Best Things to Do in Denver Colorado

63 Best Things to Do in Denver in 2023 (By a Local)

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Museums & Culture | Sites & Attractions | Food & Drink | Nightlife | Fun & Family | Unique & Cool | Outdoors | FAQ

Looking for the best things to do in Denver? This list is all you need. Bookmark it, and never wonder what to do in Denver again.

I’m a Denver local who travels the world full time and writes travel guides. I put months of work and a lifetime of local knowledge in this post. It’s also never finished. I update it regularly with new Denver activities, attractions, and cool hidden gems.

I hope I can help you enjoy and love the Mile High City as much as I do. So let’s dive in:

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in Denver

📺 Prefer a video? Play this 5-minute video by Abigail (another Travel Lemming Denver local!) talking about her favorite Denver things 👇:

Meow Wolf Convergence Station

A massive immersive art exhibit, Meow Wolf will transport you to another dimension.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 866 636 9969 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 10 pm Sun-Thu; 10 am – 12 pm Fri-Sat | Entrance: $45/adult (discounts for seniors, military, CO residents)

If you’re wondering what in the world Meow Wolf is, you’re not alone.

Meow Wolf is an interactive and surreal art exhibit. It takes up an indoor “station,” called Convergence Station, along an “interdimensional train.” At least, I think that’s right (my partner Clara and I visited, and we’re still not 100% sure how to describe it).

Convergence Station uses a timed entry system, so you’ll need to book tickets in advance. Once inside, you can stay as long as you like. I recommend planning for at least 2-3 hours inside.

Meow Wolf is a mind-bending experience and my new favorite thing to do in Denver. It’s so cool that I can’t wait to check out Meow Wolf’s Las Vegas attraction, called Area 51.

Red Rocks

A Denver icon, Red Rocks is one of the most unique concert venues in the world (or a great place for morning yoga).

The author looking out over Red Rocks amphitheater, one of the top things to do in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 865 2494 | Website | Hours: 5 am – 11 pm daily | Entrance: Free | Visit on the Denver Foothills Explorer Tour

Red Rocks is possibly the most spectacular outdoor concert venue in the USA. The Red Rocks amphitheater is situated among 300-million-year-old angular red sandstone formations. It seats 9,525 and offers fantastic views over the Front Range. Red Rocks is a can’t-miss in Denver. It even makes our list of the best things to do in Colorado.

Note that most concerts at Red Rocks take place in the summer. But they still run the drive-in Film on the Rocks movie night series through other seasons. Check the official calendar of events for details.

If nothing else, you really should at least visit and see Red Rocks. If you don’t have a car, join the popular Denver Foothills Explorer tour (which stops at other Denver area mountain viewpoints too).

Larimer Square

Denver’s most cosmopolitan block, Larimer Square is the place to see and be seen.

View of the flags hung in the middle of Larimer Square

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 805 1973 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 9 pm Mon-Fri; 10 am – 11 pm Sat; 11 am – 7 pm Sun | Entrance: Free

Located on Larimer Street between 14th and 15th, Larimer Square is easily the coolest block in town. It’s the place for the Colorado glitterati.

Window shop at swanky boutique stores (care to try on an $800 hat?), dine at high end restaurants like Rioja or Osteria Marco, or enjoy a show at Comedy Works.

Union Station

A historic train station, Union Station has been revitalized as the heart of downtown Denver.

Exterior view of the Union Station with a clear blue sky in the background

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 592 6712 | Website | Hours: 24/7 daily

A century ago, this historic train station served as an important stop for supply shipments coming West. Since its refurbishing a decade ago, Denver Union Station has transformed into the cultural center of the Mile High City — and of the most popular points of interest in Denver.

Dine at one of the excellent Denver restaurants housed in the station, grab a cocktail at the Terminal Bar, or challenge your friends to a game of shuffleboard inside Union Station’s giant refinished lobby.

Union Station is also home to The Crawford Hotel, a magnificently ornate property that is among the best luxury hotels in Denver.

Denver Botanic Gardens

A peaceful and green escape from the city, the 23-acre Denver Botanic Gardens is a great thing to do outdoors, with family, or on a weekend.

Woman walking among the Denver Botanic Gardens
Clara walking in the Denver Botanic Gardens

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 865 3500 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 8 pm Tue-Wed, Fri-Mon; 9 am – 2 pm Thu | Entrance: $15 adults, $11 children (3-15), Free children 2 and under

The increidble 23-acre Denver Botanic Gardens is a serene escape from the city just east of Cheesman Park. Denver Botanic Gardens includes various themed gardens, an enclosed conservatory, and a public amphitheater that hosts a popular summer concert series.

The gardens feature flora from around the world. You can grab a beer by the Japanese tea garden or take your own picnic to enjoy on a sunny Denver day.

The Botanic Gardens also have a second location in Littleton, Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, which features the historic Hildebrand Ranch, a butterfly farm, and a children’s play area. It’s a great thing to do in Denver with kids!

Dairy Block

An Insta-worthy attraction filled with unique and hip places to eat, drink, shop, and socialize.

View of the cool art at the Dairy Block micro-district
The alley in the middle of Dairy Block is packed with cool bars and shops

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 309 4847 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 2 am daily

Dairy Block is a renovated city block near Coors Field. Dairy Block, previously home to Windsor’s Dairy, has recently been transformed into a cosmopolitan micro-district.

The cornerstone establishment at Dairy Block is the Denver Milk Market, an expansive space home to 16 scrumptious food and drink establishments (my favorite: Kachina Catina).

In the middle of Dairy Block, you’ll find one of Denver’s most Insta-worthy alleys, where wine bars, boutique shops, and art galleries blend together to create an atmosphere with a decidedly European feel.

Dairy Block is also home to The Maven Hotel, which is my personal favorite hotel in Denver (it’s reasonably priced and has the perfect location).

Denver Food Tour

The quickest way to discover Denver’s unique dining scene (and maybe even make some friends).

Dish on plates in Kachina Cantina
Mouth-watering plates at Kachina Cantina, ready for hungry tourists!

👉 Book a Downtown Denver Food Tour

Are you a foodie? The easiest way to explore Denver’s eateries is on this top-rated Denver food tour.

It’ll take you to several unique stops, including Kachina Cantina, where your guide will describe how their chefs create unique fry bread tacos. The chewy consistency paired with savory ingredients is phenomenally delicious.

Other stops include an authentic Italian pizzeria, an Argentinian empanada shop, and a place famed for its green chile (a must-try food in Denver). Though the chile packs on the heat, a cool treat at Milkbox Ice Creamery follows for dessert. 

As you wander from Ballpark to Union Station, your guide shares stories of the city’s present and past. It’s a great way to learn about Denver’s history.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Drive the highest paved road in North America, take in incredible Rocky Mountain vistas, and meet mountain goats.

