Almost scraping the clouds, the Mile High City boasts astonishing tourist attractions and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities in any season, all with a drizzle of country flair.
Experience red-hot music scenes, intriguing museums, drool-worthy award-winning restaurants and thrilling water parks, among many places to visit in Denver, Colorado.
Being one of the most affordable major hubs in the United States, Denver also hosts an exciting selection of free events year-round — including concerts, festivals and sports contests.
All this, of course, is just a stone’s throw from one of America’s premier natural landscapes: the Rocky Mountains.
So if you’re on the hunt for an unforgettable vacation, here are fun and unusual things to do in Denver sure to get you enthusiastic in planning your next trip!
1 – Watch a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Catch your favorite artists performing at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre — carved into the rockface creating an excellent acoustic. It’s a dream venue for every superstar with over 9,000 seats nestled at over 2,000 meters above sea level.
Since its opening in 1941, this magnificent architecture has hosted thousands of concerts and events of all genres — from classical opera to rock and psychedelic music, as well as hip-hop, alternative and EDM performances.
Designated as National Historic Landmark in 2015, Red Rocks has more than 700 acres of mountain park filled with towering pine trees, orange-hued rocks and lush meadows.
Experience firsthand the stunning natural beauty of the area while you visit some of its most iconic locations such as the Phoenix Gold Mine and Dinosaur Ridge. Visiting this slice of Mother Nature is easily one of the essential things to do in Denver.
Discover abundant wildlife and fossils, and learn about the history of this geological phenomenon from “dinosaurs to rock and roll.”
2 – Meet and greet the animals at Denver Zoo
Speaking of wildlife, have you ever wondered if animals have personalities? Get up close and personal with some of them at Denver Zoo at the northern end of City Park.
Within its 80-acre land, the zoo houses over 4,000 animals belonging to nearly 600 species in naturalistic enclosures — providing sustainable habitats for an active and healthy life.
Visit the Toyota Elephant Passage, where Asian elephants, Malayan tapirs and other species can roam around five different habitats interconnected by 2-mile trails within a 10-acre land of various landscapes.
Experience the 30-minute “Up-close Look” with a rhino, elephant, llamas, giraffe or tropical lizards. This zoo is both educational and enjoyable, running a range of conservation programs (so you know the money’s going to a good cause).
For youngsters, the zoo also offers a 4D Theater, train and carousel!
3 – Head to Coors Field for a baseball game!
Home to none other than the MLB’s very own Colorado Rockies baseball team, Coors Field delivers an electric and lively atmosphere week in, week out since 1995.
Located at the heart of Downtown, Coors Field has the highest seats tower at over 5,000 feet above sea level. If that sounds a little too high, a club-level seat is right next to the grass, while budget-friendly seats are found at the Rockpile, just behind centerfield.
Check out the Rooftop to get spectacular views from the decks where you can also find premium bars and rent party venues.
If you’re not here for a ballgame, explore this famous stadium on a behind-the-scenes guided tour.
4 – Discover native plants at Denver Botanic Gardens
Boasting an incredible ranking as one of the top five botanic gardens in the nation, Denver Botanical Gardens on York Street is nothing short of a marvel.
Stroll along the 24-acre area filled with a wide selection of plants originating from all corners of the world — some of which are rarely seen elsewhere thanks to the uniquely high altitude in Colorado.
See the plants that naturally grew along the borders of Colorado before the early Europeans settled here. Explore the various gardens offering naturalistic habitats to different types of plants, including aquatic, tropical, alpine, steppe and succulents.
To top off the flora and fauna, there’s also the family-friendly Mordecai Children’s Garden and a range of year-round events to look forward to.
5 – Join a ‘space odyssey’ at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Aspiring astronauts and curious minds can spend a whole day experiencing educational and interactive exhibits in this museum, adored by locals and tourists alike.
Explore the vastness of outer space through a Sensory Spacewalk at the Space Odyssey exhibition with thousands of “stars” made out of 43 miles of optical fiber. With advanced virtual reality transporter, you can imagine how it feels to be out there.
Take the kids to the Discovery Zone where they can have fun building something, getting curious and making friends while learning the foundations of science.
Don’t miss the three-story-high Phipps IMAX® Theater and be sure to check the website to watch out for current and upcoming exhibits!
6 – Brave the ‘Mind Eraser’ coaster at Elitch Gardens
There are few places better suited to entertain families than Elitch Gardens, Colorado’s largest fun-filled amusement park!
Boasting over 30 rides and attractions as well as a huge water park right next door — perfect for those sizzling summer days — it’s the ideal spot to spend an afternoon.
Thrill-seekers, try the Mind Eraser (also called the “monster coaster”) where your legs will be dangling all the way through dives and spins at a maximum speed of 50 miles per hour.
The best part is that the admission price (typically just over $50 but with sizeable discounts available online) includes both parks with unlimited rides!
