdoor theater with the largest state-of-the-art digital screen, FM audio transmission and a cafe. They show double-features every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 
  • 88 Drive in Theatre:  Serving the community since 1972, this is the only remaining original drive-in movie theater in Denver. The only thing that’s changed in the last 40 years is the digital project screen. You must have a working car stereo or portable FM radio to hear audio. 

There are also plenty of other outdoor movie showings all summer long at venues in the ‘burbs surrounding Denver, so check out  Denver’s official website  for more information. 

Insider Tip:  For a an intimate movie experience that’s a twist on the typical theater, check out this  backyard movie night  from Airbnb Experiences.

4. Float down the River in Golden

Things to do in Denver | Tubing in Golden

If you’re visiting Denver in the summertime and are looking for a refreshing way to escape the heat, keep reading…

Just 30 minutes from downtown, the town of Golden is a great place to spend an afternoon. Straddling Clear Creek, the water is one of the biggest draws to the town when the weather heats up.

There are sections of rapids, so this isn’t a boring float!

Good to know:  Water levels vary throughout the season, with the highest levels in the early summer months, making the river run fast. Alternatively, if you’re visiting in late summer, the water levels tend to be quite low and the river is much slower-flowing.

Bring your own tube, or rent one from  Adventure West :

  • Single tube:  $20 per day
  • Double tube:  $40 per day

*Rentals include complimentary lifejacket and helmet. (FYI when we visited and the water was low, we didn’t see many people wearing them.)

Insider Tip:  If you’d prefer to rent a tube, be sure to  reserve your tube online , as they can book out especially on summer weekends. They were fully-booked on the day we visited.

You can put in your tube in at many points along the river, and you’ll want to take out at  Parfet Park . Walking with your tube along the river from the take out point, then floating all the way back takes about 1 hour in total, so the great thing is that you can do a couple of laps!

Hungry?!  For a super satisfying lunch after a river float, head to  Bob’s Atomic Burgers  for greasy but super yummy grub and a milkshake. We split one burger, a small set potato fries and small onion petals. Godzilla sauce was a pretty great addition too!

5. Go on a hike near Denver

Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

You don’t have to go far outside the city limits to find yourself surrounded by nature in the beautiful foothills and Rocky Mountains. If you have a car, you will have nearly unlimited options for hiking in every direction. However, plenty of the hikes can be reached by public transportation from Denver as well. 

Insider Tip:  Download the app AllTrails to find hikes near you along with reviews, photos, elevation gain, and difficulty level.

If you’re interested in hiking while in and around Denver, here are some areas to begin with…

Table Mountain (Golden)

  • Distance:  2.7 – 7.7 miles
  • Difficulty:  Moderate
  • Drive from Denver:  25 minutes

Access the great butte known as Table Mountain in Golden from neither of the North Table Mountain Trail or the South Table Mountain Trail. On top of the vast plateau filled with windswept grass, you’ll have access to a variety of different trail options. 

Red Rocks (Morrison)

Red Rocks Trading Post Trail

  • Distance:  1 – 6 miles
  • Difficulty:  Easy – Moderate

Red Rocks Amphitheater Park provides access to a number of different scenic trails from easy 1-mile jaunts to the longest Red Rocks Trail 6-mile loop. 

Chautauqua Park Royal Arch Trail (Boulder)

  • Distance:  3.5 miles
  • Drive from Denver:  30 minutes

While it’s not very far in distance, this hike will take you about 2.5 hours to complete out and back, depending on your pace. Constant switchbacks are rewarded with a giant arched rock formation and sweeping views of the city of Boulder from the peak. 

Mount Sanitas Loop Trail (Boulder)

  • Distance:  3.2 miles
  • Drive from Denver:  30 minutes

This heavily trafficked hike can be done in about 1.5 hours (or longer for slower hikers) with a lot of altitude gain. Think climbing stairs for almost an hour straight. The loop trail can also be done as an out and back on either the steeper side or the more steady incline side. 

Psst! We also have a complete round up of the best hikes near Denver on our sister site. Check it out for more inspiration!

6. Spot Bison in an Urban Wildlife Refuge 

Comprising more than 15,000 acres of land, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the United States. More than 330 species of animals call this land home, including bison, deer, coyote, and hundreds of species of birds.

Follow the 11-mile self-guided wildlife driving route, or get out on the trails with your camera. Being that this refuge is on the way to the Denver airport, it makes a good stop on your way into or out of town. 

  • Free to enter
  • Open 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week
  • Currently, the number of cars allowed to enter at a time is capped at 200

7. Learn to rock climb

Rock climbing Colorado

We are low-key infatuated with rock climbers. We’ve gone climbing in a few places with guides or friends, and each time leave itching to do it again.

If you, too, want to learn, Denver might just be a good place to try it out. And if you’re reading this rolling your eyes because you’re already a pro, you likely already know that there is some epic climbing just outside the city.

Denver Climbing Co.  offers courses for all skill levels (whether you’re a total newb, or you’re advanced and just want a guide). The great thing is that you won’t be climbing at an indoor gym… you’ll actually learn to rock climb outdoors on real Colorado rocks. They provide all the equipment and a professional climbing guide.

So if you, like us, have been obsessing over trying out climbing, get your booty out there and experience one of Colorado’s favorite outdoor activities!

Food & Booze in Denver

One of our favorite things about traveling is trying local cuisines and checking out restaurants that are known for serving up something special — whether it be a refined, 5-star dining experience, or more often than not, a hole-in-the-wall surprise.

And we also love scoping out cool cocktail bars, happy hour deals, and of course, sampling as many local craft beers as possible.

Come with us as we share some of the best foodie and boozy experiences Denver has to offer…

8. Take a Food Tour

Denver Food Tour Colorado

We like… err…  LOVE  food. Anyone else?!

While traveling around the world, we’ve come to love taking cooking classes and more recently, food tours. Not only do you get to sample some of the best food the location has to offer, but you often get to learn little tidbits that you’d never discover on your own. 

Like most major US cities, Denver has a ever-expanding culinary scene and we thought it would be a great destination to let our tastebuds loose. And man, we were right!

When Delicious Denver invited us to join their Downtown Food Tour we knew we’d be in for a good time.

Food Tour Denver Colorado

On this food tour, I guess you could say we “ate our way around the world” as we made our way through the city. We sampled pizza, gourmet hot dogs (featured on Guy Fieri’s  DDD ), quite possibly the best empanadas we’ve had in the US, a twist on street tacos made with Navajo fry bread. And we topped off the tour with gelato, because as I often say, “There’s always room for ice cream… it just fills in the cracks!”

All along the way, our guide shared little pieces of history and insider tips. It was certainly a great start to our time in Denver!

Another cool thing about Delicious Denver is that you can choose from a few different food tour itineraries, depending on what it is your craving:

Downtown Food Tour

Food Tour Denver Colorado 3

Explore historic downtown Denver while sampling a variety of hand-picked dishes.

  • When: 1 – 4 p.m. Thursdays – Sundays
  • Price: $65 ($90 with 3 optional drink pairings)
  • What’s Included: 5 food tastings (a full lunch), 3 optional alcoholic drink pairings, a guided walking food tour

Cocktails & Tastes

If you love a good craft cocktail, this tour through some of downtown Denver’s best cocktail bars will be right up your alley. And don’t worry, it’s not all booze! Drinks are paired with small bites to keep you from getting hangry.

  • When: 4:15 – 6:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays
  • What’s Included: 5 craft cocktails, 4 paired bites (small plates), a guided walking food and drinks tour

Food & Beer

The River North District (or “RiNo” as abbreviation-obsessed locals call it!) is home to some of Denver’s best breweries and eclectic dining options. Go brewery hopping and learn a little on the way.

  • When: 1 – 4 p.m. Saturdays
  • Price: $65 ($90 w/ beer pairings)
  • What’s Included: 5 food tastings (a full meal), 4 optional beer pairings, a guided walking tour through RiNo
Bonus:  We have an exclusive promo code just for you! Use the code TWOWANDERINGSOLES when checking out for $5 off any tour.

9. Grab Happy Hour at a former Mortuary

Rooftop happy hour Denver Colorado

Was it the word  mortuary  that caught your eye?

Not gonna lie: That’s initially what intrigued me and led to my eventual dragging of Ben to this Denver institution for drinks.

Located in the Lower Highlands neighborhood (or LoHi, as the cool kids call it), Linger is a trendy restaurant/bar with a rooftop and great happy hour (more on that later), but it wasn’t always such a happy place to be.

I’m gonna be honest, while the whole  mortuary  thing was what piqued my interest, the real reason to come here is their happy hour. You likely won’t even really notice anything unusual about the venue, and the drinks and food are good enough to make you forgetthat it was ever anything other than a delightful restaurant.

The name  Linger  pays homage to its previous name, Olinger Mortuary. And a sign on the roof is pretty much the only reminder that this building was anything other than a hip Denver eatery.

The happy hour deals are fan-freaking-tastic, but it doesn’t last long (just 1 hour!). So our advice would be to get there at the start of HH so you can order a couple rounds.

Happy Hour:  4 – 5 p.m., Monday – Thursday

  • Signature Cocktails: $6
  • Craft Beer: $5
  • eclectic selection inspired from global cuisines
  • pork belly bun, lemongrass potstickers, goat cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, etc.

Check out the whole  HH menu here .

Just a heads up:  Linger is closed on Mondays.

Other happy hour spots in Denver:

  • When: 3-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, all night on Monday
  • When: 5-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (*Temporarily closed for 2020)
  • When: Everyday until 5 p.m., (+ $25 bottle & a board after 8 p.m. Mon-Tues)
  • When: 3:00 – 5:30 p.m., everyday

10. Step back in time at a Speakeasy

Speakeasy Denver Colorado 2

We have a growing obsession with speakeasies. 

Maybe it’s the intimate, dimly-lit interiors. Maybe it’s the smell of leather and aged books and smoked whiskey. Maybe its the feeling that just for a moment you’d stepped back in time into a mahogany world with secret passageways and moustashed men with pinstriped fedoras who use phrases like,  “Hey there, darlin’, what can I getcha to wet your whistle?”

Okay, let’s be real… My obsession with speakeasies is with the drinks.

While researching things to do in Denver, we’d come across a few mentions of  Williams & Graham , so we decided to make reservations. (Be sure to do this if you want to get in.)

Situated in LoHi behind a bookstore facade, this intimate, dimly-lit space oozes prohibition-era charm.

Our first round of drinks was chosen from the menu. We tried to choose drinks that sounded interesting and not like what we usually order. They were very good. And beautifully presented.

But for our second round, we ordered a bartender’s choice and told them what liquors and flavors we like, and they NAILED them both. 

  • My cocktail was made with tequila, cucumber, spicy peppers and lime
  • And Ben’s was with whisky, smoke, passionfruit and deliciousness

Speakeasy Denver Colorado

Our advice would be to start by telling them what you like instead of ordering off the menu. It is a couple dollars more, but in our experience, super worthwhile. Additionally, we’ve read rave reviews about the food here, but we only ordered drinks on our visit.

Do it yourself:  As previously mentioned, be sure to make a reservation. Also, if the “Williams & Graham” door is blocked off (it was on our visit), go straight to the doorman at Occidental and give your name. We don’t want to spoil things too much, but there’s a bookshelf and a secret door involved. 

Price:  In general, speakeasies aren’t necessarily a very budget-friendly option, as drinks tend to start at $15. That said, if you’re up for a splurge, a speakeasy will be the best place to spend a little more on drinks and atmosphere.

More Denver Speakeasies

If you can’t snag a spot at Williams & Graham, don’t worry because Denver has a handful of speakeasies to choose from:

  • The Cruise Room  is the first bar to open in Denver, after the repeal of Prohibition. Not much has changed in the Art Deco space, bathed in a red glow and located in the lobby of the historic Oxford Hotel. Rumor has it the underground tunnels and secret panels still remain, although those are left to be seen. 
  • Retrograde   in North Capitol Hill wins the award for most sneaky entrance. This ‘60s-style speakeasy operates in the back of an ordinary ice cream shop. To enter you’ll have to go inside Frozen Matter, walk to the back to find the unmarked “freezer” door, flip the switch and wait with ID in hand to be let in.  
  • Green Russel  will have your feeling like you’ve stepped back in time when you enter this self-proclaimed ‘chef-driven cocktail joint’ hidden behind a pie shop in Larimer Square. Enter through Wednesday’s Pies and tell them you are looking for Green Russel to be escorted into the speakeasy. Be prepared to shut off your phone as Green Russel forbids the use of cell phones except in their designated telephone booth.
  • Millers & Rossi  may look just like your standard art gallery from the outside, but make your way to the back of this trendy RiNo space and you’ll find a hidden doorway that will transport you into the dimly lit lounge. 

11. Go brewery hopping

Beer Denver Colorado Brewery

Confession: I’m not a fan of Coors (Denver’s most beloved beer). Please don’t judge. 

But lemme tell ya, I am a huge fan of many of the city’s craft brews. And there are lots. Frankly, you could live in Denver and still not sample them all.

Denver has a lot of breweries. And by “a lot”, I’m talking more than 150. I mean, are you surprised? It seems like every major US city has their own craft beer scene, and we are  here for all of them. 

We visited during the summertime and sought out breweries with cool outdoor spaces.

Here are the ones we visited (and loved):

  • Ratio Beerworks (RiNo)
  • Zuni Street Brewing Company (LoHi)

The breweries listed below are on our “wish list” of places to visit in the future:

  • Our Mutual Friend (RiNo)
  • Recess Beer Garden (LoHi)
  • Crooked Stave (Highlands)
  • Denver Beer Co. (Highlands)
  • Rock Bottom Brewery (Downtown)
  • Woods Boss (Downtown)

Some of the bigger guys:

  • New Belgium Brewing (RiNo)
  • The Great Divide Brewing Company (Five Points)
  • Odell Brewing Co. (RiNo)
  • Wynkoop Brewing Company (LoDo)
Pro Tip:  Denver’s official website offers this handy  Beer Trail Map  that will help you plot out your brewery tour by neighborhood!

Not into beer?  Here are some other options…

  • Stem Ciders (RiNo)
  • Infinite Monkey Theorem (RiNo)
  • Blanchard Family Wines (LoDo)
Psst!  For More info on each neighborhood,  jump to the bottom  of this article where we have descriptions and explain the abbreviations.

12. Have a play date with Mary Jane

Urban Dispensary Denver Colorado

Being that Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana (tied with Washington), it should come as no surprise that many visitors want to give it a whirl…  err, puff…  while they’re in town.

If you choose to partake, here is some information you should know:

Dispensaries:  You can purchase recreational marijuana in the form of flower and edibles. You can simply search “dispensary” in Google Maps to see where they are located around town (there are a lot).

  • You must be over 21 years of age to enter.
  • Have your ID ready as well as cash on hand, as dispensaries do not take credit cards. There may be an ATM on site, and some dispensaries accept payment by debt card.
  • The staff at dispensaries tend to be helpful, so ask questions or tell them what you’re looking for and they can give recommendations.

IMPORTANT: If you are going to use marijuana recreationally on your trip to Colorado, be sure you’re familiar with the laws.

It is NOT legal to:

  • consume in public
  • share with minors
  • drive under the influence
  • fly with marijuana or bring it out of Colorado

Here are three unique ways to have an  extra  special time:

International Church of Cannabis

International Church of Cannabis Denver Colorado

This is not your typical church, that’s for sure!

According to  their website , their mission is  “…to offer a home to adults everywhere who are looking to create the best version of themselves by way of the sacred plant. Our lifestance is that an individual’s spiritual journey, and search for meaning, is one of self-discovery that can be accelerated with ritual cannabis use.” 

The inside of the church has magnificent murals, but what people flock to is the laser light show. Partnered with a guided meditation, this experience is called “Beyond” and happens 20 minutes past the hour, every hour.

We showed up, excited to see the interior of the church, but upon reaching the entrance were told that it was a $25 “donation” to enter. We ended up leaving because we just weren’t prepared to pay $50 to see the inside. However, if this experience sounds like it might be up your alley, we’ve heard from some that  Beyond  is worth the price.

Photo courtesy of elevationists.org

  • Friday – Monday: 12 – 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Thursday: 1 – 2 p.m.
  • Adults: $25
  • Students: $20
  • Children (under 12): $10 (and yes, we did see a couple kids on the premises, so it seems to be family friendly

Yoga + Marijuana

I had never heard of this trend until researching our trip to Denver. And I’ve gotta say, I can see the appeal.

As ABC affiliate,  The Denver Channel , so eloquently put it, this combination mixes  “downward dog with doobies”.

A handful of studios (that qualify as social clubs) around the city allow yogis to bring their own marijuana (BYO…M) and even incorporate smoking into the breathing techniques. Some 420-friendly yoga teachers claim that it can help people quiet their minds and focus on their practice.

So where can you get your downward-dog-and-doobie on?  Bend & Blaze  is the city’s most well-known ganja practice, but there are others too.

*2020 note:  Bend & Blaze has paused in-person classes, but are offering virtual sessions for the time being.

Carve your own pipe

Things to do in Denver | Carve a Pipe

If you’re creative and like to get your hands dirty, this might be a perfect activity to add to your Denver itinerary.

Airbnb Experiences are a great way to do something totally unique on your travels — no matter where in the world you might be.

The rave reviews on this particular experience as well as the affordable price ($49) and cool souvenir you get to take with you, make me upset that we didn’t find out about it until writing this article. I guess we might just have to sign up next time!

13.  Eat your heart out at a Food Truck or Food Hall

Food Hall Denver Colorado

We love splitting meals because it give us the chance to try more dishes.  Anyone else?! 

One of the best things about hitting up a food truck pod or an indoor food hall is that you have all sorts of different cuisines at your disposal.

Can’t decide on street tacos or dim dum?  Why not get both,  and  a scoop of gelato for dessert!

