Denver   Travel Guide

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tourist places in denver

17 Best Things to Do in Denver, Colorado

While Colorado is known for its outdoor offerings, its city life isn't one to pass up. Denver is home to numerous must-sees from museums and galleries to restaurants and breweries. Spend a few hours in Meow Wolf to experience an interactive and

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tourist places in denver

Denver Botanic Gardens Denver Botanic Gardens

U.S. News Insider Tip: Visit in the fall for Glow at the Gardens, a Halloween festival complete with stunning (and spooky) light displays and epic pumpkin art. – Leilani Osmundson

The Denver Botanic Gardens' 24 acres feature a whopping 50 gardens for visitors to explore. This expansive facility in downtown Denver's Cheesman Park treats travelers to a variety of different environments, from a traditional Japanese garden (complete with bonsai trees) to the South African Plaza blooming with exotic plants like asparagus fern and torch lilies. Meanwhile, art aficionados will also appreciate the gardens thanks to the numerous sculptures that grace the grounds; the facility also plays host to touring exhibits that have included works by such artists as Stephen Talasnik and Dale Chihuly.

tourist places in denver

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Watching a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an essential experience in Denver. There's no such thing as a bad seat, either; in fact, the best views are in the back, where you can see stunning sunset views over the red rocks and city skyline. – Amanda Norcross, Content & SEO Strategist

With its excellent views of the Rocky Mountains, miles of hiking trails and cinnamon-hued sandstone cliffs, Red Rocks Park is a big draw for outdoors enthusiasts. Occupying 700-some acres, this impressive park offers visitors the opportunity to experience the fascinating geographic transition between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. If you only have a short amount of time here, stretch your legs along the Trading Post Trail; this nearly 1 ½-mile-long path weaves through the rust-colored buttes, making for some spectacular scenery. Before you head out, travelers recommend stopping by the visitor center, which features information on the park’s history and trails.

tourist places in denver

Denver Museum of Nature & Science Denver Museum of Nature & Science

With exhibits featuring everything from dinosaur bones to Egyptian mummies, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science inspires learning in the young and young at heart. This impressive facility houses artifacts pertaining to a variety of scientific areas, including anthropology, zoology, geology, health sciences, paleontology and space science. Some of the more popular displays include the wildlife exhibit, which includes more than 90 habitat scenes containing information on animals from around the world, from Alaska to Australia. Meanwhile, the hands-on Space Odyssey area introduces travelers to the outer reaches of the galaxy and beyond. 

Recent visitors said the Denver Museum of Nature & Science was a great place for families. A few reviewers who were not traveling with children said the museum may not be as engaging for adults as it is for kids because of the elementary nature of the displays. Many recent travelers were particularly impressed with the gems and minerals exhibit, which features artifacts like an 8-pound nugget of crystallized gold discovered in Breckenridge in 1887.

tourist places in denver

Popular Tours

Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder

Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder

(2582 reviews)

from $ 159.00

Small Group Tour of Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods from Denver

Small Group Tour of Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods from Denver

(1638 reviews)

from $ 169.00

Half Day Rocky Mountain Escape

Half Day Rocky Mountain Escape

(1347 reviews)

from $ 79.00

tourist places in denver

Denver's Union Station Denver's Union Station free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Have breakfast at Snooze (a local chain), but get there early – there's almost always a line because the food is that good. – Amanda Norcross, Content & SEO Strategist

Denver's Union Station serves a dual purpose: it's a working public transit station and a highly-praised dining and shopping center. The station was a huge success when it first opened to the public in 1881, providing railroad service until the center of the building caught fire in 1894. The architecture from the 1914 redevelopment remains, and today, it's home to an Amtrak hub and a bus concourse. Located in the hip Lower Downtown neighborhood (aka LoDo), the station also houses multiple dining options and boutiques, as well as  The Crawford Hotel .

tourist places in denver

Meow Wolf Denver Meow Wolf Denver

U.S. News Insider Tip: Plan to spend several hours (at least two) here if you're hoping to see everything, and remember as you explore that there is an underlying storyline that connects all the exhibits and includes a mystery for visitors to unravel. – Leilani Osmundson

If you’re a fan of immersive art installations, you’ll probably enjoy Meow Wolf Denver, which is best described as a contemporary art museum, a haunted house, an amusement park and a film set all rolled into one 90,000-square-foot space. There are several Meow Wolf locations around the U.S., including Las Vegas and Santa Fe, New Mexico . Denver’s iteration is spread across four stories and features more than 70 distinctive installations that feature colorful lights, sounds and interactive displays. The largest permanent installation is the Convergence Station, a “multiverse transit station.”

tourist places in denver

Denver Zoo Denver Zoo

Modeled after a Kenyan nature preserve, the Denver Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals, including tigers, black rhinos, kangaroos and orangutans. Sprawling across 80 acres of City Park, this impressive facility boasts a number of ways to view our furry, feathered and reptilian friends. Head to Predator Ridge, the recreated African savanna, to see hyenas, lions and African dogs roam, watch monkeys swing from tree branches at Primate Panorama or catch a glimpse of colorful critters like Panamanian golden frogs and green tree pythons at the Tropical Discovery center. You can also overload on cute during a visit to the nursery and take on a ride on the zoo's train and carousel.

While you're here, many travelers highly recommend timing your visit around feeding times, during which staff offers educational lectures about the zoo's residents. Keep in mind that this is a large facility; you'll want to budget plenty of time to see all the animals.

tourist places in denver

Best Denver Tours

tourist places in denver

Denver Tours

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tourist places in denver

Downtown Aquarium Downtown Aquarium

U.S. News Insider Tip: Pay attention if you're in the flash flood simulation room – you might get wet! – Leilani Osmundson

Visit the AZA-accredited Downtown Aquarium to see more than 500 species of animals across a variety of ecosystems both underwater and on land (including tigers). In addition to the exhibits, the aquarium also boasts a Stingray Reef touch tank, a 4D theater, scuba and snorkel experiences, a shark cage experience, and in-person and virtual animal encounters. Kids can participate in a plethora of activities from a fun overnight stay to a five-day summer camp. Day programs for children include "Marine Biologist for a Day," which includes encounters with exotic species from the deep sea, as well as "Zoologist for a Day," where kids can learn how to handle and train animals that live outside the ocean.

tourist places in denver

Denver Art Museum Denver Art Museum

With galleries showcasing more than 70,000 works by famed artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Winslow Homer, the Denver Art Museum houses one of the most impressive collections of art between Chicago and the West Coast. Spread across two buildings, the museum's holdings range from pre-Columbian artifacts to contemporary displays with such mediums as painting  and sculpture represented. One of the highlights of a visit to the Denver Art Museum is its extensive assembly of western American art, which includes paintings, sculptures and works on paper related to the West going back two centuries.

Past visitors raved about the Denver Art Museum, praising its diverse and varied collections, especially its collection of western American art, and the museum's ability to appeal to kids through interactive activities. If you don't make it here on your own, you'll find that the museum is a popular stop on many of the best Denver tours .

tourist places in denver

Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park Tour from Denver Winter and Spring

(319 reviews)

from $ 139.00

Downtown Denver Food Tour

Downtown Denver Food Tour

(1301 reviews)

Denver, Red Rocks, and Beyond

Denver, Red Rocks, and Beyond

(1196 reviews)

from $ 89.00

tourist places in denver

16th Street Mall 16th Street Mall free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Visit Skyline Park (located at 15th and Arapahoe streets) in the summer for draft beers at Skyline Beer Garden and the winter for outdoor ice skating at the Downtown Denver Rink. – Leilani Osmundson

Walk along this mile-long pedestrian mall for restaurants, shops, entertainment and more. Described as "the spine that connects all of downtown," the mall starts with Union Station on the north end and the Colorado State Capitol on the south end, with attractions like the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Larimer Square and the Denver Pavilions – a shopping and dining complex with multiple movie theaters and pop-up events – along the way. If you've worked up an appetite walking around, you won't go hungry: There are more than 40 outdoor cafes throughout the mall, as well as plenty of casual, upscale and international eateries.

tourist places in denver

Coors Field Coors Field

U.S. News Insider Tip:  Take a seat in row 20 – the only purple row in the stadium – and you'll be sitting exactly one mile above sea level! –  Leilani Osmundson

Named for Denver's famed beer, Coors Field in Denver's LoDo district is home to Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies. The stadium occupies a whopping 76 acres and has the capacity for more than 50,000 fans. Of course, the main reason to come to Coors Field is to catch a game, but there's more to this stadium than a diamond. Whether you're traveling with children or alone, be sure to spend some time at the Interactive Area, where you can test your skills in the video batting cages and the Speed Pitch area. And if you've left the kids at home, take the opportunity to sample some of Denver's local brews on the Rooftop, a 38,000-square-foot platform with fantastic views of the field and downtown Denver. If the weather isn't cooperating, pay a visit to the on-site SandLot brewery instead.

tourist places in denver

Washington Park Washington Park free

U.S. News Insider Tip:  It's not the easiest to find parking in Denver, but don't worry -- Wash Park has plenty of street parking, and it's easy to find a spot even during events. –  Leilani Osmundson

Located south of central Denver, Washington Park is consistently praised by Denverites and visitors alike for its ample facilities and enjoyable atmosphere. Occupying 155 acres, this immense park boasts miles of jogging paths, two massive lakes and two formal gardens, one of which is a replica of George Washington's Mount Vernon gardens. Wash Park, as it’s called by locals, is a popular weekend hangout spot thanks to the variety of things to do here. You can spend your time simply relaxing on the grass, or you can take advantage of the park's 10 tennis courts, boat rentals and recreation center, which houses a pool and offers scheduled fitness classes and swim lessons.

tourist places in denver

Larimer Square Larimer Square free

In 1858, a group of settlers struck gold at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Their discovery soon spread back to the East Coast, prompting people to pick up and move west. The site of the original pioneer camp (known back then as Auraria) soon grew into the charming area now known as Larimer Square. Although the city has since expanded, this historic neighborhood remains the heart and soul of the Mile High City, and according to some, it's the place to start your Denver experience thanks to its variety of restaurants, bars and shops. It's also a featured stop on many of the best Denver tours . 

Before venturing to Larimer Square, you may want to pay a visit to the Larimer Square  website . Here, you'll find a listing of all the local businesses and upcoming events, not to mention maps that can help orient where specific dining, shopping and entertainment options are.

tourist places in denver

Empower Field at Mile High Empower Field at Mile High

Football fans won't want to pass up the chance to spend some time on the Denver Broncos' home turf. Empower Field at Mile High can hold more than 76,000 NFL fans and is notable for its elevation, which sits at 5,280 feet above sea level. That, combined with the view of the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Denver skyline to the east, makes it a unique venue to visit.

If you can swing it, try to catch a home game. Ticket prices vary by game and availability, and you'll want to purchase your seats well in advance to ensure availability. If you can't make it to a game, you can tag along on a guided tour of the stadium. Led by employees from the on-site Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum (one of the stops on the tour), these 75- to 90-minute tours take participants to the visiting teams' locker rooms, the end zone as well as into the network television production compound and the TV and radio broadcast facilities. Recent visitors described the tour experience as incredible thanks to the knowledgeable guides.

tourist places in denver

Rocky Mountain National Park in Summer Tour from Denver

(335 reviews)

Visit Red Rocks Park, Continental Divide & Breckenridge

Visit Red Rocks Park, Continental Divide & Breckenridge

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from $ 149.00

Shared Half-Day Mountain Tour in Red Rocks Evergreen and Echo Lake

Shared Half-Day Mountain Tour in Red Rocks Evergreen and Echo Lake

(521 reviews)

tourist places in denver

Molly Brown House Museum Molly Brown House Museum

U.S. News Insider Tip:  Though you can explore the museum on your own, a guided tour is vastly more educational. Register for a late morning tour and then walk to The Corner Beet after for tasty juices and brunch options. – Leilani Osmundson

Nestled among the contemporary architecture of the Capitol Hill district is the Molly Brown House Museum, an eccentric example of Victorian life and design that no history buff should miss. Once the home of the "unsinkable" Margaret "Molly" Brown (Kathy Bates' character in the film, "Titanic,"), this museum offers a glimpse into Denver's history and the life of one of its most fascinating residents. On a guided tour of the house, you'll learn about Brown's experience aboard the Titanic, as well as her role in the women's suffrage movement and her endeavors in Colorado's mining industry.

tourist places in denver

Elitch Gardens Elitch Gardens

U.S. News Insider Tip: Visit the park in winter for its Luminova Holidays event and don't forget to bring your camera; there are plenty of beautiful holiday light displays for photo opportunities, and some rides are open as well. – Leilani Osmundson

Open first as actual gardens as well as a zoological park in 1890, the long-running Elitch Gardens now boasts a theme park, a water park, entertainment and more. At the theme park, fly 17 stories above Denver on the Star Flyer swing ride, or dive and spin at 50 mph speeds on the Mind Eraser coaster. If thrills aren't your thing, you'll find plenty of more relaxing rides and activities in both the theme and water park, such as the Commotion Ocean wave pool and Castaway Creek lazy river.

tourist places in denver

United States Mint United States Mint free

Even if you hate the sound of excess change rattling around your pockets, you'll find a tour of the Denver branch of the United States Mint to be an interesting way to spend an hour or so. Having opened in 1863, its purpose was to transform the Gold Rush's findings into coinage. Today, the U.S. Mint in Denver can produce up to 50 million coins a day.

A free guided tour of the U.S. Mint in Denver will allow you the opportunity to learn more about each stage of coin production, from the design and sculpting of each piece to the cutting of each type of coin. Some recent visitors marveled at the coin-making machines, but say that not all travelers will likely find it enthralling.

tourist places in denver

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Housed in a hangar on the former Lowry Air Force Base in eastern Denver, this museum has more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space that explores the history of the base's role in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and the Cold War. A variety of iconic aircraft, space vehicles, artifacts and military uniforms are on display. The collection includes bombers from World War II, reconnaissance aircraft and commercial planes. One of the most iconic symbols of the Vietnam War – the Bell UH-1M Iroquois “Huey” – is among the displays. 

Past visitors enjoyed seeing the variety of aircraft and especially the replicas of “Star Wars” spacecraft. About 20 miles south of the museum is its sister location, the Exploration of Flight, which offers visitors a more immersive experience. They include a pilot simulator and actual flights in vintage and modern aircraft. The 15-acre site is located at Centennial Field, about 20 miles south of downtown Denver.

tourist places in denver

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Denver Bucket List: 61 Best Things to Do in Denver CO

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If you find yourself in Denver, Colorado, you may be wondering what there is to do in this vibrant city. Luckily, we have compiled a list of the top things to do in Denver CO so that you can make the most of your visit.

From outdoor activities to cultural experiences, Denver has something for everyone! It’s one of the reasons we love living in Denver so much; you can have both the city vibes and fancy bars but also escape into the great outdoors with just a short drive.

As Denver locals, we’ve spent so much time exploring all that this city has to offer. Living here for three years has allowed us to experience it during every time of year, too.

Below, find all of the best things to do in Denver CO.

🚗 Click here to rent a car for your trip to Denver !

Table of Contents

Best Things to do in Denver CO

Visit the denver art museum.

Red sculpture in front of a silver pointy building under a blue sky.

For those who love visiting museums, be sure to head to one of our local art museums, like the Denver Art Museum .

It is located in downtown Denver and houses many unique works of art. The museum is home to an extensive collection of Latin American art, as well as European, Asian, and contemporary art. The museum also features a variety of educational programs and events.

The museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Tuesday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Admission to the museum is free for children under 18, and there are discounts available for seniors, students, and military personnel. There are also select free days throughout the year.

Dine at The Source

bbq meat and mac and cheese on a metal tray

There are so many food halls in Denver, but one of the most underrated is The Source ! This is located in the northern part of the city and has tons of fun restaurants to dine at, and you’ll often find locals here.

One of the best places to eat at The Source is smōk . This BBQ restaurant has mouth-watering food that you’ll dream about after you eat it!

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See a game with the Colorado Avalanche

People sitting in a stadium while watching ice hockey in Colorado.

Calling all sports fans! In the winter season, one of the best things to do is to see a Colorado Avalanche game. Tickets can get pretty expensive, but our pro tip is to check ticket apps (like Gametime) the day of; this is normally when you can grab tickets the cheapest.

The experience is unlike any other, and the fans are some of the most passionate in the NHL. Don’t forget to wear your maroon and navy to show your Avalanche pride!

Take a walk or bike ride through one of Denver’s many parks

There are many free things to do in Denver , and one of the best is to visit one of the parks in the city. Denver is home to many parks, and each one is worth visiting.

Biking in a park is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the scenery. Denver has many beautiful parks, so it’s a great place to go for a bike ride .

There are also many trails that are perfect for walking. Visit these parks earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds that come later in the day.

Wake up with coffee from Grounds for Dismissal

flight of tall glasses of iced coffee

The absolute best spot for coffee in Denver is Grounds for Dismissal . This queer-run cafe features tons of amazing morning foods and drinks that will leave you wanting more!

The best thing on their menu is definitely their coffee flight. They change what is in the coffee flight each month, and it usually has to do with the season or an upcoming holiday. It’s perfect to split with a friend!

Browse the eclectic shops in historic Larimer Square

Colorado flags hanging on lights surrounded by brick buildings.

If you’re looking for things to do in Denver, look no further than Larimer Square . This historic block is home to some of the best shopping, dining, and nightlife in the city.

Larimer Square is also one of the most popular spots for visitors to Denver. It’s Instagram-worthy and is often decorated! Located in the heart of downtown, it’s easy to get to, and there’s always something going on. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Denver downtown.

Whether you’re looking for a great meal, a unique gift, or just a place to people-watch, Larimer Square is the perfect place.

Explore Meow Wolf Convergence Station

replica bus and bus station sign inside of a museum exhibit

Meow Wolf Convergence Station is one of the top things to do in Denver for anyone who loves art, music, and good vibes. It’s a newer addition to Denver, and when we visited it during opening week, we were absolutely in awe.

This community-based art gallery features work from local artists as well as hosts musical performances, workshops, and other events. It’s the perfect place to explore your creativity and connect with others in the city.

Plus, it’s immersive and brings the word “immersive” to a whole new level. Like, you actually walk through the exhibits, almost like you’re a part of it. It’s hard to explain… but you’ll love Meow Wolf Denver!

See the Colorado Rockies play at Coors Field

view of baseball diamond from the first base line

If you’re a baseball fan, catching a game at Coors Field is a must-do while in Denver. The stadium offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, and the experience of watching a game here is like no other.

