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Denver is one of the most unique cities in the USA and is full of things to see and do.
The mile-high city is known for its gorgeous mountain scenery, bustling sports culture, fantastic museums, and much more.
There’s plenty to see and do on a weekend trip to Denver, no matter your taste and style.
If you’re planning a weekend trip to the Mile High City, here are some ideas on how to make the most of your time.
Why visit Denver?
Denver maintains an air of the unknown; Most visitors only see them on their way to or from the world’s legendary ski resorts Colorado Rocky Mountains -If they see it at all.
It doesn’t have the robust tourism industry of some other American cities, but it is a city that holds new surprises waiting to be discovered by the intrepid traveler.
First and foremost, Denver is an active city. It is consistently ranked at the top “The healthiest city.”Lists It is the capital of the least obese state in the United States.
Denver residents love the outdoors and benefit from abundant sunshine and access to world-class hiking trails, biking, canoeing, rock climbing, and skiing in their own backyard.
Not to mention, it’s one of the highest cities in North America, at 1,600 meters above sea level (now you know why it’s called the Mile High City!).
Denver is an adventure-seeking city, and the best way to experience Denver is outside—running the trails, biking the trails, or kayaking the rapids that run through the middle of downtown.
Weekend trip to denver itinerary
Below you’ll find a suggested itinerary for a weekend trip in Denver. You can switch it according to your taste and travel plans.
Start your day with a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. This beautiful oasis located in the heart of the city includes more than 50 gardens spread over 24 acres.
Take a leisurely stroll through the grounds and admire the different plants on display.
After lunch, head to the Denver Art Museum. This world-famous museum has an amazing collection of more than 70,000 works of art from around the world.
Be sure to check out the Western Art Collection, which contains pieces highlighting the history and culture of the American West.
End your first day in Denver with a visit to Red Rocks Amphitheater. This world-famous outdoor venue is known for its natural acoustics and stunning atmosphere.
If you’re lucky enough to catch a concert while you’re in town, you’re in for a treat. If not, just taking in the views is an experience in itself.
the second day
On the second day, start your day with a trip to the Denver Zoo. This 80-acre zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals from around the world. Highlights include the Predator Ridge exhibit, Primate Panorama, and the Tropical Discovery exhibit.
After lunch, head to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This fascinating museum has a variety of exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to space exploration. Make sure to visit the planetarium and IMAX theater while you’re there.
End your weekend in Denver with a visit to Larimer Square. This historic block of Victorian buildings is home to some of the city’s best shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Take a stroll down the street and enjoy the atmosphere.
If you have more time…
If the attractions on your weekend itinerary above don’t suit you, or if you have more time at your disposal, you might want to visit some of these places…
- Reno (River North Arts District) – A vibrant area known for its street murals and contemporary art galleries. If you are an art lover, be sure to walk around this neighborhood. You can also pop into Denver Central Market, grab some picnic items, and head to City Park for a picnic.
- Colorado State Capitol Building – There are free guided tours on weekdays, so if you’re planning your weekend as a mid-week trip, consider taking a free tour of the building.
- Union Station – Well, you might think it’s just a station, but it’s one of the most beautiful train stations I’ve seen. If you’re flying into downtown Denver from the airport, you’ll likely find your way here anyway.
- 16th Street Mall – This is a mile-long pedestrianized shopping street, and is a great place to do some shopping. If you are looking for fun weekend shopping, this is the place for you.
- Rocky Mountain National Park – This is the most popular day trip from Denver but takes a full day. There are plenty of hiking trails and monuments to see, so give it a full day.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park – Home to the tallest sand dunes in North America. It’s a good 3-hour drive each way, so again, you’ll need to plan a full day to visit here.
- Pikes Peak and Gardens of the Gods These two attractive areas showcase the beautiful mountainous nature around Denver but are only an hour’s drive from the city. If you’re planning a road trip to Denver from Colorado Springs, this is something you can stop by and see on the road.
- Colorado Springs -It’s famous for its hot springs, although I personally think Colorado Springs is a destination worth a weekend trip in itself.
- Keystone -This is a unique place. It’s an unincorporated community that’s also home to the most ski terrain in Colorado, so if you’re planning a winter trip, you may want to consider visiting Keystone then.
Where to eat in denver
I’ll be the first to admit that Denver is not a food city; Food is simply not one of the city’s strong points. But there’s still plenty of unique Denver cuisine to try and restaurants to visit.
Mexican food and wild game are local specialties, with green chiles a staple in Denver.
Rocky Mountain oysters (fried bull testicles) are a regional delicacy, though we usually just order them for our out-of-town guests to watch them shrivel.
- Tokapi – An American Indian restaurant specializing in fried tacos served with shredded bison. Topped with hominy salsa and corn, these tacos are unlike anything else.
- Little man ice cream – This is the best place to buy some homemade ice cream. It’s open until midnight, so don’t feel like this is just a daytime thing.
- Cherry cricket – A historic dive/burger bar that represents the only blue-collar joint in the tony Cherry Creek neighborhood. It’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike and serves some of the best green chili cheeseburgers in town.