Anything is possible at a food hall or pod of food trucks. Plus, it’s also a good solution when traveling with people who all are craving something different. 

Food Trucks in Denver

Because of low start-up fees and few regulations, Denver is ranked as one of the top US cities for food trucks to get their start. So it comes as no surprise that you’ll find them parked outside many-a-brewery.

For the most diverse selection, head to the Civic Center where you’ll often find a few food trucks lined up with a selection of different options.

Every summer the Civic Center Conservancy partners with local businesses to put on the annual Civic Center EATS culinary event in Denver. Join the fun on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. where a variety of Denver’s best food trucks gather on the southwest side of the Central Promenade of the historical Civic Center Park.

Insider Tip:  Follow @CivicCenterEATS on Facebook to check out the food truck schedule before you arrive and get real-time event updates. 

And for a list of pretty much every food truck in Denver, check out  Go Truckster  for descriptions and upcoming locations.

Food halls in Denver

Food halls are great for finding a variety of different food and drink options all under one roof. As an added bonus, some double as a great co-working space, artisanal markets, or even nightlife hotspots. Denver certainly loves their food halls and there are a few notable ones around the city. Here are a few highlights:

Denver Central Market (RiNo)

With 11 vendors, this indoor market in the RiNo district feels in a way like a marketplace of the past. You can stop in and pick up cuts of meat from the butcher, freshly made bread from the artisan bakery, and specialty chocolates, all to go.

If you’d prefer to enjoy a meal onsite, that’s an option too. Mix and match from the different vendors — oysters, a craft cocktail, a hearty salad and a wood-fired pizza, anyone?! There is plenty of outdoor seating where you can enjoy your bites while surrounded by evocative murals and string lights, or post up inside with your laptop to get some work done while you snack.

Psst!  There’s even a second version of this food hall at the airport, so you can grab your favorite eats one last time before leaving the city.

Avanti Food & Beverage (LoHi)

Coined as a Collective Eatery, this modern day food hall is built into a bi-level shipping container and features an eclectic mix of vendors from pizza to sushi. Each of the 6 different restaurant concepts feels a bit like a food stall or permanent food truck with community seating throughout. At night the bar scene comes alive and the rooftop is guaranteed to be a hot spot all summer long.

The Source Hotel + Market Hall (RiNo)

At the base of The Source Hotel are two market halls that feature 25 vendors and artisans. Here, you’ll find Israeli cuisine, pizza, sushi, smoked meats and gelato. A little something for everyone!

Denver Milk Market (LoDo)

Situated on the iconic Dairy Block, the Milk Market is centrally-located and offers varied dining options. From hot fried chicken to fresh pasta to bao buns to lobster rolls, it can be hard to choose! But that’s the beauty of a food hall — you can sample a few different dishes all under one roof.

14. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Little Man Ice Cream 

Little Mans Ice Cream Denver Colorado

Located on 16th street in Denver’s LoHi neighborhood is the iconic ice cream shop known as Little Man’s.

You can’t miss this place as it’s shaped like a giant milk jug and often has a line forming well down the block. However, the line goes pretty quickly (we hardly had any wait when we were there!) and the small batch homemade ice cream with unique flavors – like Salted Oreo, Horchata and Lemon Lavender – is totally worth the wait!

Good to know:  We love the fact that they give back with their “Scoop for Scoop” initiative. According to their website, they match each scoop of ice cream purchased with a “donated scoop of rice, beans, or other essentials to a community in need anywhere around the world”.

15. Get glazed at a craft doughnut shop

Doughnuts Denver Colorado

Speaking of sweet treats… let’s chat about where to get the best and most creatively-topped fried dough in the city!

If you’re wondering what constitutes a  craft  donut, let me be the first to introduce you to this delicious hipster invention. Pushing the envelope on flavors with a burst of creativity, craft donuts are far from your average Dunkin. 

These delightful craft donut shops are popping up all over the place in hipster towns near you, and Denver has no shortage. Check out some of the highlights below. 

  • Glazed and Confuzed:  A Denver original, this stoner-themed shop goes by the motto: “Not Your Daddy’s Doughnuts!” Highlights include gluten-free, vegan and even a doughnut made with CBD.
  • Habit Donut Dispensary:  Coined as the ‘cheeky bakery on Platte,’ Habit has made quite the name for themselves in Denver’s doughnut scene with their “boozy injections” and CBD cocktails. Alongside their premium chef-driven doughnuts, they also sell alcohol, cannabis and cigarettes. 
  • Personal Opinion:  To be totally honest, we were disappointed with Voodoo in Portland and don’t quite think it lives up the the hype. But if you’re into quirky flavor combinations, you might love this famed chain.

Other honorable mentions include:  OMG Donuts, The Donut House, and City Donuts

16. Have a boozy brunch

Are you a Bloody Mary person or a Mimosa fiend? 

Or perhaps you’re both… hey, me too!

Luckily for all boozy-brunch lovers, Denver has a plenty of options for getting your morning buzz on.

  • Linger  (LoHi): globally-inspired cuisine, bottomless brunch and rooftop seating
  • Snooze AM Eatery  (various locations): American breakfast classics with a twist, bloodies, bubbles and coffee cocktails, plus sustainability and community outreach efforts
  • Root Down  (LoHi): trendy farm-to-table fare with bottomless mimosas
  • Pig & Sprout  (LoDo): casual brunch for carnivores and vegetarians alike, plus mimosa flights and brunch-inspired cocktails
  • Old Major  (LoHi): contemporary farmhouse cuisine, bottomless mimosas and outdoor seating
  • Second Home Kitchen + Bar  (Cherry Creek): “Pajama brunch” on Sundays with bottomless mimosas and a DIY bloody bar
  • Stowaway Kitchen  (RiNo): eclectic global cuisine, specialty coffee and brunchy cocktails

Need a break from the booze?

  • Denver Biscuit Company  (various locations + food truck): real southern biscuit creations on steroids (well not exactly, but you should see the size of these things!)
  • Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen  (Five Points, Stapleton): authentic New York City bagels in a classic deli setting

Free & Cheap Things to do in Denver

If you’re traveling on a budget, this section is for you! We’ve rounded up some of the best free and cheap things to do in Denver to help you stretch that dough.

17. Marvel at Denver’s iconic Union Station

Inside Union Station Denver Colorado

Before you’re like,  “Why would I want to visit a train station?!”  hear us out…

We had the same thoughts, but I’ll be the first to tell you that:

  • a) the architecture and decor in this place is crazy beautiful, and
  • b) there are lots of great restaurants and cafes around the premises

Nicknamed “Denver’s Living Room”, Union Station underwent a major remodel in 2012, and today looks like something out of a movie. Think  historic charm with a trendy modern twist.

With black leather couches and handsome chandeliers, you might feel like you’ve stepped back in time were it not for the strong AC (a welcomed relief on a sweltering summer day) and the trendy onsite cafes.

We saw people posted up on couches with their laptops and others on coffee dates with friends. So yeah, the train station certainly lives up to its nickname and could even be described as  charming … a word I wouldn’t typically associate with a US train station, that’s for sure.

Not only is Union Station a functioning public transit hub in the center of the hip Lower Downtown area (also known as LoDo), this century-old historic building plays host to a myriad of popular Denver eateries and even a luxury hotel. 

Even if you’re not passing through on a bus or train, this renovated landmark is well worth a visit. Grab a cocktail at the posh Cooper Lounge on the second level or a quick bite and a beer at the Terminal Bar while you admire the architecture. Browse the curated boutiques for souvenirs or satisfy your sweet tooth at Milkbox Creamery. 

Once you’ve taken everything in, find yourself a table at one of the many popular restaurants housed here. There’s something for everyone’s taste from trendy brunch to fine dining:

  • ACME Delicatessen & Pizzeria:  Artisanal deli-style sandwiches and fast-fired pizzas
  • Mercantile Dining & Provision:  Fine dining with high-end ingredients from a James Beard Award winning chef
  • Next Door American Eatery:  Spicy, salty, acidic & tasty food, plus drinks
  • Snooze AM Eatery:  A Denver institution and popular brunch spot – they don’t take reservations and the place closes in the afternoon so there  will  be a wait on weekends
  • Stoic & Genuine:  Sustainable seafood house, oyster and granita bar 
  • Terminal Bar:  Colorado craft beer, signature cocktails, wines and elevated bar food
  • Ulteria:  Tapas inspired by the Iberian peninsula countries of Spain and Portugal along with specialty gin cocktails
Tip:  If you’re visiting Denver around Christmas time, be sure to pop into Union Station to see the giant tree and all of the holiday decorations!

18. Rent bikes or scooters to explore the city

Denver Colorado bike path

Denver has a few different bike share and electric scooter operators available throughout the metro area.

Hop on a set of wheels and make your way through the popular Denver neighborhoods stopping for bites, sips and views along the way!

Important Note:  If you plan to bike in Denver, please read the  safety note at the bottom of this article !

19. Hunt for street art in the RiNo Art District

Street Art RiNo Denver Colorado

If we haven’t already made it clear, Denver locals love their abbreviations. Or shall we say,  they love their abbrevs…?

RiNo, or the River North neighborhood, was once an industrial area that was overlooked by many. But as the city’s real estate market boomed, unlikely areas started to be transformed into the latest hot spots. And RiNo is a perfect example.

This neighborhood had its emergence in the past decade and has since become a sought-after area full of trendy restaurants and taprooms. But it is perhaps best-known for its street art.

We once took a street art tour in London and ever since learning about street art culture (seriously fascinating stuff!), we can’t look at it the same. So now wherever we are in the world, we love wandering past murals and graffiti and discussing symbolism and what we see in each piece.

While in RiNo, keep your eyes peeled for creative renditions of rhinos (the animal!). You don’t have to stretch your imagination much to see why this was chosen as the neighborhood’s mascot.

Psst!  Denver Graffiti Tours  is currently suspending all tours until early 2021, but it sounds like an excellent way to dig deeper into the Denver street art scene if that interests you.

Street Art Denver Colorado

Street Art in RiNo

Honestly, we just wandered around the RiNo district with no direction, but here are some notable works to check out if you want to have a specific destination:

  • “Larimer Boy and Girl”  by Jeremy Burns: Walk one way and see the boy, face the other direction and see the girl, at 27th and Larimer
  • “Reverberations”  by Damon Soule and Justin Lovato: Geometric patterns that depict outer space on Larimer between 25th & 26th
  • 2936 Larimer St.:  A women with a head full of buildings painted on the garage door by artists David Choe, Flores, Kreig, and DSTRBO 
  • 2668 Walnut St.:  The entire building was painted by Vyal One in psychedelic orbs. 
Are you a huge art fan?  You’ll also love the Santa Fe District. See below for a cool monthly event hosted in this neighborhood.

First Friday Art Walk

While we’re on the subject of art, if you happen to be in Denver on the first Friday of the month (you lucky duck!), try to work the city’s monthly art walk into your itinerary. Head to the Santa Fe neighborhood, which is hailed as Denver’s Art District, to take part in the fun.

Wander the many galleries and studios and chat with artists who have their work displayed on the street and alleyways. Grab a bite at a food truck and absorb the lively atmosphere.

This event takes place year-round — rain or shine (just not during pandemics*).

*2020 Update:  All Art Walk festivities are currently being held virtually until further notice.  Get up to date info here .

20. Shop local at a Denver Farmers Market 

Denver Colorado farmers market

If you’re visiting Denver during the spring or summertime, you’ll likely run into one of the many farmers markets spread throughout the city. While you’re sure to find farm-fresh produce, baked goods and food trucks, these weekly events are not just about the food.

They each take on more of a street fair vibe in their own rights, drawing large local crowds with activities and entertainment. 

We loved wandering around the Farmer’s Market at Highlands Square  (pictured above) , but there are plenty more around the city. Check Denver’s official website for a weekly schedule of  farmers’ markets in the Denver metro area . 

21. Picnic in the park

Park in Denver Colorado

The city and county of Denver offer more than 200 outdoor parks totaling over 500 acres of green space for urban recreation. So pack a blanket, a book, a frisbee and a picnic and head to a patch of green space for some relaxation. 

Below are some of the most popular parks in Denver: 

Cheesman Park

This peaceful, grassy expanse, which is adjacent to the Botanic Gardens, was built on a former cemetery. The Pavilion is a historical landmark at the center, built in 1910. If you’re lucky, you can catch a free movie screening here on clear summer evenings. 

A mix of trees and wide open green space near Uptown and the Denver Zoo, this park plays hosts to a lot of recreational sports leagues and public events. Each summer from June to August, the park puts on a free Sunday concert series called City Park Jazz.

In 2020 they are live-streaming the events so you can watch from home!

Washington Park

In the center of one of Denver’s popular neighborhoods, you’ll find a vast expanse of flat green space dubbed “Wash Park” by locals. Encircled by a 2.6-mile bike-free loop, this park is great for running or picnicking.  (Pictured above)

On Google Maps Wash Park looks like it would be something like NYC’s Central Park. I mean, there’s a boathouse and a big lawn and a flower garden and everything. We went out of our way to get here, but honestly, we were left a bit disappointed. The pond was scummy, the flower garden was completely dead and shriveled (maybe it was just the wrong time of year?), and the boathouse was, well, definitely not like Central Park. 

Personal Opinion:  It’s not necessarily a destination park that you should go out of your way for. That said, if you’re looking for a wide open green space and running trails, this may be just what you’re looking for!

Confluence Park

As the name implies, this park is situated on the confluence of two rivers: South Platt River and Cherry Creek. There are some jogging paths, grassy hills, a riverside path, and even a small whitewater park. In early August when we visited, people were tubing and hanging out in the water, though it was really low and smelly.

Safety Note:  We’ve heard reports that bikes are often stolen in and around Confluence Park, so be cautious if you have a bike.

22. Learn the city’s history & secrets on a Free* Walking Tour

Walking Tour Denver Colorado

Often times when we arrive in a new city, we find the best way to get our bearings is to take a free walking tour. These tours give you a good orientation on the neighborhoods and give you the opportunity to learn some of the area’s history and little-known secrets. 

Plus, you get the chance to ask a friendly local questions — whether you’re curious about the best restaurants in town, the most lively nightlife, most worthwhile hikes, ask away! You can even ask about rumors you’ve heard like,  “Is it true that Denver has underground tunnels?”

Spoiler Alert: Yes, it’s true! One of the main purposes was to allow women to make their ways to the hotel rooms of wealthy men without being seen. But these tunnels are no longer accessible. Sorry to squash your Ninja-Turtle-meets-Indiana-Jones dreams… 

  • Do it yourself:  Tours run daily from May – October and begin at 10 a.m. The tour starts from the front steps of the Colorado state capitol building and covers roughly 1.7 miles, lasting 2 – 2.5 hours. 
  • Alternative:  Instead of meeting in person at the specified time, you can  download an audio tour  onto your phone for $10. Choose from three different itineraries and go at your own pace.
*2020 Update:  While the name is “FREE Walking Tour”, there is currently a fee for all guests as tour sizes are limited to just 10 people. The fee is $25 for adults and $17 for children, allowing the tour guides to earn livable wages even with reduced group sizes. In the past, you could just show up, but  reservations are required  for the time being. 

23. Cheer on the Rockies at Coors Field

Coors Field Denver Colorado

There’s nothing quite like experiencing a baseball game on a beautiful summer day, hot dog in hand, with the Rocky Mountains as your backdrop.

Be sure to check out the  Colorado Rockies schedule  to see if there is a home game during your visit to the mile high city. (Fingers crossed for 2021!) 

Budget tip:  The “rockpile” seating is the center field bleacher section at the far end of the stadium, known for being the cheapest seats in the park. You can score tickets for as little as $6! That’s precisely why this activity is on the “free and cheap” section of this list. It can be inexpensive, but it can also add up if you choose more expensive seats and load up on food and drinks.

As a bonus, the stadium is located in the Lower Downtown neighborhood just blocks from Union Station, so there’s plenty to explore before and after the game. Have a pre-game beer on the rooftop of next door Jackson’s sports bar or dance the night away with the live DJ afterwards. 

Fun Fact:  It is rumored that the Coors logo is stamped on every single brick of this stadium. It may just be rumor, but that would be one heck of a way to ensure no other brand can take over.

24. Explore the best parts of Downtown Denver

Downtown Denver is quite walkable if you have a plan. LoDo, or lower downtown district, has some micro-districts that should definitely be on your list to check out while in Denver.

We’d recommend walking this route (or in reverse), and stopping whenever something piques your interest:

  • Coors Field
  • Dairy Block
  • Union Station

16th Street Mall

Larimer square.

Insider Tip:  Come hungry (or thirsty!), as there are many great cafes, restaurants and bars along the way.

The Dairy Block

Dairy Block Denver Colorado

This historic block was once home to — you guessed it — a dairy factory. But today you’ll find locals and visitors alike, wandering through the pedestrian block, pausing for a wine tasting or to explore the indoor food market.

According to the official Dairy Block website, this is a “micro-district” (I didn’t know there was such a thing!) that is a  “celebration of artful and unexpected experiences” . In less flowery and more literal terms, this area is more or less a large alleyway that has been dolled up a bit and boasts a lively mix of inventive eateries, upscale boutiques, and a stylish hotel. 

Plus, there are sneaky art installations — some more obvious than others — scattered throughout the block. If you spot something that looks like a cog-and-wheel on one of the brick walls, turn the crank for a musical surprise. Each one plays a different tune!

Notable stops in the Dairy Block:

  • Huckleberry Roasters:  locally roasted coffee and pastries
  • Blanchard Family Wines:  tasting room
  • Seven Grand:  whiskey bar known for carrying 700+ whiskies

16th Street Mall Denver Colorado

This one-and-a-quarter mile long pedestrian promenade runs along 16th street in downtown Denver, beginning near Union Station.