Plus, what better way to see the Coors Effect in action? Basically, this term came to be because, at the elevation of Coors Field (and Denver), the balls tend to fly here like no other. It’s worth witnessing in person!

Similar to seeing the Avalanche, wait for the price of tickets to drop right on game day on apps like Gametime. We’ve snagged tickets as low as $12 on there before!

We also think it’s way more beneficial to sit higher up. You get more of a breeze, and you’re less in the sun, which is great in the summer months.

Have a donut from Voodoo Donuts

Box filled with colorful donuts.

If you’re looking for tasty things to do in Denver CO, you can’t go wrong with eating some delicious Voodoo Doughnuts . Though they hail from Portland, there’s a location in Denver that’s almost always busy over on Colfax.

These unique treats are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, and they’re definitely a memorable experience. Trust us; you’ll be talking about these donuts long after you’ve left Denver!

Plus, they come in a cute pink box. Try their Grape Ape or their Portland Cream; these are our two faves!

Sip on a craft beer at one of Denver’s many breweries

flight of small glasses with cider

Obviously, no trip to Denver is complete without testing out the breweries here. It’s what we are pretty well known for, after all!

Not only will you get to sample some delicious local beer, but you’ll also learn about the brewing process and how different beers are made.

Plus, most breweries offer tours so you can see first-hand how your favorite brews are created. And, of course, there’s always the opportunity to buy some beer to take home with you!

So if you’re curious about craft beer or just want to try something new, be sure to check out a Denver brewery during your next visit.

For a planned tour of some of the local breweries, check out Denver Brewery Tours .

Attend a show at one of Denver’s many live music venues, such as Ogden Theatre or the Bluebird Theater

There are plenty of things to do in Denver CO, but one of the best things to do is see a concert. We go to a concert in Denver at least once a month because the music scene is very alive and well here!

Denver is home to some great venues that host a variety of music genres. So, whether you’re a fan of rock, pop, country, or anything in between, there’s sure to be a concert for you.

Our personal favorite place to see a concert is at Ogden Theatre . It’s by downtown and has had great artists like Tones & I and Noah Kahan.

See the exhibits at the Molly Brown House Museum

Brick building with Victorian style architecture. A sign out front says Molly Brown House Museum.

Many people know Denver as a historic gold mining town, but it has so much more to offer visitors today. One of the top things to do in Denver CO is to visit the Molly Brown House .

This house was built in the 1800s and was home to one of the most famous residents of Denver, Margaret “Molly” Brown. Molly Brown was an American socialite, actress, and philanthropist who is best known for surviving the sinking of the Titanic.

Many people know her as the “Unsinkable Molly Brown!”

When you visit her house, you can take a tour and learn all about her fascinating life. You can also see how she lived during a time when most people in Denver were living in poverty.

The Molly Brown House is a great example of how far Denver has come since its early days as a mining town.

Stroll through 16th Street Mall

A red and blue bus is picking people up on the street in a city.

Even though it’s super touristy, we think it’s worth stopping at 16th Street Mall at least once, and it deserves a spot on this list. This street is filled with shops, restaurants, and more.

Plus, you can ride the 16th Street Mall Ride up and down the street for free. It’s a great way to get around the city on a budget.

During the holiday season, this street gets all jazzed up with fun lights, and you can even see the city’s electric tree.

Explore Denver Union Station

union train station sign

Located right in LoDo, it’s near impossible to miss a visit to Denver Union Station . It’s where the California-Zephyr Amtrack comes through and also is where most people will come into the city for the first time if they take the airport train.

The train station is truly beautiful both indoors and outdoors. It has a huge sign that welcomes you in, and the marble and gold accents inside feel so opulent.

Watch a Denver Broncos game

Exterior of a big arena that says Empower Field at Mile High.

If you’re a football fan, there’s no better place to watch a game than at Mile High Stadium . The Denver Broncos fans are some of the most passionate in the league.

There’s nothing like experiencing a Broncos game firsthand, so if you’re in town, be sure to check out a game! Don’t forget to wear orange and blue.

Find a new book at the Tattered Cover Bookstore

Girl holding a book that says Subpar Parks in front of a sign that says Tattered Cover in Denver.

If you’re looking for things to do in Denver CO, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Tattered Cover Bookstore . This local bookstore has been around since 1971 and is beloved by both locals and visitors alike!

What makes Tattered Cover so special?

For starters, it’s one of the largest bookstores in Denver, with a few locations in the area. It stocks both new and used books, so you’re sure to find something to your taste.

Plus, there’s always something going on at Tattered Cover, whether it’s a book signing or a reading group meeting. In other words, it’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon.

Visit the galleries in the Santa Fe Art District

The Santa Fe Art District is one of the more unique places to visit in Denver. The area is well known for its art galleries and museums.

One of the most fun times to explore the Santa Fe Art District is during the First Friday Art Walks . It happens all year long, and it’s a time when you can go and explore the galleries, mingle with others, and even enjoy some great food.

Sample some delicious Rocky Mountain oysters

Okay… hear us out. Rocky Mountain Oysters are something you should try as a first-time visitor to Denver.

These delicious morsels are actually fried bull testicles. While they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they are definitely worth trying if you’re looking for a unique culinary experience.

There are many places throughout the city to try them, but the most popular place is the Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant . This steakhouse has many other unique dishes on the menu, too!

See a performance at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre

large red rock formation on a sunny day

This world-famous amphitheater is nestled by the beautiful Rocky Mountains and offers stunning views no matter where you sit! The acoustics are also incredible, making it a popular spot for both concerts and other live performances.

If you’re visiting in the summer, you can also take advantage of the hiking and biking trails in the area. Or, if you’re feeling sporty, you can even attend Yoga on the Rocks. No matter what you do, Red Rocks Park is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Denver.

For a real treat, visit in the morning to catch the sunrise there. It’s the perfect way to start a day in Denver !

This is easily one of the best things to do in Denver in the summer.

Take a scenic drive or hike through the beautiful Rocky Mountains

large welcome sign arching over street

Why not take the time to explore the rest of the area by Denver during your trip? Hop in a car and explore some of the Rocky Mountains.

The Rocky Mountains are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Every year, millions of people flock to the mountains to enjoy the scenery, the wildlife, and the many activities that can be found there.

Some fun places in the area to explore include Golden, Boulder, Estes Park, Idaho Springs, and even Rocky Mountain National Park.

Visit the Colorado State Capitol Building

Historic building with a gold dome near manicured grass under a blue sky.

The Colorado State Capitol Building is one of the most iconic structures in Denver. It’s also one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, thanks to its beautiful architecture and rich history.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Denver and the state of Colorado, a visit to the Capitol Building is a must. Guided tours are available, or you can explore the building on your own. Either way, you’re sure to be impressed by this beautiful and important landmark.

Don’t forget to snap a photo at the mile-high step in the front of the building!

Relax in Confluence Park

river flowing under a metal bridge

Confluence Park is one of the most underrated places to visit in Denver. This urban oasis offers stunning views of the cityscape and is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day.

When we lived in Lodo, we visited this spot all the time. It’s nestled kind of behind a bridge near 16th Street Mall, and you’re more likely to find local residents there than tourists, which is what makes it so great.

This is the perfect place to jog, relax, or even have a picnic. It’s where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte River.

Explore the memorabilia and exhibits at the National Ballpark Museum

Visiting the National Ballpark Museum is one of the unique things to do in Denver, Colorado. The museum is dedicated to the history of baseball and the role that ballparks have played in the game.

The museum features exhibits on the history of baseball, the construction of ballparks, and the evolution of the game.

The museum also has a collection of baseball memorabilia, including many artifacts from the first professional baseball stadium, Fenway Park.

The National Ballpark Museum is a must-visit for any baseball fan and is right by Coors Field.

Have fun at Elitch Gardens

People riding a yellow roller coaster under a blue sky.

For those visiting Denver with kids, you’ll want to head to Elitch Gardens . This amusement park has something for everyone, from thrilling roller coasters to family-friendly rides.

It’s located right by downtown (yes, you read that right), so it’s super easy to get to no matter where in the city you are staying.

There are also plenty of places to eat and drink, as well as live entertainment. Whether you’re looking for a day of fun or a romantic night out, Elitch Gardens is the perfect place for you.

Grab a bite to eat at the Dairy Block & Milk Market

street alley with string lights and metal tables

The Denver Milk Market is in the heart of downtown Denver. The area is home to some of the best things to do in Denver today, including shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The Milk Market is home to many one-of-a-kind shops that you won’t find anywhere else in Denver. From fashion and beauty stores to home decor and gift shops, there’s something for everyone!

The Dairy Block is home to some of the best restaurants in Denver. From casual eateries to fine dining, you’ll find something to suit your taste here. There’s especially good pizza at Bonnano Brothers Pizzeria, one of our fave pizza places.

Once you grab a bite to eat, sit and enjoy it in the beautiful alleyway here, look up, and you’ll see there are lights shaped like milk bottles!

See a Colorado Rapids Game

The Colorado Rapids are a professional soccer team here in Denver. They play their home games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids were founded in 1996, so the team is still fairly new!

Since their founding, the Rapids have won the MLS Cup once in 2010. The amount of support at these games is higher than we’ve witnessed at any other stadium here in Denver. Plus, none of the seats are bad!

Walk around the Denver Botanic Gardens

large greenhouse at a botanical garden

The Denver Botanic Gardens is a must-see for anyone visiting the Mile High City. With many plants from all over the world, it’s one of the best botanic gardens to visit in Colorado.

Even if you’re not a plant lover, the gardens are still worth a visit for their beauty and serenity.

One of the best things to do at the Denver Botanic Gardens is to take a stroll through it all. We recommend grabbing a map and just exploring. There are lots of hidden spots throughout the garden that you’ll wander upon.

If you’re looking for something a little more active, the Denver Botanic Gardens also offers yoga classes, botanical art classes, and gardening workshops.

Boat in Washington Park

Washington Park is one of the most popular parks in Denver, Colorado, and for good reason.

The park is home to a beautiful lake where you can go boating, paddleboarding, or simply relax on the shore. There is a place right by the water where you can rent these by the hour. Try to go earlier in the day, because in the afternoon, it gets hot in the sun!

There are also plenty of walking and biking trails to explore, as well as a playground and picnic area. Washington Park is the perfect place to spend a day outdoors with friends or family.

Have drinks at a rooftop bar

Rooftop bars offer stunning views of the cityscape, and they’re a great place to enjoy the warm weather. And what’s more, Denver has some of the best rooftop bars in the country, in our opinion!

Some great ones include Avanti , Tap Fourteen , and 54Thirty Rooftop . There are also quite a few downtown in Lodo heading towards RiNo.

Go shopping in Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek is one of the best places to shop in Denver. It is an upscale neighborhood with a variety of shops and boutiques.

You can find anything you need at Cherry Creek, from clothes to home decor.

There are also a number of restaurants and cafes in the area, so you can grab a bite to eat while you shop. One of our personal favorite spots here is the Cherry Cricket !

Dine at Stanley Marketplace

biscuit sandwich with meat and eggs on it

Located right outside of Denver in Aurora, Stanley Marketplace is one of the most unique places to visit in the city. We go here so often!

The marketplace is filled with different vendors offering a wide variety of cuisines, so there’s something for everyone. A new churro place even opened in 2022, which is incredible and is called Churreria de Madrid .

You can also eat at Denver Biscuit Co here, which serves over-the-top biscuit sandwiches!

The marketplace is located in an old airplane hangar, so it has a really cool industrial vibe. In addition to the food vendors, there are also several shops selling things like clothes, jewelry, and home goods.

The marketplace regularly hosts events like live music, farmers’ markets, and craft fairs.

See a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Statue of two people holding hands in front of a big glass building under a dark sky at night.

The Denver Performing Arts Complex is one of the top places to visit in Denver. There is always something going on here, and it’s the place where you can often see theatrical performances in the city.

Throughout the past year, they’ve even had Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton ! We saw Hamilton, and it was incredible. If you plan on seeing a show here though, book your tickets well in advance!

Attend BBQ Fest

If you love BBQ, then you’ll definitely want to attend the BBQ Fest in Denver ! This event is one of the best in the country and features some of the most popular BBQ vendors from around the nation.

You’ll be able to try out different styles of BBQ and find your new favorite! It usually happens over a weekend in the month of June.

Drive Mount Evans Scenic Byway

People standing by the side of the road lined by trees. Around them are the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is one of the most popular ways to see the beauty around Denver. The byway takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado and offers stunning views of Mount Evans and the surrounding area.

Just as a heads up, make sure you’re okay with heights before driving this! Be sure also to check the weather before you begin the drive.

Take a stroll through the picturesque LoDo (Lower Downtown) neighborhood

denver city skyline at sunset

Lodo, short for Lower Downtown, is one of Denver’s most vibrant and historic neighborhoods.

Situated just south of RiNo, Lodo is home to a variety of businesses, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. The area is home to Coors Field and Union Station, too! If you’re staying in a hotel, you’re most likely staying in LoDo.

Take the time to walk around this neighborhood and see what you stumble upon. You never know what you might find!

Have fun at the Children’s Museum of Denver

One of the best things to do in Denver with kids is to visit the Children’s Museum , especially if you are visiting with kids. The Children’s Museum is a great place for kids of all ages to learn about different subjects.

The museum has many interactive exhibits that teach kids about science, art, history, and more. The Children’s Museum is a great place to take the family for a day of fun and learning!

Stroll through City Park

Green space with a lake in front of the city skyline under a blue sky. Rocky Mountains can be seen in the distance.

If you’re looking for things to do in Denver, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Denver’s City Park. This park is home to a number of attractions, including the Denver Zoo.

The park is absolutely massive , so take the time to park and just walk around it. This is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city because it’s a lot quieter. You could also consider biking here if you want to.

Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) is a world-class museum featuring the best in contemporary art. MCA Denver offers something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned art lover or just getting started.

MCA Denver is home to an impressive collection of contemporary art. The museum offers a variety of exhibitions and events throughout the year, so there’s always something new to see. They even had a Keith Haring exhibit in 2021.

It is located in the heart of downtown Denver, making it easy to get to and from. The museum also has a cafe and a shop, so you can refuel after exploring all the amazing art on display.

Throughout the year, there are also “penny days” where you can basically visit the museum for free. Visit their website to see when these occur!

Read at the Denver Public Library

entrance to the denver public library

The Denver Public Library is one of the must-visit spots if it happens to be raining during your trip to the city. It is a beautiful building with a lot of history and plenty of things to do inside.

Why not take the time to stroll through the library, see what it offers, and maybe even pick up a book or two to read? There are lots of spots throughout the library, too, where you can sit and read at your leisure!

Learn at the Denver Museum of Nature and History

Statue of a bear in front of a glass window building under a blue sky.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of the coolest places in the city, and it’s a great place to learn about the natural world. The museum has a ton of exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to space, and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

Families and solo travelers alike will love this museum. Plan on spending at least a few hours there to see everything!

Shop at a local farmer’s market

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Denver this weekend, one great option is to visit a farmer’s market. Shopping at a farmer’s market supports local farmers and helps to ensure that you’re getting fresh, high-quality produce.

Plus, it can be a lot of fun to browse the different stalls and see all the different kinds of fruits and vegetables that are available.

Farmer’s markets are typically held on weekends, so if you’re visiting Denver on a weekend, be sure to check out one of the city’s many farmer’s markets.

Some of the best include the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market , the Boulder Farmer’s Market , and the Denver Union Station Farmer’s Market .

Have a bite to eat at the Denver Central Market

People walking in front of a building that says Denver Central Market.

The Denver Central Market is a great place to eat, and it’s located right in the beautiful RiNo. The market offers a wide variety of food options, so you’re sure to find something to your taste.

Once you peruse the market and grab whatever food you’d like (we absolutely love and suggest Green Seed for smoothies), find a spot to eat by the street art outside the market.

Check out the sealife at the Denver Aquarium

turtles sitting on a log at an aquarium

If you find yourself in Denver, then you absolutely must visit the world-renowned Denver Aquarium . While many people visit here to try out the restaurant (which is consistently voted as one of the best places to eat in Denver), the aquarium itself is fun, too.

Head upstairs and walk from exhibit to exhibit. Take your time; there are lots of signs throughout the aquarium where you can learn more. Surprise, but there is a tiger there too!

You can also consider going on one of the Denver Aquarium free days.

Bike the Cherry Creek Trail

Empty trail next to the water by a green sign that says Cherry Creek Trail in Denver.

The Cherry Creek Trail is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast visiting Denver. This popular trail follows Cherry Creek for over 40 miles, offering beautiful views of the creek and the city skyline.

The trail is well-maintained and perfect for biking, walking, running, or rollerblading. There are also plenty of places to stop along the way to rest or grab a bite to eat.

Whether you’re a local looking for a new place to explore or a visitor looking to get outside and experience all that Denver has to offer, the Cherry Creek Trail is definitely worth checking out.

Ride the Denver Trolley

The Denver Trolley is a unique and fun way to see the city. It’s a great way to get around, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. Plus, it’s just really cool to ride on a trolley!

The Denver Trolley costs $7 for adults or $3 for children under 13 and over 4, as children under 4 are free. It stops at the Denver Children’s Museum and also the aquarium. Note that they only stop on the southbound part of the ride.

Golf at Urban Putt

Located in Lodo, Urban Putt is one of our favorite hidden gems . This indoor golf course has two different courses set up to replicate parts of Denver! Golf through Denver International Airport, downtown, and even Red Rocks.

Visit during the day to avoid the rush from happy hour. This is fun for both kids and adults, no matter how many times you go! (We’ve gone a handful of times and plan on going many more.)

See the exhibits at the Denver Firefighter Museum

Brick building under a blue sky with a black sign that says Denver Fire Department Museum.

The Denver Firefighter Museum is awesome, and it’s a great way to learn about the history of firefighting in Denver.

The museum is located in an old firehouse, and it has a few exhibits. You can learn about the equipment that firefighters use, see old photos of fires, and more. This spot is mentioned on almost every free tour of Denver!

Drive through and see the animals at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

group of bison standing in a large field

If you want to see wildlife during your trip to Denver, you won’t want to miss Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge . This refuge is home to bison, prairie dogs, deer, and more.

There are plenty of things to do at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. You can go hiking or biking on the trails, take photos, or, our favorite, hop in your car and drive through to see what animals you’ll find.

Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for things to do in Denver, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The drive takes around an hour.

Eat a burrito at D’Corozan

smothered burrito, chips and salsa, and queso on a table

D’Corazan is one of the best places to get a burrito in Denver ! We ate here during our first-ever trip to Denver, and since moving here, it’s where we go all the time.

Their cheesy queso with green chile has a nice spice but is incredibly tasty. Their a la carte beef burritos are also so delicious. Order both at the same time and put some of the queso on the burrito for a real treat.

This restaurant is located downtown, so if you’re exploring 16th Street, this is a great place to go to escape the commercial restaurants and eat local.

Drive the Peak to Peak Highway

One of the best things to do in the Denver area is to drive the Peak to Peak Highway . The highway connects Estes Park to Black Hawk and Central City. The views from the road are simply breathtaking, making it one of the most popular scenic drives in Colorado.

In addition to the incredible views, driving the Peak to Peak Highway is also a great way to experience some of the state’s best foliage. In the fall , this highway is truly one of the most spectacular in the entire country.

Tour Stranahan’s Whiskey Distillery & Cocktail Bar

The Stranahan’s Whiskey Distillery & Cocktail Bar offers tours of their facilities, allowing visitors to see how they make their award-winning whiskey. The tour is perfect for those who enjoy spirits.

Explore more about their tour by clicking here . Many of their tours include up to four different tastings, so you can try it while also learning more! Talk about a good time.

Go ice skating downtown

Close up of someone ice skating in jeans.

In the winter, go ice skating in Denver!

Ice skating is a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and take in the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and the city. Plus, it’s a perfect activity for both adults and children.

There are several ice skating rinks in Denver, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. And if you’re new to ice skating, don’t worry; just stay to the side. It’s what we do!

So put on your warmest coat and gloves and head out to one of these top ice skating spots in Denver.

Get up close and personal with some of nature’s most amazing creatures at the Denver Zoo

Big sign that says Denver Zoo by statues of animals surrounded by greenery under a blue sky.

The Denver Zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, and for good reason. The zoo is an exciting place to explore for people of all ages.

In addition to its impressive animal collection, the Denver Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs, events, and exhibits throughout the year.

Whether you’re interested in learning about the zoo’s conservation efforts or you just want to see some of the animals, there’s something for everyone at the Denver Zoo.

Discover some amazing street art in Denver’s RiNo (River North) Arts District

street art on the side of a large building

Denver’s RiNo (River North Art District) is home to some of the best street art in the city. The area is also home to a number of breweries, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring!

There are a number of ways to explore street art in RiNo. You can take a walking tour, rent a bike, or even take a Segway tour. No matter how you choose to explore, you’re sure to see some incredible artwork.

Learn at the United States Mint

Exterior of a stone building with a wrought-iron fence that says United States Mint.

The United States Mint in Denver produces coins for circulation, as well as collector coins. It is also a great tourist destination, especially for those interested in American history or numismatics.

The Mint offers tours of its facility, which is the best way to learn. Tours are free and open to the public, making the Mint a great option for things to do in Denver CO that are both educational and enjoyable.

After taking a tour of the facility, visitors can browse the gift shop, which sells a variety of items related to coins and money. The Mint also has an exhibit gallery, which features rotating exhibitions on topics such as the history of American coinage or the Mint’s involvement in world events.

Whether you’re interested in American history, numismatics, or just want to see how coins are made, the United States Mint in Denver is a great option for things to do in the city.

Take a photo at the Big Blue Bear

large blue bear sculpture leaning against a bulidng

The Big Blue Bear is one of the most iconic sculptures in Denver, and for good reason! This massive sculpture is impossible to miss, and it makes for a great photo op. Trust us; your Instagram followers will be jealous.

Find it right by the Denver Convention Center. It’s leaning up against the building!

Visit the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Denver.

This museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying the history of aviation travel. The museum has an impressive collection of aircraft artifacts, as well as interactive exhibits that will teach you about the science of flight.

The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is a great place to learn about the history of aviation and space travel, and it’s also a lot of fun!

Explore the outdoors at Cherry Creek State Park

Pink, orange, and blue sunset over a river surrounded by snow.

Cherry Creek State Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Denver. The park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, biking, picnicking, and fishing.

There are also several playgrounds and picnic areas. The park is open all year round, making it a great place to visit no matter what time of year it is.

If you live in Denver, be sure to grab a free state park pass from the library. Keep in mind there are often waitlists for these, but you can keep it for a week!

Attend the National Western Stock Show

The National Western Stock Show is the perfect event for any Western fan. This annual event features some of the best in rodeo, livestock, and more.

It normally takes place in January each year and is truly fun for the entire family. It’s been going on since the early 1900s and takes place over the course of about 16 days, so you can choose a date to attend that works best for you.

Go on a free walking tour

A Denver free walking tour is the perfect way to get an insider’s view of the city. You’ll learn about the history and culture of Denver, see the best sights in Denver, meet new people, and make new friends. Plus, it’s a great way to get some exercise!

We actually have gone on walking tours before when family and friends have visited us here. Visit here to see some great walking tours in Denver.

Don’t forget to bring some cash to tip your guide. While they are free, tipping is encouraged!

Take a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park

mountain lake with fall colored trees along the bank

Last but not least, consider taking a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park . Just a short drive from the city, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the state. It’s easily one of the best day trips from Denver .

There are several outdoor activities one must do near Denver, Colorado… but this is one you can’t miss out on.

Here, you’ll find towering mountains, stunning alpine meadows, and pristine lakes. There are plenty of things to do in the park, whether you want to go hiking, camping, or fishing.

And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife! With just a day, spend the morning hiking in the Bear Lake area (we recommend Emerald Lake trail, and if you have the time, also see Lake Haiyaha) and then spend the afternoon on Trail Ridge Road.

FAQs: What to do in Denver Colorado

What are the best attractions to visit in denver.

The city of Denver is home to many wonderful attractions. The top five include the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Zoo, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and Denver Union Station.

Are there any great outdoor recreational activities in Denver?

Denver has plenty of outdoor activities for visitors, including hiking and biking trails throughout the city, kayaking on one of the many lakes in the area, or skiing in the nearby Rockies.

Is there a safe place to stay when I’m visiting Denver?

Denver is a very safe city with many hotels and Airbnbs offering comfortable accommodations for travelers. It’s best to stay downtown in LoDo!

What type of food can I find when I’m in Denver?

There are so many great dining options in Denver! From classic American eateries to international restaurants, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your taste. Don’t forget about trendy cafes where you can grab coffee or a bite to eat!

Is there nightlife and entertainment in Denver?

There’s plenty to do when it comes to nightlife and entertainment in Denver – from dive bars to fine dining establishments, live music venues, and comedy clubs.

Final Thoughts: Denver Bucket List

This post was all about the best things to do in Denver CO! We hope you enjoy your time in the Mile High City.

Want to read more? Check out these next:

  • 19 Best Things to Do in Denver at Night
  • 10 Delectable Spots for Afternoon Tea in Denver
  • 13 Tasty Spots for Brunch in Denver

7 Best Places to go Apple Picking Near Denver

  • 49 Best Free Things to do in Denver (& the Surrounding Area!)
  • How to Have the Perfect 1 Day in Denver
  • 23 Romantic Date Night Ideas in Denver

Pin this post for later!

tourist places in denver

After moving to Denver in 2020, KP & Jessie absolutely fell in love with the beauty of the city (and the entire state of Colorado). Together, they're always seeing more of what Colorado has to offer. They love exploring, going on hikes, and trying tasty foods! When they're not traveling, they can be found watching the latest season of Love Island or hanging out with their cat.

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17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Denver, CO

Written by Lana Law Updated Dec 27, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Carri Wilbanks lives near Denver and enjoys exploring the sights of the city.

Denver, the Mile High City, so named because it sits at 5,280 feet above sea level or one mile high, has been rocking since the late 1850s, when gold was discovered around Cherry Creek . Today, it is one of America's hottest cities to live and play in and a great place to visit in Colorado .

With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop and more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Denver is a visually appealing metropolis, filled with a variety of sights and attractions for everyone, from families to couples. Whether you are wandering the Denver Art Museum, doing some shopping and gallery-hopping in Cherry Creek North, or visiting animals at the Denver Zoo, day or night, there is no shortage of things to do.

The city is also home to several parks, including Civic Center Park in the heart of downtown, Washington Park, Cheesman Park, and City Park in surrounding neighborhoods. Just outside the city limits is Denver's most famous park: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, which is one of the top outdoor concert venues in the U.S.

Learn more about the best places to visit in the city with our list of the top attractions in Denver.

See also: Where to Stay in Denver

1. Union Station

2. larimer square, 3. stroll and shop along 16th street mall, 4. take a tour or see a game at coors field, 5. denver museum of nature & science, 6. see a show at the denver center for the performing arts, 7. denver botanic gardens, 8. kirkland museum of fine & decorative art, 9. denver art museum, 10. denver zoo, 11. colorado state capitol, 12. enjoy live music at red rocks park & amphitheater, 13. denver public library, 14. united states mint, 15. civic center park, 16. cherry creek north, 17. clyfford still museum, where to stay in denver for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to denver, map of attractions & things to do in denver, co, denver, co - climate chart.

Union Station in downtown Denver

Anchoring downtown Denver , Union Station is a hub of activity for locals and travelers alike. This Beaux Arts train station is a historic landmark dating back to 1881.

Completely revitalized in 2014, today Union Station is a bustling attraction that doubles as a working train station. You can catch the A-line train to the airport, RTD transit around Denver, or embark on Amtrak rail trips across the country from here.

Union Station is also home to many shops, restaurants, and The Crawford Hotel, which often puts on special themed-stay events. It's fun to take a stroll through Union Station just to look at the impressive architecture.

Also, make sure to pay a visit to the branch of the Tattered Cover Book Store located here. It is one of the best independent bookstores in the U.S.

Address: 1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado

Larimer Square

A successful example of urban refurbishment in Denver is Larimer Square, with well-restored buildings of the Civil War period. In 1971, Larimer Square became Denver's first historic district. Today, it is a major entertainment district. The area is home to art galleries, shops, cheerful restaurants, and gas lamps.

It continues to evolve and is popular with both locals and tourists. During the day, most people come here to shop. In the evening, this is a great place for dining or seeing some live entertainment, such as comedians or bands. This area is also famous as the place where Buffalo Bill lived at one time.

Address: 1430 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado

16th Street Mall

Running through the city center, the 16th Street Mall is a European-style pedestrian precinct, with shady trees, flowerbeds, and park benches. The only traffic here is a free shuttle bus.

The mall is lined with department stores, boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants, and the stalls of street traders. Near the south end of the street are numerous modern and Post-Modern skyscrapers.

The mall was designed by the late world-famous architect I.M. Pei, the same architect that designed the pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. At night, the mall is illuminated by over one million lights, making it an ideal place to stroll on a warm summer evening.

Originally opened in 1982, the 16 th Street Mall is currently undergoing an overhaul that will create wider pedestrian walkways, modernize existing infrastructure, and introduce new art, among other objectives.

The renovations of this 13-block mall between Market Street and Broadway will take place in phases and are expected to be finished by late 2024. The area remains open during renovations, however.

Coors Field

Coors Field is the home of the Colorado Rockies baseball club. The stadium, which opened in 1995, has a seating capacity of 50,200. From the seats along the 1st base line, it's possible to see the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

Tours of the facility are available year-round and are a good way to learn about the stadium and see a bit of the behind-the-scenes action. Tickets are limited to a certain number each day, so advance purchases are a good idea. Tours last just under 1.5 hours and are accessible to those with disabilities.

Address: 20th and Blake Streets, Denver, Colorado

Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science sits in City Park's southeast corner and is one of Denver's top cultural attractions. Among the most notable exhibits are the imposing dinosaur skeletons, remains of Ice Age animals, the collection of minerals presented by the Coors family, and one of the largest nuggets of gold found in Colorado.

The museum features changing exhibitions, so there is always something new to see. An IMAX theater and a Planetarium are also on-site. When you've finished wandering this museum, take time to check out City Park, which is popular with locals, and hosts a free summer jazz concert series.

The Space Odyssey exhibit has been renovated and revitalized and is now better than ever. You'll be able to step into the new Fantasy Spaceship and fulfill your dreams of blasting off into space.

Address: 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, Colorado

Read More: Denver with Kids: Top-Rated Things to Do

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts sits on the south side of Larimar Square and is a gigantic cultural center. The center consists of multiple venues, including the Boettcher Concert Hall, Auditorium Theater, and Ellie Caulkins Opera House. If you are looking for things to do in Denver at night, you can usually find something to entertain you here.

A night out at the Center for Performing Arts could mean watching a Broadway Show or enjoying a play or a variety of other performances. This venue hosts all kinds of major events. It is home to the Denver Center Theater Company, the Denver Center Attractions, and the Denver Center Theatre Academy. The center also functions as an educational facility, offering acting classes and programs, as well as professional development opportunities.

Address: Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street, Denver, Colorado

Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens , first laid out in the late 1950s, is one of the largest botanical gardens in the United States , occupying 23 acres next to Cheesman Park.

The garden emphasizes native plants and sustainable, environmentally responsible practices. However, the various gardens display plants from all over the world. There are 43 individual gardens, some of which are laid out in natural landscapes, others of which are in more formal gardens.

Some of the highlights include the Japanese Garden; Marnie's Pavilion with orchids, ferns, and waterfalls; and the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory, with exotic tropical and subtropical species. The Denver Botanic Gardens also hosts special events throughout the year, including concerts that draw in nationally recognized talent.

Address: 1007 York Street, Denver, Colorado

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art displays a major collection of decorative art from 1880 to 1980. Every major design period is represented, from Arts & Crafts to Pop Art. Regional modernist art, from 1875 to 1980, with a focus on Colorado, is also documented with hundreds of works.

The museum features a retrospective of Colorado's distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland (1904-1981). All three collections are housed in a 1911 Arts & Crafts building, the oldest commercial art building in Denver. Kirkland Museum is a member of Historic Artists' Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Address: 1311 Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum

The massive, fortress-like Denver Art Museum has a vast collection, which includes American Indian, African, European, Asian, and Oceanic Art. Collections also include Spanish colonial and pre-Columbian works.

The remodeled Native American galleries are particularly impressive, covering a broad range of cultures and tribes from the United States and Canada. This extensive collection has gained a reputation throughout North America, with pieces that span 2,000 years of history.

This modern and contemporary art collection features both well-known names and emerging talent in a variety of media. Don't miss the separate gallery dedicated to photography. Also of note is the museum's African art collection.

The Denver Art Museum began in a building now known as the North Building, designed by Italian Architect Gio Ponti and opened in 1971. In 2006, the 146,000-square-foot Hamilton Building, an expansion designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, was opened to the public. The new building captured attention with its unique design, inspired by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Address: 100 W 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, Colorado

Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo is beautifully laid out, with enclosures adapted to different species, from the polar bears' den to monkey island. The zoo was begun in the late 1800s and has a rich history of conservation. Over the years, it has managed to remain one of Denver's most popular tourist attractions.

Exhibits that are sure to delight families with children of all ages include Stingray Cove, where you can pet a stingray as it swims by; the Toyota Elephant Passage, consisting of two miles of trails in a natural habitat featuring African animals; Harmony Hill Bear Habitat, home to the park's resident Grizzly Bear; and The EDGE, an enclosure that lets you get within six inches of two gorgeous Amur Tigers from Siberia.

Address: 2900 E 23rd Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Colorado State Capitol

On a low hill on the east side of Civic Center Park is the classical-style State Capitol, crowned by a gilded dome 250 feet high. From the viewing platform on the drum of the dome, there are magnificent views of the city's imposing skyline and the Front Range. The 13th step on the west side of the Capitol is exactly one mile above sea level, thus the name "mile high city."

Address: Broadway and East Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is about 15 miles from the city center but is well worth the commute as this is the most revered attraction around Denver — and there is a shuttle to get you here should you not have a car.

Red Rocks is both a live music venue and a city park owned by Denver. The name comes from the striking red sandstone rock formations found along the trails that also form the walls of the outdoor amphitheater.

The venue attracts major live music talent weekly in season and is most famous for its acoustics. Music buffs will want to stop by the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, which tells the stories of Colorado's music greats.

Address: 18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colorado

Denver Public Library

Famed architect Michael Graves designed the Denver Public Library , which opened in 1995. The library is noted for its western history and genealogical collections. Outside, the 30-foot-tall, red-orange steel sculpture is often used for reference as a landmark.

Address: 10 W. Fourteenth Avenue, Denver, Colorado

United States Mint

Immediately beyond the City and County Building is the U.S. Mint , one of the United States' six facilities. This is where the American currency is created and part of the country's gold reserves are stored.

Be sure to take a free guided tour of the facility to learn about the history and process of making money. Following your tour, visit the small gift shop on-site selling commemorative coins, souvenirs, games, and other items. Reservations for the tours are always required and can be scheduled online through the website.

Address: 320 West Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Civic Center Park

In the heart of Denver is the green and, in summer, agreeably shady Civic Center Park, laid out in Classical style with numerous monuments. Principal administrative buildings of the state of Colorado are scattered around the outskirts of the park. Along its north side is Colfax Ave, which is the longest street in America, running for 26 miles east to west through Denver.

Address: 101 14th Avenue, Denver, Colorado

Aerial view over Cherry Creek

Located just south and east of the Downtown, Cherry Creek North is Denver's best-known shopping district , especially if you're looking for luxury and boutique shops and art galleries. Covering some 16 blocks laid out in a square, the leafy and flower-strewn neighborhood is also home to numerous restaurants, offering cuisine from around the globe.

Cherry Creek hosts a number of different events throughout the year, the most famous of which is the Cherry Creek Arts Festival , held around July 4th, which attracts national and international artist vendors in mediums ranging from painting and jewelry to ceramics. The district runs along 2nd and 3rd Ave between Steele Street to the east and University Boulevard to the west.

Clyfford Still Museum

Part of the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists, Clyfford Still is considered one of the 20th century's most influential painters. The Clyfford Still Museum , which opened in late 2011, is home to an archive of more than 3,000 artworks by the late artist and showcases his life's work and legacy in exhibits in a minimalist-style building.

