26 Unique Things to Do in Denver Colorado From a Local

March 8, 2024   16 Comments »

Since moving here, I’ve discovered so many unique things to do in Denver every day. This isn’t your normal best-of sightseeing in Denver bucket list (no AI here!); you’ll find things that aren’t listed on any other list of Denver activities.

I don’t like to follow the crowd – and giving you a list of fun things to do in Denver that is the same as every other one out there on the interwebs…what fun is that? Instead, I picked things that I like to do in Denver. You’ll find a mix of Denver experiences and great food and drink around the city.

In addition, I’ll take you to some of the Denver suburbs and the small foothill towns so you can get a real feel for the entire Denver area. After all, Denver isn’t just about downtown. And I’ll even give you some active adventures you can have in Denver if you want to move more!

I have personally done all of the things on this list. I’m constantly updating my list of the best things to do today in Denver as I discover more places, so check back often. Last update March 2023.

weekend in denver - city pass colorado

I have also included a list of places to stay in Denver. These are places that I have personally stayed at or experienced. I try to pick ones that are more unique and also ones that support smaller local businesses rather than the big chains.

Table of Contents

What to do in Denver Colorado

Activity near me in denver blue bear
Denver’s Big Blue Bear – a City Mascot

There’s a plethora of touristy things to do in Denver that cater to a diverse range of interests. Begin your exploration with a visit to the iconic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, renowned for its stunning geological formations and hosting unforgettable concerts. For art enthusiasts, the Denver Art Museum showcases an impressive collection spanning centuries and cultures. Immerse yourself in the historic charm of Larimer Square, known for its unique boutiques, vibrant nightlife, and delicious dining options.

1. Discover Denver Through Street Art in RiNo

There are a lot of great neighborhoods in Denver with snazzy New York City-esque names like LoDo (lower downtown Denver), LoHi, RiNo, and Uptown. I honestly can’t remember what they all stand for, but I am starting to somewhat know their general direction. So, when I heard about a Denver Graffiti Tour through the RiNo neighborhood I figured this would be my chance to learn about a new neighborhood.

Things to do in Dener Grafitti RINO

I love street art, and I find its transformation fascinating. It went from being a plague on cities in the past to something that cities welcome and commission. It’s as if suddenly the Coyote became best friends with the Road Runner and started to pay him to hang around. Denver has one of those stories for sure, and you’ll learn a bit about it on this cool 2-hour walking tour.

Not only will you learn about the evolution of street art around the world and in Denver, but you’ll also learn about the evolution of the RiNo neighborhood into an art district. RiNo is like the ‘Lower East Side’ of Denver; it’s where all the grit and crime were years ago and has now slowly transformed into a hip area. 

Weekend in Colorado Springs: where to eat, stay, and adventure

Old warehouses are now home to breweries, cool bars, start-ups, galleries, and markets, and the whole neighborhood is covered in street art. On the tour, you learn the story behind street art and graffiti based on the guide’s research and interviews with the street artists personally. It’s a nice inside look into the street art culture.

What started years ago with alley walls as a canvas has moved out to all the main buildings and establishments of RiNo – street art was everywhere. Some of it still represented the roots of the graffiti culture, and much of it was commissioned work. I recommend anyone visiting Denver to check out a Denver Graffiti Tour and then hang out in the RiNo neighborhood for brunch or local beers!

2. Smell the Flowers and do Sunrise Yoga in the Denver Botanical Garden

I had passed by the Botanical Gardens in Denver more times than I could count. I even went to it last winter for their Holiday lights, but I had never been to the Botanical Gardens in the summer (or in the daylight!) to actually see the flowers and plants…until recently. 

The Botanical Gardens exceeded my expectations in every way. I thought it might be sort of boring, but the grounds were lovely and vast. They have several outdoor areas/gardens with different types of plants as well as indoor gardens. The whole area was so relaxing and beautiful that I became a member!

And if you are looking for a local things to do in Denver that are more active, they even offer yoga classes in the botanical gardens on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 8:30.  In the summer months, you do yoga in the garden among the beautiful flowers and ponds. In the winter they hold it in the main building which is also really nice. It’s such an incredible place to practice yoga among the flowers, birds, and water installations.  It’s the best sunrise yoga in the city and it’s open to anyone who wants to get a ticket!

