Denver, a city where urban sophistication meets outdoor adventure, offers an array of memorable experiences including its historic downtown, Cherry Creek Trail, and numerous parks.
But what are the best experiences in Denver?
From the vibrant arts scene with its museums and historic downtown to the breath-taking Rocky Mountain backdrop and scenic Cherry Creek Trail, every moment in this Mile High City promises something unique for visitors and locals alike, making it a great place to explore.
Dive into Denver’s culinary excellence with its farm-to-table dining experiences downtown or explore the historic neighborhoods and food-focused museums that tell tales of a rich past.
Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-fueled activities on Cherry Creek Trail, peaceful moments in a national park, or exploring the historic downtown, our guide spotlights why Denver is the perfect place and a treasure trove of unforgettable encounters.
Scroll down to read next about our top picks for the best experiences in Denver, the Mile High City.
1. Explore the Denver Art Museum
At the heart of downtown Denver’s cultural scene, the Denver Art Museum boasts a vast array of creative exhibits. With over 70,000 works of art, visitors can travel through time and across continents without leaving the city’s building.
The downtown museum is renowned for its history of American Indian art collection and is a must-visit. This exhibit displays an impressive variety of artifacts and artworks that offer a deep dive into the history of indigenous cultures, and tickets are available for those wishing to visit.
For those who like to roll up their sleeves, the interactive studios downtown are a fun highlight to visit. These fun hands-on activities encourage visitors to engage with art in new and exciting ways downtown.
- Centuries-spanning Collection: The museum’s exhibits feature pieces from ancient times to modern days.
- Global Artistry: From European paintings to Asian sculptures, every continent’s creativity is on display.
- American Indian Exhibit: A favorite downtown park collection that honors the rich heritage of Native American tribes in the city.
- Interactive Studios in downtown city park: Perfect for families or anyone looking to experience art beyond viewing, and a favorite local attraction.
Whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for a unique way to spend your day, this downtown museum offers something for everyone, including a favorite park in the city. It’s not only about what you see in the downtown city park but also about the things you partake in—making it one of Denver’s must-do experiences.
This is one of the best experiences in Denver that you can’t miss!
2. Hike the Trails at Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park is not just a place to see an amazing concert, but also a city favorite for various things. The park, a favorite among those who love nature and hiking, offers much more, especially with its proximity to downtown.
Experience the wonders of sound where music meets nature. At the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a park near the city but far from downtown, you can listen to how naturally perfect acoustics amplify every note. This spot is famous worldwide for its unique structure and sound quality.
The park spans 868 acres and invites adventurers to explore its trails. You’ll find yourself trekking through a park of geological marvels, each step revealing new sights. It’s not just about getting from point A to B in the downtown park; it’s about enjoying every moment and seeing all the things in this stunning landscape.
Photographers and Instagram enthusiasts will have a field day at the park here. The red sandstone formations in the park make for an unforgettable backdrop in any photo. Whether it’s sunrise or sunset at the park, your pictures are sure to be frame-worthy.
- Listen to natural acoustics at the amphitheater.
- Trek across diverse trails spanning over 800 acres.
- Snap photos against breathtaking red sandstone backdrops.
While you won’t find Cherry Creek Trail here, as that runs through different parts of Denver, there are plenty of other routes within Red Rocks Park that offer both challenge and beauty for hikers and runners alike.
3. Savor the Flavors at Denver Central Market
In the heart of downtown, Denver Central Market stands out as a food lover’s paradise. This bustling hub offers an array of gourmet foods that cater to all tastes. Visitors can explore and sample from various local vendors, each with their unique offerings.
- Indulge in handcrafted chocolates that melt in your mouth, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
- Discover cheeses ranging from sharp and aged to soft and creamy, ideal for connoisseurs looking to expand their palate.
- Treat yourself to artisanal baked goods – think crusty breads, flaky pastries, and moreish pies.
Not only does this market offer solid food options but also liquid delights. Patrons can enjoy:
- Craft cocktails mixed by expert bartenders; sip on something new or stick with a classic.
