Get the world-class treatment in Denver
May 1, 2017
Denver is an outdoor city filled with urban adventures. The Mile High City is known for its world-class cultural attractions, thriving craft breweries and famous music scene, all within easy reach of the Rocky Mountains.
Situated in the South Platte River Valley, this modern city draws openness from the Great Plains to the east and embraces the spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains to the west. Residents of this mile-high landscape are noted for their sunny dispositions-to match the area's 300 days of sunshine-and can-do attitudes. It's very much a "maker culture," where anything is possible.
Easy access and walkability
Getting to Denver is easy, thanks to the efficient Denver International Airport. From there, it's a short, affordable glide on the airport train to the heart of downtown. But it's also a trip back in time where visitors arrive at Denver Union Station, an opulent and fully restored 1914 Beaux-Arts train station, home to swanky bars, restaurants and a hotel. In wintertime, skiers and snowboarders can take the Winter Park Express train from the station to the mountains for a unique ski in, ski out experience.
Explore the walkable downtown on your own two feet or get your heart pumping by renting a bicycle from Denver B-cycle. Explore numerous nearby cultural attractions. With more than 10,000 hotel rooms in the downtown area, there's plenty to choose from at any price point.
If you really want to discover Denver, delve into its diverse neighborhoods. Street art depicts urban stories all over town, bursting with color on alleyways, garage doors and storefronts. Uptown has a long stretch of cafés, bistros and pubs with outdoor patios near the city's largest greenspace, City Park. The Art District on Santa Fe is a haven for art lovers with more than 60 art galleries and colorful murals, highlighting the neighborhood's Hispanic roots.
The Highlands neighborhood is a great destination for visitors with its Victorian-era homes and buildings; lush gardens and parks; hip independently owned shops; art galleries; and restaurants. The River North Art District (RiNo) is "where art is made," riding a wave of industrial revival with art galleries, brewpubs and restaurants. And in Five Points, the music of jazz legends transcends local clubs. Now it's a fusion of old and new with coffeehouses, craft breweries, museums and beloved barbecue institutions.
Renowned arts and culture
Denver has a burgeoning art scene that is receiving international attention. Here are just a few ways to experience it.
The spectacular Denver Art Museum (DAM) in the Golden Triangle neighborhood is the largest art museum between Kansas City and the West Coast. Designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, DAM is filled with amazing pieces, from classics by Monet, Picasso and Matisse to more modern works by Warhol and O'Keeffe. All in all, the museum contains a collection numbering more than 55,000 works from around the world, including intriguing pieces from Africa and pre-Columbian America.
DAM is also home to a vast collection of American Western art, including the works of Frederic Remington.
Denver's latest art institution, the Clyfford Still Museum, opened in November 2011. Born in 1904, Still was a leading figure in the development of abstract expressionism. The museum houses nearly 2,400 of Still's paintings, drawings and prints, representing most of his lifetime output. Still was honored in September 2016 along with Rothko, Pollock and Willem de Kooning at a special show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
And in Lower Downtown (LoDo), the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA)-designed by another renowned architect, David Adjaye-houses a constantly refreshed set of exhibits. No two visits to MCA Denver are the same.
Beer, wine and spirits
Denver is known for something other than its altitude: beer. With more than 200 craft beers brewed in Denver daily, let the Denver Beer Trail be your guide into a world of pale ales, one-off firkins and daring ingredients, created by a community of passionate artisans. (The Denver Beer Trail is available at tourist information centers and online: denv.co/beertrail)
Tivoli is Colorado's oldest, most historic brewery. It originally opened in 1859 and supplied beer to the gold rush pioneers. Wynkoop Brewing, meanwhile, is a Denver institution, known for innovative brewers who will put just about anything in their beer, including Rocky Mountain oysters, gummy bears and green chilies. It's known as the brewery that brewed a neighborhood because Wynkoop helped catalyze the revitalization of LoDo.
While we're on the subject of drinking, don't miss Balistreri Vineyards, a family-owned winery dedicated to completely natural wines, or Infinite Monkey Theorem, an urban winery that has turned heads by doing the unthinkable, canning its wines! Colorado is also home to more than 16 distilleries making whiskey, rum, brandy, gin and vodka.
