The ultimate travel guide to Denver, Colorado –free and written by a local!
There are a lot of great things to do in Denver, Colorado, and this Denver visitors guide will go over the best of them. From exploring Denver points of interest, to trying a beer at the best Denver breweries, to attending a concert at Red Rocks, we’ve got you covered for your Denver vacation itinerary.
And do you need to figure out where to stay in Denver? This Denver travel guide will also go over all the best places to stay in Denver for all budgets — whether you are looking for boutique hotels in Denver, Denver vacation rentals, the best Denver neighborhood for nightlife, or just a fun hostel to rest your head in the Mile High City.
I’ll also provide you with a brief overview of the top neighborhoods in Denver so that you can decide where to stay, where to eat, and where to go out in Denver. This Denver travel guide will also go over other information you need to know, like how to use public transportation in Denver (including how to get from DIA to downtown Denver), the best time of year to visit Denver, the impact of marijuana tourism on the city, are more.
I’m a third-generation Coloradan who has traveled to over sixty countries around the world. But no matter how far I travel, Denver is and always will be my home. So I wrote this Denver travel guide to make sure that others can get the most out of their Denver vacation. I hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.
There is a TON of information in this ultimate Denver travel guide, so I suggest that you use the below table of contents to skip around!
[disclaimer: this Denver visitors guide includes affiliate links, which may provide a small commission to my site (e.g., if you book a Denver hotel or Denver hostel through my links). You don’t have to use my links, but it’s no extra cost to you and helps me to keep providing free travel guides to Denver, Colorado and elsewhere]
From its humble origins as a mining settlement established in the 1850s, Denver Colorado has grown into the premier city in the entire Rocky Mountain region. And in recent years, the rest of America has begun to realize that the Mile High City is not the cowtown of its reputation of yore. The city’s population has swelled over the past decade, as people — especially young professionals — have fled the coasts in search of a more relaxed lifestyle, better weather, access to the mountains, more affordable housing, and the many fun things to do in Denver.
In short, Denver is currently one of the hottest cities in the entire United States.
And it’s easy to see why. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Denver’s climate will keep you cheery even during the depths of winter. With easy access to some of the most beautiful mountains this side of Alaska, you can spend your days hiking or skiing and still return to town in time to grab dinner and check out one of Denver’s many new microbreweries.
Oh, and there is one other thing I’ve not yet mentioned that at least partially accounts for Denver’s recent popularity growth with tourists: grass. And no, I’m not talking about the stuff that grows on the ground. Since Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, weed tourism has become an undeniable reality of life in Denver.
But no matter what your travel goals, Denver is sure to surprise you. There is a reason it’s the fastest growing large city in the U.S. Actually, there are a bunch of them. Read on to learn what the fuss is all about!
Choosing the best neighbhorhoods in Denver is difficult because there are so many good candidates! Denver is composed of dozens of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character — see this map to get a sense of how the city is broken down. There are too many Denver neighborhoods to cover them all fairly in this guide, but I’ll briefly go over the nine Denver neighborhoods that are most popular with visitors so that you can find where to stay in Denver.
Note that one confusing thing about Denver’s neighborhoods is that the “official” terms for some of the more popular neighborhoods don’t necessarily align with the terms that locals will throw around. For example, in recent years the slang “RiNo” (standing for “River North”) has come to be used to describe large portions of the historic neighborhood Five Points (some critical travelers might observe that the newer slang terms often correspond to gentrifying areas).
Since 2014, when the historic train station re-opened to the public after a major renovation project, Union Station has quickly established itself as the cultural heart of Denver. If you are figuring out where to stay in Denver, and want to be in the center of it all, this is the area for you.
The surrounding neighborhood consists largely older warehouse-style buildings to the east of the station and newer construction to the west, all filled with some of Denver’s best restaurants, boutique shops, bars, and hotels. If you can afford it, my top recommendation for first-time visitors is that this is the best area to stay in Denver! You’ll be in the middle of it, all with easy access to transportation options, fine dining, sports and performances, nightlife, and the most vibrant parts of the city. So for a first time visitor, I’d suggest Union Station as the best neighbhorhood in Denver.
