100 Things to Do in Denver, Colorado

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This is the ultimate list of things to do in Denver, Colorado, for visitors and locals alike. Denver is the biggest city in Colorado, and there’s SOOO much to do here. From outdoor activities to nightlife, there’s always something exciting to do around Denver!

Some of the things this post covers are:

  • Arts, History, & Culture
  • Food, drinks, & nightlife
  • Sports & sports culture
  • Zoos, aquariums, and wildlife
  • Cannabis-related activities
  • Activities related to the Strange and Unusual

For Denver visitors – I hope this post doesn’t overwhelm you. I encourage you to read this post and note whatever excites you! You don’t need to do everything on this list, but I wanted to provide a wealth of information for all tastes. 

For Denver residents – I encourage you to bookmark this post to look back later. Everyone gets stuck in a rut sometimes, and I hope this post inspires you to get back out there and explore! There are so many exciting things to do in our city, and I really hope this post inspires you. 🙂

Additional Info

Navigating This Post

This is a long post, and I wanted to make it as easy to navigate as possible! You can scroll down to read each section or use the table of contents below for easy navigation. There’s also a “back to top” arrow in the lower right-hand corner. 

Provide Your Feedback! 

Do you know of something that I should add to this list? PLEASE tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear your input 🙂

Explore Lower Downtown

Lower Downtown (or Lodo) is the heart of the Mile High City. It’s a lively area where there’s always something to do. It’s home to several sports, music, comedy, and theater venues. Sports fans will love watching baseball here. The Rocky Mountains make a spectacular backdrop while watching a game. Restaurants and bars are everywhere, from cozy exposed-brick establishments to luxury, fine dining. Additionally, LoDo is next to several other fun neighborhoods. It’s within walking distance from the RiNo Arts District, Lower Highlands, and Capitol Hill.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Union Station is a shimmering travel hub and iconic Denver landmark. In addition to being Denver’s central train station, it’s a wonderful place to visit and enjoy. Union Station has several restaurants, a bar, cafe, and places to shop. Stopping by to soak up the warm and welcoming atmosphere makes it worth the trip.

Denver, Colorado

Larimer Square is a historic block in downtown Denver. It’s lined with unique shops, delicious restaurants, and lively bars. The city holds several exciting events here throughout the year. Oktoberfest, Art and Jazz on the Square, and A Taste of France are some of the most popular.

16th Street Mall

16th Street Mall is an open-air mall in Lower Downtown Denver. It’s not what you’d expect from a typical shopping mall. It’s a well-manicured street lined with shops, both big-name and local.

*Note: 16th Street Mall is currently undergoing an extensive renovation project. There may be construction causing it to not be in its best shape.

REI CO-OP Flagship Store in downtown Denver, Colorado

Outdoor lovers MUST visit the REI flagship store next to Confluence Park. It’s massive, and the displays are incredible. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’s worth going for the experience.

Commons Park in downtown Denver, Colorado

Commons Park is a large urban green space in Lower Downtown. It sits along the Platte River, and you’ll get views of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. During summer, you’ll find people hanging out on the lawn and kayaking in the Platte River.

McGregor Square Ice Rink in downtown Denver, Colorado

McGregor Square is a newer, multi-use development next to Coors Field. It has a food court and public plaza that regularly hosts fun events. Towers with a hotel, residences, and office space surround the plaza. You can check out their current lineup of events here.

The Big Blue Bear at the Denver Convention Center

Denver’s Big Blue Bear is an iconic 40-ft sculpture next to the Denver Convention Center. It peers through the windows, seemingly curious about whatever event is occuring. It’s a popular spot to go and snag a photo. Plus, it looks incredible up close!

Visit one of Denver’s World Class Museums

Denver is home to over 30 top-rated museums and galleries. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or science, there’s a museum for you. Denver has several large, more fully-encompassing museums like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Museum of Art. It has tons of more niche museums and galleries too. Learn about Colorado Artist Clyfford Still, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Denver’s Firefighting History, and sooo much more. 

Insider’s Tip

The best way to maximize your Denver museum experience is to get an attraction Pass. There are two different options, both with incredible perks. 

The Mile High Culture Pass provides three days of access to many of Denver’s best attractions. For $37, you’ll get free access to the following: 

  • Clyfford Still Museum
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • History Colorado Center
  • Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
  • Molly Brown House Museum

The Denver City Pass provides a bundle of three to five attractions to visit over 7 days. Costs vary but start at $39 for adults and $32 for children. The participating museums and attractions are: 

  • Denver Art Museum
  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • History Colorado Center
  • Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
  • Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

For more information on either pass, visit the official Denver website. 

Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum hosts a diverse collection of artwork. Collections span globally from ancient to contemporary. It’s one of the largest museums in the mid-west and you could spend a large part of your day there. It’s an excellent place to learn and get inspired.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the best in the region. It features 700,000 square feet of award-winning exhibitions. The museum has a planetarium, dinosaur fossils, rotating exhibits, and even Egyptian mummies.

Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art

The Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art showcases 150 years of art and design. It has three main collections; International Decorative Art, Colorado & Regional Art, and Vance Kirkland. Vance Kirkland was a distinguished fine artist from Colorado in the 1900s. His work explores surrealism, abstract expressionism, realism, and more. The International Decorative Art Collection features home decor from the 1800s to today. The Colorado Art Collection features art from diverse styles. Overall, it’s a fascinating and inspiring museum.

Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado

The Clyfford Still Museum showcases the work of the Abstract Impressionist artist. The 3,200-piece collection shows the chronological evolution of Still’s work throughout his life. It’s a lesser-known museum that feels like a hidden gem recommended by your cool art friend. Pair it with the Denver Art Museum next door for a perfect day of exploring Denver’s art scene.

Molly Brown House Museum
©Rocky Mountain Dreaming

The “Unsinkable Molly Brown” was an accomplished philanthropist, activist, and socialite. She got her nickname from her tenacity and surviving the Titanic. Her former Denver mansion has become a museum dedicated to her life and legacy. Visitors can take a step back in time and tour her Victorian-era home.

The Denver Museum of Western Art showcases the history and culture of the American West. It houses a collection of sculptures, artifacts, and paintings. The museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Western American artists. It provides educational programs and exhibitions to guests of all ages.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado

Interested in modern & non-traditional art? Then you have to visit
the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. MCA Denver features a diverse range of exhibitions. Expect to see thought-provoking and innovative exhibitions. Featured artists push the boundaries of traditional art. Additionally, MCA Denver offers educational programs and events. These events are perfect for gaining deeper insights into the artists and their work.

Denver Firefighters Museum

The Denver Firefighters Museum showcases the history of the firefighting profession. Its primary focus is on the Denver firefighting department, with nods to the industry. It features exhibitions, equipment, and artifacts related to the history of firefighting.

The Denver Selfie Museum is a fun, interactive exhibition with colorful, quirky sets made for taking photos. This may be different from what you were picturing as a museum, but hey, it’s unique and a fun time!

Traveling with young kids? Then you must visit The Children’s Museum of Denver! It features plenty of interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and education programs. It offers exhibits focused on science, nature, culture, art, and history. The museum has designed these exhibits in a manner that is fun and engaging for children.

Explore Denver’s Art Scene

Denver’s art scene is rich and thriving, no matter your style. You’ll find funky, contemporary, and immersive to classic and historic. Denver has world-class art museums, unique immersive art experiences, neighborhoods covered in murals, and a passionate art community. RiNo, Santa Fe, and Capitol Hill are Denver’s primary artsy neighborhoods. Still, you’ll find beautiful and interesting art all over the city.

Meow Wolf Convergence Station in Denver, Colorado
Photo by Chris Carzoli on Unsplash

Meow Wolf is one of Colorado’s most exciting and unique art experiences. It’s a fully immersive psychedelic exhibition that takes you to another world. Literally. The narrative is set in a futuristic world with Aliens, portals, and its own diverse cultures. This is seriously something you can’t miss.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a series of performing arts venues in downtown. It’s THE place to go in Denver for theater, dance, concerts, and special events. The large cultural complex includes several theaters and is one of the largest in the U.S. Check out their upcoming events here.

River North Arts District Mural

The River North Arts District in Downtown Denver is an artsy neighborhood filled with murals, breweries, boutique shops, and galleries. It’s a cool, laid-back area to explore, view art, and sip on craft brews.

Santa Fe Arts District in Denver, Colorado

The Santa Fe Arts District in downtown Denver is home to a variety of galleries, museums, and studios. It’s known for its thriving arts and cultural scene. Every month, the Santa Fe Arts District hosts First Friday Art Walk. This is an excellent time to browse the area and get to know the various studios and museums in the area.

The Colorado Photographic Arts Center is a non-profit dedicated to preserving photography as fine art. It offers exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and education programs to educate and inspire photographers. Its gallery space hosts rotating exhibitions from photographers from all around the world. It serves as a community center for photographers in the Rocky Mountain Region.

Visit the Animals, Gardens, & Sea Creatures

Everyone knows that Colorado is a wildlife hotspot. In Denver, however, the animals are a little more exotic. You can see animals from all over the world at the Denver Zoo. Learn about marine life at the Downtown Aquarium. If you’re interested in Colorado wildlife, you can see that too! The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is home to bison, coyotes, prairie dogs, and other native animals. Plus, the mountains are only a short drive away.

