10 best things to do in Denver

If you’re looking for a vacation spot that offers a prime urban setting with beautiful natural attractions, Denver is the place to visit. The Western city offers tons of fun, funky places to eat, shop, explore and enjoy, all against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re looking for an educational family vacation or cool solo adventure, head to Denver for a trip worth bragging about. 


1. Grab breakfast at Snooze

Grab breakfast

Start your trip out the right way—with a mouthwatering breakfast. Snooze was started in Denver back in 2006 and although it has expanded to include locations throughout Colorado, Arizona and California, the original remains for Denverites (and visitors) to enjoy. The menu alone will be enough to have you skipping the snooze button and rushing through your morning routine. Options range from sandwiches to hollandaise to pancake creations. Snooze supports sustainability and community-consciousness, donating their products and volunteering around the city, so you can feel good about where you’re eating.

2. Browse around Larimer Square

Larimer Square

Denver’s first historic district, Larimer Square now stands as a high-energy area, alive with shops, eateries and nightlife. In fact, U.S. News intimates that some suggest beginning your exploration of the city with the square. Ideal for day or night, visitors can wander around admiring the Victorian architecture, ducking into the wide variety of unique shops, or stopping at one of the restaurants or bars for a drink and a bite to eat. There are also tons of events that take place in the square, from block parties to markets to performances.

3. Stop and smell the roses at the Denver Botanic Gardens

the Denver Botanic Gardens

With three locations throughout the city, there’s no reason not to make a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens. The main location is at York Street and includes seven major collections, with more than 700 species. For those traveling with their families, the Mordecai Children’s Garden is also located on York Street. The two other locations are at Chatfield Farms, a working farm where guests can roam the trails, and Mount Goliath, a section of the Mount Evans area. The botanic gardens are also home to art exhibits and events such as concerts and plant sales.  

4. Catch a game at Coors Field

Coors Field

Batter up! Any traveling sports fans can treat themselves to a baseball game at Coors Field. The home of the Colorado Rockies opened in 1995 and has lead the league in attendance, according to the website. This isn’t such a mystery, when you consider that seats in the first base and right-field areas provide views of the Rocky Mountains. If you’re more of a beer lover than a ball lover, the Blue Moon Brewing Co. at the SandLot is located within Coors Field, so you can see where the popular brew is made.  

5. Explore the art at the Denver Art Museum

With more than 68,000 pieces of art in the permanent collection, the Denver Art Museum, or DAM, is a must-see. Though it contains art from around the world, the museum is particularly well known for its collections of American Indian, pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art. Along with the permanent works, the museum welcomes exhibitions that range from photography to multimedia. This is a great destination for families, as children under eighteen are granted free admission. There are also plenty of programs offered at the DAM, from adult programs to a late night mixed media program.

6. Take a stroll along the 16th Street Mall

the Denver Art Museum

In a city with as much natural beauty as Denver has, it’s crazy to spend too much time indoors. Denver’s 16thStreet Mall is a mile-long outdoor promenade lined with shops, restaurants—even movie theaters. The promenade is an architectural sight within itself, designed by I.M. Pei, who lined the walkway with patterns of red, white and gray granite. The Mall connects to several areas, including the Denver Pavilions, a more traditional shopping complex, and eventually leads to LoHi, a trendy area where you can grab a drink at one of the many pubs.

7. Drive along Mount Evans

Mount Evans

Colorado is known for its wealth of natural attractions, particularly its mountains, and there are tons of options for nature enthusiasts to explore. However, if hiking isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy mountain air and glorious views at Mount Evans. In 1917, Denver’s mayor at the time acquired funds to build a road along the mountain. Since 1927, visitors have been able to drive to the top of the peak (minus the last quarter of a mile, which you have to walk) to reach the highest point, a whopping 14,264 feet up.

8. Get wild at the Denver Zoo

the Denver Zoo

In addition to a wide variety of animals and plants, the Denver Zoo offers visitors a wealth of fun opportunities. There are both classes and camps at the zoo, so whether you’re looking to broaden your animal knowledge or send your little zoologist off for a summer of fun, the Denver Zoo is your go-to place. For visitors, there are also tours, animal shows and exhibits to explore. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, visit one of the zoo’s eateries and grab a souvenir at one of the shops on your way out.