Denver travel guide

Experience the historic west and modern culture on your visit to Colorado’s capital city

Denver lies on the east side of the Rocky Mountains that stretch from north to south across the state of Colorado and beyond. This more heavily populated part of Colorado is referred to as The Front Range after its topographic location related to the mountains (conversely, the city of Grand Junction on the western side of the mountains is in an area commonly called The Western Slope). In its early days, Denver received the nickname, “Queen City of the Plains,” and also “Paris on the Platte,” as the South Platte River flows just west of downtown, and early politicians wanted it to be as beautiful as France with municipal gardens created. The city was founded near the confluence of what is now called Cherry Creek and the South Platte River when miners panning for gold discovered a few flakes of the riches. The area had been home to Native American tribes first. Ultimately, deep veins of silver and other metals were found up in the mountains and Denver was able to establish itself as a supply town and eventually as a place for the new millionaires to invest in grand homes and the arts. As Denver endured many boom-and-bust cycles over the years, new generations saw fresh appeal and made the city more alluring. Museums were established and expanded, sports teams have flourished and become favorites for surrounding states that haven’t had quite the same popularity with their home teams, and easy access to outdoor recreation as a lifestyle exploded, making Denver an ideal all-around city.

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Must-see in Denver

A list of breathtaking sights in and around denver


Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

A quick drive from Downtown Denver, there are bison roaming the plains today where visitors can hike and fish under blue skies with views of the Rocky Mountains.


Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is open to hikers, music lovers, diners, and people who just want to take in the view.


Meow Wolf Denver

Meow Wolf Denver is an interactive art experience that takes visitors through a story of alien worlds.


Mount Blue Sky (formerly Mount Evans)

For those visiting in the summer, it’s an option to drive up to 14,000 feet above sea level on Mount Blue Sky.


The Big Blue Bear or “I See What You Mean”

One of the most beloved public art sculptures in Denver is the fondly nicknamed Big Blue Bear in Downtown at the Colorado Convention Center.


Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol building includes a mile-high step, marble floors, stained-glass portraits, a gold dome, and views of the Rocky Mountains.


The Clyfford Still Museum

The Clyfford Still Museum is the only place in the world to see the abstract expressionist’s paintings.


Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art is in Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood and showcases regional and international work.


Denver Art Museum

Plan a day at the Denver Art Museum to see their collections or a current exhibit on display.


Black American West Museum & Heritage Center

Plan ahead for visiting the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center to learn more about the Black Americans who were part of settling the West.


Museo de las Americas

Museo de las Americas represents Latin American artists with rotating exhibits in their three galleries in the Santa Fe Arts District.


American Museum of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection

For those who want to see the West depicted in paintings, drawings, and sculptures over the years, plan for the American Museum of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection.


Civic Center Park

Walk from Downtown and through Civic Center Park en route to the museums, but also stop to look at the artwork on display here.


Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Traveling with young kids? The Denver Museum of Nature & Science in City Park has interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater.


Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens has appeal in every season with indoor and outdoor gardens to walk through.


Coors Field

Coors Field is the stadium for the Colorado Rockies baseball team and visitors can come to see a game or go on a guided tour, depending on the season.


Colorado Railroad Museum

The interactive Colorado Railroad Museum is fun for families with young kids and provides historical information about trains in the West.


Dinosaur Ridge

Put your hands on ancient dinosaur tracks and ripples in rocks that are evidence of the sea bed that once covered this part of Colorado.


Lookout Mountain Nature Center & Preserve

Take in a view of the city from Lookout Mountain, just southwest of Denver, where you can do short walks and visit a nature center on select days.


Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Learn more about Colorado’s history with aerospace at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

Seasonal events in Denver

Woop It up at western-themed events in Denver


National Western Stock Show (January)

The National Western Stock Show is a 16-day event that honors the farming and ranching culture of the West.


March Pow Wow (March)

Watch traditional Native American dances in full costume at this three-day event.


Cinco de Mayo (May)

The Cinco de Mayo festival in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park is a celebration of Mexican culture through food, lowrider cars, and a parade.