- Freshly brewed coffee from local roasters – energize your day or relax with a warm cup.
Denver Central Market is not just about eating; it’s an experience. It’s where you shop for top-quality ingredients if you’re inspired to cook or simply sit back and savor the best things Denver has to offer in one central location.
4. Tour the Coors Brewery in Golden
Experience the craft of beer-making at one of America’s most famous breweries. The Coors Brewery, nestled just outside Denver in the historic town of Golden, offers a guided tour that is both informative and fascinating.
- See how barley and hops transform into crisp beers.
- Understand the importance of water quality and fermentation.
- Learn about packaging before products hit store shelves.
During your visit, you’ll have the chance to taste some freshly brewed beers. These samples come straight from production lines, offering an unparalleled freshness.
- Savor different beer varieties.
- Enjoy exclusive batches not found anywhere else.
Golden itself adds to the experience with its charming Western ambiance. This small town provides a scenic backdrop perfect for exploring after your brewery adventure.
- Visit local shops and restaurants.
- Stroll along Clear Creek for picturesque views.
The Coors Brewery tour is more than just a look at beer production; it’s an immersion into brewing culture right in the Mile High City’s backyard.
5. Attend a Concert at the Fillmore Auditorium
The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver stands as one of the city’s most historic music venues. Known for its intimate atmosphere, it offers fans a chance to see their favorite artists up close. The venue hosts an array of shows spanning various genres, from heart-pounding rock concerts to energizing hip-hop performances.
When you step inside, you’re greeted by stunning vintage decor that harks back to days past. The chandeliers add a touch of class and create an ambiance that enhances every live music experience. It’s not just about the show; it’s also about soaking in the rich history and aesthetic charm.
Visitors often rave about the quality acoustics and sightlines at this iconic spot. With well-placed seats, there isn’t a bad view in the house, ensuring you won’t miss a moment of your favorite tunes or beats.
For those looking to make an evening out of it, consider pairing your concert with dinner before or after the show. Nearby is Punch Bowl Social on Broadway – perfect for some pre-show fun or post-concert bites with friends.
Attending a concert at Fillmore Auditorium is more than just seeing live music; it’s immersing yourself in Denver’s vibrant cultural scene right in the heart of the city. Whether you’re visiting for just one day or staying longer, securing tickets to a performance here should be on your must-do list.
6. Enjoy a Scenic Drive to Mount Evans
Embark on an awe-inspiring journey along North America’s highest paved road. As you ascend towards Mount Evans, be prepared for dramatic changes in scenery and climate.
- Wildlife Encounters: Keep your eyes peeled for the majestic mountain goats and bighorn sheep that call these heights home.
- Elevated Views: Reaching 14,265 feet above sea level, the summit offers breathtaking panoramic vistas. Each twist and turn of the drive reveals new wonders.
This route is not just about reaching the top; it’s an experience that starts with every mile climbed. The changing landscapes provide a stunning backdrop as you navigate through alpine forests into the realm of arctic tundra.
The higher elevation brings cooler temperatures, so even in summer, bring layers to stay warm. Also, remember that weather can change quickly up high—safety should always come first.
Mount Evans is more than just a great place to visit; it sets the stage for unforgettable memories amidst Colorado’s rugged peaks. Whether you’re seeking solitude or adventure with friends and family, this scenic drive promises both tranquility and excitement.
7. Experience the Denver Beer Trail
Denver’s beer scene is a paradise for craft beer enthusiasts. With over 100 breweries dotted around the metro area, there’s an endless variety of beers to taste. From cozy taprooms to large-scale brewpubs, each offers a unique ambiance and brewing style.
The Denver Beer Trail isn’t just about drinking; it’s an experience that takes you on a journey through the city’s vibrant craft beer culture. As you visit participating breweries, you can collect stamps in your beer trail passport. This fun challenge encourages exploration and rewards you with souvenirs and bragging rights.
Here are some standout experiences:
- Tasting green chili beer, which combines Colorado’s love for craft brews with its famous spicy chilies.
- Sipping on sour raspberry ale that delivers a tart kick alongside its fruity sweetness.
