Top Things to Do in Denver

Coloradans don’t mean to brag (well, maybe sometimes they do) when telling you they live in the best state. Maybe it’s the high altitude that’s compromising their attitude toward their surroundings; maybe it’s the majestic mountains beneath sunny, clear skies that act as hypnosis over anyone around; or maybe it’s the seemingly endless list of things to do. 

One can watch a concert at one of the world’s best music venues, tour where future Olympians train, drive (or ride) the highest paved road in North America, see home runs fly while seated a mile high or wander the three-story Denver Museum of Nature & Science, all in the same weekend.  

No matter the time of year, Denver offers plenty of entertainment to keep visitors and residents engaged, and boundless outdoor adventures call to thrill-seekers, too. Start with this list of the top 18 things to do when visiting Denver and create your own itinerary of must-sees. 

Red Rocks Park Amphitheatre

Anchored by two 300-foot sandstone monoliths, Creation and Ship Rocks, the naturally formed amphitheater at Red Rocks gives an ethereal quality to any performance on the stage. Concerts and special events occur almost daily from spring to fall. Winter months allow visitors for sightseeing.

Denver Art Museum

This 365,000-square-foot arts complex is home to two wings—one being the architecturally stunning Hamilton Building for contemporary art—and is considered to be the foremost art museum in the state. The vast permanent collection spans art from antiquity to the 20th century. 

Denver Botanic Gardens

Twenty-four acres of gardens maintained for conservation, research and simple beauty. Green inside and out, the facility is considered one of the top botanical gardens in the American West, combining the vision of acclaimed designers with high horticultural standards.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

America’s mountain zoo is located at 6,700 feet above sea level and offers breathtaking views of the city and of its 750 animals.

Red Rocks Park Amphitheatre

Anchored by two 300-foot sandstone monoliths, Creation and Ship Rocks, the naturally formed amphitheater at Red Rocks gives an ethereal quality to any performance on the stage. Concerts and special events occur almost daily from spring to fall. Winter months allow visitors for sightseeing.

US Olympic Training Center

Tour through state-of-the-art facilities where US Olympic hopefuls train for boxing, paralympic cycling and swimming, men's gymnastics, triathlon, weightlifting and more.

Mount Evans

This 14er (one of Colorado's 53 mountains reaching higher than 14,000 feet) is the most accessible 14er to summit, thanks to North America's highest paved road which takes visitors just steps from the top.

Manitou Incline

Step-by-step, hikers climb the one-mile trek 2,000 feet upwards on what used to be a route for transporting pipeline materials up Pikes Peak. The trailhead is located behind the upper Pikes Peak Cog Railway parking lot. Park in the Barr Trail parking lot. 

Denver Museum of Nature Science

The kid-friendly exhibitions at Denver's natural-history and science museum in City Park explore six main areas of focus: anthropology, geology, paleontology, health science, zoology and space science. All told, the museum houses over 4 million artifacts and specimens (though only 2 percent are displayed at a time).

Colorado State Capitol

The west lobby of the capitol, built out of Colorado granite in 1886, has revolving exhibits. You can enter the public and visitor galleries of the state House and Senate on the third floor.

Coors Field

Home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team (MLB). Tours available M-Sa during season. See website for tour times and game dates.

Pearl Street Mall

Downtown Boulder's Pearl Street Mall has a mining-town history and a colorful present. This stretch is known to home local shops and flavorful restaurants, with regular street fairs throughout the year. 

16th Street Mall

Pedestrian-friendly street lined with shops, restaurants and nightlife. Free Mall Ride and horse-and-carriage rides; regular street performers. 

Coors Brewery Tour

We all know about the crisp Rocky Mountain water that goes into making Coors beer, and all those suds are made and bottled in the mountain town of Golden. Check website for varying tour times depending on the season.

Washington Park

Those who live around this popular park use the paths for daily exercise, but it’s also a perfect spot to spend a lazy afternoon, rent a pedal boat to navigate Smith Lake and go for a bike ride.

Union Station

Must-visit restaurants and shops in a historic transportation hub that received a complete renovation in 2014.