Denver is the capital and largest city of Colorado, USA. Known as "The Mile-High City", Denver embraces its cowboy and mining past but also looks toward the future with a vibrant arts and performing arts scene, dozens of great outdoor festivals, and distinct neighborhoods each offering a unique experience. You'll find everything a cosmopolitan city has to offer including a spectacular view of and easy access to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, which are only 12 miles (19 km) west of town.
Denver is a bustling city of almost 735,000 people (2019) supporting a fast-growing metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people. The city sits at an altitude of 5,280 feet (1,600 m) above sea level and lies where the Great Plains give way to the Rocky Mountains.
Denver does have its growing pains. Urban sprawl is becoming a problem, with the metropolitan area sometimes growing faster than the infrastructure can really handle, especially with public transportation. Denver is generally a driving city, and some problems with pollution and traffic are a part of everyday life. Large mass transportation and freeway expansion projects have been completed, including the popular light rail system. By American standards, Denver is betting big on public transportation.
- See also: Winter in North America
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Denver residents enjoy a mild climate and the third most sunshine of any US state, with four pronounced seasons.
Heavy snowfalls can occur between October and March, often alternating with days of high temperatures and sunshine. About once a year, a snowfall of over a few feet occurs. Winter is also when the Denver area gets pounded by a phenomenon known as the "Chinook". That's when air flows over the mountains to the west and sinks on the leeward (eastern) slopes of the foothills and warms up. This raises air temperatures dramatically, which can last for several days. If you're planning to visit Denver during the winter, be prepared with full winter gear just in case, but also pack a light sweater and T-shirt; the weather is usually very sunny and mild.
Spring in Denver is pleasant, though generally rather brief. Trees begin budding by late March and are in full leaf by mid April to mid May. March, on average, is Denver's snowiest month.
By June, Denver enters its summer season. Temperatures typically rise in earnest at this time, with most heat waves beginning in mid-June and continuing through July, usually Denver's hottest month with temperatures in the high 80s to mid-90s F (30s C). By late July, the southwest monsoon kicks in. In August, short spells of thunderstorms occur about three to four days per week. By late August, temperatures begin to drop with a noticeable difference between day time and night time temperatures. As the days get shorter through September and October, daytime temperatures drop to the high 50s to mid-60s F (mid-10s C). Slather on that sunscreen all summer long; the rays are strong and the air is dry, with temperatures often reaching the upper 90s F (mid-30s C) in July and August.
Autumn is a peaceful time to visit, with mild temperatures, little severe weather and lots of that famous clear blue sky. You'll get to see the trees display their fall colors, which usually peak around mid-September in the mountains and October in the city. October usually brings the first snowfall of the season to Denver, although it's very light. By November, it's clear that winter is on its way, with plenty of clouds, some snow and much cooler temperatures.
- 1 Denver International Airport (DEN IATA), 8500 Peña Blvd, ☏ +1 303-342-2000, [email protected]. Commonly referred to as DIA, the airport is about 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Downtown Denver and is one of the busiest airports in the nation, due to it being a hub for Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, and is a popular destination with other major domestic carriers. Many connecting flights are made in DIA, and this airport is more pleasant than most to kill time, with plenty of public art displays, battery charging stations, and free Wi-Fi, as well as a decent selection of restaurants for an airport. Detailed information on the airport can be found on its page.
- The airport is set amidst rolling plains with the towering Rocky Mountains and Denver to the west, somewhat far from any conceivable local destination. RTD, the regional public transit service, offers a train line and airport shuttles that can take you from DIA to the city and destinations in the region. The A Line offers a direct rail connection to Union Station in Downtown Denver, with service every 15 minutes during peak times and every 30 minutes during off-peak; trains run from approximately 4:00am to 1:30am. For places not easily reached by the rail system, SkyRide offers three bus routes from the airport to locations throughout the metro area, including Boulder and many "Park and Ride" lots. Purchase tickets at the airport transit center, which is outside the airport baggage claim; the fare is $10.50 for a "Regional/Airport Day Pass" that covers trips to downtown Denver as well as unlimited trips on the RTD system for the remainder of the day. Buy passes with cash or credit card at fare machines in the transit center.
Private pilots mostly fly into:
- 2 Centennial Airport (APA IATA), 7800 S Peoria St (south of town, not far from the Denver Technological Center), ☏ +1 303-790-0598.
- 3 Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC IATA), 11755 Airport Way (northwest of town, near Interlocken Business Park, Broomfield and Boulder and the closest airport to Downtown Denver), ☏ +1 303-271-4850.
On warm days, the density altitude may make takeoffs difficult; Centennial and Rocky Mountain Airports thus have relatively long runways, to accommodate volumes of private jet traffic. Flight visibility in the Denver area is often in excess of 100 miles; weather fronts tend to travel quickly N-S along the Front Range. For small planes, any direction but west is a good choice.
- I-25 (north and south), I-70 (east and west), and I-76 (northeast) are the major interstates leading in and out of the city. I-225 and I-270 cross the Denver area.
- U.S. Highway 40 connects Denver to Salt Lake City to the west.
- Interstate 70 connects Denver to Summit County, the location of many major ski areas, to the west.
- Interstate 25 connects Denver to Colorado Springs in the south and Cheyenne, Wyoming in the north.
- U.S. Highway 36 connects to the northwestern suburbs and on to Boulder.
- C-470 Connects to the southern end of E-470 (also accessible from I-25) leading to the south, southwest, and western suburbs.
- Toll roads There are a couple of major toll roads in the Denver area, and they can help you avoid some serious rush hour traffic on I-70 and I-25.
- E-470 connects the airport to the southeast, east, northeast and northwest suburbs, C-470 at its southern terminus, and the Northwest Parkway at its northern terminus, leading to Boulder. E-470 is a "cashless" toll road - there are no longer any toll plazas and no way to pay tolls except via an in-car device or a billing service. If renting a car, check to see if the rental car agency provides for proper billing; otherwise, you may be subject to billed tolls and hefty service charges. Tolls are $2–4 and without an in-car device, service charges can run to $25 or more.
- Northwest Parkway connects to the north end of E-470 leading to north, northeast and northwest suburbs, and Boulder. Also accessible from I-25. Tolls are up to $3 each, and booths accept only cash. There's no attendant between 10PM and 6AM, so pay attention to the signs; though some booths still accept exact change, others require you to pay online or by mail.
- See also: Rail travel in the United States
Denver is served by Amtrak via its daily California Zephyr service between Chicago and Emeryville, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Eastbound departures are around 7PM while westbound trains leave at 8AM. However, as this is one of the longest train routes in the world, delays are quite frequent. Trains call at the restored 4 Denver Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St (where 17th and Wynkoop streets meet) (in the LoDo neighborhood). The renovation has restored Union Station to its former glory, and it now boasts an on-premise hotel, several restaurants and bars as well as plenty of seating for the tired traveller. Denver Union Station is often cited as the "poster boy" for the revival of train stations, train travel in general and the adjacent neighborhoods that can be observed in several North American and European cities. Union Station is also known for its iconic "travel by train" sign first put there in the 1950s when arrivals at Stapleton Airport started to outstrip traffic at Union Station. In addition to Amtrak trains, RTD commuter and light rail services also call at Union Station, providing easy access to many places in the Denver area if you arrive by train.
The central bus station is in the underground 5 Union Station Bus Concourse under 17th St behind the historic Union Station building. It can be accessed through the Union Station Building at 1701 Wyncoop St (main entry, location of ticket counters); through the 6 Wewatta Pavilion at 1700 Wewatta St (behind Union Station); and through the 7 Chestnut Pavillion at Chestnut Pl & 17th St by the RTD light rail station. The Union Station Bus Concourse is serviced by Burlington Trailways, Greyhound, Express Arrow, Bustang and RTD. The ticket desks are in the main historic building while the buses load underground, under S 17th St between the historic Union Station and the light rail station on Chestnut Pl. Some of the same bus companies make additional stops at Denver Tech Center (DTC) and/or in other places, check schedules. The intercity buses are generally accessed through Gates B3 & B4 from the underground station but check tickets and the TV monitors to be sure as they can be through the other doors too. Skyride 'A' Line train to the airport operates from the historic downtown Union Station:
- Burlington Trailways, Union Station, ☏ +1 303-293-6555, +1 319-753-2864, toll-free: +1-800-992-4618. Goes east on I-76/80 towards Des Moines, IA through Ft Morgan, Sterling, Ogallala, North Platte, Lincoln, Omaha, etc. Passengers transfer in Iowa City to reach additional destinations.
- Bustang ((Multiple stops in the area with multiple routes)). Service to Denver from Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Gunnison and Grand Junction four separate routes. Passengers transfer in Grand Junction to continue towards Durango and in Colorado Springs to continue to Lamar via Pueblo. Bus stops at Denver Union Station (Bus Concourse) and Denver Tech Center.