7 – Get your art fix at the Denver Art Museum
An art lover’s paradise, the esteemed Denver Art Museum displays intricate paintings, photos, textiles and fashion works — spanning centuries — hailing from Asia, Europe, the US and beyond.
All up, a whopping 70,000 pieces of art line its walls. Far from just a day of observing, the museum also hosts interactive workshops, guided tours, art lectures, and so much more.
It sits just below Civic Center Park — the perfect spot for a post-art-fix picnic.
8 – Dive into a shipwreck at the Downtown Aquarium
Dive into Denver’s Downtown Aquarium and meet different kinds of sharks up close — while you’re safe inside a cage. This latest addition allows you to experience diving into a shipwreck. The exhibit is open every weekend, so you can dive with your entire crew.
Not only that it’s the stomping ground of aquatic creatures from all over the world, boasting over 500 species, the aquarium also offers a 4D theater and a carousel for the youngsters, and an upscale bar for the parents.
After a day of spotting rays and sharks, grab a table at the full-service restaurant that features a 50,000-gallon floor-to-ceiling aquarium — it’s full of vibrant fish and visible from all tables. The restaurant’s specialty? Seafood, of course!
9 – Hike along the Rocky Mountains trails
It’s not exactly a secret that the Rocky Mountains are home to unmatched hiking trails and non-stop adventure, but this incredible national park still manages to exceed expectations, time and time again.
For keen hikers, the area offers an abundance of treks from the Emerald Lake hike to the moderate Adams Falls trail and hundreds more.
A plethora of guided tours, some of which stop at the quaint town of Estes Park and the spooky Stanley Hotel, are available to escort guests from inner-city Denver (or Boulder), with all transport, equipment and permits included in the ticket.
Explore the solar punk city of Novo Ita
Interactive puzzles and augmented reality wait for you to discover the story behind the strange reality of Novo Ita. Spectra Art Space presents an immersive experience that combines art, technology and nature for a self-guided theatrical adventure perfect for the whole family.
10 – Tackle nature’s force on a rafting adventure
Experience the rugged scenery of the Colorado Rockies with one of the most adventurous sports around.
A surefire hit for adventure lovers, a rafting excursion from Denver out to Upper Clear Creek delivers class IV rapids suitable for both first-timers and moderate rafters alike.
For the ultimate thrillseekers, head to Lower Clear Creek — here, with a 10-mile stretch of daunting rapids dubbed Double Knife, Terminator and Hell’s Corner, the blood will be pumping like no tomorrow.
For first-timers looking for an exhilarating introduction to white water rafting, there is nowhere better than Clear Creek. Here you can experience challenging rapids and some of the most beginner-friendly yet fun waters in the Rocky Mountains.
Rafting trips typically consume half the day, although can be extended to include an extra sprinkle of adventure with a zipline.
11 – Zipline through the treetops!
No matter your level of experience or appetite for adventure, there’s no arguing that a zipline journey through the Rocky Mountains promises views nothing short of astounding.
For beginners, destinations like the Colorado Adventure Center, where zip lines whizz down from 65 feet above the ground, are a great starting point.
For the more thrill-inclined, choose from a number of tours operating throughout Denver, Boulder and Idaho Springs. They transport guests into the heart of the Rockies and send them cannoning down 1,900-feet-long lines at over 250 feet above the ground!
12 – Explore the lively historic Larimer Square
Walk around the famous block in Downtown Denver, Larimer Square which has been revitalized into the perfect place to grab a drink, go shopping or enjoy some live music.
Named after its founder General William Larimer, the square was Denver’s first business district where the first city hall was established — most of its 19th-century buildings have been well preserved.
With its brick buildings and high-end boutiques, Larimer feels like an urban oasis (quite literally). It’s also home to many of the city’s top restaurants and bars as well as being one of the best places in town to people watch!
This historic district continues to thrive as Denver’s center of preserving its cultural heritage and promoting creativity and the spirit of community.
13 – Achieve ultimate zen at the BEYOND Light Show
At the International Church of Cannabis, locals have flocked to the hour-long meditation and light show for years.
Its state-of-the-art lasers, calming music and guided meditation provide a stress-free and grounding environment.
Visitors can purchase a ticket to experience “BEYOND, a Guided Meditation & Laser Light Experience” which happens every hour. There’s no need to become a member of the church, so anyone is welcome even those who are curious.
Children can also come with discounted prices. Consumption of cannabis is strictly prohibited during show hours.
It goes without saying that while the vibrant lights are extraordinary at normal times, many visitors choose to experience them with a little help from their friend Mary Jane — it is the International Church of Cannabis, after all.
14 – See psychedelic art at Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station
Experience tantalizing psychedelic art in this permanent immersive exhibition in Denver at Convergence Station.
