In terms of likeable cities, Denver, Colorado is a top contender. There’s fresh air, mountains in sight, and a diverse range of things to do.
As a former resident, I can attest to a well-known fact: this capital city has a quaint, almost-small-town charm with all the amenities and comforts of a large city. You have local hangouts and favorite spots where baristas learn your name, but also beautiful hotels and food delivery services and excellent public transportation.
Whether you’re there for a day, weekend, or a semester, the Mile High City has something to do for just about everyone.
Spending Time in Denver: 5 Things to Do
1. Grab a Drink
Denver is well known for its thriving microbrewery scene—while the area is home to large-scale operations like the Coors factory (which has a great tour and tasting room), there are a ton of smaller breweries throughout the metropolitan area. There are breweries matching just about every kind of atmosphere and preference—some are like arcades, others are dog-friendly, some are known for their food pairings, and nearly all have one-of-a-kind flavors.
A few of my personal favorite breweries are the Tivoli, Crooked Stave, Barrels & Bottles, and Cerebral. However, I am always open to exploring and checking out somewhere new; my husband and I usually surf Groupon for local deals, and always come out satisfied with a new flight of original brews.
Not into beer? No problem. There are many other craft drink creations in Denver, with options like cideries, wineries, and distilleries.
If booze isn’t a viable option, Denver has a huge collection of coffee shops. There are cat cafes, espresso-in-book-store cafes, vegan cafes, art-inspired cafes, hipster cafes, grandma’s house-themed cafes, board game cafes, and pretty much everything in between. I liked to get my soy chai from Amethyst Coffee, Huckleberry Roasters, Stella’s, and The Market.
2. Read a Book
If there’s anywhere that makes buying a book feel like an enchanting experience, it’s at the Tattered Cover. This Denver institution is one of the largest independently owned bookstores in the country; there are several locations throughout the city, each acting as a special reminder of the power of reading.
Aesthetically, the Tattered Cover is in a league of its own. The aisles are expansive and huge, there are many nooks and crannies for snuggling up with a fresh read, and the staff is amazingly friendly and helpful. Additionally, there are always events and book signings, if the store alone (and its collection of half a million books) isn’t enough to bring you in.
3. Hang Out at the Train Station
Like most big cities, Denver has a central transportation hub. It’s called Union Station, and while it is an important network of trains and busses and light rails on the outside, there’s also a quirky and fun inside. Union Station is a busy, always-moving collection of restaurants, an open-concept bar, and a hotel.
Denver’s Union Station is grand, inviting, and catches the spirit of its urban, lower downtown location. While you’re there, be sure to explore the nearby food and drink options, and, of course, make a stop for ice cream.
4. Admire Some Rocks
What, you’ve never sought out a bunch of rocks on vacation before? Though it might sound a little mundane in theory, Red Rocks Amphitheater is anything but. Located a little outside of city limits in Morrison, Colorado, Red Rocks is an amazing sight—a red-stone concert venue with an impeccable reputation; they’re known for their incredible shows (rain or shine), gorgeous views, and intense acoustics.
Red Rocks is even cool when you’re not there for a concert. You can drive there on your own and explore, whether to admire the geology, hike, or participate in an activity—there are yoga and fitness classes, movie showings, and even church on the rocks throughout the warmer months. There’s a history museum too, if jogging up and down the steps seems more like torture than fun.
5. Be a Tourist
Denver has a beautiful balance between small, local gems and large attractions with mass appeal. As your Trip Advisor search will explain, here are some of the touristy (and still amazing!) activities available in the city:
- Denver Zoo. The zoo is perfect for families, date days, and small children. In addition to routine animal shows, they also do Zoo Lights around the holidays, which is a fun Christmas-y outing.
- Denver Botanic Garden. Lots of fun and beauty, all year round!
- A professional sports game. You can go watch the Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche, or Rapids. All are super fun experiences.
- Museums. There are many museums to choose between, from art to history.
- The Aquarium. Similar to the zoo, the Denver Aquarium has lots of creatures and is ideal for families.
Denver: Worth a Visit
Thanks to its epic diversity and accessibility to wonderful attractions, the Mile High City is great for exploration and fun, around every corner.
About The Author
Name: Savannah Nelson Blog: Sunshine with Savannah Happiness-oriented blog with a focus on weekend travel, married millennial life musings, and all things lifestyle.