Denver Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Places to Visit in Colorado
Credit

Courtesy of TylerPorter/Getty Images

2-day Itinerary in Denver

Explore the best things to do in Paris in 2 days based on recommendations from local experts.

Day 1

  • 1
    #2
    Larimer Square
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    #2 in Denver
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    In 1858, a group of American Indians and 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. Recent visitors attest that Larimer Square is always buzzing with life, thanks to the area's numerous restaurants, shops and nightlife venues.

    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.

    Occupying the block of Larimer Street between 14th and 15th streets, Larimer Square can easily be reached on foot from downtown and LoDo. Alternatively, visitors can hop on the Free MallRide, getting off at the 16th Street Mall & Larimer Street stop. You can visit Larimer Square at any time of day, though businesses adhere to their own hours of operation.

    ...Read More »
    10 minute walk
  • 2
    #12
    Union Station
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    #12 in Denver
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Denver's Union Station is a two for one: 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 1917 redevelopment remains and today, it's home to an Amtrak hub and a bus concourse. Located in the hip Lower Downtown neighborhood (aka LoDo), with multiple dining options and boutiques, and The Crawford Hotel, Union Station is a newfound entertainment center.

    To learn more about the art, history and retail space of the station, as well as the luxury hotel, consider taking a tour. The Crawford Hotel offers tours of Union Station for $20 and the proceeds benefit the hotel's Dollars For Dreams nonprofit partners. The tour culminates at the Terminal Bar for a complimentary drink, so visitors can get the full Union Station experience.

    Travelers say the best way to experience Union Station is by relaxing in the comfortable couches and chairs for some people-watching. This pastime has helped the train station earn the nickname of "Denver's living room." Visitors point out that the facilities are very clean for a working transportation terminal, and note that while the station is not as large as train stations in other cities, such as New York and Washington, D.C., it exudes charm. The bars and restaurants can be pricey, though, so travelers suggest grabbing a drink during happy hour.

    Union Station is situated in LoDo and about 26 miles west of Denver International Airport; travelers can easily get from the airport to the train station for $9 one-way via the A Line in less than 40 minutes. There is valet parking in a secure lot available on-site and an app that accompanies the service for easy car retrieval. The attraction is also accessible by light rail and it's within walking distance of the 16th Street Mall. For additional information, such as details on shops and eateries, head to the Union Station website.

    ...Read More »
    10 minute walk
  • 3
    #4
    16th Street Mall
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    #4 in Denver
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    If you're not up for walking, hop aboard the free MallRide shuttle bus, which passes by every few minutes and stops at every street corner. After sundown, you might skip the bus and opt for a horse-and-carriage ride instead. Travelers say this is the place to window-shop, grab a bite to eat and pick up souvenirs.

    The 16th Street Mall can easily be reached on foot from downtown and LoDo, or you can hop aboard the MallRide bus from either end of the street. You can access the 16th Street Mall at any time, and there's no entrance fee; however businesses adhere to their own hours of operation.

    ...Read More »
    10 minute walk
  • 4
    #13
    Denver Art Museum
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    #13 in Denver
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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 and the museum's ability to appeal to kids through interactive activities. Reviewers also recommend perusing the museum's gift shop for some unique and interesting finds.

    You'll find the Denver Art Museum just south of Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, a few blocks from the United States Mint. You can easily walk to the museum from the downtown and LoDo districts; the Nos. 9 and 52 buses both stop nearby. The museum is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., remaining open until 8 p.m. on Friday. General admission costs $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students; children 18 and younger enter for free. Note that entry to special exhibits will cost extra. For more information, visit the Denver Art Museum's website.

    ...Read More »
    10-15 minute walk
  • 5
    #15
    Molly Brown House Museum
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    #15 in Denver
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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 suffragette movement and her endeavors in Colorado's mining industry.

    Recent travelers described the tour guides as friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about history. Along with the personal history of Brown, you'll also hear about the house's renovations and artifacts.

    The Molly Brown House Museum sits in downtown Denver's Golden Triangle area, just a short walk from the State Capitol building and Civic Center Park, or you can hop on bus No. 15. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. From June to August, the museum welcomes guests starting at 9:30 a.m. Tours start every half hour; admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $8 for children ages 6 to 18. To learn more, visit the Molly Brown House Museum website.

    ...Read More »

Day 2

  • 1
    #3
    Washington Park
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    #3 in Denver
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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 jogging paths, swaths of gardens and, most notably, two massive lakes. 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 eight tennis courts, boat rentals and Recreation Center, which houses a pool and offers scheduled fitness classes and swim lessons.

    Denverites don't hesitate to praise their beloved Washington Park, comparing it to Boston Common or New York City's Central Park. You can get to Washington Park from the downtown area by hopping on the E light rail line.  You are welcome to visit Washington Park at any time of day or night, and there's no entry fee; however, different facilities within the park adhere to their own hours of operation and may charge admission. For more information, visit the Washington Park website.

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    10 minutes by car; 20-25 minutes by bike; 20 minutes by bus
  • 2
    #9
    Denver Botanic Gardens
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    #9 in Denver
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    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. Recent visitors said the gardens are enjoyable no matter the season, describing them as "stunning" and "mesmerizing." They also highly recommend perusing the gift shop.

    Throughout the year, the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts a variety of festivals, including a summer concert series and a Christmas festival. There is limited free parking available in the garden's parking complex between York and Josephine streets. Street parking is available in Cheesman Park or Congress Park. If you don't have your own set of wheels, you can use RTD routes No. 24 or No. 10 to access the gardens. The Denver Botanic Gardens is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 or 8 p.m., depending on the season; general admission to the gardens costs $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for seniors and $9 for students and children ages 3 to 15 (kids 2 and younger can enter for free). The Chatfield Gardens are also open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though access will set you back $5 (per vehicle). As for the Mount Goliath location, you can visit whenever the Mount Evans road is open, and you'll need to pay the $10 fee to access the route. To learn more, visit the Denver Botanic Gardens' website.

    ...Read More »
    10 minutes by car; 20 minutes by bike; 25-30 minutes by bus
  • 3
    #7
    Denver Museum of Nature & Science
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    #7 in Denver
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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 travelers raved about the museum, saying that visitors will likely want to devote several hours to half a day to explore the engaging exhibits. They also praise the museum's cafe and gift shop.

    Located in City Park, just south of the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is easily accessible via the Nos. 20, 32 and 40 buses. The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission costs $16.95 for adults, $13.95 for seniors and $11.95 for kids ages 3 to 18. The museum also offers daily shows and screenings in its planetarium and IMAX theater; you will have to pay extra to attend. To learn more about what to see and do at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, visit the museum's website.

    ...Read More »
    10-15 minute walk; 5 minutes by bike
  • 4
    #5
    Denver Zoo
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    #5 in Denver
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    The Denver Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from March through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from November through February. Prices vary depending on the season: In the spring, adult admission is $17 and kids (3 to 11) can enter for $12; in the summer and fall, adults pay $20 and kids pay $14; in the winter, adults will pay $15 to get in while kids will be charged $10. The zoo also offers several free admission days, which are listed on the Denver Zoo website. The walk to the zoo from downtown is about 3 miles; consider hopping on the No. 32 bus, which runs through downtown and LoDo into City Park.

    ...Read More »

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