The name ‘Colorado’ would most likely bring powder-snow Mountains, skiing and craft beer to your mind. But there’s a lot more to the city of Denver for travelers than just natural beauty.
To the east of the Rocky Mountains foothills is this magnificent valley. Besides being the epicenter of cultural action, it hosts plenty of active, healthy and interesting lifestyle.
Denver emits a vibrant metropolitan charm as against other Colorado cities. And what gives it an edge over the other American cities is that it is vastly affordable. So here are the Top 31 Things to do in Denver:
Browse the Botanic Gardens
This gorgeous green space was covered well by Woody Allen in Sleeper. Spread across three different locations across Denver, Botanic Gardens is almost like a forest amidst the city limits! It houses a grand amphitheater for summer concerts, beautifully themed gardens, rotating exhibits and a conservatory.
Plan a picnic at the Washington Park
Right in the heart of Denver is another lush green space that harbors miles of jogging paths, gardens and two massive lakes- Smith Lake in the north and Grasmere in the south. Other than that, there are a lot of engaging activities like tennis courts, Boat rentals as well as swimming lessons and fitness classes at the Recreation Center.
Feel the city vibe at the Union Station
This public transit station cum extremely popular dining and shopping avenue is the heartbeat of Denver. Located in the bustling LoDo (Lower Downtown ) neighborhood, Union Station boards top hangouts like Amtrak Hub and The Crawford Hotel. Just relax on one of the comfortable couches here and get the hang of people-watching. There’s a reason why it’s called ‘Denver’s Living room’!
There’s Denver Art Museum for art buffs
The museum itself is an art, exhibiting over 68,000 artifacts including works of Vincent Van Gogh, Dali, etc. It’s most redeeming quality is the extensive collection of Western American Art sprawled across two buildings. Prefer to take a guided tour than losing yourself in the labyrinth of photographs, paintings and sculptures.
Party at the offbeat Red Rock Park and Amphitheater
For outdoorsy travelers and adventurers, this park is absolute bliss! Spectacular Rocky Mountains in the backdrop, ceaseless hiking trails and sandstone cliffs make the Red Rocks Park a fantastic geographic arcadia.
Parallel to this, the amphitheater boasts amazing acoustics (naturally, with the surrounding red rocks) when legends like John Denver, The Beatles and Tom Petty perform here.
Feed your intellect at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Both kids and adults love to visit this educational museum, housing everything from Dinosaur fossils to Egyptian mummies. Then there are wildlife exhibits, Space Odyssey area, a Planetarium and the epic IMAX theatre.
Catch a Game at the Coors Field
Home to Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies is this stadium in LoDo, named after a famous Beer. If not for a game, visit this place for its Interactive Area, on the Main Concourse. Don’t forget to sip on some of the best local brews of Denver at its Rooftop bar.
Take your kids to the Denver Zoo
Huge and fairly equipped is the Denver Zoo, modeled after a Kenyan Natural Preserve. It houses over 4,000 animals including Kangaroos, Orangutans, Black Rhinos, etc. head on to the Predator’ Ridge, a simulation of African savanna to catch a glimpse of lions, African dogs and hyenas.
And don’t forget The Aquarium
In a city circumscribed by mountains and deserts, the Aquarium is a delight! With more than 500 species of sea world, this place is home to the most vibrant Indian, Pacific, Hawaiian and Caribbean tropical fish.
Go extravagant with the 16th Street Mall
Looking for a place to binge out lots and lots of money? Well, the 16th Street Mall awaits you! This ceaseless pedestrian thoroughfare showcases plenteous shopping stores, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues. So shop in the daytime and party at night. You can take up the free MallRide service if walking so much is not your thing.
Chill out at the Larimer Square
Originally a historic venue, the Larimer Square has now become a very hip, urban area constituting nightclubs, restaurants and shopping avenues. Most of the city festivals and street performances take place in this plaza.
Visit the eclectic Molly Brown House Museum
An excellent example of Victorian architecture is the house of the ‘unsinkable’ Molly Brown, the Titanic shipwreck survivor. It’s a perfect place for history buffs who wish to delve into Denver’s history along with the lady’s shipwreck experiences.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High is perfect to grab a Football game
Denver Bronco’s home turf can host about 76,000 National Football League junkies in one go! A number of public art displays make the stadium one of the most artistic Stadiums in North America. Try hard to fetch a Game ticket, but if not, go for one of the guided tours.