Denver is a hub for chef-owned restaurants. Stroll among the Victorian buildings and boutique shops of Larimer Square and take your pick of culinary talent, then be wowed by the offerings from locally sourced products. Whether you're downtown on the 16th Street Mall or looking for a unique spot in Cherry Creek, visitors have a variety of great options to choose from.
Denver has been getting a lot of attention for its latest innovation: gourmet food markets. In the RiNo neighborhood is a "one-stop culinary adventure." Housed in a 14,000-square-foot 1920s-era building, Denver Central Market includes a bodega selling milk, eggs, butter, yogurt and bulk coffee; a meat and cheese shop; a bakery; a full-service fish market; a butcher; and a chocolate shop. There's also a bar, an ice cream shop and a pizzeria in case shopping whets your appetite.
Not far away is The Source, where you'll find just-baked breads, artisan cheese, organic wine, small-batch spirits and fresh-cut flowers.
With Denver's year-round sunny skies, it's hard to stay indoors. City Park is a great place to take a walk and also features one of the most popular zoos in the nation.
The Denver Zoo has about 4,000 animals, representing more than 750 species. The zoo's new Amur tiger habitat, The Edge, brings guests closer than ever to these magnificent felines. Catwalks and bridges spanning just over visitors' heads demonstrate the cats' playfulness and allow them to get exercise. The exhibit also features large pools and is set on the edge of a pine forest, hence the name, to simulate the animals' natural habitat in Russia. The Toyota Elephant Passage, meanwhile, will give you an up-close-and-personal experience with massive Asian elephants.
Just adjacent to the zoo is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, a spectacular museum that explores fossils and dinosaurs, the mysteries of space at Gates Planetarium, Egyptian mummies, larger-than life films at the Phipps IMAX 3D Theater and a slew of interactive exhibits.
Denver Botanic Gardens, meanwhile, is a 24-acre oasis in the city. Its incredible array of plants, flowers and trees encompass diverse landscapes, from the tropics to high mountains. It's the perfect place to take a stroll.
For the history buff, Denver has plenty of fascinating museums and landmarks.
The History Colorado Center features exhibits and programs that tell the stories of Colorado and engage visitors in the past, present and future of the Rocky Mountain West. Enjoy interactive exhibits like a virtual ride in a real Model T, test your skills on a ski-jump simulator or set off dynamite in an 1880s hard-rock mine.
A true Western icon, the late Jack A. Weil, invented the first cowboy shirt with snaps and helped popularize Western wear as legitimate American fashion. Many of the Rockmount designs are worn by movie stars and music legends, all with the signature diamond snaps and sawtooth pockets. The grandson of "Papa Jack" Weil, Steve Weil, continues the tradition today, and the store is located in the heart of downtown.
Located in a 1930s-era former Air Force hangar, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is heaven for the aerospace enthusiast. The museum is home to more than three-dozen historic airplanes and space vehicles, including a massive B-52 Stratofortress, a 1926 Eaglerock "longwing," and even an X-Wing fighter from the Star WarsTM movie fame.
"Anything on wheels" is the Forney Museum of Transportation's motto, and the museum boasts a one-of-a-kind collection of more than 500 exhibits relating to historical transportation. Highlights include "Big Boy," the world's largest steam locomotive, legendary aviator Amelia Earhart's Gold Bug Kissel and a rare 1916 Detroit Electric Opera Coupe, one of the world's first electric cars.
One of the most famous cowboys ever to put on a pair of stirrups, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody epitomized the Old West. The Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave in nearby Golden features exhibits on Buffalo Bill's life, the Wild West shows, Indian artifacts including Sitting Bull's bows and arrows, Western art and firearms.
Famous music scene
On any given night, you'll find talented artists playing a vast array of genres in clubs throughout the metro area. And at the top of every music lover's bucket list is Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Legendary musicians like the Beatles (1964) and U2 (1983) have performed here, and today, the summer concert series from May through October presents the best artists in jazz, rock, pop, bluegrass and more. Seeing a concert under the stars is a magical experience.
Just 15 miles from town, see gorgeous sandstone monoliths that buttress the iconic stage and go for an easy hike on the trails in the surrounding park. While you're at it, take a moment to enjoy sweeping views of the Denver skyline.
Go to http://www.visitdenver.com to learn more about Denver and plan your trip.