Denver is more than Colorado’s largest city and capital, it is full of life. The sun shines more there than just about anywhere else in the country. It is full of artists, talent, vision, and a attitude of healthiness that is contagious. There is something about this city that makes you want to stick around and keeps you coming back for more.
Regardless the time of year you visit Denver, your trip will be fulfilling and leave you rejuvenated. The options for things to do and places to see can seem endless. I’ve broken down the top three in a few categories to keep your time in Denver focused and not so overwhelming.
Good eats that leave locals raving
The Cherry Cricket – A long standing staple in the city, this gem is packed with history and is known for allowing customers to build their own amazing burgers. The have a great beer selection to boot. www.cherrycricket.com
Vine Street Pub – Great burgers, board games for the children, and the friendliest servers. It is cash only. No cash, no worries- they will give you a “karma envelope” to mail them the money. www.mountainsunpub.com
Denver Biscuit Co. – The best breakfast joint you’ll ever go to and they serve through lunch! Don’t leave here without trying the homemade cinnamon rolls. www.denbisco.com
Learn a little
The Denver Mint – Take a free tour of the U.S. Mint and see where many of the coins in your pocket were produced. There are many restrictions, so please check the website before your trip. Also within walking distance, is the Federal Reserve Money Museum on 16th Street Mall. Admission is free. www.usmint.com
The Capital Building – In the heart of downtown, it is hard to miss this gold domed icon. Take a tour and see legislation in action. www.colorado.gov
The Nature and Science Museum — This multi-leveled museum will take you more than one day to fully get through. Each exhibit is thoroughly done and well worth the price of admission. Check the schedule for monthly FREE days or get in free with an ASTC reciprocal membership. www.dmns.org
Adjacent to this museum is the Denver zoo, park once and visit both! The zoo offers many opportunities to watch as keepers feed the animals. www.denverzoo.org
Take a breath of fresh air
Red Rocks Amphitheatre Theater and Visitor Center — Even if you aren’t in the area to catch a concert in this one-of-a-kind amphitheater, you still want to visit. Peek in the visitor center and see the Red Rocks Hall of Fame or get your work out in on the amphitheater stairs. There are many miles of hiking on the red rocks as well. www.redrocksonline.com
Jeffco Open Space at Matthews Park — This easy hike is perfect for all ages and offers great looks of downtown, Red Rocks, and the simple beauty of Colorado. jeffco.us/open-space
Skyline Park — A bit of green in a sea of skyscrapers, this three-block urban park is directly off the 16th Street Mall. During the summer months, the park offers free lawn games and outdoor movies for the children. www.downtowndenver.com/places/skyline-park
Be a tourist and hit these spots
16th Street Mall — No visit to Denver is complete without a visit to the 16th Street “mall” In the heart of downtown, you will find just about any store or restaurant you are looking for along this 1.25-mile strip. A free transit allows for easy on and off access to any of the stores and runs right down the middle of this area. 16thstreetmalldenver.com
See a sports game — Depending on the season, there are a variety of professional sports teams that call Denver home, including the Denver Broncos (football), Denver Nuggets (basketball), Colorado Rockies (baseball), Colorado Avalanche (hockey) and Colorado Rapids (soccer). Catch a game, you won’t be disappointed. www.denver.org/events/sports
Visit Buffalo Bill’s Grave — The breathtaking view here overlooks the beauty of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. Come see the grave of this Wild West hunter. There is also a museum highlighting this famous cowboy. www.buffalobill.org
Find out how they make it
Coors Brewery Tour — This free tour is one of the most elaborate in the Denver area and you are rewarded for your attentiveness with three free and generous sized samples. The tour is now self-guided, so you can take your time or speed along through the stages of the brew process on your handheld audio device. All ages are welcome, but you must be 21 to sample the brews. Non alcoholic choices are available for those who are not 21. www.millercoors.com
Hammond’s Candies Factory Tour — See how these old-fashioned candies are made and learn about the new sweet delicacies they have up their sleeves. The best part? Free samples and access to the discounted outlet store! www.hammondscandies.com
Celestial Seasonings — This 45-minute tour is filled with different aromas and takes you behind the scenes of the life of a tea bag and other products. Located in Boulder, its about 40 minutes from Denver. www.celestialseasonings.com/tours
BONUS: While in Boulder, walk the Pearl Street mall. There is a play area for children and a water play spot where water shoots out of the sidewalk. You might even catch a street performer here.
A word of caution. Denver is known as the “mile high city” because of it’s elevation. The air is a bit thinner at that elevation, so it will take you a few days to acclimate to the climate. Also, the sun can be more intense at that level, so be sure to bring your sunscreen. If you like baking in your RV, remember that cooking temperatures and ingredients have to change. King Arthur Flour offers some tips for high-altitude baking. www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/high-altitude-baking.html
Whatever you choose to do to occupy your time in Denver, I assure you that you will not leave disappointed. Make sure you leave plenty of time to just sit, breathe in the fresh air and soak up those invigorating sun rays!