Denver is an American metropolis that is the capital of Colorado. The city dates back to the Old West era, so it has a long and rich history and culture. This makes it an interesting place to visit, and there are plenty of things to see and do. However, there is much more to Denver than its history, and there are activities and attractions that will suit all tastes and budgets. The difficulty that you might have is choosing which of the activities and attractions to include in your vacation itinerary on your first visit to Denver to make the most of everything that this amazing city has to offer. To give you some guidance on how to get the most out of your time in this city, here are the 20 best things to do on your first visit to Denver.
20. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
For some live outdoor entertainment, you should head to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, says US News. The amphitheater is cut out of the sandstone cliffs of the Red Rocks Park, and there is an excellent view of the Rocky Mountains. Even if there is not a performance on during your visit, it is still worth a trip to the venue to admire the amazing views and take a walk along one of the surrounding trails. This venue also has a fascinating visitor center that you should take the time to visit. This features information about the history of the area along with details of the surrounding hiking trails.
19. Denver Zoo
A great day out for all the family is a trip to Denver Zoo as there is something for people of all ages at this attraction. Of course, the main attraction is the animals of which there are more than 3,000, says Denver.org. Visitors can get up close and personal with a wide range of animals, including lions and orangutans. This is an attraction that is both fun and educational. Throughout the day, there are plenty of fun learning opportunities as visitors are invited to watch feeding sessions where experts provide visitors with interesting snippets of information about the animals. There are also some fun rides to enjoy at this attraction. It is Denver’s most popular attraction.
18. Washington Park
If you need to get away from the buzz of urban life, then one of the best outdoor spaces in the city is Washington Park. The park is located in the south of central Denver and it covers 165 acres. There are beautifully landscaped gardens, two large lakes, multiple jogging paths, large grassy areas, and play areas for children. It is a great place to enjoy a picnic, take a walk, or simply relax.
17. Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour
Denver is well-known for its whiskey production, so this is an important element of the city’s history. If you are interested in learning more about this history or you are a whiskey enthusiast, then one of the best activities is the Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour. Stranahan’s is a whiskey company that is renowned for its smooth whiskey made using a secret recipe. The production process takes advantage of the mountain surroundings. The tour lasts for about an hour and a half, the highlight of which is the tasting session at the end. There is a chance to buy some of the whiskey to take home if you are a fan after sampling the product.
16. Hammond’s Candy Factory
Those with a sweet tooth will love taking a tour of Hammond’s Candy Factory. The tours of the factory are free, and you will see how the company produces its delicious and whimsical candy products. You will also learn a lot about other aspects of the history of Colorado during the tour. The highlight of the tour for many people is the trip to the gift shop, where you will get the chance to buy some candy to take home.
15. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
If you want a day out that will suit all the family and will include something to interest everyone, then the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a good option. The museum was founded in 1868 by Edwin Carter, and it was originally devoted to the wildlife of the Rocky Mountains. The museum has since expanded and covers many different aspects of science. Alongside the wildlife exhibits, you will also find a space exhibit and a robot exhibit. No matter which scientific field interests you the most, you will find something to capture your attention at this attraction.
14. Adams Mystery Playhouse
Looking for a more unusual activity to enjoy during your visit to Denver? Then why not book a meal at Adams Mystery Playhouse. This is the first and only mystery dinner theater in Colorado, and it is suitable for people of all ages. Therefore, it is a fun activity that all the family can enjoy. The food is served buffet-style, so you can get as much or as little as you want to eat. While you eat, you are entertained by songs, comedy performances, and impressions. The actors even mingle between the tables so that diners feel involved with the performance. This is one of the most unusual and fun places to eat in the city.
13. Forney Transportation Museum
If you are a car enthusiast, then you will love spending a day at Forney Transportation Museum. There are more than 600 artifacts on display in this museum, each of which relates to the history of transportation. Although the main focus is cars, there are also examples of aircraft, motorcycles, steam locomotives, and carriages. Furthermore, the exhibitions include items such as fire apparatus, bicycles, toys, models, rail equipment, and public transportation. Even those who are not particularly interested in cars can take delight in many of the exhibits at this museum.
