Denver, Colorado

Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love Denver

Travel Lemming founder Nate in front of the Colorado State Capitol Building
Travel Lemming founder Nate in front of the Colorado Capitol

Why We Love Denver: From its humble origins as an 1850s mining settlement, 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 yore. The city has swelled with an influx of young professionals from 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. You might think you know what to expect from your trip to Denver, but prepare to be surprised. -Travel Lemming Founder & Denver local Nate Hake

Best of Denver

View of Denver's Union Station

You’ll never wonder what to do in Denver, with so many excellent attractions, sites, and points of interest:

  • Red Rocks – An dramatic outdoor ampitheatre set among soaring sanstone rocks. Come for a concert, yoga, or to hike.
  • Union Station – A historic train station revitalized into the heart of Denver’s LoDo district.
  • Dairy Block – An urban microdistrict located in the heart of LoDo, with bars, restaurants, and boutique shops.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens – A tranquil retreat into nature nestled in the heart of the city.
  • The Molly Brown House – Stunning Capitol Hill mansion formerly home to the “Unsinkable” Titanic survivor Molly Brown.

👉 Explore all things to do in Denver.

🗺️ Where to Stay

If visiting Denver for the first time, these are our top recommended areas to stay in:

  • Lower Downtown (“LoDo”) – The most attraction-packed part of Denver. Filled with trendy restaurants, bars, and sites. Plus, you can walk to everything.
  • River North Arts District – “RiNo” is the hippest place to be in Denver, especially on a weekend evening when it comes alive as the new nightlife center of town.
  • Cherry Creek – An upscale shopping and dining area. A bit far from the rest of town, but great for business, luxury, or family travelers.

👉 Read the complete guide to where to stay in Denver.

Best Places to Stay in Denver

🛎️ Best Hotels

The author at one of the top places to stay in Denver

The many hotels in Denver tend to fill up fast. If you can snag a reservation, you can’t go wrong with these Denver hotels:

  • The Maven – Our favorite all-around Denver hotel. Hip, modern, clean, and (relatively) affordable. Located above the trendy Dairy Block in LoDo.
  • The Crawford – A luxury hotel inside Denver’s historic Union Station. Definitely a one-of-kind experience.
  • The Oxford Hotel – A historic Denver luxury hotel that will make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time a century.

👉 See our full ranking of the best hotels in Denver.

🍽️ Restaurants

Denver is home to a booming culinary scene, with hip restaurants for all budgets and palettes. Some of the best places to eat in Denver include:

  • Work & Class – Small scrumptious plates served up in an intimate dining room inside a shipping container in RiNo.
  • Happy Camper – A fun outdoor ambiance in the LoHi neighborhood. The pizza is delicious, as are the drinks.
  • Kachina Cantina – An uspcale twist on Latin fare, in a high energy location anchoring Dairy Block.
  • Vinh Xuong Bakery – Famous Vietnamese bakery on Federal Ave. The Bánh mì is worth the trip.
  • The Kitchen – Upscale farm-to-table American cuisine in a cosy setting right in the middle of LoDo.

👉 See our full guide to the 50+ best restaurants in Denver.

The author dipping a chip in queso at the Kachina Cantina restaurant in Denver Colorado

⛰️ Day Trips

Clara walking on the trails in Roxborough State Park
Clara walking in Roxborough State Park
  • Roxbourough State Park – An easy place to get a taste the mountains without going too far.
  • Mount Evans Scenic Byway – The highest paved road in North America takes you to this famous peak at 14,625 feet above sea level.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park – Possibly the most beautiful spot in Colorado, it’s a must for any Denver visitor looking to get outdoors.
  • Garden of the Gods – Soaring red rocks light up the Front Range near Colorado Springs.
  • Boulder – Wander the charming Pearl Street mall or explore the many nearby hiking trails.

👉 See full list of the best Denver day trips.

🏘️ Neighborhoods

Exterior of the Molly Brown House in Denver Capitol Hill neighborhood
The Molly Brown House in Capitol Hill
  • Lower Downtown (“LoDo”) – Home to many of the city’s top sites, and the best area for visitors to stay.
  • River North Arts District (“RiNo”) – Art district with new bars, clubs, and restaurants sprouting up daily.
  • Capitol Hill – A historic neighborhood in Denver filled with century-old converted mansions and leafy green streets.
  • Central Business District (“CBD”) – The economic core of Denver. Stay here for business or conventions.
  • Uptown (“North Capitol Hill”) – A calmer resential area walking distance to LoDo. Perfect for longer stays in Denver.

