Being from the Midwest, there’s something that feels so vast and vivid about the landscape in the Western states. With the Rocky Mountains, cities, rivers and forests, the West has so much to offer, and Colorado is certainly no exception. Denver, Colorado’s capital and most populous city, is a great starting point for travellers interested in exploring this region.
Fun Facts about Denver
- Denver earned its nickname the “Mile-High City” due to its official elevation of exactly one mile or 5,280 feet (Denvergov.org)
- You’ll commonly hear that Denver sees 300 days of sunshine a year, but it’s a myth! Denver only sees 115 clear, sunny days a year (but the weather is usually still great!) (Colorado Climate Center)
- 8 professional sports team call Denver home (Denver.org)
- Travellers arriving through the airport are greeted by “Blucifer”, a blue sculpture of a bronco said to be cursed – the artist was killed when a section of the sculpture fell on his leg and severed an artery. (Slate.com)
- Beer acounts for 6.3% of Denver’s economy, more than any other state in the U.S. Molson Coors Brewing Company is headquartered near Denver (247wallst.com)
- Chipotle’s first location was in Denver (HuffingtonPost.com)
- There are more marijuana dispensaries in Denver than there are Starbucks, McDonalds, Taco Bells and King Soopers combined – 215 to be exact (CBS Denver)
- And for those that were just about to google King Soopers, it’s a supermarket brand of Kroger headquartered in Denver (Wikipedia)
If that isn’t enough to convince you to add Denver to your bucket list, here’s a list of our favorite things to do in the mile-high city!
Things to Do in Denver
Tour the Colorado State Capital Building. To truly experience the “mile-high city”, stop on the 13th step at the western entrance – you’ll be exactly one mile above sea level! Don’t miss a visit up to the 24-carat gold-plated dome for a cool view of Denver. Free tours are given Monday thru Friday, but feel free to walk in and explore on your own! Note that you won’t be able to visit the dome if you do a self-guided tour (and it’s worth it!).
Grab dinner at Root Down in the Highland neighborhood. Over 2,000 reviews on yelp and a 4.5 star rating – enough said! This resturant serves delicious local food and is vegeterian friendly. We recommend booking a reservation in advance.
Eat a scoop of ice cream at Little Man Ice Cream. The shop is housed in a giant cream can and serves delicious ice cream! It makes a great stop after dinner at Root Down. 😉
Visit the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Or better yet, see a concert there! The scenery is stunning, and you may spot some wildlife. We watched a large group of deer graze on the side of a mountain. There’s a couple of trails to explore, and if you’d really like to get a workout out, take a few passes at running the stairs.
Take a day trip to Boulder for a hike. You’ll find some of the best Boulder hiking in Chautauqua Park, 45 minutes from downtown Denver. The First and Second Flatiron Hike is a popular and challenging 1.3 mile hike (one way) with ~1,500 feet in elevation gain. Hikers are rewarded with incredible views at the top!
Experience the world’s largest single-site brewery at the Coors Golden Brewery Tour. This is one of my favorite brewery tours, and we couldn’t believe how much beer we were able to taste at the end! If you’d like to continue to fun, walk over to Barrels & Bottles for drinks and food afterwards. This is tour is popular, so consider coming at an off time.
If you’re into money, stop by for a quick walk through the Denver Money Museum. Learn about the Federal Reserve, and see what $30M in cash looks like! You won’t need much time here, but it’s a free, fun stop if you have extra time to kill.
And if that’s not enough, here’s a few more ideas:
- Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (CELL)
- Denver Art Museum – Free the first Saturday of the month
- Self-guided Denver Brewery Tour
- Forney Museum of Transportation
- The United States Mint in Denver
- Denver Botanic Gardens
- Clyfford Still Museum – free every Friday from 5-8pm
- Drive to the top of Mount Evans
- Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
- Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver is an amazing city and has so much to offer visitors and locals alike! What’s your favorite thing to do in Denver?