Address: 1250 Bannock Street, Denver, Colorado

The best place to stay in Denver is right downtown in the heart of the action. This is where the main attractions are located, as well as the Convention Center, restaurants, and entertainment. Below is a list of highly-rated hotels in convenient locations :

Luxury Hotels :

  • The landmark Brown Palace Hotel and Spa has been one of Denver's top luxury hotels since it first opened in 1892. This opulent hotel, in the heart of downtown, is also known for its superb customer service.
  • Opened one year earlier, in 1891, is another of Denver's top hotels, The Oxford Hotel , near Union Station.
  • By contrast, if you are looking for a contemporary luxury hotel, the uniquely designed The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton , near the Denver Art Museum, is the place to stay.

Mid-Range Hotels :

  • Near the Convention Center and just a short walk from the 16th Street Mall is the conveniently located Hilton Garden Inn .
  • Nearby, and also in a great location is Aloft , with a modern look and trendy feel.
  • The Hyatt House is a newly opened, extended-stay hotel in the city center, with standard rooms and suites featuring fully equipped kitchens, perfect for families.

Budget Hotels :

  • The Days Inn is on the periphery of the city center, either a long walk or short drive from the main downtown area.
  • If you are willing to drive 30 minutes, the Comfort Inn is well outside the city center but offers quality rooms at budget prices.

Joining an organized tour is a great way to see all the highlights of Denver and its surrounding mountains without the hassle of finding your way around. Along the way, you'll learn fascinating stories about the city's history and the ecology of the surrounding areas. These tours include convenient hotel pickup and drop-off, saving you time and money. Below are some fun sightseeing tours and day trips that guarantee the lowest price:

Take a Day Trip:

  • Soaring mountains surround Denver, and a convenient way to experience this alpine wilderness is on the Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder . Accompanied by the narration of an expert guide, this tour takes you in an air-conditioned coach across the Continental Divide, reaching altitudes of up to 12,000 feet. After exploring Estes Park and passing by the famous Stanley Hotel, you can look for wildlife such as bighorn sheep and black bears in Rocky Mountain National Park. The tour includes admission to the park, lunch, and hotel pickup.
  • If you're short on time but still want to venture into the wilderness, consider the Foothills Explorer Tour From Denver . This four-hour adventure includes a visit to Red Rocks park, a natural amphitheater; a drive through the scenic Lariat Loop, where you can look for wildlife; and stops at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave and the historic town of Evergreen. Hotel pickup and entrance fees are also included.

Summit a 14neer :

  • From Idaho Springs, the highest mountain road in the U.S. runs steeply up past the beautifully situated Echo Lake to the alpine pastures on Mount Evans (14,266 feet). From the summit, there are breathtaking panoramic views out over the mountains and valley below. A variety of wildlife also frequents the area. At these elevations, it is not uncommon to see mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, and pika. The Mount Evans Highway (State Highway 5) is a seasonal road, which is closed during the winter months, usually reopening in late May. Opening dates may be weather dependent. Mount Evans gets particularly busy on summer weekends. Weekdays and early mornings are some of the less visited hours and maybe a better option for people looking to escape large crowds.

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The Mountains: Denver is a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Less than two hours away are some of the best ski resorts in Colorado , including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin. You can also find smaller and budget-friendly ski resorts near Denver . But you don't have to be a skier to enjoy the beautiful scenery. In summer, hiking , camping, biking, and sightseeing opportunities attract tourists from across North America.

Fun mountain towns you may want to include on your Colorado itinerary include nearby Boulder and Colorado Springs , and in the far southwest of the state, Durango and Telluride , where you'll also find excellent skiing and snowboarding, as well as hiking and biking in summer. Mountain bikers should look to Fruita and Grand Junction for some awesome rides. For more ideas, see our article on the top attractions and places to visit in Colorado .

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16 Best Things to Do in Denver

By Megan Barber and Nicholas DeRenzo

exterior of Denver Art Museum. Metal facade. Skyline in background.  Clear sky.

If you’ve always thought of the Mile High City as simply a gateway to Colorado’s world-famous ski resorts , you’re still thinking of the old Denver. The capital has spent the past two decades coming into its own as one of America’s most progressive and creative cities, with a host of top-notch museums, wildlife-filled green spaces, and a slew of up-and-coming neighborhoods filled with food halls, street art, and buzzy design hotels. And you’ve probably heard a little something about the craft beer scene, which is now matched by equally exceptional distilleries and even urban wineries. Here are our picks for the best things to do in Denver.

Read our complete Denver travel guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

United States Colorado Denver Attraction Denver Union Station

Denver Union Station Arrow

Union Station, Denver's so-called “living room,” sits in the center of Lower Downtown. It's a busy transit center with an outdoor play fountain, patio-filled restaurants, and boutiques. But this is all new; for decades the historic Beaux Arts building—first constructed in 1881 before several fires required renovations in 1914—was a desolate and run-down train station. A $54 million restoration and a dedicated train to the airport changed all that, and the station’s Grand Hall has returned to its glory days. Tourists and locals alike come to gawk at the historic architecture, linger over drinks, or enjoy community events, including a weekend farmer’s market. Grab a farm-to-table dinner at Mercantile Dining & Provision, then finish the night slinging cocktails at the Terminal Bar.

fake car on display with colorful lights and animation

Meow Wolf: Convergence Station Arrow

Meow Wolf installations are, by design, indescribable. Three hundred artists, including more than 110 from Colorado, collaborated on 79 projects, spread over four floors, to create a loud, neon-lit dreamscape that has something important to say if you scratch beneath the surface of the surreal, Instagram-friendly tableaus. Hidden catacomb passageways, trash-strewn cityscapes, alien bodegas and pizza parlors, and tons of Easter eggs about Denver culture and history allude to big-picture topics like accessibility and Indigenous rights. As the Denver Convergence Station iteration of Meow Wolf warns on its website, the exhibit features “dark spaces, low lighting, low overhangs, tight spaces, crawl spaces, narrow walkways, steep stairways, flashing/strobe lights, theatrical fog effects, music, some loud noises, and exposed materials.” In other words, be prepared for everything—especially if you’re claustrophobic or hate crowds.

United States Colorado Denver Museum Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum Arrow

Serious art lovers, this one’s for you. The city’s biggest art museum is a bustling hub at the center of the Golden Triangle Creative District known for both its vast permanent collection and its blockbuster temporary exhibitions. But just because art aficionados can geek out on everything from the 1971 Gio Ponti building to colorful, large-format murals, that doesn’t mean the DAM is reserved for stuffy nerds in sweater vests. No, the best part of the DAM is that art experts and novices can both find things to love. An extensive collection of Native American Art is one of the best in the world; Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” stops people in their tracks; and kids will enjoy hunting down the family-friendly activity centers scattered throughout the building. Grab a map at the entrance and don’t forget to check out the first floor gift shop for a treasure trove of glimmering vases and artsy gifts.

Red Rocks Amphitheater Denver

Red Rocks Amphitheatre Arrow

There’s a reason Red Rocks is considered one of the most beautiful outdoor music venues in the country. Bright red sandstone rocks jut out from either side of the stage to create a natural amphitheater with truly remarkable acoustics, and concert-goers are treated to views of downtown Denver and the surrounding foothills. Even if you can’t see a concert, Red Rocks is worth visiting; fitness groups often run the stairs of the amphitheater on the weekend and the 1.4-mile Trading Post Trail rewards hikers with brilliant rock formations and valley views.

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United States Colorado Denver Attraction Larimer Square

Larimer Square Arrow

Picture the prettiest street in any city: wide sidewalks, red brick buildings, and restaurant patios full of well-dressed 30-somethings sipping wine. Boutique storefronts threaten your pocketbook, twinkle lights sparkle at night, and a pie shop hides a Prohibition-era “speakeasy” Green Russell , named for a Colorado gold miner. This is Larimer Square, the city’s first historic district. And even though you haven’t really been to the Mile High City unless you’ve Instagrammed the street’s signature twinkling lights—pro tip, they look especially amazing around the holidays—Larimer Square somehow manages to remain an authentic, non-touristy destination.

tub being filled with beer. rose petals

The Beer Spa Arrow

Colorado’s first beer-themed spa opened this February in a residential area near Denver's RiNo (River North Art District). Owners Damien Zouaoui and Jessica French were inspired to bring the beer spa concept back to the States after traveling through Eastern Europe, where many spots offer the chance to bathe in hot beer. In translating the idea for an American audience, they stripped out all the Mitteleuropa kitsch and modernized the concept, borrowing from Japanese and Korean spas. Rather than book a traditional spa treatment, you’re left to your own devices in the hushed but comfortable private therapy rooms. Begin the circuit in the infrared sauna, which can reach up to 170-degree Fahrenheit, and extend the relaxation with an optional session in a zero-gravity massage chair that scans your body, tilts you back, and then comes at you from all angles like some kind of super-relaxing robotic carwash. 

United States Colorado Denver Museum Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum Arrow

If there’s one museum that surprises you in the Mile High City, our money’s on the Clyfford Still Museum. At first glance, your eyes might slide over the imposing, cantilevered concrete building located adjacent to the much larger Denver Art Museum in the Golden Triangle. But don’t miss this rarely crowded, under-the-radar gem. Inside, a 3,200-piece collection focuses on the life and work of Clyfford Still, a modern artist famous for his groundbreaking abstract paintings. Spacious exhibition halls guide you chronologically through Still’s body of work, beginning with small sketches and landscape paintings from the 1920s and culminating in colorful canvases from the 1950s that cover the whole wall. This is a museum that educates without pretension; conversational placards prompt visitors to look at specific lines or colors in each painting and well-placed benches are the perfect place to contemplate Still’s influential contribution to the modern art movement.

United States Colorado Denver Attraction Denver Botanical Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens Arrow

Set on 24 acres in the tree-lined Cheesman Park neighborhood, the Denver Botanic Gardens is a peaceful oasis that's perfect for a one- or two-hour stroll. Gravel and stone paths meander through dozens of different types of gardens, from drought-tolerant xeriscaping to a traditional Japanese garden. Don’t miss the rotating exhibits that showcase internationally recognized artwork peeking out from behind the plants, a socially distanced alternative to the city's museums . Also, be on the lookout for a giant orange- and red-glass Chihuly sculpture and So Proud of My Children , a carved stone piece depicting maternal love by Zimbabwean artist Nicholas Kadzungura. Plant lovers won't ever want to leave.

Kirkland Museum of Fine  Decorative Art Denver

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art Arrow

Unlike other museums in Denver, the Kirkland is organized salon-style, displaying everything from Andy Warhol paintings to chairs designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The international decorative art collection spans every major design period since 1870, but the museum is at its best displaying the work of Colorado’s most distinguished painter: Vance Kirkland. The museum moved Kirkland’s original three-room studio eight blocks to its new location, and visitors can tour the space that the artist worked on his famous abstract and dot paintings. It’s now a stone’s throw from the Denver Art Museum , making it easy to visit both in a day.


Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Arrow

Colorado is chock full of national and state parks, but you don’t have to venture far from the Mile High City to immerse yourself in one of the state’s most wildlife-rich green spaces. Located about a 10-minute drive northeast of downtown, this 11-mile wildlife drive cuts through open prairie, past waterfowl-filled lakes, over creeks, and through fields of wildflowers. Think of it as one of those drive-through theme park safaris, but instead of elephants and giraffes, you might spot mule deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, or even the continent’s most-endangered mammal, black-footed ferrets, which were reintroduced in 2015.

alley way lit up by Christmas lights overhead

Dairy Block Arrow

In the early 20th-century, the Windsor Farm Dairy Building, in what’s now called LoDo, used to churn out butter, cheese, and milk, but these days it offers the cream of a different crop as the city’s trendiest new “micro-hood.” Within the space of one compact square block in the shadow of Coors Field, the development includes a hotel, a coworking space, shops, restaurants, bars, and a food hall. Make time to explore the pedestrian-friendly Alley, which slices through the block like a narrow canyon and is lined with unique hangouts, like Blanchard Family Wines and Deviation Distilling, where the Mountain Herb Gin is made with wild-foraged juniper and spruce tips. Don’t miss BØH—the counter-service counterpart to Latin tasting-menu restaurant spot Brutø—for tacos, tortas, tostadas and excellent Mexican-inspired cocktails.

United States Colorado Denver Park City Park

City Park Arrow

City Park, a sprawling 330-acre park east of Downtown Denver, is way more than green space—it’s also home to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Manicured gardens and two scenic lakes show off views of the city skyline, and paths attract walkers, runners, and bikers. A Spanish-style pavilion in the center is often used as an event space, and its columns, arches, and waterfront location also make it a photogenic backdrop. For an epic sunset, park at the museum and walk west around the building toward Ferrill Lake. On the way, you’ll pass a kids' splash fountain and a playground; from there, you’ll see the sunset with the lake, city skyline, and Rocky Mountains all glowing in magic-hour light.

Downtown Brewery Trail Walk Great Divide Brewing Company

Downtown Brewery Trail Walk Arrow

There are plenty of organized brewery tours in Denver , but it's just as easy (and maybe more fun) to create your own thanks to this interactive beer ma p put out by the city. Downtown has a high concentration of quality tasting rooms, and we suggest starting at Wynkoop Brewing Company , Denver’s first craft brewery. Next, make your way to Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery for modern takes on traditional ales. Then it’s time for a heavy-hitter on the Denver beer scene: Great Divide Brewing Company . Finally, finish up at Woods Boss , a relative newcomer on the Denver scene that goes all in on Colorado kitsch.

The Tattered Cover Denver

Tattered Cover Book Store Arrow

Denver’s best independent bookstore has been a community gathering place since 1971. In an era when online sales threaten brick-and-mortar stores everywhere, the Tattered Cover has thrived. It now has multiple locations—including an outpost at LoDo’s gleaming new McGregor Square district, across the street from Coors Field—thanks to knowledgeable staff, comfy armchairs, and a lively event series that hosts well-known authors for seminars. There are all types of books here, but don’t miss the curated selection of staff picks, all marked with handwritten notes that detail why a reader might like the book. A whimsical children’s section and an array of calendars and paper supplies make buying housewarming gifts here a no-brainer.

Denver Zoo Denver

Denver Zoo Arrow

The 80-acre Denver Zoo campus is a mostly outdoor journey on wide, well-spaced paths to see over 3,000 animals. Recent renovations make certain exhibits feel like you’ve taken a trip away from the city for the day . The Stingray Cove exhibit, opened in 2020, is an open-air interactive experience that lets you touch and feed cownose and southern stingrays as they swim around a 15,000-gallon tank. An extra $5 admission fee gets you into the exhibit with one piece of food to feed, and the space also showcases bamboo and bonnethead sharks. Another don’t-miss exhibit is Predator Ridge, a five-acre recreation of the African savanna that rotates African lions, spotted hyenas, and African wild dogs through the enclosures.


The Source Market Hall Arrow

When it opened in an 1880s iron foundry on the edge of downtown in 2013, The Source food hall signaled a sea change for the former industrial zone that would blossom into the RiNo Arts District. Five years later, the historic brick complex welcomed an attached 100-room hotel, done up in polished concrete and Baltic birch, with an outpost of New Belgium Brewing dedicated to barrel-aged beers. Today, the twin “market halls”—one in the original building, one in the new tower—house various food stalls and design shops, plus a barbershop, a florist, and a vintage store. Standouts include Reunion Bread Co. , where baker Ismael De Sousa turns out incredible Venezuelan- and Portuguese-inspired pastries (try the golfeados, walnut-studded sticky buns topped, improbably, with cotija cheese), and Safta , an Israeli stunner from James Beard Award winner Alon Shaya.


The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton

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The best things to do in Denver

Your complete guide to the best things to do in Denver this year, from fascinating museums to funky breweries and beyond

Scott Snowden

What a marvelous place the Mile High City is. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dreaming of packing up and moving here, because Denver is one of the most liveable cities in the United States. It isn’t difficult to understand why; 300 days of sunshine each year, an energetic downtown area, one of the best culinary scenes in the country, and the whole ‘surrounded by stunning mountains’ thing make any argument null and void. Denver is delightful, dynamic, dramatic, and more.

Whether you are looking for tranquility or thrills, you will find each in abundance here. The best things to do in Denver are elite, from gorgeous hikes to all-night parties and beyond. Check out our guide to the ultimate Denver bucket list, and book your trip already.

RECOMMENDED:  The best restaurants in Denver

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Best things to do in Denver

Denver Art Museum

1.  Denver Art Museum

Along with the architecture of internationally renowned visionaries Giò Ponti and Daniel Libeskind, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) is perhaps best known for its holdings in Native and Western American art. Though the DAM might lean heavily on its Rocky Mountain roots, its collections cover the entire spectrum. Seek out, for instance, Monet’s  Waterloo Bridge  and Sandy Skoglund’s startling large-scale installation  Fox Games , depicting a fantastical dining room.

Denver Botanic Gardens

2.  Denver Botanic Gardens

With dozens of horticulturally distinct collections set indoors and out on 20-plus acres, the Denver Botanic Gardens is an oasis in what is, after all, the high desert. Here you can peruse thousands of plant species from across the globe, from cacti to rainforest orchids. It’s also a cultural and educational center, regularly hosting art exhibits, plant shows, gardening classes, and more. As you explore, take a breather and check out glass wizard Dale Chihuly’s Colorado, which graces the pond in the Ellipse Garden.

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

3.  Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

The ever-so-dramatic sweep of its rugged sandstone formations has made Red Rocks a beloved venue for concerts of all stripes since its inauguration in 1941. In 1983, a little-known Irish band happened to film a performance at what you might call nature’s own music hall—and the rest, as U2 fans know, is rock history. Of course, it also serves as one of the world’s most breathtaking gyms, where runners get super-sweaty tackling the seemingly endless staircases, and hikers hit the trails through the surrounding 868-acre park. 


4.  SoBo

The Platt Park stretch of South Broadway (SoBo) has long been known as Antique Row for its wealth of dealers in everything from folk art to furniture. You can shop for vintage wares, weed, or both: SoBo is also called the Green Mile, reflecting the influx of marijuana dispensaries. The quirky shopping experience only gets funkier as you head north into the Baker District, where boutiques like  Decade , a source for up-and-coming designer labels, skew as hip as the nearby eateries.

MCA Denver

5.  MCA Denver

Founded in 1996, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) moved into its permanent and larger home (27,000 square feet) in 2007. With works displayed across five galleries, a shop, a library, and a rooftop cafe, the space is as pretty as a picture (although we can't guarantee that all the pictures will be pretty). Comical, creepy, racy, relentless… Whatever else they may be, exhibitions at the MCA are always provocative. In fact, according to MCA Denver themselves, their exhibits seek to create 'understanding and dialog about the art of our time.'