- Express Arrow (Black Hills Stage Lines), Union Station at 1701 Wyncoop St (Gate 3B), ☏ +1 402-371-3850, toll-free: +1-877-779-2999. Travels between several cities & towns in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska & Wyoming on multiple routes. From Denver their buses go north towards Buffalo WY via Casper, Cheyenne; east towards Omaha; and southwest to Alamosa and Gunnison through Fairplay, Buena Vista and Salida
- Greyhound & Autobus Americanos, (bus station) Union Station at 1700 Wewetta St (Wewatta Pavilion). Service to Salt Lake City (some schedules continue to Portland from Salt Lake City via Boise); Los Angeles (via St George, Las Vegas, Barstow); St Louis, Dallas (via Amarillo) and El Paso (via Pueblo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces) on multiple routes. Greyhound is in the process of moving from the old bus station on 1055 19th St to Union Station (Oct 2020). Others who use the old bus station will follow. Check websites, check schedules.
- Regional Transportation District (RTD), (downtown office) 1660 Blake St, ☏ +1 303-299-6000. RTD operates local city buses, light rail and commuter trains including the airport SkyTrain around Denver and the surrounding areas. Some of their buses run from Union Bus Station (the same location as intercity buses) while others are only on the surface streets. Check schedules, see below under 'By public transit'.
The Hispanic bus companies from El Paso maintain their own separate bus stations nearby the old Denver Bus Center. Passengers transfer buses in El Paso to continue to/from Mexico. Expect the bus stations to be crowded and dirty:
- 8 El Paso Los Angeles Limousine Express, (bus station) 2215 E California St (corner of E California & 22nd St), ☏ +1 303-293-2244, toll-free: +1-866-691-9732. Travels along I-25 between Greeley, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Demig, Las Cruces and El Paso. The depot in Greeley is at 2410 8th Ave.
- 9 Los Paisanos, (bus station) 2147 Broadway (Broadway & Champa St), ☏ +1 303-291-1366, toll-free: +1-866-771-7575. Travels between Caldwell (near Boise) and El Paso via Salt Lake City, Greely, Denver and Roswell.
- Numbered avenues run east-west in the north half of the metro area, including suburbs. Ellsworth Avenue is the "equatorial" street. Numbered streets increase as you travel north and are generally called avenues. Avenues south of Ellsworth are also named avenues.
- Named streets run north-south. Broadway is the "meridian" street. Ordered alphabetically going up as you travel east or west away from the city center, though not alphabetical closer to the city center. Addresses on named streets correspond to intersecting numbered streets, so "1701 Broadway" is at 17th and Broadway. North-south streets are generally called streets, not avenues.
- Downtown streets: The diagonal layout of the downtown area can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors. North of Colfax and west of Broadway, the streets are canted 45 degrees from all other streets in the city. The transition between the two systems is confusing even for locals. Southeast-northwest streets are numbered, while southwest-northeast streets are named. As this was the original grid system of Denver, some vestiges of it exist outside of downtown, creating diagonal cuts in certain parts of the city. Some of those streets include Park Avenue, Speer Boulevard and Morrison Road.
If you plan to go outside of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods car rentals are the most convenient form of transportation. Local companies tend to offer better prices, but national chains might be more convenient as far as return policies and hours. Rental companies include most major car rental chains.
Meters are free on Sunday and run until 10PM on weekdays. After 10PM at many of the meters where it used to be free, it now is $1.00 per hour from 10PM until 8AM at the smart meters. The meters say "overnight parking allowed" but you are still required to pay during this time, or you will get a $25 parking ticket. In the downtown area near Coors Field, the Pepsi Center, and LoDo, there is pretty much no free parking on weekdays. In some areas a few blocks from the city center there are a few non-metered spots within reasonable walking distance of downtown. However, just because you don't see a meter doesn't mean that parking is free. Denver is increasingly using European-style meters, where you purchase a paper ticket from a machine somewhere on the block and place it on your dashboard. Also, many neighborhoods around downtown allow only permitted residents to park, so be sure to check the signs first. Some streets have alternate side parking restrictions for cleaning/clearing the streets. Check signs carefully.
The city government has been cracking down on parking violations, so if you park at a meter with a flashing red light and don't pay, even for a few minutes, expect to get a ticket. Meter violations will cost you $25 ($50 if you don't pay up within two weeks). All the meters in the downtown area are equipped with credit card readers that accept Visa and MasterCard. $1 will get you around an hour, depending on the location of the meter.
Areas outside of the downtown core (20th St, Speer, Wynkoop St, Colfax and Broadway) usually have meters that end at 6PM and are free on weekends, so parking is much easier during those times. The area just northwest of downtown, across the train tracks from Union Station, has free 2-hour parking spots (on Wewatta Street just before the Park Avenue bridge).
The area around Union Station is frequently inundated with pedestrians, particularly between Chestnut Place and Wewatta Street, and especially when trains have just arrived and passengers have just disembarked. During daylight hours, there is rarely a break in the action, and that especially goes for days when Rockies home games or other downtown events are taking place. Near Union Station pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles, and drivers will most likely get stuck waiting at crosswalks, sometimes for a long while. For the safety of the pedestrians, and the sanity of the motorist, it is best to avoid driving near Union Station unless absolutely necessary.
By public transit
The RTD (Regional Transportation District) is the region's primary public transit provider, operating buses and light rail throughout the Denver area.
Denver has a fairly extensive and rapidly growing light rail system that can efficiently get you from Downtown to many of the city's suburbs. There are eight rail lines that branch out of Downtown along six corridors: the A line east to Denver International Airport, the B line north to Westminster, the C/D lines south to Englewood and Littleton, the E/F/H lines southeast along I-25, the G line northwest to Arvada and Wheat Ridge, and the W line west to Lakewood and the Denver Federal Center. A ninth line, the R line, travels along I-225 on the east side of Denver, connecting the E/F/H lines with the A line via Aurora. In Downtown, all rail lines either terminate at Union Station or travel through central Downtown via the Convention Center. Rail tickets must be purchased (cash or credit card) from vending machines at the stations or purchase virtual tickets on the RTD App, tickets must be purchased before boarding the trains and cost (as of 2021) between $0.90 and $5.25 for a three-hour pass, depending on how far you travel, age, and economic status, with service to the airport costing from $3.20 to $10.50. Regional day passes also cost from $3.20 to $10.50 (and include travel to or from the airport) and include bus fare.
The backbone of Denver's transportation system is the buses. RTD buses are $3.00 (cash only; exact change required, with discounts available for youth and senior citizens) for a one-way local trip, and with payment you receive a transfer that's valid for three hours from when you board the bus. Day passes are also available and include light rail, for $10.50. There is also a free shuttle, the MallRide, which runs along the 16th Street pedestrian mall through Downtown and is a handy way of traveling between Downtown attractions. More information about RTD can be found at the Union Station and Civic Center bus stations at either end of 16th Street in Downtown, or on the RTD website. Local routes crisscross the city, supplemented by 'Limited' buses that stop less frequently on major arteries like Colfax and Colorado Boulevard; these buses are denoted by an 'L' after the route number, and cost the same as a Local route.
RTD also operates limited intercity coach service, mostly to the north suburbs and the more distant communities of Longmont and Boulder. These services are denoted by letters and tend to leave from Union Station or Civic Center Station at either end of the 16th Street Mall. The Flatiron Flyer offers a fast bus service along express highway lanes between Union Station in Denver and downtown Boulder, with fares ranging from $3.00 to $5.25 depending on distance travelled. If you're in Colorado to ski or board on a budget, Eldora Mountain Resort in Nederland can be reached via the Ski-N-Ride service (NB bus) from downtown Boulder, seasonally from mid-November to mid-April; fares are $5.25 one-way or covered by a $10.50 daypass. RTD also operates SkyRide service to the airport; see the "By plane" section above for further details.
Denver has a large network of bike trails leading all over the city. The city has a fiercely loyal cycling culture, and it's reflected in the abundance of bike lanes and trails in and around downtown. Main trails run along both Cherry Creek and the Platte, and bike lanes run down many downtown streets. The lanes are sometimes dedicated and sometimes run with traffic, and are marked by a stencil of a bike in the street. The city's designated routes are signed, and you can pick up a bike map at the info centers downtown and at many bike shops.
Don't be afraid to assert yourself in traffic when there is no bike lane - the drivers are, while impatient sometimes, for the most part respectful. Bikes are treated legally like traffic in Denver, and (while admittedly rare), you can get tickets for running red lights and stop signs. Bikes are also expected to ride as far to the right as practicable, unless you're riding in a group of 3 or more - in which case you are considered (and can behave like) a car. Neat, huh?
Bikes are required to have front lights at night, and a good lock is recommended in areas around downtown. Bike theft happens frequently.
Denver is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for visitors, plus a diverse collection of neighborhoods that can be attractions in themselves. Many of Denver's older areas are the perfect density for exploration; you'll find an interesting mix of apartments and homes with flowery front gardens, wide flagstone sidewalks, bright green lawns and big, shady trees. Capitol Hill, Highlands, Baker, Berkeley, Uptown, Sloan's Lake, Cheesman, Washington, City and Congress Parks are just some of the neighborhoods bustling with people and places to see.
