13 Denver Travel Tips & Things to Know (By a Local)
Denver, Colorado is a premier destination for culture, cuisine, outdoor adventure, and more. To help you prepare for all of Denver’s fun things to do, we’ve put together a list of 13 Denver travel tips. Be sure to read the entire article, as these suggestions will help save you money and ensure a positive experience!
I’ve lived in Denver for 6 years and learned to navigate the city, visited the top attractions, and explored many nearby destinations. Follow these tips for visiting Denver to enjoy what makes Denver unique and blend right in with the knowledgeable locals.
Table of Contents
- 13 Travel Tips for Denver
- Pack for Varying Weather
- Know How to Get Around Denver
- Choose Where to Stay
- Don’t Miss Denver’s Highlights
- Take a Daytrip from Denver
- Explore the Outdoors
- Be Respectful of Nature
- Avoid Altitude Sickness
- Visit a Craft Brewery
- Check out a Legal Dispensary
- Eat Like a Local
- Cheer on Denver’s Sport Teams
- Protect Your Trip With Travel Insurance
- FAQs About Visiting Denver
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13 Travel Tips for Denver
Pack for Varying Weather
Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Denver experiences a wide range of weather. To be prepared for all conditions, follow the tips outlined in our Colorado packing list guide! Overall, when it comes to clothing, the key is to dress in layers. Don’t be surprised to start the day in a sweater and by afternoon, find yourself comfortable in a t-shirt!
👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: A wind/water-resistant jacket and sun-protective clothing are sure to come in handy, regardless of the season!
Know How to Get Around Denver
Getting around Denver is easy, with or without a car. From the airport, you can take the SkyRide bus or RTD light rail directly to Union Station. Of course, ride-sharing services and car rentals are available, too.
You can explore the downtown area by walking, biking, and even scootering. Also, be sure to take advantage of the free MallRide and MetroRide. This public transportation provides access to attractions like 16th Street Mall and Civic Center Park, some of the best free attractions in Denver.
👉 Bonus Tip: Don’t miss the many major Denver sites located just blocks from this bus route! These include the Denver Art Museum, Molly Brown House Museum, and Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Choose Where to Stay
When you visit Denver, you’ll have no trouble finding a hotel that suits your needs and preferences. There are several great Denver neighborhoods, and our guide on where to stay in Denver will help you decide what area is best for you.
Aside from varying locations, Denver hotels range in style and price for every type of traveler. If you’re interested in a luxury hotel, book at The Crawford. Want to be close to the Colorado Convention Center? Check out The Curtis. Also, don’t forget about Travel Lemming’s top-rated Denver hotel, The Maven!
Don’t Miss Denver’s Highlights
Your Denver trip should include highlights in and outside the city limits. Be sure to visit a Denver museum near Capitol Hill and Denver Botanic Gardens in Cheesman Park. Explore boutique shops in Washington Park and the Denver Zoo in City Park.
Outside the city, consider seeing a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Take a drive up the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, one of the best road trips in Colorado. Or enjoy attractions within nearby Denver area suburbs, such as Archery Games and Top Golf.
📚 Related Reading: For more ideas, read our guide on the 59 Things to Do in Denver!
Take a Daytrip from Denver
There are so many incredible places to visit in Colorado, several of which are close to Denver. Boulder is one of those destinations, featuring Pearl Street mall, beautiful hikes, and more fun activities. It’s a great option for those without a car, accessible from Denver via the Flatiron Flyer bus service.
Those with a vehicle should consider a day trip to Colorado Springs. Here, you can visit Garden of the Gods and take one of Colorado’s best train tours to the summit of Pikes Peak! Alternatively, go sample pours at microbreweries and take a food tour in Fort Collins. Many nearby Colorado mountain towns are worth exploring, too.
🚗 Need a Car? A rental car is the easiest method to access many of the best day trips from Denver. For the best deal, check out Discover Cars, our preferred partner.
Explore the Outdoors
You can’t visit Denver without exploring the Colorado Rockies! More nearby destinations include Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park in Estes Park, accessible with an America the Beautiful Pass. Visit here, Idaho Springs, and the Indian Peaks Wilderness for some of the best hikes near Denver.
Aside from hiking, Denver, Colorado is close to world-class ski resorts and natural hot springs. You can also find a variety of outdoor experience tours close by, such as whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and off-road motorsports.
