31 Things to Do in Denver: An Insider’s Guide to the Mile High City

Denver is not like other cities. There is a cosmopolitan cache to Denver that attracts the finest and best. Award winning chefs, luxury stores, custom builders and world class performing arts all elevate the Denver lifestyle. Yet, there’s another side to the Mile High City: the endearing, down to earth and humble side. Denver was and is a cow-town in the best sense of the term.  In Denver strangers smile at one another; the sun shines 300 days of the year; and anybody with a good amount of determination and grit can find their gold. Denver is authentic, outdoorsy, independent and fierce. It’s a town where politicians and city leaders work together; where cowboy boots pair with business suits; where it’s considered rude to honk; and where weekends are filled with live music and big adventures.

Helping people find great ways to love Denver has become a passion.  As a seasoned Denver expert, I only recommend places I genuinely love and are 100% tried and true!  This list of 31 things to do in Denver is a love letter – an expression of special ways Denver captivates the heart and feeds the soul.  While in Denver, I hope you will use this list to uncover new places, appreciate the City’s great treasures and find the best shops, parks, restaurants, bars and things to do.  It’s hard to show everything, but its easy to point out what matters most.

  1. Discover a New Band at the Bluebird Theatre

Let’s start wth The Bluebird Theatre. The Bluebird is a pilgrimage for music lovers looking to experience one of the best, most intimate live music venues in the United States. The historic marquee and cool Colfax vibe is a Denver “Must See!” The Bluebird holds a special place in my heart because my husband Evan bought and renovated The Bluebird in the early 90s with his partner Chris Swank.  The two, Swank and Dechtman, turned a run down old porn house into a coveted concert hall. With a grant from the Mayor’s Office, they also revitalized a good chunk of area around the Bluebird. Today, this stretch of Colfax is known as “The Bluebird Arts District.”   The level of detail and quality of the preservation from the ground up, earned the Bluebird a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.  Many up and coming musicians have made their debut at the Bluebird. Bands like Oasis and Cake once played the 500 seater on their rise to stardom.  If you go, be sure and get dinner across the street at Tommy’s Thai – best Pad Thai in Denver!

  1. Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens

The Monet Pool at Denver Botanic Gardens - Things to do in Denver

Whenever someone asks me what to do in Denver, I send them to the Denver Botanic Gardens!  A constant treasure year ’round, the Gardens are accessible, centrally located and filled with interesting and inspiring spaces.  Seasonal events like Glow in the Gardens and Blossoms of Light sell out fast. However, you can avoid the crowds by visiting during the day and take a loop around the impressive grounds. Discover these magical spots: the Monet Pool – Denver’s very own Giverny, the magnificent orange Chihuly sculpture garden,  the Japanese Garden and Teahouse and The Woodland Mosaic and SolariumThe Flower Girl sculpture by artist Madeline Wiener is also a favorite.  Carved from Colorado Yule Marble, the statue is said to have special powers.  Sit in her lap and make a wish.

  1. Meet a Famous Author at the Tattered Cover Bookstore

Senator Michael Bennet at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver - Things to do in Denver
Senator Michael Bennet giving a talk on his book, “The Land of Flickering Lights,” at the Tattered Cover.

The Tattered Cover is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country and unique in its programming and reach.  The Denver gem has several branches around town with newer locations at McGreggor Square, Aspen Grove, Stanley Marketplace and Denver International Airport. Yet, the three-story mother ship on Colfax Avenue (down the street from the Bluebird Theater) is one to visit first.  Check the calendar online to find dozens of monthly events. The intimate book talks with prominent authors are a unique way to experience community and Denver at its finest. If you go, also check out Twist & Shout Records next door.  Twist & Shout is Denver’s best independent record store with a huge selection of vinyl records and music memorabilia. In the same building as Tattered Cover on Colfax is also the Sie Film Center, home to the Denver Film Society, “Denver Film,” and Denver’s hottest restaurant, Sap Sua.