Union Station

6.  Union Station

After a historic redevelopment, LoDo’s turn-of-the-century terminal is once again a destination for architecture buffs, scenesters, foodies, and rail riders. Absorb the Beaux Arts aura of the majestic, barrel-vaulted Great Hall while sipping local craft beers in the retro-toned  Terminal Bar  or cocktails on the mezzanine of the glamorous  Cooper Lounge . Score a seat at  Stoic & Genuine’s  chef’s counter to indulge in sharp twists on seafood classics, or treat yourself to a feast at  Mercantile Dining & Provision , where farmhouse substance meets cosmopolitan style. 

The Source

7.  The Source

This epicurean food hall became an instant landmark when it opened in 2013 with a dream team of vendors. The food and drink are top-notch. To cite highlights would be misleading; that said, an order of brisket nachos at  Smok  and a croissant churro with dulce de leche from  Reunion Bread Co . are among the absolute musts.

Molly Brown House Museum

8.  Molly Brown House Museum

Saved from demolition in 1970, visitors to this Victorian manor will find the docents’ stories about the Titanic survivor’s years as an actress and a civil-rights activist no less compelling than the opulent period decor. Her famous unsinkability aside, Margaret Brown led a remarkable life for a woman of her time. The Molly Brown House offers self-guided tours and special events throughout the year; Gothic-horror story hours, holiday teas, garden parties, and other corny-but-entertaining programs pop up every season. 

Hiking near Denver

9.  Hiking near Denver

As (more-or-less) casual day trips go, you can’t beat hitting the trails around Golden and Boulder. Whether you choose one of the easygoing loops on Lookout Mountain or rugged climbs in Eldorado Canyon State Park and around the striking sandstone formations known as the Flatirons, you'll be treated to stellar natural vistas. While you wander amid ponderosa pines and Indian paintbrush, keep your eyes peeled for mule deer and monarchs (never mind rattlesnakes and black bears). 

Empower Field at Mile High

10.  Empower Field at Mile High

The stomping ground of the Denver Broncos also made history when it hosted Barack Obama’s acceptance speech during the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Tailgate on the south side, stomp your feet to create 'mile-high thunder; and join a chorus of 76,000 yelling 'in-com-plete!' to show your support for the Broncos. On a guided tour, learn a bevy of stats while visiting the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum and getting a player’s-eye view of the end zone—something even non-fans get a charge out of.

Clyfford Still Museum

11.  Clyfford Still Museum

This single-artist museum warrants intricate exploration, not only to view almost the entire oeuvre of the radical Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still but to admire the masterful architecture as well. Dedicate at least an hour to the tranquil surroundings and the large-scale canvases that defined Still’s contribution to modern art.

Craft breweries

12.  Craft breweries

Roam the linked RiNo, Ballpark, and Five Points neighborhoods, and you’ll run the gamut of craft tipples, from suds to spirits. Boozin' brilliant. Buzzing little breweries like Mockery and Ratio  encircle granddaddy  Great Divide —but as you hop from one to the next, sampling chocolate rye scotch ale and passionfruit-guava goes, you’ll also (quite possibly literally) stumble on  Stem Ciders ,  Infinite Monkey Theorem  Urban Winery, and  Mile High Spirits .

The Beer Spa

13.  The Beer Spa

Here you can soak away your worries and/or have them massaged out in zero-gravity chairs and then sample a wide variety of Colorado’s craft brews all in one place. Makes you wonder; if this was made a mandatory part of the working week, everyone would probably be much nicer to each other. Check out the website for a complete list of what is on offer. They cater to singles, couples, and groups, so you have no excuse.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

14.  Mount Evans Scenic Byway

The route from Idaho Springs to the top of Colorado’s 14th-tallest peak traverses some 7,000ft along the continent’s highest paved roadway. Possibly nerve-wracking and definitely slow-going yet breathtaking in every sense of the word, Mount Evans Scenic Byway takes you past alpine lakes and meadows, through bristlecone-pine stands and the habitats of elk and bighorn sheep; along the way, you can hike, fish, picnic and even snowshoe. The summit itself is accessible only in summer—and even then, the weather can turn nasty without warning.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

15.  Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Adults aren’t just babysitters at this kid-friendly museum jam-packed with dinosaur skeletons, mummies, and IMAX 3D flicks. Naturally, kids go gaga, but plenty of the exhibits and planetarium appeal to all ages—think Dead Sea Scrolls, Russian folk carvings, or black holes. If you’re making a day of it, skip the onsite café in favor of a lakeside picnic in nearby City Park, also home to the  Denver Zoo .

Denver Performing Arts Complex

16.  Denver Performing Arts Complex

Believe it or not, downtown Denver contains one of the largest multi-venue performance centers in the world. Ballets, symphonies, operas, and touring Broadway shows are all staged here, but so are locally produced plays and the occasional rock concert. During the warmer months, all types of celebrations are held in the adjoining outdoor space, Sculpture Park, including the adorable Denver Public Schools  Shakespeare Festival .

Coors Field

17.  Coors Field

Sports fans and curious tourists will find plenty to do at the 76-acre field with spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. Catching a baseball game isn't the only thing you can do on the Rockies' home turf; look for the row of purple seats marking the elevation that gives the Mile High City its name, then wash down some Rocky Mountain oysters (quickly, if you’ve never tried this infamous delicacy) with beer from the onsite brewery,  the SandLot . 

Kirkland Museum of Fine Art

18.  Kirkland Museum of Fine Art

The Kirkland is a mesmerizing shrine to the decorative arts of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Peep iconic modernist furnishings (Irving Harper’s marshmallow sofa and Pierre Paulin’s ribbon chair) and exquisite Art Nouveau and Art Deco housewares. Located in the studio of its late namesake, Vance Kirkland, the collection is displayed salon-style—which means that visitors are surrounded on all sides by irreplaceable objet d'art as they wander through the galleries. Children under 13 are not admitted.

Larimer Square

19.  Larimer Square

Situated on Larimer Street between 14th and 15th, Larimer Square is the most bohemian block in town; this is the place to see and be seen. A gentle saunter down this pedestrianized street will allow you to catch up on your window shopping as you gaze through the glass of some swanky boutique stores, and afterward, you could dine at high-end restaurants like Osteria Marco or Rioja .

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

20.  Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

Restaurateur Justin Cucci's atmospheric eatery in a former house of ill-repute dishes up globally influenced grub. Cucci has a knack for designing restaurants that owe some of their success to a quirky backstory; Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is an eye-popping risqué tribute to its history, while what was once a mid-century garage now informs the vintage cool of  Root Down . Take it all in over a meal that showcases the Edible Beats restaurant group’s focus on earth- and lifestyle-conscious food and drinks. 

Punch Bowl Social

21.  Punch Bowl Social

There are several spots in town where you can indulge your taste for booze and your inner child at the same time. Best of all is Punch Bowl Social, which boasts bowling lanes, an old-school arcade, karaoke rooms, two bars, and a mod diner. Apart from the undoubtedly bohemian-inspired decor, the activities have a touch of nostalgia that is nothing short of gratifying.

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30 Best & Fun Things To Do In Denver (Colorado)

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: October 16, 2019  - Last updated: October 15, 2023

Things To Do In Denver

Denver is full of exciting points of interest, must-see tourist attractions and some of the best vacation spots .

With so many places to see, you’ll want to have a good plan for where to go while you’re in this bustling city.

Here are the 30 best and fun things to do in Denver, Colorado.

Table of Contents

1. Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens

Sherry Little Fawn S / Shutterstock

The Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the must see locations for anyone who’s looking for a peaceful, relaxing walk.

This gorgeous oasis spans 24 acres and is covered in stunning sights, including numerous sculptures, pools, and different garden types.

For the coolest sculptures, check out the huge, spiky red-and-yellow piece entitled “Colorado” made by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, or the Deborah Butterfield piece depicting a horse stripped bare.

For the most fascinating gardens, xeriscaped drought-resistant lands, the Mordecai Children’s Garden, and a Japenese garden are all great options.

And don’t forget the beautiful Monet Pool packed with pretty lilies!

You can also stop by the gift shop for some quaint little trinkets.

Address:  1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206, United States

2. Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum

The Clyfford Still Museum is situated right next to the arguably much more popular Denver Art Museum, but it is just as worthy of stopping by while you’re in this Colorado city.

It houses a whopping 3,200 pieces created by Clyfford Still, who is world-renowned as an abstract expressionist artist.

Originally opened in 2011, the Clyfford Still Museum celebrates some of Still’s most loved works, beginning from his early sketches from the 1920s to his more well-known canvas masterpieces made back in the 1950s.

Witness the bright bursts of colors, supplemented with a variety of informational placards that keep things concise yet interesting.

This Colorado museum also gives you great insight into the way that an art style can slowly but surely evolve and change over time.

Unlike many more crowded museums, this one is intimate and feels very much like a unique, personal experience that you can enjoy without the masses.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Denver!

Address:  1250 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

3. Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Grossinger / Shutterstock

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a stunning spot for sightseeing that is located on Colorado Highway 5.

It’s a great way to take in some stunning views without exerting yourself in a hike if that’s not something you feel like doing.

The concept is simple: pay a simple car entrance fee and drive up from Echo Lake’s Highway 103 to the top of the Summit Lake road.

The road is only open at certain times of the year, but it’s one of the best places to visit in the area.

This is the tallest paved road that you’ll find not just in this city, but in all of America.

At the very peak of Mount Evans and its road, you’ll be a huge, impressive 14,264 feet over the level of the sea.

A number of useful stopping points allow you to step out and look out over the edge of the road to see views of the Rocky Mountains.

It’s certainly among the top things to do in Denver!

4. Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum

robert cicchetti / Shutterstock

The Denver Art Museum is among the top 10 art-related locations in Colorado.

It is the biggest of its kind within the city.

Located in the famed Golden Triangle Creative District, it hosts over 70,000 different gorgeous works of art in two lovely buildings, from all manner of artists, from all walks of life.

The museum showcases a good mix of permanent fixtures as well as sophisticated and fantastic temporary exhibitions that change with the seasons.

The building itself is made with eye-catching architecture that provides a wow factor from the get-go, and there’s something within for everyone, from art aficionados to those who just popped in.

There isn’t any specific exhibit that truly stands out, as so many of them are incredible and worth viewing.

You’ll see countless different pieces that will make you gasp in delight!

Whether or not you’re an art fan, this museum easily makes the list for what to do in Denver.

Address:  100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204, United States

5. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Federico Curcio / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some music and entertainment tonight, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is among the greatest that you’ll find in Colorado.

It is famous for being exceedingly beautiful thanks to its natural amphitheater design, which benefits from the gorgeous red sandstone rocks that encircle it.

If you’re in Denver anytime from spring to fall, you’ll be able to witness some pretty interesting shows, from musical performances to film screenings.

Better yet, pretty much all seats in the entire amphitheater are good ones, and shows go on through all sorts of weather.

But even if you’re not big on live shows, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is still one of the things to see that you won’t want to miss, even if it’s purely for its aesthetic quality!

Address:  18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465, United States

Going on a road trip around Colorado? Check out our list of things to do in Colorado !

6. Coors Field

Coors Field

Kit Leong / Shutterstock

Baseball fans unite!

Coors Field is one of the most fun locations in Denver to take a trip to if you’re looking for a ballpark that’s suitable for the whole family.

Named after the beer that this city is so well-known for, this field is the home turf of the Colorado Rockies, a Major League Baseball team much-loved by many.

Coors Field is a stadium that covers 76 acres and more than enough space to seat 50,000 spectators.

If you’re lucky enough to sit in the right-field or first-base areas, you’ll have a gorgeous view ahead of you to accompany the game: the Rocky Mountains loom overhead.

But what about off-season?

Well, there are still plenty of activities to do that will keep all ages entertained.

Ground tours can be still be embarked on off-season, giving you a great glimpse into the world of baseball.

An interactive area allows you to take your chance at video batting cages and speed pitches.

Whether you’re here to see a game, sample some tasty snacks, or just explore, visiting Coors Field is one of the most awesome things to do in downtown Denver!

Address:  2001 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205, United States

7. Empower Field at Mile High

Empower Field

APN Photography / Shutterstock

The Empower Field is located within the well-known Mile High Stadium of Denver.

It’s the site of many amazing events in Super Bowl history, including the multiple wins and record-setting efforts of the local Broncos.

Football fans in this Colorado City are sure to love catching a game over the weekend – or on a weekday, too! – in this 76,000-seater stadium.

But this field isn’t just pure sports.

Believe it or not, public art displays can be found around the field for you to scrutinize.

Still, no one can deny that catching a home game on the Empower Field is among the top things to do in Denver.

You can also go on a tour of the stadium, including walking through the locker rooms, broadcast areas, entrance tunnel, and more.

Address:  1701 Bryant St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

8. Forney Museum of Transportation

Forney Museum of Transportation

Neal Wellons / flickr

The Forney Museum of Transportation is one of the more quirky Denver attractions in Colorado.

Originally, the museum’s extensive collection began with the private collection of Forney Industries founder J.D. Forney.

His wife and children presented him with a special antique car in 1961, and that kickstarted his love of collecting unusual, special, one-of-a-kind, and sometimes downright weird automobiles!

If it had wheels, he would consider it!

Now, the collection comprises of 600 different pieces, and it continues to expand in the spirit of Forney’s efforts.

The car of Amelia Earhart, a “Big Boy” locomotive, and even a banged-about Herbie the Love Bug are all noteworthy entries to this museum.

Hilariously, to add a little more life to their displays, mannequins with silly eyes are posed around and in these vehicles.

It’s a very strange museum indeed, but if you’re looking for what to do, it’s one that shouldn’t be missed!

Address:  4303 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216, United States

9. Larimer Square

Larimer Square

littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock

Known as one of the most beautiful places in the US , Larimer Square is full of sights, sounds, and stores that make it an absolute must-visit in downtown Denver.

It is from here that all of Denver slowly grew into the wonderful Colorado city that we know it as now.

Teeming with history, it slipped into a deteriorated state a good while ago and was slowly refurbished and brought back to life.

The square isn’t exactly the “plaza” type of square.

Instead, it is a street spanning just a block that contains a wide range of interesting shop lots, including clubs, boutiques, bars, restaurants, and more.

Delicious food and a delightful atmosphere await you!

Address: 1430 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

10. Adams Mystery Playhouse

Adams Mystery Playhouse

Adams Mystery Playhouse

The Adams Mystery Playhouse is the only establishment of its kind in all of Colorado.

So, what is it exactly?

It is a mystery dinner theatre, which essentially provides a delicious buffet meal for you to enjoy while actors bestow their hilarious and delightful comedy on you.

And it’s all family-friendly, so it’s among the greatest things to do in Denver this weekend with kids!

Then, surprise! Something happens!

A murder mystery takes place right after dinner is done!

Help look for clues, have a few snacks, and watch more performances – then enjoy the culmination of the mysterious case.

The winning team that solves the case gets some great souvenirs.

If you’re looking for some fun while you’re in town, this is a fantastic option.

Address:  2406 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80211, United States

Exploring other areas of Colorado? Why not check out some of the things to do in Colorado Springs  & some of the things to do in Estes Park ?

11. Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo

Mia2you / Shutterstock

The Denver Zoo first opened in the 1890s, and since then, it has only gotten better.

Designed after a nature preserve in Kenya, it’s among the most fun tourist attractions in Colorado that will make you feel like you’re far away in the wilderness!

More than 4,000 animals call the Denver Zoo their home.

It takes up a whopping 8 acres and spans across City Park, with a wide range of different types of areas that showcase some awesome animals.

You can view mammals, reptiles, aquatic creatures, invertebrates, birds, and more!

The Denver Zoo also offers plenty of activities.

If you get there during the standard feeding times, you’ll get to listen to some fascinating lectures from staff members.

Special events involve giant Lego replicas of the animals that litter the compound, photo safaris, animatronic dinosaurs, and more!

Address:  2300 Steele St, Denver, CO 80205, United States

12. Tattered Cover Book Store

Tattered Cover Book Store

Epiglottis / Shutterstock

If you’re a book-lover figuring out what to do while you’re in Denver, the Tattered Cover Book Store is arguably among the most loved.

It is one of the most impressive independent bookstores in Denver today.

Since it opened in 1971, the bookstore has grown outside of Colorado to earn four locations, and for good reason!

This homey bookstore is full of things to see, with great books, warm coffee, and cozy little armchairs to sit in.

Staff is very knowledgeable, and sometimes authors drop by to host seminars.

Gorgeous stationery is also available for sale, alongside a huge variety of books that spawn across all the genres you can think of.

Whether you’re here to just browse, to pick up some books or gifts, or to rest in an armchair while reading for a few hours, this bookstore feels like a sophisticated library that anyone would love to spend an afternoon in.

Address:  2526 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206, United States

13. Craft Beer Tour

Denver Craft Beer Tour

Master1305 / Shutterstock

Denver is pretty well-known for its beer.

That’s why you can’t miss out on a Craft Beer Tour if you’re in this Colorado city this week.

Head to downtown Denver to be taken through a two- or three-hour tour that teaches you just how all that renowned craft beer is made.

Many different types of these tours are held, but the most popular one brings you through four stops.

You’ll learn how brewing happens, take a trip to one of the initial brewpubs that started the Denver craft beer craze, get to drink in a special governer-founded brewery, and finally wind up in one of the state’s greatest bars.

Throughout this tour, which is one of the most fun things to do in Denver, you’ll find out about which beers have the most incredible tastes, receive a tasting glass as a souvenir, and learn historical facts and bits of trivia.

So if you want to sate your craving for good alcohol without going out tonight, this is a great way to do it!

14. Cheesman Park

Cheesman Park

jennifer_crowder_artist / Shutterstock

Cheesman Park is located in the central area of Denver, and it’s known for being pretty haunted.

In fact, it’s one of the most haunted spots not just in Colorado, but in all of the United States.

Spanning 80 acres, the park features landscaped grounds and looks perfectly serene, but don’t let that fool you when you visit today, tomorrow, or whenever!

Originally, this area of land was part of 320 acres used by the Colorado city as a cemetery.

Back then, it was known as Mount Prospect.

One end was reserved for the rich to be buried while the other was used for criminals and beggars, and people on either end of the spectrum were buried in between.

The cemetery eventually began deteriorating, and the city eventually got control over it and disposed of 5,000 bodies that had been unclaimed, often by cutting them up into tiny pieces.

No wonder this place has its scary reputation now!

