Denver is truly a city that has activities year-round: everything from hiking, to skiing, to hanging at one of the many rooftop bars and breweries (also, it averages 300 days of sunshine a year making it one of the sunniest cities in the US). Here are 35 reasons you need to make your way to the Mile-High City.
What to do in Denver
- Spend some time outside at one of Denver’s many parks. Fun fact! Denver allows you to bring 3.2 beer (ie beer with 3.2% alcohol content) to parks so if you’re feeling parched, stop by a grocery store on your way over.
- Cheesman Park. For years, Cheesman Park has been considered one of the most haunted places in America (maybe attempting to remove the dead bodies back in the 1890s wasn’t such a good idea…). Today though, this is an awesome spot to hang out with friends, wander through the rose garden, or have a picnic.
- City Park. The biggest park in Denver, City Park is also home to the Denver Zoo, IMAX and the Denver Museum of Nation & Science. Play a game of horseshoes or tennis, bike the Cherry Creek Trail, or rent a boat to paddle across one of the lakes.
- Washington Park. A blend of historic and contemporary styles of architecture. The paddleboats are our top pick.
- Denver Art Museum. The DAM is known for its stunning architecture and collection of Native American art.
- Catch a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. This open-air amphitheater is famous for being one of the coolest venues in the country (two 300-ft tall rocks provide perfect acoustics for the space).
- Not able to get a ticket? Red Rocks Park is a great spot for a day of hiking, biking, picnicking, and animal-spotting.
- Grizzly Rose. Itchin’ to wear your cowboy boots? Head to this venue for a good ol’ country concert. But you might want to practice your dancing skills first because line dancing and two stepping are regular occurrences.
- Elitch Gardens. Want a bit of a thrill? Head to this 70-acre amusement park. But don’t forget your suit because in addition to the roller coasters, there’s a full water park.
- Watch the Colorado Rockies play at Coor’s Field. Also, we believe that the view from the 3rd deck is one of the best in the city.
- Or, if basketball is more your thing, watch the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center.
- Denver Botanic Gardens. 23-acres in the middle of the city, the Denver Botanic Gardens is fun whether you have a green thumb or not. Plus, if you visit during the summer, be sure to check out their Summer Concert Series.
- Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Over 160 specialty boutiques, plenty of restaurants, a movie theater, performances by local bands and more.
- Larimer Square. A historic block in the heart of downtown Denver with tons of restaurants, boutiques and bars. Plus, string lights give the entire block a little old-world charm.
- 16th Street Mall. This pedestrian and transit mall runs 1.25 miles along Denver’s downtown. Come to hang out for a bit, catch a street performance or two, or simply people watch.
- RiNo District. Close to downtown, RiNo (River North Art District) is a trendy neighborhood with art extending from its many galleries to its streets. Check out jazz clubs that have been converted from warehouses and breweries converted from factories. Don’t miss First Fridays (first Friday of the month where more than 50 studios and galleries open their doors to the public until 9pm).
Where to Eat
- Sam’s No 3. Huge menu with huge portions. There’s a reason Sam’s has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. For the novelty alone, you have to get the Kitchen Sink Burrito (which is exactly as it sounds).
- Hopdoddy. One of the best burgers in town (also, those truffle fries though…). Come for happy hour (M-F 3-6:30pm), grab a space on the patio, and whichever burger suits your fancy.
- Little Man. Ice cream is a necessity in such a sunny city and Little Man provides some of the best in town. While a little out-of-the-box, the vegan Salted Oreo is one of our faves.
- Snooze. Cause brunch is a vacation necessity. Locals and tourists alike flock to this Denver staple on weekend mornings so expect a wait. Everything is good but we might recommend the pancake flight (3 pancakes in the flavors of your choosing) because nobody should have to pick between Pineapple Upside Down and Blueberry Danish Pancakes.
- City O’ City. Have veggie friends? Head to City O’ City. All options are vegetarian and many are vegan so everyone can find something. Try the Savory Waffle (a waffle topped with seasonal vegetable ragu and vegan cheese fondue).
- Illegal Pete’s. Fast tex-mex food that is so much more worth it than Chipotle. Bonus? $4 margaritas at happy hour (3-8pm).
- Elway’s. Perfect for special occasions. The steak may be pricy but take a bite and you’ll know why. Also, they host outdoor concerts on Wednesdays all summer long.
Where to Drink
- Avanti Food & Beverage. Avanti is the millennial version of a food court. Rooftop patio, awesome city view, a wide selection of gourmet food-truck style eateries and lots of beer.
- Linger. This trendy bar used to be a mortuary but don’t let that scare you from visiting. And even better? It’s rooftop patio has one awesome view of the Denver skyline. Sip frosé in style.
- Tap 14. Right by Coor’s Field, this bar has 70 local craft beers and 100 Colorado distilled spirits. Plus, rooftop cornhole and water mists when it’s hot out. Sounds like a perfect way to spend Saturday afternoon.
- William’s and Graham. A historic speakeasy still running today. Make a reservation, find the secret entrance (we’ll let you find where it is), and get ready for some delicious hand-crafted cocktails. Try a favorite: the Blackberry Sage Smash (bourbon, blackberries, sage, lemon and sugar).
- Terminal Bar. Terminal is located right inside the busy (and newly redone) Union Station, which gives it a fun, lively vibe. We opt for the cocktails here (because nothing conjures up the vintage charm of train travel better than hand-crafted Manhattan).
- Recess Beer Garden. A very chill beer garden with a perfect location in LoHi, Recess is a must if you are a fan of beer. Microbrews, German beers, ciders, Recess has it all.
- Mile High Spirits. Another outdoor patio (sensing a pattern here?) Mile High Spirits is the place to come if you’re looking to chill outside playing outdoor games while sipping homemade infused-spirit cocktails.
- Blake Street Tavern. A great spot to post-up and watch sports. They have all the necessities: plenty of beer, grub, pool, shuffleboard, and obviously other avid fans. Get the pile of nachos to share with your friends.
- Larimer Beer Hall. Happy Hours here (M-F 3-7pm) will nab you BOGO draft beers. Add to that $2 for a basket of fries and this is a done deal.
- Hayter’s & Co. While this LoDo spot turns up the music on the weekend (with live DJ’s and all), the weekdays are just as fun. Grab a beer from one of their taps and play a game of beer pong with your friends. Also, you can order a bucket full of candied bacon…
- LODOs. Come to LODOs rooftop Downtown before a Rockies game on the weekends. You’ll have a perfect view of the field, 50 TVs from which you can catch another game, and great brews & food.
- Blue Moon Brewing Co. While their name is now known nationwide, Blue Moon started back in 1995 in Downtown Denver, making it a true local. And to learn a little more, you can take a tour of the facilities.
- 10 Barrel Brewing. While this brewery is based in Oregon, at least half of their brews are made in-house. Not sure what to order? Get the 10 beer sampler.
- Coor’s Brewery Tour. While Coor’s doesn’t exactly scream “local bar”, it’s brewery in Denver still provides an awesome behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process and 3 free beers to boot.
Where to Stay
We usually recommend visitors stay in the LoDo area of downtown as it’s packed with bars, restaurants and nightlife. Below are some of our top hotel picks: