35 Best Things to Do in Denver | 2023 (with Photos)
Denver is the capital and largest city of the state of Colorado in the United States.
Known as the "Mile High City" due to its elevation of exactly one mile above sea level, Denver is situated in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Rocky Mountains.
With a population of over 700,000 people, Denver is a thriving city that is both a cultural and economic hub for the region.
Home to numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues, as well as a burgeoning culinary scene and a diverse range of neighborhoods, Denver is a city with something to offer everyone.
Whether you are looking for outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or simply a great place to live, work, and play, Denver is definitely worth exploring.
Most Recommended Thing to Do
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Top Choice Hotel
Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel.
Our Top Choice Restaurant
Mercantile Dining & Provision
Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife
Best Time to Visit
Ideal seasons for exploring Denver's vibrant attractions.
Moderate climate with cold winters, mild summers.
Buses, light rail, bike share, car rentals available.
Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)
My Top Recommendation
When visiting Denver, make sure to explore the vibrant downtown area, which offers a mix of historic landmarks and modern attractions. Take a stroll along the lively 16th Street Mall, lined with shops, restaurants, and street performers, and make a stop at Union Station, a beautifully restored railway terminal that now houses various eateries and shops—an ideal spot to relax and immerse yourself in the city's ambiance.
For a touch of nature amidst the urban hustle, head to the stunning Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater located just outside the city. Marvel at the striking red rock formations that create a unique backdrop for the open-air amphitheater hosting world-class concerts and events, or explore the hiking trails that wind through the park, offering breathtaking views of the Denver skyline—a truly memorable experience that combines the city's cultural attractions with its natural beauty.
What You'll Need to Bring
- Valid identification
- Comfortable footwear and clothing
- Weather-appropriate clothes and accessories
- Personal toiletries and medications
- Money and/or credit cards
- Travel guide or maps
- Mobile phone and charger
- Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
- Snacks and water bottle for on-the-go
- Any specific items or equipment for planned activities or tours
Table of Contents
1. Go on the Denver Foothills Tour to See Red Rocks Park
The Denver Foothills Tour offers a scenic journey through the stunning mountain landscapes that surround Denver, culminating in a visit to the iconic Red Rocks Park.
This natural amphitheater is a must-see destination, known for its breathtaking geological formations and as a world-renowned music venue.
With the Denver Foothills Tour, you can take in the beauty of Colorado while experiencing the unique culture and history of Denver.
2. Discover Native Plants at the Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens is a world-class botanical garden located in the heart of Denver. Spanning over 24 acres, the gardens offer visitors a stunning array of plants and flowers from around the world, as well as a variety of art installations and special exhibits.
With a focus on sustainability and environmental conservation, the Denver Botanic Gardens is an oasis in the city, providing a peaceful and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
3. Visit Mount Evans Scenic Byway
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a breathtaking drive that takes visitors to the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado's tallest peaks.
As the highest paved road in North America, the byway offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as an opportunity to see a variety of wildlife and alpine flora.
Whether you're an avid hiker or simply looking for a scenic drive, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.
4. Explore the Lively Historic Larimer Square
Historic Larimer Square is a vibrant and lively district located in downtown Denver. With over 20 historic buildings dating back to the mid-19th century, the square is a testament to Denver's rich history and heritage.
Today, Larimer Square is home to a variety of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
With its charming architecture, lively atmosphere, and great food, Historic Larimer Square is a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Denver's urban culture.
5. Take a Craft Beer Tour
A craft beer tour is an excellent way to explore Denver's vibrant craft beer scene. With over 100 breweries in the city, Denver has become a hub for craft beer enthusiasts from around the world.
With knowledgeable guides leading the way, visitors can sample some of Denver's best craft beers while also gaining insight into the city's rich beer culture.
Whether you're a beer connoisseur or simply looking for a fun and unique experience, a craft beer tour is a must-do activity in Denver, CO.
6. Get Artsy at the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art
The Denver Art Museum and Contemporary Art Museum are two of the city's most renowned cultural institutions, both located in the heart of downtown.
The Denver Art Museum boasts a vast collection of Western art, spanning from pre-Columbian to contemporary times, while the Museum of Contemporary Art focuses on cutting-edge art exhibits and installations from around the world.
With so many cultural things to do in Denver, art lovers will have a great time in this Colorado city.
7. Dive into the Downtown Aquarium
The Downtown Aquarium in Denver is a unique and family-friendly attraction, offering visitors the opportunity to explore aquatic life from around the world.
With over a million gallons of water and more than 500 species of marine animals, the aquarium offers a fascinating glimpse into the underwater world.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy interactive exhibits, a 4D theater, and even dine in the aquarium's restaurant surrounded by sharks and other sea creatures.
8. Explore Downtown Denver
Downtown Denver is the cultural and commercial hub of the city, offering visitors a wide range of experiences and attractions.
From the towering skyscrapers of the Central Business District to the vibrant energy of the 16th Street Mall, Downtown Denver is a vibrant and lively destination.
Visitors can explore a variety of museums, galleries, and performing arts venues, as well as enjoy shopping and dining in the many restaurants and cafes that line the streets of Downtown Denver, CO.
With its diverse range of experiences and lively atmosphere, Downtown Denver is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the city.
9. The Children's Museum of Denver
The Children's Museum of Denver is a hands-on and interactive museum designed specifically for kids. With a variety of exhibits and activities, the museum offers children the opportunity to learn through play and exploration.
From exploring a kid-sized city to creating their own art and music, there's something for every child to enjoy at this Denver museum.
10. Head to Coors Field for a Baseball Game
Coors Field is a must-see destination for baseball fans. Home to the Colorado Rockies, the stadium offers visitors an excellent game-day experience, with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and a lively atmosphere.
The stadium also boasts a range of amenities, including a variety of food and drink options and interactive exhibits showcasing the history of the Colorado Rockies and the sport of baseball.
Whether you're a die-hard fan or simply looking for a fun day out, Coors Field is a great destination for sports lovers.
11. Watch a Broadway Show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a premier destination for arts enthusiasts in Denver. It is part of the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
With multiple venues showcasing a variety of productions, including Broadway shows, plays, musicals, and more, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors.
Additionally, the center offers a range of educational programs and workshops, making it a hub for the local arts community. If you are looking for a fun and cultural evening, a trip to the Denver Performing Arts Complex is one of the best things to do in Denver.
12. Civic Center Park
Civic Center Park is a popular urban park located in the heart of downtown Denver. With its central location, the park is a hub for community events and gatherings, including concerts, festivals, and rallies.
Additionally, the park is home to several prominent landmarks, including the Colorado State Capitol and the Denver Art Museum.
Visitors can enjoy strolling through the park's gardens and taking in the scenic views of the surrounding architecture, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and architecture buffs alike.
13. Tattered Cover Independent Bookstore
The Tattered Cover Independent Bookstore is a beloved institution in Denver, offering visitors a wide selection of books, as well as a cozy atmosphere for reading and relaxing.
With several locations throughout the city, the bookstore is a hub for book lovers, with regular readings and events. When it rains or snows in Colorado and you want to be warm and cozy, a visit to this bookstore is one of the best things to do in Denver.
14. Empower Field at Mile High
Empower Field at Mile High is a state-of-the-art stadium and home to the Denver Broncos, making it a must-visit destination for football fans visiting Denver.
The stadium offers visitors a world-class game-day experience, with a seating capacity of over 76,000 and amenities such as multiple food and beverage options, interactive exhibits, and stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
Additionally, the stadium hosts a variety of other events, including concerts and festivals, throughout the year. Seeing a show at the stadium is one of the most fun things to do in Denver.
15. Brave the ‘Mind Eraser' Coaster at Elitch Gardens
The 'Mind Eraser' coaster at Elitch Gardens is a thrilling ride that's not for the faint of heart. With twists, turns, and inversions that take riders upside down and around, the coaster is a popular attraction for thrill-seekers visiting Denver, CO.
The ride offers stunning views of the park and the surrounding city, but be warned, it's not for those who are afraid of heights or fast speeds. If you're looking for an adrenaline rush, Brave the 'Mind Eraser' coaster is a must-try ride at Elitch Gardens.
16. Check Out the Historic Denver Union Station
Denver Union Station is a historic transportation hub and one of Denver's most iconic landmarks. If you are looking for things to do in Denver, a stop at the station is a great idea.
Built in 1914, Union Station has been beautifully restored and transformed into a bustling destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of restaurants and bars, as well as boutique shops and galleries. Additionally, the Union Station offers transportation services, including Amtrak and light rail, making it a convenient starting point for exploring the city.
17. Ride Through Time at the Forney Museum of Transportation
The Forney Museum of Transportation is a unique museum located in Denver that showcases an impressive collection of vintage cars, trains, and other forms of transportation.
The museum is housed in a former military building that was once part of the Lowry Air Force Base and is located near the luxurious Crawford Hotel.
Visitors can explore the exhibits at their own pace, learning about the history and evolution of transportation over the years.