Hike up Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Denver is nothing without its Rocky Mountains. Mount Evans is one such destination whose journey is all the more rewarding. Save a day to explore this 15 mile, 2 way road that takes you to heaven (metaphorically!). On your way up are a number of lookout points such as the Echo Lake Park to take a break or click a photograph.
Make sure you have good hiking boots for the hike. You can check out these additional resources for boot ideas.
Take your kids to the Children’s Museum of Denver
This museum takes a shift from the regular and cliché learning methods for kids. It regularly designs specialized programs and exhibits to enable ‘kids powered learning’.
Take up the Coors Brewery Tour
If you are a true beer fan, here’s where you can know how your favorite booze is made, bottled and packed. Know the history of the legendary Coors Brewery and fetch your three free beer samples while on your way back.
Witness Denver Symphony
Denver Symphony is the city’s official symphony orchestra that performs at the Denver Performing Arts Center. It hosts a series of symphonies, solo events and many educational outreach programs throughout the year. Take your partner for a romantic evening to one of its concerts.
Visit the Forney Museum of Transportation if you are a Wagon freak
This unique museums boasts more than 600 artifacts related to cars, bikes, planes and trains. As the slogan here goes ‘anything on wheels’, the museums aims to house a very offbeat collection of wagons including an Amphicar, a Stutz Fire Engine, a Big Boy Locomotive, etc.
Slurp on an Asian cuisine at ChoLon
This award winning Asian restaurant serves an eclectic combination of Chinese food, chilled beer, crisp wine, artistic cocktails and a lot more.
Plan a classy supper with Vest Dipping Grill
This eatery got its name from the Roman Goddess of the hearth and turns out to be a beautifully decorated kitchen serving delicious food and wine. The menu is inspired from lands across the globe and offers excellent meat options followed by a list of 30 mouthwatering sauces.
Explore Denver on two wheels
Experience the heartbeat of Denver by unraveling the paths slowly and gradually, on a bike. Take up a Bikalope tour that guides you through architectures spires and heritage sights, riverside pathways and boulevards, shopping avenues and many other hidden gems of the city.
Don’t miss out on a Peteybird Ice cream Bike
These pink n white ice cream bikes tour around the city, selling the most amazing ice cream sandwiches. These sandwiches are crafted in perfect, one bite sizes and devoured by tourists and locals alike.
Get jazzy at Jacks
Jazz at Jacks is a live music jazz club that hosts a number of local and touring bands. Enjoy authentic bistro-style food and drinks while taking in the laid-back ambience of the place.
Go Tamayo for authentic Mexican delight
Tamayo serves assorted Mexican cuisine and Tequila, but with a twist. Its impressive contemporary bar serves over 100 selected tequilas and other spirits. During happy hours, avail half priced margaritas, wines and sangria.
Visit the Denver Public Library
If you are a bibliophile and can’t resist books even while vacaying, the expansive Denver Library is at your service! It hosts multiple events, workshops and programs for children throughout the year.
Visit the Sacred Landmarks to gawk at some excellent architecture
For architectural buffs, The Sacred Landmarks would serve their vacation purpose. It includes a wide range of restored heritage sites, churches, mosques and the likes.
Stroll through LoDo
Lower Downtown in itself is a great place to relax in the evenings. A perfect blend of the Wild West and urbane vibe, it exhibits a large number of hidden gems of the city. Live music on a laid-back evening serves the purpose of an ideal vacation.
Don’t miss out the Great American Beer Festival
Make your way to the rightfully hyped Beer Festival, by hook or by crook. It’s almost like the Oktoberfest of the States!
Be a part of the long queues at Snooze
Denverites are all for breakfast foods, and Snooze literally nails them. Long queues may wear you off, but the delicious food would recharge your batteries in no time!
Have more fun at the Lakeside
This is almost like a natural amusement park of Denver. Based on the retro theme, the rides may give you a whiplash, but all for some good stories!
Experience Gelato perfection with the Little Man
Last but definitely not least, slurp your way through the long lines outside Little Man Ice Cream Parlor.
You have enough on your list for a nice Denver vacation. Make sure to explore the maximum. Happy Travels!