  1. Make Reservations for Brunch at Safta

Shakshuka at Safta's by Chef Elon Shaya - Things to do in Denver
Brunch in Denver at Safta’s by Chef Elon Shaya – Shakshuka

When James Beard Award winning Chef Alon Shaya opened Safta in RiNo at The Source Hotel, he elevated the Denver food scene to a new level. Shaya offers a variety of perfectly prepared Israeli dishes made with the freshest ingredients. Dinner is special, but brunch allows you to sample dozens of Shaya’s renowned recipes in one meal. The selection varies by weekend, but always features a signature main dish like Lamb Kebobs, Harissa Chicken or Majadra Stuffed Squash. At the other end of the the brunch buffet, the counter is lined with lavish mediterranean dips, salads, eggs, borekas and cheeses. As if that wasn’t enough, the brunch also has lox, whitefish, bagels and shmears from Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen. For dessert, try the Halava.

  1. Have Tea with a 1300 Pound Steer at the Brown Palace

National Western 2024 Grand Champion Steer at the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Downtown Denver - Things to do in Denver
National Western 2024 Grand Champion Steer at the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Downtown Denver

For over a century, the Brown Palace Hotel has hosted special Denver experiences.  Known for unmatched elegance, an affair at the Brown Palace is always steeped in tradition and rooted in timeless quality.  Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel (“The Brown”) is a ritual – a very special Denver thing to do.  From the exquisite china to the one-of-a-kind crystal chandelier in the grand atrium, every detail is carried to perfection.  Yet, the authentic Colorado Style sets the Brown’s tea apart from tea service at other fine hotels. Where else will guests wear cowboy boots and keep their hats on when out for tea? Where else will a 1300 pound live steer join guests in the dining room? Afternoon Tea at the Brown is served year around, but the winning steer from  The National Western Stock Show only comes to the tearoom once a year.

  1. Enjoy a Groundbreaking Theatrical Production

Neyla Pekarek "Rattlesnake Kate," at the DCPA for the New Play Summit - Things to do in Denver
Neyla Pekarek’s “Rattlesnake Kate,” at the DCPA’s New Play Summit, Photo by Adams VisCom, Courtesy of the DCPA

Not everyone knows what a highly regarded performing arts epicenter Denver has become.  With endless opportunities to see original works, people in Denver are able to grow and learn through life changing theatrical experiences. Be the first to hear a brilliant new script at the Colorado New Play Summit. See a world debut at the Denver Center Theatre Company.  Experience the most cutting edge immersive theater by the Denver Center for Performing Artrs (“DCPA”) and its Off-Center Company.  Choose a show from Denver’s Curious Theater Company’s original play lineup and join the discussion on social justice. See a rising start perform at Denver School of the Arts (“DSA”), an elite performing arts high school. Finally, if you are in Denver, do not miss seeing Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble perform at Cleo’s historic theater in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, also known as “The Harlem of the West.”

  1. Shop Til You Drop in Cherry Creek North

Lawrence Covell in Cherry Creek North - Things to do in Denver
Lawrence Covell: My favorite clothing boutique in Colorado!

The Cherry Creek Mall is home to dozens of luxury stores like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Gucci. Denver is lucky to high style Department stores like Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus in the center of town. But it’s the the local boutiques across First Avenue, in charming Cherry Creek North, that give Denver its true panache. Denver’s local shops have exclusively sourced fine linens, stylish tablewares, custom furniture and fabulous home accessories. Stores like The Brass Bed, White Peacock, HW Home, Homebody and Bloom  are filled with treasures to decorate your dream home. Cherry Creek North is also known as an outpost for the super stylish. At Freebird, you can find amazing boots and at Mariel’s a fancy hat or personal assistance picking a gala gown. For top designers, shop the local favorites: MAX (also in Aspen), Lawrence Covell, Garbarini and A-Line.

