From the craft beers found throughout the city to the glorious mountains on the horizon, locals and visitors alike love Colorado’s capital city. Maybe you’re looking to get active in one of the city’s 200 parks or spend a night on the town trying out the endless unique restaurants and breweries. No matter how you want to spend your time here, there’s no end to the adventures you can find in the Mile High City. Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should visit Denver the next time you’re planning a vacation.
The Famous Craft Beer
The entire state of Colorado boasts craft beers, and Denver is a shining example of what it has to offer. There are over 50 breweries in the city and even more in the wider metropolitan area. From themed bars to taverns with a view to staples that have been in the city for decades, there’s a perfect brew for any beer lover who visits. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed with choices, either. If you can’t decide where to go, try taking the Denver Beer Trail through the gorgeous (and easily walkable) downtown area to sample some of the featured breweries. You can also plan a trip in the fall to attend The Great American Beer Festival. Here you can find hundreds of breweries displaying thousands of beers, making it the largest beer festival in the country—and one of the best reasons why you should visit Denver.
The Art Scene
There’s no end to the number of art districts, galleries, and museums you can explore in Denver. You can keep it classic and take a trip to the Denver Art Museum, home to world-class art and interactive exhibits. From there, you can visit the rest of Denver’s downtown Golden Triangle Creative District and explore the art studios, specialty stores, and museums. That isn’t the only art district to check out, either. You can zip up north of downtown to the Highlands neighborhood, where you can spend the afternoon browsing the galleries of local artists and taking in the Victorian-era buildings. There’s also the Art District on Santa Fe—a lively cultural hub that boasts over 100 galleries, theaters, restaurants, and more.
The Music Scene
Art goes hand in hand with music, and Denver is lacking in neither. From hip restaurants and bars to exciting shows and venues, you can find live music anywhere you turn in the city. There’s a history of jazz, particularly in historic Five Points. This original jazz neighborhood used to be a stop for legends such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, and today it’s still a soulful center for live music of all genres. For larger-scale performances, visitors can also see a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This breathtaking venue is a natural amphitheater nestled among ancient red rock formations, and it’s hosted some of the biggest music legends over the years.
There’s more to Denver’s museum scene than just art. History buffs will enjoy learning more about the West throughout the city. The History Colorado Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate famous for its immersive exhibits showing visitors all about the history of Colorado and the rest of the American West. Visitors can also explore transportation museums, the house of “the Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. For families with kids, the Children’s Museum of Denver is perfect for visitors age eight and under. Your kids can spend the afternoon playing and learning in a museum designed entirely for them.
The Delicious Eats
Like any classy city, Denver is home to an endless table of flavors. While you’re enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, you’ll also enjoy the delicious smells coming from a vibrant variety of food trucks. Wander over to historic Larimer Square (the oldest block in the city) to visit Denver’s first saloons or feast at the spectacular restaurants (owned by local chefs) that dot the neighborhood. Feast on a classic Colorado steak at Edge Restaurant & Bar or try one of the exotic meats at Barbed Wire Reef. You can also sample an unlimited range of cultural cuisine—from hot and exciting street food to classy plates at fine dining establishments. No matter your tastes, there’s a place in Denver for all foodies.
The Great Outdoors
Denver is a city of adventurers, and it has no problem satisfying the outdoorsy needs of its people. 200 lush and vibrant parks surround the city’s central business district. Denver’s B Cycle bike renting system makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors. You can travel Cherry Creek Trail through downtown or drink in the gorgeous South Platte River from Confluence Park. If you’re looking for picnic areas, playgrounds, or just a little patch of green, you’ll never have to travel too far. Plus, you can enjoy it all, as well as the rest of the city, with a panoramic view of the Rockies in the background.
16th Street Mall
Overflowing with restaurants, shops, and heart, 16th Street Mall is a perfect example of what makes Denver so special. Crossing several city blocks, trees, outdoor cafés, and endless things to do line this gorgeous pedestrian mall. Walk around to see the street performers or take the free shuttle or horse-drawn carriage ride. You can also visit after dark to see the city lit up with nearly a million dazzling lights.
If you want awe-inspiring history and thrilling modern culture in one place, you have to see Union Station. It’s been operating since 1881, but a few years ago it underwent a massive restoration. In July 2014, the city unveiled Denver’s Union Station as a hub of culture and entertainment. Surrounded by fantastic restaurants, bars, and shops, Union Station is the perfect way to welcome visitors into Denver’s downtown area. If you’re looking to splurge, stop by the Cooper Lounge for a unique, hand-mixed cocktail or stay at the luxurious Crawford Hotel. No matter your purpose for coming to Denver, you won’t regret starting your journey from Union Station.
Are you excited yet? Pack your bags, decorate it with a Colorado sticker that’s as vibrant as the city itself, and spend your next vacation having the trip of a lifetime in Denver.