The mall features plenty of outdoor cafes and notable restaurants (great for people watching!) and ends at Denver Pavilions, a shopping center and movie theater. The north end of the mall continues over 3 walking bridges and pathways connecting to the hip Lower Highlands (LoHi) neighborhood filled with restaurants and bars. 

Insider Tip:  If walking is a challenge, or you just want to get off your feet for a bit, you can hop-on and hop-off the free shuttles, dubbed “MallRide”, that run the length of the promenade stopping on every corner. At night the mall is lit up as horse-drawn carriages and pedi-cabs transport people along the walkway. 

Larimer Square Denver Colorado

Often touted as the most “charming square in Denver”, this pedestrian block is lined with cute cafes and cocktail bars we can see how it earned its accolades.

For the most beautiful ambience, we’d recommend wandering this block at dusk as the canopy of twinkling lights that drapes this square in a golden glow, cocooning it from the rest of bustling downtown. Here you’ll find everything from chic boutiques to chef-driven restaurants, cocktail bars and nightlife. 

Fun Fact:  Larimer Square was the first designated historic block in all of Denver and is known as the place where the city began. Its namesake, William Larimer Jr., was a Kansas state senator and very much conniving man who is credited with founding the city of Denver and developing much of the land in what is present day downtown.

Larimer Square Restaurants & Bars:

  • Osteria Marco:  Italian dining, handcrafted pizza, cured meats
  • Rioja:  imaginative Mediterranean cuisine by James Beard Award winning chefs
  • TAG:  “Continental Social Food”, eclectic dishes & cocktails
  • Tamayo:  Mexican cuisine & margs
  • Corridor 44:  Denver’s first and only champagne bar and restaurant
  • CRU Food & Wine Bar:  Wide variety of wines by the glass and “wine country cuisine”

Rainy Day Activities (aka indoors!)

While we were spoiled with great weather on our most recent trip to Denver, we’ve been there in the past with less than ideal conditions.

If you find yourself in Denver with less than perfect weather — think a rainy day or perhaps more likely, a SNOW storm! — we’ve got you covered with a handful of fun indoor activities.

While these indoor activities are perfect for a rainy day, they can also be nice to throw into your Denver itinerary even on a nice day. Sometimes you’ve just gotta get outta the sun!

25. Airbnb experience

Things to do in Denver | Airbnb Experiences

  • Learn something you’ve always thought would be cool…  like glass blowing!
  • Head out on an adventure with a local…  on an epic sunrise hike!
  • Or do something totally random…  like hanging out with llamas!

Airbnb Experiences is a great way to connect with locals in the place you’re visiting (basically anywhere in the world!) and create a unique memory that you’ll take with you.

While not all of these activities are indoors (actually many involve hiking or the great outdoors in some capacity!), Airbnb Experiences is a good place to start looking for some unique things to do that you wouldn’t typically think of…

Like pipe carving, or glass blowing, or tincture making.

26. Get fancy with afternoon tea

Some days you just gotta treat yo’self, know what I mean? What better place to rest those weary feet than the historic Brown Palace Hotel. 

Taking in guests since 1892, this hotel has hosted presidents (Dwight D. Eisenhower, for one), celebrities (the Beatles, Taylor Swift and the Rolling Stones, to name a few!) and royalty.

Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the atrium of the Brown Palace Hotel. Enjoy your tea with scones and Devonshire cream with the grand piano serenading you in the background.

Afternoon Tea:

  • Signature tea starts at $41
  • Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
  • Make reservations

And if you’re really in the mood for pampering, check out their onsite spa and make a day of it!

27. Get lost in a Book at Tattered Cover

Tattered Cover Bookstore Denver Colorado

The original Tattered Cover Bookstore opened in 1971 in Cherry Creek North. It has since become one of the premier independently owned bookstores in America and an institution in the historic LoDo neighborhood. 

The large store is furnished with plush couches and overstuffed chairs giving it a cozy feel, making it welcoming place to spend an hour or two quietly reading while sipping a coffee from the cafe. A perfect way to spend a day with less than perfect weather!

28. Learn how whiskey is made

Take a tour of Stranahan’s distillery to see how their  Rocky Mountain Single Malt Whiskey  is made. 

  • Tour:  $20 per person
  • Guided Tasting:  starting at $30 per person
  • Cocktail Making Class:  $60 per person
  • Book tours here

You can also just head to their nationally-acclaimed lounge and enjoy a handcrafted whiskey cocktail.

Good to know:  Stranahan’s is only open Friday – Sunday

29. Travel back to the 80’s

If you’re an eighties child or just have an obsession with Furbies, you’ll love wandering Fifty-Two 80’s, a unique twist on an antique/thrift shop where all items can be traced back to one decade (give or take). 

Depending on how old you and your travel companions are, visiting this shop could be a thrill (“Omg, this is the exact Care Bear I had growing up!”) or a bore (“Mom, what the heck is this totally lame video game that doesn’t even look real?!”). Answer: Pac-Man, obviously  *eye roll* .

30. Do an escape room

If you haven’t tried an escape room before, it can be a really fun activity with a group or even just as a couple. The gist is, you’ll be locked in a themed room with your travel partner(s) and with have one hour to solve a series of clues in order to find your way out. If you manage to escape before the hour is up, you win the game! 

Are you ready to put your thinking caps on?! Denver has a multitude of different escape room experiences to choose from, and here are just a few:

  • EscapeWorks  (Downtown)
  • Puzzah!  (Downtown)
  • Escapology  (Five Points)
  • Room 5280  (South Denver)
  • The Escapist  (South Denver)
  • Epic Escape Game  (City Park West)

31. Get your game on

board games and beer

There are few better ways to spend time indoors than with a good games. 

  • The Game Lounge:  With pub food, beer, board games and lawn games, all in an intimate space, this is the perfect rainy day escape!
  • Board Game Republic:  With pretty much every board game ever invented and a food and drink menu all in a wide-open space, this is a good space for spending the afternoon.
  • Punch Bowl Social:  Come for bowling, darts, shuffleboard, life-size Jenga, pool, old school arcade games and karaoke. Oh and food and drinks to sustain all the fun!
  • Topgolf:  This indoor/outdoor twist on golf makes it possible to play the sport come rain, shine, hail or blizzard.

32. Learn something new at one of Denver’s many museums

Though Denver may fly under the radar in terms of cultural hubs in the US, the Mile High City is filled with museums. From art to nature and science to history, there is a museum to cover plenty of interests here. 

Check out the exhibits at some of the most noteworthy museums below:

  • Molly Brown House Museum:  This 14-room Victorian mansion was once home to the Unsinkable Molly Brown. After her extraordinary journey on the Titanic, the beloved home was frozen in time to commemorate Molly as a historical figure. As a child, I was obsessed with the Titanic (is that weird?) and next time I visit Denver, this is on my list.
  • Denver Art Museum:  With themed exhibits across multiple architecturally remarkable buildings, the Denver Art Museum is not only the city’s biggest, but easily it’s most popular. 
  • Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art:  Named after Colorado’s most distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland, this museum covers every major design period since the 1870’s. The salon-style set up exhibits an impressive international decorative art collection. 
  • Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum:  Situated in airplane hangers of the former Lowry Air Force Base, this museum dedicated to the history of aviation and space travel is truly larger than life. 
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science:  Families flock here for kid-friendly interactive exhibits from dinosaurs to outer space and the human body. However, the biggest draw is the blockbuster expeditions that will require purchasing tickets ahead of time and showcase world class collections from history. 
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Denver:  With an ever-rotating collection of modern art, you never know just what you’ll find when you visit the MCA Denver, but it’s always worth it. Be sure to check out their rooftop cafe for some of the best views in the city!

33. See live music

The music scene in the Mile High City is thriving and there are plenty of options to see live music on any given night of the week. Plan ahead and catch an array of different musical genres from local acts to big names. Or simply walk down the bar-lined streets and you’re sure to hear a live band playing somewhere.

Check out some of Denver’s best live music bars:

  • Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox:  this former brothel is now a restaurant that serves food, cocktails and live music
  • El Chapultepec:  a budget-friendly jazz bar
  • Herb’s Hideout:  no-frills watering hole in LoDo with food, music and dancing
  • The Bluebird Theater:  intimate and historic venue

For larger shows, check out the schedule at these favorite Denver venues: Fillmore Auditorium, Ogden Theatre, Mission Ballroom, and Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom.

2020 Note:  Most of these venues are currently closed. Check their website for up-to-date information.

While the city of Denver itself has seemingly endless things to do, one of the great things about its location is its proximity to so many adventures.

We’re sharing some of the best day trips from Denver including epic things to do in the great outdoors and cute nearby towns to check out if you have the time.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to day trips from Denver for more detailed information on each trip and plenty of other great ideas!

34. Hike a “Fourteener”

Hiking Mount Bierstadt Colorado

Coloradans proudly refer to the mountain peaks exceeding over 14,000 feet in elevation as “fourteeners” (14-ers). Interestingly, Colorado has more fourteeners than any other state in the U.S. which makes hiking one a bucket list item for many people visiting Denver. Whether you’re an advanced or novice hiker, Denver offers a vast amount of fourteeners that will give you the opportunity to experience the fresh mountain air. Since most of the hikes are within a short drive, you can easily tackle one on a day trip from Denver. While hiking an elevation of 14,000+ feet might seem daunting, just remember that Denver is already at high elevation, so you’re not going to be hiking the whole 14,000 feet. Many fourteeners only require 3,000 feet (or so) in elevation gain from the beginning of the hike to the summit. 

So we say: just do it!

Hiking Mount Bierstadt Colorado 2

Some notable 14-ers to hike near Denver include:

  • Mount Bierstadt: 7.5 miles out and back | 1 hour 45 minutes from Denver
  • Grays Peak: 8 miles round-trip | 2 hours from Denver
  • Torreys Peak: 8 miles round-trip | 2 hours from Denver 
  • Pikes Peak: ~14 miles round trip | 2 hours from Denver
  • Longs Peak: ~14 miles round trip | 1.5 hours from Denver

A word of caution: Be sure you do your due diligence in terms of thoroughly researching the hike you choose, packing the correct supplies and being mindful of how you’re feeling during the hike. Give yourself a few days in Denver to acclimate to higher altitude before attempting your first hike. 

Be sure to check out our day trips from Denver guide for tips on hiking a fourteener !

35. Explore Rocky Mountain National Park

places to visit in colorado denver

Rocky Mountain National Park is a great day trip option as it’s just over an hour drive from Denver. Catering to true nature lovers, it takes you straight out of the city and into the heart of the wilderness. If you have time, you might consider an overnight trip, too. Getting into the park is a little tricky so make sure you plan ahead and secure a timed-entry permit if you’re traveling from May through October. If you’re planning to backpack, you’ll need an additional permit. 

While the regulations can seem a little frustrating, the permits work to regulate the traffic in and out of the park and, at the end of the day, it helps keep nature undisturbed and natural.

Whether you decide to go for the day or take on a backpacking adventure, you’ll be absolutely stunned by the scenery. We mean it! We outlined some of our favorite hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park and offer some helpful backpacking tips as well on our sister site.  

36. Drive Mount Evans Scenic Byway

The drive on Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a perfect day trip from Denver. Aside from taking pictures (and trust us, you’ll want to!), you don’t even have to leave your vehicle. The road is paved and aside from frequent twists and turns, it is a safe and peaceful drive offering stunning views of mountain vistas, turquoise lakes, and pine forests. We promise that you don’t want to miss it. 

Tip: Pack some Dramamine or ginger crews if you are prone to car sickness!

37. Day trip to Boulder

Dushanbe Tea house Boulder Colorado

Nature lovers will find countless hiking trails to suit their needs, and foodies will revel in the array of choices when it comes to local eateries. Definitely check out Pearl Street which is a pedestrian walkway through the center of downtown sprinkled with great shops, restaurants and street performers! 

For some nature, we highly recommend a visit to Chautauqua Park, which has a surplus of hikes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, known as the Flat Irons. 

We also loved Dushanbe Tea house— an authentic tea house shipped piece by piece from Tajikistan and reassembled in Boulder near a peaceful creek. Adjacent to the tea house there is an excellent farmers market that takes place on Wednesday and Sundays.

38. Spend the afternoon in Golden

Float down the river in Golden Colorado

Golden is just a short drive from Denver making this the perfect day trip location! This charming mountain town is much more of a gem than golden—see what I did there? It has a cute Old Western vibe and offers plenty of local shops and eateries to keep you occupied for an afternoon. We highly recommend a float down the Clear Creek River (#4 on this list!) while visiting Golden. It is a perfect way to cool down in the summertime.And while we definitely preferred the beers served at the craft breweries in town, you can also take a free tour of the Coors Brewery in Golden. Either way, you won’t run out of beer options to try!

Of course we cannot leave out the hiking opportunities… Golden, like many of the mountain towns near Denver, has outstanding hiking. Hiking one of the Table Mountain trails will reward you with great views of Golden all the way to Denver.

39. Go whitewater rafting

Seeking an adrenaline rush? Why not try some whitewater rafting? 

There are many rafting opportunities throughout the state of Colorado, but if you’re looking for an excursion near Denver, Clear Creek is going to be the closest place to get your rapids on. 

Not only is Clear Creek just a quick hop away from Denver, there are also numerous rafting companies to choose from there to suit your needs and skill level. We personally recommend Clear Creek Rafting company as a reputable company that offers trips ranging from beginner level (suitable for children) to gnarly Class V rapids!

The best times for whitewater rafting in Clear Creek are from mid-May to mid-August! 

On a related note:  Find out what to pack, how to best prepare, and  what to wear white for water rafting . 

40. Explore Garden of the Gods

Hiking Garden of the Gods Colorado 2

Nature lovers, rock climbers and photographers will flock to this gorgeous set of 300-million-year-old rock formations seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The good news is, it’s really only about an hour south of Denver making Garden of the Gods a perfect day trip location. 

While there are a lot of hikes in the area, we highly recommend the Garden of the Gods Loop trail as it’s quick and easy—you’ll be able to fit all the highlights into a quick daytime visit.

The best part: Garden of the Gods is completely free!

41. Go Skiing near Denver

Skiing at Keystone Resort Colorado

We couldn’t very well leave skiing off this list, now could we?!

If you happen to be visiting Denver in the wintertime (jealous!), taking a day trip (or extended getaway) to one of the many nearby ski resorts is likely at the top of your list of things to do.

Here are some of the closest ski resorts to Denver as well as what they’re known for:

Note: all prices below are for the 2022/2023 season. Be aware that prices may vary depending on when you buy your ticket and the number of days you’ll spend skiing. Many of the mountains have a three day pass ‘discount.’ 

  • Distance from Denver: 64 miles, 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Lift Ticket Cost: $59-99 on weekdays, $109 on weekends and holidays
  • SeasonPass: $619 for adults, (also available on the Ikon Pass)
  • Distance from Denver: 50 miles, 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Lift Ticket Price: $149 for adults
  • SeasonPass: $719 for adults, (also available on the Ikon Pass)
  • Distance from Denver: 69 miles, 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Lift Ticket Price: $143-$180
  • SeasonPass: $365 for adults, (also available on the Epic Pass & Summit Value Pass)
  • Distance from Denver: 66 miles, 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Lift Ticket Price: Starting at $108 for adults when bought in multi-day packages; starting at $143 for single-day tickets
  • SeasonPass: $649 for adults, (also available on the Ikon Pass) 

These are just a few of the well-known resorts near Denver, but there are plenty more. Check out our  guide to Colorado ski resorts  for more detailed information to plan your ski trip near Denver.

Food Denver Colorado

Just like any major city, it’s impossible to make a truly complete list (especially as new places continue to pop up all the time!). Throughout the article we’ve mentioned many-a Denver staples as well as some new favorites, but here are just a handful of stand-out restaurants in Denver. 

This list is a combination of Amanda’s suggestions, places we tried and loved, as well as our Airbnb host’s local picks, and are all somewhat close to the city center:

  • Uncle :  tasty ramen, excellent tofu appetizer, and soft crab bao buns
  • Linger :  eclectic global cuisine, happy hour deals and rooftop seating
  • Cart Driver :  really good wood-fired pizza 
  • Sassafrass :  known for great brunch
  • Root Down :  trendy farm-to-table fare

We also list many more of the best restaurants in Denver by neighborhood in our guide to where to stay in Denver .

RiNo Denver Colorado

Denver is a large city, so figuring out exactly where to stay can be a bit overwhelming. Plus there are so many different neighborhoods to choose from!

When we first started planning our trip to Denver, we realized that Denverites (is that what you call them?!) really love their abbreviations. Just check out the neighborhood names below!

Denver Neighborhoods

  • LoDo = Lower Downtown
  • LoHi = Lower Highlands
  • RiNo = River North District
  • Cap Hill = Capital Hill
  • Cherry Creek
  • Wash Park = Washington Park

We put together an entire article outlining where to stay in Denver depending on your specific travel style and needs. In that article, we go over the highlights of each neighborhood and pros and cons for making each your base to explore the city. Plus we share our top hotel and Airbnb recommendations.

We also put together a giant guide to the best Airbnbs in Denver with top recommendations for each neighborhood, price point and even larger stays for families and group travel.

If you’re looking for some quick recommendations, here are our top recommended hotel and Airbnb stays for your first trip to Denver:

LoDo Denver Airbnb | Image source: Airbnb

Airbnb: Downtown Denver Loft  – This modern loft features a single bedroom, open floor plan and 18’ high ceilings. The enormous windows let in plenty of natural light and provide views of the surrounding LoDo neighborhood. Perfect for a solo traveler or couple who wants to be right in the heart of the action.

The Source Hotel Denver | Image source: Booking

The Source Hotel  – Built up around the original and ever-popular food hall, The Source Hotel offers guests an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, bar and rooftop restaurant. The original building, which is connected to the hotel, is a RiNo staple, featuring popular restaurants like Acorn, Smōk, and Safta.