View of Summit Lake along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 970-295-6600 | Website | Closes Seasonally | Entrance: $10 per vehicle, plus a $2 reservation fee | 👉 Book a Mount Blue Sky & Red Rocks Combo Tour

Up for a mountain day trip from Denver but don’t feel like hiking? Just 60 miles from the Mile High City, you can drive the highest paved road in North America to the top of one of Colorado’s 54 famous “fourteeners” (Rocky Mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation).

The 28-mile-long Mount Evans Scenic Byway winds its way up the 7,000-foot climb to the top of Mount Blue Sky, previously known as Mount Evans. At the summit, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountain Front Range.

Mount Blue Sky is only open during the summer. Mount Blue Sky has a timed entry system that requires an advance reservation to be made here. Tickets are released in groups: the first group 30 days in advance of the day, and the second group 2 days in advance.

Tickets sell out fast, so be sure to check! Or, alternatively, consider booking this popular Mount Blue Sky & Red Rocks Tour.

🚗 How to Get There: If you have a car, driving up Mt. Blue Sky is the obvious way. If not, rent one through Discover Cars (my favorite cheap rental car site).

Denver Art Museum

A world-class art museum, featuring rotating exhibits in an iconic angular building.

View of the unique structure of the Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 865 5000 | Website | Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily | 🎟️ Admission: $10 for Colorado residents, $13 for non-residents, free to age 18 and under

Sporting a futuristic angular exterior, the Denver Art Museum is an easy walk from downtown or Capitol Hill. Inside you’ll find several stories with rotating exhibits featuring modern and contemporary artists from around the world.

If you’re on a budget, check the schedule for the Denver Art Museum’s periodic Free Days.

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour

Tour and taste your way through Colorado’s first whiskey distillery.

View of exterior of Stranahan's Distillery in Denver Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 296 7440 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 7 pm Mon-Thu; 12 pm – 8 pm Fri-Sun

It’s hard to believe that Colorado only opened its first distillery in 2004, but Stranahan’s has done its best to make up for the lost time by leading the charge in the state’s recent distillation boom. These days, taking a tour of Stranahan’s Denver facility is a must-do activity when visiting Denver.

The only problem with the hour-long informative tour of the distillery is that it ends with a whiskey tasting of samples so generous that is likely to lead you to forget everything you just learned. But, hey, it’s all in the name of fun right?

🎟️ Details: Tours start at $20 per person, and tickets can be booked here. Note that the Sunday 5 PM tour is free for Colorado residents and their guests, as is the Monday 4:30 pm tour for first responders and healthcare professionals.

River North Art District (“RiNo”)

The most interesting and colorful neighborhood in Denver, RiNo is the hippest place to be on a weekend in Denver.

Nate waves arms in a colorful alley in the RiNo district of Denver
RiNo is filled with street art (pictured: the alley behind Denver Central Market)

📍 Google Maps | Website

For better or worse, Denver has changed dramatically over the past decade. And nowhere is the city’s evolution more on display than the River North Art District, known locally as “RiNo.”

Today RiNo’s former industrial hub’s warehouses and factories have been converted into a hip arts district sporting funky breweries, trendy restaurants, pumping bars, boutique shops, and colorful street art adorning nearly available patches of brick or concrete.

RiNo makes for a great self-guided walking tour, especially along the stretch of Larimer between 25th and 32nd streets. Be sure not to miss the vibrant alley behind the Denver Central Market.

Want to see more of RiNo? Click to play Abigail’s 5-minute video, where she explains why RiNo is her favorite neighborhood in Denver:

👉 Local Tip: Need help figuring out which Denver neighborhood to base yourself in? Check out my mega guide to where to stay in Denver for a rundown of my top picks for the best areas.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The single best day trip from Denver, RMNP is the place to experience what the Rocky Mountains are all about.

Signage of Rocky Mountain National Park surrounded by greenery

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 970 586 1206 | Website | Hours: 24/7 daily | Entrance: $15.00-$35.00

If you only have time for one day trip from Denver, make it a trip to see Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Park is the closest national park to Denver, and the best place to get a taste of Colorado’s famous mountains.

You’ll find miles of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, but if you’re less active, the park is great for scenic drives (especially during the autumn, when the leaves change color).

Note that Rocky Mountain National Park has a timed entry system during the summer. While RMNP is really best visited with a car, if you don’t have one you can join a tour. Or, during the summer, take the Bustang bus from Denver’s Union Station.

Denver Museums & Culture

Below are my personal favorite museums and cultural institutions, but we’ve also got a full article covering all the museums in Denver.

History Colorado Center

The immersive History Colorado Center is the best place to learn about Colorado’s (often complicated) history.

Historical objects on display at the Colorado History Center
The 100 Object display is really special!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +13034478679 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | 🎟️ Admission: $8–14

The History Colorado Center is an incredibly important museum, whose several floors highlighting different eras in the state’s history are all remarkably well curated.

I appreciate that the curators do not sugar coat the darker sides of Colorado’s history (the state was once a KKK hotbed), and that the exhibits really make efforts to place the stories of Colorado’s Native, Black, and Latino communities front and center.

Be sure not to miss the exhibit featuring 100 objects from Colorado’s history (one really stands out in my memory: an original ballot box from the 1893 elections, which was the year women were first granted the franchise in Colorado).

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

My childhood favorite, the Museum of Nature and Science is a must-visit if visiting Denver with children (or adults who act like them!).

Nate looking at a fossil T Rex at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 370 6000 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | 🎟️ Admission: $22.95 adults, $17.95 youth (IMAX, planetarium, and special exhibits extra)

I have many fond memories of childhood visits to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which is an excellent thing to do in Denver for families, kids, or anyone who acts like one.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is located in City Park in a massive hall. It is filled with dinosaurs, mummies, an IMAX theatre, a planetarium, and fascinating exhibits galore. Open 9 am – 5 pm daily.

It is one of the more expensive museums in Denver. But The Denver CityPASS is a particularly good deal for this museum, since it’s half the cost of the pass, and you can use the other half to visit several more top Denver attractions.

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Located in a former US Air Force Base, Wings Over the Rockies has some seriously cool aircraft and spacecraft on display!

Nate looking at a plane in a hangar at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum
Can I fly this thing? 🙂

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 360 5360 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily; 12 pm – 5 pm Sun | 🎟️ Admission: $18.95 for adults, $11.95 for children (4-16)

The Lowry neighborhood in Denver sits on top of what used to be Lowry Air Force Base and, at one point, the initial home of the Air Force Academy.

After the base was decommissioned, one of the hangars was converted into the host space for the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

Inside Wings Over the Rockies, you’ll find dozens of historical air and spacecraft, rotating exhibits, and a virtual flight simulator. It’s definitely a top thing to do in Denver with kids, veterans, history buffs, or anyone who loves aviation.

After your visit, be sure to stop by for a bite or brew at the gigantic outdoor Lowry Beer Garden.

Denver Performing Arts Complex

The best place to catch a show, opera, or play in Denver.