Purchase Denver Botanical Gardens Yoga Tickets Here

Get a Denver CityPASS to Explore More of the City

Denver CityPASS Information:
Tickets include one-time admission to any 3 of the following attractions:
1. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
2. Downtown Aquarium
3. Denver Art Museum
4. Denver Botanic Gardens
5. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
6. Denver Zoo
7. History Colorado Center
8. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Buy A Pass here!

3. Get High In Denver At Rooftop Bars

Sorry – not that kind of high… I’m talking about height. 

I went to the opening of 54thirty rooftop bar and I must admit it sort of made me miss NYC for a hot second. I normally wear pretty casual clothes around Denver – you’ll often find me in flip-flops. However, this is one time when I felt like I should get properly dressed up.

Situated on the top floor of the Le Méridien Hotel is the swanky rooftop bar 54thirty. You can sip fancy drinks in tiny glasses, sit on modern couches, and watch the sun go down over the Rocky Mountains on one side while being wowed by downtown Denver’s big city lights on the other side – all while listening to a hip DJ – sitting outside!

It’s a great place to go for the views and some fun cocktails. Obviously, this is more of a summer place, but the rooftop is open even in the cooler months for the truly hearty.

If you need a place to ‘get’ high in the winter in Denver – then an indoor option is Peaks Lounge on the 27th floor of the Hyatt Regency.  The cocktails at Peaks Lounge Denver Colorado are inventive, the small plates tasty, and the view is incredible.  The Hyatt sits above pretty much everything and you can watch the sun go down behind the front range mountains – a great start to your evening in Denver. 

4. Dive Into Denver’s Breweries 

Looking for some Denver attractions for adults? I’ve never lived in such a beer-crazed city; there are 72 breweries in Denver alone. And it’s beer–crazed for good reason…because the breweries and the brewing culture are really phenomenal here.  Denver is on the cutting edge of beer, and the best way to experience this is by going on a beer tour.  I highly recommend the Denver Microbrew Tour.  I went on their RiNO Beer and Graffiti Tour and was blown away by the quality of the tour, the amount of beer we tasted, and the knowledge of our guide. 

RiNo (River North art district), the former industrial/gritty area of the city, has transformed into the happening neighborhood full of breweries, restaurants, and personality. On this tour, you’ll go to 4 breweries and taste 10+ different beers.  

My favorite thing about Denver Microbrew Tours (and what makes it unique) is not every tour is the same. Our guide asked us to share our favorite types of drinks (not just beer), and from that collection of answers he decided which breweries we visited on the tour. 

In addition, he really pushed us to try everything, even if we didn’t like IPAs, try them because you may like them. I live by this rule – and appreciate pushing people to try new things. The beer was super – I found some new favorites, and found some new street art favs too!  But let’s face it…this tour is mainly about beer. 

They offer a RiNo tour as well as a LoDo (Lower Downtown) tour.  And if you are reading this 5% off when you use my promo code OTTSWORLD!

5. Learn about History with a Molly Brown House Museum Tour

This little piece of history was right in my Capitol Hill neighborhood and I had no idea! That’s that fun thing about discovering a city – you have all kinds of little surprises. I went to do a tour of the historic Molly Brown house in Capitol Hill and I was pleasantly surprised to learn of this progressive woman and her history with Denver and politics.

Molly Brown was a tough woman, and her home was only a few blocks from my little apartment. Not only that, she was a survivor of the Titanic (played by Kathy Bates in the movie). The tour was interesting, the home was beautiful. 

If you like history and walking – check out other Denver Historic Walking Tours.  It’s a great thing to do in Denver to get some background on the city’s Western and mining heritage.

Explore these Denver hikes for visitors

6. Hang Out and Have Dinner in Larimer Square

It’s only one block, but it’s filled with history and incredible food – make sure you visit Larimer Square.  This area of downtown is lined with historic buildings that have now been converted into restaurants, bars, and a few hip stores. 

If you want to learn more about the history of the block – check out the Denver Historical Society Larmier Square walking tour.

Lights are hung across the block giving it a lovely, warm, welcoming feel. It’s there where you’ll find one of my favorite restaurants – Tamayo Modern Mexican Kitchen and Tequileria. This corner restaurant also has rooftop and outdoor seating in this prestigious block.

My mother and I went to dinner there to try out their Mexican cuisine and I was won over by their unique marrying of flavors like bacon and guacamole, and carnitas with an orange and habanero reduction. All of the dishes had a spicy flare tamed by a sweet fruit of some kind – the flavors were refreshing. 