Denver has many beautiful parks that are full of colorful gardens, meandering paths, crystal clear lakes, abundant wildlife and recreation opportunities. The city has a rich pioneer history, and there are plenty of museums where you can learn all about it. It's also a very environmentally conscious city, with one of the nation’s first municipal “Green Fleets”, public transit vehicles using hybrid and alternative fuel and a city tree-planting initiative. Hop on a green bus, grab a bike or just walk around to discover Denver.
Museums and architecture
- 1 Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, 3091 California St, ☏ +1 720 242-7428. F Sa 10AM-2PM. Set in the home of Dr. Justina Ford, Colorado's first Black woman doctor, this museum is dedicated to the contributions of Black pioneers in the Old West. The 19th-century building was moved 12 blocks to become a museum. $10 adults, $9 seniors, $8 students, $6 children.
- 2 Byers-Evans House Museum, 1310 Bannock St, ☏ +1 303-620-4933. M-Sa 10AM-4PM (guided tours at 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 12:30PM, 1:30PM and 2:30PM). One of Denver's great historic homes, built in 1883 by Rocky Mountain News publisher Williams Byers and elegantly furnished with original turn of the (20th) century pieces. Tour the house or catch featured exhibitions in the gallery. $6 adults, $5 seniors/students, $4 children (children under 6 free).
- 3 Chamberlin Observatory, 2930 E Warren Ave, ☏ +1 303-871-5172. Built in 1890, this working observatory is a historic landmark and a pride of the University of Denver. Star Parties and other events are open to the public.
- 4 Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Dr, ☏ +1 303-433-7444, fax: +1 303-433-9520. This educational museum takes a fun, hands-on approach to learning.
- 5 Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-866-2604. M-F 7:30AM-5PM. A gorgeous domed building at the southern edge of Downtown. Tours are available, though the big attraction for tourists is standing above the words "One Mile Above Sea Level" engraved into one of the steps out front.
- 6 Denver Art Museum, 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, ☏ +1 720-865-5000. Tu-Th Sa-Su 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-8PM. Closed M and major holidays. A huge museum with art from all over the world. You'll want to give yourself several hours to properly explore the place. $13 adults, $10 seniors/students, $5 youth (6-18), free for children 5 and under. Discounted rates available for Colorado residents. Free admission for eveyone on the first Sa of the month.
- 7 Denver Firefighters Museum, 1326 Tremont Pl, ☏ +1 303-892-1436. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Historical and interactive exhibits, activities and special events celebrating Denver's firefighters. $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children.
- 8 Denver Mint, 320 W Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-405-4761. M-Th 8AM-3:30PM, closed on all federal holidays. Thanks to this place, more U.S. money is made in Denver than anywhere else in the world. Fish a coin out of your pocket and look for the "D" on the face side (usually in the bottom right quadrant). That means the money was minted in Denver. Tour times vary by day. Each day, ticket are available starting at 7AM until they run out. Free.
- 9 Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd, ☏ +1 303-322-7009. Open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Exhibitions, planetarium and IMAX.
- 10 Forney Transportation Museum, 4303 Brighton Blvd, ☏ +1 303-297-1113. M-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. $9 adults, $7 seniors, $5 children (3-15), free for children under 3.
- 11 History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway (Entrance is on Broadway between 12th & 13th Ave.), ☏ +1 303-447-8679. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. The center has many displays and exhibits focusing on historical sites throughout Colorado (prairie settlement, mine, Native American life, etc.) Great for families with kids and even adults; only takes 1-1½ hours to take in. Adults $12; seniors (65+)/students (w/ID) $10; children (6-12) $8; children (under 5) free.
- 12 Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St, ☏ +1 303-832-4092. Tu-Sa 10AM-3:30PM, Su noon-3:30PM (45-min tours). This restored Victorian was once home to labor reformist, actress and Titanic survivor Margaret Brown. It now showcases that era of Colorado history through exhibits and special events. $12 adults, $10 seniors/military/students/teachers, $8 juniors (6-18), free for children 6 and under.
- 13 The Money Museum, 1020 16th St (Entrance is on Curtis Street.), ☏ +1 303-572-2300. 8:30AM-4:30PM. Self-guided tour. Small room with a few displays, including $30 million in cash! Free.
- 14 Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Dr, ☏ +1 303-571-4401. Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su noon-5PM. Denver is home to a large and growing Latino population, and this museum focuses on their art and heritage. $5.
- 15 Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 1485 Delgany St, ☏ +1 303-298-7554. Tu-Th noon-7PM, F noon-9PM, Sa Su 10AM-5PM. Housed in an ultra-modern building downtown, this innovative museum seeks to engage the community with workshops, films, lectures, and a relaxing, open environment. Visit the rooftop deck for 360-degree views of Denver, grab a quick bite in the cafe, and check out the functional public performance space called The Lane. $8 adults ($5 after 5PM), $5 students/seniors, children and teens under 18 free.
- 16 National Ballpark Museum, 1940 Blake St (off of Blake and 20th, across from Coors Field), ☏ +1 303-974-5835. Open by appointment; call to schedule a visit. A family-run museum that contains one of the best private baseball collections in the country, this museum holds a stunning collection of artifacts from ballparks all over the country, including signs, bricks, and seats from the classic ballparks of old, as well as a section of Fenway Park's "Green Monster". $10 adults, $5 seniors/children, free for active military and children under 6.
- 17 Kirkland Museum (Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art), 1201 Bannock St, ☏ +1 303-832-8576, [email protected]. Tu-Sa 11AM-5PM; Su noon-5PM. Fine and Decorative art museum featuring over 30,000 works by more than 1,500 artists and designers. Building was moved in Nov 2016. The grand opening at the new Bannock St location was held March 10,2018.
Parks and gardens
- 18 City Park (between Colorado Blvd, York St, 26th Ave and 17th Ave). Enjoy the Denver sunshine at this 330-acre urban park east of downtown. Two lakes, numerous fields, playgrounds, and a golf course, as well as the Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science are all within its expansive bounds.
- 19 Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St, ☏ +1 303-376-4800. Open every day of the year, hours vary by season. Denver zoo's pride is Bear Mountain, created using casts of actual Colorado rock outcroppings to simulate the bears' natural habitat. For a different way to watch the wildlife, hop on the Pioneer Train, the first train in a U.S. zoo to be powered by natural gas. Other exhibits include an indoor rainforest and the 7-acre Primate Panorama. $5-12.
- 20 Denver Botanic Gardens, 1005 York St, ☏ +1 720-865-3500. May-Sept: Sa-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-F 9AM-5PM. Sept-May: 9AM-5PM daily. Closed on major holidays and for special events. Come for the array of flowers and plants from around the world, stay for the peace and quiet (and the free WiFi), then check out the bonus attractions. Above the gardens' bistro, you'll find Denver's first public green roof, a living example of the benefits of green design. Space and science buffs won't want to miss the OmniGlobe exhibit, a spherical simulation of the Earth from space. $12.50 adults, $9.50 seniors, $9 students/children.
- 21 Washington Park, S Downing St and E Louisiana Ave. Beautiful and lush Denver park, with lakes, flower gardens, a recreation center, soccer fields and tennis courts. Over 160 acres of natural beauty, surrounded by turn-of-the-19th-century homes. A favorite jogging, volleyball, and drinking destination. This used to be the favorite hang-out of young residents during the summer months, but regulations requiring permits for many common activities have reduced park usage and transferred it to City Park.
- 22 Cheesman Park, 12th Ave at High St. The Acropolis-inspired pavilion has a commanding view of the Denver skyline.
- 23 Confluence Park, 15th Street at the Platte River. Named for the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, Confluence Park is a summertime spot for many of Denver's residents. Cool off in the river, or bring a kayak or inner tube for the purpose built rapids near the REI store. The park is also accessible via the Cherry Creek or Platte bike trails.
- 24 Denver Animal Shelter dog sculpture, 1241 W. Bayaud Ave. A 20-foot-high sculpture of a dog, made out of metal dog tags.
Late spring and early autumn are excellent seasons to do things outdoors in Denver. Besides the city's various lush green parks, there are plenty of outdoor festivals, sports, and gondola rides. (Yes, gondola rides.) In winter, the snow-peaked mountains in the distance and the crisp air on your cheeks make it the perfect time to tour Denver's famous breweries or check out the downtown arts scene.
- 1 The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park, 511 16th St, ☏ +1 303-825-6787, [email protected]. Skating rink in downtown Denver open from late November to mid February. Skate rental $8 adults/$6 kids, or bring your own skates.
- 2 Archery Games Denver, 5405 W 56th Ave, Unit D, ☏ +1 720-443 0287, [email protected]. Play archery dodgeball with bows and foam-tipped arrows at this indoor arena. $25.
In addition to the two listed below, the Denver area is also home to Water World, a huge water park in Thornton.
- 3 Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Cir, ☏ +1 303-595-4386, [email protected]. A huge amusement park with rides and family entertainment.