Established by art production company Meo Wolf, this exhibit is the result of three years of creation by some 300 artists — over 100 of them are from Colorado.
This four-story exhibit offers a surreal journey through over 70 art installations and multisensory spaces.
Walk into colorful rooms filled with mind-blowing portrayals of some of the mundane trappings of the human world. You might come out somehow transformed.
15 – Join a cannabis tour!
It was only a matter of time, right? Even though a number of US states (and heck, all of Canada) have legalized the oft-taboo herb, Colorado has been doing it for years.
If you’re going to partake, there’s no better way than with a dedicated cannabis tour, where a local trained guide will escort you through the city’s dispensaries and bars — teaching you all about the history, culture and cultivation of cannabis.
Best of all, a 420-friendly limo or party bus will zoom you all over town!
For something more low-key, why not try a Puff, Pass & Paint Class?
16 – Sample local favorites on a food tour
Whether you’re venturing to Denver from elsewhere in the US or from across oceans, the Mile High City serves up a menu that very few cities can match.
On small group tours, hungry travelers are led by in-the-know locals around some of the city’s premier eateries — including award-winning restaurants, hole-in-the-walls and farm-to-table establishments.
Whether on a tour or solo, be sure to try the Arepas at Quiero Arepas and the heart-stopping BBQ Biscuit at Denver Biscuit Co.
Looking for something a little more … spooky? The city offers haunted food and pub tours too.
17 – Visit the Molly Brown House Museum
For all fans of Titanic — the ship, its history or the movie, the Molly Brown House Museum is undoubtedly one of the unmissable things to do in Denver.
Why? Because the so-called “unsinkable” Margaret “Molly” Brown survived the ill-fated RMS Titanic. She became renowned for her unwavering activism, philanthropy and passion to help survivors, their families and additional movements thereafter.
Besides giving an insight into her life and story, the museum is also a rare example of Denver architecture prior to the silver crash of 1893.
18 – Yell ‘Touchdown’ at Empower Field At Mile High
Home to the Denver Broncos NFL team, Empower Field at Mile High is one of America’s most famous sports venues. Every year, it’s hosted more than 80 different events, including concerts, since it opened in 2001.
Denver has some pretty sweet picturesque sunsets … and you might get to see it from high up here, standing at an elevation of over 5,000 feet above sea level!
Join a tour to have a behind-the-scenes experience walking around half-mile of this cutting-edge stadium. Explore the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum and catch a glimpse of the executive suite, visiting locker room and keg room, among other exclusive areas.
19 – Roam around the city on a bike
Sick of walking around and following the same tourist-trodden route?
Get off the beaten path and burn a few hundred calories along the way with an eco-friendly, always-enjoyable cycling adventure!
Join a bike tour led by a local who knows the city’s gems all too well. Navigate around Downtown Denver, admiring the street art, stadiums and architecture along the way.
For something a little different, the city also offers bike tours that crawl between pubs, hop between ice cream shops and ascend mountains.
20 – Take a day trip to Breckenridge
What trip to Colorado would be complete without experiencing the majesty of its most famous geo-landmark — the Rocky Mountains?
Located just a short drive from the city proper, Breckenridge is a historic town known for its guided tours of some of the Rockies’ most photographed features.
Affordable day trips grant you access to the stunning Red Rocks Amphitheater, the rugged Clear Creek Canyon, and a look at the Great Continental Divide.
On a full-day tour to Breckenridge from Denver, you can also visit the Historic Georgetown which was once a booming town during the mining era, and Sapphire Point Overlook where you can admire the sights of Summit County.
21 – Conquer Mount Evans
With its summit scraping the sky at near to over 14,000 feet, Mount Evans earns its keep as one of the tallest mountains in the state — and as you’d expect, the views on offer are simply astonishing.
More than just a mountain peak though, the trekkable mountain is also a stomping ground for a myriad of wildlife, including friendly bighorn sheep and mountain goats.
Besides the guided hiking experience, most tours also pass through the famously picturesque Red Rocks (making for more incredible selfie backdrops) and the Western-style town of Idaho Springs, usually including both transport and a picnic lunch.
Don’t feel like mingling? Private VIP tours are also available, although you’ll have to shell out a pretty penny.
22 – Master the basics of horse riding
Consider yourself a cowboy in the making? Want to learn to ride a steed and ride off into the sunset?
The Denver Equestrians Riding School offers lessons for beginners and experienced riders alike. A team of professional trainers will assess your skill level and match you up with the perfect hooved companion.
Lessons are affordable and open to all ages, so there are no excuses!
Something to plan about is Denver’s summer camp for children and teenagers where they learn horse riding each day.
Adults can join its happy hour with a two-hour session of fun group riding lesson followed by socialization with food and drinks. You can also learn line dancing in this Friday evening event!