- Discovering small-batch experiments only available in taprooms.
This trail is not only about tasting; it’s also learning how these creative concoctions come to life. Brewers often share their passion and knowledge, offering insights into their unique brewing processes and ingredient selection.
8. Take a Ghost Tour of Historic Capitol Hill
Uncover the chilling tales that lurk in Denver’s oldest neighborhoods. On a ghost tour of historic Capitol Hill, you’ll step into a world where the past seems eerily present.
Explore after dark and feel the thrill as you visit haunted mansions. Guides will share spooky stories that have been whispered through generations. You’ll learn about paranormal activity reported in these grand old homes.
Each mansion has its own eerie past, filled with mysteries and legends. Some say they’ve seen shadows move or heard voices echo with no source in sight.
Capitol Hill itself is an experience at night. The history of this area comes alive under the moonlight, making every moment on your tour more intense.
Imagine standing outside an ancient clocktower or walking by a rooftop where figures are said to appear. These sights add to the suspense as your guide recounts historical events tied to each location’s ghosts.
This isn’t just any city tour—it’s a journey through time and mystery. It offers both locals and visitors an unusual way to connect with Denver’s history.
9. Discover the Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens is a place of natural beauty and serenity. As you stroll through, you’ll encounter plants from every corner of the world. This diverse collection showcases nature’s vast array of colors, shapes, and sizes.
Within these gardens lie rare and endangered species that offer a glimpse into the fragile ecosystems they represent. The conservatory serves as a sanctuary for these precious life forms, emphasizing conservation efforts.
All year round, the gardens are alive with events that cater to all interests:
- In spring and summer, enjoy outdoor concerts where music blends with the scent of blooming flowers.
- Fall brings flower shows that transform the space into an artist’s palette.
- Winter months host educational workshops for those eager to learn about botany in a hands-on environment.
Visitors leave not only with memories but also with increased awareness about plant diversity and preservation. Whether you’re seeking tranquility or looking to enrich your understanding of flora from around our planet, Denver Botanic Gardens delivers an experience unlike any other.
10. Skiing and Snowboarding at Nearby Resorts
Denver, Colorado, is a gateway to some of the most exhilarating skiing and snowboarding experiences in the United States. Just a short drive from the city center, outdoor enthusiasts can hit the slopes at world-class resorts renowned for their diverse terrains that cater to all skill levels—from beginners to experts.
- Family-Friendly Fun: Many nearby resorts offer gentle slopes perfect for families and first-timers.
- Challenging Runs: For seasoned skiers and boarders, steep runs and backcountry areas provide thrilling challenges.
- Snow Quality: Thanks to Denver’s elevation and climate, these resorts often boast powdery snow—a skier’s dream.
After an action-packed day on the mountain, visitors can indulge in après-ski activities. These include relaxing in hot tubs with scenic mountain views or enjoying dining options that range from cozy cafés to upscale restaurants. The combination of physical activity during the day followed by relaxation makes for a perfect weekend getaway.
Beyond skiing and snowboarding, these locations are also home to shops where you can buy gear or souvenirs. As evening approaches, towns near ski resorts come alive with street activities where friends can linger over drinks or share photos of their snowy adventures.
The Best Experiences in Denver
Denver’s vibrant culture, outdoor adventures, and culinary delights stand out as top experiences for any visitor. From the artistic treasures at the Denver Art Museum to the breathtaking trails of Red Rocks Park and the bustling atmosphere of Denver Central Market, there is something for everyone.
The city’s connection with nature is further celebrated through scenic drives to Mount Evans and outdoor concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium. Beer enthusiasts can embark on the Denver Beer Trail or tour the Coors Brewery, while history buffs might prefer a ghost tour around Capitol Hill. For those seeking tranquility, the Denver Botanic Gardens offer a serene escape, and thrill-seekers will find their adrenaline fix at nearby ski resorts.
Encounter Denver in all its glory by planning your visit today.
Embrace each unique experience and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t just take our word for it; discover the wonders of Denver yourself.