Elephant at Denver Zoo
Photo by Junior Cazangi: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-an-elephant-in-a-zoo-15124007/

Visiting the Denver Zoo is an exciting way to see wildlife up close. The zoo covers 80 acres and is home to over 4,000 animals from over 600 species. Popular exhibits include the Toyota Elephant Passage, the Primate Panorama, and Bird World. The zoo also features interactive exhibits, animal encounters, and educational programs.

Denver Botanic Gardens
Photo by Morgan Newnham on Unsplash

Get out and smell the roses at the Denver Botanic Gardens. You’ll see plants and cultivated gardens from all around the world. Walking through the tropical greenhouse feels like being in a jungle in the rainforest. Additionally, it features a variety of themed gardens, such as a Japanese garden, a Mediterranean garden, and a native plant garden.

Denver Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver features a collection of aquatic life from around the world. The aquarium holds over a million gallons of water. It features a variety of exhibits, including a large tank with a variety of sea creatures, an interactive touch tank, and a coral reef exhibit.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent place to see wildlife in their natural state. The wildlife refuge is home to bison, coyotes, prairie dogs, and more. Bird-watchers and fishers will be in heaven here. The refuge has over 330 species of birds and TONS of fish. Visitors can drive through the wildlife refuge or walk the flat, easy trails.

Explore the Capitol Hill Neighborhood

Cap Hill is a historic yet trendy neighborhood south of downtown. You’ll find many of Denver’s best parks, museums, and cultural institutions here. The Colorado State Capitol is the centerpiece of the neighborhood and where it got its name. Cap Hill is a historic neighborhood lined with Victorian-era mansions. Alongside the historic homes and museums are trendy restaurants and bars. The nightlife here is thriving, with easy access to bars and nightclubs. Cap Hill’s diverse experiences make it an excellent place for visitors to stay.

Denver Capitol Building in Fall

Visiting the Colorado State Capitol is a great way to learn about Colorado’s history and legislative process. Visitors can tour the building and view the art and architecture. If anything, you have to visit the dome. It provides panoramic views of Denver and the surrounding mountains. Additionally, the Colorado State Capitol hosts many events and special exhibitions. Some of the most popular events are the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade (march & parade), PrideFest, and Colorado Day celebration.

Denver PrideFest
Photo by Steven Weeks on Unsplash

Denver PrideFest is a massive celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Pride is celebrated across the world every June. Denver PrideFest includes a parade, performance art, and lots of dancing. The main event is held at Civic Center Park next to the Colorado State Capitol. Many restaurants, bars, and other local businesses also have pride events throughout June.

Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver, Colorado

Denver’s Civic Center Park is a lovely green space next to the Colorado State Capitol. It features beautiful architecture, art, and Rocky Mountain views. Several events occur at Civic Center Park throughout the year. Some of the most popular include PrideFest, the Christkindl Market, and the People’s Fair.

Check out Denver’s Famous Beer Scene

Craft beer is a HUGE part of Denver’s culture. The Mile High City is home to over 150 breweries. There’s something about hitting the slopes or trails and then unwinding with a good brew. If you like beer, cider, seltzers, or hard kombucha, you’ll find something you love. Not only does Denver have lots of breweries, but it has several unique beer experiences too. Read on to find out more.

The River North Arts District is THE place to soak up Denver’s craft beer and arts scene. It’s one of the coolest neighborhoods in Denver. RiNo is a walkable district with a concentration of 20 different craft breweries. Each brewery offers unique flavors and environments.

Denver is home to the original “beer yoga.” It was started by Shannon Berner in 2012 when she sought a way to combine her two passions. She would host Monday night yoga at Wynkoop Brewery, followed by a tour for anyone interested.

Nowadays, brewery yoga is a popular offering across the city that provides fun, fitness, and social time. Some places currently offering brewery yoga include River North Brewery, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, and New Terrain Brewing. Additionally, a quick Google search will inform you about any upcoming events.

The Denver Beer Spa is another way to combine your love of self-care and beer. It’s part day spa. Part taproom. The spa offers Beer Therapy™ packages for two and small groups. The package includes access to a private beer bath, an infrared sauna, and a rain shower. The Beer Spa also offers a relaxation lounge with zero-gravity massages in a space-themed room. During your visit, you can access their self-service taproom. It features craft beer from a different local brewery each month.

Photo by Brett Sayles: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-standing-in-a-crowd-holding-up-beer-glass-1467807/

Celebrate beer and German culture at Denver’s annual Oktoberfest. Dress up in your finest dirndl or lederhosen and fill up your stien. Denver Oktoberfest features keg bowling, live music, a Long Dog Derby, and lots of German beer and food.

The Great American Beer Festival is an annual beer festival held in Denver. It’s one of the largest and most prestigious beer festivals in the United States. Participants can sample hundreds of beers from over 800 breweries across the country. You’ll learn about different beer styles, brewing techniques, and beer history. Additionally, the event features live music, food, and beer-themed merch.

