Denver, Colorado, is the largest city with almost full-year sunshine. It is also a city surrounded by the most stunning natural scenery, so there is no shortage of things to do in Denver.
It perfectly combines history, sport, culture, arts, and the best food and drinks Colorado State offers.
Are you just passing through for a ski vacation? Are you planning to spend a few days in Denver?
Regardless, Denver is one of the best places to visit in Colorado because it offers so much to see and do that you probably need to relocate to get to most of the attractions.
Therefore, we put together this list of the best things to do in Denver to help you make the most of your visit.
We included various of the best indoor and outdoor must-visit locations with various worthwhile attractions.
Of course, many sites are in downtown Denver, and some may require a worthy drive or are accessible by public transport. Nevertheless, the detail on each attraction will be an excellent guide.
Wondering what to do in Denver? Read on!
Best Things To Do In Denver, Colorado
Here are our favorite things to do in Denver in no particular order.
1. Visit The Red Rocks Amphitheater
Our list starts with an easy day trip from Denver, with the main attraction as the Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
The park is in a unique traditional landscape where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains.
Here you will find the only naturally formed, open-air amphitheater with near-perfect acoustics.
In this design of nature as the architect has two 300-foot monoliths as a magnificent backdrop setting for any performance.
The Red Rocks Amphitheatre was established by completing seating for more than 9,500 people. Red Rocks is unique, and you will not find another similar theatre anywhere.
Many famous artists have performed here over the years, and live music and other live performance are regular occurrences in this theater.
Pssst: if you want to go on a day trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park, check out this article with the best hikes in the Rocky Mountains. This is hands-down one of the best things to do in Colorado, after all, the Rocky Mountain is obviously one of the most beautiful places in the state.
Read next: Secluded Cabins in Colorado
2. Drive Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Another must-do, just half an hour from Denver, is to take the highest paved road in North America and experience The Rocky Mountains first-hand.
The 28-mile Mount Evans Scenic Byway drive between Idaho Springs and Mount Evans is en route to one of the mountain’s 54 peaks at an elevation of 14,260 feet above sea level.
Head west into the mountains to Echo Lake Park and Summit Lake Park for possible picnic and fishing opportunities from Denver.
Stop along the way at the many lookout points to stretch your legs and experience stunning views of snowcapped peaks and nature at its beautiful best.
Once you have reached the top, you can climax the trip with the last 100 – feet elevation short climb to the peak.
Note that breathing will be more difficult at this altitude and may not suit everyone. However, the view from the top is magnificent and worth every mile traveled to get there.
Read next: Best Road Trips in Colorado
3. Summit Pikes Peak
This recommendation will take you south of Denver, near Colorado Springs.
Visit and optionally summit this majestic giant, with an elevation of 14,115 feet, by self-drive, a guided tour, train, bike, or hiking.
Also, plan for about a 3-hour roundtrip by car or about 8 hours for the hiking option.
The 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway will take you through breathtaking mountainous terrain and animal sightings.
There are frequent stopping options to stretch your legs, take photos, or even picnic at various picnic spots. Stop at the North Slope Recreation Area for some trout fishing in May.
The Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop and Glen Cove Inn are popular Colorado attractions on the way to the peak.
Once at the top, you will be in awe, with fantastic views, and if you pick a clear day, you may see the following five states in one picture; Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Kansas.
4. Visit The Denver Botanic Gardens On York Street
A good idea for a more peaceful and relaxing day between other activities is visiting the 224-acre Denver Botanic Gardens.
Stroll through various themed gardens and admire flora from around the world. In addition, there is also a 1300-seat theater and plenty to eat and drink along the way.
It is not only flora displayed in the multiple diverse gardens but sculptures galore from various talented artists that will keep you fascinated and entertained for hours.
Additionally, experience the drought-resistant lands, Mordecai Children’s Garden, Japanese Garden, and Monet Pool’s spectacular lilies are just a few examples.