Woman standing in front of the Denver Performing Arts Complex
Clara posing in front of the Denver Performing Arts Complex

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 865 4220 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 6 pm Tue-Sat

The Denver Performing Arts Complex is a large downtown campus hosting several different performance venues, the most prominent of which are the excellent Buelle Theatre and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Programming includes touring plays, concerts, performances, and art exhibits. Check the tickets and events calendar to see what is on during your visit to Denver.

Denver Mint

See money be made before your eyes at the world’s largest producer of coins.

Stack of hundred dollar bills equivalent to 30 million dollars inside the glass case in Denver Mint
You’ll probably never see so much money again! (photo: Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 572 9500 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm Mon-Thu | 🎟️ Admission: $5/person (7 years old and above)

Here’s a fun fact about Denver: the city is home to the Denver Mint, which is the largest producer of coins in the world.

To get tickets, you’ll need to show up at the Denver Mint’s ticket window the same day at your planned tour (instructions here). Be sure to arrive early, ideally right at 7:30 AM when they open, as tickets run out quickly each day!

My personal recommendation is to get your tickets early, then walk to Capitol Hill’s Jelly Cafe for a unique Denver breakfast experience while you wait for your Denver Mint tour time.

The Denver Mint tour takes 45 minutes. Note that photography, bags, as well as food, and drink, are not permitted on the Denver Mint tour. However, you can enter with a powered-off cell phone and emptied water bottle. Past the high security, you’ll witness machinery in action and learn fascinating history.

Santa Fe Art District

An artsy Denver district with a unique flair, Santa Fe Avenue comes alive every first Friday.

Colorful buildings along the sidewalk of Santa Fe Drive in Denver
There are so many cool cafes and art galleries in Santa Fe

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 773 2373 | Website

Santa Fe Avenue is the place to be if you want to check out cool art galleries, hipster hangouts, or unique museums like the Museo de las Americas.

Santa Fe’s monthly First Friday event brings out a crowd as patrons hop from gallery to gallery to watch performances and imbibe. If you’re in town for the first Friday of the month, it’s a can’t-miss thing to do in Denver!

Molly Brown House Museum

A stunning house museum that once home to one of Denver’s most famous residents.

View of the exterior of The Molly Brown House, a top attraction in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 832 4092 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm Wed-Mon; Closed Tue | 🎟️ Admission: $14 adult, $10 youth (6-18), $12 Military/Teachers/College Students, Free children (5 and under)

The Unsinkable Margaret Tobin Brown survived the Titanic, and her gorgeous Capitol Hill mansion survived thanks to a 1970s preservation effort that turned it into a fascinating house museum.

Entrance for a one hour self-guided Molly Brown House Museum tour starts at $14 per person for Colorado residents and $16 for non-residents. It’s a good idea to reserve your spot on their website in advance.

You’ll learn some unique Denver history and soon understand why the Molly Brown House Museum is one of the most unique things to do in Denver!

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

If you love fine art, the Kirkland Museum is home to some of the best exhibits in the Mountain West.

The author standing in front of the Kirkland Museum in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 832 8576 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Wed-Sat; 12 pm – 5 pm Sun; Closed Mon-Tue | 🎟️ Admission: $12 (ages 13+ only)

Featuring more than 30,000 works of art across its three principal exhibits, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art gets its name from storied 20th century Colorado painter Vance Kirkland, whose work forms one of the three main exhibits at the museum.

Note that, due to the fragile nature of some of the art, admission is limited to visitors age 13 and up.

Forney Museum of Transportation

See hundreds of unique and historic cars, trucks, and railcars on display at the Forney Museum.

The author in Denver's Forney Museum of Transportation
The Forney Museum really brought out the kid in me!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 297 1113 | Website | Hours 10 am – 5 pm Thu-Sat, Mon; 12 pm – 5 pm Sun; Closed Tue & Wed | 🎟️ Admission: $15 adult, $8 children(3-12), Free children under 3

You’ll be awed by the collection at Denver’s Forney Museum of Transportation, especially if you love vintage vehicles.

Among other items on display, the Forney Museum hosts Amelia Earhart’s Kissel Gold Bug Speedster, a Denver Cable Car dating to 1888, a “Big Boy” locomotive donated by Union Pacific, and an awesome collection of Ford Model Ts.

The Forney Museum is really impressive, and a great idea for a weekend activity with children.

🚆 Read Next: How to Get Around Denver (Without a Car)

Denver Museum of Contemporary Art

The most underrated art museum in Denver is conveniently located just steps from Union Station. Oh, and don’t miss the MCA’s rooftop.

Exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art, a top site in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 298 7554 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Sat-Sun; 12 pm – 7 pm Tue-Thu; 12 pm – 9 pm Fri; Closed Mon | 🎟️ Admission: $12 for adults, free for children 18 and under

Situated just south of Union Station, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art is an underrated Denver museum offering thought-provoking, sometimes shocking, displays.

Don’t miss the excellent rooftop cafe and bar, which somehow seems to never be crowded despite the pleasant views of downtown.

Clyfford Still Museum

The singular place you can experience art from famous painter Clyfford Still, this museum is a unique “only in Denver” experience.

Exterior of the Clyfford Still Museum

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 354 4880 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tue-Sun; Closed Sun | 🎟️ Admission: Tickets are $10 for adults, free for youth 17 and under

Clyfford Still is widely considered one of the most influential artists in American history and, upon his death in 1980, his will stipulated that his body of work be forever housed in only a single location in a city willing to build a dedicated museum.

Denver stepped up to the plate in 2004. Today the Clyfford Still Museum is one of the most popular museums in Denver, and the only place to find 95% of the work of the trailblazing abstract impressionist.

National Ballpark Museum

Paradise for baseball fans, the National Ballpark Museum is filled with memorabilia from America’s pastime.

national ballpark museum exhibition
Ballpark wall of fame.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 974 5835 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Mon-Sat | 🎟️ Admission: Adults – $10, Seniors – $5, Children & active duty military – Free

You MUST stop by this small but incredibly well-cared-for National Ballpark Museum if you’re a baseball fan.

Located just steps from Coors Field, every single inch of the National Ballpark Museum is crammed with remarkable memorabilia celebrating the nation’s pastime, including seats from all 14 of the original classic ballparks.

The volunteers and staff who run the non-profit National Ballpark Museum are passionate and eager to pass on their knowledge.

📚 Read Next: 41 Epic Places to Visit in Colorado

Denver Attractions & Historic Sites

Colorado State Capitol

The most iconic building in Colorado, visit the Colorado State Capitol to see the golden dome (and the famous mile-high step marker).

View of the intricate interior of the Colorado Capitol
View of the beautiful details inside the Colorado Capitol

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 866 2604 | Website | Hours: 7:30 am – 5 pm Mon-Fri; Closed Sat-Sun

Located right next to downtown, the golden dome of the Colorado State Capitol is one of the most iconic images of Colorado. Free tours are offered on weekdays and are definitely one of the best free things to do in Denver.

