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Things to Do in Denver

Whether travelers are in search of challenging outdoor pursuits, striking mountain scenery, a lively cultural scene, or one of the best selections of craft breweries in the country, Denver, Colorado doesn’t disappoint. Nestled in the Front Range Urban Corridor along the eastern face of the southern Rocky Mountains, the Mile High City provides easy access to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park for wildlife spotting (native animals here include beavers, bighorn sheep, black bears, and moose) and more than 300 miles (482 kilometers) of hiking trails. Winter in the mountains brings endless opportunities for downhill or cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing within a few hours drive of Denver at world-class resorts such as Vail, Breckenridge, Telluride, and Aspen. If you're in need of a culture fix, downtown Denver’s bustling urban center is home to highlights such as the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the History Colorado Center. Sports fans will enjoy catching a Denver Broncos game at Mile High Stadium or the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. And don’t forget to leave time for tasting craft beers at one of Colorado’s many breweries—Coors in nearby Golden might be the most famous, but true hopheads plan their trip to coincide with the Great American Beer Festival in October, one of the biggest and best-known in the country.
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Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
27 Tours and Activities
Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a music venue unlike any other—a sandstone stadium forged by the elements and blessed with natural acoustics. Many musicians have taken to this stage, and when shows are in town, Red Rocks can host over 9,500 concertgoers, all in for a treat beyond the music: stellar views of the natural Colorado landscape.
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Garden of the Gods
11 Tours and Activities

Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods is not an average city park with duck ponds and walking paths. Instead, this urban park—which is also a designated National Landmark—boasts 1,367 acres of unique wilderness, Great Plains grassland and juniper woodlands.

The most iconic section of the park is the towering ridge of sandstone formations that reveal 300 million years of geological history. Famous red rock formations include the Balanced Rock, the Gateway Rock and the Three Graces, and among the crags and overhangs, visitors can spot petroglyphs from the Native American Ute tribe that once roamed these lands. The park came to be in 1909 after landowner Charles Perkins requested that his property be donated to the city upon his death. In line with his final wishes, the park remains free and open to the public.

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Pikes Peak Highway
9 Tours and Activities
The Pikes Peak Highway offers an easy, scenic route to the top of iconic Pikes Peak. The 19-mile, paved toll road was originally built in 1915, and the entrance begins at 7,400 feet before climbing all the way to the top of the 14,115-foot summit. One of the best views of the peak can be found at the pullout between mile markers seven and eight. Along the way you can make a pit stop at the historic Glen Cove Inn, a cabin-turned-rest stop area featuring a gift shop, restaurant and restrooms.
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Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
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The final resting place of Wild West showman extraordinaire William “Buffalo Bill” Cody sits atop Lookout Mountain on the outskirts of Golden, Colorado, where grave marker itself overlooks a panoramic view of the Rock Mountains. Since Cody’s burial here in 1917, which had some 20,000 fans in attendance, the mountain attraction has also grown to include a museum devoted to his life.
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Colorado State Capitol Building
9 Tours and Activities

Reminiscent of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., the Colorado State Capitol Building sitting high atop Denver is not just a 24 karat gold-domed meeting place for the Colorado General Assembly, but also an homage to the American governmental process, as well as a truly beautiful archeological wonder.

Built a mile high above sea level, as denoted by the markings inscribed upon its steps, the Colorado State Capital Building has incredible views of downtown Denver, and a history that tells of the days of the Gold Rush and the incredible use of the beautiful Colorado Rose Onyx used to build the interior of the capitol and the designs of dignitaries engraved therein. It is said that the entire known supply of this rare marble was exhausted in making of the Colorado State Capitol.

Tours will tell of early Colorado history, the Capitol construction, the origin of several stained glass windows, the Woman’s Gold Tapestry.