  1. Treat Yourself to Dinner at Sushi Den

Crispy Tuna Sushi Den - Things to do in Denver
Sushi Den’s signature “Crispy Tuna” in Denver

Any best restaurant list on Denver that does not include Sushi Den to me isn’t worth much. For four decades Sushi Den on South Pearl Street in Platte Park has consistently provided outstanding sushi that is flown in overnight from Japan!  Hungry and loyal sushi lovers once would wait hours for a table, but now Sushi Den accepts reservations on Open Table. You can’t go wrong ordering because every signature dish is epic! Other good things to order are: Crispy Tuna, Broiled Yellowtail Collar and Miso Cod.  Also, select from the daily specials to get the freshest catch. For the same reliable quality but with a fresh spin, try Toshi Kizaki’s other restaurant, Temaki Den in The Source in RiNO. Tamki Den specializes in flame torched Aburi and modern hand rolls.

  1. Compare Washington Park to City Park by Doing as Many Activities as You Can

Denver City Park - Things to do in Denver
Surrey ride around Denver City Park

Thanks to the vision of Denver city leaders and planners in the early 1900s, Denver boasts one of the best park systems in the country. With over 200 historic parks and 85 miles of bike paths and trails, spending time at a beautiful Denver park is a pleasure!  The City’s two Grande Dames: City Park and Washington Park both have a zillion activities from boating to croquet, tennis, playgrounds and flower fields. City Park is known for its grand bandstand, award-winning Nature and Science Museum, Denver Zoo and City Park Golf Course. Beautiful historic statues surround City Park telling the tale of Denver’s past.  Washington Park or “Wash Park” has a picturesque 2.6 mile trail beloved by runners, roller bladders and walkers. Both parks have mountain views and seasonal paddle boat, bike and surrey rentals.

  1. Take a Yoga Class at an Iconic Denver Landmark

Yoga at the Denver Botanic Gardens - Things to do in Denver
Yoga at the Gardens

A yoga class in Denver can feel different just because the elevation is high and the air is thin.   It gets more out of the ordinary, if you put a goat on your back or hike up a lot of red stone stairs.  Try bending into “downward dog,” while birds chirp and butterflies circle your head. These are yoga experieces you can sign up for, while visiting famous landmarks in Denver. Places like the floor of the Butterfly Pavillion, a barn at the Four Mile Park, the steps of Red Rocks Ampitheatre, or an open tent at the Denver Botanic Gardens,, all have a wide schedule of classes with varying skill levels and intensity.

  1. Start Your day at The Bagel Deli or Snooze

The Bagel Deli in Denver - Things to do in Denver
The Bagel Deli in Denver on Monaco and Hampden

Breakfast spots in Denver are multiplying by the dozen.  Despite delicious new arrivals, two favorite stalwarts stand out most. The Bagel Deli is a three-generation family owned Denver institution, recently featured on the Food Network’s Diners and Drive-Ins. You will need to go early and put your name in. Walk ups only, Of course even if you have to wait, it’s worth it. The deli sandwiches are massive, the white fish salad perfection and the lox and eggs supreme. The food is always served with an abundance of care and a warm smile.  Snooze has a modern cool vibe, and unlike the One-and-Only Bagel Deli, Snooze has several locations throughout town. You can even get a breakfast at Snooze when you are in between flights at Denver International Airport. Try Snooze’s Pancake Flight or one of the many varieties of Eggs Benedict. Kindness matters. Snooze is a beloved community builder, always supporting local charities and giving back to Denver.

  1. Discover a Neighborhood Market 

South Pearl Street Farmer's Market - Things to do in Denver
South Pearl Street Farmer’s Market in Denver

To get to know Denver’s great neighborhoods better, spend some time at Denver’s fantastic farmer’s markets.  Strolling through an outdoor market is a fun way to meet upcoming local chefs, discover independent bakeries, relax with live music and uncover hand-crafted goods.  A few seasonal Denver standouts are: the Pearl Street Farmer’s Market, the Sloan’s Lake Night Bazaar and the City Park Farmer’s Market. Denver’s permanent Food halls and independent markets are another excellent way to explore Denver’s different neighborhoods.  If it’s really good food you are looking for, visit RiNO’s Denver Central Market, the Edgewater Public Market or Avanti in the Highlands. For a great marketplace on the East side of town, plan a day at Stanley Marketplace.  Stanley brings together award winning Denver restaurants, local boutiques, original breweries, live music, arts and a wide line up of family activities.