Don’t despair; you will have ample opportunities to browse the gift shop and look after your belly with lovely tasteful eats and drinks.
So, put aside one day for tranquility and peace and recharge those energy levels while being as close to nature’s beauty as you only can imagine.
Pssst: Don’t miss out! Admission is included in the Denver CityPASS!
5. Spend A Day At Denver City Park
This park is a worthy three-in-one attraction choice.
You will experience the massive 330-acre park in Denver, enjoying nature and beautiful views while strolling to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Therefore, an activity-filled day for the whole family with lots of activities.
The various lakes have paddle boats for hire, and during the summer months, the park hosts a host of community events.
Visiting green spaces is hands-down one of the best things to do in Denver, so if you want more options, here you are: Washington Park, Cheesman Park, and Lincoln Park, where you can find a tennis court.
So, when you have had enough outdoors, you can slow the pace down and hop into the exciting Denver Museum of Nature and Science for informative quietness and Egyptian mummies.
Summer tourists may prefer Denver from May through August, as it is the best period to enjoy the sunshine, weather, and summer outdoor activities.
6. Visit The Denver Zoo While You In City Park
The Denver Zoo is a must-see, with over 4,000 animals on a large 8-acre City Park landscape. You are guaranteed to enjoy a variety of mammals, reptiles, birds, and more.
In addition, try to visit during animal feeding times and feed your brain with the wealth of knowledge shared by the zoo staff.
In addition, make your zoo visit fantastic and worthwhile with the Up-Close Look experience with intimate animal interactions.
It is one of the best things to do in Denver. You can e-mail them for more info or visit them online.
Some people prefer to visit Denver from April to May and September to October because these months provide the best and most moderate temperatures.
In addition, these months have fewer tourists and lower prices than the peak summer months.
7. Visit The Denver Museum of Nature & Science
While taking a stroll through Denver City Park, take the opportunity and visit the museum of nature and science.
Denver is known to incorporate its history and all cultures of its current diverse inhabitants into celebrations, festivals, and experiences.
In addition, the nature-filled area is exploited, and sees the mountains and surrounds as a base for many outdoor recreation and culture-centered activities.
Even if you’re not a history buff, you may want to plan your day at the museum, where they have various settings, audio-visual services, and extraordinary exhibitions.
Also, the IMAX and planetarium shows should be at the top of your visit schedule while taking in the breathtaking views of Denver City Park and the Rocky Mountains. It is one of the best things to do in Denver.
Pssst: Don’t miss out! Admission is included in the Denver CityPASS!
8. Denver Art Museum
The Wild West period is key to Denver, and the museums, old villages, and Victorian buildings capture it perfectly.
This art museum not only exhibits the architecture of world-famous visionaries but is probably the best holder of Native and Western American art.
In addition, you will be fascinated by the whole art spectrum, including the Rocky Mountains.
Monet’s Waterloo Bridge and the large-scale fox games of Sandy Skoglund are highly recommended. The Martin building was renovated and included new programs and exhibitions.
Here, art aficionados will connect and share and appreciate a diversity of art. Snowing can start from September or even as late as November, with the last snowfall usually in late April.
Therefore, the arty tourist will enjoy the Winter’s cool comfy weather for indoor museum explorations.
Pssst: Don’t miss out! Admission is included in the Denver CityPASS!
9. Explore The Larger Museum Of Contemporary Art (MCA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art relocated to its larger, permanent home in 2007. It spans over five galleries, a shop, a library, and a welcoming rooftop café.
Rest assured, the exhibitions are not always prim and proper, and you will be provoked to question and appreciate art at its best.
Things are constantly changing at the MCA with the recent opening of three new exhibitions.
So it is worth a visit to explore the celestial and terrestrial environment relationships, for example, Clarissa Tossin: Falling From Earth, Tania Candiani: For the Animals, and more.
10. Experience The Molly Brown House Museum In Denver
It is a miracle that this old Victorian manor got saved from demolition in 1970.