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Larimer Square
15 Tours and Activities
Larimer Square is the oldest part of Denver, with Victorian-era buildings now home to many of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and boutiques. The foundation of Colorado’s capital, the 2-block district is popular with locals and tourists alike, strolling beneath strings of lights and state flags.
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Lookout Mountain
10 Tours and Activities
It’s just a short drive from downtown Denver, but Lookout Mountain feels like another world. Once used as a lookout for the Native American Ute tribe that called the area home, the 7,300-foot (2,225-meter) mountain has miles of hiking and mountain biking trails throughout, from easy walking paths to strenuous switchbacks. From the summit, you can see the Denver skyline 12 miles (19 kilometers) away.
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Lower Downtown Denver (LoDo)
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9 Tours and Activities
A lively district of restaurants, shops, and nightlife, Lower Downtown Denver (or LoDo) is a top destination for Denver culture. In addition to its vibrant scene, though, LoDo is also home to some of the city’s best-preserved historic architecture and more Victorian–era buildings than anywhere else in the United States.
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Denver 16th Street Mall
8 Tours and Activities

Denver’s 16th Street Mall is a beautiful tree-lined, pedestrian area at the heart of the city. This downtown promenade of red and gray granite is a bustling center, popular with locals and visitors alike thanks to an abundance of outdoor cafes, shops and restaurants among renovated historic buildings and modern glass skyscrapers.

The mall boasts more than 300 shops and more than 50 restaurants in a 16-block stretch of 16th Street. Some of the most popular spots include Niketown and Virgin Records’ Megastore, as well as the Hard Rock Cafe and Rock Bottom Brewery, where you can enjoy a hearty selection of draft craft beer. Along with great shopping and dining, the mall is also a hub for local street performers, with a delightful range folk and country singers performing amid dancers.

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Denver Mint
2 Tours and Activities

Reach into your pocket or change drawer and pull out a handful of U.S. pennies. Look carefully at their fronts—chances are most will have a small letter “D” just below the date. This is the mint mark for the Denver Mint, one of only a handful of facilities that produces U.S. currency. This particular location is a byproduct of the days when Denver was a gold-mining hub. When gold was found in Colorado in 1858, hundreds of merchants, miners and settlers moved in to claim their stake. A year later, Denver was founded, and several years after that, in 1863, the government decided to develop a mint facility here. In addition to producing money people use every day, the Denver Mint also stamps out a variety of not-in-circulation commemorative coins.

The grand architecture of the massive Renaissance-style 1904 mint building itself is worth checking out. To go inside, visitors must sign up for one of the free tours, which includes historical exhibits, vaults and gold bars.

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More Things to Do in Denver

Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown House Museum

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Visitors may know Margaret “Molly” Brown in association with the RMS Titanic, but there was much more to her life than the ill-fated voyage for which she became famous. An activist, suffragist, and philanthropist, Brown’s spirit lives on through educational tours, exhibits, and programming inside her restored historic Denver home.
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Denver Art Museum (DAM)

Denver Art Museum (DAM)

4 Tours and Activities

The Denver Art Museum is recognized for its prized Native American collection, the country’s largest. Spanning the US and Canada, from prehistoric times to the present, the hugely varied collection ranges from basketry and beadwork to paintings and sculpture.

The art museum also has enviable Asian, European and US collections, and a comprehensive African gallery of paintings, sculptures and artifacts.

Iconic works by artists from the American west underscore Denver’s Rocky Mountains location and history, and the museum’s photography collection includes more than 7,000 images.

Along with the permanent collection, the museum hosts a varied calendar of temporary traveling exhibitions.

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Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

4 Tours and Activities
Denver, Colorado is home to the United States’ largest nonprofit theater organization, and the city’s Center for the Performing Arts offers an incredible variety of live shows in its ten performance venues. From their own theater company to Broadway shows, Cabaret, and “Off-Center” plays, nearly every type of theater can be found here. As such the center has everything from a concert hall to an opera house, an auditorium, a ballroom, and four major theaters. The structure stretches across four city blocks and nearly 12 acres, with over 10,000 seats in front of its stages. Its impressive 80 foot glass roof tops it all off, making it the largest performing arts center in the country as well.
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Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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A premier education center in America’s Southwest, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science boasts a planetarium, an IMAX theater, and a wide range of exhibits that showcase the biological and geological history of Earth and the universe. Exhibits range from ancient artifacts to interactive virtual-reality zones the whole can family can explore.
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Denver Civic Center Park

