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Best Things To Do in Denver

Denver makes a great starting place for travelers venturing into the Rockies; those looking for a mountain experience can spend a day driving along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. But be sure to devote some time to all that the Mile High City has to offer: Denver is home to numerous museums, galleries and restaurants. Sports fans are drawn to the lights of Coors Field and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, while families can spend hours exploring the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the Denver Zoo. For a taste of old-time Denver, spend some time in Larimer Square — also a good place to sample some of the city's cuisine and, of course, beer.

How we rank Things to Do

#1 Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

#1 in Denver

With its excellent views of the Rocky Mountains, miles of hiking trails and cinnamon-hued sandstone cliffs, Red Rocks Park draws many an outdoorsy traveler. Occupying nearly 900 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 1.4-mile-long path weaves through the rust-colored buttes, making for some spectacular scenery. Before you head out, travelers recommend stopping by the visitors center, which features information on the parks history and trails, as well as some examples of fossils found in the area. more
Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
With its excellent views of the Rocky Mountains, miles of hiking trails and cinnamon-hued sandstone cliffs, Red Rocks Park draws many an outdoorsy traveler. Occupying nearly 900 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 1.4-mile-long path weaves through the rust-colored buttes, making for some spectacular scenery. Before you head out, travelers recommend stopping by the visitors center, which features information on the parks history and trails, as well as some examples of fossils found in the area. more

#2 Larimer Square

#2 in Denver

In 1858, Green Russell struck gold at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. His 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. Home to numerous restaurants, shops and nightlife venues, Larimer Square is always buzzing with life. The square plays host to plenty of festivals and street performances. As one TripAdvisor user puts it, "There is always something new, interesting and fun going on." more
Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Larimer Square
In 1858, Green Russell struck gold at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. His 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. Home to numerous restaurants, shops and nightlife venues, Larimer Square is always buzzing with life. The square plays host to plenty of festivals and street performances. As one TripAdvisor user puts it, "There is always something new, interesting and fun going on." more

#3 Washington Park

#3 in Denver

Located south of central Denver, Washington Park is consistently praised by Denverites and visitors alike for its ample facilities and enjoyable atmosphere. Occupying 165 acres, this immense park boasts miles of jogging paths, swaths of gardens and, most notably, two massive lakes — Smith Lake in the north part of the park and Grasmere Lake in the southern portion. Washington Park 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. more
Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Washington Park
Located south of central Denver, Washington Park is consistently praised by Denverites and visitors alike for its ample facilities and enjoyable atmosphere. Occupying 165 acres, this immense park boasts miles of jogging paths, swaths of gardens and, most notably, two massive lakes — Smith Lake in the north part of the park and Grasmere Lake in the southern portion. Washington Park 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. more

#4 16th Street Mall

#4 in Denver

The 16th Street Mall is to Denver what Rodeo Drive is to Los Angeles. This mile-long pedestrian thoroughfare, which stretches across the southern end of the LoDo district and bypasses Larimer Square, is lined with a variety of stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, making it a popular place to visit at nearly all hours of the day (although some travelers note that the area can feel a bit dicey at night, despite a heavy police presence). Even if you're not looking to give your credit card a workout, recent visitors recommend taking a stroll along the 16th Street Mall, as it leads to some excellent people-watching. more
Shopping Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
16th Street Mall
The 16th Street Mall is to Denver what Rodeo Drive is to Los Angeles. This mile-long pedestrian thoroughfare, which stretches across the southern end of the LoDo district and bypasses Larimer Square, is lined with a variety of stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, making it a popular place to visit at nearly all hours of the day (although some travelers note that the area can feel a bit dicey at night, despite a heavy police presence). Even if you're not looking to give your credit card a workout, recent visitors recommend taking a stroll along the 16th Street Mall, as it leads to some excellent people-watching. more

