Things to do in Denver, CO
There are all sorts of fun things to do in Denver, Colorado, the crown jewel of the Rocky Mountains. Known for its beautiful mountain trails, ski resorts, breweries, sports, museums, and much more, Denver has something for everyone. In this guide, we'll take you through the best things to do in Denver, Colorado, for adults and kids alike.
Top Attractions in Denver, CO
One of the most unique things to do in Denver is visiting the Denver Mint. It's located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and free tours of the coin-production facility are available most days of the year. Just a few blocks away, supplement your tour with a visit to the Federal Reserve Bank's Money Museum. Admission to the museum is free, too!
The Mile-High City is also famous as the headquarters of the Coors Brewing Company, and visiting the brewery is one of the top things to do in Denver, Colorado and its environs. Free tours of the factory, in the nearby suburb of Golden, are available Thursday through Monday for the majority of the year and seven days a week during the summer. After the tour, your group can view the historic memorabilia exhibits, and members of the group who are of age can try some free samples in the hospitality lounge.
Sports are another favorite pastime in Denver, and the city is home to many professional and university teams. In the Sun Valley neighborhood, you'll find Sports Authority Field at Mile High. There, you can catch an NFL game with the Denver Broncos or watch the Denver Outlaws compete in Major League Lacrosse. The stadium also hosts special events and concerts periodically. At Gate 1 of the stadium, you'll find the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. At Folsom Field in nearby Boulder, catch Division I college football with the University of Colorado Buffaloes. Dick's Sporting Goods Park is located in suburban Commerce City and is dedicated to the Major League Soccer team the Colorado Rapids. In the lower downtown (LoDo) neighborhood sits Coors Field and the Pepsi Center. Coors Field is the home ballpark of the Colorado Rockies, and the Pepsi Center plays host to the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and the National Lacrosse League's Colorado Mammoth.
Downtown and LoDo
If you're looking for fun things to do in Denver this weekend, you'll find plenty of action downtown. Downtown and LoDo are some of Denver's hottest neighborhoods, and the area is remarkably walkable. Popular shopping destinations in this area include Larimer Square, the 16th Street Mall, and Denver Pavilions. For architecture buffs seeking things to do in LoDo, Denver's Union Station has a bit of everything, with an array of shopping and dining options housed in a century-old rail station. Tattered Cover Book Store has four locations around Denver, one of which is downtown and two of which are in LoDo. The chain is very popular among Denver residents and frequently hosts author meet-and-greets, children's events, and teen reading programs.
Take advantage of downtown's walkability with some of Denver's top walking tours. The Historic LoDo Walking Tour is a highly recommended choice, as are the Denver Free Walking Tours offered at Union Station. Cyclists will enjoy Mile High Bike Tours, while foodies will want to take advantage of Taste of Denver Food Tours. Whiskey lovers will enjoy the Stranahan's Distillery Tour, while those who prefer beer should try a Denver Brews Cruise or Denver Microbrew Tour.
Family-Friendly Fun for Kids
There are plenty of fun things to do in Denver with kids, toddlers, or teens. While the Mile-High City may be known for challenging mountain hikes and its adult beverage industry, that doesn't mean there's a shortage of kid-friendly things to do in Denver. Kids, teenagers, and adults alike who love theme parks will find multiple options in the Denver area. Visit Lakeside Amusement Park for classic rides and carnival games, including a dedicated section for toddlers and young kids. For waterslides and other aquatic attractions, try Water World in the suburb of Federal Heights. Finally, LoDo's Elitch Gardens has been a very popular attraction in Denver for more than 20 years. The site features roller-coasters and thrill rides, kid-friendly rides, a water park, arcade games, and "dive-in" movies at the wave pool.
Right across the river from Elitch Gardens, kids love to visit the Downtown Aquarium and the Children's Museum of Denver. The Downtown Aquarium features both aquatic and land animals, a shark dive experience, "mermaid" swimming shows, its own restaurant, and a 3D movie theater. At the Children's Museum, kids can learn through interactive exhibits on nature, art, and space. Other fun family things to do in Denver include going to the Denver Zoo, Forney Museum of Transportation, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, Denver Skatepark, and Butterfly Pavilion.