 It’s a great way to get a different perspective on Larimer Square – while sipping some tequila! They have a wonderful selection of tequilas and utilize them in some surprising drinks, like my tequila old-fashioned.

7. Attend a Storytelling Event

Storytelling brings things to life. We all love stories; they can cross the barriers of time and allow us to experience similarities. Since 1997 The Moth has been promoting the art of storytelling in New York City. I’ve watched it grow from simple story slams held in small venues on the Lower East Side to expanding all over the world – and even Denver.

Moth storytelling events NYC
Photo via Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

At its essence the Moth is a story slam; people show up, put their name in a hat, and if they are lucky will be chosen to tell a 5-minute story based on the topic. Judges choose winners for the night but no prizes are given out. It’s simply a way to engage in and promote storytelling in a fun social setting in Denver. You can also simply show up, not put your name in the hat, and enjoy the stories as the audience. Moth stories have made me cry, laugh, and ponder life decisions; a moving event if you are the audience or the storyteller.

This is one of my favorite things to go to in Denver! It’s unusual, entertaining, and inspiring. There is a Moth event in Denver once a month at the Swallow Hill Music Hall. If you happen to be in Denver when there is an event – but sure to get a ticket and enjoy the show!

Check the Denver Moth calendar here and be sure to get your tickets early – they often sell out!

Plan your weekend in Denver – where to eat, stay and play – full itinerary included

8. Visit the Ice Core Lab and Ice Millions of Years Old

If you can’t go to Antarctica, then do the next best thing – visit the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility (NSF-ICF) in Lakewood (Denver suburb). It is responsible for curating and studying meteoric ice cores recovered from the glaciated regions of the world. Why is this a ‘thing to do in Denver’ – because you can actually tour this ‘cool’ facility!

NSF-ICF provides scientists with the capability to conduct examinations and measurements on ice cores, and it preserves the integrity of these ice cores in a long-term repository for future investigations. Not only do you learn about the research being conducted, but you also learn how they get these ice cores from places like Antarctica and Greenland. These ice cores actually give us the ability to study the ancient atmosphere trapped in the ice.

It’s a fascinating tour, that consists of a presentation about the research, and an explanation of why the ice cores are kept in Denver, as well as a tour of the facility. Be sure to bring your warm clothes as you’ll be going into rooms that are over -20 F!

They run a tour once a week, HOWEVER – you do need to plan ahead for this as they often are full. Here’s how to take a tour of the facility.

Update for 2024 – Tours of the ICF will be limited in 2024 due to a higher-than-usual volume of ice core processing. The further in advance you request a tour, the more likely we will be able to accommodate you.

9. Do a Bottomless Denver Brunch Experience at Tupelo Honey

They had me at bottomless Bubbles and chicken and waffles. Brunch at Tupelo Honey near Union Station in LoDo is epic. They do big southern comfort food dishes and bottomless mimosas.  Try the fried green tomatoes, sweet potato pancakes, grits, and chicken & waffles – all are delicious!

It’s busy on the weekends, but no problem though as it’s a great area to walk around. Check out Union Station (one of the coolest places in Denver!), and Confluence Park by the river not too far away. The time will fly by while in LoDo there’s always so much to see.

10. Bike the Cherry Creek Trail out of Denver

This paved trail goes right past my apartment – so I’ve started exploring it more in the hopes of learning my way around Denver a bit better! Cherry Creek trail stretches 42 miles, following its namesake stream from Denver’s Confluence Park in downtown Denver to Castlewood Canyon near Franktown. Biking the Cherry Creek Trail is a super way to see more of Denver and cover more ground.

It’s paved the entire way and it’s meant for bikers, runners, and walkers – you just have to be courteous of the people you are sharing the trail with. It’s relatively flat and has underpasses to get past all of the major highways which makes it really efficient!

You can rent a bike downtown from Mile High Bike Rentals. They also put on biking tours if you’d rather just follow someone. 

Denver city park

As a bonus, the first 3 miles from downtown is a great place to see more street art as you ride below the traffic on Speer Street and enjoy the stream. Then you transition out of the city to the suburbs past golf courses, warehouses, and suburban homes. Once you get out of the main part of the city – you also have spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain National Park! It’s a great way to see different parts of the city and get exercise at the same time!