  1. Find a Unique Denver Festival

Lunar New Year Festival at the Far East Center in Denver - Things to do in Denver
Lunar New Year Festival in Denver at the Far East Center

To experience how diverse and vibrant Denver can be, attend one of Denver’s signature outdoor festivals.  Denver has more world class festivals than you can ever believe: art festivals, music festivals, food festivals and holiday festivals. Some favorites are: the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, the Denver Chalk Art Festival, Denver Walls, Denver Pridefest (one of the largest in the world, attended by half a million people), The Far East Center’s Lunar New Year Celebration and the Five Points Jazz Festival. For anything and everything you love, there is a Denver festival: barbecue, chocolate, beer, comic books, steak, whiskey and wine. The common denominators of all Denver festival are: great people, live music, delicious food, interesting art and a full expression of joie de vie.

  1. Drink a Beer at the Wynkoop (If you are 21 or older)

The Wynkoop Brewery, Photo by Jenn Dechtman - Things to do in Denver
The Wynkoop Brewery

From old saloons to the birthplace of the microbrewery, Denver has always been a beer town. Today, hundreds of local breweries call Colorado home. In 1988 John Hickenlooper, now Senator Hickenlooper, opened the first brewpub in Colorado called The Wynkoop Brewing Company. Located in a worn down warehouse in lower downtown, the Wynkoop helped spur the redevelopment of the area of Denver we know today as “LoDO.” LoDO is anchored by the Wynkoop Brewery, Coors Field where the Colorado Rockies play and Union Station.  Today, hanging out at the Wynkoop and playing pool is just as fun as it was in the late 80’s, but there’s a lot more to do in LoDo when you leave. LoDo is lined with one great bar after another. The Cruise Room in the historic Oxford Hotel is a sophisticated art decco bar definitely worth checking out with its cool ambiance and stiff martinis. The Cooper Lounge is also a great place to go near the Wynkoop and features a glamorous bar, historic location and stunning craft cocktails.

  1. Explore the Denver Art Museum’s Large Indigenous Art Collection

Denver Art Museum - Things to do in Denver
Denver Art Museum

Denver is home to many outstanding museums.  If you have time for only one, don’t miss the Denver Art Museum (The DAM)! Nowhere else can you experience a collection of Indigenous Art that’s as vast and masterfully displayed.  According to the Museum’s website, the DAM is home to over 70,000 works of art, out of which “18,000 objects are from over 250 Indigenous nations.”  My favorite building, the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, designed by famous architect Daniel Libeskind, hosts visiting world class exhibits, some that start in Denver before even heading to other major cities like New York or Paris. Even the food at the DAM is good.  The Ponti is a stunning restaurant on the first floor. Named for Italian architect Gio Ponti who designed the North Building, Ponti serves handmade pastas, heirloom vegetables, ancient grains, fish and meats.

  1. Stroll by the Murals of RiNO

Artist Thomas Evans ("Detour") at RiNo - Things to do in Denver
Denver Artist Thomas Evans, “Detour,” in front of one of his murals in RiNO.

Whether you do an organized graffiti walking tour or wander on your own, the murals of Denver are a “must see!” Denver graffiti art exploded about a decade ago in Denver thanks to an edgy art festival called  “Crush Walls.” The week long festival in Denver’s River North Art District (“RiNO”) brought artists together to paint dozens of colorful murals throughout the industrial art district. Several years later, artists still descend on RiNO every September to paint over past murals and bring thought provoking new ideas to life. Since the start of Denver’s ever changing street art revolution, talented artists like Thomas Evans (“Detour”), Pat Milbery and Gregg Deal have inspired new artists and helped guide other cities. Every artist has a unique agenda, style and purpose. Meeting the artists in person and hearing their stories is an important part of RiNO’s “Denver Walls” festival every September.

  1. Tour the Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol - Things to do in Denver
The Rotunda of the Colorado State Capitol featuring historic scenes and Colorado Pink Onyx walls below.

