As soon as you move to a city, there are about a hundred exciting things to do. From shopping to dining, museums to galleries, amusement parks to theatres to adventurous day trips—you can’t wait to dive into the pool of new activities.
With so many niche attractions and nearby destinations, the smorgasbord of fun things to do is definitely a pro when looking at the pros and cons of living in Denver. Explore this unique city with this list of six fun things to do in Denver, Colorado.
#1 Mountain Day Trips
When it comes to this city nestled in the Rockies, a day trip to the mountains has to top this list of things to do in the Colorado state capitol. Outdoor adventures, incredible skiing, and views that will take your breath away (sometimes literally at that elevation) await you in this urban mountain town.
Within two hours of the Denver area, you have access to some of the best mountains and ski resorts in the world:
- Vail – With over 5,300 acres of ski runs that span all difficulty levels, Vail Ski Resort is well-known worldwide. There’s also plenty to do off the slopes, including fine dining and shopping along the main promenade. Between its mountain coaster, water sports, and hiking trails, this massive winter playground also becomes a fantastic summer destination.
- Keystone – This advanced ski mountain is more extreme than extravagant, forgoing some resort amenities for challenging runs and tricky terrains that experienced skiers will love.
- Winter Park – As the “oldest continually operating ski resort in the state,” Winter Park offers 166 distinct trails covering more than 3,000 acres. With such variety, it’s a perfect spot for beginners and experienced athletes alike.
The Rocky Mountain range is home to these ski resorts and many more in Colorado. It also includes the Rocky Mountain National Park located less than two hours away from the Denver city center, making it the perfect destination for a day trip.
Interested in wildlife photography? Pack your zoom lens! This national park is home to more than 300 animal species, including bighorn sheep, elk, coyotes, and moose. You might come across these creatures on a hiking trail in one of the park’s five distinct regions, or while horseback riding, fishing, or backpacking.
#2 Outdoorsy Adventures
Though integral to the city’s culture and identity, skiing isn’t the only outdoor adventure Denver offers. If you’re looking for snow-free Denver attractions, you have an abundance to choose from:
- Bike paths – Denver ranks fourth in the country for bike-friendly cities. With hundreds of miles of bike paths, you can travel around on a massive network of trails. Alternatively, you can enjoy a leisurely ride on the South Platte River Trail or into the 14,000 acres of parks that make up the Rocky Mountain foothills.
- Extreme sports – With all the surrounding mountains, the city offers your choice of adrenaline-spiking activities. You can find zipline tours, hang gliding, bungee jumping, and more.
- Water activities – Despite being in a landlocked state, Denver has no shortage of water activities. You can try out white water rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and nearly any other water sport you can imagine. There are exciting whitewater courses and parks nearby where you can practice your extreme kayaking skills, or opt for a more relaxed float in your inner tube.
#3 Enjoy Arts & Culture
When it comes to things to do in Denver, there’s more to the Mile High City than just outdoor adventures. There’s plenty to see in Denver’s lively art scene, both in traditional galleries and on the canvases of the streets. Between stunning murals, outdoor arts festivals, and jam-packed exhibits, it’s no surprise that Denver is such an artistic hub.
Street Art Districts
You don’t need to step foot inside a museum or gallery to enjoy the Denver art scene. Everywhere you turn, you might spot a colorful display or abstract painting. But if you’re going out of your way to find street art, here are some great places to start:
- East Colfax – The vivid art in this neighborhood is born out of its soulful, urban identity. It exists somewhere between grungy graffiti and gallery-commissioned murals, giving you the best of both worlds.
- The Art District on Santa Fe – With over 30 art galleries, this area boasts the state’s largest concentration of art galleries. Even then, there is more art outside the gallery walls, spilling onto the brick alleys, sidewalks, storefronts, and more.
- South Broadway – This open-air community mostly features the underground brand of street art, but it’s so much more than your average graffiti tags. Find entire alleys and side streets covered in top-to-bottom creations.
You can check out these up and coming neighborhoods in Denver and more on the Denver Graffiti Tour. Or you can participate firsthand in the Denver Chalk Art Festival, where art students, professionals, and even you can help cover lower downtown’s Larimer Square in chalk creations each summer.
