There are few more scenic city backdrops than that enjoyed by Denver. Flanked either side by the imposing Rocky Mountains and the High Plains, the Colorado capital is blessed with natural surroundings that captivate all who visit. But Denver’s appeal extends far beyond its geographical quirks, with the city also home to a thriving entertainment and cultural scene, evident in its arts and music venues, foodie hot spots, and busy nightlife destinations.
It’s fair to say that you could visit Denver for weeks on end and not get bored. Whether it’s excursions to nearby natural attractions, or exploring the city’s urban enticements, you’ll never be short of great options, whatever your tastes. We’ve picked out 12 of the best fun and cool things to see and do in Denver below.
Enjoy a balloon ride over the Rocky Mountains
There’s no better vantage point for experiencing the magic of the Rocky Mountains than the sky. A number of companies in and around Denver operate hot air balloon rides that take you up high to admire these magical natural wonders. After the flight you’ll receive a certificate of ascent, a pin, and bottle of champagne to celebrate your intrepid adventure. All ages are welcome.
Explore a shop full of fascinating curios
Retail therapy isn’t always everyone’s idea of a fun holiday activity, but The Room of Lost Things would challenge the preconceptions of even the most curmudgeonly shopper. Situated in the heart of Denver’s arts district, the store is a veritable gold mine of quirky, odd and often macabre curiosities, housing everything from mummified Prairie dogs to ancient fossils. The shop is also helmed by friendly staff who always have time to answer any questions – and you’ll certainly have some…
LOCATION 987 Santa Fe Drive HOURS Mon-Sat 11am-7pm Sun 11am-5pm
Join a spine-tingling ghost tour
Discover Denver’s dark and haunted history on a nighttime guided walking ghost tour of the city’s oldest neighbourhood, Capitol Hill. During the 1 to 1.5-hour tour you’ll stop off at several historical and (supposedly) haunted sites including the Capitol building and Sheedy Mansion, as well as finding out where the unsinkable Molly Brown, one of the most famous survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, is thought to still rear her head. Throughout the tour your entertaining and informative guide will regale you with creepy tales of yore. Tours can be booked through GetYourGuide.com.
Peruse 10 million comic books
The appeal of comics continues to cross the age divide, with a huge fan base that includes both kids and adults alike. In Denver the Mile High Comics Megastore is a mecca for comic book fans, featuring an eye-popping 10 million comics, as well as toys and other memorabilia, making it what’s said to be the largest comic book store in the country. The venue also hosts regular events, including art exhibits in the second floor gallery space.
LOCATION 4600 Jason Street HOURS Mon-Fri 9am-6pm Sat 10am-6pm Sun 11am-5pm
Take part in a magical light show & meditation session
Taking place at Denver’s International Church of Cannabis, this captivating light show invites visitors to immerse themselves in a world of laser-driven illumination. During the 1-hour show you’ll be treated to a mesmerising display of visual pyrotechnics, accompanied by a guided meditation session against the backdrop of calming music. Afterwards, there’s also the chance to check out an arcade and media room. Tours can be booked through Viator.com.
Chow down on salivating steak while admiring taxidermy
When you’re about to indulge in a mouth-watering meat feast it’s always worth remembering the origins of what you’re about to eat. At Buckhorn Exchange Denver’s oldest steakhouse, that is made easy by the wall to wall taxidermy that lines the restaurant. First opened towards the end of the 19th century, the distinguished eatery is one of the city’s most unique dining spots, combining top notch hunks of meat and classic accompaniments with an eye-catching collection of mounted animal heads and other assorted taxidermy adorning its bright red walls. Such is its repute that several US Presidents have dined here down the years. To add to the atmosphere, each Friday and weekend the restaurant also hosts live prairie performances by authentically dressed cowboys in the upstairs bar.
LOCATION 1000 Osage Street HOURS Mon-Sun 5pm-9pm
Traverse the city with the wind in your hair
Zip around Denver on two-wheels during a 3-hour small-group motor-scooter tour. During the tour you’ll learn about the city’s history and architecture while visiting a range of landmarks and places of interest including Confluence Park, Lower Downtown, Denver Highlands, Colorado Convention Center, Coors Field, Denver Union Station, and plenty more. Guided training, plus a helmet, eye protection, sunscreen and practice laps are all included in the price. Tours can be booked through Viator.com.
Sip handcrafted cocktails in a historic hotel bar
Situated in Denver’s oldest hotel is an atmospheric marine-themed bar where patrons can sip handcrafted cocktails while surrounded by chic Prohibition-era glamour. Designed by early Denver architect Frank Edbrooke, the Oxford Hotel was built in 1891 and its Cruise Room bar has grown to become perhaps the city’s most famous watering hole, serving up an eclectic range of delectable drinks amid distinctive red hued décor.
LOCATION 1600 17th Street
Delve into Denver’s craft brewing scene
Denver has a burgeoning craft beer brewing scene and visitors to the city can get a taste of it themselves by joining a guided brewery walking tour. Taking you through several neighbourhoods, the three-hour tour will see you stop off at three local microbreweries where you can simple a variety of craft beers and learn how such handcrafted beverages are made. All beer tastings are included in the price. Tours can be booked through GetYourGuide.com.
Catch a top class baseball game
For many American kids, attending a baseball game is a veritable rite of passage, and happily its one that non-natives can experience too. In Denver, Coors Field is the home field of the Colorado Rockies, the city’s Major League Baseball franchise, and a mecca for baseball fans who come to watch top notch sporting action against the spectacular backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. The arena is family-friendly, and in case your little ones get a bit fidgety during the action there are plenty of amenities to keep them entertained. If you don’t manage to catch a game, the stadium also runs tours offering a fascinating behind the scenes look at the ballpark.
LOCATION 2001 Blake Street
Admire an amazing aircraft collection
Aviation enthusiasts visiting Denver are in for a treat thanks to the presence of the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Situated in a 1930s former Air Force hangar, the museum features an incredible collection of aircrafts and space vehicles, including such rarely seen gems as a B-18A Bolo and a Star Wars X-Wing fighter. There’s also a range of interactive gadgets and instruments that are great for teaching kids about the magical world of aviation. Friendly and knowledgeable museum guides are also on hand to answer any questions.
LOCATION 125 North Guadalupe Street HOURS Mon-Fri 10.30am-4pm Sat 10.30am-3pm Sun 11am-2pm
Reach one of Colorado’s highest peaks
Rising to over 14,000 feet, Mount Evans is one of Colorado’s most impressive mountain peaks. Dominating the western skyline of the Great Plains along with Pikes Peak, Longs Peak, and nearby Mount Bierstadt, the attraction makes for a popular day trip from Denver and can be reached either by car or via a 3-4 hour hike from the base to the top. For your efforts you’ll be treated to subline panoramic views, an amazing array of flowers during springtime, and even sightings of the odd mountain goat. There’s also an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the University of Denver at the summit.