- 4 Lakeside, 4601 Sheridan Blvd, ☏ +1 303-477-1621. call for hours. A throwback from Denver's past, Lakeside is an amusement park like they used to make; without all the corporate branding and commercialism. While it may have a somewhat seedy exterior, Lakeside is still a staple of local kids' upbringings, and remains a fixture of Denver culture as well as a much cheaper alternative to Elitch Gardens. Coaster buffs will squeal with glee over the Cyclone, the park's original 1940 Edward Vettel-designed wood coaster.
- 5 Bovine Metropolis Theater, 1527 Champa St, ☏ +1 303-758-4722. Nope, no cows on stage. Just exciting and surprising improv comedy shows five nights a week. All ages. $5-16.
- 6 Comedy Works, 1226 15th St (between Larimer and Lawrence in Larimer Square), ☏ +1 303-595-3637. Laugh it up with local comedians and big name acts. 21 and up. $10-30 tickets.
Festivals & events
- January National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Martin Luther King Parade, Indian Market, Mile High Snowfest
- February Colorado Garden and Home Show, Denver Restaurant Week, Buffalo Bill's Birthday Party
- March St. Patrick's Day Parade, Denver March Powwow, Starz Global Lens Film Festival
- April Colorado Rockies Home Opener, KBCO Kinetics
- May Cinco de Mayo, Tesoro Indian Market and Powwow, Downtown Denver Festival of the Arts, Denver Day of Rock, Colorado Colfax Marathon also includes Denver's Navy Week.
- June Colorado Renaissance Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, Comcast La Piazza dell’Arte, Do At The Zoo, PrideFest, The People's Fair, Highland Street Fair
- July Cherry Creek Arts Festival, The INTERNATIONAL at Castle Pines, Colorado Irish Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Evergreen Jazz Festival, Global Dance Festival
- September Doors Open Denver, A Taste of Colorado, Great American Beer Festival, Brew At The Zoo, Annual Oktoberfest, Festival Italiano, Denver Beer Fest
- October Doors Open Denver, Fright Fest, Denver Mariachi Festival, Denver Marathon
- November Denver Arts Week, Starz International Film Festival, Denver International Wine Festival, Downtown Denver, Grand Illumination
- December Mile High Holidays, Blossoms of Light, Zoo Lights, 9News Parade of Lights, New Year's Eve Downtown Fireworks
Major performing arts performances are held at the Denver Performing Arts Complex at N Speer Blvd and Arapahoe St in downtown Denver, including:
- 7 Colorado Ballet, Ellie Caulkins Opera House (in the Denver Performing Arts Complex), ☏ +1 303-837-8888. September–April. Founded in 1951, this internationally acclaimed company presents classical and contemporary ballets.
- 8 Colorado Symphony, Boettcher Concert Hall (in the Denver Performing Arts Complex), ☏ +1 303-623-7876. September–June. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra established in 1989, as the successor to the Denver Symphony.
- 9 Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Buell Theatre (in the Denver Performing Arts Complex), ☏ +1 303-893-4100. Year-round. Spend an evening at the theater watching anything from revivals to world premieres. The center hosts a Tony Award-winning professional resident company, and touring productions.
- 10 Opera Colorado, Ellie Caulkins Opera House (in the Denver Performing Arts Complex), ☏ +1 303-778-1500. November–May. This young company performs classic operas in their downtown venue. $30-160.
Besides this complex, you can find smaller venues, restaurants, and cafes for a unique and exciting experience.
- 11 Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St, ☏ +1 303-294-9281. Highly recommended. This popular restaurant/cafe/event center is a must for any lovers of poetry, theater, or counterculture. Live music almost every night, salsa classes, and more. Particularly recommended Sundays nights, when it hosts Denver's best poetry slam. Often, you might run into well-known names like Andrea Gibson. Check out their schedule for more information.
There are a bunch of places in town where you can catch a concert, but the most interesting and unique venue in the larger Denver area is almost inarguably the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, a huge outdoor space surrounded by rock formations that make for not only a stunningly beautiful setting but also naturally perfect acoustics.
- 12 Bluebird Theater, 3317 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-322-2308. A beautiful old World War I-era silent movie palace on Colfax Avenue, now repurposed as a music hall where concerts in a variety of genres (primarily rock, but also blues, country, bluegrass and the like) are presented in an intimate setting.
- 13 Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St. Capitol Hill is where you'll find arguably the epicenter of Denver's live music scene. This cavernous and newly-renovated space is famous for its dual Minors with Adults Liquor License, so if you're underage, you're not necessarily segregated into crappy seats.
- 14 hi-dive, 7 S Broadway (cross streets: Ellsworth & Broadway). A small, scruffy bar with character to the hilt, hi-dive is mostly a place to go if you want to check out Denver's local music scene. But it's also made a name for itself as a place rising stars play just before they make it big, so come out to a show here and maybe you can say you "saw them when..."
- 15 Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer St, ☏ +1 303-291-1007. You can't miss this hipster-friendly club and concert hall in RiNo, with huge, brightly painted Op Art murals covering the whole front of the building. Catch mostly local rock, country, and electronica acts, with a few national touring artists to mix things up, in an ambience that's a lot cleaner and less skeevy than some of the dives around town.
- 16 Lion's Lair, 2022 E. Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-322-2308. Famous, or should we say infamous, dive bar in Colfax that's been a gathering place for Denver-area punk, hardcore, and thrash fans since the 80s. The drinks are cheap, the lights are dim, and the ambience is grungy - and that's meant in a good way.
- 17 Ogden Theatre, 935 E Colfax Ave. Like the smaller Bluebird, the Ogden Theatre is another old silent movie house and vaudeville hall that's been repurposed as a music venue. Whatever your favorite genre - rock, hip-hop, R&B, electronica, country - you can probably find a show you like at this affable midsize venue.
- 18 Oriental Theater, 4335 W 44th Ave, ☏ +1 303-455-2124. Yet another movie palace turned music venue, the Oriental is the Berkeley neighborhood's destination of choice for everyone from rock and rollers to stand-up comedy fans to arthouse cinephiles.
Denver is the only city in the Rocky Mountains with teams in all of North America's "big four" pro sports leagues.
- 19 Denver Broncos, Empower Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant St, ☏ +1 720-258-3333. The Broncos are among the most successful teams in the National Football League, making frequent playoff runs and winning three Super Bowls, most recently in the 2015 season. They have had a number of famous quarterbacks, most notably John Elway, who won two Super Bowls as the Broncos quarterback in his final two seasons as a player and now manages the franchise; and Peyton Manning, who played his final four seasons in Denver after being let go by Indianapolis, with the Broncos' most recent Super Bowl win coming in his last game.
- 20 Colorado Avalanche, Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle, ☏ +1 303-405-1100. In 1995, the erstwhile Quebec Nordiques landed with a bang in Denver, winning the Stanley Cup in their first season in their new home city and following it up with another championship in 2001. They've had their ups and downs since then, but they're always solid playoff contenders in the National Hockey League. Will this be the year they go for number three? Head to Ball Arena just outside of downtown and find out.
- 21 Colorado Rockies, Coors Field, 2001 Blake St (on the edge of the LoDo neighborhood), ☏ +1 303-762-5437. Ballpark tours at noon and 2PM on M-Sa non-game days during the season and M W F Sa during the off-season. Denver's Major League Baseball team plays in Coors Field, one of the most beloved ballparks in the major leagues and the most hitter-friendly park as well, thanks to Denver's dry air and high altitude. Tickets range from the $4 "Rockpile" bleachers behind center field to $60 for a seat behind home plate. Behind-the-scenes tours of the ballpark are available. Tickets $4-$60, Ballpark tours $9 adults, $7 seniors, $6 children.
- 22 Denver Nuggets, Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle, ☏ +1 303-405-1100. After decades of disappointment, Denver's National Basketball Association team finally saw a measure of success for a couple seasons in the late 2000s, when superstars Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony led them to back-to-back first-place finishes in the league (followed by quick implosions in the playoffs). After a few years in the bottom of the league, the Nuggets are now on the rise, led by two-time league MVP Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray. Win or lose, Denverites reliably turn out to matches at Ball Arena hoping this is the year they either turn things around or take the next step toward a championship.
Denver is represented in many smaller leagues too. Of special note among these niche sports is rugby union, which has an outsize following around here: not one but two of America's leagues field teams in the Mile High City.
- 23 Colorado Rapids, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way, Commerce City, ☏ +1 303-727-3500. A charter member of Major League Soccer, the Colorado Rapids are a consistent draw despite generally middling success on the field. The biggest games of the season see the Rapids face off against their hated rivals, Real Salt Lake.
- 24 Colorado Mammoth, Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle, ☏ +1 303-405-1100. They may have only won one Champions' Cup, in 2006, but the Mammoth are a perennial force to be reckoned with in the National Lacrosse League. They play at Ball Arena, and tickets are easy to come by (and a relative steal, starting at $10 for single seats).