LoHi Denver Airbnb | Image source: Airbnb

Airbnb: Sunny Cottage in LoHi  – This charming Airbnb Plus property has 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen and even a cozy fireplace. It is steps from the action in LoHi, but far enough from downtown where it’ll stay quiet in the evenings. Perfect for a couple or family wanting to explore the city.

Crawford Hotel Denver | Image source: The Crawford Hotel

The Crawford Hotel  – A luxurious stay in the heart of the action at Denver’s iconic Union Station. This hotel offers direct airport train access, courtesy Tesla transportation, free craft beer at the Terminal Bar and priority seating at Snooze AM Eatery (something that will come in handy on the weekend when the wait time can be over 2 hours!).

In our experience, Denver felt like most other US cities. While there are certainly pockets where you may want to use extra caution, most areas felt safe. That said, we do want to address an experience we had in Denver because it would have been helpful for us to know this ahead of time.

We were traveling to Colorado with mountain bikes on our van (locked to our bike rack). Sadly, on our last morning in the city we woke up to find they had been stolen (locks cut). After filing a police report and doing a bit of searching in online forums, we learned that  Denver is notorious for bike theft .

There’s even a Facebook Group dedicated to stolen bikes in the city, and from reading all sorts of other peoples’ accounts, we soon realized our experience wasn’t just a random bout of bad luck. It’s actually the norm. 

While this can happen anywhere (not just Denver), we’d encourage anyone traveling with bikes to practice extra caution. If you’re staying in an Airbnb, ask if you can bring the bikes inside. Or if you’re staying at a hotel, see if there is a special bike storage area or onsite cameras.

Planning a trip out west?

We have TONS of resources on travel in the US and how to make the most out of your trip. Check out our  Ultimate USA Travel Guide  for everything you need to know, or read some of our favorite articles below.

  • Best Day Trips from Denver
  • Best Airbnbs in Denver for Every Type of Traveler
  • Epic Things to Do in Colorado
  • Best Colorado Ski Resorts

Save this article for later on Pinterest!

Things to Do in Denver | Two Wandering Soles

We want to hear from you!

Have questions about planning your trip to Denver? Anything you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

Comments (7) on “ 41 Seriously Fun Things to Do in Denver ”

This was very extensive and detailed! So much to do! Thank you so much from a fellow traveler!

I visited Denver last year and enjoyed it, but after reading this amazing article, I feel like I need to go back and do more. 🙂 There are so many hidden gems there.

YES, So many hidden gems!

Great post! I love the food and drink recommendations… I was supposed to head to Denver this summer but my trip was postponed 🙁 I’ll definitely revisit this post when I plan it again!

Hey Carley, sorry to hear about your trip. Hopefully you’ll get to go to Denver soon. Let us know when you do!

Denver is one of my favorite cities. My friends live there and I love visiting. I really need to do more hiking in the area though. Great food recommendations, I can’t wait to go back and try some more of these. I loved exploring the breweries last time I was there

Hey Emma! You’re right there are so many restaurants and breweries to check out in Denver! Such a big foodie scene!

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21 BEST Things to Do in Denver, Colorado [2024 Guide]

From exploring the Rocky Mountains to enjoying the entertainment, restaurants, museums, and parks of downtown, here are the best things to do in Denver Colorado!

If you’re ever looking for an incredible combo of wilderness and outdoor activities with culture, entertainment, history, and nightlife, Denver CO is perfect.

Located in the west of the USA on the border of the majestic Rocky Mountain Range, there are lots of opportunities for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and driving along scenic Alpine roads. Denver is the center of all of the great things that the state of Colorado has to offer!

You can use Denver as a base for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park or visiting one of the area’s ski lodges.

But Denver is such a fun city packed with attractions that you don’t even have to leave downtown to have an epic time.

There are historic landmarks and interesting museums for history lovers. There are live music venues and art exhibits for music and art lovers.

Looking for ideas on how to see it all in Denver? Read our 3 Days in Denver Itinerary !

The food scene is top notch and there are some nice gardens and theme parks for families and anyone looking for a fun day outside.

No matter what your interests are, Denver has something in store for you.

Skyline Things To Do In Denver

Table of Contents

1) Explore the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

2) catch a show at the denver center for the performing arts, 3) admire the architecture in larimer square, 4) explore the denver art museum, 5) check out union station, 6) drive the mount evans scenic byway, 7) visit the denver museum of nature and science, 8) see a performance at a live music venue, 9) catch a sports game, 10) enjoy the greenery at denver botanic gardens, 11) hike st mary’s glacier, 12) learn about denver’s history at the history colorado center, 13) spend some time in the local parks, 14) take a free tour of the colorado state capitol, 15) ride a roller coaster at elitch gardens theme park, 16) eat and drink to your heart’s content in downtown denver, 17) go hiking in rocky mountain national park, 18) visit the denver firefighters museum, 19) enjoy the view from lookout mountain, 20) drink and dine at the source market hall, 21) visit the molly brown house museum, best hostel in denver: ember hostel, best mid-range hotel in denver: off broadway b&b, best luxury hotel in denver: the ritz-carlton, the best things to do in denver, colorado.

There are so many things to do in Denver, from nature to culture to entertainment and more.

Nicknamed “The Mile High City”, because its elevation is exactly one mile above sea level, USA locals and international travelers alike flock to Denver CO.

Many of the best attractions in the Mile High City cost money, though the prices are completely worth it. Consider buying the Denver CityPASS , which includes access to a number of top attractions at discounted rates.

The Denver CityPASS includes the Botanic Gardens, the History Colorado Center, and some of the best Denver museums, just to name a few. If you plan on visiting a few of these, it’s worth getting the pass to save a bit of money!

So let’s get into the list of the best things to do in Denver Colorado!

One of the most famous landmarks in the Mile High City is the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. It is an open air amphitheater built into a rock face made of red sandstone that is millions of years old.

Not only is it a fascinating sight to see, it is a historic venue that serves many purposes. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an iconic venue for concerts and events. It also has a Visitor Center, a Trading Post, and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

There are even two hiking trails in the Red Rocks park which surrounds the venue. Located just a 10-minute drive west of Denver, it’s an easy trip. If you don’t have a car, there is a shuttle that runs between downtown Denver and Red Rocks.

Visit the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater website to check what shows are playing and get more information.

  • Hours: Opens one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset (actual times vary depending on season and performance dates)
  • Address: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison
  • Cost: Free, unless you’re attending a performance

Red Rocks Park And Amphitheatre Denver

Another one of the top things to do in Denver is attend a show at this nonprofit organization in the heart of Denver Colorado.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is always hosting a variety of shows such as popular Broadway musicals, locally-written plays, comedy shows, opera performances and more.

There are multiple theaters within the complex, and there is even another place to catch performances in Denver: the Denver Performing Arts Complex . The Colorado Symphony often plays here at Boettcher Concert Hall, if you’re a fan of classical music.

Check the websites for each place to find a show you would love to attend.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts:

  • Address: 1101 13th Street
  • Website: https://www.denvercenter.org

Denver Performing Arts Complex:

  • Address: 1400 Curtis Street
  • Website: https://www.artscomplex.com

Denver Street Art

While exploring the downtown area of the Mile High City, check out Larimer Square.

Established in the late 1800s, this historic block is the oldest in the city. A pioneer named General William Larimer was the inspiration for the name, and nowadays it is a cultural and artistic hub of Denver.

Full of historic 19th century buildings and decorated with hanging lights and flags, it is one of the city’s coziest spots. Just wandering around here is one of the best things to do in Denver.

There are plenty of dining and entertainment venues in Larimer Square, as well as in the nearby 16th Street Mall. So if you’re looking for a night out, head to the very spot where Denver was founded and admire the historic buildings paired with new and modern venues.

Larimer Square Denver

Located near Capitol Hill, the Denver Art Museum is one of the top Denver tourist attractions.

The Mile High City has lots of art museums, but this is the most popular one.

Complete with displays of modern and contemporary art as well as fashion, furniture, design, and more, there is so much to see here. It is especially known for its indigenous art collections.

Check out the special exhibits and consider supporting a local artist by buying some of their work at the gift shop.

Also consider visiting the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, or the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art. If you’re a real art fan, Denver has no shortage of options!

A visit to the museum is included with your Denver CityPASS , which will save you a bit of money.

  • Hours: 10am – 5pm daily, close 9pm on Tuesdays
  • Address: 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy
  • Cost: $18 adults, $10 students/seniors/military, FREE for youth under 18
  • Website : https://www.denverartmuseum.org/en

Denver Art Museum

Visiting the historic landmark that is Union Station is another one of the best things to do in Denver. Union Station used to be a significant train station in downtown Denver, but has been converted into an entertainment, cultural, and social hub of the city.

There are shops, bars, restaurants, games, events, live music, produce markets, and more here. Terminal Bar is one of the area’s most famous spots! There are also 4 beehives on the roof of the building, courtesy of the Denver’s urban beekeeping program.

However, it is still the center of the Mile High City and lots of public transport passes through here.

This is a great place to grab a drink after a long day of sightseeing, or to meet up with people as it’s a central location in Denver.

  • Address: 1701 Wynkoop Street
  • Website: https://unionstationindenver.com

Union Station Denver

If you’re wondering what to see in Denver, and you love alpine landscapes and dramatic natural scenery, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a must.

This 28 mile long drive up Mount Evans winds and curves through the peaks of the Colorado rockies. Rent a car if you don’t have one already, and enjoy spending the day up in the mountains.

A highlight of the route is Echo Lake Park. This beautiful lake surrounded by forests and mountains has a picnic area, barbecues, and campgrounds. You can’t swim in the lake, unfortunately, but you can go fishing.

Nearby is the Idaho Springs Reservoir if you want to go for a swim.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a quick and easy day trip from Denver , especially if you aren’t into hiking but still want incredible mountain views.

READ NEXT: Check out our guide on all the best things to do in Boulder !

Another one of the best things to do in Denver, especially for families with young kids, is to visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Included with your Denver CityPASS , the museum is home to numerous captivating exhibits about the natural world.

This museum is sure to amaze people of all ages, which also boasts an IMAX theatre, a planetarium, and lots of classes and events.

The aim of the museum is to educate Denver residents, visitors, and people of all ages and cultures about the natural world.

If you’re a big fan of museums, the natural world, and learning new things, consider heading to the Denver Zoo or the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. Those spots in addition to the Nature and Science Museum are some of the best things to do in Denver.

  • Hours: 9am – 5pm daily, close 9pm on Fridays
  • Address: 2001 Colorado Blvd
  • Cost: $19.95 adult, $14.95 ages 18 and under, kids under 3 are FREE (prices may be cheaper during off-peak times, and special exhibitions cost extra)
  • Website: https://www.dmns.org

Read Next: Spending more time exploring Colorado? Be sure to read our guide on all of the best things to do in Colorado Springs !

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre may be the most famous concert venue in Denver, but there are plenty of other places in the city where you can see a live performance.

Because Denver is such an up and coming city in the USA, and it has an amazing art and entertainment scene, there are constantly bands, musicians, comedians, and more coming through the Mile High City.

Some of the best live music venues in Denver include:

  • Mission Ballroom
  • Larimer Lounge
  • Summit Music Hall
  • Ogden Theatre
  • Paramount Theatre
  • Bluebird Theatre

And there are so many more! Getting into the live music scene is one of the best things to do in Denver. Whether you book a concert months in advance or just see what’s playing once you arrive, you are sure to find something worthwhile going on.

Bluebird Theatre Denver

If you’re a big sports fan, you can’t miss a local Denver game. Even if you’re not into sports, consider joining in the contagious enthusiasm of the American sports scene just for one night.

Denver has lots of pro sports teams, and lots of die-hard local fans.

One of the best things to do in Denver is seeing a baseball game at Coors Field. Home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, Coors Field offers spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

The Denver Nuggets basketball team is also a local favorite. Their games at the Pepsi Center, which has been recently renamed to the Ball Arena, pull in massive crowds and lots of energy.

Or watch a Denver Broncos football game or a Denver Pioneers ice hockey game.

Real sports lovers can also visit the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum, a true gem of the Mile High City.

Coors Field Denver Attractions

Strolling around all 24 acres of the Denver Botanic Gardens is definitely one of the best things to do in Denver.

Complete with a public amphitheater, traditional Japanese garden, and themed gardens full of diverse plants, there is lots to see here.

The Denver Botanic Gardens also sometimes host events, exhibitions, public art displays and art installations, so check the website to see what’s on when you’re visiting Denver.

There is also a botanic garden location at Chatfield Farms in Littleton, which has a butterfly farm and a historic ranch.

  • Hours: 9am – 4pm daily
  • Address: 1007 York Streek
  • Cost: $15 adults, $11 students and kids under 15

Botanic Gardens Denver

This is one of the best outdoor Denver activities.

St Mary’s Glacier is a snowfield with a gorgeous lake that you can swim in during the summer. But even in the winter when the lake is frozen over, the peaks of the Colorado Rocky Mountains stand tall in the distance and the area is beautiful.

Located about 1 hour west of downtown Denver near Idaho Springs, this is a quick and easy day trip from the city if you’re looking to spend some time in nature.

If you don’t have a car, you can book a guided tour to St. Mary’s Glacier that includes a visit to geothermal pools.

This is a great option if you’re a solo traveler looking to meet people, or if you just want to sit back and have someone else cover your transport.

St Mary's Glacier Colorado

This fascinating museum showcases different time periods in the history of Denver Colorado.

There are special exhibits, artifacts, artworks and displays that dive deep into specific topics as well. You can learn a lot here, and if you’re interested in history it’s one of the best Denver attractions.

History Colorado is a local organization that also has other museums in addition to the History Colorado Center. Check out the Center for Colorado Women’s History or the Forney Museum of Transportation. There are other museums and historic sites scattered around the state as well.

But if you don’t have time to venture to all the historic Denver attractions, at least visit the History Colorado Center to get an overview!

  • Hours: 10am – 5pm daily (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas)
  • Address: 1200 N Broadway
  • Cost: $14 adults, $12 seniors, $10 students, $8 kids 5-15, FREE kids under 5
  • Tip: Book your ticket on the website in advance for a $1 discount on your ticket

Read Next: See where Denver ranks in our top places to visit in Colorado !

If you don’t have time to visit the mountains, there are plenty of opportunities to get some fresh air and exercise in the city. City Park and Washington Park are two of the best places to visit in Denver.

City Park is a busy area of downtown Denver that is full of fun things to do. Not only is it home to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the area also hosts the Denver Zoo, tennis courts, kids playgrounds, picnic areas, and more.

City Park is most known for its large green space with two lakes and plenty of space for chilling out in the sunshine (preferably in summer when the weather is warm!).

It’s an iconic spot in the Mile High City, so come have a picnic, play a round of tennis or basketball, check out the museums, or just relax and watch the world go by.

Washington Park is another beautiful green space in Denver. It’s a bit more residential and less crowded than City Park. There are lots of walking or cycling trails, as well as a lake for kayaking and a few sports fields.

Denver City Park

One of the most captivating landmarks in the city center of Denver is the Colorado State Capitol.

This neoclassical-style building is topped with a golden dome, and is maybe the most impressive building in Denver CO.

For anyone interested in learning about the Colorado General Assembly, the architecture, or the history of the building, consider joining one of the free tours on weekdays. You can actually enter the House and Senate chambers with a guide to learn about the legislative process.

You can also embark on a climb to the dome, which sits at exactly one mile above sea level (hence the city nickname, Mile High City).

Free tours of the capitol are filled on a first come, first serve basis, and the tours are capped at 20 people.

  • Colorado State Capitol hours: 7:30am – 5pm, Monday – Friday
  • Address: 200 E Colfax Ave
  • Hours for free tours: 10am or 11am, Monday – Friday
  • Website: https://leg.colorado.gov/node/1024591/

Denver Capitol Building

Spending an exciting day at this theme park is another one of the best things to do in Denver.

With over 50 different rides, including roller coasters, a heart-stopping Tower of Doom, and a water park, there are so many fun things to do here for people of all ages.

Or head to the Observation Tower for panoramic views over the city and the surrounding Rocky Mountains.

Elitch Gardens is actually one of the oldest amusement parks in the USA, and it is one of the best Denver attractions.

The park is temporarily closed but reopens on April 30. I recommend booking a skip-the-line ticket online in advance to avoid waiting in a long line when you arrive.

  • Hours: Opening hours are constantly changing depending on season and day of the week. Visit the website for a complete list of hours.
  • Address: 2000 Elitch Circle
  • Cost: $45 if you book online, $65 if you buy tickets at the park

READ NEXT: Consider visiting another great Rocky Mountain city and read our post on all of the best things to do in Salt Lake City !

One of the best things to do in downtown Denver Colorado is eating! Yep, just eating. And drinking! There are so many amazing places to eat and drink in the Mile High City that you have to try at least a few different restaurants, bars, breweries, or cafes.

All you have to do is explore downtown Denver near places like Union Station, 16th Street Mall, or Larimer Square. Those areas are packed with so many amazing cafes, trendy bars, coffee shops, international eateries, ice cream shops, fast food places, and nice restaurants.

Here is a quick list of the top places to eat and drink when you visit Denver:

  • Misfit Snack Bar for its unique, rotating menu
  • Little Man Ice Cream for amazing homemade ice cream flavors
  • Pony Up for crafty cocktails
  • Fire on the Mountain for some of Denver’s best chicken wings
  • Dimestore Delibar for killer sandwiches
  • El Five for tapas, fancy wines, and a Mediterranean vibe
  • Allegro or Thump Coffee for delicious coffee
  • Cherry Creek Grill for classic American cuisine
  • Blue Moon Brewery for a wide variety of local beers
  • The Patio at Sloans for a scenic, lakeside outdoor dining experience
  • Pizzeria Locale for Denver’s best pizza (3 locations around the city)
  • ChoLon for upscale Southeast Asian cuisine

And that is just scratching the surface! If you’re a real foodie, you’ll be in heaven when you visit Denver CO.