Don’t miss: Union Station (of course!), the renovated interior of the train station is a must-see while in Denver.
Just north of Union Station lies Five Points, one of Denver’s most historic neighborhoods and probably the best neighbhorhood to stay in Denver for nightlife. At one point it was known as the “Harlem of the West,” with discriminatory housing laws in the rest of the city resulting in this neighborhood becoming the focal point of the city’s African American community. In recent years, Five Points has been the target of heavy development and gentrification, with the areas along Larimer and Lawrence streets, in particular, seeing a boom in construction projects over the past five years.
Today, Five Points (aka RiNo) is home to a growing number of hot clubs, cool breweries, and fun and innovative dining options like The Source, where multiple restaurants, a brewery, a bakery and more all share a single roof. RiNo is a great place to spend your evenings while traveling to Denver and this could be your best area to stay in Denver if nightlife and dining are on the top of your list of things to do while in Denver.
Don’t miss: Work & Class, which serves up small shareable plates and delicious cocktails inside a converted shipping container.
Sporting soaring office skyscrapers and a long pedestrian mall along 16th street (complete with a free shuttle service that runs the entire length of downtown Denver from the Capitol to Union Station), this is the center of Denver’s growing business community. It’s also home to the Denver Convention Center, a huge multipurpose space that plays host to a wide variety of conferences and events (including the annual Great American Beer Festival), and the Denver Performing Arts Center.
If you are traveling to Denver on business or for a convention, the many hotels here make for a convenient option. But, in my opinion, the area can be a little dull at night (because almost nobody actually lives here). This is really only the best area to stay in Denver for business travelers, those loyal to a particular hotel chain, or those who plan to spend all of their time at the Colorado Convention Center.
Don’t miss: The views from 54Thirty rooftop bar at the newly opened Le Meridian hotel (seasonal).
Home to the Colorado State Capitol and the Molly Brown Museum, Capitol Hill is a blend of residential housing (largely townhomes and low-rise apartment buildings) and gritty but more affordable nightlife and dining options. It’s also home to some of the more interesting stretches of Colfax Avenue, which Playboy once called “the longest, wickedest street in America,” and where you can find tattoo parlors, marijuana dispensaries, and run-down liquor stores nestled between trendy breweries and value dining options.
If you’re the kind of traveler who likes Williamsburg or Silverlake, or if you’re just looking for an affordable but central alternative to the city’s more expensive neighborhoods, you’ll love Capitol Hill. Despite its grit, it remains one of the best neighbhorhoods in Denver.
Don’t miss: The free walking tours of Denver which meet near the Capitol. See here for more info (be sure to tip your guide though).
This is my current home and one of the hottest residential locations in Denver. Highlands — as the name suggests — is located up a bit of a hill that gives many spots stunning vistas of the downtown Denver skyline. The southern part of the neighborhood, often called “LoHi,” is home to some of the most expensive restaurants in the city, including the ever-trendy Linger, which is set in a former mortuary. There is also a stretch of cool bars, restaurants, and shops further north along Tennyson Avenue.
The neighborhood is a great base for those looking for a quieter scene, as LoHi tends to calm down a bit after sunset. There are a number of larger AirBnBs on offer here, as well as mid-market hotels fronting Speer Avenue that may offer value given their proximity to downtown.
Don’t miss: Ice cream at iconic Little Man, where servers scoop up the good stuff from a building shaped like a milk can.
This smaller residential neighborhood is a quick walk away from the CBD, and a good value option for those visiting on business or looking to move to Denver (I lived here for years, and still have a home there). Though not as lively as the surrounding neighborhoods, there is a mini-stretch of dining and nightlife along 17th Avenue that can still “Uptown funk you up.” If you want to hang out on Colfax without having to actually stay on Colfax, or if you need to be downtown but want a little more character in your neighborhood, this is a good area to stay in Denver for you.
Don’t miss: Ace, where modern Asian food, stylish but affordable cocktails, and ping pong (yes, ping pong!) all combine in an unexpected mix that works much better than it sounds.