If you can’t make a tour, you can still snap great photos of the building’s famous golden dome. Look out for the marker on the 13th Capitol step for the exact location of the altitude of 5,280 feet above sea level — which gives Denver its moniker as the Mile High City.

Denver City and County Building

Denver’s city hall features soaring Greek columns and looks spectacular when lit up at night.

Exterior view of the Civic Center building in Denver
The Civic Center Building

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 337 2000 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Mon-Fri; Closed Sat-Sun

Though it’s upstaged a bit by the Colorado Capitol, which is facing across Civic Center Park, the Denver City and County Building is an important Denver point of interest in its own right.

The City and County Building is worth at least a quick walk by the exterior to see the Greek revival columns, which at night light up in spectacular fashion during holidays.

🔖 Bookmark All My FREE Denver Guides: Best Day Trips from Denver | Best Hotels | Where to Stay

Tattered Cover Independent Bookstore

A Denver local icon, the Tattered Cover is the perfect place to ignite your love of reading.

View of the interior of Tattered Cover Book Store
Inside the Tattered Cover Independent Bookstore

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 436 1070 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 7 pm daily; 10 am – 6 pm Tue

The Tattered Cover is one of the most iconic bookstores in Denver. The independent bookseller has locations throughout the city. Tattered Cover was saved from closing during the pandemic when it was purchased by a new investment group.

The new owners recently moved the historic LoDo (lower downtown) store into prime real estate in the newly opened McGregor Square location, offering the perfect place to pop in for a bit of peace and quiet during a Rockies game.

You can also check out Tattered Cover’s other locations around town, including a store located in the historic Bonfils-Lowenstein Theater at 2526 E. Colfax and a much smaller bookshop within Denver’s Union Station.

Daniels & Fisher Clocktower

A historic clocktower that lords over the 16th Street Mall and lights up at night.

View of a tree and the Daniels and Fisher tower in Denver
The clocktower is still one of my favorite sites in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 877 0742 | Website | Hours: Open 24/7

Once the tallest building in the Mountain West, the Daniels & Fisher Clocktower at 16th and Arapahoe remains a Denver icon and a popular spot for local wedding ceremonies.

At night, it lights up with a variety of date-specific colors (such as Rockies purple during baseball games). At the base of the clocktower, you’ll find Skyline Park, which often plays host to seasonal events like ice skating rinks. In the basement is a modern cabaret show.

Denver Downtown Aquarium

A massive aquarium home to 500 species of marine life, and a couple Sumatran tigers.

A child at the Denver Aquarium

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 561 4450 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 9 pm Mon-Thu; 10 am – 10 pm Fri-Sat; 10 am – 8 pm Sun | 🎟️ Admission: adults (12-64 years) $24.99, seniors $23.99, children (3-11 years) $18.99, children (2 and under) Free

The more than a million gallons of water at Denver Downtown Aquarium are home to over 500 species of marine and animal life, plus a (controversial) tiger habitat.

The Denver Downtown Aquarium is a kid-friendly thing to do in Denver that also hosts a highly-reviewed restaurant where diners can enjoy a meal surrounded by a 150,000 gallon marine aquarium.

Given the high ticket cost, it’s definitely worth grabbing a Denver CityPASS beforehand, as just the aquarium pays back most of the cost.

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

The stained glass interior of this historic Denver cathedral is worth a stop.

Interior stained glass at Denver's main cathedral

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 831 7010 | Website | Hours: 6:30 am – 7 pm daily

The main cathedral for Colorado Catholics is worth a quick visit even if you’re not an adherent for the beautiful soaring interior and stunning stained glass work.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is located in the downtown area near The Brown Palace and is open to visitors for short periods most evenings (check the official website for hours coinciding with your visit).

📚 Read Next: More cool things to do & activities around the US: Boulder, Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago

16th Street Mall

An open-air mall that stretches through downtown Denver, filled with shopping and dining.

The author standing in front of the Denver Pavilions sign
With my friend Wilbert at the Denver sign in the Pavilions, on the 16th Street Mall

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 534 6161 | Hours: Open 24/7

The 16th Street Mall is a 1.25 mile outdoor pedestrian Denver mall that forms Downtown Denver’s main artery. On the 16th Street Mall you’ll find hundreds of shops and restaurants, plus the Denver Pavilions (a more traditional “mall”, where you can also catch a movie or go bowling).

The 16th Street Mall is currently undergoing a multi-year renovation project that should make it an even better attraction. In the meantime, strolling the mall definitely remains one of the top things to do in Denver. If you get tired of walking, free shuttle buses run the length of the mall.

Denver Food & Drink

Denver Central Market

The central attraction in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, Denver Central Market is a fun place to grab a bite or a brew.

Interior view of the Denver Central Market
Even on a weekday, the market is always busy

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 8 am – 9 pm Sun-Thu; 8 am – 11 pm Fri-Sat

Denver Central Market is located right in the middle of the uber-hip RiNo art district. Inside a shared roof you’ll find 11 artisan vendors serving up everything from chocolates to pizza to ice cream.

In true River North spirit, the building and the alley behind it are adorned in head-to-toe street art. It’s a great place to stop in for a break while touring the district by foot or to start your evening before hitting the area’s lively nightlife.

Little Man

A Denver Instagram sensation, Little Man ice cream isn’t just photogenic – it’s also seriously tasty!

Little Man Ice Cream (with the famous Linger sign in the background)
Little Man Ice Cream (with the famous Linger sign in the background)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 455 3811 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 11 pm Sun-Thu; 11 am – 12 am Fri-Sat

I used to live a few blocks away from Little Man, Denver’s iconic ice cream spot which is housed inside a larger-than-life milk can. My gym was next door to the shop, which meant that every time I finished my workout I’d have to gather my will to avoid ruining all my gains with one of Little Man’s delicious scoops of the creamy stuff.

The only thing that saved me is Little Man’s popularity, which means that there is pretty much always a line out front of Little Man.

On a hot day, be prepared to wait for a half hour or more. Totally worth it, though.

The Source

The Source is an urban micro-district where you can explore shops, restaurants, craft beer, and a boutique hotel.

View of clothes and a VW beetle at Denver's The Source market hall
One of the many boutique shops inside The Source

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 409 1200 | Website

The Source is a RiNo-based community marketplace featuring 25 vendors slinging everything from flowers to haircuts to craft beer.

The anchor tenants here are the celebrated restaurants Safta, which offers Middle Eastern fare, and bellota, a Mexican-inspired joint that spun off from the now-closed Acorn.

The Source is also home to one of Denver’s trendiest hotels, The Source Hotel, which features a stylish rooftop pool and bar, plus an outpost of New Belgium brewery.

The Cruise Room

A Prohibition-era speakeasy shaped like Queen Mary ship, The Cruise Room is still serving up high-end cocktails.

The Cruise Room Bar

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 628 5400 | Website

Get dressed up and grab a drink at Denver’s original Prohibition-era speakeasy, and the top entry on Travel Lemming’s list of the best bars in Denver.

Located inside The Oxford historic hotel, the art deco windowless interior of The Cruise Room was inspired by the Queen Mary. Stepping inside will transport you back in time to the 1920s when this bar illegally served up gimlets and martinis to Denver’s elite.

Voodoo Doughnut

Try donuts with unique toppings like peanut butter, Captain Crunch cereal, and even maple bacon (yes, really!).

Several colorful donuts at Voodoo Doughnut in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 597 3666 | Website | Hours: 5 am – 3 am daily

I still remember the mania that swept over Denver’s hipsters when Voodoo Doughnuts opened their first location on Colfax a decade ago. It took weeks for the lines outside to calm down enough for me to dare to finally brave waiting that long for a donut.

But the Portland-based company has built a cult-like following for their sweet and sometimes curious creations, offering unique flavors like their Spicy Margarita Cannolo, the Bacon Maple Bar, or (my personal favorite) the Captain Crunch-topped Oh Captain My Captain.

In addition to their Colfax flagship, Voodoo has also recently opened a second location on South Broadway.

Stanley Marketplace

A sprawling dining and shopping complex on the Denver-Aurora border, Stanley Marketplace is a great place to hangout on the weekend.

View of exterior of Stanley Marketplace

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 990 6743 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 9 pm Sun-Wed; 7 am – 10 pm Thu-Sat

Just over the Denver-Aurora border, Stanley Marketplace is a single-roof community marketplace where you can find over 50 independent Colorado businesses, including restaurants, bars, shops, salons, and more.

Grab some Mexican fare at Comida, a pint at Cheluna Brewing Company, an ice cream cone at Sweet Cow, an empanada at Maria Empanadas, or a bowl of ramen at Qi-Lin (seriously, their ramen is legit!).

When you’re done, browse the many stalls and help support Colorado-owned local businesses at Stanley Marketplace!

Kachina Cantina

My favorite place to eat with friends visiting Denver, Kachina Cantina is a fun and vibrant restaurant right inside Dairy Block.

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

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 460 2728 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 9 pm Mon; 11 am – 10 pm Tue-Thu; 11 am – 11 pm Fri; 10 am – 11 pm Sat; 10 am – 9 pm Sun

If I had friends visiting town and could only send them to one Denver restaurant, it would be Kachina Cantina. Serving a modern take on Mexican fare inspired by the USA’s Four Corners region and Baja Mexico, Kachina offers an energetic, but not too loud, atmosphere and an epic location right in the middle of Dairy Block.

There is a large and beautifully decorated dining room, several outdoor tables, and a huge fun bar with seats both indoors and outdoors.

Executive chef Cesar Tamariz’s spin on Southwestern fare is sure to leave your mouth watering for me. Kachina is a great place to grab dinner after a Rockies game or before a night out in downtown Denver, or if you’re looking to impress clients (or a date!). Be sure to book reservations in advance, as the restaurant has been consistently busy every time I’ve walked past.


High-end dinner in a former mortuary. If that spooks you out, head up to the fantastic rooftop.

View of a woman in front of the neon sign at Linger restaurant
Clara posing in front of the Linger sign

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 993 3120 | Website | Hours: 5 pm – 9:30 pm Sun-Thu; 5 pm – 10:30 pm Fri-Sat

Dinner to die for is on offer nightly at Linger, a gigantic former mortuary that once housed the remains of Buffalo Bill. Today the space has converted into one of Denver’s most stylish places to eat, but the new owners kept many touches from the building’s ghastlier days.

Water is served from formaldehyde, for example, and the giant “O’Linger mortuaries” sign was converted to read “Linger eatauries.” Oh, and the food is delicious to boot (it’s one of my personal favorite restaurants in town!).

Tennyson Street

A residential shopping and dining street that comes alive on the weekends.

Woman walking down Tennyson Street in Berkeley Denver
Vital Root is one of many great restaurants on Tennyson

📍 Google Maps | Website

Tennyson Street is the main shopping and dining artery of Northwest Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood, and it’s fulfilled that role for over a century.

If you have a shopping freak in your family, be sure to watch their credit card, because this is the best place to go window shopping in Denver. If all that retail therapy gets you hungry, stop by for a sandwich at The Grateful Gnome or high-end Mexican cuisine at El Chingon.

Take a Denver Craft Beer Tour

Discover why Denver has one of the most famous craft beer scenes in the USA.

A bottle of Odell craft beer against a green backdrop

👉 Book a “Colorado Beer with a Cause” Tasting Tour

Craft beer is part of the heart and soul of Denver. There are over 150 craft breweries in Denver, and Denver even hosts the annual Great American Beer Festival in September.

I highly recommend taking a craft beer tasting tour to anyone visiting Denver who likes beer.

Here are two suggested options for taking a craft beer tour in Denver:

  • 🍺 Option 1 – Join the Colorado Beer with a Cause tasting tour. This tour gets rave reviews and is a great way to support the local Denver community and make some friends along the way. It takes you to 3-4 socially conscious local breweries.
  • 🍺 Option 2 – Make your own tour. I’d suggest starting at Wynkoop Brewery (whose founder John Hickenlooper went on to become Mayor and later Governor), then working your way north to Jagged Mountain and Great Divide, before ending at my personal pick for the best brewery in Denver: Our Mutual Friend.

Fun & Family Attractions in Denver

Coors Field

Seeing a Rockies game at Coors Field is as much about the unique setting as it is the game.

Nate with Coors Field and Denver skyline in background
To me, the best seats are in the Rockpile

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 292 0200 | Website

If you’re a baseball fan, it’ll be pretty easy to check off this thing to do in Denver. Though it’s one of the younger MLB parks, the Rockies’ home has made a name for itself as the “hitter’s park” because the Colorado altitude helps batted balls fly record distances.

One of the things I personally love about Coors Field is the affectionately named Rockpile, a section of bleachers behind centerfield where you can find Rockies tickets for as little as $7 per person.

Sure, you’ll have to squint to see the home base, but personally, I think it’s a steal considering the epic views of Denver’s skyline you’ll get in the background.

👪 Looking for Kid-Friendly Activities? See our list of the best things to do with kids around Denver.

Empower Field at Mile High

Nothing excited Denverites more than Broncos football, and this is the place to see why.

Crowds cheering at Broncos stadium
Broncos fans get pretty rowdy during the games

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 258 3000 | Website

I still remember how sad my family was when the Denver Broncos moved in 2000 from their prior home in the storied Mile High Stadium to what is now named Empower Field. But today I appreciate the new venue, as not one of the 76,125 seats at Empower Field offers a bad view.

In addition to hosting the Broncos, Empower Field also frequently hosts concerts from A-list performers (check the schedule here). Tours of the stadium are offered through the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, with tickets costing $25 per person.

Elitch Gardens

A family-friendly theme park, Elitch Gardens make for great Denver fun all summer long.