With its diverse collection and unique setting, the Forney Museum is a must-visit destination for transportation enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
18. Kirkland Museum and Wings Over the Rockies Air Space Museum
The Kirkland Museum and Rockies Air & Space Museum are two popular museums located in Denver. If you are looking for things to do in Denver on a rainy day, why not hit two awesome Colorado museums?
The Kirkland Museum is dedicated to showcasing the works of Colorado and regional artists, with a focus on decorative art and design. The museum's collection includes over 30,000 objects, ranging from furniture and ceramics to paintings and sculptures.
The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, on the other hand, is dedicated to preserving the history of aviation and space exploration.
19. Visit the ‘Garden of the Gods'
Garden of the Gods is a stunning natural park located in Colorado Springs, just a short drive from Denver.
The park features towering sandstone formations that have been eroded over time, creating dramatic red rock formations that attract visitors from around the world.
Visitors can hike or bike through the park's many trails, or simply take in the breathtaking views from one of the park's overlooks.
With its unique geological features and stunning natural beauty, Garden of the Gods is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Denver area.
20. Visit the Molly Brown House Museum
The Molly Brown House Museum is a historic house located in Denver that offers visitors a glimpse into the life and times of one of Colorado's most famous residents, Margaret Brown.
Known as the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" for her heroic actions during the sinking of the Titanic, Brown was a prominent philanthropist and socialite in Denver in the early 20th century.
21. Take a Free Tour of the Denver Mint
The Denver Mint is one of four facilities operated by the United States Mint, responsible for producing coins for circulation in the western United States.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the Denver Mint, which includes a view of the money production process from start to finish.
The tour offers a unique opportunity to see the mint's state-of-the-art equipment and learn about the history of coin production in the United States.
22. Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol is a historic building located in Denver, Colorado that houses the offices of the Governor and the Colorado General Assembly. The building features a distinctive gold dome that can be seen from miles away.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the building, which includes a visit to the dome's observation deck, offering stunning views of the city.
The building is also home to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the Colorado Symphony, making it a cultural hub in the heart of Downtown Denver, CO.
23. Denver Museum of Nature Science
The Denver Museum of Nature Science is a world-class natural history museum located in Denver, Colorado.
The Denver Museum of Nature features exhibits on a wide range of scientific topics, including dinosaurs, wildlife, and space exploration.
Visitors can explore the museum's many galleries and exhibits, which include interactive displays and hands-on activities for all ages.
24. Visit Denver Zoo
The Denver Zoo is a 80-acre zoological park located in Denver, Colorado that is home to over 4,000 animals from 600 different species.
Visitors can explore the many exhibits at Denver Zoo, which include African Savanna, Primate Panorama, Tropical Discovery, and Predator Ridge.
The Denver Zoo also offers a variety of activities and programs for visitors of all ages, including animal encounters, educational tours, and wildlife shows.
25. Hike Along the Rocky Mountains Trails and Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park offers some of the most stunning hiking trails in the world, and it is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The Rocky Mountain National Park features over 350 miles of hiking trails, including the famous Trail Ridge Road, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Visitors to the Rocky Mountain National Park can explore the park's many natural wonders and red rocks, including alpine lakes, waterfalls, and meadows filled with wildflowers.
Additionally, the nearby Red Rocks Park offers unique rock formations and stunning views of the Denver skyline. With its rugged beauty, red rocks, and diverse landscapes, the Rocky Mountains are a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors.
25. Relive the Past at the Colorado Renaissance Festival
The Colorado Renaissance Festival is an annual event held in Larkspur, Colorado, that celebrates the medieval period with food, music, and entertainment.
The festival features jousting competitions, stage performances, and artisanal crafts.
Additionally, the nearby city of Denver hosts the Great American Beer Festival, which attracts beer enthusiasts from around the world to sample the best craft beers from over 800 breweries.
26. Embrace State Spirit at the History Colorado Center
The History Center is a museum located in Denver, Colorado, that showcases the state's rich history and culture. This is one of the best things to do in Denver on winter's day.
Visitors can explore the museum's many exhibits, which include interactive displays, artifacts, and multimedia presentations.
27. The Room of Lost Things
The Room of Lost Things is a fascinating exhibit located within the History Colorado Center in Denver. The exhibit showcases a collection of lost or forgotten items from Colorado's past, including artifacts, photographs, and personal belongings.
Visitors can explore the exhibit and learn about the stories behind each item, which provides a unique perspective on the state's history and culture.
From antique telephones to vintage clothing, the Room of Lost Things offers a fascinating glimpse into Colorado's rich and diverse past.
28. Denver Firefighters Museum
The Denver Firefighters Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Denver Fire Department and honoring the brave men and women who have served as firefighters throughout the city's history.