23 – Visit the ‘Garden of the Gods’
With its moniker of that ilk, you’d hope that The Garden of the Gods delivers something special. Well, it absolutely does — with endless plains of jaw-dropping rock formations and vibrant color contrasts of orange sandstone and green meadow.
The most convenient way to explore the area is with a hassle-free small-group (budget-friendly) or private (VIP but more expensive) tour that picks up from hotels in Denver.
After exploring the red rock formations, most tours stop for lunch at the historic town of Manitou Springs and take a scenic drive to see the Pikes Peak summit.
24 – Visit the Aurora Municipal Golf Course & Water Park
Aurora’s newest public golf course is also home to Colorado’s largest water park (spanning a whopping 50,000 square feet). The par-72 Jackson and Kahn designed course boasts five sets of tees for beginners and pros alike.
It’s easy to see why this new 18-hole championship-style course was rated one of America’s best!
Aurora town also has a number of water parks to fill in those hot summer vacations with splash pools and water slides.
Plan your trip and check out the list of Aurora golf courses and water parks, such as the Great Plains Park and Red-Tail Hawk Park.
25 – Learn about cowboys at the American Museum of Western Art
Well representing cowboys, Native Americans, buffalo, horses and the Great Plains, the American Museum of Western Art houses a collection of artworks spanning almost two centuries.
The museum aims to promote public understanding and appreciation of art specifically depicting the American West.
Browse some 600 paintings, sculptures and drawings of more than 100 artists as part of the Anschutz collection — portraying different styles of art vital in the development of American Western Art.
Sorry to break the bad news to traveling families, but due to the intimacy of the galleries, children under 8 are not permitted.
26 – Watch a Broadway show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Consistently ranked among the country’s top 10 performing arts centers, Denver Center for the Performing Arts comprises 10 theaters offering a full schedule of toe-tapping musical performances.
Catch Broadway favorites such as Cats and Moulin Rouge, comedy plays, and contemporary theatrical experiences such as David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar’s “Theater of the Mind.”
Check out the historic Ellie Caulkins Opera House which hosts renowned performers and artists from across the globe.
With its cutting-edge sound and light equipment, complementing the excellent acoustic design of the hall, you’re sure to have a world-class musical experience.
27 – Catch an NBA or NHL match at Ball Arena
With the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth (lacrosse) all calling this place home, there’s no shortage of local sports action to get stuck into.
Every game night you can join the rowdy locals rooting for their team while trying your hand at some amateur air hockey — sipping the generous selection of bottled beer or admiring the memorabilia-lined walls.
Formerly called Pepsi Center, Ball Arena hosts 250 events, including shows and concerts every year, making it one of the country’s leading sports and entertainment venues.
28 – Ride the Wild Chipmunk at Lakeside Amusement Park
One of the few remaining family-owned amusement parks left in the country, Lakeside offers up good ol’ fashioned fun with its roller coasters, bumper cars, and speed boats.
The Wild Chipmunk and the Cyclone are notable favorites for thrillseekers; meanwhile, the miniature trains and classic carnival rides and sure to keep the youngsters occupied.
Families on a budget will enjoy its affordability in comparison to your standard corporate theme parks (looking at you, Disney).
29 – Get artsy at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver boasts the title of being the largest contemporary art center in Colorado, housing notable collections that include over 3,500 works by artists from all over the world.
While there’s no shortage of universally appreciated pieces, travelers are typically drawn to the permanent collection documenting abstract paintings and sculptures from 1945 to 1980.
For the artistically inclined, it’s an absolute non-negotiable when it comes to things to do in Denver.
30 – Jump and tumble at Urban Air Adventure Park
One of the country’s first “indoor extreme trampoline parks,” Urban Air Trampoline Park in Stapleton offers a place to get active with gravity-defying flips, twists, and skillful (if not very high) jumps.
The park is also home to climbing walls, a trapeze, an on-site cafe, and plenty more to keep the whole family entertained.
Experience the Sky Rider coaster and ropes course in the Adventure Hub indoor playground. Challenge friends on the gladiator-style Battle Beam or play a round of trampoline dodge ball.
Practice your epic slam dunks or test your skills on the warrior and wipeout courses. This Denver adventure park is a great day out for kids and big kids alike.
31 – Take a Gold Rush tour to Cripple Creek
For a step back in time, Cripple Creek is known as one of the most authentic and entertaining gold mining towns in the good ole US of A.
Travelers with an interest in history will have plenty of opportunities to learn more about Colorado’s rich past. Explore the town, which was founded back in 1891 on the land that once belonged to famous outlaw John Murrell!
For the best bang for your buck, consider choosing a tour that also visits St. Mary’s Glacier.
32 – Drift around corners at Unser Karting
Who says that the things to do in Denver should be limited to museums and family-friendly hikes?
Travelers looking for a more adult-oriented experience now have the chance to race high-octane vehicles at Unser Karting Center.