#5 Denver Zoo

#5 in Denver

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 75 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 natural gas-powered train. While you're here, many travelers highly recommend timing your visit around feeding times, during which staff offer educational lectures about the zoo's residents. more
Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
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 75 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 natural gas-powered train. While you're here, many travelers highly recommend timing your visit around feeding times, during which staff offer educational lectures about the zoo's residents. more

#6 Mount Evans Scenic Byway

#6 in Denver

If you came to Denver to experience the Rocky Mountains, you'll want to reserve a day to take a drive up to Mount Evans. In this instance, it isn't the destination that travelers rave about — it's the journey. To get to Mount Evans, you'll have to hop on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, a 15-mile two-lane road known as the "road into the sky" because of the massive altitude change it experiences. The drive to Mount Evans' summit begins in Idaho Springs (about 32 miles west of Denver on I-70) at 8,700 feet above sea level. By the time you reach the summit of the mountain, you'll have climbed more than 5,500 feet and passed through three different types of ecosystems. Along the way, you'll find a number of lookout points from which you can admire the view of the Rockies. more
Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
If you came to Denver to experience the Rocky Mountains, you'll want to reserve a day to take a drive up to Mount Evans. In this instance, it isn't the destination that travelers rave about — it's the journey. To get to Mount Evans, you'll have to hop on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, a 15-mile two-lane road known as the "road into the sky" because of the massive altitude change it experiences. The drive to Mount Evans' summit begins in Idaho Springs (about 32 miles west of Denver on I-70) at 8,700 feet above sea level. By the time you reach the summit of the mountain, you'll have climbed more than 5,500 feet and passed through three different types of ecosystems. Along the way, you'll find a number of lookout points from which you can admire the view of the Rockies. more

#7 Denver Museum of Nature & Science

#7 in Denver

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 and information on animals from around the world. Meanwhile, the hands-on Space Oddyssey area introduces travelers to the outer reaches of the galaxy and beyond. more
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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 and information on animals from around the world. Meanwhile, the hands-on Space Oddyssey area introduces travelers to the outer reaches of the galaxy and beyond. more

#8 Coors Field

#8 in Denver

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 to seat more than 50,000 people. 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 (behind the bullpens on the Main Concourse) 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 Blue Moon brewery instead. more
Sports Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Coors Field
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 to seat more than 50,000 people. 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 (behind the bullpens on the Main Concourse) 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 Blue Moon brewery instead. more

#9 Denver Botanic Gardens

#9 in Denver

The Denver Botanic Gardens' 24 acres feature 15,000 species of plants from across the globe, including more than 700 types of plants that are native to Colorado. Comprising 41 individual gardens, this impressive facility in downtown Denver's Cheesman Park treats visitors 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 calla lilies and red hot pokers. 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. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by all the gardens have to offer, consider tagging along on a guided tour. Docent-led tours (which cost $14 for non-members) focus both on the flora and the art found throughout the facility. more
Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens' 24 acres feature 15,000 species of plants from across the globe, including more than 700 types of plants that are native to Colorado. Comprising 41 individual gardens, this impressive facility in downtown Denver's Cheesman Park treats visitors 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 calla lilies and red hot pokers. 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. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by all the gardens have to offer, consider tagging along on a guided tour. Docent-led tours (which cost $14 for non-members) focus both on the flora and the art found throughout the facility. more

#10 Sports Authority Field at Mile High

#10 in Denver

Football fans won't want to pass up the chance to spend some time on the Denver Broncos' home turf. Sports Authority Field at Mile High (known to Denverites as just "Mile High"), this massive venue touts itself as one of the most innovative stadiums in North America. It can seat more than 76,000 NFL junkies across five different levels and it boasts something you don't normally associate with football games: several public art displays. Surprisingly, Mile High is also one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL: It was built in 1948 as a minor league baseball stadium, but it became home to Denver's football team shortly after, nurturing "Broncomania" since the team was formed in 1960. more
Sports Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Football fans won't want to pass up the chance to spend some time on the Denver Broncos' home turf. Sports Authority Field at Mile High (known to Denverites as just "Mile High"), this massive venue touts itself as one of the most innovative stadiums in North America. It can seat more than 76,000 NFL junkies across five different levels and it boasts something you don't normally associate with football games: several public art displays. Surprisingly, Mile High is also one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL: It was built in 1948 as a minor league baseball stadium, but it became home to Denver's football team shortly after, nurturing "Broncomania" since the team was formed in 1960. more