Love it or hate it, Coors is one of the classics. Visitors can tour their massive brewery in Golden, Colorado, about 30 minutes outside Denver. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most well-known breweries in the world. Toward the end, you’ll get the freshest samples of Coors beer possible. It’s a fun and educational experience for beer enthusiasts and anyone interested in the brewing process.

As you probably know, Denver is home to MANY breweries. Over 150, in fact. No matter your taste or style, you’re sure to find a brewery for you. Some of the best places to brewery hop in Denver are RiNo, South Denver, Lower Downtown, and Highland Park. If you want to venture a little way outside of Denver, visiting Boulder or Golden is totally worth it.

Denver Restaurants & Food Scene

Denver’s food scene is diverse and dynamic. You’ll find a wide range of dining experiences for all tastes. Denver has a robust farm-to-table movement, which emphasizes local and seasonal ingredients. In addition to innovative American fare, Denver has a thriving Asian restaurant scene. The city has several top-rated sushi, Thai, Korean, and Indian restaurants. Many of Denver’s trendiest restaurants offer eclectic menus with a spin on worldwide cuisines. Denver also has a growing number of Vegetarian and Vegan options. Somebody People, Watercourse Foods, and So Radish are must-tries for plant-based fare. Whether you’re looking for upscale or casual, creative or classic, Denver has excellent dining choices for you.

Avanti Food Hall in LoHi in Denver

Denver’s Lower Highland Park arguably has the coolest restaurants and bars. It’s a walkable area just north of lower downtown. Restaurant highlights include tapas at El Five, trendy Latin fare at Señor Bear, and bruschetta boards at Postino.

Olingers Mortuary Sign in Denver, Colorado

Adding to the cool restaurants in LoHi is Linger Eatuaries. The restaurant is in the former location of O’Linger Mortuaries. The original neon sign still hangs above the building but has been updated to fit the new restaurant’s name. Linger serves globally-inspired small plates. Their bao buns and sliders are a crowd favorite.

Little Man Ice Cream in Denver

Little Man Ice Cream Co. is a delicious and iconic ice cream shop in Denver. They have several unique locations across the city. At their LoHi location, they serve fresh homemade ice cream from a giant 28-ft tall milk can. It’s a landmark you can’t miss. Additionally, you can tour their factory located in West Denver. It’s described as “a design tour de force where Willy Wonka meets the Industrial Age.”

Get breakfast at the Guy Fieri-approved Denver Buscuit Company. They serve delicious and creative biscuit sandwiches and Southern-style comfort food. Picture biscuits from scratch with fried chicken or sausage smothered in gravy. Denver Buscuit Company has locations in downtown Denver, Aurora, Edgewater, South Denver, and Colorado Springs.

Uchi is an upscale restaurant serving “non‑traditional Japanese cuisine with signature tastings, sushi, and a seasonal omakase.” Omasaki translates to “I leave it up to you.” Essentially, what you get is the chef’s choice. Uchi has a top-rated omakase experience with 10 courses of delicious food.

Voodoo Doughnut is the coolest. The doughnuts are delicious. The vibe is immaculate. You won’t find doughnuts like these anywhere else. Their signature doughnut is shaped and decorated like a voodoo doll. Crowd favorites are the Diablos Rex, Bacon Maple Bar, and Memphis Mafia. Prefer the classics? They have those too.

Forest Room 5 is a kitschy, quirky, and downright weird little bar. Very Lynchian. It’s like summer camp mixed with funky art. Despite being in the middle of the city, the patio makes you feel like you’re in the woods. Grab a firepit spot with your friends and order the s’mores. You can roast them right there in the ‘pit.

Colorado Cherry Company is a local joint serving the best pie around. They have sweet and savory. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dessert. Their Denver location is on Tennyson Street. However, you can also find them in Lyons, Loveland, and Estes Park.

The Brown Palace in Denver
Photo by Henry Desro on Unsplash

The Brown Palace is a luxurious Victorian-era hotel. Everything here is decadent. If you’re not staying there, you at least have to stop by for Afternoon Tea. Imagine fresh tea topped with specialty cream imported from England. Soothing piano music fills the room. While you sip, enjoy delicious finger sandwiches and fresh pastries.

Delicious Denver Food Tours is the #1 rated tour in Denver. They offer four tour packages, plus private and corporate options. Packages include tastings at different restaurants and/or bars. You can choose a food tour in RiNo or downtown. Wine and cocktail tours are also available.

Brunch at Snooze in downtown, Denver Colorado

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery is one of Denver’s most popular brunch spots. It’s vibrant, retro, and fun. Choose from creative pancakes, delicious benedicts, and the classics with a twist. The icing on the cake is their assortment of brunch cocktails. They have different flavors of Mimosa’s, Bloody Mary’s, and more.

*Note: Making a reservation is highly recommended.