In recent years, the area along South Broadway has become the hip spot for Denver’s younger professional set. The anchor attraction here is Punch Bowl Social, a huge complex that includes a restaurant, several bars, a bowling alley, shuffleboard, and an upstairs game room. But you’ll also want to check out the rest of the many smaller, hip joints that dot South Broadway from 1st Street down to Alameda Avenue. From swank restaurants to cheap eats, there are plenty of places to grab a bite. And if you’re in a shopping mood, skip the chain stores and check out the many incredible botiques that line South Broadway. Bottom line: if you want a fun area to stay in Denver outside of downtown, this is it. Along with RiNo, this might be the best place to stay in Denver for nightlife.
Don’t miss: Sputnik, a tiny hipster bar that feels a bit like a mini-diner, but which serves up cheap drinks and a menu with a lot of vegan-friendly options.
The Cherry Creek neighborhood is best known for its high-end residential units, as well as it’s enormous shopping complex by the same name. There are also a number of dining options here, though quite a few of them fall into the chain variety. This is the best area to stay in Denver if you’re intent on doing a lot of shopping or if you want a high-end hotel outside of downtown Denver. Otherwise, I’d candidly recommend giving it a pass as it can feel a bit sterile to visitors.
Don’t miss: The rooftop at Departure, a modern Asian restaurant serving up inspired cuisine and cocktails in Cherry Creek North.
Home to many students and younger families, the Washington Park neighborhood is a residential area set around the expansive park by the same name, which is worth a visit while traveling to Denver — especially during good weather, when the park comes alive with bikers, runners, skaters, basketball players, and more. Although it is a wonderful Denver neighborhood, it’s a little far out from the rest of the city, so I wouldn’t recommend staying in Washington Park unless you have a car or willing to spend some time taking Denver public transportation.
Don’t miss: Volleyball at WashPark during the summer, when dozens of nets are set up in the park and informal games continue until dusk nearly every day.
Once upon a time, Denver was a relatively affordable destination. But between its emergence as a business hub and the masses of young people moving to Denver from the coasts with their purchasing power, the days of abundant affordable places to stay in Denver are unfortunately long gone. With that said, Denver is still more affordable than most coastal U.S. destinations, and the rise of sharing economy options like AirBnB mean that it’s still possible to find a place to stay in Denver on a budget.
So, no matter what your budget, here’s your guide to the best places to stay in Denver, Colorado. Note that approximate prices for a standard double room are indicated as follows (top choices are marked with a “*”):
$$$$ – $300+/night
$$$ – $200-$300/night
$$ – $100-$200/night
$ – <$100/night
*The Four Seasons ($$$$) – With a prime location between the CBD and LoDo, and great views to boot, this top-notch hotel is a great option for those in town on business but eager to steal away to Union Station or Larimer Square for a bit of fun during your spare time. Check prices on Booking.com
Le Meridien ($$$) – One of the newest luxury hotels in Denver, and in the middle of the CBD, the Le Meridien hotel is a stylish and modern option for the Denver business traveler. Check prices on Booking.com
JW Marriott ($$$$) – Located in Cherry Creek, this hotel has often played host to visiting Presidents and dignitaries. If you want luxury and class outside of downtown Denver, this is your best bet. Check prices on Booking.com
The Ritz Carlton ($$$$) – With gorgeous views of the mountains, a central location, and a well-designed if traditional interior, this is a solid option for a luxury hotel in Denver. Check prices on Booking.com
*The Brown Palace Hotel ($$$) – This historic triangular-shaped hotel is a Denver institution. If you’ve got the cash and are looking for a true Denver experience, stay here. Don’t miss out on afternoon tea. Oh, and watch out for the ghosts! Check prices on Booking.com
The Crawford Hotel ($$$$) -You’ll be in the middle of it all at the Crawford, which is located on the upper levels of the newly renovated historic Union Station. The rooms are pretty swanky to boot. Check prices on Booking.com
*The Oxford Hotel ($$$) – One of Denver’s oldest hotels, you’ll love the traditionally-furnished rooms and the location right across from Union Station. Be sure to grab a drink at The Cruise Room, Denver’s oldest bar. If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in Denver and want a classy, traditional hotel, this is it! Check prices on Booking.com