- 25 Glendale Raptors Rugby Club, Infinity Park, 4599 E. Tennessee Ave., Glendale, ☏ +1 303-639-4604. Rugby union club whose top side competes in Major League Rugby, the USA's latest attempt at a professional league in the sport. The organization also fields women's, developmental men's, and youth teams, some of which play as the Glendale Merlins. Also of note: In 2018, Infinity Park became home to the USA Women's Sevens, a tournament in the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series for national teams in rugby sevens, a variant of union with 7 players per side instead of 15, with halves of 7 minutes instead of 40.
- 26 Denver Barbarians Rugby Club, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way, Commerce City. The lower-profile but more successful of Denver's two rugby union teams, competing in the U.S. Rugby Super League since 1967 with three championships to their name.
In the realm of college sports, the main draw in Denver is...
- 27 Denver Pioneers, Ritchie Center, 2240 E. Buchtel Blvd, ☏ +1 303-871-2336, [email protected]. The University of Denver (DU), which plays NCAA Division I sports, mostly in the Summit League. With no football program, the highest-profile sports are men's basketball, men's ice hockey (in which it is a traditional powerhouse, playing in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference), and men's lacrosse (an emerging national power in the Big East Conference).
There are also many disc golf (i.e., golf using a flying disc) courses that bring hours of entertainment for free, as well as numerous golf courses.
Among the most popular tours in Denver are those of the many local breweries. Note that the most famous brewery in the area, the Coors Brewery, is located in Golden, about 15 miles west in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
- 28 Great Divide Brewing Company, 2201 Arapahoe St, ☏ +1 303-296-9460. This celebrated local microbrewery is helping make Denver an international destination for beer-lovers. Learn firsthand how they do it. Tours happen Monday-Saturday. Free.
- Denver Microbrew Tour, Denver Downtown (Tour Starts at Great Divide Brewing Company), ☏ +1 303-578-9548, [email protected]. Year round, F-Su 3PM-5:15PM. Guided walking tour in downtown Denver’s historic LODO (lower downtown) area. The tour includes a brewery tour, beer samplings at several microbreweries, everything you want to know about beer, and local Denver history. $40+.
- 29 Let's Roam Denver Brewery Tour, 2201 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO, USA (Tour Starts at Great Divide Brewing Company), ☏ +1 833-202-7626, [email protected]. 365 days a year, starts at 6 PM. Guided walking tour in downtown Denver's famed Brewery district LoDO. The tour is a fun pub brawl crawl combined brewery tour. $15/person.
There are a number of shopping areas in Denver.
- The 16th Street Mall runs the near entire length of 16th St in downtown Denver. It is home to a number of chain stores, as well as novelty shops. It is dominated by the 1 Denver Pavilions, an "urban mall," on the southeast end of the street.
- The Cherry Creek Shopping District sits southeast of downtown Denver, and hosts some of the most expensive stores in the metropolitan area. The 2 Cherry Creek Shopping Mall is the epicenter of this district.
- 3 LoDo (Lower Downtown) is immediately west of the Financial District of Denver and is connected directly to Larimer Square. Like Larimer, it is home to rich old architecture (as well as a few modern pieces). It is anchored by the Tattered Cover (see below) and hosts a ton of shops, mostly in fashion, furniture, and big chains like OfficeMax.
- 4 Larimer Square offers some of the best shopping districts in the city and was one of the first urban shopping concepts, dating back to the 1960s. The area is full of all kinds of stuff from clothing to furniture. Check out the district's rich history, as well. The main part is along Larimer Street between 14th and 16th Streets.
- Colfax Avenue and Capitol Hill offer some of the most eclectic retailers including 5 Capitol Hill Books
- 6 Angelo's CDs & More, 1959 S. Broadway, ☏ +1 303-798-6378. Eclectic record store offering thousands of new and used vinyl records, CDs, and DVDs.
- The Tattered Cover, ☏ +1 303-322-7727. The area's largest and best-known bookstore, selling new and used books. The bookstore hosts author readings and other educational programs at their two downtown locations.
- 7 The Tattered Cover, Colfax Avenue, 2526 E Colfax Ave (intersection of Elizabeth St.; free parking in garages on Elizabeth or Columbine Sts.), ☏ +1 303-322-7727. M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM.
- 8 The Tattered Cover, Lodo, 1628 16th St (intersection of 16th & Wynkoop Sts. near Union Station), ☏ +1 303-436-1070. M-F 6:30AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM.
- 9 The Wizard's Chest, 230 Fillmore St, ☏ +1 303-321-4304. Magical toy and costume shop.
Groceries and other basics
The major supermarket chains in Denver are King Soopers (which is owned by Kroger), Safeway, and Albertsons. In addition the nation's largest discount store chain, Walmart, has several stores in Denver, most of which were open 24 hours before COVID-19. Most King Soopers stores in Denver were open 24 hours as well before COVID. In addition many specialty and organic supermarkets such as Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Trader Joe's can also be found throughout the area.
Mexican food is abundant and satisfying and takes a local Denver flavor. Green chili is the order of the day: a brown, chunky and spicy sauce made from pork and Pueblo or Hatch green chilies that works well on everything from chorizo and eggs to tamales. Denver is also known for "western" food using ingredients such as angus beef, buffalo, rattlesnake, cutthroat trout and Rocky Mountain oysters. The city also embraces its cultural diversity with a wide range of ethnic restaurants. Southeast Asian restaurants are especially abundant with a multitude of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants in every style and price range. Like other large cities, Denver has most types of cuisine, and several restaurants have been noted in top food publications. Smoking inside bars and restaurants is prohibited statewide; however, some places with outdoor patios still allow smoking there.
The restaurant section of the weekly independent newspaper Westword (available for free every Thursday at newsstands and locations across the city) is a good place to find the food you are interested in for your price-range and location. Below is a sampling of some consistently good choices.
- 1 The Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer St.
Around the Union Station
- 2 Illegal Pete's, 1530 16th St #101, ☏ +1 303-623-2169. A local favorite hangout with great, cheap burritos. Its patio is directly on the 16th St Mall, making it a great place to people watch.
- 3 Zoe Ma Ma, 1625 Wynkoop St. Chinese street food
- 4 Sam's No. 3, 1500 Curtis St, ☏ +1 303-534-1927. Just a block off the 16th Street Mall and across the street from the Denver Center of Performing Arts Complex, this family-owned restaurant has been feeding Denver and its visitors since 1927. Featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives for their Famous Kickin' Pork Green Chili, it's not a spot to be missed.
- 5 Two-Fisted Mario's Pizza, 1626 Market St, ☏ +1 303-623-3523. Temporarily closed as of May 2022. Two-Fisted Mario's has excellent East-coast style pizza on the cheap ($2 a slice, and it's a big slice), and is open until 3AM, so you can grab a pie after drinking microbrews into the wee hours of the morning.
- 6 D'Corazon Mexican Restaurant, 1530 Blake St Unit C.
- 7 Wally's Wisconsin Tavern, 1417 Market St. Bar&grill
- 8 Denver Döner, 480 16th St Mall.
- 9 Bubu Republic, 303 16th St Mall #3.
- 10 Lazo Empanadas, 303 16th St Mall.
Around the Coors Field
- 11 Ballpark Vienna Beef, 1312 21st St. Sandwiches
- 12 Mexico City Lounge, 2115 Larimer St.
- 13 Denver Ted's Cheesesteaks, 2020 Lawrence St Unit A.
- 14 La Popular Food Company, 2033 Lawrence St.
Around the Museo de las Americas
- 15 El Taco de Mexico, 714 Santa Fe Dr, ☏ +1 303-623-3926. This small Mexican lunch-counter offers many delicious food choices for the adventurous palate.
Around the Molly Brown House Museum
- 16 Bennie Blanco's, 616 E 13th Ave, ☏ +1 303-831-1346. Bennie Blanco's is a classic hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, and in this case the phrase is literal. There's no seating, but big, New York-style slices fresh from the oven can be had for as little as $3.00 a slice.
Around the University of Denver
- 17 Jerusalem, 1890 E Evans Ave, ☏ +1 303-777-8828. Open until 3AM, this small but excellent Middle Eastern restaurant offers great no-frills food in a laid-back and hip atmosphere.
Around the Cheesman Park
- 18 Pete's Kitchen, 1962 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-321-3139. This combination Greek restaurant and short-order diner is open 24 hours a day and has a great Greek salad and French toast. It's a favorite of local celebrities as well.
Around the Cherry Creek shopping mall
- 19 Cherry Cricket, 2641 E 2nd Ave, ☏ +1 303-322-7666. Once featured on the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food, the Cherry Cricket is known for having a massive variety of toppings to put on your burger, including such oddities as melted peanut butter, fried eggs, and cream cheese.
- 20 Far East Center, Federal Blvd (between Alameda and Mississippi). Several southeast Asian restaurants located in this area offer a wide variety of pho, noodle houses, upscale Vietnamese, dim sum and other Asian cuisines. Pho 95, Pho Duy, Super Star Asian and Saigon Bowl are a few of the places to try in this diverse and delicious culinary corridor.