Denver Central Market in the RiNo Arts District

The Denver Central Market has it all. It’s cool af and located smack-dab in the middle of the RiNo Arts District. They’ve got quick bites, specialty grocery shopping, books, art, and more. Pick up pastries, meat, pizza, healthy lunch bowls, chocolate… the list goes on! If anything, stop by to admire the cool art.

Denver Milk Market

The Denver Milk Market is a lively food hall in the LoDo/Ballpark area. They have global food options, pastries, and a full bar. Even if you’re only passing by, you have to snag some photos in the alley next door. The decorations are so cute. It’s lit up, and lanterns are strewn up above. The Free Market is also in this alley. It’s a mini-shopping mall with cute small boutiques.

Drinks & Nightlife

Denver’s nightlife is diverse and lively. You’ll find upbeat dance clubs, trendy cocktail lounges, chill craft breweries, and more. Whether you want to dance the night away, enjoy a drink with friends, or see an inspiring show, Denver’s got it. Each Denver neighborhood has a distinct style, from artsy RiNo to trendy LoHi. For more fun nightlife ideas, continue to the section following “Drinks and Nightlife.” It covers concerts, comedy shows, theater, and more.

Golden Mill Patio

There’s nothing like unwinding with a drink on a patio with a mountain view. Bonus if it’s during happy hour. Too cold out? Bundle up and find a spot with a fire pit. Too hot? Go higher in elevation to the mountains. You can check out a list of the best patio around Denver here.

South Broadway is the place to go when you want a more laid-back bar-hopping experience. Most places are more budget-friendly than downtown, but the quality is excellent. Plus, it’s one long street full of bars and restaurants. One of my favorite Denver bars, Adrift Tiki, is in this area. Here’s a list of the best places to eat and drink on South Broadway.

Denver has a thriving speakeasy and hidden bar scene. It’s a nod to their past, where speakeasies flourished. Denver’s prohibition era lasted four years longer than the rest of the United States. Check out this list to see the best speakeasies in Denver.

A Hi-Fi listening bar is a bar, restaurant, or lounge with a high-fidelity sound system. It’s the perfect place for music lovers who want an immersive audio experience. You can experience this at ESP HiFi in Denver. Enjoy curated music while sipping on handcrafted drinks.

Cocktails at Lady Jane in Denver's LoHi Neighborhood
Cocktails from Lady Jane in LoHi

Denver has cocktail bars for every taste and style. Escape to an island at Adrift Tiki. Have unique cocktails crafted to your liking at The Nearby Bar. Sip and relax at the bright and airy Lady Jane. You can find a list of the best cocktail spots in Denver here.

Whiskey lover’s can’t miss touring Stranahan’s. It’s a small batch distillery local to Colorado. Visitors learn all about whiskey, from how it’s made to the history of Stranahans. Additionally, they offer several different whiskey tasting experiences. Learn more about it here.

Lower Downtown has a lively nightlife scene. It’s home to many styles of lounges, bars, and clubs. There’s live music, comedy, sports events, and more. There’s SO much to do in this area. For more info, check out this post on the Denver music & nightlife scene.

If country music is more your thing, you have to visit Grizzly Rose. It’s a large country bar, dance club, and music venue. Expect line dancing, a mechanical bull, and LOTS of cowboy boots. Need to learn how to country dance? Don’t worry – they provide lessons. Sunday nights are family-friendly, meaning you can bring your kids for dancing and clean fun. Check out their complete list of events on the Grizzly Rose website.

See a Live Concert or Show

My second favorite thing about living near Denver is easy access to a wide range of live shows. Headliners almost always make Denver a stop while on tour. There are also many smaller, niche, and local acts to discover and enjoy. You’ll find everything from concerts to comedy shows and theater. There’s a huge variety of concerts to choose from too. Denver has a huge EDM scene and regularly hosts festivals. Plenty of rock and pop bands come through too. Denver also has an excellent orchestra that plays the classics to modern film scores.

Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado

Imagine this – you’re sitting in the most beautiful concert venue. You’re waiting for one of your favorite artists to come on. Large sandstone rock formations surround you and make up the stadium and stage. The sun is setting. You get spectacular views of Denver as your backdrop. Mount Morrison towers behind. As your favorite band plays, the sun sets, and the stars emerge. The acoustics are incredible. This is the experience of seeing a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. 100% a bucket list experience.

The Paramount Theater in Downtown Denver
Photo by John Wiggains on Unsplash

The Paramount is a historic theater in downtown Denver. It’s known for its elaborate Spanish Baroque architectural style and ornate interior design. The Paramount hosts a range of events. You can see concerts, plays, comedy shows, and more. Check out their list of events here.

Denver has a thriving comedy scene. Shows by newcomers and professionals alike frequent the city. Denver Comedy Works is one of the best venues to see a comedy show. It’s located in Larimer Square in Lower Downtown. See a list of their upcoming events here.