👉 See full list of best neighborhoods in Denver.

🍸 Bars

Two cocktails at Poka Lola bar in Denver Dairy Block
Cocktails at Poka Lola
  • Poka Lola – Upscale modern and traditional cocktails served up in a lounge setting in the middle of Dairy Block.
  • Williams & Graham – Longstanding LoHi speakeasy serving some of the fanciest drinks in town.
  • Pon Pon – Hipster favorite in RiNo, but don’t tell the hipsters we called them that.
  • The Cruise Room – Famous Prohibition era speakeasy and Denver’s oldest bar.
  • X Bar – LGBT bar in Capitol Hill known for a fun and welcoming vibe at all hours of the day.

🍺 Breweries

Flight of four craft beers in Denver
The Denver area has 150+ breweries!
  • Great Divide – A booming Denver brand with several locations, including a new one at DIA. The Ballpark location offers tours, covid restrictions dependent.
  • Our Mutual Friend – A small RiNo outlet serving up genuine craft brews in a cozy but friendly environment.
  • Crooked Stave – You’re sure to pucker up at the sour beer selection at this unique Denver brewery.
  • Denver Beer Co. – Try the Graham Cracker Porter at one of the several popular locations around town.
  • The Grateful Gnome – A local mainstay in the Berkely neighborhood, also serving delicious sandwhiches.

👉 See the full list of best breweries in Denver.

🥾 Nearby Hikes

View of St Mary's Glacier from the hiking trail above
St. Mary’s Glacier is a beautiful hike
  • Red Rocks – With several easy to medium hiking trails, it’s a great way to experience the famous Red Rocks without a concert ticket.
  • Maxwell Falls – A moderate length hike in Evergreen that ends at a beautiful waterfall. Dogs allowed on trail.
  • St. Mary’s Glacier – A short easy hike with fantastic views in nearby Idaho Springs.

👉 Read full guide to best hikes in Denver.

⛷️ Nearby Ski Resorts

View of the slopes at the Loveland ski resort near Denver
Loveland offers several great slopes near Denver
  • Breckenridge – A charming town offering world-class skiing, with lifts available right in town. Stay overnight for the best experience.
  • Loveland – One of the closest ski resorts to Denver, easily accessible via I-70 without needing to pay for a place in the mountains.
  • Winter Park – The closest large ski area to Denver, with a wide range of options for everyone in the family.

👉 Read full list of best ski resorts near Denver.

Denver Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, but also the occasional snowstorm as late as June, Denver weather can be a roller coaster:

  • 🍂 Fall – Sunny days, crisp “light jacket” weather, and gorgeous changing leaf colors make Denver’s autumns spectacular.
  • 🌞 Summer – Denver’s patio scene comes alive. It can get a little hot, but the nearby Rocky Mountains offer a cool respite.
  • ❄️ Winter – Cold, but surprisingly sunny. Worth a stopover if you’re coming to ski in the mountains anyway. Denver snows less often than you might think (most comes in February & March).
  • 🌼 Spring – Our least favorite time to visit Denver, as the weather is unpredictable and allergy season is intense. Still often pleasant, though.

👉 Read the full guide to when to visit Denver.

🚌 Getting Around

Every year public transit gets better and traffic gets worse. Our quick tips for getting around Denver during your visit:

  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – Denver’s WalkScore of 61 is slowly improving. Walkers should stay in LoDo, RiNo, or CBD.
  • 🚗 Driving – A car is not really needed in the city, but reccomended if you want to take day trips to the mountains. Just have a plan for parking.
  • 🚇 Public Transit – RTD’s above-ground light rail offers connections to most areas, including a convenient line from Denver International Airport to Union Station.
  • 📲 Ride Share – Uber & Lyft are very active in Denver, just be warned that pricing can surge during peaks.
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – Denver is good for cycling, with tons of trails and bike lanes throughout the city.
  • 🛴 Scooters – Lime and Lyft can be found throughout Denver’s city center.

👉 Read the full guide to getting around Denver.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • ⛰️ The altitude is real – The air is thin at a mile high. If you have respiration issues or are doing physical activity, give yourself time to acclimate.
  • 💧 Drink lots of water – It’s super dry in Denver, and by the time you realize you’re dehydrated, it’s too late.
  • 🌿 Know the 420 rules – Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, but it is still illegal to light up in hotels, bars, or in public. Many apartment rentals will specifically advertise if they allow it.
  • 🌦️ The weather is unpredictable – Just learn to roll with it. If its rainy, just wait 20 minutes and it will probably clear.
  • 🥀 Allergy season can be nasty – If you’re affected by seasonal allergies, don’t visit during April – June, when pollen rolls in off the Rocky Mountains en masse.