Therefore, as visitors, you will find a multitude of info on Margaret Brown and her stories about her life as an actress and a civil-rights activist.
In addition, the Titanic survivor’s years are an excellent comparison to her unsinkability.
The house museum caters to self-guided tours and other events throughout the year. So naturally, nothing is dull or the same for too long at Molly Brown.
A variety of Gothic horror story hours, holiday teas, and garden parties are some examples of what is on display every season.
11. Spend A Day Indulging At The Source Market Hall
The Source, this gourmet food hall became a popular attraction instantly with its variety of vendors catering to a multitude of food fanatics.
The 45,000 square feet food hall is the crux of The Source Hotel complex. No less than 25 food artisans are providing their masterpieces to visitors daily.
For example, a bakery, pizzeria, and wood-fired restaurant can still your hunger and thirst. In addition, dwell through the retail and apparel shops or spend a while at the brewery.
There are many more attractions for food and drink or plan carefree relaxation.
Lastly, visiting The Woods rooftop restaurant for some pool and an on-site brewed Belgium beer should top your to-do list while visiting The Source.
If you want to stay the night, no problem, the 100-room Source Hotel will be happy to accommodate you.
12. Treat Yourself To A Drink And Massage At The Beer Spa
So, you have already enjoyed the Denver museums and visited some of the best other attractions the mile-high city offers.
It is now time to literally and physically soak away your exhaustion. If it is only you, a couple, or a group of friends, The Beer Spa is one of the best things to do in Denver.
Start with the 90-minute Beer Therapy in a private 2-pax setting and relax in a beer bath, an infrared sauna, and a rain shower.
Then, either before or after this therapy, you can hang out in the Taproom and sip on the best Colorado beers on tap. Else, try ciders, wine, or non-alcoholic drinks.
That’s not all; move to the Relaxation lounge and soothe away in a zero-gravity massage chair for a massage.
This attraction is an excellent variation of the many museums, art galleries, and other attractions around the city. Click here to visit the website for more info on what The Beer Spa offers.
13. Take A Stroll Along South Broadway in Denver – SoBo
South Broadway, or SoBo, used to be a section of art and furniture shops but subsequently has grown into a unique and funky shopping extravaganza.
The area expands from South Broadway north into the Baker District, where a variety of taverns and cafés along the way.
For the book and antique hunters, the southern part of SoBo will guide you to Antique Row for various antique stores.
Then, get downtown and mingle with the locals for an experience of a lifetime. You have not been to Denver if you have not visited SoBo. If you want the best thing to do in Denver, go to SoBo.
In addition, with live music venues, ample walkways, and bike lanes, this district has become a significant fun attraction and a must-visit for Denver tourists.
It is not only eating and drinking; bookstores and clothing boutiques will enhance your shopping opportunity with unique Downtown Denver memorabilia.
14. Visit The Denver Downtown Aquarium
The over-a-million-gallon Denver Downtown Aquarium hosts more than 500 marine and animal species and a tiger habitat that will entertain everyone and is a must for the kids.
They will learn about conservation which allows them to experience creatures in real life.
It is not only about marine and animal life, as the desert and rainforest exhibits will have you gasping in astonishment.
While exploring everything the aquarium offers, take some time to get something to eat at the restaurant and see the Mystic Mermaid Dining Show.
The aquarium is massive, and you should set aside at least three hours to cover all the exhibits, habitats, and undersea caves.
It is worth getting a Denver CityPASS that will save you about half of the regular entry fees at many top tourist spots.
15. Go Shopping At Larimer Square
Larimer Square is another Denver must-visit attraction where you can shop or browse through a host of boutique stores with tons of varieties.
There is indeed something for everyone on Larimer Street. But, of course, after a whole day of shopping, you want to end the day at a Denver restaurant or just a quick drink and a bite.
Larimer is the heart of downtown Denver, and they preserved the history, heritage, and architecture combined with modern vibes.
Some recommended stops are, The Drunken Bakery to experience the upside-down floor and ceiling and Monday movie nights at the Bistro Vendôme.
