Has your day-to-day routine become too predictable? How about a weekend change of pace on how to properly spend a day in Denver?
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about all the great attractions and special places Denver has to offer. It often takes a relative or friend visiting from out of town to reawaken you to the pleasures of our fair city.
Sure, it’s easy to focus on outdoor recreation and escaping to the mountains but beyond the adrenaline and jaw-dropping views, there are some pretty amazing sights and sounds we sometimes forget right here in the Mile High City.
Now that winter is almost in the rearview mirror, let’s reacquaint ourselves with some of the features of the Denver metro area and what makes it so unique. Don’t wait for family or friends to arrive to nudge you into enjoying some of the iconic hallmarks of the Front Range.
If you had only one day to explore Denver, which sights would you choose? What locations and attractions best epitomize Colorado’s capital city?
Here is just one list of quintessential “must-sees” when visiting Denver for a day. Let us know what you would add!
Breakfast at the Bindery
Snuggled in LoHi, this classic eatery offers up mouth-watering fare. As they proclaim, “We believe busy lifestyles deserve culinary excellence, whether you seek a convenient takeaway meal or comfortable dining in an intimate atmosphere. That’s why we draw inspiration from culinary artisans and food-makers around the world: homespun European bakeries, corner neighborhood markets, and lively eateries.” Check out the 5280 and a Walk in the Woods burrito, and yes, they serve up Avocado Toast! Your day will definitely get off to a great start after a meal here.
Visit the Capitol Building
Colorado’s state capitol building, with its distinctive gold leaf inlay dome, commemorates the Colorado Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. The beautiful building features stained-glass windows, white granite, and rose marble, and is part of the National Historic Landmark District. Did you know that the state capitol is LEED® Gold certified? The Colorado State Capitol building is the first state capitol in the country to be cooled by geothermal power, completed in 2013.
According to the state capitol website, “Inside the building is adorned with what is believed to be the entire known supply of Colorado Rose Onyx, a rare rose marble from a quarry near Beulah, Colorado. White Yule Marble from the quarries near Marble, Colorado, was also used throughout the building for the floors. Many of the Colorado State Capitol’s windows are stained glass, depicting people and events related to the history of Colorado. The third-floor rotunda is decorated with portraits of the presidents of the United States and other artwork.”
Explore an Art Museum
Denver is blessed with an abundance of culture as evidenced by some truly impressive art museums and galleries. The crown jewel is the Denver Art Museum. Over 800,000 visitors visit this iconic facility which now features a remodeled 50-year-old Ponti-designed building, as well as the new Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center. The Denver Art Museum has more than 70,000 works of art across 12 permanent collections in addition to stunning exhibitions.
Smaller in size but offering impressive quality and diversity, the following Denver art museums shouldn’t be overlooked either. They have heightened the Denver art scene to a whole new level.
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Clyfford Still Museum
- American Museum of Western Art
- Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art
Lunch at the Dairy Block
This unique “micro-district” is located in the heart of Denver’s LoDo neighborhood and features unique dining, shopping and entertainment offerings. Once home to the Windsor Dairy, this award-winning development is a favorite hangout. Just a square block in size, it features the Maven Hotel, co-working space, a food hall, boutiques, and restaurants and bars. The clever design of this development lies in the inviting alley, which meanders through the project and beckons patrons to meet and socialize. In addition to boasting trendy shops, the Dairy Block has a full slate of entertainment and also features various artists and their creations.
Coors Brewery Tour
It’s back! After a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the brewery tour has returned. As the beer that made the West famous, Molson Coors remains the largest single-site brewery in the world. People taking the tour will discover a number of brewery enhancements including a new lounge, personal tour guides, free samples throughout the tour and complimentary MolsonCoors aluminum cups for guests.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and advance reservations are necessary. Click here to see the calendar and book your slot.
Take a Hike at Red Rocks
Since you’re already on the west side of town, head on down to the outdoor concert venue where every musician aspires to be the headliner. There is no other outdoor concert venue quite like Red Rocks. Nestled in the foothills north of Morrison amidst towering red sandstone, the amphitheater is a naturally formed arena with breathtaking acoustics and views. It was dedicated in 1941 and received National Historic Landmark status in 2015. Some of the best bands in the world play at Red Rocks from April to October. The Red Rocks amphitheater is part of the Denver Mountain Parks system and also features great hiking trails.
Tea at the Brown Palace
For well over a century, the Brown Palace has been attracting guests who are in search of opulent accommodations, impeccable service and savory food. Renowned for its downtown location, amenities and, of course, high tea, the Brown Palace continues to be the choice location to impress that special someone.
Dinner or Drinks at the Buckhorn Exchange
Dating back to 1893, the Buckhorn Exchange is Denver’s oldest restaurant and its unique and diversified menu keeps patrons coming back. In its early days, it welcomed a cast of characters from the Wild West including Buffalo Bill Cody, Chief Sitting Bull and hundreds of men building the nearby Rio Grande Railroad. Dining aside, sitting in the environs of the Buckhorn Exchange is like enjoying a museum while savoring delicious food. Taxidermy, photos, paintings, western memorabilia, and antique guns lay claim to every inch of wall space. Specializing in beef and buffalo, you’ll be treated to large cuts with big flavor. Don’t forget their appetizers! How about some fried alligator tail, rattlesnake, or everyone’s favorite, Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Catch a Rockies Game
Regardless of whether they are winning or losing, attending a Rockies game at Coors Field is an event to remember. Coors Field is a magnificent venue to watch the Rocks battle their Major League Baseball opponents. Whether you get a seat behind the plate to watch Dinger’s antics or in the “Rockpile,” you’re sure to enjoy the game. Check the schedule for special events and promotions. If you’ve never been to a game over the 4th of July, make this the year. Receive a handheld flag and enjoy fireworks after the game.
See the Sights in LoDo
Since its transformation in the early- to mid-1990s, there’s always been something going on in Lower Downtown. This historic district of Denver features historic buildings, boutique hotels, over 100 bars, and restaurants, and eclectic shops. It’s still the neighborhood that defines Denver with a youthful vibe and energy. Whether it’s after a Rockies’ game or after work, the bars, restaurants, and clubs are ready to get your evening in gear. If you’re looking for nightlife, this is the spot for you.
People love being able to walk to some of the best entertainment and recreation in the city. Baseball at Coors Field, basketball, hockey and concerts at the Pepsi Center, and summer thrills at Elitch Gardens are just a few of the must sees in LoDo.
If the dining and entertainment isn’t enough to satisfy your cravings, LoDo neighborhood boasts incredible urban recreation opportunities. With Cherry Creek and the South Platte River as its backyard, people can bike, stroll, skate or walk their dogs along this wonderful nature corridor.