Denver is known as the Mile High City because it's located in the Rocky Mountains, roughly one mile above sea level. Once a hub for those skiing and climbing in the nearby mountains, the city has become a big tourist draw in and of itself. While it's still a great place to warm up between ski trips, Denver is also home to a blossoming foodie scene and chock-full of historic districts, unique shopping, impressive public art, and some of the best microbreweries in the country.
You've never been to an amusement park quite like this. Located on a gorgeous Lake Rhoda and offering spectacular views of downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains, Lakeside Amusement Park is a choice destination for family fun. This historic park has been in business since 1908 and features a wide range of attractions to satisfy thrill-seekers of all ages, including coasters, bumper boats, and even a playland for the little ones.
Union Station is located in Denver's Lower Downtown neighborhood. It was opened to the public in 1881, survived a fire in 1894, and redeveloped to its current architecture in 1917. Since then, Union Station has become much more than a public transportation hub. While you can still hop on an Amtrak train or grab a bus here, it's now a premier center for hip and trendy dining and shopping. Tours are available if you're interested in learning more about the history of the space, or just stop in during happy hour and find a seat for some of the best people-watching in the city.
The U.S. Mint in Denver has been operating since 1863 and still produces up to 50 million coins every day. Free tours can be arranged in advance and its prime location downtown near the Denver Art Museum makes it the perfect stop when you're out and about exploring. The coin-making process is, in a word, fascinating. You get to see everything that goes into making a coin, from the sculpting and design to the giant machines that produce them.
City Park is the largest park in Denver and there's so much to do, you could easily spend a whole day exploring the area. The centerpiece of the park is Ferril Lake; it features a boathouse where you can rent paddleboats, some with fun animal shapes like ducks and pelicans. In the middle of it is Prismatic Fountain, which was originally built in 1908 but was updated to put on a light show that changes every hour. City Park is also home to some of the hottest tourist attractions in the city—the Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science.
If you're in the mood for some serious shopping or just want to find a good spot to people-watch, the 16th Street Mall is the place to be. This is Denver's upscale shopping district and is considered to be the city's version of Rodeo Drive. This mile-long stretch in the LoDo district is lined with shops, restaurants, and sometimes street performers. Local musicians, comedians, and dancers regularly perform here, hoping to catch their big break.
The Denver craft beer scene is so impressive, going to one brewery just won't do. Luckily, there are tours available so you can get the full experience. Take an Aspire Tours through the hip River North Art District, or hop on an eTuck for a premium experience in RiNo featuring behind the scenes tours, tastings, and treats. Tours are also available in LoDo, Lower Highland, Sunnyside, and more. Self-guided walking tours are easy to do, too, hitting downtown faves like Wynkoop Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver Beer Company, and many more.
When looking at the Denver skyline, you won't be able to miss the neoclassical golden-dome of the Colorado State Capitol building. Free tours are available during the week and include the historical parts of the building, and the House and Senate chambers. A really cool thing to see when you're here is the marker on the 13th step—the spot that is exactly one mile above sea level, truly making Denver the Mile High City.
The Dairy Block is one of the most unique places in Denver, especially if you like fine dining and small-batch, artisanal goods. This is a small micro-district in LoDo that's home to restaurants, hotels, shops, and galleries. Hungry? There are whiskey and cocktail bars, coffee shops, creameries, and pizza joints. In the mood to shop? You'll find handmade jewelry, makeup and skincare, clothing boutiques, menswear, floral studios, and more.
Civic Center Park is the ideal destination for relaxing and leisurely taking in the outdoors. Located on 14th Avenue, this park features large open lawns with broad walkways meandering through fountains and flower gardens. This is a popular spot for warm-weather festivals and events; it's also a great place to spread out a blanket and relax with a book and a picnic lunch. Don't miss the Chinese Zodiac statues—the 12 bronze animal heads mounted on poles are one of the park's coolest attractions.
One of the best ways to see the city is a public art tour. In addition to countless photo ops, you also get to see bridges, streets, and buildings all over Denver. Free walking and biking tours are available in the summer, each focusing on a small segment of town. There are about 350 pieces of art including small statues, murals, and large-scale installations. Depending on which area you visit, you also get to stop in some of the most popular places in the city, like the Convention Center, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, and Civic Center Park.