Denver: What to Do in 2023 for a Memorable Experience
As one of the best cities in the world, Denver is full of memorable things to see and do. In this article, we’ll share what to do in Denver, Colorado, for an epic experience.
From off-the-beaten-path attractions like a beer spa to popular activities like exploring Red Rocks Park, there’s something for everyone on this list. Whether you’re a local or visiting the Mile High City, you’re sure to at least find a few items below to add to your bucket list!
We’ll also answer common questions, including what Denver is famous for and how to spend a vacation in this incredible city.
Denver: What to Do for a Memorable Experience
In our Denver travel guide below, we want to help you explore the best of the Mile High City. We’ll also share a few day trip experiences for those looking to escape the city.
You’ll find various experiences for families, friends, couples, travelers, and locals. Enjoy!
Here’s a quick rundown of the top things to do in Denver. Below, we’ll share more details for each one.
- Graffiti Art Tour
- Denver Central Market
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Oakwell Beer Spa (the ultimate relaxation)
- Molly Brown House Museum
- Denver Botanic Gardens
- Pikes Peak (for nature enthusiasts)
- Red Rocks Park
- Red Rocks Amphitheatre
- The Infinite Monkey Theorem (for wine lovers)
- Golden, CO
- Meow Wolf (an iconic art experience)
- Pikes Peak
- Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (for sports lovers)
- Coors Field
- Mount Evans Scenic Byway
- Colorado State Capitol
- Denver Milk Market (a unique food hall)
- Denver Performing Arts Complex
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
- Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs (an Anthony Bourdain favorite)
- Kaladi Coffee Roasters
- Tattered Cover Book Store
- Craft Beer Tour
- Adrift Tiki Bar
- Union Station (shopping & dining)
- Denver Zoo
- City Park Jazz (June-August)
- Five Points Jazz Festival (June 10th, 2023)
- Holidays in Denver
Graffiti Art Tour
One of the most remarkable ways to see Denver is by taking the Graffiti Art Tour around the River North Art District (RiNo).
On this 2-hour walking tour, you can discover Denver’s best street art and learn stories behind the artwork and neighborhoods. You can also learn more about local historical, political, and social contexts for an authentic experience.
The end of your tour takes you to the iconic Denver Central Market.
Denver Central Market
Whether you stop here after the Graffiti Art Tour or visit on your own, the Denver Central Market is easily one of the most fun things to do in the Mile High City.
Denver Central Market is a gourmet food hall and marketplace where you can eat, drink, socialize, and shop. The vibe is like no other, and there are countless photo ops, with a trendy atmosphere and food that looks as good as it tastes!
Rocky Mountain National Park
When you’re looking for “Denver what to do,” you’ll almost always come across Rocky Mountain National Park. And for great reason.
This massive, incredible national park is well worth the hour-and-a-half drive from Denver. It covers 415 square miles and boasts meadows, lakes, mountain peaks, trails, and wildlife.
Every season offers a different, unforgettable experience. This is the ideal day trip from the city, with ample opportunity to enjoy nature.
Oakwell Beer Spa (the ultimate relaxation)
Oakwell Beer Spa is an award-winning day spa and offers one of Denver’s most unique activities. It’s the perfect place to kick back and relax while enjoying local beer and treating yourself to wellness benefits.
Guests can enjoy a cozy taproom oasis that serves local craft beer and other beverages, a private Beer Bath Hydrotherapy room, and a Relaxation Lounge with massage chairs.
Oakwell Beer Spa welcomes walk-in guests to hang out in the taproom and Relaxation Lounge, or you can book a spa day online for a rejuvenating experience like no other.
Molly Brown House Museum
The Molly Brown House Museum is incredibly dedicated to showcasing Denver’s identity by telling the story of Margaret (Molly) Brown’s activism, philanthropy, and passion through educational programs, exhibits, and stewardship.
Molly Brown wasn’t only a Titanic survivor, but she was so much more than that. She’s also known for promoting women’s rights, being the first woman to run for congress, and other admirable feats, which visitors can learn during a tour at the Molly Brown House Museum.
Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens is known as one of the best gardens in the nation. It offers a remarkable experience for just about anyone, even if you’ve already been. You can expect a different atmosphere each season, and there’s plenty to see and do throughout the gardens.
Spanning 23 acres, the Denver Botanic Gardens has various gardens of different themes. Some of the gardens offer vibrant colors year-round.
The Denver Botanic Gardens holds a family-friendly concert series from June through August during summer. There are also other regular events, educational programs, and live performances.
Pikes Peak (for nature enthusiasts)
If you love nature, Pikes Peak is a must-visit. It’s just over an hour from Denver near Colorado Springs and is one of Colorado’s most stunning destinations.
Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern front range of the Rocky Mountains. Spend the day driving towards the top and exploring picture-perfect sites. From sledding to hiking and biking, there’s something to do all year long in the Pikes Peak region.
