Top Attractions In Denver Colorado – Known as the Mile High City, Denver is the capital of Colorado and one of the most exciting cities in the United States. Surrounded by mountains, Denver is the perfect base for those who love a little outdoor adventure.
While you may be tempted to head straight to the Rockies, there are plenty of things to do in Denver that will keep you busy for a while.
Top Attractions In Denver Colorado
Home to some of the best museums, beautiful parks, all four major sports teams, and arguably the best music scene in the country, Denver has a lot to offer travelers of all ages and interests.
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If you plan to see 3 to 5 of the Denver attractions on this list, consider the Denver City Pass, which gives you 40% off the regular admission price. Learn more here.
In this guide, we’ll cover 15 must-see sights and things to do in Denver to help you plan the perfect trip to the city.
The start of our list of top Denver attractions is the Colorado State Capitol. This neoclassical building was built in the 1890s and houses the Colorado General Assembly as well as the governor’s office.
If the building looks a little familiar, that’s because it was built to resemble the US Capitol in Washington, DC. It is made of white granite and topped with a gold dome to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush.
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One of the best things about visiting the capital is that you can stand exactly a mile above sea level.
There are actually three different symbols on the steps, step 13 being the newest and most accurate. Snap a photo here to show you’re right to visit the Mile High City.
Inside, you’ll see beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from Colorado history. Be sure to climb the steep 99 steps to reach Mr. Brown’s loft where you’ll enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of downtown and the Rocky Mountains.
The Colorado State Capitol is free to visit and they even give free tours. They start at 10 am. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and they recommend arriving at least 20 minutes early.
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It’s definitely one of the most popular things to do in downtown Denver. You can find the Capitol building on a map and get directions here.
A quick walk from the State Capitol will bring you to the wonderful Denver Art Museum. Take your time going in, as the buildings that house the museum are a work of art in themselves.
Years later, the Hamilton Building was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, who was “inspired by the light and geology of the Rockies.” This world-class art museum is definitely one of the best places to visit in Denver.
Here you will find an abundance of Native American art among nearly 70,000 different works of art. Exhibits are always changing, so be sure to check their calendar to see what’s on. This is a must do for any art lover in Denver.
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The Denver Art Museum is open Monday through Thursday and Saturday and Sunday from 10-5. The museum is open until 8 am on Fridays. Tickets are $13 for adults, and children 18 and under are free. You can find the museum on the map here.
Of all the great Denver attractions, my personal favorite is Red Rocks. This is a must see in Denver.
This city park and outdoor amphitheater is a great place to walk, bike, and watch live music. In fact, Red Rocks consistently tops lists of the best concert venues across the United States.
I’ve seen a lot of concerts in a lot of places, but it’s really hard to top Red Rocks. I mean, the stage here is set between two giant sandstone cliffs.
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Not only is it incredibly beautiful, but this natural amphitheater also has absolutely incredible acoustics. I’ve been there a few times and it’s always great.
There are many great performers who come to this legendary venue. They also regularly host yoga classes and even movie nights, so there’s always something exciting going on at Red Rocks.
Even on a non-event day, it’s worth the trip from downtown Denver to Red Rocks.
The park also has several different hiking and biking trails. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit near Denver if you want to exercise with a great view of the mountains. While you’re here, you might as well check out the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
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Red Rocks is actually located in the small town of Morrison and is about 30 minutes from downtown Denver. It opens one hour before sunrise and closes one hour before sunset on non-event days.
When the show is on, the park closes around 2pm. Best of all, admission and parking are free. You can get directions to Red Rocks here.
Meet your guide and head to Red Rocks. You’ll drive through the historic Lariat Loop and up Bear Creek Canyon, where you can see the Rocky Mountains up close.
Epic views, beer or coffee stops, information about Denver and all the fun is included in this trip. Click here to learn more about this activity in Denver.
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Do you think you want to spend longer in the city? Check out our guide to living in Denver, Colorado.
Strolling the pedestrian-only 16th Street Mall is one of the most popular activities in downtown Denver. This tree-lined street is full of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, so you can easily spend a few hours here.
It’s also a great place to kick back, relax and enjoy some great people watching. You’re bound to see street performers here, as well as some of Denver’s most interesting, shall we say, characters.
While many of my friends who live in Denver might consider this area a tourist trap, I always enjoy strolling there when I’m in town.
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It’s just nice to be in a major American city with a pedestrian zone where people gather and enjoy the outdoors. Plus, it’s easy to find a good Happy Hour deal here.
16th Street Mall is an easy walk, but there’s also a free shuttle bus that stops around every corner if you want to rest your feet. Directions to 16th Street Mall can be found here on a map.
Nature lovers will definitely want to add the Botanical Gardens to their list of places to visit in Denver. This massive park covers 23 hectares in the heart of Denver, creating a green oasis in the heart of the growing city.
Consisting of over 45 different gardens, there is plenty to see here. In total, there are more than 30,000 different plants. This is definitely one of Denver’s best attractions and a place you don’t want to miss while visiting the city.
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Some of the park’s highlights include the tranquil Japanese Garden, the Tropical Winter Garden, and the Rocky Alpine Garden.
There is so much to see and do here that you could easily spend a whole day exploring the gardens and the larger Cheesman Park in which they are located.
Tickets for the main York Street Gardens are $15 for adults, $9.50 for seniors/military and $9 for students and children. This is one of the best places to visit in Denver and is included in the City Pass, which you can purchase online here.
There are actually a few days of the year when it’s completely free, so be sure to check the calendar. It is open daily from 9-5 and you can find directions by looking at the map here.
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Did you know that Denver is one of two cities in the United States where all four major sports teams play downtown?
Denver and my hometown of Detroit are the only places where you can see basketball, football, hockey and baseball all downtown.
Denver is home to the Broncos (NFL), Rockies (MLB), Nuggets (NBA) and Avalanche (NHL). The Broncos play at Mile High with eight regular season games between September and January.
People here are really crazy about their football team, so it’s a very exciting atmosphere to be a part of.
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Both the Nuggets and Avs play their home games at the Pepsi Center. The regular season for both sports runs from October to April, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch a game throughout the fall and winter.
Watching a hockey or basketball game is one of the best things to do in the winter in Denver.
The Rockies play at Coors Field and play home games very often during the spring and summer months. No matter which team you’re rooting for, watching a game is without a doubt one of the best things to do in downtown Denver.
It might seem a little strange to have a train station on a list of top Denver attractions, but hear me out. Historic Union Station dates back to 1914 when it
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