A roller coaster at Elitch Gardens

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 595 4386 | Website | Hours: 10:30 am – 9 pm Fri-Mon; 10:30 am – 8 pm Tue-Thu | 🎟️ General Admission $69.99 (discounts and season pass deals often available)

As a kid, one of my favorite things to do in Denver was to spend a day at the Elitch Gardens theme park. Located just south of downtown Denver between Empower Field and the Pepsi Center, “Elitch’s” offers six roller coasters, dozens of other rides, and a water park.

I am still traumatized by childhood memories of my cousins trying to force me onto the terrifyingly rickety Twister II wooden coaster. Definitely, something to check out if you’re a thrill seeker! Note that Elitch’s is open from April to October.

Top Golf

Top Golf is a unique place to hang out and try your hand at the driving range.

A golfer swinging at a ball at Thorton's Top Golf location

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 880 3151 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 12 am daily

With outposts in Thorton and Centennial and a third set to open in Colorado Springs, the Top Golf driving range and social hub is a fun thing to do in Denver for golf fans, families, or anyone who needs an excuse to drink.

Much more than just a driving range, Top Golf offers all sorts of games that involve hitting targets, collecting points, and trying to one-up your friends.

Come in the morning for $15 unlimited gameplay, or on “Half Price Tuesdays.” And never worry if you have a non-golfer in the family: Top Golf’s patio is the perfect place for your party to hang out, eat, and drink.

Archery Games

Locally-owned, Archery Games is one of the most unique and fun things families can do in Denver.

View of competitors at Archery Games Denver, a fun family activity in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 305 4531 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 10 pm daily

Ever heard of archery dodgeball? It’s a new concept involving two teams battling it out from across an arena with bows and foam-tipped arrows.

Archery Games is a small locally-owned business that has created something of a viral stir in Colorado, with guests absolutely raving in their reviews.

You can sign up for public matches on their website to dip your toes into the world of archery dodgeball. If you have kids, they offer family-specific hours. You can also book a private session for larger groups, birthday parties, bachelor(ette) weekends, or corporate team building events. It’s definitely one of the most unique and fun things to do in Denver!

Explore Golden

Discover Wild West history, Buffalo Bill’s grave, and Golden’s historic downtown.

View of the welcome sign in Golden, Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Where to Stay in Golden

Golden is a small Colorado town located just 20 minutes from Denver, perched high on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. As the name suggests, Golden was a historic gold rush town during the 19th Century. You can still feel that mining town history as you wander the unique shops of the historic downtown.

Other fun things to do in Golden include visiting Lookout Mountain Nature Center & Preserve, seeing the Buffalo Bill grave, touring the Golden History Museum, or lining up for a tour of the Coors Brewery.

If you don’t have a car, you can easily travel to Golden from downtown Denver by taking the West Rail Line (“W”). It’s definitely one of the best things to do near Denver.

Unique & Cool Things to Do in Denver

Casa Bonita

A famous Colorado attraction steeped in sopapillas and South Park.

View of exterior of Casa Bonita
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get inside on my latest visit, but it should be open soon!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 232 5115 | Website | Admission: $39.99 adults and $24.99 children (age 3 to 12)

Few places to see in Denver are as storied – or as controversial – as Casa Bonita. Any Denver local will tell you that the food at Casa Bonita is not the reason you come (but the new owners are trying to change that!).

Instead, children adore Casa Bonita because the interior is a magical adventure park, complete with cliff divers, an indoor waterfall, and costumed performers.

📺 Local Trivia: Casa Bonita is the main subject of The South Park episode bearing its name – and in fact, the creators of South Park recently purchased the restaurant! The episode is 100% worth a watch to understand this Denver institution’s unique appeal. The way Cartman describes Casa Bonita at the start of the episode could have been words coming out of my mouth as a child.

Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel

The historic downtown Denver Brown Palace Hotel offers a famous tea service in its beautiful lobby.

Brown Palace Hotel
Tea room, Brown Palace Hotel

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 312 8900 | Website | 👉 Book a Night at the Brown Palace Hotel

Feeling like having a fancy afternoon? Go for high tea at the Brown Palace, a historic Denver hotel serving up this unique experience in its ornate lobby Tuesday through Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm. Space is limited so reservations are suggested.

The Brown Palace’s signature tea package starts at $36 per person and is certainly one of the fanciest things to do in Denver.

👑 Or Stay a Night Like RoyaltyCheck Brown Palace prices on Booking now. Even just one night makes for a creative Denver staycation!

The Beer Spa

Denver is famous for beer, so what better way to immerse yourself in our local culture?

A beer bath at the Denver Beer Spa

📍 Google Maps | (720) 810-1484 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 10:30 pm daily

Colorado has long been known for its creative craft beer, but Denver’s recently opened The Beer Spa really takes that to the next level. You’ll find a unique suite of spa services, including a full spectrum infrared sauna, “Zero Gravity” massage chairs, and private bubbly baths filled with barley and hops.

And, of course, the Beer Spa has a full rotation of craft beers, wines, and ciders to sip during your beer spa day. It’s a great way to relax and unwind on a rainy day, or the perfect treat to give the beer lover in your family.

The Beer Spa is locally-owned and easy to walk to if you’re staying in RiNo or downtown Denver.

Visit a Dispensary

Come on, how could I write a guide to Denver without mentioning cannabis culture?

Nate at the LoDo Wellness Center dispensary
Me touring the LoDo Wellness Center

Colorado became synonymous with cannabis when it became one of the first places in the world to legalize sales for recreational purposes. This has led to a boom in cannabis tourism. Other states have followed suit, but a dispensary is still one of the top things to see in Denver.

You won’t have to walk far to find one – just look for the telltale green cross and you’re there.

There are many dispensaries in Denver to choose from, but I always recommend that Denver tourists visit the LoDo Wellness Center at 1617 Wazee Street because you can take a photo in front of their greenhouse of cannabis leaves. Post it on the ‘gram and I’m sure you’ll make your mom proud!

International Church of Cannabis

A unique attraction worth a visit even if you don’t partake, the International Church of Cannabis is one of those “only in Denver” places.

View of the interior of the colorful International Church of Cannabis Denver
You can’t take photos during the lightshow, but trust me this looks even more incredible!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 800 5644 | Website | Hours: 4 pm – 8 pm Tue-Thu; 12 pm – 8 pm Sat-Mon | 👉 Reserve Tickets for the BEYOND Light Show

Speaking of cannabis, the Elevationists’ technicolor-themed place of worship bills itself as the “spiritual home for cannabis lovers.”

Located near the stretch of bars on South Broadway, the church is open to the public for visits during the afternoon and evenings, and displays the Beyond Laser Light Experience at 20 past the hour (purchase tickets ahead of time here).

Beware that marijuana consumption on premises is prohibited during the show, but arriving after consuming most certainly is not.

🌿 Mile High Trivia: Truly hardcore cannabis aficionados – or those engaged to them – can even get married inside the International Church of Cannabis!

Marijuana Mansion

The single best place to take 420-themed Instagram photos in Denver.