Thump Coffee Denver

Full of glassy lakes, dramatic alpine landscapes, and dense forests, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best places to visit in Denver CO.

Those who love outdoor adventures should definitely do some of the hikes in the national park.

There are trails that cater to all fitness levels, so whether you’re a seasoned wilderness and fitness expert or you just want a nice and easy walk, there are plenty of options.

Alberta Falls and Bear Lake trails are short and easy. Longs Peak is the longest and hardest hike, recommended for experienced hikers only. Twin Sisters, Black Lake, and Fern Lake are moderate hikes suitable for most average people.

Other fun things to do in the park include birdwatching, mountain biking, camping, kayaking, and more. Or consider booking an epic zip lining tour from Denver !

Visit the official website for information about visiting the national park such as weather updates, campsites, trail details, and more.

Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking

This museum is one of the most unique things to see in Denver.

The aim of the Denver Firefighters Museum is to share and preserve the history of the city’s fire department. There are special exhibits as well as photographs, documents, and research on display.

The fire company in Colorado began around 1866-1869, and has played an important role in the wellbeing of Denver over time. This museum is designed to entertain and educate, as well as promote fire safety.

  • Hours: 10am – 4pm, Tuesday – Saturday
  • Address: 1326 Tremont Place
  • Cost: $9 adult, $8 senior/military/firefighters, $7 kids

One of the easiest outdoor adventures to have near Denver is heading up to Lookout Mountain.

Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this mountain peak is perfect for panoramic views and for spending a day outside in nature.

You can conquer some hiking trails, go mountain biking, visit the “Buffalo Bill” Museum and Grave, or visit the Nature Center to learn about the local flora and fauna.

Whether you have kids who need a day of entertainment, or you just want to get out of the city and enjoy a fantastic view, this is one of the most fun things to do in Denver.

The mountain is only a 30 minute drive west of Denver CO.

Denver Lookout Mountain

One of the best things to do in Denver for food lovers is head to the Source Market Hall.

This rustic ironworks building from the 1800s has been converted into an artisan food hall that has a sophisticated yet fun and lively vibe.

It is located in Denver’s River North Arts District, commonly called RiNo. There are all sorts of delicious things here, from coffee, cocktails, and breweries to bakeries, cheese shops, and restaurants.

You can buy fresh produce or meats from the butcher. Or you can taste small plates from different vendors, or sit down and enjoy a real meal. Everything is high quality and you are truly spoiled in terms of options.

  • Address: 3350 Brighton Boulevard
  • Hours: 7am – 11pm weekdays, 8am – 11pm weekends

One of the more unique museums to see in the Mile High City is the Molly Brown House Museum.

The building itself is special because it belonged to Margaret “Molly” Brown, a Titanic survivor. Not only that, but the Historic Denver Organization and Denver citizens helped save the building from demolition in the 1970.

The museum itself celebrates history, activism, philanthropy, and education. It showcases the power of community and the preservation of historic buildings. It is a beautiful place to explore, and the museum staff are extremely knowledgable and passionate about education.

For a guided tour through the Molly Brown Museum, just add $2 on to your admission ticket price.

  • Address: 1340 Pennsylvania Street
  • Hours: 10am – 4pm Tuesday – Sunday, closed on most holidays
  • Cost: $16 adults, $14 seniors/students/military, $12 ages 6-18 (prices are cheaper for Colorado residents

Denver Capitol Building

Where to Stay in Denver, Colorado

Now that you know what to do in Denver Colorado, let’s dive into where to stay.

Whether you want to stay right in downtown Denver, or you prefer a cozy bed and breakfast outside the main city center, there are some great accommodation options in the Mile High City.

The top rated hostel in Denver is Ember Hostel , which has over 1,000 positive traveler reviews and. 9.5 out of 10 score on Hostelworld!

A dorm bed here costs $55 per night, which isn’t that cheap as far as hostels go. But this is still cheaper than most hotels in the area, and you’ll get a super cool and social experience staying here.

This retro hostel inside a historic mansion is located walking distance to all the best Denver attractions. It has a jacuzzi, a fire pit, patio area, laundry service, free on-site parking, free Wifi, free coffee and tea, and private bunks with curtains and shelves.

If you’re trying to visit Denver Colorado on a budget, this is the best hostel to stay in.

Just off South Broadway Street, this mid-range bed and breakfast is a cozy and peaceful place to stay. It’s not right in Downtown Denver, but the bus stop is a half block away so you can easily get to the best attractions.

The quieter neighborhood is nice for those who want to stay out of the hustle and bustle as well. A room here costs around $160, so it’s a decent price and it’s near other Denver attractions.

Definitely one of the most high end hotels in the Mile High City is the Ritz-Carlton . Not only does this hotel have everything you could possible need in terms of amenities, it’s centrally located and pets are allowed.

It is also considered one of the best hotels in Denver for art aficionados. That means the art and design in the building is upscale and impressive for real art lovers.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

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About the Author - Gabby Boucher

After four years of working in hospitality, volunteering abroad and travelling for fun, Gabby has developed a knack for budget travel and admiration for different cultures. Her travels have taken her through the cloud forests of Ecuador, into the villages of eastern Europe, across the islands of Thailand, and to the beaches of New South Wales, Australia, where she is currently living with a working holiday visa. She plans to continue her adventures around the world for as long as possible. Follow her on her blog , and on Instagram.

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Denver

The best things to do in Denver

Your complete guide to the best things to do in Denver this year, from fascinating museums to funky breweries and beyond

Scott Snowden

What a marvelous place the Mile High City is. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dreaming of packing up and moving here, because Denver is one of the most liveable cities in the United States. It isn’t difficult to understand why; 300 days of sunshine each year, an energetic downtown area, one of the best culinary scenes in the country, and the whole ‘surrounded by stunning mountains’ thing make any argument null and void. Denver is delightful, dynamic, dramatic, and more.

Whether you are looking for tranquility or thrills, you will find each in abundance here. The best things to do in Denver are elite, from gorgeous hikes to all-night parties and beyond. Check out our guide to the ultimate Denver bucket list, and book your trip already.

RECOMMENDED:  The best restaurants in Denver

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Best things to do in Denver

Denver Art Museum

1.  Denver Art Museum

Along with the architecture of internationally renowned visionaries Giò Ponti and Daniel Libeskind, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) is perhaps best known for its holdings in Native and Western American art. Though the DAM might lean heavily on its Rocky Mountain roots, its collections cover the entire spectrum. Seek out, for instance, Monet’s  Waterloo Bridge  and Sandy Skoglund’s startling large-scale installation  Fox Games , depicting a fantastical dining room.

Denver Botanic Gardens

2.  Denver Botanic Gardens

With dozens of horticulturally distinct collections set indoors and out on 20-plus acres, the Denver Botanic Gardens is an oasis in what is, after all, the high desert. Here you can peruse thousands of plant species from across the globe, from cacti to rainforest orchids. It’s also a cultural and educational center, regularly hosting art exhibits, plant shows, gardening classes, and more. As you explore, take a breather and check out glass wizard Dale Chihuly’s Colorado, which graces the pond in the Ellipse Garden.

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

3.  Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

The ever-so-dramatic sweep of its rugged sandstone formations has made Red Rocks a beloved venue for concerts of all stripes since its inauguration in 1941. In 1983, a little-known Irish band happened to film a performance at what you might call nature’s own music hall—and the rest, as U2 fans know, is rock history. Of course, it also serves as one of the world’s most breathtaking gyms, where runners get super-sweaty tackling the seemingly endless staircases, and hikers hit the trails through the surrounding 868-acre park. 

SoBo

4.  SoBo

The Platt Park stretch of South Broadway (SoBo) has long been known as Antique Row for its wealth of dealers in everything from folk art to furniture. You can shop for vintage wares, weed, or both: SoBo is also called the Green Mile, reflecting the influx of marijuana dispensaries. The quirky shopping experience only gets funkier as you head north into the Baker District, where boutiques like  Decade , a source for up-and-coming designer labels, skew as hip as the nearby eateries.

MCA Denver

5.  MCA Denver

Founded in 1996, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) moved into its permanent and larger home (27,000 square feet) in 2007. With works displayed across five galleries, a shop, a library, and a rooftop cafe, the space is as pretty as a picture (although we can't guarantee that all the pictures will be pretty). Comical, creepy, racy, relentless… Whatever else they may be, exhibitions at the MCA are always provocative. In fact, according to MCA Denver themselves, their exhibits seek to create 'understanding and dialog about the art of our time.'

Union Station

6.  Union Station

After a historic redevelopment, LoDo’s turn-of-the-century terminal is once again a destination for architecture buffs, scenesters, foodies, and rail riders. Absorb the Beaux Arts aura of the majestic, barrel-vaulted Great Hall while sipping local craft beers in the retro-toned  Terminal Bar  or cocktails on the mezzanine of the glamorous  Cooper Lounge . Score a seat at  Stoic & Genuine’s  chef’s counter to indulge in sharp twists on seafood classics, or treat yourself to a feast at  Mercantile Dining & Provision , where farmhouse substance meets cosmopolitan style. 

The Source

7.  The Source

This epicurean food hall became an instant landmark when it opened in 2013 with a dream team of vendors. The food and drink are top-notch. To cite highlights would be misleading; that said, an order of brisket nachos at  Smok  and a croissant churro with dulce de leche from  Reunion Bread Co . are among the absolute musts.

Molly Brown House Museum

8.  Molly Brown House Museum

Saved from demolition in 1970, visitors to this Victorian manor will find the docents’ stories about the Titanic survivor’s years as an actress and a civil-rights activist no less compelling than the opulent period decor. Her famous unsinkability aside, Margaret Brown led a remarkable life for a woman of her time. The Molly Brown House offers self-guided tours and special events throughout the year; Gothic-horror story hours, holiday teas, garden parties, and other corny-but-entertaining programs pop up every season. 

Hiking near Denver

9.  Hiking near Denver

As (more-or-less) casual day trips go, you can’t beat hitting the trails around Golden and Boulder. Whether you choose one of the easygoing loops on Lookout Mountain or rugged climbs in Eldorado Canyon State Park and around the striking sandstone formations known as the Flatirons, you'll be treated to stellar natural vistas. While you wander amid ponderosa pines and Indian paintbrush, keep your eyes peeled for mule deer and monarchs (never mind rattlesnakes and black bears). 

Empower Field at Mile High

10.  Empower Field at Mile High

The stomping ground of the Denver Broncos also made history when it hosted Barack Obama’s acceptance speech during the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Tailgate on the south side, stomp your feet to create 'mile-high thunder; and join a chorus of 76,000 yelling 'in-com-plete!' to show your support for the Broncos. On a guided tour, learn a bevy of stats while visiting the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum and getting a player’s-eye view of the end zone—something even non-fans get a charge out of.

Clyfford Still Museum

11.  Clyfford Still Museum

This single-artist museum warrants intricate exploration, not only to view almost the entire oeuvre of the radical Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still but to admire the masterful architecture as well. Dedicate at least an hour to the tranquil surroundings and the large-scale canvases that defined Still’s contribution to modern art.

Craft breweries

12.  Craft breweries

Roam the linked RiNo, Ballpark, and Five Points neighborhoods, and you’ll run the gamut of craft tipples, from suds to spirits. Boozin' brilliant. Buzzing little breweries like Mockery and Ratio  encircle granddaddy  Great Divide —but as you hop from one to the next, sampling chocolate rye scotch ale and passionfruit-guava goes, you’ll also (quite possibly literally) stumble on  Stem Ciders ,  Infinite Monkey Theorem  Urban Winery, and  Mile High Spirits .

The Beer Spa

13.  The Beer Spa

Here you can soak away your worries and/or have them massaged out in zero-gravity chairs and then sample a wide variety of Colorado’s craft brews all in one place. Makes you wonder; if this was made a mandatory part of the working week, everyone would probably be much nicer to each other. Check out the website for a complete list of what is on offer. They cater to singles, couples, and groups, so you have no excuse.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

14.  Mount Evans Scenic Byway

The route from Idaho Springs to the top of Colorado’s 14th-tallest peak traverses some 7,000ft along the continent’s highest paved roadway. Possibly nerve-wracking and definitely slow-going yet breathtaking in every sense of the word, Mount Evans Scenic Byway takes you past alpine lakes and meadows, through bristlecone-pine stands and the habitats of elk and bighorn sheep; along the way, you can hike, fish, picnic and even snowshoe. The summit itself is accessible only in summer—and even then, the weather can turn nasty without warning.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

15.  Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Adults aren’t just babysitters at this kid-friendly museum jam-packed with dinosaur skeletons, mummies, and IMAX 3D flicks. Naturally, kids go gaga, but plenty of the exhibits and planetarium appeal to all ages—think Dead Sea Scrolls, Russian folk carvings, or black holes. If you’re making a day of it, skip the onsite café in favor of a lakeside picnic in nearby City Park, also home to the  Denver Zoo .

Denver Performing Arts Complex

16.  Denver Performing Arts Complex

Believe it or not, downtown Denver contains one of the largest multi-venue performance centers in the world. Ballets, symphonies, operas, and touring Broadway shows are all staged here, but so are locally produced plays and the occasional rock concert. During the warmer months, all types of celebrations are held in the adjoining outdoor space, Sculpture Park, including the adorable Denver Public Schools  Shakespeare Festival .

Coors Field

17.  Coors Field

Sports fans and curious tourists will find plenty to do at the 76-acre field with spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. Catching a baseball game isn't the only thing you can do on the Rockies' home turf; look for the row of purple seats marking the elevation that gives the Mile High City its name, then wash down some Rocky Mountain oysters (quickly, if you’ve never tried this infamous delicacy) with beer from the onsite brewery,  the SandLot . 

Kirkland Museum of Fine Art

18.  Kirkland Museum of Fine Art

The Kirkland is a mesmerizing shrine to the decorative arts of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Peep iconic modernist furnishings (Irving Harper’s marshmallow sofa and Pierre Paulin’s ribbon chair) and exquisite Art Nouveau and Art Deco housewares. Located in the studio of its late namesake, Vance Kirkland, the collection is displayed salon-style—which means that visitors are surrounded on all sides by irreplaceable objet d'art as they wander through the galleries. Children under 13 are not admitted.

Larimer Square

19.  Larimer Square

Situated on Larimer Street between 14th and 15th, Larimer Square is the most bohemian block in town; this is the place to see and be seen. A gentle saunter down this pedestrianized street will allow you to catch up on your window shopping as you gaze through the glass of some swanky boutique stores, and afterward, you could dine at high-end restaurants like Osteria Marco or Rioja .

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

20.  Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

Restaurateur Justin Cucci's atmospheric eatery in a former house of ill-repute dishes up globally influenced grub. Cucci has a knack for designing restaurants that owe some of their success to a quirky backstory; Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is an eye-popping risqué tribute to its history, while what was once a mid-century garage now informs the vintage cool of  Root Down . Take it all in over a meal that showcases the Edible Beats restaurant group’s focus on earth- and lifestyle-conscious food and drinks. 

Punch Bowl Social

21.  Punch Bowl Social

There are several spots in town where you can indulge your taste for booze and your inner child at the same time. Best of all is Punch Bowl Social, which boasts bowling lanes, an old-school arcade, karaoke rooms, two bars, and a mod diner. Apart from the undoubtedly bohemian-inspired decor, the activities have a touch of nostalgia that is nothing short of gratifying.

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Things to Do in Denver, CO - Denver Attractions

Things to do in denver.

  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 2.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • Five Points
  • Central Business District
  • Capitol Hill
  • Cherry Creek
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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

places to visit in colorado denver

31. Clyfford Still Museum

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32. Denver Public Library

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33. Balistreri Vineyards

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34. City Park - Denver

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35. American Museum of Western Art

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37. Colorado Convention Center

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38. Cheesman Park

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39. Great Divide Brewing Co.

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40. Cherry Creek Shopping Center

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41. Rock Bottom Brewery

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42. Landmark's Mayan Theatre

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43. Center for Colorado Women's History

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44. Colorado Ballet

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45. University of Denver

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46. Museum of Illusions Denver

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47. Lakeside Amusement Park

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48. The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank - Denver Branch

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49. Station 26 Brewing Co

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50. Denver Firefighters Museum

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51. Civic Center Park

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52. RiNo Art District

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53. Paramount Theatre

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54. Children's Museum of Denver

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55. Denver Center Theatre Company

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56. Sloan's Lake Park

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57. Denver Beer Company

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58. Stem Ciders

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59. Escapology

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60. The Wynkoop

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What travelers are saying

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places to visit in colorado denver

28 Fun Things to do in Denver, Colorado

D enver is one of the coolest cities in the US. It’s a mile high city, has a huge outdoor culture, a fanatical sports following, a growing craft brew scene and emerging foodie scene.

There are many, many things to do in Denver, Colorado. It’s one if the fast growing areas for millennial migration in the US so the city is quite hip, edgy, and happening.

It’s walkable, has some of the friendliest and happiest people in America, and is surrounded by the mesmerizing Rocky Mountains and Colorado River – my favourite place to explore in the US.

We visited Denver and the Rocky Mountain National Park on our road trip in 2016.

We loved it then, but noticed huge improvements on our return trip, and love it even more now. It totally suits our lifestyle vibe.

If you’re not sure what to do in Denver, then keep reading to discover some of the best attractions and places to visit…

1. Check Out 16th Street Mall

2. dine at stout street social, 3. admire union station, 4. drink coffee at pigtrain coffee, 5. attend the chalk art festival, 6. hire a bike and tour denver, 7. wander around civic center park, 9. explore linger.