The Disco Pig is an option if drink, dance, and disco are more your fancy. For the best of Denver’s comedy scene, begin at Comedy Works Downtown.
This venue is one of the top five comedy clubs where famous comics like Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld have performed along with local stars.
Not far from here, you will find the 16th Street Mall, an iconic shopping center in the heart of Denver.
16. Union Station
This station is no ordinary station. Instead, the Denver Union Station is where 140-year-old history and tradition took a hand with modern architecture and lifestyle to produce a masterpiece in the middle of downtown Denver.
As you walk into the building, you will be awed by the magnitude of this embrace.
It is not only a visitor attraction, but local inhabitants enjoy every inch of the variety of top restaurants, bars, and shops.
In addition, Union Station has a full event calendar ranging from farmer’s markets to fitness extravaganzas. Check out when their monthly Yappy Hour at the Terminal Bar is.
Denver started as a mining town during the western Territory’s Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. The station and the City of Denver were born in 1858.
We highly recommend a visit to the Union Station. While sipping on a craft beer or coffee, you can gasp at the history and magic of the Great Hall in all its glory.
17. Experience The Broncos At Empower Field at Mile High
The local sport is football, and Empower Field at Mile High is the home ground of the Denver Broncos. You can’t get more local than this stadium.
Join a tour, show your support, or experience the Broncos on their home turf, even if you’re not a football fan.
Visit the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum while getting the sought-after end zone view.
This stadium represents Denver and Colorado as a whole in personality and traditions.
Experience the vibrant and competitive sports fans that add to the culture with their energetic and passionate modern-day enthusiasm.
This stadium plays host to a variety of events. Check out their Event Schedule while planning your next best thing to do in Denver.
18. Take A Coors Field Tour
Coors Field is the home ground of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies and is situated in lower downtown Denver and just a short walk from Union Station.
If you are a Rockies fan or just a baseball fan, a visit to this baseball stadium will not disappoint you.
Take a tour and learn about this fantastic stadium with spectacular views of the mountains.
If your visit dates correspond, you may be able to see the Rockies in action on their home turf. Check out the Coors Field Tour info.
In addition, take a stroll to the on-site brewery and experience some local craft beers at Sandlot brewery.
If you want to learn more about upcoming games or events, keep an eye out by visiting the Rockies Special Events.
19. Visit The Forney Museum of Transportation
The mixture of cultures in Denver provides an exciting and diverse art, food, and music menu.
Adding to this variation is Denver’s Forney Museum of Transportation. You will be taken back to the history of motor vehicles while experiencing some of the rarest and best vintage models still available.
For example, Amelia Earhart’s Kissel Gold Bug Speedster is on display, and so are a Denver Cable Car from the 1800s and many more interesting collectible items.
In addition, the extraordinary Ford Model T collection will amaze you. This museum started 70 years ago and has grown to more than 850 items.
In addition, it has buggies, motorcycles, locomotives, aircraft, and many more, with a highlight of the toys and diecast models from back in the day.
They are open on certain days only, so check out the Fourney Museum Info for more details. A definite must-visit if you are a vintage fan.
More Things To Do In Denver:
- Go on a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
- Go on a hot air balloon experience in the Rockies
- Hike the Cherry Creek Trail
- Check out the United States Mint
- Don’t miss Hammond’s Candy Factory
- Take in the Colorado State Capitol
- Visit the Children’s Museum of Denver – Admission is included in the Denver CityPASS!
- Check out the Adams Mystery Playhouse
- Don’t miss the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum – Admission is included in the Denver CityPASS!
Final Thoughts On The Best Things To Do In Denver
Being just around the corner from Rocky Mountain National Park, this Mile High City mixes outdoor experience, indoor culture, and history.
In addition, Denver is for outdoor people. For example, skiing, snowboarding during the winter months, biking, hiking, and picnicking during the summer are just a few of the outdoor adventures of Denver.
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