The Blue Bird Theater in Denver
The Bluebird Theater on East Colfax. Photo by Mark Hessling on Unsplash

The bars on East Colfax are known for being laid-back, gritty, and cool. The live music venues offer a variety of styles, including rock, blues, jazz, and reggae. Venues you can’t miss include the Bluebird Theater, Gothic Theatre, and Ogden Theatre.

If classical music is more your thing, you have to visit the Colorado Symphony. Shows range from classic acts like Beethoven to modern movies like Harry Potter. The orchestra consists of around 80 full-time professional musicians. They perform over 150 shows a year. Check out their list of upcoming events here.

See Your Favorite Sport & Soak Up The Culture

Sports fans rejoice. Denver has a professional team for every major American sport. Games here a lively. If you can’t make it live, there are many sports bars to watch the game and join in on the camaraderie. In addition to major league sports, the Rocky Mountains are a prime training ground. The high elevation and rugged terrain make it a hotspot for those training for the Olympics, Ironman, and more.

Is your favorite team located elsewhere? No worries. Keep an eye on the events calendar for when they’ll come through.

Avalanche Game at Ball Arena

Hockey is THE sport in Colorado. Plus, the games are SO much fun! Games are high energy, and if you’re lucky, you may get to witness a hat trick. Cheer on the Colorado Avalanche, who brought home the Stanley Cup in 2022.

STiX Hockey Flight

Prefer to watch hockey from a bar rather than the stadium? Check out STiX Crafthouse in Olde Town Arvada. If there’s an Avalanche game playing, it’ll be on. They’ve got food, beer, and friendly service. The highlight is the hockey puck flight. Order three beers of your choosing and have them served from a cool af hockey puck-themed flight holder.

Coors Field

Watching a baseball game at Coors Field is a perfect way to spend your afternoon. Even if the Rockies aren’t your team. The stadium is beautiful, and the mountain views can’t be beaten. My favorite places to be are the upper decks and terraces. They’re wonderful for hanging out while watching a game. They also provide easy bar access and the best mountain views.

National Ballpark Museum in Denver, Colorado

If you’re a baseball lover, you have to visit the National Ballpark museum. Smithsonian Books recognized it as one of the top 20 finest private baseball collections in the world. It’s located in downtown, across the street from Coors Stadium.

Football fans, this one’s for you. Denver has its own NFL stadium that’s home to the Broncos. Its unique design features a waving top with mountain views in the background. Empower Field at Mile High is the place to go to see a football game in Denver.

Denver also has their own NBA team – the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have a talented roster and play exciting games. You can see them at Ball Arena, in lower downtown. Check out this link for tickets.

Get your friends together for bowling, arcade games, & more

Looking for a fun day out with friends? Consider visiting one of Denver’s many bowling, arcade, and gaming lounges. Most also offer food, adult drinks, and a variety of activities. Several, like Punchbowl Social, serve brunch and mid-morning cocktails. From morning to well into the night, these places are tons of fun. They’re a one-stop place for food, drinks, fun, and socializing.

Urban Putt is a unique mini-golf experience. It’s part mini-golf. Part installation art. Each set up is conceptual and fun. The course is indoors and has a restaurant and bar. Urban Putt is in downtown Denver near 16th Street Mall.

1Up Arcade Bar is a retro gamer’s dream. They have classic arcade games, skee-ball, giant Jenga, and more. Age requirements vary by location, but all are 21+ after a certain time. You can find them in LoDo, Greenwood, and East Colfax.

Bowling, arcade, karaoke, table games, food, and events. Punch Bowl Social has it all. You can go for a delicious brunch or dinner and follow up with drinks and fun games. Gather a group of friends, and you’ll have the best time here.


Pindustry is Punch Bowl’s local cousin. They have all the things Punch Bowl has, plus live music and a massive rooftop deck. Want a break from games? Chill at the top and get amazing views of the mountains.

For a more relaxed experience, visit Grandma’s House. It’s a cozy local brewery with kitschy decor and walls FULL of board games. It’s seriously the cutest. The board games are free to play, and the beer is delicious.

Get Outside

The mountains are the real reason to visit Colorado, in my opinion. Denver’s closeness to the Rockies makes it the perfect urban destination for easy access to nature. Within a few hours, you can be summiting mountains, skiing epic slopes, rafting the rapids, and more. You’ll be close to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Front Range ski towns, 14000 ft tall mountains, and endless lush forests. So escape to the mountains for a day (or longer!) and enjoy the adventure!

If you prefer to stay in the city, that’s alright too! There are several ways to get outside without leaving Denver.

Dream Lake

Getting out into the mountains is the real reason to visit Colorado. Although Denver isn’t technically in the mountains, there are SO MANY amazing adventures to be had nearby. You can visit Rocky Mountain National Park, hit up a ski town, hike a mountain, and so much more. Check out this post to see the best hikes near Denver.