It may not be the most conventional of Denver attractions, but it’s certainly worth a visit if you’re there to view the macabre and odd!

Address: 8th Ave & Franklin St, Denver, CO 80206, USA

15. American Museum of Western Art

American Museum of Western Art

Miguel Rodríguez / flickr

If you love history but don’t want to deal with overcrowded museums, the American Museum of Western Art is one of the best places to visit – so much so that you should drop in if you’re near Denver.

The building itself began its life in 1880, where it was used as a school for women known as the Brinker Collegiate Institute.

After that closed down, it was, surprisingly, turned into a brothel, which could be entered via a secret tunnel underground.

Eventually, William Foxley purchased the building, and he used a huge amount of money to turn it into the museum we know now.

The museum’s primary goal is promoting Western life, spanning from the early 1800s all the way to modern living.

A wide range of different collections provides insights into more than just Colorado, especially through the Anschutz Collection.

Tours are also available, through which you can get in-depth examinations of over 200 pieces.

Address:  1727 Tremont Pl, Denver, CO 80202, United States

Exploring other parts of Colorado? Why not check out some of the things to do in Breckenridge  & some of the things to do in Boulder ?

16. Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey

Infinite_Eye / Shutterstock

In need of a fun night in Denver, but you want to make it as unique an experience as possible?

You could visit a bar, but you could also be classy and get yourself a tour of the coolest places to visit in Denver – Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.

If you would rather get your drinks sorted during the day, this operational distillery has you covered as well.

While the in-house bar itself has a rustic feel with its Western decor, the rest of the distillery (and the tasting room) retains that industrial feel with steel beams and corrugated metal.

No matter where you’re drinking your whiskey, however, one thing’s for certain – it’s some of the yummiest liquor in the city.

Don’t be surprised if you bump into people camping overnight for bottles of the distillery’s limited edition Snowflake!

Address:  200 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223, United States

Planning another vacation? Don’t forget to check out some of the most beautiful places to visit in California !

17. Union Station

Denver Union Station

Jon Osumi / Shutterstock

There’s a lot of history to be found in Denver, thanks to it being the center of Colorado’s Gold Rush heyday.

Now, the century-old Union Station not only serves as a standing legacy to the city’s colorful past, but it also serves downtown Denver as a functioning public transit station!

In addition to that, Union Station is also a one-stop hub for entertainment and eateries.

If you have the time for it, one of the best things to do in Denver is to try having a night out at the station.

Head down over to the Union Stations Orient Express-style Cooper Lounge if you’re in the mood for snazzy cocktails, or catch happy hour at the Terminal Bar!

If you aren’t hungry yet, the renovated landmark has plenty of shops and boutiques you can look in.

Maybe you’ll find something in this entertainment center that’ll catch your eye!

Address:  Denver, CO 80202, United States

18. City Park

City Park

Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

While hunting for tourist attractions around Denver, you may have heard of the City Park – and for good reason.

Located in the approximate LoDo side of Denver, this park sprawls across an incredible 330 acres and houses the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in proximity to each other.

While Colorado as a whole is no slacker in the scenic views department, you’d be hard-pressed to find backdrops that this park can provide.

Whether you just want to marvel at the sight of the city’s skyline against the Rockies or enjoy the romantic silhouette the Spanish-style pavilion provides, there are some breathtaking views this park is ready to offer!

And when you’re done with being outdoors all day, you can just duck into the Museum for an air-conditioned learning experience.

It’s a win-win situation no matter which way you slice it!

Address: Colorado Blvd. and York St., Denver, CO 80205, USA

19. Denver Mint

Denver Mint

Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock

Should you still be wondering about other Denver attractions you can visit, then why not consider this chance to see a working coin mint in action?

A relic of Colorado’s mining heyday, the Denver branch of the national Mint was originally meant to take advantage of the Gold Rush and produce coinage for the U.S. Mint.

While it’s still an active mint pumping out 50 million coins daily, the facility also doubles as a museum.

Located near the Denver Art Museum, you can pop on by to learn about coin design, manufacturing, and Colorado’s rich mining legacy in great detail.

While the tours are free, they are often in high demand and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

So make sure to show up there first thing in the morning and give yourself at least 30 minutes to clear security!

Address:  320 W Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204, United States

20. Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

f11photo / Shutterstock

For a day full of fun, why not check out the Denver Museum of Nature & Science ?

This impressive facility is home to tons of scientific exhibits that are sure to delight anyone who has a love for the natural sciences.

It’s easy to find this museum too – there’s plenty of buses that have this museum as a dropping off point.

If you were already visiting the Denver Zoo earlier that day, this fantastic museum is just to the south!

And here’s a fun little thing – one of the top things to do in Denver is to find mythological creatures that really should not be in a museum about the physical world.

A tradition that was started by painter Kent Pendleton in the 1970s, the museum is now full of hidden gnomes and elves just waiting to be spotted by an eagle-eyed visitor!

Address:  2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205, United States

Looking for more thrills? Why not check out some of the things to do in Fort Collins  & some of the fun things to do in Durango, CO ?

21. Washington Park

Washington Park

Faina Gurevich / Shutterstock

Known for its beautiful landscape and forests, Colorado remains one of the most worthy sightseeing destinations in the nation.

Denver itself is home to Washington Park – one of the city’s most treasured outdoor regions.

Why not take a break from the humdrum of city life and treat yourself to its soul-soothing aesthetics?

If you need some points of interest to keep you oriented in this park, why not try hopping on a paddleboat or a rented bike to explore Smith Lake with?

Just make your way down to the historical boathouse next to it to get started.

The park’s second lake, Grasmere Lake, has a sprawling playground should you decide to bring your families along.

For green-thumbed enthusiasts, Washington Park is also home to the Mount Vernon Garden – a green haven that welcomes any tired citizens with loving arms.

Here you can wander along meandering paths as you take in the richness of the plant life, and when you’re tired, simply relax on one of the garden’s many benches.

Address: S. Downing St. & E. Louisiana Ave, Denver, CO 80209, USA

22. The Room of Lost Things

The Room Of Lost Things

The Room Of Lost Things

With such a unique name, you would hope that The Room Of Lost Things would live up to the expectations it has set for itself.

And thankfully, it does.

Located in the Sante Fe Arts Districts, this shop is themed on the macabre and the strange.

If oddities are your thing, then you need to put visiting this shop on your list of things to do in Denver today.

Check out the mummified Prairie dogs lining the shelves, or buy a fossil to bring home as a souvenir.

If you’re struggling to identify what it is that’s caught your attention, the employees and artists within are more than happy to help you out.

Address:  987 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, CO 80204, United States

23. Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown House Museum

Kirstie Warner / flickr

The name “ Molly Brown House Museum ” may not seem fantastical enough to make it to your list of “What To See in Denver”, but to bypass this simple museum would be a mistake.

Margaret Brown was an activist and a philanthropist who boarded the ill-fated Titanic.

And contrary to most expectations, Brown actually survived the sinking of the ship to tell the tale, earning her the nickname of “Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

But there’s more to her tale than just surviving the Titanic – and this museum is here to show you just what you’ve been missing.

Built in the late 1800s, the museum itself is a historical building called the House of Lions – named so for its decorative lion statues.

Why not pop on over to explore what life was like in Victorian Colorado, or check out a guided tour of Molly Brown’s life – and her efforts in the suffrage movements of the time!

Address:  1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203, United States

24. Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Jose A Feliciano / Shutterstock

Art aficionados ahoy – Denver is host to one of Colorado’s many art museums, making it a must see destination if you want to complete that national art tour.

If you’re just an average person who appreciates art, then please understand museum-trawling can be one of the best things to do in Denver.

Why not give it a shot?

Located in Denver, the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art is still relatively unknown, despite its recently elevated profile.

Which is a shame, since it stands out from other museums nearby by its salon-style organization of its collection.

And what a collection it is!

If you’re not interested in international art collection (that contains pieces from all the major design periods since 1870), then perhaps this will whet your artistic appetite.

You can take a look at Vance Kirkland’s original three-room studio, and see where the state’s most distinguished painter worked!

Address:  1201 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

25. Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Denver Center for the Performing Arts / Shutterstock

Are you in Denver for a fun weekend trip?

Then why not reserve a night on your schedule to do cool things – like visiting all eight theaters handled by the nation’s largest nonprofit theater organization?

Whether you’re interested in musicals, cabaret, or innovative plays, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts probably has a program for you.

If you would rather have an intimate experience with the stage and its performers, look towards the cabaret-style Garner Galleria Theatre with its 200 seats.

Or would you perhaps rather some flashy, Broadway-style musical?

If so, look no further than Buell Theater.

With room to seat 2,800 people, the largest theater in the DCPA’s arsenal is host to bigger productions you can use to wow your friends into being Broadway fans!

No matter your preferences or age, there’s always something for you to enjoy at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts!

Address:  1101 13th St, Denver, CO 80204, United States

26. Children’s Museum of Denver

Children’s Museum of Denver

Children’s Museum of Denver

Museums are one of the coolest tourist attractions for a reason, but they’re not normally attractive to small children.

Where’s the fun in just staring at exhibits?

You need to have activities of some kind to keep them entertained.

So if you have little ones in town on your visit to Colorado, why not drop by Children’s Museum of Denver instead?

Full of interactive activities that are sure to delight the little minds and hands, this museum’s features will surely be the highlight of the trip for your children.

If the climbing walls, electricity demos, hands-on engineering stations, and the interactive art studio won’t capture their fancy, then check out their website.

Perhaps one of their other periodic workshops might be of further interest to them!

Address:  2121 Children’s Museum Dr, Denver, CO 80211, United States

27. Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol

While Denver is well-known as the mile-high city, reality falls a little short of that claim.

If you really want to stand a mile above sea level, you’ll have to make your way to the Colorado State Capitol .

And if you’re already somewhere near Denver, why not put in a little more leg work to nab that fun claim?

Not only is it the heart of the state’s government, one of the Colorado State Capitol’s steps should put you exactly one mile above sea level – though the step differs depending on who you ask.

This gorgeous building has not one, but three different granite steps that have been officially identified as the exact elevation that lives up to Denver’s mile-high claim.

That aside, the Capitol is one of the best places to visit if you’re interested in Denver’s history.

You can book a free tour of the historical building’s interior, or admire the architecture of granite and gold – a beautiful handover of the state’s 1890s Gold Rush era.

Address:  200 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203, United States

28. Denver Public Library

Denver Public Library

Jim Lambert / Shutterstock

If you are a self-professed bookworm of any kind, then a visit to the Denver Public Library is a must do.

Just head on over to downtown Denver, and you’ll find the city’s central library!

Or you could, alternatively, visit any of its 23 branches depending on what’s near you.

Established in 2003, this library is one you can lose yourself in.

Not only you can learn about Colorado in there, you can also dive into its archive of over 2 million items.

There’s just something in there for everyone.

Books? Of course.

Movies and DVDs? Tons galore.

Reference materials for the desperate student? They’ve got your back.

Historical photographs for the visiting researcher? All at your fingertips!

But what about your children?

Not to fret, there’s a kiddies area filled with all sorts of activities and materials for your little ones to discover and enjoy too.

And thanks to the library’s full-service lending department, you can take your time to learn about just anything you want!

Address (Central Branch):  10 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204, United States

29. Denver Firefighters Museum

Denver Firefighters Museum

Craig Talbert / flickr

To make the most of your trip to Colorado, why not check out downtown Denver?

There are all sorts of things to see and do here – and if you happen to wander into Tremont Place, you might find Denver’s history just waiting to be explored.

Nestled within the building of the city’s very first proper firehouse is Denver Firefighters Museum – a museum dedicated to the Denver Fire Department, first established in the 1880s.

But why so much hubbub over some firefighters?

If you don’t find 150 years of firefighting techniques and equipment a fascinating subject in and of itself, then maybe learning about how the state’s infamous wildfires are dealt with may interest you.

Thanks to the region’s dry climate, the Department is no stranger to dealing with conflagrations.

Did they have those in the past? How did they deal with it then?

It’s time to find out!

Address:  1326 Tremont Pl, Denver, CO 80204, United States

30. Colorado Symphony

Colorado Symphony

Kent Kanouse / flickr

If you’re bumbling around Denver at night with a partner in tow, why not skip the bars and get yourself some culture at the Boettcher Concert Hall?

Built in Denver in 1978, the first (and only) 360-degree concert hall in the country is a sight to behold in and of itself.

With the hall’s unique arrangement for its 2,700 seats, you will never be more than 85 feet away from the stage – no matter where you’re located in its five seating areas!

If this fascinating architecture isn’t enough to put this on your Denver must-visit list, then what about listening to some professional symphony orchestra?

With Andrew Litton as its music director, the Colorado Symphony presents all sorts of year-round performances and events.

For those of you who would rather get your hands dirty, the Symphony also hosts all sorts of community outreach programs too.

Why not listen to the orchestra, and then learn about their equipment afterwards?

Address:  1000 14th St #15, Denver, CO 80202, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Denver

There are countless Denver attractions that make great places to go while you’re here for your holiday.

So what are you waiting for?

Plan a trip and hopefully, this list of the top fun things to do in Denver will help you find lots of cool things and stuff to do as you enjoy the best of Denver!

Top 11 things to do in Denver from baseball to tubing South Platte River

Liza Prado

Jul 23, 2023 • 7 min read

tourist places in denver

Vendors sell everything from gelato to bao buns at Denver Milk Market © Chip Kalback / Lonely Planet

A Rocky Mountain megastar, Denver is a thriving city that blends its rich Old West history with a modern, cosmopolitan vibe. Here you’ll find dynamic arts and cultural options woven with a booming food, craft beer and cannabis scene. And with endless sunny days, green spaces galore and a spectacular mountain backdrop, outdoor play is always part of the local ethos. Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, you’ll find Denver is buzzing with activity.

Here are its top things to do.

A long exposure shot of the Union Station at dusk

1. Eat, drink and play in Union Station

Enjoy a drink or a fancy meal at Union Station , an iconic landmark and beautifully restored 19th century train station. Sure, it’s Denver’s main transportation hub – local buses, light rail and cross-country trains use it – but this Beaux Art beauty also is home to tony restaurants and cocktail bars, a place locals come for a night out on the town.

Local tip: If you need a sightseeing break, chill out in the Great Hall, a waiting area and chic lounge with leather couches, shuffleboard and wifi. It’s all free and open to the public – no need to buy anything.

2. Cheer on the Rockies

Join baseball fans at Coors Field in downtown Denver, one of the MLB’s most hitter-friendly ballparks (thank the thin air for all the homeruns). Eighty home games mean lots of opportunities and with tickets in the Rockpile (aka centerfield) starting at just US$1, it won’t break the bank. Come decked out in your purple, black and silver best to fit right in.

Detour: If you’re a die-hard baseball fan, cross the street to the National Ballpark Museum, which is jam-packed with memorabilia from the country’s 14 classic ballparks.

Exterior of the Denver Art Museum illuminated at night

3. See masterpieces at the Denver Art Museum

The crown jewel of the Mile High City’s art scene, the Denver Art Museum houses an eclectic collection of some of the world’s greatest works of art, from Old Master painters to modern contemporary artists. It includes a stunningly rich collection of Native American art, integrating both historic and contemporary work, with signage that prioritizes Native perspectives. The complex itself is a work of art – the titanium-paneled Hamilton Building with its jutting angles connected by bridge to the newly-renovated Martin Building, a fortress-like structure covered in millions of glittering glass tiles.

Local tip: No need to hesitate about coming if you’re traveling with kids – there are loads of interactive art stations and activities throughout the museum plus two eateries for mid-visit treats. Admission is free for everyone 18 and under too.

4. Take in back alley street art

Nowhere has street art more transformed a neighborhood in Denver than the one-time-industrial-wasteland-turned-hipster-enclave of RiNo (aka River North Arts District). Unexpected and ever-changing, the streets and alleys are draped in hundreds of murals covering every sort of surface, from parking lot walls to transformer boxes. Walking through the neighborhood, the art stops you in your tracks, the images speaking to the city’s diversity, politics and day-to-day life.

Local tip: If you want a bit more structure to your mural walkabout, check out RiNo’s own mural map . For an even deeper dive into the art, take a guided tour with Denver Graffiti Tour , a two-hour stroll past notable works, including details on the artists and their historical context.

Crowd at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado

5. Go to a Red Rocks concert

There’s something almost primal about attending a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater : the sounds of instruments enveloping you, the sight of people dancing under an umbrella of stars and the iconic 300ft-high red sandstone monoliths standing guard on either side. Renowned for its natural acoustics and stunning beauty, Red Rock has been a rock 'n’ roll venue ever since 1964 when The Beatles played there. Today, Red Rocks is synonymous with big name bands of all genres – even symphony orchestras – and a place where memorable albums are often recorded. For many, it’s reason enough for a trip to Denver. Concerts are held all summer long.

Detour: If a Red Rocks concert isn’t in the cards, the venue and its surrounding 816 acres are free to visit during the day, including several hiking trails that wind through the red rock landscape. The amphitheater also hosts other events like early morning yoga and movie nights.

6. Have a flight at Great Divide

Colorado takes its beer seriously, raising craft brewing to a high art. And with over 150 breweries in Denver, you certainly won’t go thirsty in this town. For an OG experience, head to the downtown brewhouse of Great Divide Brewing Company , a small brick building housing one of the most decorated breweries in the country with a whopping 18 Great American Beer Festival medals and five World Beer Cup Medals to its name. Weekend evenings bring wall-to-wall crowds but stop by on a weeknight for a seat at the bar and a flight of Great Divide’s exquisitely bold and balanced brews. If you want to go all in, geek out on a behind the scenes tour to learn how their magic sauces are made. 

A sculpture of a giant blue bear peering into a building in Denver

7. Take a selfie with the Blue Bear

Stop for photos with the playful and ever-curious symbol of the city, a 40ft-tall sculpture of a blue bear entitled I See What You Mean . Located in Downtown Denver, the bear stands upright peering into the Convention Center – the artist Lawrence Argent’s riff on a local newspaper’s photo of a bear looking into a home (a not unfamiliar occurrence in the state). The bear’s color represents the famous Colorado skies.

8. Spark your sense of wonder at Meow Wolf

Step into Denver’s most immersive art experience at Meow Wolf Denver , an extension of the renowned art collective started in New Mexico. Here, wander through a multi-story building that tells a story of the convergence of four worlds through 70+ fantastical art installations. Enter dark tunnels and tipping hallways, man towering spaceships and touch psychedelic coral reefs, and keep your eyes peeled for the live performers who somehow creep onto the scene. It’s wonderfully bizarre and totally unforgettable.