Juneteenth (June)

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated across the country and this local festival is part of the national recognition of the end of slavery in this country.


Pridefest (June)

Pridefest is a two-day festival that honors the LGBTQ community with a parade, a 5K race, food and drink, and lots of fun performances.


Cherry Creek Arts Festival (July)

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is a chance to marvel at and shop for exquisite art over this three-day event.


Taste of Colorado (Labor Day Weekend, September)

The annual Taste of Colorado highlights harvest season in Colorado with fresh ingredients grown and raised here during a three-day carnival atmosphere in downtown Denver.


Great American Beer Festival (September)

Beer lovers unite! The Great American Beer Festival is hugely popular and attracts big crowds each year to taste what will become award-winning beer.


Doors Open Denver (September)

Architecture lovers will delight in the two-day Doors Open Denver event that provides tours of some of the city’s most interesting architecture.

Once you're in Denver

Getting around Denver

Get ready to see Denver and the surrounding areas by your preferred mode of transportation—light rail train, bus, bicycle, or on foot!

Denver Dining: Flavors of the West, Southwest-- and Beyond

With a toehold in the Southwest and a connection to the rugged cattle country, Denver cuisine offers classic Western fare, alongside spicy regional tastes, while also offering sophisticated dining experiences that could hold their own in any modern city. Across the Mile High City and up into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just west of the city, diners will have their pick of memorable dishes.

Renting a car and driving in Denver

The Rocky Mountains are so close to Denver, but you will need a car if you want to explore them or go to the closest national park. Below are some suggestions for how and where to rent a car for your time in and around Denver.

Things to do

Pack in the Family Fun in Denver

Traveling with kids in Denver can be a blast as there are options in each season to entertain and delight the whole family. You can touch real dinosaur tracks, ride old-fashioned trains, make your own art in a museum, spend the day surfing and splashing in a water park, or hit the trails and become junior mountaineers.

Denver After Dark: Discover Drinks, Music, and Everything in Between


The Cruise Room

Sip on a classic cocktail in the Art Deco-styled Cruise Room inside the Oxford Hotel in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.


Cooper Lounge

Whether you are staying at Union Station or not, stop in at the Cooper Lounge for a drink to look out over the Grand Hall.


Death & Co

The Colorado version of the well-known New York City bar, Death & Co. is in the RiNo neighborhood inside the Ramble Hotel.


Williams & Graham

Williams & Graham is a popular speakeasy-style bar in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver.


Infinite Monkey Theorem

The Infinite Monkey Theorem created a new type of wine appreciation in Denver and it is thriving.


Carboy Winery

If you want to sample Colorado-made wines, stop in at Carboy Winery.


Wynkoop Brewing Company

There are a lot of breweries to choose from in the Denver area, so why not start at the one that is credited with kicking off the craft brew scene, the Wynkoop Brewing Company?


Raices Brewing Company

Away from Downtown, you can try Raices Brewing Company, a Latino-owned company.


Beer Spa

Open during the day too, the Beer Spa is a very different type of experience with a popular evening beverage.



Tracks, in the River North (RiNo) neighborhood, is Denver’s go-to LGBTQ+ bar and dance club.



For those who love jazz music, Dazzle is a can’t-miss nightclub in Downtown Denver.


Larimer Lounge

Larimer Lounge, located in the RiNo neighborhood, is a throwback to a classic bar with indie and punk rock live shows.

Places, Typical Products, and Souvenirs for the Perfect Shopping in Denver

With cowboy culture, indie designers and makers, and high-end boutiques, Denver shopping appeal for all.

Not Far from Denver There are Mountain Peaks, Stunning Red Rocks, and Charming Towns

Within just two hours or less from Denver, you can find yourself in a completely different environment with incredible views and activities. Getting up to those snow-covered peaks can be an adventure—one that is rounded out by a stay in a 5-star resort or a cold beer at a local brewery.

What to pack for Denver

The outdoor lifestyle in any season can dictate your choices when packing for Denver: put a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a couple of extra layers in your bag, and you’re ready for anything from city to trails.