Denver is the capital of the western state of Colorado. It’s known as the Mile High City because it sits at an altitude of 1 mile above sea level. Denver’s population is a little over 704,000 people, making it the largest city in the state. The world’s largest luggage company, Samsonite, started business and Denver in 1910. Louis Ballast made and sold the world’s first cheeseburger in the city in 1936.
Let’s take a dive into the city and guide you on all the great things to do in Denver on your visit.
This Impressive sports stadium is named after the brewing company based just a short distance from Denver, in Golden, Colorado. It’s the home of MLB team, the Colorado Rockies and has a capacity of almost 47,000 seats. If you’re not able to take in a game during your time, you can still take a tour of the stadium and visit the field, the change rooms, and all the other facilities. It’s a really fun thing to do in Denver with kids, and it’ll make you want to go back every week.
Tickets required, available from stadium, price depends on the tour.
16th St. Mall
Sitting in the very heart of the downtown area lies a 1.25-mile-long shopping district filled with stores, restaurants and, more often than not, a range of street performers and live music. The granite stone sidewalks were designed to look like the skin and scales of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. The Denver Pavilions is part of the 16th Street Mall complex and has and a multi-screen theater and more than 40 restaurants and stores. These include Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Forever 21 and H&M. Even without shopping or eating out, it’s one of the best things to do in Denver. The atmosphere is excellent, and it’s always an exciting place to spend some time.
Denver Zoo is widely regarded as one of the best zoos in the US, and certainly one of the most popular. It’s home to more than 4,000 animals covering 750 different species. The zoo covers an area of 80 acres and its home to animals that you’ve probably never even heard of. If you go and fall in love with one, the zoo even has an adoption program. This is mostly because they won’t let you take the cute one’s home. They won’t even let you take the creepy one’s home, to be honest, but that’s probably for the best. Anyway, on a visit, you can take a peep at black bears, Amur leopards, cheetahs, leopards, sloths and flamingos…oh my!
A visit to the Denver Zoo is a great thing to do in Denver with toddlers as it’s guaranteed to blow their minds. You might not get out of the gift shop without spending a fortune, but such is life… This is the best thing to do in Denver with kids, toddlers, teenagers and possibly even seniors by a mile. You will not regret taking them. Even your mother in law will enjoy it.
Ticket required, available online or at the entrance, $14-$20
Denver Museum of Art
DAM is the eighth largest art museum in the United States and is famous for its collection of American Indian artwork. It’s home to more than 70,000 pieces from around the world. Collections include Graphic, Asian, Contemporary and Modern art. It also has some great art by local artists, like John DeAndrea. Some of the best-known artists with work displayed are Picasso, Matisse, and Georgia O’Keefe. The popular Painting and Sculpture department contains a hugely impressive collection of American and European works. This includes a collection of British works (including pieces by David Hockney and David Gainsborough) and 18th and 19th Century French drawings. It’s here you’ll find works by Impressionist master Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro. Photography enthusiasts will also enjoy the range of photos on display. This museum consistently scores high on the list of best things to do in Denver.
Ticket required, available online or at the entrance, $8-$13
Denver Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens in Denver is so much more than just a garden. As well as what you’d expect to find in a botanic garden (amazing plants, well-maintained walkways and a peaceful oasis of calm in a chaotic city…), it also has art and sculpture exhibitions. The gardens comprise a series of different horticultural delights in several areas that all come under one banner. Also – from May through September, there’s a corn maze. Yes, you heard that right: a CORN MAZE. And not just your run of the mill, teeny little corn maze, either. No, ma’am, it’s over seven acres of land. At least if you get lost in it, you won’t starve to death, right? Corn for everyone!
Tickets required, available online or at a specific venue, $5-$12.50
Colorado State Capitol Building
This beautiful golden-domed structure lies in the heart of downtown and is the home of the Colorado Assembly and the Colorado Governor. It was intentionally designed to look like the capitol building in Washington D.C. and was opened in 1894. The building is true to its roots, with white granite on its exterior, rose onyx inside, and the dome gilded with gold leaf. All of these materials are from Colorado, which makes it all the more special. Many of the windows within the building are stained glass and depict important memories from the history of the state. It’s such an impressive building and a knowledgeable guided tour employee will even take you around the building and give you a detailed insight for free. I know, we couldn’t believe it, either.