This concrete raceway located right in Denver’s backyard sells itself as one of the premier kart racing arenas in the whole country.
Race with your friends or family crew anytime, as the track’s indoors so it’s open all year!
33 – Stroll around the Baker Historic Neighborhood
Baker is one of the oldest neighborhoods in all of Denver, mostly established between the 1870s and the 1920s.
Learn all about the city’s past on tours, as you stroll past historic homes and former (and current) landmarks.
While renowned for its history, it’s been transformed over the years — now filled with vintage fashion boutiques, eclectic Asian restaurants and late-night watering holes.
34 – Meet the turtles at SeaQuest Littleton
For travelers with kids, visiting SeaQuest Littleton is one of the remarkable things to do in Denver — exploring all sorts of marine life!
The museum features interactive programs and exhibits that are sure to educate, excite and entertain in a way that would make Jacques Cousteau proud.
To round out the day, check out a movie in SeaQuest’s giant 3-D theater, or rent boats and jet skis for an hour or two!
35 – Explore the bustling Dairy Block
Dairy Block is a vibrant downtown Denver destination that celebrates the maker.
Home to the only pedestrian alley in Denver, this fashionable corner has more than two dozen dining & cocktail establishments and retail shops – including wineries, gin distilleries and craft beer bars.
Dairy Block is also home to more than 700 urban art pieces created by Colorado artists. The micro-district hosts an extensive schedule of free special events, including 1st Friday Art Walks, local markets and free concerts.
36 – Relieve the past at Colorado Renaissance Festival
Open for eight weekends in July and August every year, The Colorado Renaissance Faire recreates life in renaissance England.
It brings together unique performances, classic rides and authentic costumes, as well as original works of artisans and traditional cuisines — the village streets redolent of fresh bread, roasted turkey and steak.
With daily interactive activities that would have occurred during that time period, this reenactment village is a wonderful way to get a taste of history while enjoying exciting entertainment!
37 – Gaze up at the Big Blue Bear
As far as Denver icons go, it’s impossible to miss the one located on 14th Street.
The enormous Big Blue Bear is towering above the streets at 40 feet high. It’s made mostly of steel and fiberglass and was created by local artist Lawrence Argent.
It has become an icon of the city, placed whimsically in front of the Colorado Convention Center to seem as if it’s cheekily peeking in through its windows.
It’s a surefire social media hit and an easy landmark to tick off the to-do list.
38 – Glide around town on a Segway
Fed up with run-of-the-mill walking tours that seem to deliberately go up EVERY single hill in the city? Enter, the Segway.
With speed, convenience and style, a two-hour Segway tour is the ideal way to scoot around town and tick off the main sights.
Spot the historic LoDo area, Confluence Park, the Denver Art Museum and the Cherry Creek Trail just to name a few.
With your local guide, there’s plenty to be learned along the way too, and don’t be shy to ask for recommendations of other things to do in Denver!
39 – Cool off at Pirates Cove Water Park
Strap on your cutlass and head to Pirates Cove Water Park for a thrilling day of swimming and splashing around in the pirate-themed pool!
This waterpark in Englewood has a large play space, with a six-lane pool, a three-slide tower at 35 feet high and a lazy river.
For more adventurous travelers, the real thrills await beyond the pool — like an inflatable bounce house, slides, a giant bucket that dumps gallons of water every few minutes, and more!
You can rent one of the five cabanas to have an exclusive place to relax, with chairs and a dining table, good for up to eight people.
If you haven’t packed enough for snacks, grab a bite to eat at the Barnacle Cafe with all-time favorite foods like burgers, fries and pizzas.
40 – Get adventurous in Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Cradled at the base of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Cave of the Winds is Mother Nature’s very own adventure park, combining hiking trails with explorable caves (some of which are pitch black!).
These rock formations date back hundreds of thousands of years, although they were only discovered a little over a century ago.
Tackle the Wind Walker Challenge Course, zoom through the air bat-style on the Bat-a-Pult (catapult), or ride the TERROR-Dactyl into beautiful Williams Canyon.
41 – Celebrate the women who shaped Colorado history
Housed inside a classic Victorian home in one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods lies a crowd’s favorite tourist attraction — a museum and research facility dedicated to the history of Colorado’s most influential females
Center for Colorado Women’s History prides itself on connecting local stories to the broader stories of women worldwide.
Featured prominently throughout the museum is the story of Anne Evans, who lived in the early-20th-century home. She dedicated her life to founding some of Colorado’s largest cultural institutions.
The museum is located right across the street from the Denver Art Museum, making for the perfect back-to-back itinerary for rainy days.
42 – Test your navigation skills with a scavenger game
Sick of joining slow-paced walking tours? Prefer something a little more exciting? Look no further!
Visitors to the Mile High City have the opportunity to play a range of different city-wide scavenger games.
