20 Best Things to Do in Denver, Colorado

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Denver, the capital city of Colorado, is affectionately known as the Mile High City due to its elevation of exactly one mile above sea level. Nestled against the backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Denver offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and a vibrant food and drink scene. As one of America’s fastest-growing cities, Denver has something for everyone – from nature enthusiasts seeking mountain escapades to art aficionados exploring world-class museums. 

A City with Altitude

Denver’s nickname as the Mile High City not only refers to its elevation but also embodies its lofty aspirations and vibrant energy. The city boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts looking to hike, bike, or simply soak up the sun amidst breathtaking natural landscapes. From snow-capped peaks in winter to blooming wildflowers in summer, Denver’s ever-changing scenery invites visitors to explore its diverse terrain throughout the year. 

A Gateway to Adventure

Beyond its bustling urban core lies an outdoor playground waiting to be discovered. With easy access to the Rocky Mountains just a short drive away, Denver serves as a gateway to endless adventures in nature. 

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie hitting the slopes for some world-class skiing or a leisurely hiker seeking hidden gems along scenic trails, Denver caters to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. The city’s proximity to national parks and wilderness areas makes it an ideal base camp for exploring Colorado’s rugged beauty. 

Outdoor Adventures in the Mile High City

Embrace the Natural Beauty of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

From Denver: Red Rocks, Evergreen, and Echo Lake Tour
Red Rocks Park / Denver, Colorado

Nestled just a short drive from downtown Denver, Red Rocks Park, and Amphitheatre offer a stunning natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking or biking along the park’s trails provides not only a great workout but also breathtaking views of towering red sandstone formations. The iconic amphitheater itself is a must-see, hosting world-renowned musical acts amidst the gorgeous backdrop of Colorado’s unique landscape. 

Book Now: From Denver: Red Rocks, Evergreen, and Echo Lake Tour

Hit the Slopes in the Rocky Mountains

national park, canyon, zion national park-979394.jpg
Rocky Mountain National Park

One of Denver’s most enticing features is its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, making it an ideal destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Just a scenic drive away lies renowned ski resorts like Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen, offering powdery slopes for skiing and snowboarding. Whether you’re an experienced rider or trying out snow sports for the first time, the Rockies provide an unforgettable alpine experience that should not be missed during your visit to Denver. 

Paddle Through Urban Adventure at Confluence Park

For a more laid-back outdoor experience right in the heart of Denver, head to Confluence Park where you can kayak or paddleboard along the South Platte River. This urban oasis provides a unique opportunity to enjoy water activities amidst city surroundings. Whether you’re seeking tranquility on the water or an adventurous outing with friends and family, Confluence Park offers a refreshing escape from bustling city life while still embracing Denver’s outdoor spirit. 

Outdoor Adventures

Hiking and Biking at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

Nestled within the stunning red rock formations just outside of Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre offer outdoor enthusiasts a playground of hiking and biking trails with unparalleled views. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual biker, this natural amphitheater provides a picturesque backdrop for your adventure. 

The Trading Post Trail is a popular choice for hikers, offering a moderate 1.4-mile loop that showcases the unique geological features of the area. For bikers, the Red Rocks Trail offers an exhilarating ride through rugged terrain and sweeping vistas. 

Skiing or Snowboarding in the Nearby Rocky Mountains

Denver’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains makes it a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Just a short drive from the city, you’ll find world-class ski resorts such as Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen that cater to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. 

Whether you’re seeking fresh powder runs or cozy apres-ski lounges, the Rocky Mountains offer an unforgettable winter experience. From challenging black diamond slopes to gentle beginner trails, there’s something for everyone in this snowy wonderland. 

Kayaking or Paddleboarding on Confluence Park’s South Platte River

For a more relaxed outdoor adventure in Denver, head to Confluence Park where the South Platte River meets Cherry Creek. This urban oasis provides opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding right in the heart of downtown. Glide along the gentle currents of the river while taking in views of Denver’s skyline against the backdrop of lush greenery. 

Rentals are available for those looking to try their hand at these water activities, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Confluence Park offers a serene escape from city life while still being conveniently located within reach of all that Denver has to offer. 

Cultural Experiences

Visit the Denver Art Museum for a blend of traditional and contemporary art

The Denver Art Museum, located in the Civic Center of Denver, is a cultural gem that showcases a diverse collection of art spanning centuries and continents. The museum’s unique architecture, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is a work of art in itself. 