The Colorado State Capitol building is an absolute marvel. The interior walls are made of a rose onyx from a quarry in Beulah, Colorado. That pink color onyx has never been found anywhere else in the world! The real gold dome is an ode to the Gold Rush of the early 19th Century, and the granite exterior hails from Colorado’s Western Slope.  Grand murals wrap the interior Colorado’s history. My favorite artifact is the Women’s quilt. Special women are sewn into the fabric like Mary Elitch and Emily Griffith. The House and Senate Chambers are an interesting place to visit when the legislature is in session.  Down the hall is the Governor’s office where you might catch an important bill signing. For all these reasons and more, touring the Colorado State Capitol is a top thing to do in Denver!

  1. Grab a Coffee at a Denver Hotspot

Aviano Coffee in Cherry Creek North - Things to do in Denver
Luly at Aviano Coffee in Cherry Creek North

Coffee culture is big in Denver with dozens of local shops and roasters in the Mile High. Of the many, Aviano is the ultimate “it place” to be and be seen, especially on a sunny day. The taste, location and ambiance make Aviano 100% worthy of its loyal following. Aviano has two Cherry Creek North locations a few blocks from each other. Both are fabulous.  Other Denver coffee shops I love are: Platte Park’s Steam Espresso Bar,  the Clayton Club’s exclusive 2nd floor “Member’s Parlor;” Park Hill’s Honey Hill; Lowry’s woman-run, sustainable coffee company Cooper Door Coffee Roasters and 9+Co‘s Frank and Roze.

  1. Catch Denver Fever at a National Sporting Event

Denver Broncos at Empower Field - Things to do in Denver
Denver Broncos at Empower Field

Everyone knows Denver is a die hard sports town. With an unusually large number of national teams, record championship trophies and extra passionate fans, seeing a Denver team play live in the Mile High City is a memorable event. Baseball is the best option for seeing a live game on a budget. The Colorado Rockies sell tickets to Coors Field starting at $10.  For even less, you can watch Denver teams face off for free on the big screen at McGregor Square. Watching Denver’s two-time Super Bowl Champs, the Denver Broncos play at Empower Field on the other hand can require serious coinage.  Same with Denver’s championship hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche, and Denver’s championship NBA team, the Denver Nuggets. If you want to see a live sports event at Ball Arena, get tickets to a Colorado Mammoth lacrosse match or a Colorado Rapids soccer game. Both teams are awesome!

  1. Pamper Yourself on the Rooftop of the Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Pool and Spa - Things to do in Denver

Having a spa day at the Four Seasons Spa is one of the best things to do in Denver! The Four Seasons Hotel has created an urban retreat in the heart of downtown Denver. Known for unparalleled customer service and a super luxurious experience, the Four Seasons always makes sure their service meets the highest of standards! The spa treatments are excellent snd start with a plush white robe and slippers. Spa goers also enjoy access to the well cared for rooftop pool! The spa boutique is another place worthy of note with its beautiful clothes and and top rated skin products. Leave time to enjoy a gourmet lunch poolside, or in chilly weather head downstairs to the delicious Edge Restaurant.

  1. See Enormous Things at Denver’s Nature and Science Museum

Denver Museum of Nature and Science - Things to do in Denver

Denver’s Nature and Science Museum is one of the premier science museums in the country. This museum is the only place to see gigantic “Sue,” the most complete, best-preserved, Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. Nowhere else can you embark on a journey through the ice age and learn about the massive mastodon discovery in Snowmass Colorado! Denver has given this creature a special name, “Snomastadon!”  Nowhere else can you see an 8 pound nugget of gold found in the Colorado Gold Rush! That is a really big piece of gold!  If you like space stuff, the museum’s Space Odyssey Exhibition is over the moon!  In Space Odyssey, there’s an extra large I-Max Theatre and Planetarium. Check the calendar for live performances, special demonstrations and daily showtimes at the big new I-Max and Denver Planetarium.  Getting to see all these things at the museum is just “huge!”

