Denver, Colorado and nearby destinations, including Boulder and Winter Park, provide a wide range of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, including fishing, hiking and skiing. Denver also has many cultural and historic attractions. Let’s look at some of the reasons to visit the Mile High City and neighboring areas.
Highlights of Denver
Colorado’s capital city_ and surrounding areas offer an incredible diversity of attractions, whether you want to appreciate the beauty of the Rocky Mountains or explore the region’s rich history.
- Denver Mountain Parks -If you want to take a day trip out of Denver and spend some time in the mountains, you can find several extremely scenic parks. This is not a single park, but encompasses 14,000 acres across multiple counties. If you’re going to be in the area, you should visit the Denver Mountain Parks website and choose a destination based on your location and timetable.
- Denver Botanical Gardens -A beautiful spot to appreciate not only local plants, but also ones from all over the world. Explore various landscapes, such as jungles and forests. There are also indoor exhibits that are very educational. Plant lovers can easily spend a whole day here.
- Best Shopping Areas -Downtown Denver has a couple of outstanding shopping areas. One is Larimer Square, which was the original downtown when the city was much less developed. There are many independent and distinctive shops and restaurants here. Another area that’s good for walking, shopping and dining is 16th Street Mall in the central business district. it’s a large outdoor mall where you can shop, walk, bike or take a horse and carriage ride.
- Museums -Some of the city’s best museums include Denver Museum of Nature & Science, with all kinds of interactive exhibits related to science and technology. Denver Art Museum is known for its large collection of Native American and Asian art. Car enthusiasts will want to visit the Forney Transportation Museum. In addition to autos, there are also exhibits devoted to bicycles, locomotives and other forms of transportation.
You can easily spend a whole vacation in Denver itself. There are, however, many nearby areas worth exploring as well.
- Winter Park -The Rockies are famous as a ski destination. Winter Park Resort is only 67 miles northwest of Denver and is definitely worth the trip if you want to experience world class skiing.
- Boulder -The home of the University of Colorado, Boulder, only 25 miles from Denver, is another great spot for experiencing the outdoors. Some of the highlights include Chautauqua Park and Flatirons, which is especially popular for rock climbing. Another scenic spot is Eldorado Canyon, which provides many amazing hikes and scenic spots such as waterfalls.
- Rocky Mountain National Park -If you really want to see the outdoors, this park has over 350 miles of hiking trails, towering mountain peaks and an impressive array of wildlife, including moose, bighorn sheep and elk. The park is about 69 miles north of Denver on US-36 W.
Dining and Nightlife
Denver has becoming much more diverse and cosmopolitan in the last decade, with many new restaurants from which to choose (and some fine older ones as well). Here’s a small sampling of places to dine. Mexican and Southwestern are especially easy to find.
- Rioja, downtown on Larmimer Street, is a good selection for Spanish and other Mediterranean dishes as well as American dishes including homemade pastas, Colorado lamb, French onion consomme, Petaluma chicken and much more.
- A favorite among locals and visitors alike for basic American staples is Denver Biscuit Company on East Colfax Avenue, which offers distinctive biscuit sandwiches, biscuit platters and sides such as sweet potato fries, grits and more. Local honey and jam makes everything taste even better.
- For excellent and reasonable Mexican fare, try Blue Bonnet Mexican Cafe in Washington Park, where you can always get delicious gazpacho, chimichangas, chili, salads, quesadillas and tortillas. There’s also a gluten-free menu and a side selection of drinks, including lots of margarita variations.
- For basic yet expertly done burgers, you can head over to CityGrille on East Colfax, which is a meat and burger lover’s paradise.
- If you feel like something Asian, Tommy’s Thai, also on East Colfax, has a good selection of Thai, Chinese and other Asian dishes. You can choose whether you want it mild, medium or hot.
For entertainment, Denver has many venues for theater and concerts, such as The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Pepsi Center, where many big concerts and sports events are held. Other theaters include Bluebird Theater and Comedy Works, if you want to sample some Rocky Mountains style humor.
Denver also has plenty of bars and nightclubs with live music, such as Charlie Brown’s Bar & Grill on Grant Street, a popular hangout for food, drinks and music. Howl at the Moon, billed as “The World’s Greatest Rock N’Roll Dueling Piano Bar”, near Coors Field on 19th Street, is another fun place for an outing.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay downtown, some of your higher end choices include Four Seasons Hotel Denver on 14th Street, which has great views of the city from many rooms, a fine spa and a great restaurant. Homewood Suites by Hilton Denver Downtown-Convention Center is another centrally located hotel with excellent service and lots of amenities.
If you want something economical, some of your best choices are close to the airport, such as La Quinta Inn & Suites Denver Airport DIA or Hampton Inn Denver- International Airport.
For a more intimate atmosphere, you can try one of the city’s inns or B & B’s, such as Capitol Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn, a true historic mansion on Pennsylvania Street in the Capitol Hill area or Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast on Tremont Place, in a charming neighborhood within walking distance to downtown.