12. United States Mint
Coins were first struck at the Denver Mint branch in 19o6, although the building was erected in 1897. Therefore, this venue has a long and rich history. Visitors can take a tour to learn about the minting process, the circulation of coins, and much more. Exhibits include commemorative coins and machinery that were used at the mint in the past. The tours fill up quickly, os it is best to book this activity in advance.
11. Children’s Museum of Denver
Located at Marsico Camp, the Children’s Museum of Denver is one of the top attractions for families in Denver, says Denver.org. This museum is home to many unusual, interesting, and interactive activities. The aim is to encourage children to create, discover, and explore. This is a fully-immersive experience in which all the family can get involved. However, it is important to note that this museum is not just about the children, as there is plenty to keep the adults entertained, too.
10. Downtown Aquarium
Somewhere that will captivate everyone in your party, regardless of their age, is Downtown Aquarium. There are more than 500 species living in the aquarium, and these are separated into different sections. For example, there is the Dive Lounge, the interactive Stingray touch tank, and areas for education and displays. On the one hand, this is an interactive and educational attraction. On the other hand, many people find this a tranquil place to visit. Visitors have the opportunity to learn more about each of the species on display, and also about preserving marine life and protecting the environment.
9. Colorado State Capitol
For history enthusiasts, Colorado State Capitol should make it close to the top of your vacation itinerary. Officially opened in 1894, this magnificent building has many interesting architectural features. Not only is the building steeped in history, but it is also one of the best places to get views across the city. Colorado State Capitol is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it is part of the Denver Civic Center National Historic Landmark District.
8. Denver Public Library
Even if you are not a bookworm, it is worth making the effort to visit the Denver public library. This is a gorgeous building that will appeal to fans of contemporary architecture as the eye-catching structure is one of the most noticeable buildings in the city. It is also an excellent place to visit if you are traveling with children as you can encourage them to spend a quiet hour reading while you also relax.
7. Larimer Square
Larimer Square is in one of the most historic areas of Denver and dates back to the 19th century when golf mining was a key part of life in Denver. Many of the original buildings remain alongside modern additions. This is also a great spot for dining out or enjoying a drink as the square is lined with some of the best bars and restaurants in the city. You can visit Larimer Square for lunch or dinner while visiting some of the surrounding attractions.
6. Mount Evans
It is important to take in some of the natural beauty of the surrounding area when visiting Denver, and one of the most significant natural landmarks is Mount Evans. This is an impressive sight that is the perfect backdrop for some scenic photographs to commemorate your visit to Denver. If you are fit and active, it is a great destination for hiking and observing nature. Once you have reached an elevated position, you can enjoy the spectacular views across the city and the stunning surrounding countryside.
5. Sports Authority Field at Mile High Tour
This stadium is the host to the Broncos, who have had many ups and downs during their history. If there is a Broncos game on during your visit, it is well worth getting tickets to enjoy the exciting vibe when the fans get together and to enjoy the game. It is possible to visit this venue, which is an important landmark in Denver, even when there are no games in play.
4. American Museum of Western Art
For art lovers, a great destination is the American Museum of Western Art, which is also known as the Anschutz Collection. The art on display depicts life in the west from the 1800s onwards. The aim of the museum is to promote an awareness of art exhibits that display the character, history, and beauty of Denver and the surrounding area. There are more than 200 exhibits on display, and there are guided tours of the museum where a guide will give you further details about the exhibits on display.
3. Denver Botanic Gardens
One of the most beautiful and tranquil places to visit in Denver is Denver Botanic Gardens. It is a wonderful place to get away from the busy environment in the city and relax. You can take a peaceful stroll through the aromatic gardens and admire the beauty of these stunningly landscaped gardens. It is also a great place to enjoy a picnic while you are out exploring the city.
2. Molly Brown House Museum
This museum is dedicated to a brave activist and socialite who survived the sinking of RMS Titanic. The museum is based in her former home, and visitors can take an interesting guided tour to learn more about her life and experiences, This hugely popular attraction entices more than 500,000 visitors each year.
1. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Although there are multiple museums in Denver for you to peruse during your visit, The Crazy Tourist says that one of the most interesting and fun of these is the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. This is a fascinating venue that is located in a former 1930s aircraft hangar. It has an awesome collection of aircraft, space vehicles, and air-related artifacts.