  1. Watch Cliff Divers and Eat Sopapillas at Casa Bonita 

Casa Bonita Cliff Divers - Things to do in Denver

Ever since the late sixties, celebrating a birthday at Casa Bonita was the thing to do in Denver! The creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, forever immortalized the awesomeness of the Casa Bonita birthday party, in the television series South Park.  From this show the world learned about the crazy cliff divers, the puppet show, and the epic cave known as “Black Bart’s Hideout.”  But if you’re from Denver you already knew. You also knew how bad the food was. Stale chips and Velveeta Cheese were staples.  As such, the restaurant fell on hard times and closed. To everyone’s delight, Stone and Parker stepped in and saved Casa Bonita! They spent 40 million to bring in a James Beard award winning chef and restore the whole pink palace to all its glory.  The “Disneyland of Denver” is now brighter, pinker and better than ever!

  1. Travel Back in Time at the Molly Brown House

Molly Brown House - Things to do in Denver

Few Coloradans have made an impression on the world like Denver’s silver heiress Margaret Brown. The rags to riches real life story of Molly Brown, a Denver socialite and philanthropist who spoke four languages and survived the Titanic, is one of the best tales ever told. There is even a movie and a Broadway show about her life, “the Unsinkable Molly Brown.”  Touring her stately stone home, the Molly Brown House and Museum, on 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Denver is a fun way to learn about this dynamic woman and Colorado’s mining  history. To put in perspective just how rich the Browns were, consider this: among all of the wealthy travelers on the Titanic, the richest woman on the entire boat was Margaret Brown from Denver, Colorado.

  1. Eat at Henry’s Hotdog Stand

Henry the hot dog man in Cherry Creek - Things to do in Denver

Henry’s Hot DogsOn the corner of Milwaukee and 3rd Avenue in Cherry Creek North, you can find the always friendly and effervescent Henry the Hot Dog Man. Henry has the best quality dogs in Denver: turkey dogs, all beef dogs, Sabrettes, Polish Sausages and Bratwurst. I’ve known Henry for 25 years and have hired him do private parties and public events.  What I didn’t know was how many lives Henry has touched in Denver over the decades, and what an icon he and his hot dog cart have become. On National Hot Dog Day I posted a picture of Henry on my Denver I Love Instagram story. The number of comments and love for Henry was extensive.  Having Henry fix you a hot dog and “decorate” it with mustard and ketchup is a true Denver treat.

  1. Watch an Orange & Blue Mile High Sunset from a Rooftop Bar

Denver Sunsets - Things to do in Denver

Rooftop bars are becoming a thing in Denver! Like Barcelona, the Mile High City’s rooftop vibe provides a perfect end to a warm day.  Unique to Denver, many rooftop bars are perfectly situated to view the Rocky Mountains. Watching the back lit pink hues fade down over the dark blue Rockies is a must see and enjoy activity.  Because of Denver’s high elevation, the sunset colors are extra vibrant.  In the fall, bright orange hues replace pink and drop down into the blue shadows of the mountains delighting Broncos fans who live for orange and blue magic! A few favorite perches to get a drink with a view in Denver are: Kisby on the Roof at the Jacquard Hotel in Cherry Creek North, Red Barber at the Catbird Hotel in RiNO and the highest rooftop of all: 54Thirty Rooftop at Le Meriden Hotel in Downtown Denver.

  1. Pick Your Favorite Denver Tacos!

La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal in Denver's Ball Park Neighborhood - Things to do in Denver

Denver has an amazing taco scene!  La Diabla Pazole y Mezcal is a foodie favorite! Located near Coors Field on kind of a sketchy block, this award winning restaurant will surprise you with its juxtaposition of plastic folding chairs and top shelf tequila. The birria taco with bone marrow is one of the best things you’ll eat in Denver! Wrap up the bone to take to your dog!  Next, I love the outdoor vibe at Machete in Cherry Creek. There’s a Colfax location too, but the Cherry Creek patio can’t be beat. Also on my favorites list, Comida in Stanley Marketplace has the best variety of vegetarian, meats and fish tacos, all served with authentic sauces and salsas. On the lighter side, North County in Lowry specializes in fresh fish tacos. They’ll substitute tortillas for jicama if you are cutting carbs.