Around the light rail station Alameda
- 21 Blue Bonnet, 457 S Broadway, ☏ +1 303-778-0147. A noisy bar featuring southwest/Tex-Mex in Denver. There is patio seating and two separate dining rooms that are a bit quieter than the main bar. Consistently rated a "Best of" in various local polls.
- 22 Breakfast King, 1100 S Santa Fe Dr, ☏ +1 303-733-0795. Temporarily closed as of May 2022. The Breakfast King is a late night staple of Denver, and one of the best greasy spoons. Open 24 hours and it's also walking distance from the Broadway light rail station.
- 23 Patzcuaro's Mexican Restaurant, 2616 W 32nd Ave, ☏ +1 303-455-4389. This neighborhood favorite has the most amazing tacos and green chili.
- 24 Azucar Bakery, 1886 S Broadway, ☏ +1 720-283-3294. 10AM-7PM. Café, dessert restaurant and bakery. Sit-down area with LavAzza coffee, fruit smoothies, pastries, Inca Kola, tarts, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream.
- 25 D Bar Desserts, 494 E 19th Ave, ☏ +1 303-861-4710. Dessert is the main course at d Bar, especially with celebrity chef Keegan Gerhard making the delectable desserts. The menu does includes savory items as well as Allegro Coffee to go with your sweets.
- 26 Empress Seafood, 2825 W Alameda Ave, ☏ +1 303-922-2822. Empress has long been the queen of dim-sum and affordable yet flavorful seafood selections from all over Asia.
- 27 Imperial Chinese, 431 S Broadway, ☏ +1 303-698-2800. The Imperial is Denver's premier Chinese restaurant and has been since the 1990s. Dinner entrées range from $10-30, with all but the Peking Duck and various specials under $22.
- 28 New Saigon, 630 S Federal Blvd, ☏ +1 303-936-4954. Denver is home to a sizable Southeast Asian population that shows off its unique culinary talents at this great Vietnamese community institution.
- 29 Racine's, 650 Sherman St, ☏ +1 303-595-0418. The restaurant for Denver's power brokers and proletarians with its simple yet elegant American menu and casual yet sophisticated decor. It has shut down recently however.
- 30 Snooze, 2262 Larimer St, ☏ +1 303-297-0700. M-F 6:30AM-2:30PM, Sa Su 7AM-2:30PM. Inventive, trendy (and really good) breakfast is the show-stopper at the east edge of LoDo, and you can expect the place to get extremely crowded on weekends. The thick, rich hot chocolate is definitely worth ordering. $8-20.
- Euclid Hall, 1317 14th Street. 11:30am - 2am daily. Excellent food with great cocktail and a solid beer selection.
- Yak and Yeti Restaurant & Event Center: Tasty Indian restaurant with a large, varied buffet. They brew their own beer from Yak & Yeti Brewpub. Address: 9755 E Hampden Ave. Phone: (303) 751-9443.
- 31 TAG, 1441 Larimer St, ☏ +1 303-996-9985. Continental food, house-made tonic for drinks.
- 32 Barolo Grill, 3030 E 6th Ave, ☏ +1 303-393-1040. Decadent Italian.
- 33 Buckhorn Exchange, 1000 Osage St (next to the Lincoln Park light rail stop), ☏ +1 303-534-9505. Lunch: M-F 11AM-2PM; dinner: M-Th 5:30PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-10PM, Su 5PM-9PM. Denver's oldest restaurant, from 1893, played host to famous guest after famous guest, arguably starting with one President Teddy Roosevelt in 1905. Without a doubt, this is as touristy as it gets, but it is nonetheless absolutely worth a visit. Famous for its game meat, both prosaic and rare, the buffalo tenderloin is exceptional, but more adventurous palates can go after the rattlesnake dip, alligator tail, ostrich medallions, or even yak steak! (Call ahead to check ostrich and yak availability.) The place is saturated in Old West kitsch, aging wood, and animal heads, and Th-Sa nights Roz Brown stops by to croon old cowboy tunes accompanied by his autoharp. $25-60.
- 34 Venice Ristorante, 1700 Wynkoop St. Amazing, authentic Italian. Very expensive. Very romantic. Very good. Reservations highly recommended.
- 35 Vesta Dipping Grill, 1822 Blake St, ☏ +1 303-296-1970. Each menu item at this hip LoDo restaurant comes with your choice of three dipping sauces for a unique and interactive meal.
Colorado produces more beer by volume than any other state and Denver ranks first for US cities. In fact, Colorado Governor (and former Denver mayor) John Hickenlooper was a microbrewer before running for office. Notable breweries in Denver and environs include:
- 1 Great Divide Brewing Co., 2201 Arapahoe St, ☏ +1 303-296-9460. Offers 30 minute tours on the hour 3pm-5pm M-F, 2pm-6pm S-S.
- 2 Wynkoop Brewing Company.
- 3 Bull & Bush.
- 4 Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, 200 S Kalamath St (1/2 block north of Alameda, NE corner), ☏ +1 303-296-7440.
- Rail's End Beer Company, 11625 Reed Ct. Unit B, Broomfield, ☏ +1 (303) 353-8121. Food trucks frequent this location. Parking lot is limited, but there is plenty of street parking.
- Rock Bottom. A national chain of brewpubs, is based in Louisville (near Boulder). The Louisville location is permanently closed. .
The effects of alcohol are magnified at higher elevations, so people may find themselves inebriated more quickly and with greater effect than they would at lower altitudes. Moderation is probably a good idea until you understand your body's reaction to alcohol and can acclimatize to its effects at higher elevations.
That said, the following are some of the best bar-hopping locales in the city:
Bars in Lower Downtown (LoDo)
LoDo is the name Colorado locals have given the Lower Downtown district of Denver. It's a great place for meals, entertainment, and nightlife, where restored Victorian buildings now house more than 90 sports bars, brew pubs, jazz clubs, and restaurants.
- 5 The Cruise Room, 1600 17th St, ☏ +1 303-825-1107. 1930s Art Deco martini bar inside the Oxford Hotel. Best martinis in Denver! You can also order fresh seafood from McCormick's Fish House.
- 6 Double Daughter's Salotto, 1632 Market St, ☏ +1 303-623-3505. A modern and slightly goth bar for all the cool kids to hang out. The bar features some of the oddest and best ambiance in the city and is connected to Two Fisted Mario's, a pizza place that is open late so you can grab some grub after the bars close.
- 7 My Brother's Bar (Brother's), 2376 15th St, ☏ +1 303-455-9991. 11AM-2AM daily. Brother's is the oldest still-operating bar in Denver, steeped in the history of the Beat movement; Jack Kerouac was a regular here during his years in Denver. Massive selection of premium choices and a fantastic single-malt scotch selection. Classical music plays, but don't expect to hear it on a really busy night. Good food, making this a great casual lunch option, including the JCB: a cheeseburger featuring Jalapeno Cream Cheese. There's no sign on the bar so don't look for one, but it's right on the southeast corner of 15th and Platte streets. This is where the locals go and regulars abound. Food: $4-10.
- 8 Nallen's Irish Pub, 1429 Market St, ☏ +1 303-572-0667. A little piece of the Old Country in Denver, Nallen's has great nightly drink specials and a Tuesday night pub quiz.
- 9 Wynkoop Brewery, 1634 18th St, ☏ +1 303-297-2700. Fresh brews, billiard tables, and excellent food. Banquets and private parties. Historically significant architecture. mains $15 -25.
Bars in Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is the neighborhood directly east and south of the Colorado State Capitol on Colfax Avenue and Grant Street. It has long been a place for young people, sub-cultures and the gay and lesbian community. It rivals LoDo as the place to party, no matter what your scene is.
- 10 Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill, 980 Grant St, ☏ +1 303-860-1655. Charlie Brown's in another Beat-era hangout located at a hotel where Ginsburg and the gang used to stay. Has great happy-hours, a mostly local crowd, good food, and an agile piano player belting out tunes while you drink.
- 11 The Church, 1160 Lincoln St, ☏ +1 303-832-2383. Part of the "SoCo" (South of Colfax) club district, the Church is one of the most popular dance clubs in the city, and as its name suggests, is housed in a former Episcopalian church. That however, does not prevent hundreds if not thousands of people from descending on the dance floor every night to shake what God has given them.
- 12 City O City, 206 E 13th Ave. You will find a changing handful of unusual brews on tap. Grab a blueberry muffin or the vegan buffalo wings (which are excellent - and you can eat them without having to worry about a bone!) and people watch.
- 13 Park Tavern, 931 E 11th Ave, ☏ +1 303-832-7667. Tavern food and drink
Bars on Colfax
Colfax Avenue, described by Playboy Magazine as the "longest, wickedest, street in America," stretches 26 miles through Denver and its suburbs. Colfax has long had a "gritty" reputation for being home to prostitution and drug peddlers. However, through much urban development work, Colfax has shed its past and emerged hipper, cleaner and more popular than ever. The many bars, restaurants and nightspots along the street give it a 24/7 ambience.