#11 Coors Brewery

#11 in Denver

Brewing since 1873, Coors has become an institution of Colorado worth visiting. "As cold as the Rockies" is a phrase we hear uttered during its commercials, and Golden, Colorado — the home of the beer company located about 15 miles outside Denver — is a great spot for you to test this advertised truth. The brewery invites you to take self-guided tour (which should take about 30 minutes) through its facility, offering you the chance to learn more about Coors' malting and brewing processes. Along the way, you'll see how the beer is bottled and packaged Aside from the three free beer samples (or soft drinks for underage visitors), you'll also get a quick education on how beer is produced and packaged and find out more about the history of the brew. Once you reach the end of your tour, you can sample some beer in the tasting room. more
Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Coors Brewery
Brewing since 1873, Coors has become an institution of Colorado worth visiting. "As cold as the Rockies" is a phrase we hear uttered during its commercials, and Golden, Colorado — the home of the beer company located about 15 miles outside Denver — is a great spot for you to test this advertised truth. The brewery invites you to take self-guided tour (which should take about 30 minutes) through its facility, offering you the chance to learn more about Coors' malting and brewing processes. Along the way, you'll see how the beer is bottled and packaged Aside from the three free beer samples (or soft drinks for underage visitors), you'll also get a quick education on how beer is produced and packaged and find out more about the history of the brew. Once you reach the end of your tour, you can sample some beer in the tasting room. more

#12 Denver Art Museum

#12 in Denver

With galleries showcasing more than 68,000 works by famed artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dalí, the Denver Art Museum houses one of the most impressive collections 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, sculpture and photography all represented. One of the highlights of a visit to the Denver Art Museum is its extensive assemblage of Western American Art. Spanning both buildings, the museum's Western American galleries represent 50 years of curation — some of the works include Alfred Jacob Miller's "Shoshone Indians at a Mountain Lake," William Jacob Hays' "Herd of Buffalo" and Frederic Remington's "The Cheyenne."   more
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Denver Art Museum
With galleries showcasing more than 68,000 works by famed artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dalí, the Denver Art Museum houses one of the most impressive collections 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, sculpture and photography all represented. One of the highlights of a visit to the Denver Art Museum is its extensive assemblage of Western American Art. Spanning both buildings, the museum's Western American galleries represent 50 years of curation — some of the works include Alfred Jacob Miller's "Shoshone Indians at a Mountain Lake," William Jacob Hays' "Herd of Buffalo" and Frederic Remington's "The Cheyenne."   more

#13 United States Mint

#13 in Denver

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 original purpose was to transform the Gold Rush's gold dust and nuggets into bars. Forty-one years later, the Mint began to manufacture gold, silver and copper coins. Today, the U.S. Mint in Denver can produce up to 50 million coins a day. more
Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
United States Mint
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 original purpose was to transform the Gold Rush's gold dust and nuggets into bars. Forty-one years later, the Mint began to manufacture gold, silver and copper coins. Today, the U.S. Mint in Denver can produce up to 50 million coins a day. more

#14 Molly Brown House Museum

#14 in Denver

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" Molly Brown (Kathy Bates' character in the film, "Titanic,"), this museum offers glimpse of 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 suffraget movement and her endeavors to promote social reform in Colorado's mining communities. more
Museums Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Molly Brown House Museum
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" Molly Brown (Kathy Bates' character in the film, "Titanic,"), this museum offers glimpse of 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 suffraget movement and her endeavors to promote social reform in Colorado's mining communities. more

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