👉 Read our full list of tips for visiting Denver.

🧳 What to Pack

  • ☀️ Sunscreen – The sun is intense, and you can get burned even in the winter.
  • 🕶️ Sunglasses – Really, there is a lot of sun in Denver! It can often be too bright to see without sunglasses.
  • 🥾 Hiking Boots – If you are planning to go to the mountains, a good pair of hiking boots is a must.
  • 🚰 Reusable Water Bottle – Staying hydrated in this climate is a must.
  • 💄 Lip Balm – The dry air wrecks your lips. Bring lip balm, ideally one with SPF, even if you don’t usually use it.
  • 🧴 Travel Sized Hand Lotion – Again, the dry air will 100% chap your skin. Keep your skin hydrated!
  • 💊 Allergy Meds – If you’re visiting during spring or even summer, Rocky Mountain allergens can quickly ruin your trip. Plan ahead!

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Census Population (2020) – 715,552 (city), 3 million (metro area)
  • Time Zone – Mountain Time (UTC -7 / UTC -6 during daylight savings)
  • Area Codes – 303, 720
  • Airports – Denver International Airport (DIA)
  • Nickname – The Mile High City
  • Demonynm – Denverite
  • State – Colorado
  • CountryUnited States of America

👉 Read the full list of interesting Denver facts.

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • 3 Star Hotel Room – $150-$350/night
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $120-$500/night
  • Rental Car – $100+/day
  • Public Transit Ticket – ~$3 ($10.50 to airport)
  • Ride Share from Downtown to Airport – $30-$60
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $20-30
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $60-$150
  • Draft Beer – $7-$11

👉 See our full Denver budget guide.

FAQs About Visiting Denver

Is Denver safe for tourists?

Denver is generally safe to visit as a tourist. Denver has a relatively low crime rate, and most of what crime does occur is property crime. Tourists visiting Denver are advised to take sensible safety precautions, but should generally feel safe moving about the city.

Is it worth visiting Denver?

Denver is a great place to visit if you are looking for culture, dining, breweries, museums, or easy access to nature. The city is increasingly cosmopolitan, with a wide array of fun activities, many nearby day trips, and a fascinating history worthy of exploring.

What is the best month to visit Denver?

The best month to visit Denver is generally September or October. The weather is cool but not cold, there is minimal precipitation, fewer tourists, and the changing leaves give the city a beautiful color.

Does Denver have good nightlife?

Denver offers an excellent nightlife scene that grows every year. Tourists will find many fun bars, breweries, and nightclubs for every taste in the city’s nightlife districts: LoDo, RiNo, Golden Triangle, and South Broadway.

What is the main strip in Denver?

The main tourist area of Denver runs between Larimer Square in LoDo, through Union Station, and up to the RiNo arts district. Other popular strips in Denver can be found in Capitol Hill, along Colfax Avenue, and along South Broadway.

📰 Colorado Travel Guides

Travel Lemming was founded by a Colorado local, and our team is working hard to build the Internet’s #1 resource for traveling the Centennial State. Check out all our other popular Colorado travel guides:

Meet Our Denver, Colorado Travel Expert

Nate from Travel Lemming

Nate Hake

Nate Hake is a travel writer and recovering attorney from Denver, Colorado. In 2016, Nate started traveling the world full time on a backpacking trip which took him to 43 countries across six continents in a single year (see his favorite travel photos from that trip here). Nate has been a full-time world traveler ever since. His travel advice has been featured in leading publications like NBC NewsCNNMicBusiness InsiderMashable, and Yahoo News.

👉 Read Nate’s Articles

Abigail Bliss

Abigail Bliss is a Colorado-based writer who aspires to work from the road.  An avid hiker, skier, and canyoneer, she shares a unique perspective of the American West, highlighting destinations less traveled.  When she isn’t exploring the outdoors with her husband and two dogs, Abigail manages her freelance marketing business, Campsite Creative.

👉 Read Abigail’s Articles

Laura Falin

Laura Falin is a freelance writer in Colorado who has written for publications like BabyCenterColorado Parent Magazine, and Denver Parent. Laura loves hiking, paddle boarding, camping, and snowboarding, and she has run exactly one marathon. She now lives in Littleton, Colorado with her husband and four children. They love exploring the state and the rest of the U.S., usually by car, and they are pros at 20-hour road trips!

👉 Read Laura’s Articles

🗺️ Denver Map