- 14 Mezcal, 3230 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-322-5219. Mezcal is a hip Mexican-themed bar/restaurant serving excellent and cheap Mexican food along with its plentiful selection of great drinks, particularly tequilas.
- 15 Sancho's Broken Arrow, 741 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-832-5288. One of the four Don Quixote-themed bars in Denver, Sancho's is the best place in Denver to relive your old days with its Grateful Dead come alive decor and live rock and roll every Monday.
- 16 Squire Lounge, 1800 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-333-9106. M-F noon-2PM, Sa noon-late. This is a serious dive bar, complete with nasty bathrooms, unkempt floors, characters, a couple pool tables, and a jukebox. And cheap late night drinks accompanied by some seriously plastered clientèle. Clearly not for everyone, but it has its place. If you are up for a real wild ride, order The Beaver, a huge pitcher of impromptu God-only-knows-what, usually less than $10.
- 17 Streets of Denver, 1501 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-861-9103. Down-to-earth saloon with exposed-brick walls & pool tables offering weekend music & daily specials.
Bars elsewhere in Denver
- 18 Lowry Beer Garden, 7577 East Academy Blvd, ☏ +1 303-366-0114. Summer hours: 11AM-midnight. In the Lowry neighborhood, this beer garden is in between two of the old airplane hangars that made up Lowry Air Force Base. The Garden offers a thoughtful draft and bottled beer selection with a focus on Colorado and handcrafted brews. The Lowry Beer Garden also serves up your favorite casual fare with locally-made gourmet brats & sausages, freshly-baked pretzels, house-ground burgers, hand-cut fries and chef-created salads.
- 19 Pablo's Coffee, 630 E 6th Ave, 80203, ☏ +1 303-744-3323. Also location at 1300 Pennsylvania St (NE corner 13th Ave and Penn). Fresh roasted coffee roasted in the store, excellent barristas and a nice patio, no wi-fi so the number of student "campers" is a minimum, a great place for people looking for a great cup of coffee.
- 20 Hooked on Colfax, 3213 E Colfax. A few blocks south of City Park. Wifi-friendly coffeeshop with great local coffee offerings, as well as a small selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. Offers delicious home-baked pastries and quiches, with gluten-free and vegan options.
- 21 St. Mark's, 2019 E 17th Ave (20 blocks east of Broadway). Quintessential coffeehouse ambience. House made pastries. Lovely neighborhood block with a nice collection of restaurants.
- 22 Fluid (19th and Pennsylvania). Modern. Gourmets: order an artisan coffee made with the Clover machine. Light pre-packaged eats available. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
- 23 Daz Bog (9th and Downing). Formerly Diedrich's. Lovely tree lined street. Nice selection of pastries and light bites. Wifi/laptop friendly. Multiple locations around the city.
- 24 Common Grounds Downtown, 2139 W 44th Ave. An old mainstay in Denver. Moved to the Highlands.
- 25 Metropolis. 11th and Cherokee and 17th and Champa. Modern. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
- 26 Stella's Coffeehaus, 1476 S Pearl St, ☏ +1 303-777-1031. Large wifi-friendly coffeeshop with a warm, open feel. Popular among students studying during the day, louder and livelier at night.
- 27 Bardo, 228 S Broadway. Great laid-back atmosphere, vintage couches in back, tables in front, booths in the middle. Serves locally-roasted coffee, pastries and teas. Good study spot, or just to meet with friends. Wifi-equipped.
- 28 Drip, 955 Lincoln St. #G. Upscale atmosphere with friendly staff and reasonable prices. Serving locally-roasted coffee, teas, sandwiches and pastries. Good spot for studying, business meetings, or just to meet with friends. Wifi-equipped, and there's a loft upstairs.
Denver is the heart of Colorado's nightlife. For a city its size, Denver does not disappoint.
- 29 Grizzly Rose, 5450 North Valley Highway. A must for a true western experience. The Grizzly Rose is a huge saloon with line-dancing, live music, and even a mechanical bull. A popular draw for people living outside the city.
- 30 Charlie's, 900 E Colfax Ave, ☏ +1 303-839-8890. Charlie's is simultaneously a gay bar and cultural landmark catering to the old west spirit and/or disco diva in all of us. Charlie's has a friendly clientele, a mix of country, pop, and dance music, and inexpensive drinks.
- 31 Tracks, 3500 Walnut St. Denver's main gay nightclub, Tracks is big, friendly, and very fun. Go there Thursday for 18+ nights, or check out the monthly lesbian party First Fridays. Once a month (usually 3rd Friday) they have a themed Rollerskating event. Skates run out fast, bring your own if you can.
- 1 11th Avenue Hostel, 1112 N. Broadway (at 11th Ave), ☏ +1 303-894-0529, [email protected]. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Dorms $30-34, private rooms from $54.
- 2 Ramada Denver Midtown, 2601 Zuni St (across I-25 from downtown), ☏ +1 303-433-6677, fax: +1 303-455-1530.
- 3 Hostel Fish, 1217 20th St, ☏ +1 303-954-0962, [email protected]. Upscale hostel that opened in July 2015 in a historic building in downtown Denver that occupies top 2 floors of the building and a restaurant and bar on the ground floor of the historic building. The 2 story hostel has 67 dorm beds and 2 private rooms available with free continental breakfast, free wi-fi, guest lounge, bar and kitchen. $45-48 dorms, $150-200 private rooms.
- 4 Courtyard Denver Stapleton, 7415 E 41st Ave, ☏ +1 303-333-3303, fax: +1 303-399-7356. Between the airport and downtown Denver. 24-hour market on-site.
- 5 Sonesta Denver Downtown, 1450 Glenarm Pl, ☏ +1 303-573-1450. Rooms are reasonably spacious and have free broadband internet access and a desk. Breakfast is modestly priced and modest in style. The lobby is typical Holiday Inn. Given the size of the hotel, reception and concierge staff numbers are small but there still seem to be no queues for their services. Stay high in a room on the Glenarm St. side if you want a mountain view. Airport shuttles ($21 to international) serve the hotel.
- 6 Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver Tech Center North, 7525 East Hampden Ave, ☏ +1 303-696-6644. Near Denver Tech, hotel offers complimentary hot cooked-to-order breakfast and nightly Manager's Reception featuring complimentary cocktails and appetizers. from $127.
- 7 Magnolia Hotel Denver, 818 17th St, toll-free: +1-888-915-1110. Downtown Denver hotel featuring guestrooms and suites, a restaurant and bar, and event space for meetings, weddings, and special occasions.
- 8 Sheraton Denver Downtown, 1550 Court Pl, toll-free: +1-866-716-8134. On the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown, 3 1/2 blocks from the Denver Convention Center.
- 9 SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown, 1190 Auraria Parkway, ☏ +1 303-705-7300, toll-free: +1-877-249-9279. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Across from the Pepsi Center in LoDo.
- 10 Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center, 8300 East Crescent Parkway, ☏ +1 303-804-0700.
- 11 Brown Palace Hotel, 321 17th St, toll-free: +1-800-321-2599. An elegant, historic hotel in downtown Denver, the Brown Palace has catered to congressmen, US presidents, and countless foreign dignitaries.
- 12 Hilton Denver City Center, 1701 California St, ☏ +1 303-297-1300. A beautiful hotel in downtown Denver offering panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the city skyline.
- 13 Embassy Suites Downtown, 1420 Stout St. An all-suite, full service hotel.
- 14 Grand Hyatt Denver, 1750 Welton St (downtown), ☏ +1 303-295-1234, fax: +1 303-292-2472, [email protected]. 512 rooms with city views. Features the Hyatt Grand Bed, free 24 hour fitness facility, indoor pool, room service around the clock, well-lit work stations and high-speed internet access.
- 15 Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown, 1400 Welton St, ☏ +1 303-603-8000. Onsite restaurant, fitness center and complimentary high-speed Internet access.
- 16 Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th St, ☏ +1 303-436-1234, fax: +1 303-486-4450, [email protected]. 37-story downtown hotel, adjacent to the Colorado Convention Center. 1,100 guest rooms, with views of the mountain and downtown.
- 17 The Oxford Hotel, 1600 17th St, ☏ +1 303-628-5400. The historic hotel provides a romantic retreat located in the midst of Denver’s lively LoDo district.
- 18 The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence St, ☏ +1 303-572-9100, toll-free: +1-866-716-8137. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Four-diamond hotel in downtown Denver.
Denver is quite safe for a city its size. Use common sense when traveling, particularly in downtown and some of the other inner-city neighborhoods. Denver does have a visible population of people experiencing homelessness, but the city has strict laws about accosting for money. In general, panhandlers don't harm anyone. Downtown has a fairly active 24/7 population, especially in LoDo, so it's generally safe.
Still, it may be a good idea not to travel alone at night in some of the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. Although the inner-city neighborhoods are not as bad as those in some other cities, they have higher rates of crime than the rest of the city. The rest of Denver is safe, though.