  • 10. Drink Ales at Amato's Ale House

11. Check Out The Music Scene

12. take a day trip to the colorado rockies, 13. attend the great american beer festival, 14. have brunch at snooze, 15. explore the capitol hill area, 16. dine at mercantile, 17. go shopping in larimer square, 18. check out the red rocks amphitheater, 19. go hiking in mount evans, 20. relax in confluence park, 21. take the kids to the water parks and theme parks, 22. spend a day at the museums, 23. drive the mount evans scenic byway, 24. catch a show at the denver performing arts complex, 25. relax in the denver botanic gardens, 26. see the animals at denver zoo, 27. take a day trip to boulder, 28. watch a sporting event, final thoughts on things to do in denver, colorado, where to stay in denver, pin this for later, things to do in denver, colorado.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, relaxing bars and restaurants, or something fun and unusual, you’ll find all this and more with the follow attractions in Denver.

We stayed around the 16th Street Mall area, which is the touristy area of the city. I liked that the mile-long pedestrian street was walkable, but also has the free tram going up and down if you want to jump on that.

There are plenty of restaurants on 16th street and the streets running off it.

Next time we visit, we plan to stay in a vacation rental in one of the trendy neighborhoods we heard so much about like RiNo (River North), Highlands, and Five Points.

We LOVED this restaurant on 14th street across the road from the Convention Centre, mostly for the delicious roasted brussel sprouts and the gluten free beer.

The receptionist at our hotel recommended this as the place to go and the sprouts as the dish of the century.

You rarely hear that about brussel sprouts so curiously, we ordered and were blown away by the flavour. They’re roasted in mint, cilantro, truffle-chile glaze with a bit of snap, crackle, pop.

I’ll let you know the recipe once I can replicate it at home.

The salmon quinoa salad was also the bomb. We visited twice and ordered the same thing both times!

So we fell in love with Union Station. It was our first experience of Denver stepping off from the train from Denver Airport.

It’s the nicest train station I’ve been too, which is one reason we’ve out it on our things to d in Denver list.

Tastefully refurbished, clean and modern with soaring 65-foot ceilings and enormous arched windows filling the room with sunlight. There are many great restaurants, cafes, comfy waiting couches, and even a bar with foosball table.

We just love how quiet and well behaved everyone is having drinks, quiet conversations and playing games.

Reflecting back on Central Station in Sydney makes me shudder – ugly, drab with too many drunken yobbos.

We returned there many times for something to eat and to hang out. It has such a pleasant vibe.

Our first coffee in Denver was of decent size. Now that’s a large.

One morning, Craig and I were in fits of giggles at the gigantic coffee cups people were walking around fueling up with. America’s small is equivalent to an Australian large (and much cheaper!)

I can’t say the coffee is as good as Australia, but it was way better than I remembered and most places had almond milk!

Read More: 19 Essential things to know before visiting the USA

Durin the summer in Denver, there are always festivals and events happening. While we were there, the Chalk Art Festival was on.

Artists come out and create their designs on the roads around Larimer Square. There was music and food and drinks and once again everyone is civilized and the vibe upbeat and happy.

It was fun checking out all the incredible artwork.

Denver is a flat city so perfect for bike riding. The city makes it easy for you with their share bike program, Denver Bcycle .

here are multiple bike stations set up throughout the city. You can grab a B map or download the app, pop in your credit card and rent a bike to explore.

Very important to note – for $9 a day you get unlimited bike rides within the 24 hours, but there is a catch.

You can only take the bike for 30 minute periods. So plan carefully.

All you do is return the bike to a bike stand and then take a different one out. That way you can still keep riding but you won’t get charged overtime rates.

We hired a bike from the bottom of the pedestrian bridge at 16th street on the way to Highlands and cycled to the confluence of the Platte and Cherry Creek River, where the settlers first started Denver.

They would follow the Cherry Creek from Kansas and until they arrived at the Confluence to look for gold – and so Denver began. 

After checking out that slice of history, and the children swimming in the small rapids, we took the Cherry Creek bike trail .. all the way to Cherry Creek mall. it was an easy and fun bike ride.

We then rode home, go changed, and took more bikes out to ride down 14th street – always great fun with all the traffic, back to Highlands for drinks at Linger.

We couldn’t not pay a visit to the Colorado State Capitol and stand on the mile high steps for the obligatory photos.

It’s exactly a mile high. Across the road is Civic Center Park, which is green space bordered by the State Capitol, City and County building and the Denver Art Museum. It’s the space for frequent city events. 

We received notice too late one day that there were food trucks happening on a Wednesday lunch time.

Civic Center Eats offers food and music from Tues- Thursday from 11am-2pm during the summer. Bummed we missed it!

But, we did learn of The People’s Fair happening on the weekend that we ducked down to have a look at. Music was playing, food was cooking, and plenty of arts and craft stalls, and local craft beer.

I bought a crystal and checked out a photographer who’s photos were amazing.

8. Explore The Highlands Neighborhood

The Highlands neighbourhood is sought after as a place to live by the millennials. If you’re looking for hip restaurants, bars and boutique stores, this is the place. It’s only a short walk over the bridge to downtown.

We had a brief hour or two there. We’re keen to check it out more when we return.

When multiple people tell you Linger is the best place to eat and drink in Denver you go. Second to that was Root Down which is owned by the same people. We didn’t get a chance to visit there – next time.

Linger has a rooftop bar which is the place to go, especially for happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6:30pm – $5 cocktails, $4 beers and $5 appetizers.

The tacos and sweet potato waffle fries were the bomb! Make sure you have your ID – I was carded and almost not served because I did not have my ID.

I had to let the manager know what my birthdate was to prove I was in fact 40. I am flattered, but really, I’d love for common sense and good judgment to return to society.

Just below Linger is Little Man Ice Cream – a gigantic milk bottle, you can’t miss that has ice cream people line up for hours for.

Our friend, Don gave us the inside tip for this one. I’m not an ice cream lover so I headed up to the bar instead.

10. Drink Ales at Amato’s Ale House

After happy hour at Linger, we popped down the road to Amato’s Ale House for dinner. No gluten free beer for me to sample, but a delicious bison burger and happy hour red wine made me happy!

Some other tips for restaurants for the Highlands area Don gave us:

  • Lola (Mexican and fish – not your standard taco or burrito. Higher end, very good)
  • Central Bistro  Always a good meal. Modern, but not trendy. If the weather’s okay, sitting on their patio is nice with a good view of the city
  • Avanti  Very moderate prices. It’s a food hall concept with individual restaurants and a main dining area along with a couple of bars – killer deck views of downtown

Denver has an excellent music scene. While it might not be as famous as Austin, Nashville, or New Orleans, there is a growing folk/Americana movement with groups like Paper Bird and singer/songwriters such as Danielle Ate The Sandwich and Patrick Dethlefs .

Additionally, the indie scene is healthy with bands like Tennis and Hindershot gaining traction.

Denver has also been a launch pad for larger, mainstream acts as well. Groups such as The Fray, One Republic, The Lumineers, and The Flobots have all found international fame after recognizing popularity locally in Denver.

Visitors can check out the music scene first hand by stopping by one of the many independent music venues throughout the city. 

The Hi Dive , The Walnut Room, Larimer Lounge , and The Marquis Theater are all great places to check out the local music scene.

Alternatively, visitors can turn their radio dial to 1340 am for Open Air Colorado , a Colorado Public Radio station that plays local, independent music.

Rocky Mountain National Park is the most accessible national park from Denver and it couldn’t be more different from the city experience.

Visitors are treated to majestic mountain views, fresh Rockies air, unique wildlife encounters, and amazing hiking opportunities amongst the alpine wilderness.

Icy glaciers, glassy lakes, and the iconic Longs Peak all compete for attention along the continental divide in one of the crown jewels of America’s National Park system.

Don’t forget to check out Colorado Springs too , especially if you’re visiting in the winter.

Check out this day trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver.

Denver is a beer town. Part of this reputation comes from the host role the city plays to the Great American Beer Festival each year.

The festival is the brewing industry’s top competition and public tasting session and there is no other place in the world where you can find more beers on tap.

Every October, More than 450 breweries come together to pour more than 2200 different beers to thirsty festival goers.

Visitors can find EVERY type of beer at the festival and many types they never even knew existed.

Snooze is the place for brunch. Someone from our community recommended we go there and we chose it as our last place to eat in Denver before we jumped on the train to fly home.

I had the Snooze Spuds Deluxe – A heaping portion of hash browns, covered with melted cheddar & jack cheese, scallions, avocado and mushrooms, which was delicious and Craig the Spring Greens quinoa salad.

Capitol Hill is a vibrant and funky neighborhood southeast of downtown that is also one of Denver’s most diverse.

Around the gold-domed state capitol building, stately 19th century mansions mingle with mid-century apartment buildings and punk-rock clubs line the same streets as high-end restaurants.

The neighborhood is flanked by two of Denver’s best parks, the Greek Revival styled Civic Center Park and the spooky Cheesman Park – which still contains many bodies buried underneath from its past life as a cemetery.

We stopped here for lunch one day when nowhere else really grabbed us. “Let’s go back to Union St Station.”

The Mercantile was another recommendation from Facebook. Delicious! We had the soup and  salad – fresh, wholesome, and a decent price.

You can even stay at the luxurious Crawford Hotel within the station.

Our friend Don told us a lot about the history of Denver, one fact being that is the hotel is named after his friend, preservationist Dana Crawford, who was instrumental in the revitalization of much of Lower Downtown.

She’s the reason Denver is such a beautiful looking town with preserved brick warehouse style buildings.

The location of Union St Station is premium being right near the trendy Highlands and the Rockies stadium! We attended a game in 2006 and loved it.

It’s such a beautiful stadium with those views of the Rockies – plenty of craft beer and game fever in the pubs that surround it too.

Fairy lights strung between the trees overhead and diners spilling over onto the street pavers, Larimer Square is a pretty place to be and although we didn’t get there at night, I think it would be a perfect spot to hang out. (This is an area Dana Crawford revitalised!)

We had a coffee at Market St on Larimer, which was a good spot to hang out if you want to do some work online.

Coffees weren’t amazing but they were big.

Larimer Square is a unique Victorian era street that offers boutique shopping and dining in Lodo.

Just a few blocks away sits Rockmount Ranchwear , providing a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

Rockmount introduced the first Western style snap button shirts and is still the premier supplier of the iconic clothing to clients in Hollywood and all around the world.

Just down the street from Rockmount Ranchwear is The Tattered Cover Bookstore . Located in an old warehouse, the independent bookstore is one of the largest of its kind.

It’s an incredibly atmospheric store with ancient hardwood floors, exposed bricks, and plenty of comfy chairs and hidden corners to settle into with a good book.

The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is a world famous concert venue located in the hills above Denver. Towering red rock formations create a natural amphitheater with amazing acoustics.

Some enterprising individuals added seating and a stage to turn it into one the most unique concert venues in the world.

The stage has seen countless legendary performers including The Beatles, U2, and Jimi Hendrix. Though a concert is the best way to experience the venue, it is open to the public for free when there aren’t any concerts.

Mount Evans in Colorado is home to 53 14,000 foot (4260 meter) mountains and is often referred to as the ‘Roof of America’.

Though you can summit every one of Colorado’s ‘14ers’ via hiking and climbing, Mount Evans offers the unique distinction of offering a road to the top.

Visitors can hop in their car and summit one of the tallest mountains in North America with their automobile.

Along the way there are numerous scenic overlooks and plenty of wildlife including the famous Mountain Goats who are always willing to pose for a picture.

Confluence Park is located right downtown Denver, confluence park offers a scene of nature in the middle of the city.

Located at the confluence of the Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, Confluence Park offers a kayaking course, city and mountain views, running and cycling trails, and the flagship REI store, a mecca for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Denver is home to some of the most thrilling water parks and theme parks in the United States.

For thrill-seekers, head to Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, which boasts over 50 rides and attractions, or Water World, which features more than 40 water-based rides and activities.

For a more laid-back experience, head to Lakeside Amusement Park, which has been entertaining families for over a century, or Denver’s Downtown Aquarium, which combines aquatic exhibits with amusement park rides.

Get your entry ticket to Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park here.

Denver has many world-class museums to explore. If you’re looking for things to do in Denver on a rainy day, then this is the number one activity.

Head over to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which has exhibits dating back to prehistory, including dinosaur bones that go back to millions of years.

It also has some real centuries old Egyptian mummies and a world wildlife exhibit. You could easily spend a full day here and not see it all.

If you have children, take them to the Children’s Museum of Denver , which combines play and education in an exciting way.

If you want to learn about aviation history, head to the Wings Over Rockies Air and Space Museum which is famous for its realistic flight simulators.

For something more unique, head to the Molly Brown House Museum , the home of an HMS Titanic Survivor.

At the top of Lookout Mountain, you’ll find the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, who is one of the most famous cowboys in the USA.

Get your entry ticket to the Molly Brown Hosue Museum here.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is one of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the USA, which offers stunning mountain views for 28 miles.

The byway stretches from Idaho Springs to the summit of Mount Evans, which stands at 14,264 feet above sea level, making it the highest paved road in the USA.

You will encounter a variety of landscapes, from dense forests to barren alpine tundra, as well as hairpin turns and steep drop-offs that require caution and careful driving.

The journey is worth it, though, as the panoramic views from the summit are truly awe-inspiring.

Driving the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is an unforgettable experience for any traveler visiting Colorado.

The Denver Performing Arts Complex is a massive complex that houses multiple theaters and venues, including the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Boettcher Concert Hall, and the Buell Theatre.

Here you can watch a wide range of performances, from Broadway shows to symphonies to ballets.

Beyond the world-class performances, the complex itself is a stunning architectural marvel, with sleek modern design and impressive acoustics.

This 24-acre oasis in the heart of the city boasts over 50 gardens and collections, including a Japanese Garden, a Water Garden, an Alpine Rock Garden, and a Rose Garden.

You can enjoy the serene beauty of the gardens, stroll along meandering paths, and take in the sights and scents of the plants and flowers.

The gardens also offer numerous educational programs and events, making it a great spot for families and groups.

Get your entry ticket to the Denver Botanical Gardens here.

The Denver Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals from around the world, including lions, tigers, penguins, and elephants, as well as rare and endangered species like black rhinos and clouded leopards.

You can attend animal feeding demonstrations, and even get up close and personal with some of the animals in interactive exhibits.

Beyond the animals, the zoo offers beautiful gardens, playgrounds, and a train ride that winds through the park.

Just 30 minutes away, Boulder is a beautiful city nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains with stunning views and plenty of outdoor activities.

You can spend a day hiking in the mountains, exploring the charming downtown area full of unique shops and restaurants, or take a tour of the famous Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory.

Boulder has a laid-back vibe and endless opportunities for adventure, making it the ideal day trip from Denver.

Denver is a great city for sports fans, with a variety of professional teams to watch throughout the year.

Catch a Broncos football game at the iconic Empower Field at Mile High, or cheer on the Rockies baseball team at Coors Field.

If basketball is more your style, head to the Ball Arena, formerly the Pepsi Center and check out the Denver Nuggets in action.

For hockey fans, the Colorado Avalanche play at the same venue.

No matter what sport you’re into, there’s always something happening in Denver!

Get a ticket to see the Rockies at Coors Field here.

Denver was up there on the list when we were looking for destinations to live in the USA. I was concerned about the chilly winters, but locals have shared with us that Denver doesn’t get too brutal.

It experiences winter for sure, but the days are warm and sunny. When the snow falls it melts away quite quickly, but there’s plenty of snow dumping for you a further 5,000 feet high and close by.

The weather we had during our week stay in Denver during the beginning of summer were quite perfect.

We visited to attend a three-day conference in Snowmass and decided to stay a few extra days in Denver.

We just can’t travel all that way to America for just a few days, the jet lag is killer enough.

But we’re glad we were able to get out and explore some of these top Denver attractions.

I hope this guide helped you plan your visit to Denver and gave you some inspiration for what to see and do there.

For some other things to do in Denver, check out this post on a weekend trip to Denver.

The Brown Palace – An elegant and historic hotel in the heart of downtown. It has played host to presidents, royalty, and pop icons. For those such as myself who can’t afford the elegant prices that come with it, a visit to the afternoon tea ceremony in the lobby is a suitable alternative.

The Curtis – A much more affordable hotel that offers a unique and whimsical alternative to the high class of The Brown Palace. Each floor has a unique pop culture theme ( think one hit wonders, sci-fi, etc. ) that is carried through to all of the rooms.

The Crawford Hotel – A lovely four-star hotel with a perfect location in the heart of Denver’s CBD district. It’s sheek and modern, and primarily caters to couples over large groups. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re planning a romantic weekend in Denver.

We have also stayed at and loved the  Aloft Hotel  on 15th Street, the  Hilton Homewood suites  on 15th Street, which were great affordable Denver accommodation options.

We loved our more lux stay at the Ritz Carlton  on Curtis Street. The rooms were spacious with separate living areas, service was exceptional, locatuion great, and we loved the premier lounge with free happy hour every day!

For more places to stay in Denver choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com . You get free cancelation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.

Popular Denver Tours

What are your tips for our next visit to Denver? Let us know in the comments.

Denver is one of the coolest cities in the US. It’s a mile high city, has a huge outdoor culture, a fanatical sports following, a growing craft brew scene and emerging foodie scene. There are …   28 Fun Things to do in Denver, Colorado Read More »

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Best places to visit in colorado.

Colorado's scenic terrain draws millions of travelers looking to get swept up in its natural splendor. With a bevy of cities and towns, each with its own unique outdoor offerings, cultural attractions, things to do and awe-inspiring landscapes, it may be difficult to choose the best place for your next vacation. U.S. News took into account a number of factors, including the variety of attractions, as well as the opinions of experts and travelers, to determine the best places to visit in Colorado. Have a favorite? Cast your vote below to help determine next year's list.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Glenwood springs, mesa verde national park, breckenridge, steamboat springs, pagosa springs, buena vista, black canyon of the gunnison national park, crested butte, great sand dunes national park and preserve, dinosaur national monument, colorado springs.