Museums & Exhibits
For a more formal exhibition of Colorado art, check out these museums and galleries, which host special events and incredible artists year-round:
- Denver Art Museum – Experience a vast array of art by perusing collections from around the world, including Western contemporary and Indigenous Arts of North America.
- Denver Museum of Nature & Science – Whether you’re a young student excited about science or a life-long learner in the prime of your life, you’ll find something intriguing at the Denver Museum of Art & Science. Explore adorable exhibits like “Dogs! A Science Tail” or sit back and enjoy an IMAX feature documentary.
- History Colorado Center – This museum frequently houses innovative exhibits based on historical social movements, including:
- Hencho En Colorado (Made in Colorado), which features significant art and artifacts from Colorado’s Chicano and Mexican-American communities.
- Women Behaving Badly, a series of paintings by Denver artist Adri Norris, focused on women who made history during the Women’s Suffrage movement.
- Game Changers: 100 Years of Negro Baseball, which uses Black baseball legends like Jackie Robinson and Oscar Charleston to tell the story of America from Reconstruction through the Civil Rights movement.
#4 Major League Sports
Denver is one of only five U.S. cities that houses all four major league sports teams—baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. It’s also one of two cities where all the arenas and stadiums are downtown, basically within a stone’s throw from each other (especially if you had Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl-winning arm).
A WalletHub report placed Denver as the 10th best city nationwide for sports—not too bad in a country that lives and breathes the American sports pastimes. Cheering for the Broncos is almost a prerequisite for moving to Denver, but the locals might let it slide if you support at least one of their home teams. Here’s where you can find them:
- Football – Denver Broncos at the Empower Field at Mile High
- Baseball – Colorado Rockies at Coors Field
- Hockey – Colorado Avalanche (“Avs”) at the Pepsi Center
- Basketball – Denver Nuggets, which shares the Pepsi Center with the Avs
You can check out a game or special event visiting these stadiums in downtown Denver on any given night.
Yes, you can find good shopping in every major metro city, but Denver puts a unique twist on a classic activity. Denver does it bigger and better, and in a uniquely Denverite way:
- 16th Street Mall – The name is fitting in more ways one than one—this massive pedestrian shopping center is located on 16th Street and stretches for 16 city blocks. It’s no wonder why it’s Denver’s #1 tourist attraction, with more shopping and dining options than you’ll know what to do with.
- South Pearl Street Farmers’ Market – South Pearl Street is one of the main thoroughfares in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood, but every Sunday, it gets a little bit better. Check out fresh produce, handmade artisan gifts and crafts, and unique clothing and accessories—all while supporting local businesses and artists.
#6 Uniquely Denver To-Dos
Everything on this list is woven into the fabric of the Mile High City’s cultural identity, but there are a few activities and attractions that feel unequivocally Denver.
If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you’re in luck — Denver ranked 6th in a recent study on the best U.S. cities for beer drinkers. You can see for yourself how Denver made it into the top ten with one of the city’s many brewery tours. You can even add a visit to Coors Brewery—the largest in the world—to your Denver itinerary, or enjoy a private guided tour through microbreweries and brewpubs around the city.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
This mash-up between a gorgeous natural landscape and home of the world’s best live music performances epitomizes Denver culture. Red Rock Amphitheatre is a naturally-occurring miracle. The open-air venue, built within the existing geological landscape, provides flawless acoustic sound without any alteration—the only one of its kind.
Some of the most prominent artists in the world have played at Red Rocks. If you can secure tickets, every concert there is sure to be a can’t-miss event.
Explore the City from Your Home Base
Every adventure begins and ends at home—whether it’s a weekend trip to the mountains or a quick outing to the farmers’ market. Now that you know what to do in Denver, it’s time to turn this list into reality—but first, you’ll need to settle into your own Denver relocation housing.
Landing can give you exactly that.
Landing can provide hassle-free leases to fully furnished apartments in some of the Denver area’s most prominent neighborhoods. With 24/7 concierge service, no deposits or long-term commitments, and a simplified move-in process, Landing ensures that the only thing on your mind will be which Denver attractions to explore first.
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Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Red Rocks History. https://www.redrocksonline.com/our-story/history/