The Dancers public sculpture at night, in front of the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

9. Catch a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Denver is home to the second largest theater complex in the country: the Denver Performing Arts Complex , a four-city-block-wide collection of stages connected by a sky-high glass canopy, with large-scale art pieces dotting its walkways and green spaces. Weekends bring thousands to the complex, a river of people flowing into its different venues to see everything from Broadway shows to experimental theater. Join the crowd! While big ticket shows sell out fast, there are enough venues to almost guarantee a seat most nights.

Detour: If homegrown theater is more your speed, head to nearby Curious Theater . Housed in a repurposed church, this award-winning theater company stages thought-provoking plays with a social justice bent. Stay afterwards for the talk-backs, when actors engage with the audience about everything from the plot to the set.

10. Float through Denver

Float down the South Platte River, taking in the downtown skyline as you dip your toes into the cool, gentle water. A historic waterway, gold was found along its shores way back in 1858, sparking the Colorado Gold Rush and the founding of Denver itself. Today, the South Platte winds its way through the center of the city, popular pedestrian walkways and small sandy beaches following its path. Ask about tube and kayak rentals at Confluence Kayaks near Confluence Park.

11. Meditate in the International Cannabis Church

You don’t have to be high to feel the full effect of the light show at the International Cannabis Church (in fact, onsite cannabis use is technically prohibited by the public). Every day of the year, the one-time Lutheran church turned multi-colored Elevationist sanctuary comes alive in a spectacular 3D video mapping show while a guided audio meditation leads visitors on a journey towards self-discovery. People leave feeling at peace, happy and well, high on life.

Local tip: Come early to take full advantage of the old school arcade, complete with Galaga and Ms. Pacman machines plus Mario Kart projected onto a 26-foot movie screen, all included in the price of admission.

This article was first published Jun 15, 2021 and updated Jul 23, 2023.

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23 Best Things to Do in Denver, From Brewery Visits to Red Rocks Hiking

These are the top things to do in the Mile High City.

Evie Carrick is a writer and editor who’s lived in five countries and visited well over 50. She now splits her time between Colorado and Paris, ensuring she doesn't have to live without skiing or L'As du Fallafel.

tourist places in denver

Denver has seen something of a resurgence in recent years, with people "discovering" the destination that seems to have it all — big-city amenities, premium hotels , and easy access to the mountains. In fact, in the last decade alone (2010 to 2020), the city's population grew about 20 percent, according to data from the Colorado census . The growth makes perfect sense when you consider all the city has to offer — from a tater tot fueled drag brunch to yoga at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Ready to see what all the fuss is about? Here are 23 of the best things to do in Denver, Colorado.

Drop by for drag brunch (and bottomless mimosas) at Hamburger Mary's.

The uber-campy Hamburger Mary's Denver serves up Tater Ta-Ta's (a.k.a. tater tots) alongside an unbeatable drag performance. Swing by on Saturday for the Drag Brunch , a sell-out show with bottomless mimosas and good eats.

See a show or do a downward dog at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

The naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater nestled among red rock formations at the foot of the Rocky Mountains has long been a destination for big acts like The Beatles, Widespread Panic, and Halsey. But even if you don't make it for a show, you can enjoy the mix of nature and entertainment at the park's Yoga on the Rocks and Film on the Rocks events.

Make your way through Meow Wolf, a surreal art experience.

If you want to enter another world (without leaving the heart of Denver), head to Meow Wolf , an art experience with interactive exhibits, mind-bending art, and psychedelic encounters you can literally feel. The four-story exhibition includes more than 70 installations, portals, and rooms dreamed up by 300 creatives.

Christopher Larson/Travel + Leisure

Visit the Denver Art Museum.

Housed in a wildly angular, eye-catching building, the Denver Art Museum houses more than 70,000 diverse works with a revolving door of exhibitions that have included the work of Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera.

Sip on tea at the iconic Brown Palace Hotel.

At The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa , a Denver mainstay since 1892, you can step back in time (and to another continent) by joining their daily afternoon tea. Choose your tea of choice, then sit back and nosh on handmade pastries and tea sandwiches while the sounds of the grand piano float through the stained-glass-ceilinged atrium.

Catch a game at the Mile High Stadium.

Whether or not you like football, it's hard to deny the novelty of watching a game at 5,280 feet (one mile) above sea level. And if you're really not into the game, you can cruise around the Empower Field at Mile High until you find a vantage point where you can see the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Denver skyline to the east. Not bad for a football stadium.

Take on the thrill of Elitch Gardens.

If you find yourself in Denver during the summer months, make a trip to the Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park . Take on the Tower of Doom's 200-foot drop or stop by Twister II, a world-class wooden roller coaster, before rewarding yourself with a funnel cake.

Get lost in the bookshelves at Tattered Cover.

Barnes & Noble has its place, but there's something special about perusing the aisles at an independent bookstore. And while the Tattered Cover has become one of the largest independent booksellers in the U.S. since its humble start in 1971, it's a Denver institution and shouldn't be missed.

See a show at a Theater Company housed inside an old church.

The Curious Theatre Company , which is based out of an old church, has been pushing the theatrical envelope for decades. It remains the home of thought-provoking plays, many of which are written by local playwrights.

Spend the weekend bowling and brunching.

If you need to let off some work-week steam, head to Punch Bowl Social to throw some balls and eat some Sriracha peanut fries. If bowling isn't your game, try your hand at shuffleboard, life-size Jenga, pool, or some old-school arcade games.

Travel to another world at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Check out the big screen (the big, big screen) at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science , which is home to both an Imax and a planetarium. If none of the shows catch your eye, walk through the museum's Space Odyssey exhibition or brush up on your dino knowledge at the Prehistoric Journey exhibit.

Have a beer (or three) at Denver Beer Co.

With an outdoor, dog-friendly patio just begging for visitors and a good location in Denver's LoHi (Lower Highland) neighborhood, Denver Beer Co. is the place to be when the sun is out and the weather is warm.

Find a little bit of everything at Number Thirty Eight.

If you're with a group and not sure where to go, head to Number Thirty Eight , a sprawling food hall with 24 taprooms (serving beer, cider, wine, and hard alcohol), live music, games, and a giant outdoor patio.

Visit Nocturne for a high-end supper club experience with live jazz.

For a fancy night out, drop by Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club , Denver's must-visit spot for modern jazz, classic cocktails, and a three-course menu.

Soak up some humidity at Denver Botanic Gardens.

Denver isn't known for its humidity (the state is generally dry), but inside the Denver Botanic Gardens conservatory, you can soak up the moisture while checking out thousands of tropical plant species. The garden also has a collection of native, aquatic, and alpine plants, and on certain days, you can see it all while grooving to live music or checking out a visiting art installation.

Check out the Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive.

The first Friday of every month, Santa Fe Drive comes alive for the First Friday Art Walk . You can pop in and out of galleries and shops, pick up some grub from a food cart, and enjoy some five-star people-watching.

Visit the dramatic rock formations at Roxborough State Park.

Garden of the Gods in the neighboring city of Colorado Springs gets all the attention, but under an hour south of Denver is a park with red sandstone formations that are just as dramatic. Roxborough State Park is a 3,339-acre oasis with natural scenery that will make your jaw drop.

Rent a bike and cruise along the river.

The South Platte River passes right near downtown Denver and is paralleled by a paved bike path. Hop aboard one of the local scooter or bike-share providers (Lyft and Lime) and enjoy the view as you make your way to Blue Moon Brewing Company for a well-deserved beer.

Go vintage and thrift store shopping on Broadway.

Broadway is lined with the city's best vintage and thrift shops — especially between 1st and Bayaud avenues. All you have to do is park (or get off the bus) and make your way up and down Broadway, popping in and out of the street's cool stores, coffee shops, and bars. If you need a little pick-me-up, swing by Voodoo Doughnut .

Order a giant cinnamon roll at the Denver Biscuit Company.

It may be called Denver Biscuit Company , but it's all about the biscuit cinnamon roll (giant and amazing). If you're not into sweets, The Winona, a biscuit sandwich stuffed with fried chicken and doused with house-made cheddar pimento cheese, is hard to beat.

Visit the house of "Unsinkable Molly Brown."

Molly Brown, a philanthropist, activist, and socialite who survived the sinking of the Titanic, lived in Denver. And now, her home near downtown Denver has been converted into a museum. Inside the Molly Brown House Museum , you'll follow along with the ups and downs of Molly's life, including her fateful journey on the Titanic.

Eat your way through Union Station.

What was once a train station in the heart of Denver is now filled with some of the city's best restaurants and bars (in addition to still being a train hub ). You can spend an entire day hopping from eatery to eatery — breakfast at Snooze, lunch at Acme, drinks at Terminal Bar, and ice cream at Milkbox Ice Creamery — with some shopping and people-watching thrown in.

Catch a Rockies game at Coors Field.

It's hard to beat beer, brats, and baseball on a bluebird Colorado day. And the views from Coors Field , which is located right in downtown Denver, will keep even the most skeptical baseball onlookers happy.

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Top Things to Do

15 Top Things to Do in Denver, Colorado

TripSavvy / Vincent Mercer

With so much to do in Denver, it's hard to choose where to start in this well-known Colorado city. Some of the top must-see tourist attractions include the indoor grace of the Denver Art Museum and watching a concert or hiking while soaking up the outdoor beauty of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. There is something for everyone—including kids —in the usually sunny Mile High City that's home to one of the country's most popular skate parks. Downtown Denver is very pedestrian-friendly: Within a mile radius, tourists can enjoy art and history museums, a theme and water park, and numerous restaurants.

See Concerts and Hike at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

More than 250 million years in the making and located at 6,450 feet above sea level, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre features natural acoustics that lend themselves to unique outdoor concerts. Red Rocks—just 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Denver in Morrison—also has various hiking and biking trails with spectacular views.

Stop at the Trading Post shop onsite for some souvenirs and head to the Ship Rock Grille in the Red Rocks Visitor Center to enjoy amazing vistas while you dine.

Eat and Shop at Union Station

The iconic 1881 building—referred to locally as Denver’s living room—reopened in 2014 with a full slate of restaurants and shops, in addition to serving as a transit hub downtown. Stay overnight at the Crawford Hotel located above Union Station and explore town on one of their electric bikes, or just enjoy a drink at the Terminal Bar while people watching.

During the summer, the fountains outside the station provide a respite from the heat for children of all ages, and visitors can catch free cooking demonstrations on Saturdays at the Farmer's Market outside of Union Station.

Get Close to Animals at the Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo opened its doors in 1896 with the donation of an orphaned black bear named Billy Bryan. Covering 80 acres in the historic City Park neighborhood, the popular attraction receives more than 2 million visitors each year. The zoo houses almost 3,700 animals from across the world, including a range from African lions to Asian elephants and Malayan Tapirs.

Various programs educate visitors about the zoo's creatures, including Up-Close Animal Encounters, which provides guided tours and an intimate look at animals and zookeepers.

Explore Denver Art Museum

Jennifer Broome / TripSavvy 

The Denver Art Museum is known for its African, Asian, Latin American, American Indian, and Western American art, among other collections such as design, photography, and architecture. The museum also has exhibitions such as "The Light Show," which explores light in the natural and spiritual world through a reflective narrative. "Treasures of British Art: The Berger Collection" features approximately 60 paintings of Britain’s cultural history, dating from the 1400s through the late 1800s.

Get Inspired at Denver Botanic Gardens

Jennifer Broome / TripSavvy

Colorado's dry climate challenges gardeners across the state, but the Denver Botanic Gardens always provide inspiration. The gardens contain 24 acres, including numerous arid gardens that require little water. International gardens include plants from South Africa, the Tropics, Japan, China, and other parts of the world. Popular flowers such as roses, daylilies, and irises live in the ornamental gardens. There are also shady and water gardens to enjoy, while a children's garden with six ecosystems is sure to delight the little ones.

Various guided tours are available.

Have Fun at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science , founded in 1900 by local naturalist Edwin Carter, offers educational fun for all ages. The collection is home to more than 1 million objects from around the world, like natural history and anthropological materials, archival resources, and more.

The family will also love the Phipps IMAX Theater for checking out movies, and the Gates Planetarium has fun shows like "One World, One Sky," featuring Sesame Street's Big Bird and Elmo exploring the night sky with a friend from China.

Stroll Around 16th Street Mall

Take a stroll through Denver's 16th Street Mall, a mile-long outdoor shopping and dining center in the Mile High City. Dozens of restaurants and boutiques join chain stores such as the Banana Republic and Sephora for a one-stop attraction. Lucky Strike bowling alley, Regal UA Denver Pavilions 4DX & RPX movie theater, and Coyote Ugly bar also provide nighttime entertainment. Stop by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some Colorado-made treats.

Visit the State Capitol Building

Designed in the 19th century by architect Elijah E. Myers, the Colorado State Capitol Building echoes the classical lines of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The inside features Colorado Rose Onyx (a rare rose marble) and beautiful stained glass windows. The Denver building is exactly one mile high at 5,280 feet (1,609 meters), leading to the city's nickname of the "Mile High City."

The capitol houses the Colorado General Assembly and the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, and treasurer. Check out the building on your own, or reserve a free weekday tour that takes less than an hour.

Take the Kids to Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

Elitch Gardens, located downtown, truly has something for everyone in the family, from thrilling rollercoasters like the Mind Eraser—entailing dives and double spins going faster than 50 miles per hour—to fun ferris wheels and balloon races. The water park has big slides and mellower rides for little ones.

You'll also find several spots for shopping, dining, and games, plus summer movies and concerts.

Smell the Flowers at Washington Park

Washington Park, one of Denver's finest parks, covers 155 acres and features one of the most popular running and biking trails in Denver, drawing fitness enthusiasts and dog walkers from across the city. Two scenic lakes and the city's largest flower garden add to "Wash Park's" bucolic charm.

While you're there, check out the nearby charming South Pearl Street and its restaurants—ranging from sushi to Cajun to pizza—plus shops, galleries, and wine and cocktail bars.

Hike up High at Echo Lake

If you are looking for a nice mountain hike, try Echo Lake, just 33 miles (53 kilometers) west of Denver. The lake—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—is located at the base of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the highest paved road in the U.S., which reaches 14,260 feet (4,346 meters) above sea level. Visitors will have great views of snowy peaks, along with opportunities for fishing and having a picnic or cookout.

The 1926 Echo Lake Lodge houses a restaurant with buffalo chili and beloved pie and a gift shop that sells handmade Native American jewelry, glassware, collectibles, and other items.

Go on a Craft Beer Tour

Courtesy of Viator

Craft beer is big in Colorado, and the curious (age 21 and up) will enjoy a guided walking tour of 2-3 hours dedicated to the alcoholic beverage. The tour takes place in the Historical Lower Downtown (LoDo) District and includes more than 10 beer samples and fun city history and trivia. Attendees will learn about the brewing process, stop by a popular brewpub that turned into a nationwide franchise, relax in the city's top craft beer bar, and visit a brewery founded by the governor.

Venture to Boulder

espiegle / Getty Images

If you have a few days (or more) to spare, it's just about 40 minutes by car to reach Boulder, a small but lively city at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that is home to the University of Colorado, the state's biggest university. Boulder is a fun and scenic getaway: Explore the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall downtown, where you'll find restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries, and street musicians.

You can eat global cuisine at the gorgeous Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse , a popular attraction that was constructed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and sent to its sister city of Boulder, where the pieces were reassembled.

Get Your Thrills at a Skate Park

 TripSavvy / Vincent Mercer

Denver is proud to have one of the most popular skate parks in the country, the Denver Skatepark in LoDo, which is open daily and has free admission. The large area has 60,000 square feet of concrete with bowls for boarders, bikers, and bladers of all skill levels.

You will need to bring your own gear, as there are no rentals onsite; helmets are required.

See a Baseball Game at Coors Field

Coors Field baseball stadium opened in 1995 in the lower downtown/Ballpark Neighborhood. Serving as home base for the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team, the stadium holds more than 50,000 fans. Those in the first-base and right-field areas will catch great views of the Rocky Mountains.

Stop at the Wazee Market behind section 137 on the main concourse if hunger strikes; enjoy pizza and other ballpark traditional foods in a courtyard area.

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Home » Travel Guides » United States » Colorado (CO) » 15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Denver

15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Denver

Whatever you’re looking for when visiting a city, guaranteed, you’ll find it in Downtown Denver. This bustling urban nucleus covers several districts including the city’s historic center Lower Downtown, or LoDo as its called in Denver.

Downtown Denver has its fair share of skyscrapers, but they’re spread along wide avenues and interspersed with open squares, parks, pedestrianized zones and a fantastic network of cycle paths which give the area an open, spacious ambiance more in keeping with a rural town.

In DT Denver you’ll discover historic buildings next to nightclubs, museums side by side with shopping malls, and sports fields surrounded by bars, beer gardens, and taverns. It’s an eclectic mix but one which works and makes Downtown Denver an unforgettable place to visit. Check out some, if not all, of these fifteen best things to do in Downtown Denver while you’re there. You’ll love them.

1. 16th Street

16th Street, Denver

Shop, eat out or have a quiet wander around in Downtown Denver, with no bothersome traffic noise to deal with, at the mile and a quarter long, pedestrianized 16th Street mall. This outdoor shopping complex is a broad promenade lined with trees and potted shrubs which gives it a Mediterranean feel by day. At night, it’s illuminated by thousands of lights strung across the street on strings.

If retail therapy is in order, there are three hundred or more outlets to go around. If not, drop into one of the numerous cafes or bars with pavement terraces and sip a drink while people watching.

If you’re not into walking, there’s a free shuttle bus which will ferry you up and down the mall, but you’ll miss out on seeing the amazing street performers doing their thing in the mall’s squares, the fountains and the cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Suggested Tour : Denver Customized Tour

2. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, Denver

Downtown Denver is the only downtown in any US city to have a theme park and not only does the Elitch Gardens have thrill rides, it has water slides too.

Brave the Brain Drain, a seven-story high loop ride, get suspended upside down on the Mind Eraser or experience being flung through the air at eighty miles an hour on the Slingshot. Make a splash and slide down the Cannonball Falls on a rubber ring in the water park section or free fall down the Mega Wedgie from over sixty feet up into the pool below.

If you’re in Downtown Denver for Halloween, don’t miss the park’s Fright Fest – it’s a scream.