Looking for an urban adventure? Consider kayaking in the Platte River through Confluence Park. You can rent gear from Confluence Kayaks. They’re conveniently located right next to the entry point. In addition to kayaks, they offer lessons, tubes, and other types of gear.

Visit Wash Park in summer and you’re sure to find crowds of people playing volleyball. You can show up with your friends, find a group on social media, or join a league to play. In addition to Volleyball, Washington Park is a nice place to relax, walk, or play. There’s even a nice play park for kids. Washington Park is located in South Denver, next to the University.

Need some time to relax in a greenspace without leaving the city? Visit City Park. It’s east of downtown and next to the Denver Zoo. It’s a massive park with plenty of space to walk and play. You’ll get amazing views of the Denver Skyline here with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop.

Hiking IN Denver is… not that exciting. BUT there are TONS of amazing trails within 30 minutes to a few hours of Denver. Picture strolling through the foothills to intense mountaineering routes. To learn more about the best hikes near Denver, check out this post.

During summer, Denver can get HOT. Like, even above 100 degrees. One of the most fun ways to cool off is to visit a waterpark. Luckily, there are several in the greater Denver area. One of the most popular is Island Kingdom Waterpark in Elitch Gardens. It’s located right in downtown, next to Ball Arena. To add to the fun, visit Elitch Garden’s theme park too.

Cherry Creek Trail in Denver, Colorado

The Cherry Creek Trail is a long urban trail popular for walking and biking. It’s nearly 25 miles long, but you can have a wonderful time exploring a small fraction of that. It starts in Confluence Park, then winds through downtown. After running through several South Denver neighborhoods, it ends at Cherry Creek State Park.

It’s a great way to see Denver. You’ll discover a whole set of interesting attractions, including Four Mile Park, fancy country clubs, and hidden parks. It takes you through several different suburbs, allowing you to discover the distinct charm behind each. The trail is long, but it’s easy. You don’t have to go the entire way to enjoy it.

Cheeseman Park in Denver, Colorado

Cheesman Park is another popular Denver urban greenspace. It’s located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Beside it is the Denver Botanic Gardens. The park is massive. There are plenty of places to relax, walk around, and play park games. You’ll find the dramatic neoclassical pavilion on the east side of the park. It’s surrounded by flowers and trees, making it an excellent place for taking photos.

Ice skate surrounded by dazzling lights in the acool 16th Street Mall part of Denver. Rink access is free. You can bring your own skates or rent a pair onsite. The rink is open each year from late November to mid-February. Check their site for exact dates and rental prices.

What better way is there to see Denver than via bike. Bike culture (the non-motorized kind) is HUGE in Colorado. Plus, it combines the flexibility of walking with the ability to go longer distances faster. You can bike all over the city without worrying about parking or traffic. Need a bike? There are PLENTY of places to rent them from. Some shops to check out are Evo, Mikes Bikes, and SloHi. You can also ride and learn about Denver with Mile High Bike Tours.


Love to shop? You’ll love Denver. The Mile High City has a diverse range of options, from large shopping malls to local boutiques. You’ll find trendy clothes, quality outdoor gear, funky home decor, and so much more. Check out one of Denver’s open-air malls when the weather is nice. 16th Street Mall in downtown is a fun option. Or, if you don’t mind the drive, head down to the Outlets at Castle Rock. If you’d prefer to stay indoors, check out the luxurious Cherry Creek Mall or strike some deals at the Denver Premium Outlets. For more unique finds, check out the local marketplaces or browse the boutiques in any of Denver’s neighborhoods.

Stanley Marketplace
Photo by Cassidy James Blaede on Unsplash

Looking for relaxed shopping in a cool atmosphere? Check out the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. It houses a collection of 50 independent boutique shops and restaurants. It has a retro aesthetic in a large, airy warehouse-style building. You’ll find plants, clothes, home decor, books, and more.

Tennyson Street is a vibrant shopping district in west Denver. It’s a long road, but the stretch people talk about is in the Berkley neighborhood. Cute boutique shops and local restaurants line this historic street. It’s an excellent spot to walk around, window shop, and grab some treats.

Garage Sale Vintage may be one of the coolest shops in Denver. It’s part thrift store, part retro bar. The music, vibe, and aesthetic are all on point. Sip on a delicious marg while listing to 70s rock and browsing through sustainable and ultra-cool clothing. You can find them in Larimer Square and Lakewood.

Are you a book and wine fan? If so, you have to visit the BookBar. It’s like a mashup of your favorite indie bookstore and local wine + coffee cafe. Choose a book, grab a glass, and find a cozy sofa to curl up on and enjoy.

