Outdoor activities, cultural pursuits and sporting events all are among Denver’s best attractions—reflecting a city where much of life takes place outdoors, yet arts are also front and center. Red Rocks Amphitheater, combining both, should not be missed. Ditto Denver Art Museum, where exhibits are enhanced by the museum's unusual architecture and design. Miles of bike paths and a forward-thinking rental program make it easy for residents and visitors to ditch the car and bike to attractions, many clustered around the downtown area including History Colorado Center, Elitch Gardens and Coors Field.
Take It or Leave It:
Denver Art Museum offers stellar family and children's programs. Ask about the loaner backpacks.
Many museums and other venues have free days; check the SCFD (Scientific & Cultural Facilities District) online calendar.
Denver hotels range from historic to contemporary, boutique to grand, moderate to luxury. For convenience it's hard to beat downtown, where guests can walk to restaurants and attractions. Downtown hotels include Hotel Teatro and Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center, housed in the renovated historic Colorado Bank Building, and The Crawford Hotel, a boutique gem tucked into the meticulously renovated Union Station. It's not only about luxury, though. Denver has value-oriented hotels, too. The JW Marriott in Cherry Creek may be the best hotel for combining a city stay with shopping, while airport hotels give business travelers great convenience.
If you stay at a hotel near Denver International Airport, you'll need a car to get around.
Check online websites and call the front desk of hotels you like as deals often differ depending on the source.
Denver is one of the country's fastest growing cities, and nowhere is that more evident than in the city's restaurant scene. Chefs are moving to Denver for the quality of life it offers and bringing their creative dining concepts with them. Coohills, Stoic & Genuine and Mercantile Dining & Provision are contemporary and sophisticated in downtown locations. The Market on Larimer Square is perfect for a casual meal or coffee and dessert, and one of Colorado's popular Mexican food carts established a sit-down restaurant, Comida, in the up-and-coming RiNo area just north of downtown.
Reservations are almost always needed for popular restaurants, even on week nights.
Some restaurants validate for parking at nearby lots and garages; ask.
Be Sure to Sample:
The Nickel offers a charcuterie list, similar to sushi lists, of meats, cheeses and more. Just check off what you want.
Denver's nightlife shines as bright as the stars on a summer evening in the Rockies. The pulsing dance floors of the South of Colfax Nightlife District draw a young crowd, as do many clubs in LoDo. But not all who stay up late are in their twenties! Denver offers nice late-evening options, such as wine bars and music and dining venues, with a more sophisticated vibe. If boot-scootin' boogie is more your style, the Grizzly Rose has dance lessons and dance floors, to say nothing of a mechanical bull, just off I-25.
Late at night in LoDo the young crowd spills onto the streets, many having over imbibed. If this isn't your scene, choose a different part of town.
Take It or Leave It:
El Chapultepec, near Coors Field, is one of Denver's oldest jazz clubs and still going strong. It's funky but worth checking out.
The clubs that are part of the SoCo Nightlife District may have deals for entry at multiple venues.
Denver's neighborhoods offer a wealth of options for shopping. Downtown's Larimer Square is one city block packed with interesting shops and with restaurants where you can take a break between purchases. First Friday Art Walks through the Santa Fe arts district will likely yield great finds and maybe new friends. In Cherry Creek, shoppers can opt for the traditional mall or Cherry Creek North, where pleasant streets are lined with individual shops and businesses as well as some boutiques with familiar (national chain) names. LoDo, including Union Station, still has Colorado-only stores and galleries with a nicely local aesthetic.
Take It or Leave It:
Check out the online events listing for Cherry Creek North, which lists dates for trunk shows and other fun events.
Best Local Souvenir:
One-of-a-kind artwork from galleries in the Santa Fe arts district or LoDo.