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Take a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park to see for yourself why it is one of the most-visited national parks in the country. Hike among sky-high peaks or the park's 100-plus lakes, or swap your boots for a pair of skis or snowshoes in winter. If you'd rather explore from the comfort of your own vehicle, drive the scenic Trail Ridge Road (open seasonally) and feel on top of the world. At its highest point, the road reaches an elevation of more than 12,000 feet. What's more, this park is ideal for a camping adventure . But book early: A timed entry permit is required in the summer.

places to visit in colorado denver

Colorado's most populous city is also its cultural hub. While you can go just about anywhere in Colorado to find outdoor adventures galore, in Denver you get the best of both worlds. The city is filled with top-notch museums, lively sports venues, prime shopping streets and an unmatched brewery scene. Meanwhile, just outside city limits, you'll enjoy easy access to the Rockies, as well as the photogenic Mount Evans Scenic Byway. For an unforgettable experience, catch a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a unique open-air concert venue with stunning views of Colorado's famous red rocks.

places to visit in colorado denver

Telluride may not be large in size, but it is big on outdoor fun and adventure, which is why it's named one of the best small towns in the USA . Best known for its highly regarded ski slopes, Telluride offers 2,000-plus skiable acres and terrain suitable for everyone from beginners to experts. Meanwhile, hikers and cyclists flood the trails, paragliders soar through the air and festivalgoers attend the town's plethora of food-, music- and film-focused events during the warmer months. For some of Telluride's best panoramas, drive the San Juan Skyway or ride the gondola to Mountain Village.

places to visit in colorado denver

Whether you are looking for an adventurous getaway in the Rocky Mountains or a luxurious spa vacation, this small town in northwestern Colorado fits the bill. Glenwood Springs visitors can soak up some rays while horseback riding, whitewater rafting or hiking the popular Hanging Lake Trail. If you'd like to take the thrills up a notch, make time for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which features cave tours, an alpine coaster and more. Later, soothe your aching muscles at one of the town's acclaimed spas, which utilize the region's natural hot springs in their treatments.

places to visit in colorado denver

The former home of the Ancestral Pueblo people, Mesa Verde National Park contains about 5,000 of America's best-preserved archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. First-time visitors should prioritize the famous Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America. Many of the sites can only be accessed by ranger-led tours that may involve quite a bit of walking, climbing and, in some cases, crawling, so travelers should keep their physical health and limitations in mind before visiting. Still, the park's rich history makes the sometimes strenuous journeys well worth the effort.

places to visit in colorado denver

Remnants of Breckenridge's history as a mining hub give the town a distinct aesthetic. The Rocky Mountains that serve as the town's backdrop, the Victorian-era architecture in the Historic District and the year-round festivals and events all contribute to the town's charm. Plus, the locale's thousands of acres of skiable terrain and the area's long ski season make Breckenridge a winter travel destination for the books. When the powder melts, the verdant vegetation that floods the trails make Breck (as locals call it) magical. What's more, the craft beer scene is an attraction in its own right.

places to visit in colorado denver

Powder hounds take note: While it may not be as glamorous as some of its Colorado counterparts, Steamboat Springs is still an excellent destination for a ski vacation . After all, it maintains the nickname of Ski Town, USA. Here, travelers can take advantage of nearly 3,000 acres of skiable terrain covered in snow so light it's commonly called Champagne Powder snow. Steamboat Springs is equally impressive when it's dotted with wildflowers in spring and summer or brimming with foliage come fall. After a long day of hiking, biking or shredding powder, visitors can head to Strawberry Park Hot Springs to soothe aching muscles with a massage or a soak in a thermal pool.

places to visit in colorado denver

Pagosa Springs' best-known attraction is – you guessed it – its renowned hot springs. Located along the banks of the San Juan River in southwestern Colorado, this small mountain town is home to the world's deepest geothermal hot spring, the Mother Spring aquifer, so it comes as no surprise that travelers flock here looking to soak their stress away. But this alluring Colorado destination has more to offer than just incredible hot springs. Here, travelers can participate in a range of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, hiking, skiing, rafting, horseback riding, fishing and more.  

places to visit in colorado denver

Sitting in southwestern Colorado about 20 miles from the New Mexico border, Durango packs a punch for adventure travelers. Pastimes like hiking, mountain biking and skiing are popular here, and thrill-seekers won't want to miss a white-water rafting tour down the Animas River. Meanwhile, history buffs will love strolling through Durango's vibrant downtown, which boasts a variety of restaurants, art galleries and shops. Another must-do activity is riding the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Here, travelers can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of San Juan National Forest aboard an authentic steam locomotive.

places to visit in colorado denver

With recreational activities galore and a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, Buena Vista is one of Colorado's best under-the-radar travel destinations. Spend your time relaxing in Buena Vista's natural hot springs, which are some of the hottest in Colorado. Or, go for a drive along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway for unforgettable mountain views. Meanwhile, if you want something more adventurous, Buena Vista is a great base for hiking 14ers (mountains exceeding 14,000 feet), and you can also try biking, off-roading or white-water rafting. Thanks to Buena Vista's valley location, these activities are typically available year-round.

places to visit in colorado denver

Colorado's version of the Grand Canyon features some of the state's most stunning views. Carved by the Gunnison River millions of years ago, the Black Canyon's more than 2,000-foot depth has impressed spectators for centuries, including the Ute Tribe who once called the canyon home. Now, along with its incredible scenery, parkgoers can enjoy fishing in the Black Canyon's highly regarded waters, climbing its towering rock formations and hiking or skiing its impressive trails. At night, attention shifts from the rocks and river below to the sky above when visitors can stargaze in this International Dark Sky Park.

places to visit in colorado denver

Known as both the last great Colorado ski town and the wildflower capital of Colorado, Crested Butte beckons to outdoorsy types year-round. In winter, skiers and snowboarders will find trails for all skill levels, though the town is most famous for its extreme terrain and steep slopes. When temperatures rise, visitors can trade in their skis or snowboards for mountain bikes to take advantage of Crested Butte's hundreds of miles of bike trails. Arrive in July to see the town burst with color and partake in the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival's activities.

places to visit in colorado denver

Nestled against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve offers a unique outdoor experience. Visitors can sled down the tallest sand dunes in North America or float down the park's stretch of Medano Creek. Hiking, fat biking and horseback riding are other fun ways to explore the area's diverse ecosystems. And at night, travelers can admire the unfiltered night sky while camping. Great Sand Dunes is open year-round, but keep in mind that winter can be chilly and summer can bring scorching sand and thunderstorms, so parkgoers should plan their trips accordingly.

places to visit in colorado denver

If you're looking to splurge during ski season, Aspen is the place to be. This small town is conveniently tucked between four renowned ski spots – Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands – that offer quality slopes for all levels of skiers. Not only that, but the town features the crème de la crème of luxury resorts, a growing culinary reputation (the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is held here every summer) and an après-ski scene so appealing it'll be pretty tough to leave.

places to visit in colorado denver

This iconic European-style ski town is a popular haven for celebrities and winter sports enthusiasts. With thousands of acres of snowy trails spread across one of the largest single-mountain resorts in the country, Vail is known for its top-notch skiing and snowboarding. But there is more to the town than just its slopes. When the snow melts and the temperatures rise, Vail's Epic Discovery area invites visitors to engage in other outdoor activities like zip lining, rock climbing and mountain coaster rides. Those looking for less adrenaline-inducing entertainment should check out the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and central Vail's boutiques.

places to visit in colorado denver

Feel as if you've journeyed back in time during a visit to Dinosaur National Monument. Spread across Colorado and Utah, this protected area is known for its archaeological treasures. You won't find any dinosaur bones on the Colorado side, but budding archaeologists can test their skills by looking for small sea creature fossils on the Harpers Corner Trail. This side of the park is also a prime spot for outdoor activities like hiking, river rafting, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. For breathtaking views of the surrounding canyons, go for a spin on the Harpers Corner Scenic Drive.

places to visit in colorado denver

Colorado Springs stands out from its mountainous counterparts because it's not a ski destination. But what the city lacks in slopes it more than makes up for in incredible hiking areas like Pikes Peak, the mountain that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write "America the Beautiful," and magnificent natural landmarks like the Garden of the Gods. Mix that in with a good helping of small-town charm, delectable restaurants and a diverse array of attractions (including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center), and Colorado Springs has all the makings of a great vacation.

places to visit in colorado denver

Although Boulder is Denver's slightly smaller neighbor, it is no less impressive. With both the Rocky Mountains and the Flatirons in the background, Boulder combines all of the relaxation of an outdoor escape with the energy of a city. Nature lovers will feel right at home while hiking and biking the city's trails or tubing down its stretch of Boulder Creek. Those looking for more urban entertainment can explore Boulder's beer trails or shop and dine at Pearl Street Mall's boutiques and restaurants.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

places to visit in colorado denver

Grand Junction

places to visit in colorado denver

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Attractions & Day Trips Near Denver

Denver serves as an excellent gateway to the wonders of the nearby Rocky Mountains. Here are just a handful of must-see attractions, gorgeous scenic drives and mountain town adventures, all within two hours of The Mile High City. Make Denver your basecamp for exciting day trips and explore the best places to visit near Denver. 

Want to stay in the know on Denver happenings?  Sign up for our free e-newsletter , and we'll keep you posted.

Dinosaur Ridge

Distance from Denver:  23 miles (37 km)    Dinosaur Ridge  is a famous natural landmark, located along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, near Morrison, Colorado. It features famous Jurassic dinosaur bones, such as Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus, discovered in 1877, and Cretaceous dinosaur footprints. A guidebook is available for use on self-guided tours and guided tours can be arranged through the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge.

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

Distance from Denver:  25 miles (40 km) A picture-perfect setting with flawless all-natural acoustics 70 million years in the making,  Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre  is a true Colorado original. In addition to its blockbuster summer concert series (everyone from the Beatles to U2 have played here), Red Rocks is open year-round, featuring the Red Rocks Performers Hall of Fame and the Trading Post Loop Hiking Trail, a 1.4-mile adventure through spectacular rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. 

Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave

Distance from Denver:  25 miles (40 km) One of the most famous cowboys to ever ride the range, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody epitomized the Old West. Upon his request, he was buried atop Lookout Mountain, a site boasting one of the best views in all of Colorado. The  Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave , which opened in 1921, offers a look into life in the Old West, with exhibits on Buffalo Bill's life, the Wild West shows, Indian artifacts including Sitting Bull's bows and arrows, Western art, and firearms.   

American Mountaineering Museum

Distance from Denver:  27 miles (43 km) The  American Mountaineering Museum  is a "must-stop" new attraction on your way to the mountains! From 14ers to Everest, experience mountaineering through interactive exhibits and high-tech displays. Cross a crevasse, pick your route up Everest, and follow the footsteps of famous climbers as you prepare to hike in Colorado!

Exciting Ways to See Colorado

These adventure parks and tour companies pack lots of excitement. 

Based in Idaho Springs, Colorado Adventure Center offers eight zip lines, an aerial adventure park with more than 60 challenging elements and rafting trips on Clear Creek during the warmer months. Nearby Lawson Adventure Park & Resort boasts cabins and yurts for rent, as well as a via ferrata, zip line, zorb balls, rafting, disc golf, ATV tours, fly-fishing and more.

Soar over the iconic Flatirons with a view of the University of Colorado in a sailplane with  Mile High Gliding   in Boulder. Or channel your inner Wizard of Oz as you float above the Front Range in a hot air balloon piloted by  Fair Winds Hot Air Balloon Flights & Rides  in Lafayette.

Great Outdoors Adventures , based in Woodland Park, offers off-road and on-road vehicle rentals year-round via the latest Polaris UTVs, Jeeps and seasonal Slingshot roadsters. Explore the Pikes Peak region like never before!

Want to tour Garden of the Gods on a Segway? Or experience the gorgeous Pikes Peak area from a zip line or four-wheel-drive vehicle? Adventures Out West in Colorado Springs has you covered. They also provide hot-air balloon rides. 

At the Wild Animal Sanctuary lion prides and other carnivores live in natural habitats.

Guide teaches beer making at the Coors Brewery

Coors Brewery is the biggest single-site brewer in the world. Take a free tour.

Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway

Distance from Denver:  27 miles (43 km) The  Lariat Loop  is a 40-mile scenic circle in the foothills west of Denver, Colorado connecting the communities of Golden, Morrison, Lookout Mountain and Evergreen. On the Loop, motorists encounter more than a dozen enchanting historical attractions, including the Colorado Railroad Museum, Boettcher Mansion, Lookout Mountain Nature Center, Mother Cabrini Shrine and The Fort Restaurant.  

Coors Brewery

Distance from Denver:  29 miles (47 km) The legendary  Coors Brewery  in nearby Golden can brew up to 22 million barrels and package up to 16 million barrels annually, making it the biggest single-site brewery in the world. The brewery offers guided tours (for a fee), a sampling-only experience (for a smaller fee) or you can just visit the gift shop.  

Wild Animal Sanctuary

Distance from Denver:  30 miles (48 km) Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! Visit this 320-acre rescue and educational facility, located just 30 miles outside of Denver, where more than 300 large carnivores roam free. The  Wild Animal Sanctuary  is one of the only places in America where you can see lion prides and groups of other carnivores living in natural habitats. 

Central City and Black Hawk

Distance from Denver:  40 miles (64 km) Central City and  Black Hawk  are home to more than 30 casinos with blackjack tables, craps, roulette, poker games and more than 10,000 slot machines. In 2009, gambling stakes were raised to $100, to the delight of high rollers, and casinos began opening their doors 24 hours a day. The two cities are also known for having some of the best-preserved Victorian architecture in the West. 

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Distance from Denver:  54 miles (87 km) The  Georgetown Loop Railroad  is a reconstruction of one of Colorado's most famous railroads, which was originally built in 1877. Steam-powered locomotives make the climb up the valley and across Devil's Gate Bridge, giving riders panoramic views and a glimpse into Colorado's railroad-centric past. From the open-air viewing cars, it is possible to see bighorn sheep and other wildlife.

Mount Blue Sky Scenic Byway

Distance from Denver:  60 miles (97 km) Mount Blue Sky Scenic Byway  is the highest paved auto road in North America, snaking its way to the 14,260-foot (4,346 m) summit. Please note:  online reservations  are now required for timed slots . The road is open only from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and frequently has snow on it, even in August. The view from the top takes in the entire Front Range. The summit is 60 miles (97 km) from downtown Denver. On your way up the mountain, be sure to stop at M. Walter Pesman Trail (maintained by Denver Botanic Gardens) for a wildflower hike; you won't see anything like the rare flowers and 1,500-year-old bristlecone pine trees anywhere else in the world. The trail winds through subalpine and alpine areas where wildflowers and animals of the fragile tundra live. Volunteer guides from  Denver Botanic Gardens  give interpreted hikes that follow the trail throughout the summer.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Distance from Denver:  71 miles (114 km) One of the U.S. National Park System's crown jewels,  Rocky Mountain National Park  features 400 square miles of scenic beauty, including Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the world, crossing the Continental Divide at more than two miles above sea level. With hundreds of miles of hiking trails, tranquil lakes, waterfalls, wildlife and horseback riding, visiting the Park is a truly unforgettable experience.  Estes Park  is a resort town on the edge of the park with restaurants and shops.  

Mountain Town Adventures Near Denver

Idaho springs.

Distance from Denver:  29 miles (47 km) Idaho Springs is the perfect spot to launch on a myriad of adventures close to Denver. Take a trip back into Colorado's gold mining history at the  Argo Mill and Tunnel . If you're looking for adventure,  Colorado Adventure Center offers eight zip lines, an aerial adventure park with more than 60 challenging elements and, along with Clear Creek Rafting Co . , exciting rafting trips on Clear Creek. Nearby Lawson Adventure Park & Resort boasts cabins and yurts for rent, as well as a via ferrata, zip line, zorb balls, rafting, disc golf, ATV tours, fly-fishing and more. 

Distance from Denver:  42 miles (68 km) Located west of Denver,  Georgetown  is a delightful Victorian village set in a spectacular mountain valley with 200 restored buildings from the 1870s. The main street has shops and restaurants, and many of the old homes have been turned into antique stores. The  Georgetown Loop Railroad   operates in the summer months with narrow-gauge steam locomotives curling down a mountain ledge, at one point crossing over a 90-foot-high (27 m) trestle.

Distance from Denver:  28 miles (45 km) As its name hints,  Evergreen  is a pine tree–surrounded escape. A picturesque alpine lake is located right in town, with paddleboard, kayak and (in the winter) ice skate rentals available. You'll also want to hike the trails at  Alderfer/Three Sisters Park  — once a working ranch but now a hiker's paradise — and  Flying J Ranch Park  — formerly a runway for the area's onetime landowner but now a boon for hikers and bikers, with peaceful meadows, forests and wetlands. Historic downtown Evergreen is nestled right into the area's natural landscape and boasts a number of art galleries, shops and eateries. Spend the day golfing, hiking beautiful nature trails, touring small local museums, relaxing at day spas or catching a local theater performance.

Pikes Peak Country

Distance from Denver:  60 miles (97 km) Pikes Peak Country  is located south of Denver and features more than 40 attractions centered around 14,000-foot-high (4,267 m) Pikes Peak. Things to see include the  Air Force Academy , one of three United States military colleges; the famous  Broadmoor Resort , with its lake and three golf courses; the  Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame , with its exhibits on this exciting professional sport; and  Garden of the Gods , made of naturally formed, 500-foot-high (152 m) red sandstone rock monuments at the base of Pikes Peak.