Inside, visitors can explore galleries filled with traditional Native American artifacts, European masterpieces, contemporary installations, and much more. One of the highlights is the Hamilton Building with its striking angles and natural lighting that enhances the viewing experience. 

Art enthusiasts will be captivated by the museum’s special exhibitions that bring world-class artworks to Denver. From retrospectives of famous artists to cutting-edge contemporary showcases, there is always something new and exciting to discover at the Denver Art Museum. 

Additionally, the museum offers interactive experiences for visitors of all ages, including hands-on art-making activities and guided tours that provide insights into the rich history behind each piece. For those seeking a deeper connection with art and culture, the Denver Art Museum also hosts lectures, workshops, and events that delve into various artistic movements and themes. 

Whether you’re an avid art collector or simply appreciate beauty in all its forms, a visit to this institution is sure to inspire and enlighten. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to immerse yourself in a world where creativity knows no bounds. 

Explore the historic Larimer Square for shopping and dining

Larimer Square stands as a vibrant hub in downtown Denver where history meets modern-day charm. Lined with beautifully restored buildings from the 19th century that once housed saloons during Colorado’s Gold Rush era, this historic district now boasts an array of upscale boutiques, eclectic shops, cozy cafes, trendy bars, and acclaimed restaurants. 

Walking down Larimer Street feels like stepping back in time while enjoying all the conveniences of contemporary city life. Shopping enthusiasts will revel in exploring unique stores offering everything from locally crafted jewelry to vintage clothing and artisanal home goods. 

Foodies will delight in dining options ranging from gourmet cuisine served in elegant settings to casual eateries serving up comfort food favorites with a twist. Whether you’re looking for a stylish outfit or a gourmet meal made from locally sourced ingredients, 

Larimer Square has something for every taste and preference. In addition to its retail and culinary offerings, 

Larimer Square hosts events throughout the year such as outdoor concerts, festivals showcasing local talent, 

and holiday celebrations that transform this historic street into a lively gathering place for locals and tourists alike. 

Don’t forget to snap photos of Larimer Square’s iconic string lights stretching across the street—a symbol of warmth 

and festivity that encapsulates the spirit of this beloved neighborhood. 

Attend a performance at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Located in Morrison, just outside Denver, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most breathtaking music venues in America. This open-air amphitheater hosts performances by legendary musicians across genres, from rock to classical music, offering an unforgettable concert experience against a backdrop of natural beauty unlike any other. Visitors not only enjoy world-class music but also stunning views of Colorado’s majestic landscapes, from panoramic sunsets over the plains below to starlit nights under clear mountain skies.

Attending a concert at Red Rocks is an immersive sensory experience that connects you with nature and music on an intimate level. The acoustics are renowned for their exceptional quality due to the venue’s unique geological formations, which create natural sound enhancements. This makes every note resonate with crystal-clear clarity throughout the amphitheater. Many musicians have dubbed performing at Red Rocks as a bucket-list achievement due to its unparalleled atmosphere that elevates live music performances to unforgettable heights.

Whether you’re dancing under the stars during summer concerts or bundled up for winter shows, Red Rocks Amphitheatre promises an unparalleled entertainment experience that resonates long after the final encore.

Indulge in Farm-to-Table Dining at Mercantile Dining & Provision

Nestled in Denver’s historic Union Station, Mercantile Dining & Provision offers a culinary experience that celebrates locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The menu at Mercantile is a testament to the farm-to-table movement, with dishes that highlight the flavors of Colorado’s bountiful produce and artisanal products. 

From handcrafted charcuterie boards to inventive entrees like roasted lamb loin with wild mushrooms, each dish at Mercantile is a masterpiece of flavor and presentation. The ambiance at Mercantile is equally impressive, with a chic yet inviting decor that embraces the restaurant’s location within the beautifully restored Union Station. 

Guests can enjoy views of bustling trains while savoring their meal, creating a unique dining experience that blends history with modern culinary innovation. Whether you’re a food connoisseur or simply looking for a memorable dining experience in Denver, Mercantile Dining & Provision is sure to delight your taste buds and senses. 

Sip Craft Beer at Local Breweries like Great Divide Brewing Co.

Denver has earned its reputation as a craft beer mecca, and no visit to the city is complete without sampling some local brews. Great Divide Brewing Co. stands out as one of Denver’s premier craft breweries, known for its award-winning beers that push the boundaries of traditional brewing styles. 