Book online : Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park Ticket

3. Colorado Convention Center

Colorado Convention Center, Denver

You may not be attending a convention while you’re in Downtown Denver, but you’ll still want to stop by the Colorado Convention Center on 14th Street. This all-purpose venue houses a theater as well as hosting large exhibitions, shows, and concerts for up to twenty thousand people.

While there may be plenty of famous faces appearing at the Colorado Convention Center, what really draws the crowds is the Big Blue Bear. The colossal statue stands forty foot high and peeks through the windows of the center. The unusual artwork is a Denver icon and makes a worthy Instagram snap.

4. Denver Microbrew Tour

Denver Microbrew Tour

California got grapes, raisins, and wine, Denver got beer by the bucketful. The city has a multitude of micro-breweries as well as ones who mass produce. Take a tour around Downtown and discover what makes Denver stand out when it comes to brewing the golden draft.

Stop off at various brewery premises in LoDo and the Ballpark districts in Downtown Denver. See demonstrations on the processes they use to brew craft beer as well as hearing some quirky anecdotes about beer and the city’s history.

This tour is for over twenty-ones. Take ID with you, and you get to sample some too.

Related Tour : 3-Hour Brewery Walking Tour

5. Denver Pedicab

Denver Pedicab

A fun and unusual way to see DT Denver is by Pedicab. These electric tricycles are chauffeured by trained guides who narrate interesting facts as they drive you around Downtown.

They’ll take you past all the major Downtown sights while you sit back and relax. Take in Larimer Square, the Pepsi Center and the US Mint to name but a few and all from your canopied seat in the back of the Pedicab.

The tours take around one and a half hours and include regular stops for visits and photos.

6. Larimer Square

Larimer Square, Denver

Larimer Square is not just a historic square in Downtown Denver; it’s the original center from where the city sprang to life. After some years in a state of deterioration, the area has been regenerated into one of the best and busiest social spots Downtown and in Denver itself.

When you get to Larimer Square, don’t expect a plaza. The Square is a block long straight street lined with restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and clubs. Don’t expect all American dining either. The Square’s eateries have a distinctly Mediterranean atmosphere and serve everything from French fayre to Italian and Continental social food.

For the night birds, there are great wine bars, party venues, and a stand-up comedy club. What brings it all together and makes Larimer Square special is the amazing atmosphere. It’s a DT Denver must.

7. Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum

A contemporary work of art in itself, the Denver Art Museum on 14th Avenue Parkway is a stunning building of geometric design holding over seventy thousand individual artworks.

The DAM’s collections cover multiple genres and encompass Asian, European and African as well as their renowned exhibition of American Indian art. The gallery hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as artists at work, lectures, and various other workshops.

8. Skyline Beer Garden

Skyline Beer Garden, Denver

The Skyline Beer Garden is a massive open-air social area on Arapahoe Street in Downtown Denver. The forty-thousand square feet of garden has a mini-golf course, ping-pong tables, live music and serves a dozen different Colorado produced craft beers.

The Skyline Beer Garden has very tasty street-food style menu too offering tacos with toppings, apple enchiladas and ice cream by the pint.

Early afternoons from 4 pm to 6 pm there are Meet The Maker tastings and giveaways. The Skyline is DT Denver’s permanent beer festival.

9. Money Museum

Money Museum, Denver

If you can never see enough of it, then pop into the Money Museum on 16th Street in Downtown Denver. There are literally stacks of dollars, one on top of the other to a total of thirty million. That’s a lot of dollars.

The museum has interactive exhibitions on the history of American currency and videos on finance topics plus computers to design your own money. Pick up a bag of free money on the way out as a souvenir – shredded of course.

All visitors to the museum who are over the age of eighteen are required to present some form of identification before entering.

10. Union Station

Union Station, Denver

There are a lot more reasons to go to Union Station other than catching a train. The century-old renovated landmark building is crammed with eateries, shops, and bars.

Yes, you can still catch a train from Union Station as well as an Amtrak coach, the 16th Street Shuttle and Downtown’s free RTD Metroride.

If having a night out at a station has never been on your agenda, it’s time it was. Check out Union Stations Orient Express-style Cooper Lounge for snazzy cocktails and some fancy food or the Terminal Bar for happy hour.

Tour that starts at Union Station: History and Architecture Walking Tours

11. Coors Field

Coors Field, Denver

Catch a major league baseball game at the Coors Field on Blake Street in DT Denver. The field is home base for the Colorado Rockies team who regularly fill the stadium to its fifty-thousand spectator capacity.

The Coors Field is about more than baseball. The stadium has gift shops, boutiques specializing in merchandise for the Rockies, burger restaurants, craft beer bars, and an on-site microbrewery. Plus a fine dining establishment spread over six tiers.

The stadium also hosts numerous public events and major music concerts throughout the year.

12. Civic Center Park

Civic Center Park, Denver

Get a breath of fresh air with a stroll through Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park on 14th Avenue. The broad pathways running through the lawned areas are lined with over twenty-five thousand square feet of flower gardens, fountains, and statues.

The park is a popular place for events and festivals as well as political demonstration. There’s a Greek amphitheater which hosts various live performance, and it’s a great place to sit on the grass and have a picnic too.

Don’t miss the twelve bronze animal heads, mounted on poles, representing the signs of the Chinese zodiac – they’re unusual.

13. Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown House Museum, Denver

Few people survived the sinking of the Titanic, but Molly Brown did. Molly Brown was already a prominent figure of her era before she took the fateful journey on the doomed cruise liner. An activist and philanthropist, she was way ahead of her Victorian times.

The museum, which is known as the House of Lions because of the lion statues which decorate it, was built in the late nineteenth century and is a historic building in its own right.

Inside there are approximately ten thousand exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia relating to her life and the life of the middle-class society in Victorian Colorado. From personal jewelry to clothes to furniture, the museum is a fascinating and educational insight into bygone days.

Book online : Molly Brown House Museum Admission Ticket

14. Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

Ophelia's Electric Soapbox, Denver

For atmosphere and eccentricity, head to Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox for a night out. This buzzing venue on 20th Street in DT Denver is a bar and restaurant housed in what was once a brothel.

Recently renovated, the old building has been given a new lease of life and has the latest sound and lighting systems, a stage for live bands and a first class food menu.

Peruse erotic art while munching a burger and listening to a great band in what is probably the world’s only Gastrobrothel – it could only happen in Downtown Denver.

15. Denver Firefighters Museum

Denver Firefighters Museum

In the Denver Firefighters Museum in Tremont Place in Downtown Denver, you’ll find some exciting exhibits which will really ring your bell.

The long history of the DFD or Denver Firefighting Department started way back in the 1880’s, and the museum houses exhibits from when the firefighters went out to battle blazes in horse-drawn carriages.

Jump on a wagon, don a helmet and find out more about the brave guys who have been extinguishing city fires for almost one hundred and fifty years. Downtown Denver loves them and so will you.

15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Denver:

  • 16th Street
  • Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
  • Colorado Convention Center
  • Denver Microbrew Tour
  • Denver Pedicab
  • Larimer Square
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Skyline Beer Garden
  • Money Museum
  • Union Station
  • Coors Field
  • Civic Center Park
  • Molly Brown House Museum
  • Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
  • Denver Firefighters Museum

tourist places in denver

The best and worst cheap tourist attractions in Colorado

D ENVER ( KDVR ) — Colorado has many tourist attractions, whether it be for those interested in history , nature junkies or for beer aficionados .

In a high-inflation economy , tourists and Coloradans might prefer to explore the more affordable attractions the Centennial State has to offer.

Luckily, FOX31 has looked into reviews and what some surveys claim to be the best, and worst, cheap tourist attractions in the state.

Worst tourist trap: Four Corners Monument

The Four Corners Monument is located at the farthest southwestern corner of Colorado. It’s where the state lines of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado meet, and is the only place in the country where a person can be in four states at once.

This was named the worst waste-of-money attraction in Colorado by GO Banking Rates .

This geographical attraction is in a rural area where services are limited. According to the website , the nearest market and gas station is about 30 miles away. Because of this, the park recommends visitors have plenty of gas.

There is no electricity or water at this location, so the park recommends visitors bring their own water supply.

The location is not quite right

In addition to the inconvenient location being a turnoff for tourists, the monument doesn’t actually mark the exact spot where the four corners meet.

In 2009, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Geodetic Survey released a report that clarified that the monument is about 1,800 feet off the mark.

This is because the state boundaries were established using Washington Meridian and longitudinal lines in the 1860s. It was the latest and most accurate method at the time, but technology and methods have evolved. In 1912, the U.S. adopted the Greenwich Meridian as its standard longitude reference.

“There is, however, uncertainty in precisely quantifying the relationship between the intended and actual monument locations due to changes, since 1875, in some technical details of the geodetic reference systems utilized,” the report reads.

Despite discrepancies, the NOAA said that because the established monument has been accepted by the parties involved, “the location of the physical monument is the ultimate authority in delineating a boundary,” making the monument the legal quadripoint of the four states.

Entry to the park is $8 per person.

Best cheap tourist attraction: Mesa Verde cliff dwellings

In Mesa Verde National Park in Montezuma County lies the ruins of Ancestral Puebloans’ homes, the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings .

This ancient attraction was named the best cheap tourist attraction in Colorado by Cheapism .

The Ancestral Puebloans reportedly lived on the mesa tops for some 600 years before they began building their homes into the natural cliff alcoves sometime during the late 1190s, according to the National Park Service.

They continued farming on the mesa tops while living in the cliff dwellings before most everyone in the population had migrated south by the end of the 1200s.

The Mesa Verde cliff dwellings are some of the most notable and best preserved in North America, according to the NPS. Some of the dwellings are large enough to serve as a village of 150 or more people .

Tourists can guide themselves through the cliff dwellings and mesa top sites , or take a guided tour of the ruins .

Entry to the park is $20 per vehicle or $15 per person from Nov. 1 to April 30, and bumps up to $30 per vehicle or $15 per person from May 1 through Oct. 31.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX31 Denver.

The best and worst cheap tourist attractions in Colorado

  • International

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University protests

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Trump hush money trial

April 26, 2024 - Protests at Columbia and other schools escalate

By Elizabeth Wolfe, Dalia Faheid, Aya Elamroussi, Nouran Salahieh, Samantha Delouya, Aditi Sangal and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Our live coverage of the protests has moved here .

NYPD says "outside agitators" at Columbia are "trying to hijack a peaceful protest"

From CNN’s Josh Campbell

"Outside agitators" at Columbia are "trying to hijack a peaceful protest," New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry said Friday night.

“What may have started as a group of Columbia students wanting to express their constitutional right to protest has drawn crowds of outside agitators who are trying to hijack a peaceful protest and turn it something far more sinister,” Daughtry  posted on X.

The commissioner added the NYPD has seen the same groups of “professional protestors” demonstrating nightly “at various demonstrations regardless of the message.”

Daughtry reiterated the NYPD is ready to intervene and address issues on Columbia’s campus as soon as the university’s president gives them the go-ahead.

Pro-Palestinian protests continue at campuses across the US. Here’s the latest

Pro-Palestinian protests continued at major US universities through Friday evening decrying Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

Throughout the week, several schools called police on protesters, leading to the arrests of hundreds across the country. Protesters have demanded schools divest campus funds from entities connected to Israel.

Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to the enclave's health ministry. Hamas’ deadly October 7 attack on Israel killed about 1,200 people.

College administrators are facing increasing pressure from lawmakers to rein in protests. At Columbia - the epicenter of the demonstrations - the school's senate passed a resolution late Friday to investigate the university leadership’s handling of the protests. 

Here are the latest developments:

Arizona State University: Police at Arizona State University arrested three people Friday on suspicion of trespassing "in connection with setting up an unauthorized encampment," a university spokesperson said.

Barnard College: The school said it reached resolutions with “nearly all students who were previously placed on interim suspension” for participating in the protest encampment on Columbia’s campus.

Columbia University: The university banned a student spokesperson for the Columbia University Apartheid Divest coalition who said in January “Zionists don’t deserve to live.” He subsequently apologized.

Denver campuses: At a joint campus for the University of Colorado Denver, Community College of Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver, around 40 of the approximately 100 people who set up a pro-Palestinian encampment were arrested Friday, the campus said in a statement.

Emory University: Faculty gathered on campus to express concerns about the violent arrests that took place on campus on Thursday, with tenured professors calling for the university's president, Gregory Fenves, to step down over the decision to call in state and local police to clear out the protesters. 

George Washington University: The university said Friday that any student who remains in University Yard may be placed on temporary suspension and administratively barred from campus.

Ohio State University: A total of 36 demonstrators were arrested Thursday night after refusing dispersal orders, according to a preliminary report from the university.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: More than 75 students gathered Friday to set up an encampment at the school, demanding the university divest from corporations that invest in Israel and its military operations.

University of Southern California: School president Carol L. Folt said  in a statement the campus has become unsafe and the university will launch an inquiry and take action to protect all USC students, faculty and staff.

University of Texas at Austin: The school has placed the Palestine Solidarity Committee on "interim suspension." The group organized Wednesday's event, where over 50 arrests ensued.

Virginia Tech: School officials on Friday issued a statement about an encampment on campus, saying they told protesters the event does not comply with university policy.

Yale University: One letter from the  Faculty for Justice in Palestine  organization criticized student arrests this week and said faculty are prepared to stage walkouts and boycott Yale’s graduation ceremonies. Another letter  denounced Yale's administration  for failing "in your responsibility to protect the Jewish students, staff and faculty at Yale." 

Around 40 people were arrested for establishing encampment at joint campus of 3 universities in Denver

From CNN's Sarah Dewberry, Lucy Kafanov and Taylor Romine

Pro-Palestinian protestors set up about 30 tents for a "sit-in" protest of the war in Gaza at Auraria campus in Denver, Colorado on Friday, April 26.

Around 40 of the approximately 100 people who set up a pro-Palestinian encampment at the Auraria Campus in Denver were arrested Friday, the campus said in a statement. 

The campus  is home to  the University of Colorado Denver, Community College of Denver as well as the Metropolitan State University of Denver. The arrests were made by Auraria Higher Education Center Police and the Denver Police Department.

"While those who gathered at the onset of Thursday’s protest did so peacefully, some participants established an encampment as the demonstration progressed, which violates those policies," a the campus said.

Campus and education department officials directed students to dismantle and leave the encampment, and after "protestors did not comply after numerous written and verbal requests, law enforcement stepped in at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday to remove the encampments," the campus statement continued.

Barnard College reaches "resolution" with students placed on interim suspension

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

Barnard College said it reached resolutions with “nearly all students who were previously placed on interim suspension” for participating in the protest encampment on Columbia’s campus.

The college “immediately restored full access for these students to residence halls, dining facilities, classrooms, and other parts of campus,” according to a statement from the school released Friday.

At least 55 Barnard students were placed on interim suspension for participating in Columbia’s protest encampment, according to a  statement  from Barnard’s Student Government Association. 

Barnard College declined to comment on the number of students suspended.

Columbia's senate passes resolution to investigate administration’s handling of Pro-Palestinian protests

From CNN’s Maria Sole Campinoti

Columbia University's senate voted in favor of a resolution to create a task force to investigate the university leadership's handling of Pro-Palestinian protests on campus, according to documents obtained by CNN.

The resolution passed Friday alleges, among other things, that the administration jeopardized academic freedom, breached privacy and due process of students and faculty members and violated shared governance principles by calling for police intervention on campus, according to documents on the meeting. 

After the investigation, the task force will present its findings and recommendations to the university's senate to determine further actions and take the necessary steps to address the alleged misconduct of the administration, according to the documents. 

Some context: The decision comes after the school and university president Minouche Shafik faced criticism from students, faculty and left-leaning lawmakers after Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to shut down student protests on campus, which have urged school leaders to cut off economic and academic ties to Israel. At the same time, students, religious groups and right-leaning lawmakers have said the administration has failed to stop antisemitism inside Columbia’s campus and at protests outside its gates, CNN  previously reported .

Columbia's senate represents people on campus, including faculty, researchers, students, administration and more, according to the school's website . The body has the authority to make policies on a variety of issues that affect the school.

3 people arrested in connection with setting up an encampment at Arizona State University

From CNN’s Taylor Romine

Police at Arizona State University arrested three people Friday “for trespassing in connection with setting up an unauthorized encampment, in violation of university policy,” a university spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

“Demonstrations, protests and expressions of free speech are protected at Arizona State University, consistent with the First Amendment. Peaceful expression of views is always acceptable – but demonstrations cannot disrupt university operations,” the statement says.

Encampments, unless they are part of an approved event, are prohibited by the university, the spokesperson said in an earlier statement.

USC president says school became unsafe and that she took steps to protect the community amid protests

From CNN's Stephanie Becker and Nick Watt 

The University of Southern California needed to "act immediately to protect our community" when it came to protests on campus this week, school president Carol L. Folt said  in a statement .

 "This week, Alumni Park became unsafe. No one wants to have people arrested on their campus. Ever," she said. "But, when long-standing safety policies are flagrantly violated, buildings vandalized, DPS directives repeatedly ignored, threatening language shouted, people assaulted, and access to critical academic buildings blocked, we must act immediately to protect our community."

The university has "long-standing protocols that allow for peaceful protesting" and has been working with the school community to ensure they are followed during the school year, Folt said.

"The current pressures and polarization have taken a toll in ways that break my heart," she said. "I know Trojans will do what they have always done: share points of view, listen, search for common ground – and find ways to support each other."

She encouraged anyone in the campus community experiencing harassment or bullying to report it to the school, saying it would launch an inquiry and take action to protect students, faculty and staff "no matter their views."

Columbia student protest leader banned from campus after saying "Zionists don’t deserve to live"

From CNN’s John Towfighi

Demonstration leader Khymani James address the media outside a tent camp on the campus of Columbia University in New York on Wednesday, April 24.

Columbia University has banned one of the students leading the university’s pro-Palestinian protests, a university spokesperson told CNN on Friday.  

Khymani James, a student spokesperson for Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) coalition, acknowledged in a post on X that he said, “Zionists don’t deserve to live,” saying it was from an Instagram Live video taken in January.

“I misspoke in the heat of the moment, for which I apologize," James wrote.

“I want to make clear that calls of violence and statements targeted at individuals based on their religious, ethnic or national identity are unacceptable and violate university policy,” the university spokesperson said.

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  1. Top Things to Do in Denver, Colorado

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  3. 17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Denver, CO

    tourist places in denver

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