Best Things To Do Colorado – During our west coast road trip, we decided to explore the state of Colorado for a month! Traveling between Colorado Springs, Aspen and Denver, there are many attractions in between.
Since we had an entire month to explore all that Colorado has to offer, we really got to know the best things to do in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aspen! Check out our guide to Colorado Springs; Weekend Getaway – 10 Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs
Best Things To Do Colorado
In this post I share some of the best things to do in Denver! You’ll never run out of fun things to do in Denver, but we’ll focus on a dozen that we think are worth spending your time in this mile-high city!
Top Things To Do In Colorado Springs » Savoteur
Denver is known as the Mile High City due to its elevation of exactly 5,280 feet above sea level. It is the capital of Colorado, as well as the state’s most populous city. We also found out that it was named the best place to live in the United States by US News and World Report
We can see why it ranks so well among other cities in the country. Denver is a thriving metropolis, with lots of open spaces and opportunities for an active lifestyle, a great downtown area, a wide range of cultural activities, and a great food scene (they filmed Top Chef season 15 here).
That said, Denver’s elevation makes it difficult for some people. People with asthma and other medical conditions may not be able to do very well here, and bakers take a long time to get the cake to rise properly (it’s an art form!).
We’ve had no serious medical conditions during our year-long stay around the world and we don’t plan on baking, so Denver was a great place for us to land and enjoy the outdoors and all that the city has to offer has.
Best Things To Do In Colorado (2023) Fun Activities!
Our home base in Denver was the historic Brown Palace Hotel downtown. The Brown Palace is Denver’s oldest continuously operating hotel and they celebrated their 125th anniversary when we were there. If you’re wondering where to stay for the best access to Denver’s many activities, Brown Palace is it!
We found the Brown Palace Hotel to be unique for many reasons. The exterior construction was very modern for that time, made of stone in a flat iron or triangular shape. They have preserved the facade with an intricate entrance leading to a grand lobby, the inner hallway, beautiful lattice work and arch and unique lighting.
Brown Palace Hotel has several restaurants: Ship Tavern, Ellington, Palace Arms, as well as two cocktail lounges. They offer afternoon tea (a true Brit will be impressed) and a Sunday Dom Pérignon champagne brunch. We appreciate that the chefs try to use local and sustainable ingredients while creating some pretty impressive dishes.
Since the Brown Palace is located in the heart of the city, it was a great starting point for our daily exploration of Denver. Let’s take a look at some of the cool things we found in Denver….
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Stunningly beautiful, Red Rocks Amphitheater and its majestic, surreal, grand outdoor amphitheater is nestled among deep red sandstone mountains about 15 miles west of Denver. Geology enthusiasts, hikers, bikers, and music lovers all head to Red Rocks year-round.
The park itself is 738 acres, located in a transition zone between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. It has some really unique and interesting geological features, remains of past inhabitants (including dinosaurs), flora and fauna, and some great hiking and biking trails. Admission to the park is free and it is open daily from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
With a seating capacity of over 9,000, the amphitheater is a naturally formed basin between Ship Rock and Creation Rock that creates “acoustic perfection”. Concerts and events are held throughout the year in all genres of music, from techno and hip-hop to rock and country and everything in between. While it can be difficult to get tickets – every concert is sold out – if you manage to get your hands on a few, you won’t be disappointed with the experience. Sitting among the stars with gigantic monoliths on either side of the stage, you will get lost in the music.
Red Rocks Amphitheater is also known for its intense workouts! This stair workout is no joke! Peter and I tried it and I choked half way up the stairs! This was for 3 reasons: Red Rocks Amphitheater is at an elevation of 6,000 feet, it has about 360 steps from the parking lot to the upper concession, and we did our stair training in the winter, it was cold!
Best Things To Do In Colorado In 2023 From A Local
Overall, the Red Rocks Amphitheater is a great place for a workout, concert, event, or just to admire the red sandstone and view! This is one of the best outdoor activities in Denver.
Located in the heart of Cheeseman Park, the Botanical Gardens are well worth a few hours (or more) of your time. With 41 gardens and over 15,000 plant species on 24 acres, you’ll find some spectacular floral displays, sculptures, and other art.
Educator tours are a great way to get to know the gardens. It all makes more sense when explained by someone who clearly loves the environment they are in.
During the summer you will find open air festivals here, while the winter holidays provide light splashes of flowers.
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Denver’s Union Station is much more than the city’s transportation hub. Built in the early Art Deco era, and still beautiful today, the station is home to the city’s bus and rail lines, as well as Amtrak, The Crawford Hotel, boutiques, and restaurants.
Located in what is now known as Lower Downtown, you’ll find that Union Station is home to activity for most of the day and evening, with the station’s benches and chairs serving as prime people-watching spots. You can wander the various boutiques and galleries, stop for a coffee, cocktail or full meal, or visit the luxurious hotel within the walls.
Best of all, you can get anywhere in the city from this one location, with 125 RTD bus routes, 9 light rail routes (with 53 stations), and free MetroRide and free MallRide service. This makes it very convenient for visitors who do not choose a car. You can find transportation to Denver International Airport as well as many local ski and resort destinations.
We came across Union Station while exploring the city, we were just looking for something to eat and as we walked through the restaurants we saw many small shops, bars and an open plaza where people were drinking, working and just hanging out with friends… It’s a great place to hang out, have a drink or coffee and relax depending on the time of day.
Best Things To Do In Colorado Springs, Co
Larimer Square is Denver’s historic district and today is home to homes, galleries, boutiques, restaurants and clubs. Within walking distance of downtown (and Union Station), it’s a great place to hang out, browse the shops, and stop for a bite to eat.
Shoppers will enjoy all the independent boutiques offering shoes, clothing, jewelry, antiques, home goods, beauty products and more. Whether you’re looking for a shave and haircut, a spa treatment for yourself (or your dog), or my personal favorite: Goorin Bros. A hat from, a shop run by four generations of artisans, where they help you find the perfect chapeau for your head. They have a Gorin Brothers hat shop in Austin, Texas, and we bought two hats while we were there. (If you’re traveling to Austin anytime soon, check out my Ultimate Travel Guide – Best Things to Do in Austin!)
When you’re hungry, Lorimer Square has “one of the most outstanding collections of regionally exclusive chef restaurants” in the country. That means you get good food no matter what time of day. The menu includes French, bar food, seafood, Italian, Mediterranean, upscale barbecue and more. Your taste buds won’t regret it.
How about some jazz and a cocktail in the Crimson Room? Or a few laughs at Comedy Works? Larimer Square has no shortage of nightlife or great mixologists.
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Each building in the Denver Art Museum is a work of art in itself. Before entering, take in the 3 buildings that make up the best museum in the Mountain Time Zone.
The main building is a modern version of a castle and the exterior has more than 1 million reflective glass tiles, thanks to the vision of Gio Ponti. I was most impressed by the museum’s second building, known as the Frederick C. Hamilton Building. I can’t decide if it looks like a futuristic starship from a Star Wars movie (with its 9,000 titanium panels) or if it’s just designed upside down. Anyway, it’s great. Third and
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