Be Respectful of Nature
Colorado takes efforts to preserve its wild spaces for years to come. Whether visiting Denver or one of Colorado’s small towns, please follow outdoor etiquette.
Dispose of waste properly and leave what you find. Respect wildlife and never feed animals. Be conscious of wildfire risks. Pay mind to where you park (avoid dry grass) and start fires only in permitted areas and conditions. Your support is appreciated by locals like me!
Avoid Altitude Sickness
Denver, Colorado is often referred to as the Mile High City given its location at 5,280 feet elevation. If you’ve ever visited Denver, you’ve likely heard concerns about altitude sickness. While some don’t experience symptoms, others may face discomfort upon arrival or when in the mountains.
The #1 tip to avoid sickness: drink plenty of water. When visiting Denver, always carry a water bottle; consider Travel Lemming’s top pick, the GRAYL GeoPress. Also, get rest and moderate your intake of alcohol and cannabis, as inebriating effects are stronger at higher altitudes.
👉 Read Next: 17 Best Denver Museums (By a Local)
Visit a Craft Brewery
Despite its high altitude, Colorado’s capital city loves to drink! Namely, downtown Denver is famed for its craft beer scene, and a stop at a local brewery (or two, or a few) is essential.
With nearly 100 options throughout the city, consider a guided tour of Lower Downtown breweries or beer destinations in RiNo. Both tours visit some of my personal favorites, like Wynkoop Brewery and Odell Brewing Company.
👉 Love Beer? Bookmark my guide to the top breweries in Denver!
Check out a Legal Dispensary
As one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, Denver is also known for its cannabis culture. Flower is the most popular way to consume, though be sure to book a 420-friendly hotel or place to stay in Denver. Popular options include the Patterson Inn and Sonesta Denver Downtown. Discreet products like vape pens and edibles are also available at dispensaries.
Eat Like a Local
Denver has a rich culinary scene, highlighting global cuisines with varying price points and ambiance. Many restaurants in Denver feature local ingredients like green chiles, Palisade peaches, Colorado lamb, and bison. Rocky Mountain oysters are a famed dish! But note, this appetizer is not seafood… rather, deep-fried bull testicles. Yum!
Locals’ favorite restaurants include Hop Alley and Sushi Den, serving up great Asian cuisine. The Edible Beats group is highly popular, creators of El Five (Mediterranean tapas) and Vital Root (vegan). LeRoux, CRÚ Food & Wine Bar, and Fruition are personal favorites for date nights!
For more tips on eating out in Denver, see my guide to finding the best food in Denver.
Cheer on Denver’s Sport Teams
Of all United States cities to have professional teams in the four major sports, Denver is the smallest. This fun fact about Denver speaks to how important sports are to Colorado locals. That, and the loud excitement from the crowd at every game!
Come cheer on the Denver Broncos from Empower Field at Mile High, or watch the Rockies play at Coors Field. At Ball Arena, you can enjoy games from both the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets.
Protect Your Trip With Travel Insurance
Like any metropolitan city, Denver has risks of crime and accidents. Many point out downtown’s increasing homeless population and urban camping. In addition, natural disasters such as wildfires occur. But overall, Denver is a safe city to travel within.
However, it’s always wise to purchase travel insurance, especially these days. When illness, theft, natural disaster, or injury occurs, you’ll be glad if you purchased insurance that covers you. Note that if you’re planning “risky” activities like climbing or skiing at Colorado ski resorts, a more comprehensive policy may be needed, so be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.
👉 Read Next: 39 Fun Facts About Colorado
FAQs About Visiting Denver
How Do I Prepare to Go to Denver?
Prepare to go to Denver with prior research. Know what to pack for Colorado and where to stay in Denver. You also want to know how to get around to experience the best things to do.
How Many Days Is Enough in Denver?
In my opinion, 3-5 days is enough in Denver. In a half week, you should be able to see most major attractions and take at least a couple of day trips.
What Is The Best Time of Year to Visit Denver?
The best time of year to visit Denver is between April and May, as well as September and October. These shoulder seasons offer lower hotel rates, fewer crowds, and ideal weather.
Hopefully, our 13 Denver travel tips have you feeling more prepared and confident for your Denver visit. You can also check out our list of Colorado travel tips. Have a great vacation and safe travels!
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