Places to Visit in Denver, Colorado
Whether you’re into art, history, fine dining, professional sports, or enjoying the great outdoors, Denver, Colorado has something to offer. The Mile High City, which got its start in the 1850s as a mining town, is now a modern and diverse city that provides a unique experience of western American culture and life.
Downtown Denver is home to many world-class museums. Those dedicated to the arts include the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and the Museo de las Americas, which celebrates the art and culture of Latinos in the Americas. For those interested in history, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Colorado History Museum will provide hours of education and entertainment. History buffs will also want to be sure visit the Molly Brown House Museum, the 1889 Victorian home of the most famous survivor of the Titanic.
After exploring the museums, Denver visitors can check out the city’s many outdoor attractions. Denver has over 850 miles of paved trails for biking, walking, and running. Confluence Park offers whitewater chutes where adventurers can rent kayaks and take lessons. The nearby flagship REI store, housed in the restored 1901 Denver Tramway building, boasts an indoor climbing wall and a Starbucks café. The Denver Botanic Garden is home to a variety of plants from around the world, and its recent addition, the 3-acre Mordecai Children’s Garden, allows young visitors to interact with nature in a space designed especially for them. For animal lovers, the Denver Zoo houses over 4,000 animals and covers 75 acres near City Park. And for window shoppers, the 16th Street Mall is Denver’s premier downtown walking mall and offers retail and dining experiences for all ages, and the free shuttle bus makes it easy to explore from one end to the other. In addition, the Cherry Creek North shopping district contains many independently-owned boutiques and art galleries.
For the young and young at heart, the rides and attractions at Elitch Gardens amusement park provide plenty of thrills. The Denver Children’s Museum is geared toward kids from infancy to age 8, and youngsters will find plenty of educational and interactive experiences in this creative and colorful wonderland. The Denver Aquarium is another popular destination for families. Visitors to the aquarium journey through a variety of habitats and can see and interact with aquatic life, from sea stars to stingrays to sharks. A stop at the Aquarium restaurant allows visitors to enjoy a meal while watching divers swim with sharks and tropical fish in the floor-to-ceiling 50,000 gallon aquarium that serves as the centerpiece of the dining room.
Professional sports fans in Denver have a variety of options any time of year. Denver is home to 7 professional sports teams, so summer visitors can catch a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coors Field, while winter visitors can cheer on the Colorado Avalanche or the Denver Nuggets. The Denver Broncos play home games with their faithful fans attired in orange and blue at INVESCO Field at Mile High Stadium.
If you have time to venture outside the city, the greater Denver Metro area has even more to offer. Nearby Golden is home to the Coors Brewery, which offers free tours (and free tastes) daily. The Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster houses butterflies, moths, and enough creepy crawlies to delight every backyard entomologist. And tea lovers will enjoy the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder, where visitors can tour the factory, test newly developed tea blends, and even step into the famous Peppermint Room for an invigorating whiff. The town of Morrison, just west of Denver, is home to both Dinosaur Ridge, where you can see actual dinosaur footprints, and Red Rocks Amphitheater, where you can enjoy the sounds of your favorite bands amplified by the natural acoustics of this outdoor wonder.
Denver inhabitants and visitors have easy access to hundreds of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along the Front Range, and with Colorado’s 300-plus days of sunshine each year, it’s easy to see why Coloradans spend so much time outdoors. White Ranch Park, Lair O’ the Bear Park, and Mathews/Winters Park are popular hiking destinations close to Denver. Golden Gate Canyon State Park provides camping and hiking trails within easy access of the city, and Chatfield Reservoir is beloved by boaters from around the metro area. In the winter, of course, Colorado boasts some of the country’s best skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing, all of which are accessible from Denver just a short drive away.
So whether you have a day, a week, or a month to spend in Denver, there is no shortage of activities, attractions, and adventures just waiting to be discovered.