From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts and refreshing pilsners, Great Divide offers a diverse selection of beers to suit every palate. The brewery itself is a hub of creativity and craftsmanship, with guided tours available for those interested in learning about the brewing process firsthand. 

Visitors can witness the magic behind creating these exceptional brews while enjoying tastings of Great Divide’s signature beers. With a welcoming atmosphere and knowledgeable staff eager to share their passion for craft beer, Great Divide Brewing Co. provides an authentic taste of Denver’s thriving brewery scene. 

Sample International Cuisine at Avanti Food & Beverage Collective Eatery

If you’re craving an eclectic culinary experience in Denver, look no further than Avanti Food & Beverage Collective eatery. This innovative dining concept brings together some of the city’s top chefs under one roof, offering diners a diverse selection of international cuisines in a casual and communal setting. 

From Korean barbecue tacos to Neapolitan-style pizzas and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Avanti showcases the best flavors from around the globe. Patrons can choose from multiple food stalls within Avanti, each specializing in a different cuisine or culinary style. 

This allows guests to mix and match dishes according to their preferences or embark on a culinary journey sampling flavors from various cultures all in one place. With an inviting atmosphere that encourages socializing and sharing plates with friends or fellow diners, Avanti Food & Beverage promises an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates diversity through delicious food. 

Family-Friendly Activities

Discover Interactive Exhibits at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a treasure trove of educational and entertaining exhibits for visitors of all ages. From prehistoric fossils to interactive displays on space exploration, the museum offers a diverse range of experiences. 

Families can embark on a journey through time in the Prehistoric Journey exhibit, marvel at the wildlife dioramas in the North American Wildlife Hall, or immerse themselves in hands-on science experiments at the Discovery Zone. With rotating special exhibitions and engaging programs, there’s always something new to discover at this fascinating museum. 

Have Fun with Animals at the Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo provides a fun and enriching experience for families looking to connect with wildlife from around the world. Home to over 4,000 animals representing 600 species, this zoo offers a variety of habitats to explore, including Primate Panorama, Predator Ridge, and Tropical Discovery. 

Visitors can see majestic lions, playful elephants, colorful tropical birds, and so much more. The zoo also focuses on conservation efforts and education about endangered species, making it not just entertaining but also informative for visitors of all ages. 

Enjoy Thrill Rides and Games at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

For families seeking excitement and adrenaline-pumping fun, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park is the perfect destination. This amusement park features an array of thrilling rides ranging from roller coasters to water slides. 

Visitors can challenge their bravery on rides like the Mind Eraser roller coaster or cool off in the water park’s wave pool and lazy river. With attractions suitable for all ages – from gentle carousels for little ones to heart-stopping drop towers for thrill-seekers – Elitch Gardens promises a day filled with laughter, excitement, and unforgettable memories for the whole family. 

Shopping Destinations

Browse local boutiques in the Tennyson Street Cultural District

Tennyson Street Cultural District in Denver is a haven for those seeking unique and eclectic shopping experiences. Lined with charming boutiques, art galleries, and specialty stores, this vibrant district offers a diverse range of products to cater to every taste. 

Explore clothing stores showcasing local designers, browse through vintage shops for one-of-a-kind pieces, or pick up handcrafted jewelry and artwork from talented artisans. The welcoming atmosphere of Tennyson Street makes it a delightful place to spend an afternoon strolling and indulging in retail therapy. 

Find

Denver is a city that prides itself on supporting local businesses and offering shoppers a mix of both well-known brands and hidden gems. In addition to the Tennyson Street Cultural District, visitors can find shopping delights scattered throughout the city. Head to Larimer Square for high-end fashion boutiques and upscale shops set amidst historic buildings. 

If you’re looking for outdoor gear or stylish Western wear, the shops in Lower Downtown (LoDo) won’t disappoint. Whether you’re searching for home décor, artisanal goods, or trendy fashion items, Denver’s shopping scene has something for everyone. 

Conclusion

Denver truly stands out as a dynamic city with an abundance of activities that cater to various interests. From outdoor adventures in breathtaking natural landscapes to immersing oneself in rich cultural experiences and enjoying culinary delights from farm-to-table restaurants—Denver offers a well-rounded experience for visitors of all kinds. 

As you explore this vibrant metropolis and engage in its diverse offerings, you’ll not only create cherished memories but also gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and spirit of the Mile High City. Embrace the opportunities Denver presents, soak in its charm, and let yourself be captivated by all that this enchanting city has to offer!

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