We recommend visiting between late spring and early fall for the best weather.
Red Rocks Park
The iconic Red Rocks Park is a paradise for nature lovers just 10 miles west of Denver.
Red Rocks Park has almost a thousand acres of meadows, wildlife habitats, and dinosaur fossils to discover. There are also various trails throughout the park for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
The park has free admission and is open year-round from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunrise.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, also located at Red Rocks Park, is an open-air theater built into a rock structure.
This is one of the most magical locations in the United States to see a show. Concerts and other shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre usually take place from early April through October.
You can also do “Yoga on the Rocks” every Saturday morning during summer.
The Infinite Monkey Theorem (for wine lovers)
When we’re looking for what to do in Denver, one of our favorite activities is going to The Infinite Monkey Theorem.
This industrial-chic wine bar is a fun spot for tasting delicious local wine in a unique atmosphere. There are also regular events at The Infinite Monkey Theorem, including comedy shows, trivia, and yoga with wine.
One of the best hidden gems on the west side of Denver is Golden, CO. This quaint, charming town is the perfect way to get away from the hustle for a few hours.
Golden is home to fun outdoor activities, including kayaking, hiking, biking, and fishing. It’s at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and offers scenic views. You can also drive all the way up Lookout Mountain for a stunning view of Golden and Denver.
Meow Wolf (an iconic art experience)
One of the most fun things to do in Denver is to visit Meow Wolf, a 4-story immersive walk-through art exhibition.
At Meow Wolf, you’ll find interactive rooms, eccentric sculptures, and a story arc. Have your camera ready for this art museum unlike any other!
You’ll need to book your visit ahead of time. We recommend spending up to a few hours at Meow Wolf.
Another one of the best day trips from Denver is Pikes Peak, also known as “America’s Mountain,” which is about an hour south of Denver in Colorado Springs.
It takes a couple of hours to drive to the top of this summit, with various unique places to stop for hikes, fishing, and picnics. You can take a Jeep tour for an exciting adventure to Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak is open year-round, weather permitting. That said, you need reservations to explore the entire area between Memorial Day weekend through September 30th.
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (for sports lovers)
Sports fans can’t miss a visit to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. This hall of fame and museum honors Colorado athletes through various recognitions and exhibits.
You can also take a guided tour of the Mile High Stadium.
Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or not, Coors Field always offers a fun time. Coors Field is a baseball stadium in downtown Denver and the home field for the Colorado Rockies baseball team.
You can enjoy baseball from March through September at Coors Field. The stadium also hosts concerts, which makes for an incredible lively venue.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Almost every “Denver: what to do” list suggests traveling along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, and for great reason.
This 49-mile National Forest Scenic Byway is Colorado’s highest paved road and takes you 7,000 feet above sea level and past some of Colorado’s most picturesque scenery.
On your drive, you can stop and enjoy the views – mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and glacier valleys. You might also see mountain goats, sheep herds, uncommon birds, and stunning wildflowers.
Due to weather, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is usually closed from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
Colorado State Capitol
Whether you’re a history buff or want to see a stunning panorama of the city, The Colorado State Capitol is well worth checking out.
This beautifully-designed historic building was built in the 1800s. Guests can take free guided tours.
Be sure to climb to the dome to catch the views!
Denver Milk Market (a unique food hall)
Foodies love the unforgettable experience at the Denver Milk Market. This vibrant venue hosts various dine-in and take-out vendors 7 days a week, morning, day, and night.
The Denver Milk Market serves local and global cuisine, including pizza, bao buns, and burgers. You can also shop and drink at the market. There’s something for everyone!
Denver Performing Arts Complex
The Denver Performing Arts Complex is a must-visit if you enjoy live shows.
This large center has 10 performance spaces for concerts, plays, and other events. There are also spots within the complex for eating and drinking.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Get away from the city and step into nature just a few miles northeast of downtown Denver at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
This almost 16,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem that’s free to visit and one of the best places in Colorado to explore nature. It’s home to bison, deer, songbirds, prairie dogs, and more.
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs (an Anthony Bourdain favorite)
Although it might seem like an unassuming hotdog joint, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs is one of Denver’s most unique restaurants. It even made an appearance on celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s travel food show, No Reservations.
Enjoy biker vibes, distinctive hot dogs, and microbrews at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner, and it’s also the perfect late-night food spot!
Kaladi Coffee Roasters
If you like coffee, we can’t suggest visiting Kaladi Coffee Roasters enough.
This bustling roastery serves delicious organically-grown coffee that’s roasted in-house. It’s the perfect spot to appreciate a simple vibe with diverse java drinks and tasty snacks.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Tattered Cover is the largest independent bookstore in Colorado. There are 8 locations in the Denver area. Two of the most popular stores are at Union Station and next to City Park.
You can find new and used books, apparel, gifts, and more at Tattered Cover.
