- Denver, Colorado, is known for its access to nature but there is much to see beyond incredible views.
- From museums to sporting events, here are the best things to do when visiting the Mile High City.
- Visit Insider’s hub for travel guides, tips, and recommendations.
Denver, Colorado, is known for its proximity to nature, and for good reason. The city is just a few hours from four national parks, bustling ski towns, and the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.
But Denver is also home to much more than lush landscapes and shocking mountain ranges. The Mile High City has a lively music scene, thrilling sporting events, vibrant art galleries, and an expansive park system.
Everyone from history buffs to horticulturists can fill a trip to Denver. Take a look at some of the must-do activities for your trip.
Denver Union Station
Denver Union Station is a 100-year-old landmark in the heart of downtown. Beyond being a hub where you can hop on trains and buses, it houses restaurants and shops that sell books, souvenirs, and Denver-branded apparel. On Saturday mornings from May to October, there’s a bustling farmers’ market out front. For a caffeine boost, stop by the station’s Pigtrain Coffee for delicious locally roasted coffee.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a concert venue drawing big name acts. It also happens to offer unrivaled views and spectacular scenery, making it one of the best spots to hike. Red Rocks Park immediately surrounds it and the venue hosts special activities like Yoga on the Rocks during the summer. According to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre website, this monument is the “only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world.”
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens is a public botanical garden near Cheesman Park. There are 23 acres consisting of gardens and an amphitheater for summer concerts. Visit in mid-April to catch the tulips in peak bloom.
If you miss springtime, don’t worry, the gardens host events throughout the entire year. Each Halloween, for example, the garden teems with spooky jack-o-lanterns, and during the winter, don’t miss the Blossoms of Light holiday lights extravaganza.
Coors Field is Denver’s ballpark and home to the MLB team, the Colorado Rockies. It’s also two blocks from Union Station. If you’re planning to catch a game, consider buying a ticket for The Rooftop, which is a standing-room area near the upper-right-field seating with spectacular views. Read this official MLB guide for more details about visiting Coors Field.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
When you need something to do indoors, plan a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where you’ll dive into topics ranging from Egyptian mummies to space odyssey. There are both temporary and permanent exhibits, as well as an IMAX experience. Check out the museum’s website for all ticket offerings.
Right next to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the Denver Zoo. From flamingos and elephants to lions and zebras, it is home to more than 3,600 animals. Plus, you’re welcome to bring your own food into the zoo, so pack a picnic to save a few bucks.
Check out the events calendar to see if the zoo will be hosting any special galas or parties during your visit. The Stingray Cove experience, where you can touch sea creatures, is a blast, though it’s seasonal (beginning in late March) and tickets are first come, first served.
City Park is Denver’s largest municipal park and is a beautiful place to walk, run, bike, and paddle boat, which you may rent at Duck Lake and Ferril Lake. Or, pack a picnic basket for a sunset dinner by the lake on a warm evening for an unbeatable night out.
River North District
Explore street art in Denver’s River North District (or RiNo). The area, which has over 60 murals painted by local artists, is also bustling with breweries, coffee shops, stores, and an array of restaurants.
The newly opened Meow Wolf is an interactive art experience. Every inch of the 90,000-square-foot exhibition is designed to be explored, touched, and questioned. Over 300 artists worked on the exhibit, and it’s something you have to see — and experience — for yourself. Tickets often sell out days or weeks in advance, so be sure to plan ahead.
Sloan’s Lake Park
Sloan’s Lake is the largest lake in Denver. With playgrounds, athletic fields, boating, biking, trails, picnic areas, and paddleboarding, this is the place to spend the day outdoors if you’re visiting during a warmer month. The park also hosts celebrations throughout the year. So if you’re visiting in July, look into attending the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, an annual celebration of Asian and Asian American heritage filled with stunning parade-like creations.