11. Volunteer in Denver to Get to Know the Community

I think an important part of learning about a city is finding ways to give back to the city you visit.

As a resident of Denver, I choose to do that through volunteering (and kitten fostering in Denver ). I’m still learning about various volunteer things to do around Denver, but I did come across a great Denver-based non-profit organization, Wish of a Lifetime that resonated with me.

If you are visiting during Valentine’s Day, be sure to check out Wish of a Lifetime’s cupid crew. Their big Valentine’s Day fundraising campaign gives volunteers the chance to hand out roses to seniors at nursing homes all over the city! 

If you are looking for more outdoorsy volunteering – check out VOC – Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. 

VOC organizes projects across the state at various difficulty levels. The majority of their volunteer projects involve trail work in the Rocky Mountains, but they also have ecological projects such as planting native species or clearing invasive weeds, as well as forest health projects where volunteers remove dead trees to mitigate wildfire risk.

See their current outdoor projects here.

12. Go to a Denver Beer Festival

As mentioned before, Denver is the epicenter of beer. You should also know that Denver also seems to be the epicenter of beer festivals, which is a nice perk about living here. There are a number of unique little festivals that true beer aficionados would love, but there are two beer festivals in Denver you should not miss – Collaboration Fest and Great American Beer Festival. I’ve been to both!

The Collaboration Fest

The Collaboration Fest is a time to experiment like a mad beer scientist! The popular beer festival showcases the collaborative nature of the craft beer industry. 

Each brewery chooses who they want to work with, and what style of beer they want to make, allowing for the brewers’ imagination to run wild. They come together for the brew day and make a one-of-a-kind beer to be enjoyed only at the festival. 

One year, the festival featured 123 projects from more than 200 breweries with 144 Colorado breweries, 42 states, and six countries. 

Great American Beer Festival

The Great American Beer Festival has been compared to Germany’s Oktoberfest (not sure I agree with that comparison – but it sure is fun!)

Collaboration Fest: March 30, 2024

Great American Beer Festival: October 10-12, 2024. Tickets go on sale on August 1 and sell out immediately.

Learn more about other beer festivals in Colorado.

Learn about women’s Oktoberfest fashion – the dirndl

13. Listen to a Bluegrass Jam Every Saturday Along the Platte River

This really is a secret local tip…you can listen to a great bluegrass jam session outdoors every Saturday in the summer along the South Platte River Bike Trail! I actually found this cool Denver thing to do while I was out biking along the Platte River Trail. Different people come together to jam outside of Nixon’s Coffee House near Hudson Gardens.  

I love to stop there for a biking break to listen to the incredible music they put out. Often there are singers that join in too!  It’s such a cool way to enjoy coffee and the outdoors on a summer Saturday in Denver!

14. Get in Touch with Denver’s Western Side at the National Western Stock Show Parade

Denver (and Colorado) is technically considered the West. You don’t have to go too far out of Denver to find huge ranches and the ‘western’ side of Colorado. However, for a couple of weeks a year in January/February, the ranchers come to Denver for the National Western Stock Show.

The Stock Show is kicked off every year with a parade down 17th St. from Union Station (see above!) through downtown. However there aren’t any bands and big floats, instead, there are longhorn cattle! I went to this parade the first year I lived in Denver because I had heard about the cattle parade – but it was much more than just cattle. It was a fun chance to see Colorado’s western culture in an urban setting and it reminded me that Colorado is much more than what I see in Denver!

15. Get Familiar with Union Station – Denver’s Living Room

They call it Denver’s Living Room for a reason – it’s cozy and welcoming, with lots of seating, and you can sit around as long as you want! Constructed in 1881, it was renovated in 2014 and was the beginning of what we now know as the resurgence of LODO – lower downtown Denver.

Not only are there tons of exciting things to do, drinks to have, and places to eat, but it’s also a real train station. Amtrak departs from Union Station, and it’s a hub for RTD as well. In fact, Union Station is normally the first thing a visitor sees in Denver since the train to the Denver International Airport drops people off here! It also offers free wifi and shuffleboard! Just check out the shuffleboard pucks at Terminal Bar inside the station

I’ve slowly been discovering the restaurants and bars at Union Station too and they have turned into some of my favorite places in the city. Don’t miss Snooze for some of the best-known breakfasts in Denver, and I’m a HUGE fan of cocktails at the retro-cool Cooper’s Lounge upstairs.