Denver Civic Center Park

3 Tours and Activities
Denver Civic Center Park was created more than 100 years ago as the civic heart for the city of Denver. The urban green space is the site of the Colorado State Capitol, and arching footpaths across the park offer a chance to stroll among the gardens and marvel at the surrounding architecture, including the Denver City and County Building, the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Central Library. The park is also home to the Greek Theater and the historic Carnegie Library.
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Washington Park

Washington Park

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A major neighborhood of Denver and one of its largest urban parks, Washington Park provides a beautiful slice of nature in the middle of the city. Spread out over more than 150 acres, it’s home to beautiful flower gardens and two lakes shaded by tall trees and beside open meadows. Initially designed in the French country style, the park has kept its historic architecture and thoughtful layout. Sculptures throughout reflect the city’s history, while one of the flower gardens is an exact replica of George Washington’s garden at Mount Vernon.
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Denver Firefighters Museum

Denver Firefighters Museum

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The Denver Firefighters Museum offers guests a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes of the life and times of modern firefighting. The venue offers a chance for the young ones to try on some firefighter suits and pretend they’re on the job, while the adults peruse over a century’s worth of historical artifacts, all housed in the original Firehouse Number 1 built in 1909. A great look into a turn-of-the-century firehouse and all the progress made in firefighting technique and technology over the 20th century, the Denver Firefighters Museum offers something interesting for all of us.
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Denver City Park

Denver City Park

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Denver’s 314-acre City Park is the largest park in the city, built in 1882 following the tradition of New York City’s Central Park and later used as the site of the 1893 World’s Fair. Today, this beautiful urban green space boasts a number of attractions, including the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and a pair of lakes, complete with a boathouse where visitors can rent paddleboats. Ferril Lake is the location of the iconic Prismatic Fountain, a newly renovated centerpiece that lights up the nights with brilliant, ever-changing displays of light and water.
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Hard Rock Cafe Denver

Hard Rock Cafe Denver

With classic American foods served alongside some of rock and roll’s best music memorabilia, the Hard Rock Cafe Denver is part of the two-story Denver Pavilions shopping area downtown. Marked by the 20 foot neon electric guitar out front, it always draws a lively crowd and hosts a variety of music events on its stage.
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Colorado Trail

Colorado Trail

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Winter Park

Winter Park

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Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Just outside of Colorado Springs, the towering Pikes Peak mountain stands as an American icon. Katharine Lee Bates wrote the song “America the Beautiful” after surveying the great western lands from atop this very mountain, and today, visitors can enjoy the same view that Bates did, looking down across the rolling plains and jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains. While 1850s gold miners once trekked to this area via covered wagon and made the climb by mule, modern visitors can enjoy the views while driving the scenic Pikes Peak Highway, which offers incredible views along the way to the 14,115-foot summit. On the mountain you’ll find interpretive programs along with great picnic spots and a handful of lakes that are ideal for fishing and hiking.

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Georgetown Loop Railroad

Georgetown Loop Railroad

The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a narrow-gauge heritage railroad that runs between the Rocky Mountain communities of Georgetown and Silver Plume. Completed in 1884, the Georgetown Loop was one of Colorado’s first tourist attractions, and it has been sold, removed and restored over its long history.

Today visitors can take a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad during the summer months. Even though the straight-line distance between the start and end is only two miles, the track runs for 4.5 miles along a corkscrew route thanks to the rugged mountainous terrain. The thrilling train ride traverses the canyon over picturesque trestles, steep grades and bridges, including the towering Devil’s Gate High Bridge. Visitors can pair the train ride experience with the opportunity to spot veins of silver in the rocks at the Lebanon Silver Mine, which descends 500 feet into a 1970 mine shaft tunnel. Tours of the mine also include a visit to the manager’s office and tool shed.

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