Take on real-life mobile-operated challenges that make you run around Denver, surpassing obstacles and solving clues!
It’s a wonderful way to discover some of the city’s hidden gems.
43 – Experience a unique beer bath at The Beer Spa
The Beer Spa is a unique day spa in Denver that’s taken the traditional day spa experience up a notch with a new and one-of-a-kind wellness concept.
You can treat yourself to a luxurious beer-inspired spa experience, that includes treatments such as Beer Bath Hydrotherapy, an Infrared Sauna, and a Zero Gravity Massage. The Beer Spa also has a cozy, self-serve taproom, where guests can enjoy local craft beer, kombucha, tea, and more.
It’s an excellent spot in Denver to indulge in self-care, unwind with a friend, or celebrate a special occasion.
44 – Laugh your socks off at Comedy Works
The Denver Comedy Works is one of the top stand-up comedy venues in the country and has hosted some of the most famous comedians to ever live.
Stop by for a great night’s entertainment, PLUS special events like open mic nights and improv shows featuring local talent.
Considering the fact that the Comedy Works comedy club is one of the oldest in America, a late-night show is one of the quintessential things to do in Denver
45 – Ride the heart-stopping Sky Coaster at Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park lets visitors experience the majestic world of Colorado’s Royal Gorge — home to America’s highest suspension bridge.
The park hosts a variety of thrill rides, including the newly-built Sky Coaster that stands over 600 feet in the air and sends riders on an adrenaline-pumping 11-second flight through the gorge itself.
While at the park, experience the aerial gondola, Cloudscraper zip line and the Tommy Knocker Playland where you let the kids roam safely.
46 – Meet grizzly bears at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
With more than 600 animals residing in a variety of habitats including tropical, African, arctic and Savannah, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo makes an excellent day trip for travelers of all ages!
However, this is not just any old zoo — it also includes animal shows and special events. In its custom experiences, you can choose from different activities such as meeting your favorite animal.
Keep an eye out for the feeding time of giraffes, chickens, budgies and rhinos!
47 – Race against the clock in an escape room
Consider yourself somewhat of a Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot in the making? Prove it.
Solve riddles, decipher clues and work together with your teammates (or don’t) in order to crack the code before time runs out. It’s exhilarating and forces you to think outside the box.
At EscapeWorks, discover a gangster’s speakeasy beyond a flower shop. Make it out of an Egyptian Tomb, get away with the casino heist, or break out of jail — just a sliver of the myriad of themed challenges available.
48 – Peruse the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is dedicated to the memory of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, a famous frontiersman who lived in Denver for more than 25 years.
He was responsible for saving the city from economic ruin.
Take a guided tour through the museum to learn more about this iconic Old West figure and his influence on Colorado history.
Admire the artifacts related to his expeditions across America as well as Europe — all while standing at his tombstone!
49 – Grab a bite in the historic Denver Union Station
Since the station first opened its doors over a century ago, it’s acted as a central meeting point for local residents and, of course, an ever-busy train station.
These days, however, it’s so much more.
The recently-redone Union Station is now the centerpiece of the LoDo neighborhood and has been transformed into a vibrant social beacon.
It’s a melting pot of restaurants, cafes, shops, bars and the luxurious Crawford Hotel.
Hot tip: The all-day brunch spots Snooze an AM Eatery are great for a hearty bite.
50 – Join a ghost tour … if you dare
Like most major US cities (or any city, for that matter), Denver boasts no shortage of excellent walking tours — both free and paid.
However, for something a little different, a little more — dare you to say it — paranormal, haunted tours are offered in areas like SoBo (South Broadway) and LoDo (Lower Downtown).
Planning to hit the town later that night? A haunted pub crawl is a perfect pre-game. Check out restaurants famous for their ghost stories or resident ghost on a haunted Denver walking food tour!
Sample iconic dishes at places believed to be haunted like Larimer Square, as you hear about their spooky stories.
51 – Hike to Pikes Peak
Conveniently located just 12 miles west of downtown Colorado Springs — about an hour and a half south of Denver — this over 14,000 feet summit delivers some of the most astonishing views in the Rockies.
For adventurers, the most popular way of ascending the mountain is via the 13-mile-long Barr Trail. If your time’s limited, there’s a shuttle bus that takes you to the top too.
Save yourself the hassle of transport and choose from the range of tours that operate to and from Denver. Bring a water bottle and some comfy shoes and you’re all set.
52 – Drive a supercar!
Petrolheads, this is your chance to put the pedal to the metal and drive that high-octane, head-turning, engine-revving car you’ve always dreamed of!
Strap into the driver’s seat of either a Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin Vantage, AMG GTR or Ferrari 458 Italia.
Learn ins and outs of the supercars before being escorted along some of Golden (west of Denver)’s most smooth and stunning roads.
Driving experiences range from 15 to 105 miles in length, so there’s something for every budget.