Finally – Union Station is the place to be at Christmas time – it’s beautifully decorated and festive!

Discover Denver’s coffee-flavored whiskey

16. Have a Progressive Dinner in Olde Town Arvada

If you are itching for some smaller town charm, then just hop on the G train from Union Station in downtown Denver, and in 20 minutes you’ll get off and enter historic and adorable Olde Town Arvada.

Arvada was the site of the very first gold strike in Colorado. Downtown Arvada is also designated on the National Register of Historic Places, which means that many of these buildings on Main Street are original and add to that small-town feel.

Olde Town isn’t just charming, it’s tasty! There are so many fun restaurants and bars there, you can’t go to just one of them. Instead, I suggest you go to multiple places and make it a progressive dinner so you can try out many of these cool establishments.

Olde Town is pedestrian friendly and as of 2021, they allow open containers! So you can sip a drink as you stroll to your next course! In addition, Olde Town Arvada has the best patio culture in Denver! So if it’s summer, be sure to enjoy the outdoor seating that every restaurant in Olde Town offers!

The convenient RTD train access to Olde Town makes this the perfect thing to do in Denver during your visit!

Don’t miss these 8 other surprises you’ll find in Olde Town Arvada!

17. Take a Trip to Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station

Meow Wolf’s third permanent exhibition is now open in Denver! Convergence Station is unforgettable, transformational, and not to be missed. This was my first time experiencing the Meow Wolf universe and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting.

Be prepared for things to be weird and a bit overwhelming!

This is a huge building with 4 different ‘converged worlds’ filled with thought-provoking interactive installations from local and national artists.

In addition to simply walking around Meow Wolf and interacting with all of the art, there is also a mystery storyline to solve for those who really want to dig in. Buy a QPASS card at the transit station information counter, which is your ATM card to collect “mems” throughout the exhibition, and view or exchange them at ATM kiosks throughout the building, or at home on their website. This will help you completely interact with the story, and will keep you coming back for more and more until you solve the mystery! 

Be sure to check out Meow Wolf’s special events during your Denver visit.  From DJs to yoga, to dancing…they always have something unique to offer. 

Get tickets in advance here and plan on going back to Meow Wolf Denver multiple times!

18. Switchback Smokehouse for Incredible BBQ

Just follow your nose to this short jaunt out of Denver, for some of the best smoked meat you’ll find in Denver on the western slope! Switchback Smokehouse is in the little town of Kittredge located in the foothills just past Red Rocks and Morrison.

In fact, the drive from Red Rocks Park to Kittredge is also pretty special as it winds through the canyon!

The town of Kittredge is really small and the whole town smells like BBQ when Switchback has the smoker going outside! The restaurant is small but it has a lovely patio that is set alongside Bear Creek which is pet-friendly and just darn serene.

Everything is good here, and the BBQ sauce is homemade. I love the fried pickle chips, as well as the BLT with thick-cut, smoked bacon. Plus – you can just go and get the smoked goodies by the pound too!

19. Take a Scary Walk Through Denver… If You Dare! Capitol Hill Walks

I was able to learn all about my neighborhood history and haunts by taking this Ghosts of Capitol Hill Walking Tour. This tour is the perfect way to experience Denver’s mystery, history, legend, and lore, and is perfect if you’re looking for a fun night out… if you dare.

Our guide, Anna, really made the tour by telling us scary stories with the right amount of humor and drama. And my favorite part was that the tour was at night, making it even more intriguing.

In addition to the scary stories, she shared a ton of history about the area. I was surprised to learn that Denver (and specifically Capitol Hill) was the inspiration for two horror movie classics – Poltergeist and The Changeling.

20. It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere – Martini Time

One of the most important things for me to find upon moving to Denver was a martini bar. Martinis make me happy, especially if you throw a blue cheese-stuffed olive in there. It didn’t take me long to find The Corner Office near Denver Performing Arts Complex. You know it has to be good if they have a whole part of their menu dedicated to ‘Martini Experiences.’

whats there to do in denver Corner office
The Corner Office

In addition to Martinis, they have other incredible cocktails – especially their winter cocktails. They change their menu often and I’m always surprised by new items and drinks on their menu! The bartenders there are really knowledgeable and eager to share; I could just talk to them for days about cocktails. 