Woman in a royal chair at the Marijuana Mansion

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 446 5433 | Website | Hours: 2 pm – 8:30 pm Mon; 2 pm – 8 pm Thu; 1 pm – 8:30 pm Fri-Sat; 1 pm – 7 pm Sun | 🎟️ Admission: $35

Yes, this is the third cannabis-themed thing to do in Denver in a row, but after all, this is the Mile High City.

Imagine what would happen if the Molly Brown House could take edibles, and you’ll have a pretty vivid picture of what to expect at this Capitol Hill mansion, which serves as an event space dedicated to the celebration of grass.

You can also buy a ticket that lets you roam the mansion and take snapshots for 30 minutes. Anything for the ‘gram, right?

Denver Nightlife

Grizzly Rose

A traditional country-Western dance hall, the Grizzly Rose is a unique and fun experience. Really, try it!

View of the sign at the Grizzly Rose, a top thing to do in Denver Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 295 2353 | Website | Hours: 6 pm – 12 am Wed & Sun; 6 pm – 2 am Thu-Sat; Closed Mon & Tue

In Denver, things to do at night are not hard to find. The city is filled with nightlife. But one of the most unique nightlife activities is to throw on your boots, button up those pearl straps, and get ready for a honky tonk night on the town.

Few live music venues are as unique – or as expansive – as Denver’s iconic country music hall Grizzly Rose. Be sure to try your hand at the mechanical bull, if you dare. And, of course, be sure you have the plan to get home safely without drinking and driving!

Punch Bowl Social

Essentially an indoor game hall for adults, Punch Bowl Social is the place to be on South Broadway.

The author walking in front of Punch Bowl Social in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Website

Punch Bowl Social is basically Elitch’s for adults. Inside you’ll find bowling, ping pong, arcade games, karaoke, Jenga, multiple bars, a restaurant, and more fun activities than I can name in this post.

Punch Bowl Social is a great thing to do in Denver for weekend night out, or a fun thing to do on a rainy day in Denver.

Bluebird Theatre

One of the most historic theatres in Denver, the Bluebird is still a great place to catch a show.

Sign outside the Bluebird Theatre in Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 377 1666 | Website

The Bluebird Theatre has been a Colfax mainstay since its opening in 1913 when it initially served as a movie house.

In the 1990s the Bluebird Theatre was remodeled into a music venue, and today the Bluebird Theatre is one of the best places in Denver to catch an indie music act. Spending a night enjoying the live music scene there is definitely among the more cool things to do in Denver.

Colfax Avenue

Yes, it’s a little gritty, and you need to be careful at night. But there’s no place that’s quite like Colfax Avenue.

Colfax Avenue Sign in Front of the Fillmore Theatre, a top Denver attraction

Playboy magazine once famously dubbed Colfax the “longest, wickedest street in America.” Or maybe it didn’t. Either way, there’s no denying that the 50-mile-long street holds a special kind of charm. In the stretch around Capitol Hill, you’ll find dive bars, LGBT bars like X Bar, cheap eats, and historic theatres like The Fillmore, The Ogden, and The Bluebird.

Strolling Colfax Avenue is still one of my favorite local activities, though do be aware that after dark parts of it can feel less secure at times. If you’re into live music or nightlife, though, it’s a great place to check out in Denver this weekend.

Outdoor Activities in Denver

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

A true Denver hidden gem where you can drive through fields of bison with the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

View of bison with mountains in background
The herd was a little far away during this visit, but I managed to snap this photo!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 303 289 0930 | Website

Watch bison, and other wildlife, roam at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. Situated between downtown and DIA, this former chemicals weapons manufacturing center has made a stunning recovery and is now one of the country’s largest urban wildlife refuges.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal offers more than 20 miles of trails with some of the best hiking near Denver, plus fishing during the summer.

The best thing to do here, however, is to take your car through the excellent 11 mile Wildlife Drive, a route that will give you the opportunity to spot bison, deer, hawks, waterfowl, and all sorts of other wildlife from the comfort of your car.

Cheesman Park

My favorite park in Denver, hanging out at Cheesman Park is a fun and relaxing thing to do on a weekend.

View of wildflowers in front of Greek columns in Cheeseman Park Denver

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 913 1311 | Hours: 5 am – 11 pm daily

Parks should be on every list of what to do in Denver, Colorado. Denver has a truly impressive public park system. I think my favorite park in Denver has to be Cheesman Park.

Located next door to the Denver Botanic Gardens, Cheesman offers expansive views of the Rocky Mountains from the neo-classical pavilion located on its eastern edge. You’ll find miles of running trails and loads of space to spread out a picnic blanket and relax with friends.

📚 Read Next: Best Things to Do in Boulder, CO

Washington Park

Another excellent Denver park, Washington Park is especially great for cyclists and volleyball.

Nate looking out over Washington Park in Denver
Washington Park is great even on a cloudy day!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +17208653400 | Hours: 6 am – 9 pm Mon-Thu; 6 am – 8 pm Fri; 8 am – 4 pm Sat; 11 am – 4 pm Sun

Another one of Denver’s top parks, located in the neighborhood that bears its name, Washington Park is bustling on most days with runners, bicyclists, and picnickers.

But the best thing to do here is to get your serve on at Washington Park’s volleyball nets. All summer long you’ll find organized and impromptu games throughout the park. Plan ahead by reserving a net or bringing your own, or just plan to make some new friends.

City Park

Denver’s City Park is home to several museums, a lake, and frequent festivals and events.

Denver skyline from City Park

📍 Google Maps

The biggest park in Denver, City Park is home to the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and several lakes where you can find swan-like paddle boats for rent (it’s a fun Denver date idea!).

In warmer months it also hosts City Park Jazz, a community event where thousands gather to hear local bands and gnash on fare from lines of food trucks.

👉 Read Next: When is the best time to visit Denver?

Cherry Creek Trail

My favorite place to go running or cycling, the Cherry Creek Trail bisects downtown Denver.

A biker on the Cherry Creek Trail

📍 Google Maps

Looking for a place to get on a run or a bike ride? The Cherry Creek Trail is the perfect place to work out for free in Denver.

The 40 mile trail runs straight through the heart of downtown and ends at the spectacular Commons Park, which is a perfect place to watch the sunset in Denver. The Cherry Creek Trail is definitely one of the best free things to do in downtown Denver!

Confluence & Commons Parks

Bring a blanket and a picnic and hang out at this excellent little park right in downtown.

Nate with Commons Park in the background
Commons Park is a great place to walk around sunset

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 720 913 1311 | Hours: 5 am – 11 pm daily

Right downtown you’ll find two of my favorite Denver parks stacked back to back. These parks sit right where Cherry Creek spills into the South Platte River. Here you’ll find several bridges over the rushing water, expansive green space, and spectacular views.

A personal favorite thing to do in Denver is to take a picnic blanket to the top of the hill and watch the sunset over the Rocky Mountains. For additional things to do, check out the Denver Skate Park on the north end, or the giant REI outdoor equipment store on the south end.

