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10 Ways to Spend the Weekend in Denver

Denver has got it all, from a rich cultural scene, including museums, art galleries, and live music venues to outdoor recreation in urban green spaces and the Rocky Mountain National Park. The Mile High City and cannabis are synonymous at this point, and this edginess spills over into creative endeavors. Savor sophisticated plates and diverse cuisines and feast your eyes on the architecture and historical landmarks. A weekend itinerary in Denver can cater to your every whim.

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01 Discovering Denver's heart: The downtown experience

downtown denver

The 1.25-mile-long 16th Street pedestrian mall in the heart of downtown Denver is good for shopping, people-watching, entertainment, and dining, with 40-plus outdoor cafes. At night, the lights in the trees twinkle charmingly, and you can enlist the services of a horse-drawn carriage to sprinkle a bit more fairytale dust on the occasion. A free shuttle stops at every intersection, and you'll find public pianos where anyone can sit and play—skilled pianists often take the instruments through their paces. FYI, the promenade looks like a rattlesnake from above, so look out for that. Also, the number of homeless people has grown after the COVID-19 pandemic, so you may encounter some panhandling.

Denver Union Station is a historical landmark and transport hub home to the Crawford Hotel, bougie restaurants, a few boutiques, and a weekly Farmers' Market. Stroll through Civic Center Park in the summer for the flower beds, public art, and early 20th-century architecture.

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02 A taste of Denver: Culinary adventures

From RiNo to LoDo, the Mile High City's culinary scene is, well, elevated. Cosmopolitan eating options abound and promise to take your palate around the world. There's food to suit every budget and farm-to-table offerings that honor the region's extensive agriculture. Try the ice cream at Right Cream, the JCB burger at My Brother's Bar, and pretty much everything at Annette's. Old favs like the Wynkoop Brewing Company still offer pub grub and bar games.

03 Art and culture: Denver's creative soul

downtown denver museum

The Denver Art Museum is a must-visit for art lovers, with an extensive permanent collection including American Indian and Western art and fascinating temporary exhibits. Over 70,000 works from different eras and countries populate this impressive museum, and you'll find pieces by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, and other luminaries. The Denver Performing Arts Complex is one of the largest in the country, so you're sorted when it comes to the theatre. The city is also known for its murals and graffiti, particularly in the River North (RiNo) Art District and in East Colfax, where the live music scene buzzes.

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04 Breathe in nature: Parks and gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens

Unwind at Denver Botanic Gardens, where summer concerts will get you moving, and Christmas lights and delicious hot chocolate warm up winter nights. Look out for the Chihuly glass sculpture in the rose garden. Other notable green spaces include City Park, with its public golf course and skyline views, Washington Park, with its lakes and extensive outdoor recreation options, and Confluence Park for kayaking.

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05 Historical landmarks: A journey through time

Larimer Square

Denver is a relatively new city, but it nods to the past. Remember the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" from the Titanic movie? Margaret Brown was a philanthropist who survived the tragedy. She lived in a Victorian mansion in Denver, and you can learn all about her life at her former home. Larimer Square is the city's oldest block, where you can see the Miller Building, the site of a famous speakeasy. The building was renovated in the 1960s. The Four Mile House Museum at Four Mile Historic Park is Denver's oldest standing structure.

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06 Evening entertainment: Denver after dark

Puttshack offers mini golf for grown-ups, and you can play until 1 a.m. on the weekends. Immersive Gamebox is a fun high-tech experience for groups. Check out the roster at Comedy Works for standup comedy, dance the night away at Club Vinyl, or attend a Broncos game. Head for the Chamberlin Observatory to stargaze and escape the hustle and bustle.

07 Day trips from Denver: Exploring beyond

red rock park amphitheatre

Of course, you can't plan a Denver trip without seeing what's on at the iconic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. We promise this is bucket list stuff, and you should go regardless of who's playing. You can also hike at Red Rocks. Boulder is just over half an hour away and well worth the trip. An e-bike tour is a great way to discover the city.

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08 Shopping in the Mile-High City

Denver dairy block

Skip the chains and browse local gems like Dairy Block, where originality and craftsmanship are the order of the day. Tatted Cover Bookstore is a Denver institution and has you covered for new and used reads. You'll find upscale indie boutiques like Bloom by Anuschka at Cherry Creek North (not the same place as Cherry Creek Mall). South Broadway, or SoBo, has boho vibes. Grab some candy from Hammond's for gifts, inspect the backpacks at Topo Designs, or the stones at Denver Crystals and Gems for a memorable souvenir from the Rockies.

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09 Denver's coffee and craft beer scene

coffee

Denver baristas know what they're doing, and the coffee culture in the city is top-notch. You won't go wrong at Novo Coffee, Crema Coffee House, or Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters. Try Denver's own Commonwealth Coffee at a chic spot like Amethyst in SoBo, or support women-owned enterprises at Copper Door Coffee in the Santa Fe Arts District. Denver's craft beer scene is second to none too.

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10 Relax and recharge: Wellness in Denver

people doing yoga outside

The mere thought of a Colorado getaway can melt stress away, but if you're looking for something a little more tangible, Denver shall provide. Find pain relief or practice tai chi at Dynamic Balance, discover the healing powers of salt at Five Star Salt Caves Wellness Center, or get a tailored massage at White Lotus Therapeutics. Look out for yoga events at the city's parks.

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