*Nativ Hotel ($$$) – A small but fashionable hotel that made headlines when, upon its 2015 opening, it announced that it would be the state’s first marijuana-friendly hotel. It later had to back off that stance after community pressure, but it remains a stylish and unique Denver hotel option with a great location near Union Station. On weekends, the basement club throbs until the wee hours. Check prices on Booking.com
The ART Hotel ($$$) – Modern and stylish doesn’t begin to describe this newer modern-art focused hotel on Broadway. Be sure to check out the patio bar for great views. Check prices on Booking.com
Patterson Inn ($$$) – Stay in this French-style chateau in Capitol Hill for an unforgettable Denver experience. Complimentary social hours each evening bring guests together for free beverages and hour d’oeuvres. Check prices on Booking.com
Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel ($$) – A stylish option for business travelers or families figuring out where to stay in Denver, this hotel sports a vaulted ornate lobby ceiling that’s worth a visit even if you aren’t staying here. Check prices on Booking.com
*Aloft Denver Downtown ($$) – The rooms here may not be enormous, but they are well designed. And, with a central location in the middle of the CBD is perfect if you are in town for business, to attend a convention, or to attend an event at the Pepsi Center. Check prices on Booking.com
*Hampton Inn & Suites Speer Boulevard ($$) – A bit cheaper than the downtown outpost of the same chain, this location on Speer Boulevard still puts you a long walk or a very short Uber ride from downtown. Plus, the many dining options in LoHi are just around the corner. It’s also one of the most affordable hotels near Pepsi Center Denver (about a 20 minute walk away), so if you want to walk to a concert or game, you can stay here. Check prices on Booking.com
Lumber Baron Inn & Gardens ($$) – Set in an 1890 home, this iconic Denver bed and breakfast is located in the northern part of the Highlands, which means you’ll be a bit outside of the center. But it’s still close enough with a car or Uber, and the price is right. Plus, it has a fascinating history (including a double murder). Check prices on Booking.com
*Hostel Fish ($) – The coolest place to stay in Denver for international travelers, this hostel boasts a friendly and cheap bar, clean and modern dorms, and frequent organized activities including pub crawls on weekends. Check prices on Booking.com
Ember Hostel ($) – The early 20th-century decor will give you a true Denver experience at this Capitol Hill hostel. Dorm rooms and stylish privates are available. Check prices on Booking.com
1850 Chestnut Places Apartments ($$) – Located in the stylish RiNo district, these serviced apartments are a solid choice if you want a little more space. And you’ll be spoiled for dining and nightlife options in Denver’s hottest neighborhood. Check prices on Booking.com
Stay Alfred Premier Lofts on Market St ($-$$) – Considering the prime location on Market Street, these serviced apartments are a steal. Check prices on Booking.com
If hotels or hostels aren’t your thing, why don’t you try out Airbnb? With thousands of offerings around Denver, Airbnb is a great and affordable alternative housing option in Denver. Just check the reviews carefully and use the neighborhood guide above to find a place in an area that suits your travel goals.
And if it’s your first time using Airbnb, you can get $40 off your first booking with this link!
A few things to know about using Airbnb in Denver:
BONUS: Save 2-10% on your Denver accommodation right now! All you have to do is sign up for Ebates via this link. It’s easy, it’s free to use, and it’ll give you cash back when you complete an eligible booking on any number of hotel sites. You can also read my full guide to using Ebates to save money on travel, online purchases and more, here.
Once upon a time, Denver was mostly viewed by tourists as a waystation on the way to the mountains. But people have recently realized that Denver is a destination in its own right and that there are a ton of fun things to do in Denver. Whether you are just here for a quick Denver weekend getaway or plan to soak in the city for awhile, there is plenty to keep you busy in the Mile High City.
All of the below sites can be explored independently, but if you’re the sort of traveler who prefers to have things arranged in advance for you, you can click here to check out a ton of organized tours on offer in Denver. They have everything from food tours to photography tours.
Whether you prefer sipping a cocktail at a speakeasy, relaxing over a few beers on a patio, or dancing the night away at a throbbing club, Denver has you covered in the nightlife department.