Romantic Ideas for Couples
Couples looking for romantic things to do in Denver on a night out will find that Denver has hip nightlife, whether you're looking for traditional options or unique activities. As far as Denver's culinary scene goes, the city is known primarily for its Mexican food, especially the use of green chiles in recipes, and the invention of Mexican-style breakfast foods like the breakfast burrito and Denver omelet. Popular Mexican restaurants in the area include Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Avanti F&B, Machete Tequila and Tacos, and Illegal Pete's. If Mexican just isn't your thing, try coal-fired pizza at Marco's or authentic Japanese food at Izakaya Den. And for the adventurous among us who wish to try the region's famous (or infamous!) Rocky Mountain oysters, there's no better choice than the Buckhorn Exchange.
After dinner, try one of Denver's top-rated bars, like Williams & Graham, My Brother's Bar, Green Russell, or Star Bar. For those wishing to watch a live theater, music, or dance performance, we recommend the Fillmore Auditorium, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, or Ogden Theatre. In nearby Morrison, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most famous concert venues in the world. One of our favorite things to do in Denver at night is going on a Denver ghost tour from Nightly Spirits, which takes participants on a tour of Denver's most notoriously haunted bars and pubs. Other fun date ideas include rock-climbing at Movement Climbing + Fitness, ice skating at Big Bear Ice Arena, go-kart racing at Unser Karting, or even learning to throw axes at Bad Axe Throwing.
Free Things to Do This Weekend
There's sure to be no shortage of free things to do in Denver this weekend, as the city hosts many free events, concerts, and festivals throughout the year. Check out the city's free events calendar to find out what's happening this season. For year-round free fun, take a stroll and enjoy public art in any of the city's multiple art districts, check for weekly or monthly free days at the area's museums and cultural institutions, and enjoy the city's beautiful parks. Denver's City Park periodically offers free outdoor jazz concerts through City Park Jazz. Those interested in history and the democratic process might enjoy taking a free tour of Colorado's Capitol. Got a sweet tooth? Take a free tour of the Hammond's Candies factory and try a free sample!
Outdoor and Seasonal Activities
The Denver area is known for its numerous opportunities to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. Some of our favorite things to do outside in Denver involve the city's many beautiful parks. City Park, Cheesman Park, Civic Center Park, and Washington Park are some of our top recommendations. History buffs can enjoy outdoor living history at Four Mile Historic Park, while those of us with green thumbs will appreciate the Denver Botanic Gardens. Animal lovers and hiking enthusiasts will find beautiful trails and excellent wildlife-spotting opportunities at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Among the most famous things to do in Denver in the winter is visiting the greater Denver area's many ski resorts and slopes. Some of our top picks for winter fun include Loveland Ski Area and Winter Park, ice skating at Skyline Park, and winter tours with Aspire Tours. The rodeo-style National Western Stock Show also occurs each January. There are also lots of seasonal things to do in Denver in the summer. Some of our favorite summer events and festivals include the Five Points Jazz Festival, the Chalk Art Festival, Cinco de Mayo, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, Day of Rock, Denver Comic Con, and the Arts Festival.
Things to Do Indoors
Sometimes, the rain just won't go away. When this happens, you'll need indoor things to do in Denver. Luckily, we've got you covered. The Denver area is known for a plethora of awesome museums that are sure to satisfy. We recommend the Denver Art Museum, Kirkland Museum, Molly Brown House, History Colorado Center, American Museum of Western Art, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. If museums just aren't your speed, catch up on your reading and attend free classes at any of the Denver Public Library's convenient locations, try out some indoor extreme sports at Woodward Copper, or take the kids to Lollipop Park.
Around the Area
Many of the best-known things to do near Denver, CO, revolve around the area's natural resources, namely the mountain trails and forests of the Rocky Mountains. Camping, hiking, mountain-climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and whitewater rafting are all popular pastimes in the Rocky Mountains. Many Denver natives also enjoy mountain-biking, fishing, and sightseeing on a scenic car ride. Some of the most famous and popular outdoor attractions around Eastern Colorado to check out include Pikes Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cherry Creek State Park, Chatfield State Park, Dinosaur Ridge, Mount Evans, and Grays Peak.