Updated: Jul 9
Denver is full of fun and unique things to do. Over the years it's grown in popularity for it's proximity to the mountains and overall appealing atmosphere. Here are the things I recommend doing while you’re in Denver. And of course, I’m here on a budget, so everything is cheap or pretty cheap on my list.
I hadn’t been to Colorado since I was a kid and was shocked by how much fun I had while there. Since this trip, I’ve been back two more times! I spent most of the time exploring on my own in Denver while my sister was at work, so most of this I did solo.
I ate for cheap at food trucks and drank coffee where ever I saw a shop—which is pretty much everywhere. Random stops in Denver for food and coffee did not disappoint! When I visit a city, I sometimes forget to stop and just try things. I’m so glad I was able to do that on this trip.
Want a cheap option for where to stay? Airbnb is definitely the most popular and affordable option in Denver. Get $40 off your first Airbnb using this link!
Pro-tip: Buy a Mile High Culture Pass! I paid $30 for the pass, and it was good for three days. It includes discounts and admission to a bunch of things. It paid for itself after only two museums and actually saved me money with how much I was able to do! Definitely worth it. I got mine right on the Visit Denver website.
Hang Out in RiNo (River North Arts District) — free
This was my favorite neighborhood in Denver! So many interesting spots to stop and explore. There were tons of street art, breweries, and great food. We spent a whole evening here that was tons of fun. Some of the spots we stopped at are below!
Spend some time in this neighborhood exploring the art, beer, and food. It has tons to offer.
Get a beer at Ratio Beer Works (and a taco right out front—yum!).
Walk by art galleries and colorful murals/graffiti.
PS – Aren’t my sister and her husband cute?!
Go to Central Market — get ice cream at Little Man Ice Cream.
It was so good!
Grab a Drink at Denver’s Highest Bar
54thirty is located at the top of Le Méridien Denver Downtown Hotel. You’ll want to get there early to put your name in, go grab dinner, and come back. The view at the top is worth the wait!
Explore City Park — free
It’s pretty much the cutest neighborhood with adorable homes and tons of space to roam. We walked through the community to the park and enjoyed Voodoo Donuts on a bench in the park.
Discover Hidden Gardens in Larimer Square
Larimer Square is a famous spot in Denver and lined with shops and restaurants. However, if you walk down the street, you’ll start to notice little places where you can walk between the buildings and discover some lovely little cafes and gardens! Walk around this area and explore because there are some really adorable spots just waiting to be found.
Visit Lowry Beer Garden
This is a super fun beer garden located in an old airport hanger that has since been converted into lots of really cool restaurants and bars. It’s so unique—where else can you drink in front of huge planes in what used to be an airplane hanger? Next door is the Wings Over the Rockies Museum that is huge, and you can check out, too.
Voodoo Donut — $3-4 a donut
This place is famous for its unique donuts in so many different, delicious flavors. They make a ton of vegan ones, too! I got the Voodoo donut (jelly-filled) and a maple bacon donut, which was amazing. Yes, I ate two donuts for breakfast, don’t judge. They’re that good!
Explore Downtown — free
Denver has a bustling downtown! There are outdoor markets, food trucks, and a free bus that take you all through downtown, making it easy to explore. I walked through the Capital and many other important buildings for Colorado with a lot of history and information to explore. Many museums are located right nearby as well.
Denver Art Museum — $13 or included in Denver Culture pass
This is an incredible art museum. For one, it’s enormous! It also has a ton of Western and Native American art, which is different from many museums we have on the East Coast. I spent almost three hours here exploring.
Clyfford Still Museum — $10 or included with pass
I had a little extra time, so I decided to explore this museum. It was included in my pass and definitely worth a stop in. Abstract expressionist, Clyfford Still, believed an artist’s work should be displayed all together in one place, so this museum was created to hold the entirety of his life’s work. There was some beautiful art, and it was a quick place to look through.
Union Station — free
This was a super unique spot in downtown Denver! We had fun looking through the shops, trying the food, and walking around. Get a coffee from Pigtrain Coffee! I got a delicious nitro cold brew from this spot that I loved.
Botanical Gardens — $12.50 or included in pass
Seriously one of my favorite parts of my Denver trip! It was beautiful there and huge. I spent two hours exploring the different indoor and outdoor gardens. The cafe, hidden waterfalls, and sculptures were so fun to explore, and the perfect way to relax. I recommend spending some time to just wander here because each section is so different. Be prepared to walk and take time to stop at one of the three cafes with the heat and size of this place.
Rocky Mountain National Park is about 1 1/2 hours from Denver and a stunning place for a day trip from Denver. There are amazing hikes, vistas of mountains, and wildlife to see. Two areas to consider for a day trip are Grand Lake or Trail Ridge Road.
I loved visiting Denver, and I’m sure you will, too. If you’ve been to Denver, I’d love to hear about your favorite things to do, too. Comment below!