If you plan to stay in Denver for more than a few days, you should really try out the Denver Passport Program. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Denver. Basically you get shipped a adorable little “passport” that you can take around to dozens of great drinking establishments around the city and get 2-for-1 drinks when your passport is stamped! Best yet, use the code “NATE” when you purchase and you’ll get $5 off the price!
There are several clusters of Denver nightlife areas, with each area catering to different types of crowds. Fortunately, Denver’s compact size makes it relatively easy to move between areas — so if you go to one and it’s not to your taste, it’s easy to move on in an Lyft or Uber (use this code get your FIRST UBER RIDE FREE: 7ujsk). Nonetheless, it’s helpful to pick an area to go out in in Denver, so here’s a general overview of some of the more popular nightlife areas in Denver:
This nightlife vein in downtown Denver tends to focus more on high-end bars and restaurants, meaning it’s a great place to get your night started or to seek out a relatively quiet spot to spend the evening chatting with friends. With that said, there is a stretch of bars along Market Street from 14th to 15th Streets that stay quite lively late into the morning (check out Gaslamp if you’re in the mood for a younger and energetic crowd).
There are a number of excellent high-end bars along the block of Larimer Street between 14th Street and 15th Street (known as Larimer Square). The top choice here is the Green Russell, a semi-hidden speakeasy serving consistently excellent cocktails in a dimly lit basement. A few blocks from Larimer Square, you’ll find a number of excellent bars in and around Union Station. Inside the station is The Terminal Bar, a mid-range joint that is busy at nearly all hours of the day. Across from the station on Wynkoop Street is Machete Tacos, which serves up some of the strongest margaritas in town.
The blocks of Blake, Market, and Larimer Street around Coors Field comprise the most established nightlife area in Denver. If you’re looking for a crazy night out in the liveliest Denver nightlife area, this is likely to be your top choice. There are a number of enormous venues sporting multiple bars, patios, and giant dance floors. Popular options for a large venue include View House, The Tavern, and the Gin Mill. You can also sip your drink while playing a large variety of vintage video games at 1Up or try the scorpion shots at the 70s-themed Retro Room. Or, if you’re in the mood for serious clubbing, check out who’s playing at Beta Nightclub.
My personal favorites here are Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, a bar whose theme evokes the building’s history as a brothel, and Mile High Spirits, a distillery serving up affordable cocktails in an enormous space with a large dancefloor (expect lines, but no cover, on the weekends). Be aware that the Ballpark area tends to attract a younger crowd, and that on weekends or after a Rockies game the streets can get quite rowdy. If you’re in university or just a few years removed, you may love the scene here. If you’re older or looking for something more refined, you might be better served to check out the other Denver nightlife areas.
A sprawling area spanning from Park Avenue all the way up past 38th Ave, RiNo offers breweries, jazz clubs, speakeasies, hipster dive bars, and more. You might have to look a little harder, as things are more spread apart up here, but you’ll be rewarded for the effort. The densest concentration of nightlife in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood can be found in the blocks around 27th and Larimer.
The hipster crowd won’t want to miss out on the Meadowlark, a cozy basement/patio joint that offers live DJs or bands most nights of the week. If you want to grab a brew, check out Our Mutual Friend or Epic Brewing Company. And if you’re in the mood for something a little classier, you’ll find Millers & Rossi hidden behind a secret door in an art gallery.
Popular with Denver’s young professional set, the stretch of South Broadway from 3rd Ave to Alameda Avenue offers a great variety of options. The enormous mega-complex Punch Bowl Social steals the show here, while the dozens of beers on tap at Historian’s Ale House make it a must stop for any beer lover. And on a weekend night, you’re likely to find a lively scene and a small dance floor at the Irish Rover or Syntax Physic Opera.
If you’re in the mood to get away from downtown, and want a lot of options in a relatively compact area, I recommend the South Broadway area. It’s even easy enough to make your own bar crawl by starting at one end of the strip and working your way up or down.
Some of Denver’s most affordable nightlife options can be found in the Capitol Hill and nearby Uptown areas. There are a number of bars along Colfax Avenue, including the aptly named Prohibition and the famous Filmore Auditorium concert venue (check the schedule). There is another strip of quieter nightlife options up along 17th Avenue, including the Ace ping pong joint and Williams Tavern, a bar so divey that the bar itself is duct-taped together. The Denver nightlife area also offers a number of options for LGBT travelers, including X Bar and Charlie’s.