South Pearl Street is a historic shopping district in South Denver. Picture locally-owned restaurants, boutique shops, and thriving nightlife. While exploring, keep an eye out for the fairy doors. They’re tiny, cutely-decorated doors spread like easter eggs throughout the area.

Shopping on South Broadway is like taking a step back in time. It’s cool. It’s retro. It’s unique. You’ll find vintage clothes, antiques, and bookstores scattered among laid-back bars and restaurants. If you’re an 80s fan, you have to check out Fifty-Two 80s. It’s an 80’s themed shop filled with collectibles, knick-knacks, and nostalgia.

If luxe clothing is more your thing, you must visit Cherry Creek Mall. You’ll find high-end shops like Neiman Marcus, Gucci, and Nordstrom. Cherry Creek Mall also has less expensive yet trendy shops like Zara, Free People, and Urban Outfitters. The mall is located in the affluent Cherry Creek neighborhood

For shopping at big-name stores with a lower price tag, visit the Denver Premium Outlets in Thornton. Here, you’ll find an extensive collection of factory and outlet shops. Luxury brands like Armani and Michael Kors sit next to beloved outdoors and sports shops like Adidas and Columbia. The Denver Premium Outlet mall has over 80 different stores. You’re sure to find something you love.

Indulge in Cannabis Culture

Colorado is a pioneer in cannabis legalization, with Denver at the forefront. While it’s becoming legal in many other states, cannabis culture runs strong in Denver. Of course, you can visit one of the many dispensaries here, but that’s only a part of what Denver offers. Cannabis tourism is a big thing here. You’ll find cannabis tours, attractions, artwork, and more. Whether you want to learn about cannabis production or history or get immersed in cannabis-inspired artwork, Denver’s got it.

International Church of Cannabis
Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

The International Church of Cannabis is a psychedelic dreamscape come to life. It’s a colorful immersive art exhibition set in a renovated church. The highlight is their fully-immersive BEYOND experience. BEYOND begins with a nine-minute guided meditation. Afterward, sit back and enjoy a 25-minute psychedelic light show set to the best of classic rock. Even if you’re not a smoker, visiting the International Church of Cannabis is a bucket list item in Denver.

The MJ Mansion is the homey counterpart to the International Church of Cannabis. This Victorian-era mansion has been transformed into a psychedelic immersive art experience. The MJ Mansion provides guided tours, private parties, and events. Check out their website for more info.

You’ve heard of food tours, wine tours, and beer tours, now get ready for… weed tours. Get a look behind the scenes at Denver’s revolutionary legal cannabis industry. You can tour grow houses, learn to make your own concentrates, and attend a glass-blowing demo. Be chauffeured around Denver with their private luxury tour. You can choose from two excursions from a long list of options, plus a dispensary stop. Check out all packages on the Colorado Cannabis Tours website.

So Many Roads is a paradise for Dead-Heads. Grateful dead memorabilia and psychedelic artwork cover this massive warehouse brewery. The venue has two large rooms for live music playing 60s and 60s-inspired music. The back room is filled with arcade games and lounge seating.

If nothing else, visiting a dispensary should be on any cannabis fans list. Denver is home to around 200 dispensaries with varying styles. From upscale, hipster, and modern to laid-back, earthy, and colorful. Checking out the different shops is an experience in itself.

Explore the Strange & Unusual

Looking for something to do out of the ordinary? Something that may be a little spooky? Check out these activities to do around Halloween or year-round.

Haunted Cheesman Park in Denver, Colorado

Denver has its fair share of haunted attractions and spooky history. Learn all about it on one of Denver’s many ghost tours. Several options are available. You can go on a walking tour of the city, with your guide pointing out specific destinations and telling you about their spooky past. You can go on a haunted pub crawl and learn the haunted history behind many of Denver’s historic bars with drinks in hand. Capitol Hill and Cheesman Park are some of the most frequented ghost tour destinations. I mean, Cheesman Park used to be (and kind of still is) a graveyard, after all.

Drama. Comedy. Dinner. Murder. Help solve the crime at the Adams Mystery Playhouse. This murder mystery dinner theater is one of the top-rated attractions in Denver. Professional actors entertain and bring you into the story. It’s like a real-life version of Clue. Delicious food included.

What do these two bars have in common? The not-so-subtle satanic undertones. Luci’s, short for Lucifer’s, is an underground bar (ahem, dungeon) in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood. Expect heavy metal, themed drinks, and ‘interesting’ decor. The Electric Cure is “an authentically odd little rum bar with satanic and land bird overtones.” It’s located in Edgewater, west of downtown. And seriously, don’t worry. These bars aren’t scary, just kitchy and odd.

The 13th Floor Haunted House is big, scary, and full of kitsch. Think of your typical haunted house attraction, and turn it up to an eleven. If you’re in Denver during October, and kitschy haunted houses are your thing, this is a must-do.

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