53 – Get sippin’ at Stranahan’s Whiskey Distillery & Cocktail Bar
A crowd favorite among locals and tourists alike, Stranahan’s is stocked wall to wall with local and imported whiskeys — with a rustic atmosphere often complemented by live music, food trucks and tasting sessions.
Besides the endless options to wet your whistle, the locally-adored distillery also offers behind-the-scenes tours. Thirsty guests can learn about the whiskey-making process and learn about the ingredients and rack houses.
To top it off, if you’ve always considered yourself somewhat of a bartender-to-be, Stranahan’s also offers weekly cocktail-making classes!
54 – Spot historic landmarks on a scooter tour
With so much to see in this vibrant, historic city, it’s near impossible to do it all on foot.
Thankfully, scooter tours provide a fast-track account of all of Denver’s famous landmarks and neighborhoods — like Confluence Park and LoDo — with local guides spewing plenty of fascinating tidbits along the way.
Even if you’ve never ridden a scooter before, the instructors will give you a beginner lesson. You’ll be confident in no time, driving around while admiring the sights!
55 – Ride through time at the Forney Museum of Transportation
In what started as a private collection back in the 1960s, you’ll find something for everyone as you explore 70,000 square feet of manufacturing innovation.
The Forney Museum of Transportation is home to antique examples of all kinds of transportation — from horse-drawn carriages to early automobiles, aircraft, giant steam locomotive engines and anything else on wheels you can imagine.
For the history buffs, don’t miss the 1923 Kissel Speedster owned by none other than Amelia Earhart.
56 – Prepare for takeoff at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Any budding Mavericks among us?
Housed in what was once Lowry Air Force Base, Wings Over the Rockies boasts over 180,000 square feet full of iconic aircraft, space vehicles and other high-flying artifacts.
If you get bored just looking around, you can always strap in and ride one of the many thrilling flight simulators.
Try your hand at piloting a Boeing 737 or practice loop-de-loops and barrel rolls in an aerobatic monoplane!
57 – Shop till you drop at 16th Street Mall
At the heart of Downtown Denver is the 16th Street Mall, an outdoor shopper’s paradise stretching over 1.25 miles.
More than 250 stores and restaurants make up this favorite tourist destination, so there are plenty of establishments to satisfy any consumer niche.
Hat shop? Check. Book store? Check. Sports paraphernalia or a doggie spa? Checkity-check.
If retail therapy is your idea of a wonderful vacation, it’s one of the unmissable things to do in Denver.
58 – Embrace State Spirit at the History Colorado Center
You could probably spend an entire day navigating all four floors of this unique venue and still not experience everything the History Colorado Center has to offer.
Plenty of engaging interactive and multimedia exhibits place you right in the thick of Colorado history, people and culture.
With rotating exhibitions like “Building Denver” and “Borderlands of Southern Colorado,” plus a LEGO building experience for the kids, this place is far from your typical placard-reading experience and a must-visit for history buffs.
59 – Take a free tour of the Denver Mint
As the world’s single largest producer of coins (cha-ching!), the Denver Mint is kind of a big deal in the Mile High City.
Constructed in the late 1800s in response to the Gold Rush and opening in 1906, the building is now listed on both the Colorado State and US National Register of Historic Places.
After browsing the manufacturing facility, be sure to visit the gift shop for collectible coins and unique souvenirs!
Keep in mind the free 45-minute guided tours only operate from 8 AM to 3:30 PM.
60 – Get your culture on at the Kirkland Museum
Founded in honor of Denver’s own prolific painter Vance Kirkland, the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art boasts an evolving collection — containing over 30,000 impressive works by more than 1,500 talented artists and designers!
All up, the 4,400 works on view span a diverse timeline of about 150 years.
Besides its long list of paintings and sculptures, the popular museum is particularly noted for featuring era-specific furniture and household items (remember the corded telephone, anyone?).
61 – Solve crimes at the Adams Mystery Playhouse
A unique theater-in-the-round experience, Adams Mystery Playhouse has positive customer reviews to back up its claim of being “Colorado’s premier mystery dinner theater.”
Guaranteed to be a fun-filled evening, you’ll have the “crime of your life” piecing together the clues served up by campy characters, as you enjoy a multi-course pre-fixed meal!
The Mystery Theatre Event usually takes two hours and a full-service bar is at your disposal and can be fully or partially hosted.
Menus have choices for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian upon request.
Bring your friends or co-workers for a mystery-solving show full of humor (jokes are politically correct) and unforgettable interactions.
62 – Learn About Money … free of charge
A great way to fill spare time, the compact Denver Money Museum near the 16th Street Mall offers a unique look at how the US economic system works.
For the perfect souvenir, be sure and snap a photo of your face on a $100,000 bill!
See how the bank creates money, as you explore interactive exhibits and experience holding a gold bar.