Note that, while anyone used to city life should feel perfectly safe here, this is an area where you need to exercise a little more caution than elsewhere in Denver.
If you’re serious about your partying, this relatively small nightlife area in Denver might be just right for you. Centered around 11th and Broadway, you’ll find a multi-story club featuring A-list DJs at Vinyl (buy tickets in advance). Across the street, the Living Room offers a rotating cast of DJs in a chill setting. And around the alley at Milk you’ll find a center point of Denver’s alternative scene.
And if you can’t decide whether you want to go clubbing or get religious, you need to get to The Church, where DJs spin under lasers bouncing off the stained glass of the converted church.
Denver has a dizzying offering of bars, breweries, nightclubs, speakeasies, and more. And, as the city continues to grow, new institutions seem to sprout up overnight. But below I’ve identified some of the best bars in Denver, organized by category depending on the type of evening you are looking for.
And remember to check out the Denver Passport Program for 2-for-1 drinks at 64 bars around Denver. (and use the code NATE to get $5 off the cost of a passport).
Foodies might find themselves in an unexpected heaven in Denver’s dining scene. With Denver’s population boom has come a surge in the city’s culinary offerings. It seems that almost everyday a new hip restaurant is opening somewhere in Denver. With prices that are still relatively affordable by American standards, this is a great place to splurge out and treat yourself a bit. But, no matter your budget, you’re sure to find great places to eat all over Denver.
Below is my guide to the best restaurants in Denver, sorted into various categories depending on what type of Denver dining experience you are looking for:
Denver makes a great base for exploring the rest of the Front Range. The Rocky Mountains are likely to be high aon anyone’s Denver itinerary, but from brewery tours to city breaks to sand dunes, there are a number of other excellent options for daytrips from Denver.
Note that you are likely to need access to a car for most of these daytrips, though Golden and Boulder can be easily reached from Denver via public transit.
Of, if you prefer to have things organized for you, you can click here to check out the many tours that you can buy which will take care of your entire daytrip for you.
If you only have time for one daytrip from Denver, then go to Rocky Mountain National Park. A 90-120 minute drive from downtown, Rocky Mountain National Park offers stunning year-round scenery. If you’re the active type, there is plenty of hiking and biking trails here, or you feel like being more sedentary, you can take in the mountain views and smells while driving the scenic route through the park.
Denver’s hip cousin, Boulder is part university town, part liberal enclave, and part mountain base. It’s close enough to the front range that you can go hiking straight from the city center, but still offers a solid selection of restaurants and nightlife along the famous Pearl Street pedestrian mall. Getting to Boulder from Denver is fairly simple: express buses leave frequently from Union Station.
If you want to hit the slopes by day, but still be back in town in time for a brew or a show, Breckenridge or nearby Copper Mountain and Keystone are good bets. The skiing and snowboarding aren’t quite as good as you’ll find deeper in the mountains, but the price is right and you won’t have to shell out for pricey mountain accommodation.
Though Denver has plenty of great beer of its own, true hopheads will want to venture up to Fort Collins. The city is becoming a mecca for microbreweries, headlined by the fast-growing employee-owned New Belgium Brewing Co. You can sign up for a tour through many of the breweries, or find organized brewery-hopping tours on offer from Denver.
If you think Red Rocks is something, just wait until you see Colorado Spring’s Garden of the Gods. The jaw-dropping red-colored sedimentary rock formations make for stunning Instagram opportunities. The park also sports several miles of hiking and biking trails, plus picnic spots galore. Best of all, entrance is free, making it a fun and affordable daytrip from Denver!
Part frontier town, part modern adventure paradise, Golden has an enviable and picturesque setting at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Perhaps most famous as the home of Coors beer, tours of the brewery remain popular despite the fact that much better brews can be found at the many taphouses in town. Meanwhile, Golden serves as a popular base for adventure sports, especially white water rafting, mountain biking, and rock climbing. In the summer, you can bring your own tube and brave the ice-cold Clear Creek White Waterpark. Best yet, it’s possible to get from downtown Denver to downtown Golden by taking the West Rail Line from Union Station.
