Things To Do In The Denver Metro Area
Welcome to Denver! Regardless if you’re visiting, looking to relocate, or just looking to spend more time exploring the area, we have you covered! The entire front range of the Rocky Mountains is jam packed with activities and events for visitors and residents alike, and we want you to take full advantage.
Whether you’re a city-lover, avid museum patron, or outdoor enthusiast, Denver and its surrounding areas will have plenty of activities for you: skiing or snowboarding? There are more than a few ski areas just into the Rockies. Is art your thing? There are dozens of museums and galleries located centrally in the city. Looking to hike or bike some trails? Hundreds of them are within a short distance from central Denver!
The perfect mix of city life and nature, the Denver area is sure to please!
A Day in Downtown Denver
Sometimes an afterthought when you consider all the mountains have to offer, the Downtown Denver area is a vibrant hub for food, beer, art and shopping. Many Denver locals start their day with coffee, apparent by all the different places to grab a cup!
But if you’re looking for more than just a coffee, start your day by heading down Colfax Avenue to Voodoo Doughnuts. This ever-popular shop serves up fresh donuts with unusual (and delicious!) combinations like peanut butter and jelly, oreo, and fruit loops along with always fresh coffee.
After you’ve had your morning doughnut and caffeine, head downtown to the 16th street mall and check out the city! The 16th street mall is the epicenter of the downtown Denver area, including a plethora of shops, restaurants, pubs and anything else you can think of. Just remember to park the car, as the entire stretch of 16th all the way to Union Station is only accessible by foot or the free mall ride busses!
If your few hours on the mall have you feeling peckish, you won’t have to travel far to find some awesome eats! There are more than a few chain eateries on the mall, but if you’re looking for something local, Euclid Hall on 14th between Larimer and Market streets is a fantastic choice. Opened by Jennifer Jasinski (who was mentored by Wolfgang Puck and appeared on Top Chef Masters), they feature a scratch menu sure to please those looking for something local.
If you’re more of a budget eater, Illegal Pete’s is the local spot for huge burritos at a very fair price, fresh and made to order, and is located right on the mall!
Now that your stomach is no longer growling (and your pocketbook may be a little lighter after shopping on the mall), head on over to the Money Museum. They offer up multiple exhibits and hands on activities for all ages, even allowing the younger ones to design their own currency. Don’t worry, the only money you’ll have to deal with will all be on display as the museum is always free!
If you’re looking to really pack in the sights, take the short walk over to Coors Field in the Ballpark neighborhood. The home of the Colorado Rockies is a sight to not be missed, and if there are no games going on, don’t worry; Coors Field offers tours year-round for a minimal cost, and you’ll get to see more than you would if you went to a game (though we would highly suggest seeing one if possible!).
After a long day of exploring downtown Denver, we bet that a nice cozy dinner would be perfect! If that’s the case, 9th Door Downtown serves up amazing Spanish tapas and wine in a small, hip setting perfect for couples. If you can’t leave the kids behind (or aren’t feeling especially adventurous) head on over to the 5280 Burger Bar, which offers up some great burgers in a more casual setting. They even make their own ice cream, creating smiles for kids and adults alike!
After dinner and a little break from your busy day, you should definitely go out and explore the nightlife!
With a plethora of bars, breweries, tap houses and distilleries, you will never fall short on options. If you’re not sure where to go, head over to the RiNo (River North) district located northeast of downtown Denver. Here you will find many local breweries, some of which you can’t get outside of the taproom!
Beryl’s Beer Company specializes in – you guessed it – barrel aged beers, Bierstadt makes a killer lager, and The Infinite Monkey Theorem offers locally produced wines in a quirky taproom setting. These spots (plus a large handful of others) are all within walking distance of one another in RiNo, allowing you to try them all and choose your favorite!
More of a museum lover than a city-goer? The Denver Art Museum is located just a few blocks south of central Denver, and offers a variety of exhibits including paintings, sculptures, modern art and historical artifacts.
Just a block away from the Denver Art Museum, the History Colorado Center places guests into the early days of the west! Focusing on Colorado and its rich history, the museum offers multiple exhibits (with many hands on activities) that allow guests to discover Colorado’s place in the west and in history.
If science is your area of interest, take the short trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, located within City Park. With exhibitions and hands on experiences spanning from fossils to local wildlife, gems and minerals, space, and even mummies and Egyptian artifacts, the DMNS is sure to please everyone in the family!
Hiking and Biking
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to get out of the city, a short drive west from Denver will lead you into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Hundreds of hiking and biking trails are scattered throughout and range in difficulty from beginner to expert.
If you’re looking to get a taste of the mountains without traveling too far from downtown Denver, make the half hour drive to Boulder! Just to the west of downtown Boulder lies the Boulder Canyon Trail, which is the perfect hike for those new to the activity. Because the trail runs along the Boulder Creek, you will be greeted with pleasant water views with mountains lining every background.
If you find a spot you fall in love with, set up a hammock and relax awhile to soak it all in! Most trailheads will allow hikers, bikes and even horseback riding, just make sure you read the signs to know which trail is right for your activity!
Are you an adrenaline junkie? If so, you may want to travel a little further into the mountains from Denver and Boulder. The Breckenridge, Colorado area offers plenty of world-class ski and snowboard runs, along with a snow tubing park. The small town feel provides an experience like no other, and allows visitors to eat and drink at many local spots, including the original location of the famous Breckenridge Brewery! In the summer, the area opens up to activities like hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and zip-lining.
If you’re more of a summertime thrill seeker and would like to see even more of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, head to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs (about 2 ½ hours west of Denver). Here you can ride the Haunted Mine Drop, which plummets riders 110 feet down into the Iron Mountain. If that’s not enough, hop on the Giant Canyon Swing which launches riders up above Glenwood Canyon, where 1300 feet separate them from the Colorado River below!
Majestic Rocky Mountains
If you’re more of the “scenic” type and don’t feel like doing much in the way of hiking or action sports, don’t worry! A short and beautiful drive northwest from Boulder will lead you to Estes Park, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hiking and biking trails are prevalent, but you don’t need to tire yourself just to see the area! There are many long, winding roads through the park and surrounding areas that will provide you with spectacular views of the mountains. You may see some of the wildlife on your drive as well, including deer, elk, moose, and bears!
If you would like to stay even closer to the city, you can drive west from Boulder through the foothills to Nederland, where numerous beautiful views of mountains and the Barker Reservoir await!
If you need a little more than just gorgeous views, a half hour drive south from Nederland takes you to Black Hawk, Colorado. A unique gambling spot, Black Hawk has a ton of casinos ranging in size from one room to the huge 34-story Ameristar Casino/Hotel. With an amazing location isolated in the mountains, Black Hawk is a gambling town like no other!