Like the rest of the United States, the emergency number in Denver is 911. This will connect you to the local emergency services (police, medical, and fire). If you need to report a crime to the police, such as a burglary (not in progress), minor assault (no injuries and not in progress), car theft, etc. Dial +1 720 913-2000 and request for police assistance.
The Denver Police is the main police force for the Denver Metro area. Most police officers are polite and trustworthy individuals, so if you need assistance, approaching a police officer is a good idea.
Altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness is an ailment that potentially anyone can have when they visit areas with higher altitudes than they are used to, due to decreases in barometric pressure (though not oxygen content). Denver is called the Mile High City for a reason—at an altitude of a mile above sea level, one can start to experience some of the effects of altitude sickness, though this condition generally becomes more pronounced at elevations around 8000 ft (2500 m) and above. Some normal changes may occur when people travel to higher altitudes that are not altitude sickness. These include the following:
- Hyperventilation (breathing faster and/or deeper than normal)
- Shortness of breath after exertion
- Changes in nightly breathing
- Awaking at night
- Increased urination
The above are generally nothing to worry about, though problems with breathing may be helped by a drug called acetazolamide. If you think you may have problems, get advice from your doctor before traveling to Denver.
Some people get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which can be serious, at the higher elevations you will experience if you are touring through the Rocky Mountains. A diagnosis of AMS is usually given if a person has a headache accompanied by one of more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite, vomiting and/or nausea
- Fatigue or weakness
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Insomnia, difficulty sleeping
Some people liken AMS to a bad hangover or worse. It occurs because your brain tissue swells at higher elevations than it is used to. If you are feeling unwell at high altitudes, assume that you are suffering from AMS unless there is another logical explanation that would be accompanied by other symptoms (food poisoning or a viral infection).
To avoid AMS, try to get to a lower elevation until your symptoms subside, drink lots of fluid to avoid dehydration, and avoid traveling at high rates of ascent. If the symptoms continue or worsen, travel to a lower altitude. AMS can turn into High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a potentially fatal condition where the brain swells so much that it ceases to function properly. Symptoms of HACE include confusion, inability to think clearly, lethargy, ataxia (walking staggerdly, as if one was drunk), and changes in behavior. The person may not recognize having HACE, but if you any of you experiences any of these symptoms (especially ataxia), immediately make sure the person is taken to lower elevations for medical treatment.
Another very serious condition, called High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) causes fluid in the lungs. If someone suffers chest tightness, congestion, gurgling breaths, blue or gray fingers or lips, cough producing frothy or pink liquid, and difficulty breathing even at rest, they should be taken to a lower elevation and receive medical treatment immediately.
Although not particularly common, keep in mind that these illnesses are possible and that anyone is susceptible to them, even if you have traveled to high elevations before.
Another medical concern at higher elevations, particularly those in Colorado and Denver, is sunburn and skin cancer. The higher elevation means that there is less atmosphere protecting the skin from harmful solar radiation. This is especially true in Colorado, with both dry air that saps the skin of protective moisture and with the beautifully sunny days we have in the state.
Colorado actually has the highest rate of skin cancer in the country, so it is always a good idea to wear a lot of high SPF sun-screen, hats, long sleeve shirts and pants. Don't think that you are protected from the sun in the winter either. The sun's rays can actually be reflected by the snow on the ground, still causing skin damage, so when in Colorado, do as the locals do, and wear sunscreen on any exposed skin surface at any time of the year.
- Cherry Creek North. Entire area has free WiFi provided by the Cherry Creek North Business District.
- Peaberry Coffee. Multiple locations. Free WiFi, but you have to ask the barrista for username and password.
- Panera Bread, multiple locations. Free Wifi at most if not all locations.
- Starbucks, many locations. free wifi at participating places
- Australia, 8480 E Orchard Rd Ste 1100, Greenwood Village, ☏ +1 303-321-2234, fax: +1 303-773-1664, [email protected].
- Canada, 1625 Broadway Ste 2600, ☏ +1 303-626-0640, fax: +1 303-572-1158, [email protected].
- Denmark (Honorary), 5353 W Dartmouth Ave Ste 508, ☏ +1 303-980-9100, fax: +1 303-985-9697, [email protected].
- Guatemala, ☏ +1-.
- Japan, 1225 17th St Ste 3000, ☏ +1 303-534-1151, fax: +1 303-534-3393, [email protected].
- Italy (325 South Jackson Street - Centennial, CO), ☏ +1 303-224-9927, fax: +1 303-224-9930, [email protected].
- 1 Mexico, 48 Steele St, ☏ +1 303-331-1110, +1 303-331-1112, fax: +1 303-331-1872.
- Netherlands (Honorary), ☏ +1 720 460-9226, [email protected].
- Norway (Honorary), 1700 Lincoln Street, ☏ +1 303-830-1970, fax: +1 303-866-0200, [email protected].
- Peru, 6795 E Tennessee Ave #550, Denver, CO 80224, ☏ +1 303-355-8555, [email protected].
- Sweden, 1720 S. Bellaire St, suite 530, ☏ +1 303-758 0999, fax: +1 303-758 1091, [email protected].
- Taiwan (Economic/Cultural Office), ☏ +1-.
- Thailand (1123 Auraria Parkway, Suite 200), ☏ +1 303-892-0118, fax: +1 303-892-0119.
- United Kingdom (1675 Broadway World Trade Center Ste 1030), ☏ +1 303-592-5200, fax: +1 303-592-5209.
- For skiers and snowboarders, winter is the best time to visit Denver. Hordes of people fly into Denver International Airport each season on their way up to the ski capitals of Summit and Eagle counties, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Loveland Basin, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge, Winter Park; a little further away are Steamboat, and Aspen. You can find information on resort shuttles at the desks in DIA's main terminal.
- There are many ski resorts about 1½–2 hours west of Denver along I-70, but weekend traffic to them can be very slow, especially in inclement weather. Steer clear of the crowds by skiing during the week or planning your trip outside the busy season (Thanksgiving to New Year's). There are also plenty of mountain trails for snowshoers and cross-country skiers, which are generally free. You can also take the RTD Ski-n-Ride service from Boulder to Eldora Ski Resort west of Boulder, which is the only resort with scheduled bus service. Winter Park (Colorado) receives train service with the Winter Park Express operated by Amtrak. Departures are once every Saturday and Sunday from January to March at 7AM with the return trip departing Winter Park at 4:30PM.
- Travelers in Colorado often use Denver as a home base for forays into the neighboring mountains, to places like Rocky Mountain National Park.
More Colorado destinations
- Red Rocks Amphitheatre. In Morrison, Colorado on the western edge of Denver, this is a gorgeous outdoor concert venue set in a red sandstone paradise. There's a great view of Denver below. From Igor Stravinsky's North American debut of his 'Rite of Spring' at the park's opening in the 1940s to the Jethro Tull, Grateful Dead and Phish riots of the 1970s, '80s and '90s, Red Rocks' history is quirky and storied. It was also a stop on The Beatles famous British Invasion tour of America. But if you pay and visit Red Rocks only during a concert, you're seriously cheating yourself. Check out the Rock and Roll Museum at the top of Red Rocks, eat in the restaurant, hike the red sandstone and scrub oak trails for their scenic beauty and wildlife. It is illegal, however, to climb on the rocks themselves. If you can't bear to leave after the show, book a room or stay in a campground next to the amphitheater.
- Boulder is a laid-back university town about 25 minutes northwest of Denver. Snow-capped mountains can be seen for miles from the town.
- Winery tours - Visit a Front Range or mountain winery, or the vineyards in Colorado's Wine Country. Various Wine Trails have been organized by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, a promotional entity funded by the state. The Wine Trails can be driven or biked.
- Colorado Springs and Pueblo are about a 90-minute drive south on I-25.
- The rest of the Denver area has a lot of sights, like Elitch Gardens.
Neighboring states and beyond
- Yellowstone National Park is approximately a 10 hour drive along I-25, I-90, and US-191.
- The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, and the Black Hills are about a 9-hour drive north on I-25.
- The Four Corners Monument is about an 8-hour drive down US 285 and US 160.
- More popular ski resorts are in Taos, Grand Teton, Park City, and even Lake Tahoe.
- More national parks are in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona.
|Routes through Denver|
|Salt Lake City ← Granby ←||W E||→ Fort Morgan → Omaha|
|Fort Collins ← Thornton ←||N S||→ Centennial → Colorado Springs|
|Grand Junction ← Arvada ←||W E||→ Aurora → Hays|
|END ←||W E||→ Brighton → Deuel County|
|Grand Junction ← Lakewood ←||W E||→ Brighton → Sterling|
|Rocky Mountain N.P. ← Westminster ←||W E||→ Aurora → St. Joseph|
|Steamboat Springs ← Lakewood ←||W E||→ Aurora → Limon|
|Greeley ← Brighton ←||N S||→ Englewood → Colorado Springs|
|Fort Collins ← Westminster ←||N E||→ Aurora → Limon|