21.  Take a Memorable Walk Through Denver’s Cemeteries

You read that right – experience Denver through its cemeteries. Certainly not your typical entertainment in Denver Colorado. Fairmount and Riverside cemeteries both put on walking tours that will teach you all about Denver’s history and its influential and not-so-influential people. 

The Fairmount Heritage Foundation puts on multiple tours with inventive themes such as the famous women of Colorado, the social elite, history mystery, and romancing the stone.  Walking tours range from 45 minutes up to 2 hours depending on the tour. All tours cover about 1.5 to 2 miles in distance at an easy pace. Two of the tours have actors portraying four or five of the deceased historical figures!

To find out when these tours are offered, check out the Fairmount Heritage Foundation. These are typically offered in the fall around Halloween and occasionally at other times of the year. 

22. Visit the Biggest Inventory of Whiskey in Denver

Schoolhouse kitchens and libations have over 2,100 bottles proudly displayed on the floor-to-ceiling shelves in their bar. This is one of the largest whiskey inventories in Colorado and it’s still growing. The Schoolhouse already is a unique place to visit, a restaurant and bar created in an old schoolhouse building (built in 1882) with an intense (but fun) school theme. 

With this many whiskeys to choose from, it can be pretty overwhelming.  Don’t be afraid to ask the bartender for help and advice.  They have always steered me in the right direction. 

Experience the best Denver whiskey bars at Whiskey Row in Arvada

If straight-up whiskey isn’t your thing, then try starting off with a whiskey cocktail as a gateway into the more classic whiskey. And while you sip your whiskey drink, but sure to check out all of the little details of decor that give a nod to your memories of the school; like the bar made of pencils!

whiskey row things to do in demver

23. Take a Cooking Class and Meet Locals at the Seasoned Chef

If you are looking for a unique way to enjoy the food in Denver, then why not take a cooking class while you are visiting? Not only do you get a hands-on experience, but you also get to eat dinner with a bunch of Denver locals! Now that is how you do local travel!

The Seasoned Chef offers a variety of hands-on cooking classes each month. Their goal is to take the intimidation out of cooking and create a laid-back and relaxed environment, whatever your level of skill. Each class is led by a chef and a complete dinner is made. The participants break up into cooking groups and make 2 to 3 recipes for the meal. It’s a fun social time where you learn new recipes and meet new people. When everything has been cooked you sit down as a group and enjoy the dinner!

They offer a huge variety of classes each month and sometimes even have Chefs from some of Denver’s best restaurants lead classes. Check out the class calendar and spend a unique evening enjoying food and socializing in Denver!

24. Take a Bakery Tour

My favorite bakery in Denver is Rebel Bread. I first found them at the South Pearl Farmers Market. It was the stand with the biggest line, winding around the corner. That’s when I discovered their sourdough bread – and I was hooked.

If you’ve ever wanted to see how a commercial bakery works – you can join the founder, Zach, for a tour of the Rebel Bread kitchen and see how they produce massive amounts of bread and baked goods! You’ll learn how bread and croissants are made, how a commercial bakery works, and watch the bakers and equipment in action. Bring your home baking question and chat with the bakers.

In addition to the tour, you’ll also get a complimentary pastry to munch on, bread samples, a sourdough starter, and instructions to take home. Bakery tours are offered weekly on Saturdays and tickets must be purchased in advance as they often sell out. You can get your tickets here.

25. Museum of Illusions

Have a mind bending fun at Denver’s newest experience- the Museum of Illusions. Nothing is ever quite as it seems here! Immerse yourself in the intriguing visual, sensory, and educational experience. I loved that each exhibit had an explanation of the logic behind the illusion and how it worked in our brain.

Take friends to experience these fun interactive exhibits. And make sure you bring your camera to capture the illusions. Many of the illusions can really only be seen with a picture. The best part is that the exhibits tell you exactly where to stand to take the picture and where your friends should stand.

The museum is conveniently located right on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. You can buy tickets in advance or at the museum.

26. Michelin Guide Restaurants

If you are a foodie – I have good news for you. The Michelin Guide has come to Colorado! Want to know the best restaurants in Denver or try one of our 1 Michelin star restaurants (we have 3 of them!)…just go to Colorado Michelin Guide

In addition to our three 1 star restaurants, we also have 15 ‘Selected’ restaurants (recommended and close to getting a star), and 8 Bib Gourmet restaurants (exceptionally good food at moderate prices ). The full list in Denver is impressive! Just make sure you make reservations to get into the popular restaurants.