  1. Hike An Arctic Tundra

Denver Mountain Parks - Things to do in Denver

Finding a great hike around Denver is easy. Picking which one to do is the hard part. Denver is unique because it is a big city, but it also owns over 14,000 acres of Denver Mountain Parks in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Summit Lake Park on Mount Blue Sky (formerly Mount Evans) is the highest elevation city park in North America. Located 12,836 feet above sea level, it was the first National Natural Landmark in Colorado. The trail takes hikers around one of the best examples of arctic tundra on the continent, including rare alpine plants and animals.  It doesn’t look very pretty, but it is super cool!

  1. Eat Ice Cream From a 28 Foot Tall Cream Can

Little Man Ice Cream - Things to do in Denver

Ice cream is an essential part of the Denver lifestyle. Thanks to Little Man Ice Cream Company, you can find good, local, hand crafted ice cream just about everywhere you go.  You have to check out the original Little Man Ice Cream located in Denver’s LoHi neighborhood.  Creative flavors of malts, shakes, cones and cups are served out of a 28 foot tall vintage cream can. Little Man’s other locations are also unique. Congress Park has a beautiful Tiffany blue soda shop called Sweet Cooies, and  Little Man Central Park‘s shopt is a big silver airplane.  In Denver, you come to love ice cream flavors like “Space Junkie,” Salted Carmel” and “Salted Oreo.”  Other great Denver ice cream shops have fun signature flavors too. Check out Nuggs Sweet Cow, Heaven Artisan Creamery, High Point Creamery, Bonnie Brae Ice Cream and Liks.

  1. Ride A Famous Wooden Roller Coaster 

Mr Twister at Elitch Gardens - Things to do in Denver

Back in the 1960s, Denver’s Elitch Gardens Amusement Park commissioned a large, custom-built wooden roller coaster named “Mr. Twister.” Mr. Twister operated from 1965 to 1994 in the beautiful Elitch Gardens in Northwest Denver. In 1995 the park relocated from what is now the popular Highlands neighborhood to its current home in downtown Denver on the Platte River. The new park didn’t preserve the beauty of the gardens, but it did fortunately save the legacy of the great Mr. Twister. Refurbished and renamed, “Twister II.”  Remarkably, the epic rickety thriller ride lived on! Last year, Mr. Twister received a third update which led to its new name Twister III: The Storm Chaser. This newest refurbished version of Mr. Twister has 4,640 feet of track and is iconic as ever! Riding Mr. Twister is something you have to do when you are in Denver!

  1. Indulge in a New Michelin Star Restaurant

Fine Dining at Bruto - Things to do in Denver

2023 was the year Denver’s impressive culinary scene made it on the world map. The prestigious global Michelin Guide set its sites on the Mile High City to unveil its new sacred picks. There are only 6 states in the U.S. that have Michelin rated restaurants, Colorado being the newest. The Denver restaurants that earned the coveted Michelin Star are: Beckon, Bruto and The Wolf’s Tailor,  A handful of less expensive Denver restaurants received Michelin’s “Bib Gourmand” recognition for good quality, good value cooking.  Denver’s La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal, mentioned above in the Tacos section, received Bib Gourmand status for its no frills, amazing Mexican fare by Chef Jose Avila. Notably, the RiNO and Highlands areas had the highest concentration of Michelin recognized restaurants with local favorites like Hop Alley and ASh’Kara making the cut.

  1. Try Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Buckhorn Exchange

The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver's Oldest Restaurant - Things to do in Denver

Established in 1893, the Buckhorn Exchange is one of Denver’s oldest, most historic restaurants. It boasts Denver’s first liquor license and has been home to both cowboys and chiefs for more than a Century. Past patrons, Buffalo Bill, President Teddy Roosevelt and Railroad tycoons, gave the Buckhorn Exchange its storied past. Today, the Wild West lives on at this game loving Denver outpost.  The Menu features many Colorado delicacies: Fried Alligator, Rattlesnake, Beef, Buffalo and Elk. Gut, the real reason people flock to the Buckhorn Exchange is to dare their friends and family to eat some infamous Rocky Mountain Oysters. Most people don’t know what they are. When you are in Denver, be sure to go to the Buckhorn Exchange and find out. Checking this one off your list might prove harder than you think.

For weekly updates on more places to go and things to do in Denver, follow Denver I Love on Instagram @denverilove

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