The museum is located in a historic firehouse and features exhibits and displays that showcase the equipment, uniforms, and artifacts of the Denver Fire Department.
Visitors can also explore the restored firehouse and see firsthand how firefighters lived and worked in the early 20th century.
Additionally, the museum offers educational programs and events for visitors of all ages, making it a great destination for families and anyone interested in the history of firefighting in Denver, CO.
29. Shop Til You Drop at 16th Street Mall
The 16th Street Mall is a pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining destination located in the heart of downtown Denver.
Stretching for over a mile, the mall features a variety of retail stores, restaurants, gift shops, and entertainment options, as well as street performers and artists.
Visitors can take a free shuttle bus that runs up and down the mall, making it easy to explore all the sights and sounds of this bustling area.
30. Enjoy the Gardens and Lakes of Washington Park
Washington Park, or "Wash Park" as it is often called by locals, is a 165-acre urban park located in the heart of Denver.
The park features two lakes, walking and jogging paths, tennis courts, playgrounds, and picnic areas, making it a popular destination for outdoor recreation and relaxation.
In addition to its natural beauty, Washington Park is also home to the historic Smith Lake Boathouse, which dates back to the early 1900s and is now available for private events and weddings.
31. Peruse the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is a historic landmark located in Golden, Colorado, just a short drive from Denver.
The museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, a legendary figure of the American West. Visitors can explore exhibits featuring artifacts and memorabilia from Cody's life, including his Wild West Show and his role in the development of the western frontier.
The museum also features a gift shop and a restaurant with stunning views of the surrounding foothills. The highlight of the visit is the gravesite of Buffalo Bill himself, which offers breathtaking views of the mountains and the surrounding landscape.
With its rich history and stunning views, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history of the American West.
32. Visit Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is a vibrant city located at the base of Pikes Peak in Colorado. Known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities, the city also boasts a rich cultural scene with numerous museums, galleries, and performance venues.
Visitors can explore the historic downtown area, take a hike in the nearby mountains, or visit popular attractions such as Garden of the Gods and the United States Air Force Academy.
33. Colorado Convention Center
The Colorado Convention Center is a premier event space located in Downtown Denver, Colorado. If you are looking for things to do in Denver, you should see what's on at the center.
The facility offers over 584,000 square feet of flexible meeting and exhibit space, making it one of the largest convention centers in the Western United States.
With its state-of-the-art technology, professional staff, and stunning architecture, the Colorado Convention Center is a popular destination for a wide range of events, from trade shows and corporate meetings to concerts and special events.
34. City Park
City Park is a large urban park located in Denver, Colorado. Covering over 330 acres, it is one of the city's largest parks and is home to many popular attractions, including the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Ferril Lake.
The park is also home to numerous walking and biking trails, as well as athletic fields, tennis courts, and picnic areas.
City Park is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike, offering a beautiful outdoor space to relax, exercise, and enjoy the natural beauty of Denver.
35. Explore Mile High City
"Mile High City" is a nickname for Denver, Colorado, which is located at an elevation of 5,280 feet above sea level. The city's nickname refers to its unique position as one of the highest major cities in the United States.
Denver, CO is known for its beautiful mountain views, vibrant cultural scene, and outdoor recreation opportunities, including skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. Take advantage of the altitude to plan an unforgettable trip to this mountainous region.
With a thriving economy, a diverse population, and so many awesome things to do in Denver, this high-up city has it all.
FAQs Regarding Things to Do in Denver, CO
Let's look at the most frequently asked questions relating to things to do in Denver, Colorado.
Is there anything fun to do in Denver?
There are a lot of fun things to do in Denver. You can explore the Denver Firefighters Museum, take a walking tour to explore the main Denver attractions by foot, or visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
What should I not miss near Denver?
If you're visiting Denver, there are a few things you shouldn't miss in the surrounding area. A trip to Golden or Colorado Springs could add to your vacation. You can also visit the Rocky Mountains or explore a nearby national park.
Is Denver famous for anything?
Denver city is famous for the Great American Beer Festival, Denver Comic Con, and Union Station. Some other Denver attractions that are famous include Coors Field, the Denver Aquarium, and its hiking trails, like the Cherry Creek Trail.
Summing Up: Best Things to Do in Denver
Denver is a vibrant and exciting city that has a lot to offer visitors. From the stunning natural scenery to the rich cultural attractions, Denver has something for everyone.
Whether you are interested in exploring the city's museums and galleries, enjoying outdoor activities in the nearby parks, or simply sampling the local food and drink scene, Denver has it all.
Enjoy your time in Denver, and be sure to check out any of the things to do listed throughout this article.