Craft Beer Tour
Denver is a beer hub, and a craft beer tour is easily one of the most fun ways to explore the best beer in Denver.
You can book a guided tour with a local guide like Denver Microbrew, or you can take yourself on a tour to explore Denver brewery and beer spots. Some of our favorites are Crooked Stave, Odell Brewing Brewhouse, and Oakwell Beer Spa.
Adrift Tiki Bar
If you’re interested in visiting a cool cocktail bar in Denver, be sure to check out Adrift. This tropical-themed tiki bar serves rum-centric, island-style drinks and Polynesian-inspired food.
Adrift is a fun place to go on a date or with a group of friends. Its incredible details make it one of Denver’s top Instagrammable spots.
Union Station (shopping & dining)
Union Station, a historic railway station, is one of the most popular places in Denver. It’s known as “Denver’s Living Room” and offers a fun experience for anyone.
You can find various restaurants, bars, and shops at Union Station.
Denver’s Union Station is in the heart of LoDo (lower downtown) and has a hotel, The Crawford Hotel, ideal for visitors who want to stay in the city center.
Almost anyone loves visiting the Denver Zoo. This is the perfect activity for families, friends, and couples.
The Denver Zoo is an 80-acre zoological garden and non-profit organization that helps provide loving, authentic homes for animals. There are also regular events, including “Animal Talks” and “BFF Days.”
There’s a daily limit on visitors, so be sure to purchase your tickets online before you go.
City Park Jazz (June-August)
City Park is one of Denver’s most popular spots, where you can find green spaces, a beautiful
lake, and a museum. And during summer, you can also enjoy jazz concerts.
Head to City Park on Sunday evenings in June, July, and August for a free jazz concert.
Five Points Jazz Festival (June 10th, 2023)
Keep the jazz going at Five Points Jazz Festival, which takes place on June 10th, 2023.
The annual Five Points Jazz Festival has taken place for the last 20 years and is one of our favorite cultural events in Denver. It’s the perfect time to appreciate art, music, and culture. Best of all, it’s free!
Holidays in Denver
The holiday season and winter in Denver are one-of-a-kind. From local events to unique holiday celebrations, there’s something for everyone.
Some of our favorite things to do in Denver during the holidays include:
- Ice skating at the Downtown Denver Rink
- Going to the Winter Wonderland at Cherry Creek North
- Warming up and relaxing at Oakwell Beer Spa
- Snowboarding at the Ruby Hill Rail Yard
- Taking a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
Denver: What to Do (FAQ)
Check out answers to these common questions for more information on what to do in Denver.
Is there anything fun to do in Denver?
Absolutely. Denver is one of the most fun cities in Colorado. There are many popular and lesser-known activities and sites.
Here are some of the most fun things to do:
- Explore the park or watch a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
- Enjoy an interactive art experience at Meow Wolf.
- Relax and enjoy local beer at Oakwell Beer Spa.
- Eat unique and delicious food at the Denver Milk Park.
- Take a drive on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.
- Experience Denver’s beer scene with a brewery tour.
Is Denver famous for anything?
Yes, Denver is famous for its award-winning breweries, a rare combination of city and nature lifestyle, and various historical landmarks. There are so many things to see and do in Denver, which is one of its most significant attractions.
How can I spend 3 days in Denver?
There are many ways to spend 3 days in Denver, but we recommend taking time to appreciate the nature, explore the city, and relax.
You can use this 3-day Denver itinerary to plan your trip:
- Day 1: Go sightseeing around the city (Cherry Creek North, Four Mile Historic Park, and Washington Park).
- Day 2: Explore nature on the Loveland Pass or at Red Rocks Park. Then, enjoy your evening in Larimer Square.
- Day 3: Hang out in downtown Denver, then relax at Oakwell Beer Spa.
What to do in Denver in 2 days?
If you only have 2 days in Denver, spend one day exploring the city and nature at various parks, and check out downtown Denver and Oakwell Beer Spa on your second day. This allows you to make the most of your time and appreciate the scenery, local culture, popular attractions, and hidden gems.
Tip: You can rent a scooter or bike through rideshare services for an exciting way to see Denver.
What to do if you have a day in Denver?
The best way to make the most of one day in Denver is by eating and hanging out at and near Union Station, then enjoying a rejuvenating spa day and local craft beer at Oakwell Beer Spa. If you have time in the evening, go to dinner in Uptown Denver.
Denver: What to Do [Final Thoughts]
We love everything Denver, Colorado, has to offer, and we hope this article inspires you to explore the best of the Mile High City.
There are countless attractions you can’t find anywhere else, like Meow Wolf, Oakwell Beer Spa, and Red Rocks.
Ready to plan your next memorable experience in Denver? Book a spa day at Oakwell Beer Spa, an award-winning day spa with beer-inspired spa treatments offering ultimate relaxation.