Free admission, but tours should be reserved online to avoid disappointment.
Off-Beat Attractions in Denver
Denver socialite, Margaret ‘Molly’ Brown, was visiting with her daughter in Paris when she received word from Denver that her grandson was ill. She immediately booked the first boat to take her to New York. Unfortunately for her, that boat happened to be the HMS Titanic. When the ship sank, Brown was instrumental in assisting other passengers before finally getting on a lifeboat. Once on the boat, she then threatened some of the crew with throwing them overboard unless they went back to help others. Her survival, along with her determination to help, earned her the title of ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’. Well, Molly Brown’s home is located at 1340 Pennsylvania Street and has been turned into a museum honoring the remarkable lady. Paying respect to UMB is a great thing to do in Denver on your off-beat list.
If you’re looking for higher power (pun intended), you could always pay a visit to the International Church of Cannabis. We’re not even kidding. The Church is located on South Logan Street and is open to visitors. That’s exactly the sort of friendliness we expect from people who worship weed. It’s dope, y’all, but you have to supply your own Mars bars.
Frequently Asked Question by Travelers About Denver
We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about things to do in Denver. The questions cover a range of topics and will help you research and plan your next trip to the city.
What are things to in Denver with toddlers?
If you need to find things to do in Denver with toddlers, then a trip to Lollipop Park is a great way to keep them occupied until their next nap. This is an indoor amusement park catering to children of all ages, with specific rides for toddlers. Rides include tea-cups, air bounce, mini trains, horse carousel and a hall of mirrors. The unique thing about the facility is that once you purchase a wrist band for your child, they have access to everything for an unlimited period of time. There’s no two-hour limit. It’s quite literally an opportunity for children to actually overdose on fun.
Alternatively, take them for some padded fun at The Great Play Cherry Creek. This play center offers fun for a range of age groups – including from 6 months – 3.5 years – and is a fully interactive gym. The center focuses on helping little ones to develop social, sports and motor skills, while offering them a chance to keep fit and have far too much fun doing it. We don’t have that much fun at our gym, we can tell you that for free. Things to do in Denver with toddlers? Check. Things to do in Denver with kids? Also check.
What are free things to do in Denver this weekend?
There are always things to do in Denver to suit all budgets. Head to Four Mile Historic Park and take a look at the oldest standing structure in the city. Four Mile Historic Park has 12 acres of ground, tones of farm animals, and the frontier-era Four Mile House Museum. It’s a really fun thing to do in Denver this weekend for all the family. While you’re at it, no one should visit the city and not head out to bask in the wonder that is Red Rocks Amphitheater. Seriously: it’s incredible. There doesn’t have to be a show on for you to check out the location and get some snaps. If you’re the type to be impressed by the Hollywood Bowl, prepare to have your mind blown. Boom. Just like that.
What is the best thing to do in Denver?
Denver’s known for a lot of things; its sports teams, its beer, the fact that it created cheeseburgers, and that it’s just a beautiful city. Denver Zoo is a world leader in terms of reputation and quality, so it’s difficult to go wrong there. Denver Museum of Art is among the biggest (and best) in the US so you should never really leave the city without checking it out. 16th Street Mall is a must for people looking to experience Denver culture and mix with locals and, generally, eating food in the city is a great experience. Denver happens to be a secret foodie heaven, serving potato wrapped oysters Rockefeller, Bison short ribs, sea dogs and banana pudding, among its many specialties. Sampling the menu is one of the best things to do in Denver.
Denver is a laid-back and very liberal city with a very diverse mix of people. There are a lot of things to do in Denver for all ages, interests and cultures. Although the city itself is special, the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains takes it to a whole other level. The welcoming atmosphere and generally easy-going nature makes it a great place to hang out. The main airport is Denver International (DIA) and, with 35,000 staff, it’s the largest employer in the whole state. By size, it’s the largest airport in the US and second largest on the planet. That explains all those employees, then… I hope we’ve convinced you of all the great things to do in Denver in our guide. And if you go, you can probably guarantee your luggage won’t get lost for too long with 35,000 people looking for it. What are you waiting for?