Colorado Ski Country: Summit County, Vail and Beaver Creek

Distance from Denver:  75 miles (120 km) Summit County offers some of the world's best skiing, just a little more than an hour west of Denver. But the area is also a splendid summer resort destination.  Breckenridge   is a 130-year-old gold mining town filled with colorful Victorian buildings that now house shops, cafes and restaurants.  Copper Mountain  is a modern ski and summer resort offering all forms of outdoor recreation, from golf to tennis to snowboarding and cross-country skiing.  Dillon/Silverthorne  is a lovely pair of towns built on the shores of Lake Dillon. The area offers factory-outlet shopping in more than 100 stores.  Frisco  is yet another old Victorian mining town that has been restored but still retains its Old West atmosphere.  Keystone   is a year-round resort that offers all kinds of outdoor adventure, along with five-star dining.  Vail   is just a short drive from Summit County. This world-famous resort offers a European-style mountain village lined with shops and outdoor cafes, as well as the largest ski mountain in North America.

Winter Park

Distance from Denver:  65 miles (105 km) Located in a lovely mountain setting, this year-round resort is as delightful in summer as in winter. During ski season,  Winter Park Resort  boasts more than 29 feet of annual snowfall. It is Colorado’s longest continually operated ski resort featuring over 3,000 acres of award-winning terrain including groomers, terrain parks, bumps, steeps and trees. All of this terrain is strewn across the Seven Territories all accessible on one pass or ticket: Winter Park, Mary Jane, Parsenn Bowl, Vasquez Ridge, the Cirque, Eagle Wind and the Terrain Parks. Summer attractions include Colorado's longest alpine slide, the GyroXtreme, scenic chairlift rides on the Zephyr Express chairlift and mountain biking galore.

South Park and Fairplay

Distance from Denver:  85 miles (137 km) Some of the best river and lake fishing in Colorado is found here, with the South Platte feeding into Antero, Spinney Mountain and Eleven Mile reservoirs. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing are all popular winter activities in  Fairplay  and  South Park .  South Park City Museum  is a remarkable restoration of a 19th-century Colorado mining town. Wildlife viewing is a nonstop attraction, with antelope, mule deer, elk and more often spotted. Ghost towns abound in the area surrounding South Park, offering a glimpse into forgotten Colorado history.

Skier on a slope at Winter Park Resort in Colorado.

During ski season, Winter Park Resort boasts more than 29 feet of annual snowfall.

Royal Gorge and Cañon City

Distance from Denver:  130 miles (209 km) Royal Gorge Bridge & Park  is the world's largest suspension bridge, spanning the Arkansas River at a height of 956 feet (320 m). Admission includes an aerial tram trip and several rides and attractions. The  Royal Gorge Route Railroad  is a 24-mile round trip train ride through the base of Royal Gorge on a route that has been called the "most arresting scenic site in all of American railroading." Rafting on the Arkansas River is conducted by numerous companies offering rafting and kayaking on one of the best stretches of river in the state.

Colorado State Parks

To put it lightly, Denver’s backyard is pretty impressive. Colorado’s state parks offer some of the greatest outdoor recreation in all of…

Fall Foliage & Day Trips Near Denver

The shimmering leaves of the aspen, the quintessential Colorado tree, turn to a positively glowing shade of gold, sending locals and visitors rushing…

Lariat Loop

The splendors of the Rocky Mountain Front Range’s foothills are on full display on the Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway.

The Mount Blue Sky Scenic Byway, just 60 miles west of Denver, is the highest paved road in North America. A day trip to the top is a journey that…

Mountain Parks

Denver’s park system is unique. Within its city limits, Denver offers more than 200 traditional and historic parks, many of them connected by…

Rocky Mountain National Park offers 355 miles of hiking trails, 147 lakes and 77 mountains taller than 12,000 feet. Take a day trip from Denver and…

Things To Do Around Colorado

Denver has one of the world's most stunning backyards: the majestic Rockies and everything that Colorado has to offer. The Mile High City is the…

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Denver cityscape

Where to stay in Denver, gateway to the Rockies

The Mile High City is redefining itself with a raft of innovative hotels.

The Mile High City, so named because it stands one mile above sea level, is scaling new heights. Situated where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, Denver was founded as a gold-mining town in 1858 — a history commemorated by the gold-plated dome of the state capitol. Today, it’s known for its gleaming skyscrapers and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, with urbanites and travellers alike drawn to its art trails, craft beer and elevated food scene (featuring everything from cheese-filled khachapuri bread to beef tacos), plus its boundless opportunities for outdoor pursuits.  

1. Thompson Denver

A number of hotels have recently popped up across the city — and Thompson Denver, in LoDo (Lower Downtown), within walking distance of the Denver Art Museum, Urban Station’s upmarket restaurants and the cool Dairy Block district, is one of the most exciting. The interiors marry the city’s heritage with the great outdoors, with a palette of browns, deep greens and granite greys. There are also fun touches like saddle-leather headboards in its mid-century-inspired rooms. Since opening in 2022, Chez Maggy, the hotel’s French brasserie, has been one of the hottest dinner tickets in town. It’s headed up by chef Ludo Lefebvre, who uses native ingredients with flair in dishes such as bison tartare and Coloradan lamb chops with dandelion puree. The mood-lit Reynard Social bar is good for cocktails like tybert’s tailspin, made with Barr Hill Tom Cat gin, St Germain, Aperol, honey and fresh lemon. From $299 (£238).  

Next to Civic Center Park, Populus is set to open its doors this summer. Its exterior is inspired by the bark of Colorado’s native aspen trees, while its 265 rooms are decorated in shades of sand and terracotta. Low-impact materials have been used in construction; the wooden slats on display in the lobby, for instance, are reclaimed fencing. The plan also includes a promise to plant 5,000 acres of trees.  

From $299 (£238).  

3. The Rally Hotel

This 182-room hotel in the LoDo district hits a home run with its subtle sporty design: the tasteful, museum-worthy displays of signed memorabilia and red-stitch wall accents are a nod to the neighbouring Coors Field baseball stadium. The rooms put a playful twist on the traditional, blending tobacco leathers and woods with pops of purple. From $299 (£238).  

4. Limelight Denver

Hotel brand Limelight added this property to its portfolio last summer. Guest rooms, some of which offer views towards the Rockies, are awash with knotty natural woods and leather furniture. The hotel sits beside Union Station, and its restaurant, Citizen Rail, takes its design cues from its neighbour. Coloradan produce and seasonal ingredients feature on the menu. From $350 (£278).  

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Enjoy Your Stay at Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center

Discover a premium one-stop travel experience at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. Ideal for families, vacationers and business travelers alike, our hotel is situated minutes from downtown, the airport and the Belleview light rail station. Take advantage of our trendy food and beverage scene, as well as exceptional on-site activities like a full-service fitness center and indoor pool.

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Dine in the comfort of your spacious hotel room when you choose from the extensive in-room dining menu at Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. Whether you prefer a continental breakfast, or a romantic dinner, our professional in-room dining team is at your service.

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Root25 is a nod to the historic recipes that pubs, bistros, and watering holes have offered for hundreds of years while demonstrating locality, seasonality, and playful modern approaches. Colorado is often referred to as the Napa of craft beer, and in our new venue, it is all about the beer. Root25 offers a rotating selection of the finest craft beers and ales from the region along with craft cocktails honoring the classic speakeasies. The space is a perfect complement of modern and rustic, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere where one or even a crowd may unwind and toast the day.

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Restaurants, Food and Drink | Colorado “Top Chef” contestant wins first…

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Restaurants, food and drink, restaurants, food and drink | colorado “top chef” contestant wins first competition on season 21 premiere, you can expect to see chef manny barella in episodes 2 and 3.

Chef Manny Barella is hosting four-course pop-up dinners at Cantina Loca in LoHi from March 25 to April 2. (Provided by Amber Boutwell for Jaguar Bolera and Camp Pickle)

Chef Manny Barella went into the premiere episode of Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 21 terrified of being eliminated first.

“I’ve never been more nervous in my life, even when I proposed to my fiancee,” he joked. “As chefs, we fail in private, but failing in public is a whole different animal.”

Barella, a 2022 James Beard semifinalist in the Emerging Chef category, not only made it out of the first competition alive, but he won the first challenge for his green pozole with chicken and charred salsa verde.

“I had that mirror moment after that, where I looked at myself and thought, ‘Maybe I have what it takes,’” Barella said.

Barella previously worked at Michelin-starred Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, as well as a sous chef for Uchi and executive chef and partner at the now-closed Bellota in Denver. He is now the culinary director of Camp Pickle , set to open in Denver next year and Jaguar Bolera. Both are “eatertainment” concepts from Punch Bowl Social founder Robert Thompson, who also owned the now-closed downtown Denver restaurant Three Saints Revival .

Barella was approached to join “Top Chef” after an outstanding 2022, where he was nominated for a James Beard Award and earned a Rising Star Award from StarChefs . “It was the year that shaped my career,” he said.

“Top Chef” Season 21 was filmed in Wisconsin last summer. And it was perfect timing for Barella, who had just joined Thompson’s restaurant group months prior. “I was very grateful I got to do this at a time when I have no kids, the restaurants hadn’t broken ground yet, and I could remove myself without as many responsibilities.”

The first episode aired on Wed., March 20 with new ones coming out each week. For the inaugural elimination challenge, the 15 competitors were tasked to either make a soup, a stuffed pasta or a whole roasted chicken.

“I’ve seen the level that a ‘Top Chef’ brings, and as my own worst critic, I’m only as good as my last plate,” Barella said. “I never thought I’d be able to be at a level that would even allow me the opportunity to interview for ‘Top Chef.’”

Barella, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, got the soup category and immediately knew he’d make a pozole. “Even if it was the only dish I made on ‘Top Chef,’ I wanted it to be Mexican,” he said.

Barella moved from his hometown 14 years ago “with nothing but a bunch of family recipes,” he shared on the show. He went to law school for three years before he decided to start cooking at 24 years old. “When I started cooking, it was mostly because I wanted to eat, and learn how to make myself tacos because I couldn’t afford the nice restaurants,” he said. “Next thing I know, I’m competing on ‘Top Chef.’”

His secret to pozole: pure memory. “Recipe books don’t tell you the secrets that grandma did,” he said.

In the end, judges and chefs Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Milwaukee restaurateur Paul Bartolotta and Kristen Kish, Season 10 winner and the new host, crowned Barella supreme.

“Manny’s dish was just everything that I wanted,” Kish said on the show. “The cabbage had the crunch you wanted. The chicken was wonderful to bite into.”

“To make a Wisconsin bowling analogy, he rolled that thing right down the center, man,” Bartolotta said on the show.

Barella earned the first immunity of the season and will be safe in the next episode, guaranteeing him a spot in episode 3. In the meantime, he’ll be serving up his winning dish as a greeting to guests at his “Mientras” pop-up, taking place at Cantina Loca in LoHi with reservations available on March 25-26 and April 1-2. The four-course menu ($110 per person) features vibrant and flavorful dishes like roasted broccolini with green mole, lobster tetela, butternut squash barlotto, birria mafaldine and 100-layer lasagna.

“I speak two languages, and I was speechless,” Barella said of his first “Top Chef” win.

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View from Washington, DC

Sun will be 87 % obscured

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See what the solar eclipse will look like in your city

April 8 may be your best chance to see a total solar eclipse for two decades.

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If you could look down on Earth from space during April’s total solar eclipse, you would see the moon cast its shadow on the planet, creating a dark blob that will dart across the land from Mexico into Texas and up toward Maine and Canada.

And if you are lucky enough to be looking up from Earth in the moon’s shadow, you’ll see the sky fall dark, it will get colder and quieter, and for a special three to four minutes, you’ll be able to view the sun’s glowing white corona.

For many people in North America, April 8 is likely to be the best opportunity in their lifetime to experience a total solar eclipse. Most in the contiguous United States, however, will only experience a partial eclipse.

Whether you see a total or partial eclipse all depends on where you are to view the phenomenon.

An estimated 31.5 million people live within the roughly 115-mile wide path of totality that stretches from Mazatlán, Mexico, to Newfoundland, Canada. Inside the path, as the sun, moon and Earth become perfectly aligned, the moon blocks the sun and casts its shadow on Earth. The farther away you are from the center of this path, the less the moon will obscure the sun. People within the contiguous United States who are outside the path will see a partial eclipse.

“During a total eclipse, you’re plunged into the moon’s shadow. You’re in this eerie twilight. You can see bright stars and planets in the sky. And of course, the biggest attraction is you see the sun’s solar corona. You don’t see any of those things in the partial eclipse, even at 99 percent,” said Fred Espenak, a retired NASA astrophysicist who has experienced 30 total solar eclipses. “It’s the difference between night and day.”

The difference is so enormous, even veteran eclipse viewers often don’t have words that do justice to totality.

“You think you know what you’re going to experience, but you have no idea,” said Kate Russo, an author, psychologist and eclipse chaser who will be seeing her 14th total solar eclipse in April. “I always say it’s like the ineffable,” she added. “Sometimes things happen to us that we just have no words to describe.”

View of a total eclipse

Eagle Pass, TX • Sun will be 100% obscured

View of a partial eclipse

Washington, D.C. • Sun will be 87% obscured

Inside the path, as the moon creeps closer to fully blocking the sun, the temperature drops and the light and wind change. Insects and animals may fall silent. Some birds might return to home to roost. And even though you’re expecting it, Russo said, it’s still so surprising.

“You notice the darkening that’s coming toward you, and that’s really eerie and it puts the hair on the back of your neck,” she said. “It really is quite exciting and thrilling, and you just can’t believe that it’s going to happen.”

The fleeting moments of totality will last anywhere from a few seconds to over four minutes, depending where you are inside the path. Mexico and 12 U.S. states have cities that will get duration times longer than four minutes. The longest totality will be in Torreón, Mexico, and will last 4 minutes and 28 seconds . Compared with other eclipses that typically only last a couple of minutes, that’s quite a long time. In 2017, the longest duration was near Carbondale, Ill., where the eclipse lasted for 2 minutes and 42 seconds.

places to visit in colorado denver

Percentage of the sun

blocked by the moon

Indianapolis

Little Rock

San Antonio

Mexico City

Max coverage percent

Source: NASA

places to visit in colorado denver

Percentage of the sun blocked by the moon

Max coverage

Los Angeles

places to visit in colorado denver

For one of her books , Russo interviewed first-time eclipse viewers asking how totality made them feel. Their responses aligned with her own experiences: Within totality, the awe, connection and euphoria that people experience leaves them feeling both insignificant and a part of something greater than themselves, Russo said.

“We’re only on this Earth for just a split second of time. And I think these moments actually highlight that for you,” she said. “It puts all our other concerns or problems just into perspective.”

Within totality, there’s a lot to see when you remove your safety glasses. April’s eclipse will coincide with heightened solar activity. As the moon blocks the bright face of the sun, it reveals the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, and can show plumes of gas, referred to as streamers, escaping into space. These look like bright streaks or feathery rays flowing around the edge of the sun. Prominences, or magnetic loops that glow bright pink or red around the inner atmosphere, will also probably be more visible. Venus and Jupiter can also be seen on either side of the sun.

places to visit in colorado denver

Outside of totality, the partial eclipse — even a view with 99 percent of the sun obscured — must be viewed safely with a simple viewer or safety glasses . According to Espenak, once you’re out of the path of totality, there’s not a big difference in what you’ll see. “It’s just a thinner slice of the sun that’s visible. It’s only when you make that transformation from the partial eclipse to a total eclipse that you get this dramatic change.”

Patrick Poitevin, an eclipse chaser and astronomer from Derbyshire, England, has experienced 24 total eclipses. Poitevin, who said he’s always looking for a “different” or “extreme” view, will travel to Mazatlán in April. He added that there’s lots to see along the edge or just inside or outside the path of totality using a telescope with a hydrogen-alpha filter. “What a show!” he wrote of an eclipse last year in Kosrae, Micronesia, in which he saw from a mile outside of the path a nearly 360-degree view of the chromosphere, a colored layer of the sun’s atmosphere, just above the solar surface. “Mesmerising,” he added.

Eclipses over the next 50 years

This year’s eclipse

spin me

While total solar eclipses happen about every 18 months , they are often in remote parts of the world, including the middle of the ocean. By contrast, this eclipse will pass through several densely populated cities. “It’s not that common that you get a total eclipse going through your home country,” Espenak said. “We had the 2017 eclipse, and before that it was 1979. So that was a 38-year gap.”

The next total solar eclipse visible across the contiguous United States won’t be until 2045 and will travel from California through Florida. After that, a 2078 eclipse will pass through nine Southern states.

“If you can’t travel [to totality], still go out and enjoy the partial eclipse,” Russo advises. To view the eclipse in April, she will be heading to Uvalde County, Tex., where she has held workshops and helped local officials with planning. “This is your chance,” she said, “an easy chance to get into the path.”

Espenak, whose work at NASA included eclipse predictions, met his wife, Patricia, during a 1995 eclipse in India. For 25 years, Patricia had struck out on seeing totality — her view was either partial or cloudy. It was only in India where she finally saw totality. The two will be traveling from Arizona to Mazatlán to view April’s eclipse, and Fred will be speaking.

“ I’m excited at every single one. Over a lifetime of seeing these things, I get goose bumps, and there’s that thrill of seeing it every single time,” Espenak said. “No matter how many photographs or videos you look at, it’s nothing like the real McCoy.”

About this story

We created the eclipse animations by interpolating the moon’s path, calculating its trajectory based on the initial, midpoint and final positions during the eclipse.

Eclipse animation data was sourced from the Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses Database by Xavier M. Jubier, which is based on NASA’s eclipse predictions by Fred Espenak. The algorithms used were drawn from “Elements of Solar Eclipses 1951-2200” and “Astronomical Algorithms.” Eclipse track data was obtained from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio.

Eclipse city view animation speeds are not reflective of actual eclipse durations. Half of the city of San Antonio, Texas falls within totality and half falls outside of totality. So depending on where you are inside the city, the sun may not be 100% obscured as it is depicted in the animation.

Kevin Schaul and Denise Lu contributed to this report. Editing by Emily M. Eng and Victoria Jaggard. Copy editing by Vanessa Larson.

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