- Biker Jim – Biker Jim’s, a restaurant-turned-food truck, serves up the best hot dogs in town. Meats such as pheasant, bison, reindeer, wild boar, and rattlesnake are seasoned and stuffed into sausages before being topped with cream cheese and onions caramelized in Coca-Cola.
- Santiago – This ubiquitous Denver-based Mexican chain is a staple for city residents. The food is authentic, the prices are cheap, and the green chiles are spicy — just the way Denver locals like them.
- Buckhorn Stock Exchange – Denver’s oldest restaurant proudly displays liquor license #0001. Buckhorn Exchange specializes in wild game including ostrich, yak, elk, quail, bison and alligator. The walls are covered in old western memorabilia and stuffed animal heads from around the world.
Where to drink in denver
Denver is a beer city. It is consistently ranked as one of the best beer cities in the country and hosts the Great American Beer Festival.
Even the former mayor (and current Colorado governor) is a former bar operator. For this reason, there are a lot of great places to drink beer in Denver.
- Whincup Brewing – Denver’s first brewpub, founded by current Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Wynkoop offers great beers and a great atmosphere in an old brick warehouse in the heart of the Lodo neighborhood.
- Great Divide – One of Denver’s oldest and largest breweries located right downtown. Tours and tasting rooms are offered every day of the week.
- Williams and Graham -Denver’s newest bar offers a discreet Prohibition-style drinking establishment (you enter through a faux bookshelf door). Elegant cocktails are served the old-fashioned way with hand-cut ice and skill from some of Denver’s best bartenders.
Best area for a night on the town in Denver
officially It is a popular place for the young and young at heart. Bars like Sports column, barand Jackson pack their rooftop patios after Colorado Rockies baseball games while locals and visitors alike fill the upscale clubs and restaurants that line the facades of Blake and Market streets.
While LoDo has the largest number of bars, restaurants, and clubs, each neighborhood has its own strip mall giving visitors a great way to get a taste of local life in Denver.
Highland Square, Pearl Street, Colfax Avenue, Lohi, and South Broadway provide a refreshing local alternative nightlife scene.
Where to stay in Denver
The brown palace – An elegant and historic hotel in the heart of the city centre. It has hosted presidents, royalty and pop icons. For those like me who can’t afford the elegant prices that come with it, visiting the afternoon tea party in the lounge is a suitable alternative.
Curtis – An affordable hotel offering a unique and quirky alternative to the upscale class of The Brown Palace. Each floor is characterized by a unique popular cultural character (I think one of a kind, science fiction, etc.) which is transferred to all rooms.
Crawford Hotel – A beautiful four-star hotel ideally located in the heart of Denver’s central business district. It is stylish and modern, and mainly caters to couples in large groups. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re planning a romantic weekend in Denver.
For more places to stay in Denver, choose from the largest selection of hotels, apartments and guest houses With our partner Booking.com. You get free cancellation for most rooms, and in most cases you only pay for your stay.
Shopping in Denver
Larimer Square It is a unique Victorian-era street that offers shopping and dining in Lodo. Just a few blocks away it sits Rockmount Ranchwareproviding a unique shopping experience.
Rockmount introduced the first Western-style snap-button shirts and remains a leading supplier of statement apparel to clients in Hollywood and around the world.
Located just down the street from Rockmount Ranchwear Torn cover library. Housed in an old warehouse, the independent bookstore is one of the largest of its kind.
It’s an incredibly cute shop with old wood floors, exposed brick, plenty of comfy chairs and hidden nooks for you to settle in with a good book.
Best time of year to visit Denver
Late summer in Denver is amazing. In early September, the city is still full of summer as residents flock to outdoor cafes, rooftop patios and parks in the largest public park system in the United States.
But just a short drive away, the mountains were beginning to show signs of fall. This is the time when the aspen leaves sparkle with vibrant golden colors, illuminating the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Visiting in late summer provides visitors with the best of summer And Autumn in Colorado.
Getting to and around Denver
Denver is incredibly isolated – the closest major cities are Phoenix and Dallas which are over 14 hours away by car.
Fortunately, Denver has one of the largest and busiest airports in the United States. Three major airlines use Denver International Airport as a hub – united, borderAnd Southwest. This competition helps keep prices in and out of Denver relatively cheap.
When it comes to getting around, Denver has an extensive bus system and an expansive light rail and rail network, but the most fun form of public transportation is by bike, which you can get from Denver Community Bicycles.
Denver was the first city in the United States to achieve sustained success with the bicycle as a widespread means of public transportation, and bike-share stations have been popping up all over the city ever since.
For just a few dollars, guests can pick up a bicycle at one check-out station and ride it around the city before checking back in at another station.
You can also get an Uber from place to place, although this is more expensive.
Final thoughts on our 2-day Denver itinerary
I love Denver because it’s an adventure-seeking city.
Work comes second to play, as residents take time off work to hit the slopes on exceptionally good snow days, pack their backpacks for extended camping trips, or strive to summit each of Colorado’s 53 14,000 mountains. ft (4260 metres).
Denver offers the best of both worlds with all the amenities of a big city and the Rocky Mountains as its backyard.
I hope this guide gives you some inspiration on how to plan your weekend getaway in Denver!
Do you have any tips on what to do in Denver? Please share in the comments.