Denver Michelin Guide 1 star restaurants

I celebrated by going to Fruition – a ‘Selected’ restaurant. It was such an incredible treat to get to try so many things on the menu! Just another reason to come visit Denver – just come hungry!

Where to Stay in Denver

There are plenty of hotel choices in Denver and I include some of my favorites below.

Flora House B&B

If you are looking for a unique place to stay for two days in Denver in a super location for all of these things to do, then check out the Flora House Bed & Breakfast.

Built in 1892, this old historic house is located in Uptown a few blocks from the Denver Botanic Gardens, close to the Colorado State Capitol Building and the Molly Brown House, and in between downtown and Cherry Creek neighborhoods. The rooms are cleverly designed and you’ll have all the comforts of staying in someone’s home – it’s cozy. Plus, there is a large patio with ample garden space and a hot tub where you can relax after a long day of walking all over the city.

Flora House also offers a number of perks in addition to a boutique feel such as free entry to the Botanic Gardens, snacks, and a delicious breakfast. Once you stay here, you’ll never want to go to a hotel in Denver!

Check prices and availability for Flora House on Booking.com

Union Station’s Crawford Hotel

Located inside historic Union Station – the Crawford is my favorite place to stay in downtown Denver. The rooms and suites upstairs elegantly retain elements of the past and downstairs you’ll find great restaurants and bars. Plus, the location is unbeatable if you plan to mainly stick to downtown Denver.

weekend in denver crawford hotel - best neighborhoods
Photo credit: Crawford Hotel

Union Station’s Crawford Hotel  – Check prices and availability for The Crawford Hotel at Union Station | Read reviews for The Crawford Hotel on Trip Advisor 

Other Denver Hotels

Check prices and availability for the AC Hotel by Marriott | Read reviews for the AC Hotel on Trip Advisor

Check prices and availability for The Ramble Hotel | Read reviews for The Ramble on Trip Advisor 

Check prices and availability for The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa | Read reviews for The Brown Palace on Trip Advisor 

Want to explore outside of Denver? Check out my favorite Denver Day Trips. These will take you into the Rocky Mountains to some hidden gems!

Denver Travel Tips

Denver is not your typical American city – it has a few things that make it ‘special’ that you’ll want to be aware of if you are traveling to Denver.

Altitude Tips

Altitude is always a challenge for Denver visitors. Denver sits at 5,280 ft (hence the Mile High City) and for most people, that’s a pretty drastic change when you get off the plane. Your body just can’t adjust fast enough so you’ll get headaches, you may feel a bit nauseous or ‘off’, and your sleep will be affected. Plus – if you drink alcohol, it will affect yours quicker with less.

Symptoms generally associated with mild to moderate altitude illness:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Rapid pulse (heart rate)
  • Shortness of breath with exertion

However, there are some things you can do to make the transition to Denver altitude easier and hopefully fend off some of those side effects.

  • Drink lots of water…water, water, water.
  • You may want to try this electrolyte drink mix that helps you acclimate to the altitude.
  • 2 days before traveling to Denver, start taking aspirin daily and then continue to take one every day you are in Denver. It will increase the flow of blood and therefore oxygen to your brain and help you avoid altitude headaches. However – check with your Doctor first before doing so to understand the medical implications for yourself.
  • Take it easy on alcohol
  • Don’t overexert yourself the first day (save the Cherry Creek bike trail for later in your stay!)

Denver Packing Tips

Temperatures can swing wildly in Denver – so be sure to pack layers and a warm jacket even in the summer. If you plan to head up to the mountains – packing a warm jacket and clothes is a must…even in July.

Bring plenty of moisturizers, eye drops, and lip balm. Denver is really dry and your skin will be begging for moisture.

Bring sunscreen – you are closer to the sun here and it can be deceiving!

Bring a water bottle and keep it with you at all times. Hydration is key in this high desert landscape.

If you plan to hike, check out my hiking packing list here.

Now you are ready to get out and explore the best things to do in Denver based on a local’s recommendation! And don’t miss my other Colorado travel advice if you want to go beyond Denver!

Read more about my move to Denver – from nomad to normal

Denver Colorado Favorite Things

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