Perched right within the stunning state of Colorado, Denver is an incredible and fun US city to explore! With cool districts, centuries of history and world-class art, there’s a heap of the best things to do in Denver for any type of traveller!
Best of all, Denver is the kind of city that you can easily tac onto a larger trip to explore all the epicness that is Colorado. This way, you’ll be able to spend some quality time in the great outdoors whilst also setting aside a fair few days to enjoy the buzz of the city.
That’s the thing I love most about cities like Denver; there are loads of things to do in the city but also a heap to see just outside!
So, to help you get the most out of your stay, I wanted to pop over a few gems and spots that you really shouldn’t miss when visiting Denver.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Denver. Have a great time!
1.) Larimer Square
Larimer Square, once known as Auraria, was first developed way back in the 1800s. Apparently, it was used as a settler camp after gold was discovered at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
As more and more people heard about these little nuggets, lots upped sticks and moved west to make their fortunes. Over the years, the little pioneer settlement thrived and eventually transformed into modern-day Larimer Square.
Today Larimer Square retains its historic charm and is a great place to visit, especially if you’re fancying a little gander around some of the boutique stores, grabbing a tipple or heading for an evening meal – we love Rioja, a spot that conjures up some tasty Spanish-fusion dishes that are too good to miss.
Plus, nearby, you’ve got the amazing Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) that houses some world-class art in their seasonal exhibits.
2.) Red Rocks Park
One of the most gorgeous spots in Denver, Red Rocks Park is absolutely stunning to visit.
With views of the Rocky Mountains dominating the vista and numerous hiking trails, Red Rocks Park is perfect if you fancy some outdoors time without venturing too far from the city itself.
Hiking newbies can try hiking the Trading Post Trail to check out some stunning scenery. It’s totally stunning and gorgeous on a sunny day!
Oh, and don’t forget that Red Rocks is also home to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre which itself is totally iconic. With seasonal outdoor concerts and events, it’s a great spot to visit for an evening treat. Just be sure to book your tickets in advance for particular events, they can sell out fast.
After a day in the mountains, head on over to nearby Willy’s Wings. This totally informal and chilled spot has the best wings in all of Colorado, especially when dripping with their signature sauces.
Fancying a longer visit outside of Denver? Check out the Indian Hot Springs.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing mineral soak or hot springs, it’s a totally gorgeous place to relax.
Plus, they have the Geo-thermally heated caves and springs where you’ll be able to tally chill and unwind. Just remember, the caves are usually first-come-first-serve, so arrive early if you’re dead-set on entering the caves. They can fill up at peak times.
3.) Denver Art Museum
Not too far from the State Capital Building, the Denver Art Museum is one of the best things to do in Denver if you love art. Honestly, this place is iconic!
With thousands of pieces inside, the exhibitions are totally incredible to see and forever changing. Just be sure to give yourself ample time to wander around, you can spend ages inside.
4.) Colorado State Capital Building
Around a 30-minute stroll from Union Station, visiting the Colorado State Capital Building is one of the best things to do in Denver if you’re fond of history.
With totally free tours (on the hour, on a weekday), you can explore the history of the building and Denver right within the very walls.
Just be sure to arrive early (maybe 30-minutes before) to secure a spot on the tour.
Also, just nearby you’ve got the Molly Brown House which’s a museum filled with all the Victorian treasure that the Titanic survivor collected over the years.
If that’s not your thing, hop over to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception that’s a few minutes walk away. Here, you’ll be able to stroll through the centuries-old nave and stained-glass windows.
5.) RiNo Arts District
RiNo, in so many ways, reminds me of Shoreditch in London.
With quirky street-art, a cool vibe and totally amazing eateries and stores, it’s the kind of place you can spend a late afternoon exploring.
Over the years, the streets of RiNo have become so much more colourful, thanks to the work of international (and local) artists. To make things easier, you can even book yourself on a graffiti tour of the neighbourhood. It’s well worth a gander and the whole neighbourhood has such a cool vibe.
6.) Denver Central Market
Talking of RiNo, Denver Central Market is one of the best things to do in Denver if you love a cool spot to hang out for a few hours around lunchtime.
Perched within a repurposed warehouse, it’s home to a diverse mix of local and independent vendors that make Denver so great. Once inside, stop by Temper for their eclectic chocolate creations and grab a tipple at Curio Bar – they’re both so good.
Oh, and make sure to explore some of the local artist tables that are within the market itself. They’re all so unique and cool to see.
7.) Roxborough State Park
Around a 30-minute drive, south of Denver is Roxborough State Park – a place you can’t miss when visiting Colorado.
With relatively easy trails to follow (like the Fountain Valley Trail), it’s one of Denver’s most accessible hiking spots for all the family. Not only that, it’s typically quite quiet and a totally beautiful area to see the region’s iconic red rocks.
Just be sure to take some sunscreen, you can easily get burned when walking these trails as there is little shade.
After returning to Denver, head to Broadway and stop off at Voodoo Doughnut for their deliciously fluffy creations. Also, you’ve got Sputnik which is a great hangout for an early evening tipple; the jalapeno tequila cocktail (called Thor) is everything!
8.) Mount Evans
Although around a 140-minute drive from the centre of Denver, Mount Evans is incredible to visit and perfect if you’re tagging along a wider road trip around Colorado. Saying that, you can easily visit for a day, too!
Now, to get to Mount Evans you will need to drive down the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, which is actually just as gorgeous as Mount Evans. You see, it’s known as the “road into the sky” and you’ll see why as you’re going along.
Rising up over 14000+ feet (above sea level), it’s the kind of drive that makes you realise how dramatic and stunning Colorado is!
Once you get to the tippy-top, be sure to visit Summit Lake, park up near the Meyer-Womble Observatory and take in the views across the Rocky Mountains. It’s stunning.
Just remember, this is only really doable in the summer months when the roads are clear and safe from snow.
9.) Union Station & LoDo
Lots of US cities have some sort of Union Station, but Denver’s Union Station is something very special!
Recently renovated, it is home to a heap of restaurants, and located right in the centre of the Lower Downtown neighbourhood, referred to as LoDo.
After taking a gander at Denver’s iconic station, be sure to pop into the Denver Milk Market for a yummy lunch. They serve up a heap of different dishes in a market setting that’s so cool.
Oh, and don’t forget Little Man Ice Cream, which’s just across the South Platte River. Here, they serve up the best ice cream in all of Colorado. Their sundaes with hot fudge are everything!
Fancy some thrills? Head over to nearby Elitch Gardens, fantasy land of rollercoasters, Ferris wheels and the Boomerang!
10.) Daniels & Fisher
Built over 100 years ago, the Daniels & Fisher clock tower is an iconic part of Denver and easily spotted whilst wandering the downtown area of the city.
It’s totally beautiful to see and well worth taking a tour inside to visit the historic observation deck.
Afterwards, you can continue your stroll through downtown Denver, via the 16th Street Mall. With shops, restaurants and bars lining the mile-long mall.