Keep in mind while admission is free, you need a valid ID to enter, and foreign travelers will need passports.
63 – Get hoppy at the Great Divide Brewing Company
Independently owned and operated since 1994, this locally-adored watering hole offers up over two dozen craft beers and hard seltzers — including a line of Bigfoot-themed brews for the thirsty cryptozoologist!
Besides the thirst-quenching beers on top, the brewery also prides itself on its eco-friendliness and commitment to sustainability, as well as its impressive list of 18 Great American Beer Festival medals and 5 World Beer Cup awards!
If you’re still thirsty, a number of beer-tasting walking and biking tours operate around the city. Join a craft beer tour in the bustling LoDo neighborhood to visit four of the best breweries in Denver with a beer enthusiast as your guide.
64 – Examine the abstract at Clyfford Still Museum
This museum is home to nearly every piece of art ever created by pioneering Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still — with more than 3,000 groundbreaking pieces on display.
To complement all the artworks, there are the artist’s archives of letters, sketchbooks, manuscripts and photo albums. It’s a must-visit for the traveling art lover.
Try your hand at visual art or encourage your artistic potential at the museum’s The Making Space. This hands-on creation studio offers a venue for creativity with materials and activities to participate in.
It’s open for all ages so you can bring the whole family, and its graphics include English and Spanish text. You can also read books or relax sitting in a comfortable corner.
65 – Enjoy the gardens and lakes of Washington Park
Dubbed “Wash Park” by the locals, the beautiful 155-acre slice of nature gets its name from its renowned replicas of the Founding Fathers.
The park has two formal flower gardens, two lakes, tree-lined paths and plenty of green grass to throw that picnic rug.
Whether you’re keen for a bit of running, biking, paddle boating, yoga, pick-up volleyball or a slap of tennis — or some window-shopping at the surrounding local storefronts, there’s something for everyone.
66 – Know the heroes at Denver Firefighters Museum
Housed in the city’s historic first firehouse, the Denver Firefighters Museum presents the history of the Denver Fire Department. It features an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs and documents dating back to 1866.
Visitors of all ages will appreciate the antique fire trucks and other unique and entertaining displays, some interactive, that honor the city’s helmet-wearing heroes.
Aside from its permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts special exhibitions such as the “At the Heart of the Flames” in 2022 which is a display of artworks created entirely by local firefighters.
67 – Snap your new profile pic at the Denver Selfie Museum
(Yes, a real place!)
Explore more than 50 interactive selfie exhibits spanning the course of over a century at the Denver Selfie Museum.
It has been winning a lot of attention for its unique take on the popular “self-portraiture” art displays.
Feel like your selfie game needs an upgrade?
Luckily for you, the museum also offers selfies classes and photo workshops throughout the year. Be sure to check the website to see what’s on!
68 – See a Show at the Marvelous Paramount Theatre
Housed inside a beautiful Art Deco shell, this historic Denver landmark dating back nearly a century to 1930, continues to house concerts, stand-up comedy shows and lectures to this day — totaling over different 100 performances every year.
The Paramount was originally designed to show silent movies, and, remarkably, still houses the antique Wurlitzer twin console organ to prove it!
The city government declared the theater a historic landmark as it became a part of the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s.
One of the best works of American architect, Temple Buell, Paramount has kept its original glamor showcasing the artistry of his time.
69 – Take a seat on the Georgetown Loop Railroad
For tourists who want to see the landscapes of Colorado from a whole new perspective, why not take a joyride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad?
The train takes guests through some beautiful mountainous areas in this region and also allows them to experience the world of coal mining!
The town is also home to numerous petting zoos and amusement parks, so if traveling with kiddies, add it to the to-do list.
70 – Relax at a spa day
Whether you’ve just hiked to Pikes Peak or spent the week carving up fresh powder at one of the many resorts — there’s nothing better than a day dedicated to unwinding, rejuvenating the muscles and destressing the mind.
Luckily for weary travelers, Denver is flush with day spas and wellness centers.
Choose from deep tissue, Swedish or hot stone massage (perfect for couples). Feel weightless with a floatation therapy session. Get a facial or manicure or sign up for the Denver special: a session in a salt cave!
71 – Treat yourself to Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or changing your wardrobe for the season, drop by one of Colorado’s premier shopping destinations.
Check out over 160 specialty boutiques and more than 40 stores exclusive to the area to find the best buy — or to go window shopping!
Take a break and grab some food at any of the 15 eateries, and watch a movie in the theaters.
Besides the grand selection of luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany in one place, the sprawling mall also hosts the occasional art festivals and local fresh markets.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of things to do in Denver, Colorado! If you have any other must-see suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments!
Where next? Make sure to check out the list of fun things to do in Colorado Springs next door! For a longer trip, visit Moab or Albuquerque, both great travel destinations.
As always, happy travels.