Talk to any Denverite long enough and they’re bound to casually mention the number of “14ers” they’ve climbed. The term refers to Colorado’s fifty-three 14,000+ foot mountains. If you’re looking to conquer and easy one yourself, try hiking Grays Peak. But if you want an even easier option (some might call it cheating…), you can drive to the top of 14,625 foot Mount Evans for some stunning views. Note that the access byway is only open seasonally. See here for more info.
Long a city dependent on the automobile, Denver’s public transportation network has improved remarkably over the past decade. And with the advent of car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, it’s easier than ever to get around Denver.
Denver International Airport (DIA) is a world-class airport, but unfortunately, it is located far from downtown Denver. Like, ridiculously far. Nonetheless, you have a number of options for getting from DIA to downtown Denver:
The first question you need to address when deciding on your Denver transportation plans is whether to rent a car in Denver. Once a necessity for visiting the city, my advice is that a car rental is no longer really needed to get around if you’re just planning to stay in Denver itself. But if you’re planning to take day trips to the mountains or elsewhere, you’re probably going to need wheels one way or another.
Note that parking in downtown Denver can be expensive (your options are pricey garages or metered street spots that cap out at 2 hours), although free street parking is often available further outside of the city center.
Here’s how you can get around Denver without a car:
There’s no denying that weed has become a big draw for visitors to Denver ever since Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2014. Indeed, the impact of marijuana has been so noticeable that it gives new meaning to Denver’s nickname as the “Mile High City.”
Whether you intend to consume or not, no Denver visitors guide would be complete without a brief guide to what you need to know about cannabis in Colorado:
Denver, Colorado is an incredible travel destination that, despite it’s growing popularity, is still an emerging destination (especially for visitors coming to Denver from abroad). You’ll find that the city is welcoming and very friendly to visitors.
Here’s some basic information that you need to know for your Denver vacation:
Denver has a sunny, dry, arid climate that experiences all four seasons — sometimes in the same day! See this chart for information on the average highs and lows in Denver by month, but be aware that the weather can change quickly here. Here’s a quick rundown of Denver’s climate by season:
Springtime in Denver is gorgeous, with mild temperatures sometimes interrupted by the occasional freak snowstorm (don’t worry, the snow will probably melt off in the sun the next day).
Summer in Denver can get warm, but rarely is it so hot that it is unbearable to be outside — and if it does get hot, just head on up to the mountains!
Autumn is my personal candidate for the best time to visit Denver. Around September, the summer heat gives way to a pleasant temperature all day, while in October the leaves in the city start to turn into a gorgeous palette of fall colors.
Lastly, Winter in Denver can vary from freezing cold to surprisingly pleasant (it seems we always get at least one 70 degrees day in January). Denver also receives far less snow than people seem to think, but there are usually a few big storms each year, with most hitting in February and early March.
Denver’s climate means is that, outside of the summer, you should plan to pack layers as it can easily be warm during the day but brisk in the evening. There are also a few other items that you’ll want to consider packing when traveling to Denver:
Lastly, here are a few assorted practical tips to make the most out of your trip to Denver:
If you’re visiting Denver from abroad, I recommend getting travel insurance. The American healthcare system is one of the most expensive in the world, and should you end up needing an ambulance or emergency care, the bills can quickly run into the 10s or even 100s of thousands of dollars.
I personally travel with travel insurance from World Nomads and highly recommend them. You can check them out here.
That’s it for this Denver Visitors Guide! If you loved it, I hope you’ll let me know in the comments below.
And if you are a frequent traveler, be sure to check out my list of 20+ AWESOME Resources for Every Traveler. It’s one page with all the travel sites I use to book my own travel!
Oh, and if you are on Pinterest, be sure to Pin this for later here:
Nate Hake has traveled to 65+ countries across six continents around the world and blogs about his travels at TravelLemming.com. He is from Denver, Colorado, recently concluded a six month stint living in Mexico, and is now currently traveling in Thailand.