FAQs About What to Do in Denver, Colorado

What is there to do in Denver this weekend?

Fun things to do in Denver this weekend include checking out Meow Wolf Convergence Station, wandering the Denver Art Museum, enjoying dinner or drinks at Dairy Block, or visiting the Molly Brown House Museum.

What are the best things to do in Denver at night?

The best things to do in Denver at night include seeing a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, going country dancing at the Grizzly Rose, enjoying the adult arcade at Punch Bowl Social, or wandering the food and dining venues at Dairy Block.

What are the best outdoor things to do in Denver?

Good activities outdoors in Denver include visiting the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, playing volleyball at Washington Park, going cycling on the Cherry Creek Trail, or taking a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.


Congrats on making it all the way to the end of this mega list of the best things to do in Denver Colorado!

Be sure to check out all my Denver travel articles for tips on things like where to stay, the best day trips, and more.

What did you think? What were your favorite things in Denver? What attractions did I miss? Scroll down and leave a comment!

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)

Help us help you travel better!

Your feedback really helps ...

What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?


  1. Welcome back. Great to see you blogging again. This is a detailed article with loads of info, thanks. Denver will be part of my big US tour when we can travel safely again and ths will help me enourmously.

    1. Thanks for this! We recently moved to Denver, and am showing the in-laws around to entice them to move here. Lots of my favs here, and more I didn’t know!
      Now we just have to figure out where to meet new friends in Denver! We don’t know anyone here haha

  2. Great list of Denver locales … gotta go hit some of them again now that lockdown has lifted! However, as a former Cap Hill resident and long-time proofreader, that great urban oasis is actually Cheesman Park. Either way, it’s a wonderful hangout!

      1. Hi Nate, as a Denver, Colorado native Elitch Gardens original location was on 38th Ave and Tennyson in northwest Denver and got relocated to downtown Denver. And, supposedly to moving again!! It lost alot of charm when it got moved out of the neighborhood.

        1. Thanks for your comment Michelle! Elitch’s is definitely different than it was a long time ago, as is most of Denver, but my niece and nephew sure still seem to love it as much as I did as a kid!

    1. Hi! This was a wonderful resource! Do you have any specific recommendations for visiting in February?

      1. February tends to be one of the colder months in Denver, though relatively drier than March or April in terms of snow. Even in February you may get lucky. Some days the sun is strong enough to enjoy some of the outdoor activities or even patio dining during the afternoon. Denver weather can be eclectic, so be prepared for anything from heavy snow to a pleasant day.

        The Rocky Mountain Arsenal is usually open barring heavy snow, so taking a drive through it can be a fun and scenic way to get a taste of the outdoors even in winter. February in Denver is a great time to check out what’s on at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, or to explore the indoor marketplaces like Stanley Marketplace and Dairy Block. Meow Wolf is also always fun any time of year. Of course, the best thing to do in Colorado in February is to get up into the mountains if you can, even just for a day trip. Here’s our guide to the best ski resorts near Denver. Even if you don’t like skiing, just getting up to a lodge and seeing the mountains in snow is truly special.

  3. The Colfax store is NOT the original Tattered Cover Location. It is actually a relatively recent move compared to its other stores. It’s previous location was on 1st Ave. in Cherry Creek directly across from the CC Mall. That was not the original location but it was the one most old-timers associate with TC. It was four floors (Basement plus 3) and easy to spend an entire day (and paycheck!) in there.

  4. I have two trips to Denver coming up, and now I know lots of
    things to do when I get there–thanks!

    1. Thank you Craig! October is a great month to visit. The weather is nice and temperate, and you will hopefully see some changing leaves in the city’s parks. Have a fun time in Denver!

  5. We are just leaving Denver now. Thanks for the suggestions we had a great time saw a few things on the list.
    Heading to pikes peak tomorrow so enjoy the city today.

    1. Hi Margaret – thanks so much for reading along (and especially for coming back to comment after your Denver visit!). I hope you enjoy Pikes Peak and the rest of your Colorado vacation!

  6. Thank you so much! This really helped me plan my trip in October. We’ll be travelling with a 2 year old in October. Any October specific suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Be sure to get to the mountains to do some leaf peeping! Taking a drive through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal is also really nice in October, and you can see bison from the car. You could also check out the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, the Denver Zoo, or the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. And be sure to check out Laura’s guide to things to do in Denver with kids! Lastly, though you would need a sitter for it, you might check out the Great American Beer Festival if you like beer.

  7. I remember growing up in a house just a short black and a half from Washington Park. I spent much of my free time in the park. I remember there were times I almost had the park to myself. Not today.

  8. I’m heading there this week so was excited to find this article! However, I was excited to see Union Station and Larimer street. The friends I have there have said do not go there because of the homeless issue that has taken over since COVID. What’s your take?

    1. There are people affected by homelessness everywhere in Denver, as in most major cities in the United States. I do not think it is a reason not to visit Union Station or Larimer Square, nor do I think you can really avoid it by going anywhere else. Both areas are well policed and, in my opinion, very safe. With that said, if you are concerned, then I suggest visiting during the daytime.

      1. Thanks for the response! We went ahead and have done several things you had suggested. I felt the situation was like most places. You are correct it is every where. Unlike most places it is well policed! Thanks for an incredible list!

  9. Thanks for this great list of things to do in Denver. I’ll be there on a solo vacation in late September and really looking forward to it after reading this. I did take your advice and booked a room at The Maven!

  10. Thanks for this list! We are visiting Denver for a few quick days next week and this list was super helpful.

  11. We leave tomorrow for denver staying at the rally hotel. This was very helpful. We will check out as much if this as we can. Also going rafting in Idaho springs and thinking about doing pikes peak and garden of gods tour. Is that worth it?

    1. Yes that sounds like a very fun plan. Note that if you have a rental car, both Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods are easy to self drive. But if not, a tour is the way to go. Enjoy Colorado!

  12. ooof, not the first ‘unique’ thing being Casa Bonita. these are all super basic picks, especially for someone who lives in Denver.

  13. Visiting Denver with my wife in late October. I was born there but my lady has never been and the last time I was there was probably before you were born. We have 5 days and hope you can give me a quick hint on what to see and do and when should we buy tickets for some of the things we want to see.

  14. Hey.. great site… took notes of a lot of places that we’d like to see.. heading to Denver in the beginning of October for a football game.. We have 1 whole day to explore.. but need a bike to rent to see them all.. any good places that are great for bike rentals? We are staying near Union Station and will be here for 3 days – 1 of which will be soley the football game. Thanks in advance for any advice on the bike rentals.

    1. For short point to point trips, you can find bike shares via the Lime and Lyft apps. Mile High Bike Tours does half and full day bike rentals. Be aware that bike rentals in Denver are often pretty expensive.

Leave a Reply

All comments are moderated for compliance with our community guidelines. Most importantly be kind & be helpful!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.