Denver Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Denver with our helpful guide, including a list of places to visit, hiking/biking routes, best tours and activities, food scene, where to stay, and more.

Introduction to Denver

Denver, also known as the Mile High City, is the capital of Colorado in the United States of America. Located in the Rocky Mountains, Denver is known for its breathtaking natural scenery, outdoor adventure opportunities, and vibrant arts and culture scene. Whether you’re a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast, or a history buff, Denver has something to offer for everyone.

List of Places to Visit in Denver

Here’s a list of must-visit destinations in Denver, divided by cultural and natural attractions:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Denver Art Museum: one of the largest art museums between the West Coast and Chicago, featuring over 70,000 works of art from around the world.
  • Colorado State Capitol: a beautiful neoclassical building that houses Colorado’s legislative and executive branches, and is also home to some of the state’s most important artifacts and artworks.
  • Molly Brown House Museum: the famous Titanic survivor’s former residence, now a museum dedicated to her life and times, as well as the socio-cultural history of Denver and Colorado.

Natural Attractions of Denver: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: just 90 minutes from Denver, this beautiful park is home to stunning mountains, lakes, wildlife, and hiking trails that are sure to take your breath away.
  • Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre: an iconic natural amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, just outside Denver. The park features hiking trails, a visitor center, and a museum dedicated to the history of the venue.
  • Mount Evans Scenic Byway: a breathtaking scenic drive that takes you to the top of Mount Evans, the highest paved road in North America. The summit offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Denver

Denver is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. Here are some of the most popular routes:

  • Cherry Creek Trail: a 42-mile trail that runs through the heart of Denver, along the Cherry Creek, and through several parks, neighborhoods, and commercial areas.
  • Mount Falcon Park: a beautiful park near Morrison, Colorado, with several hiking and biking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and plains.
  • South Platte Trail: a 17-mile trail that runs along the South Platte River, from Denver to Littleton, Colorado. The trail offers easy access to several parks, golf courses, and natural attractions along the way.

Best Things to Do in Denver: Activities and Tours

Denver has a wide range of activities and tours that cater to different interests and preferences. Here are some of the best things to do in Denver:

  • Denver Brewery Tour: explore Denver’s vibrant craft beer scene with a guided tour of some of the city’s best breweries and taprooms.
  • Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides: take a scenic hot air balloon ride over Colorado’s stunning landscapes, including the mountains, plains, and lakes.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens: a beautiful garden complex that features several themed gardens, a conservatory, and a summer concert series.

Week-Long Itinerary for Denver

If you’re planning a week-long trip to Denver, here’s a sample itinerary that covers some of the city’s top attractions and activities:

Day 1: Visit the Colorado State Capitol, Denver Art Museum, and Molly Brown House Museum. Day 2: Hike Mount Falcon Park or bike along the Cherry Creek Trail, and take a Denver Brewery Tour in the evening. Day 3: Visit Rocky Mountain National Park and spend the day hiking and exploring. Day 4: Take a Colorado Hot Air Balloon Ride in the morning, and visit Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in the afternoon. Day 5: Go whitewater rafting or kayaking on the Arkansas River, near Buena Vista, Colorado, about 2 hours from Denver. Day 6: Spend the day at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds. Day 7: Take a day trip to the historic mining town of Leadville, Colorado, about 2 hours from Denver, and take a guided tour of the town and its attractions.

Food and Drink Scene of Denver

Denver’s food and drink scene is diverse and delicious, with a wide range of local and international cuisines to choose from. Here are some must-try dishes and drinks:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Rocky Mountain Oysters: a local delicacy of deep-fried bull or bison testicles, served as an appetizer or snack.
  • Green Chile: a spicy sauce made with green chile peppers, pork, and other ingredients, and used as a topping or dip for several local dishes.
  • Denver-style Pizza: a thin-crust pizza with a chewy crust, and toppings like green chile, mushrooms, and pepperoni.

Local Beverages

  • Colorado Craft Beer: Denver has over 100 craft breweries, offering a wide variety of beers, from IPAs to stouts to sours.
  • Rocky Mountain Wine: Colorado has a growing wine industry, with several wineries in and around Denver, offering unique varietals and blends.
  • Palisade Peaches: Colorado is known for its sweet and juicy peaches, grown in the town of Palisade, about 4 hours from Denver.

Where to Stay in Denver: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Denver has a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some of the best places to stay in Denver:

  • The Brown Palace Hotel: a historic and luxurious hotel in downtown Denver, known for its elegant architecture and service.
  • The Curtis Hotel: a quirky and fun boutique hotel in downtown Denver, with themed rooms and amenities.
  • Hostelling International Denver: a friendly and affordable hostel in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, with private and shared rooms.

What to Buy in Denver: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking for unique and local souvenirs to bring home from Denver, here are some ideas:

  • Art and Crafts: Denver has a thriving arts and crafts scene, with several galleries and shops offering handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings, and other items.
  • Local Foods and Beverages: Colorado is known for its local and artisanal food and drink products, from honey and jam to wine and beer.
  • Outdoor Gear: Denver is a gateway to the Rocky Mountains, and many shops in the city offer high-quality outdoor gear and equipment for hiking, camping, and other activities.

Local Culture and Customs of Denver

Denver is a friendly and welcoming city, with a laid-back and outdoorsy culture. Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting Denver:

  • Respect for Nature: Denverites are proud of their natural surroundings, and place a high value on environmental conservation and sustainable practices.
  • Casual Dress: Denver is a casual city, and you’ll see many locals wearing jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers, even in upscale settings.
  • Tipping Etiquette: Tipping is expected in Denver, with 15-20% being the standard for restaurants, bars, and other service industries.

Best Time to Visit Denver

Denver has a four-season climate, with a mild to hot summer and a cold to mild winter. The best time to visit Denver depends on your interests and preferences. Here are some things to consider when planning your trip:

  • Summer (June-August): the peak tourist season, with warm weather, outdoor events and festivals, and crowded attractions.
  • Fall (September-November): a beautiful time to visit Denver, with cooler temperatures, fall foliage, and fewer crowds.
  • Winter (December-February): a great time for winter sports enthusiasts, with several ski resorts nearby, but also colder temperatures and occasional snowstorms.
  • Spring (March-May): a shoulder season, with variable weather and fewer tourists, but also the possibility of spring snowstorms.

Do’s and Don’ts of Denver


  • Do try local foods and drinks, especially craft beer and green chile.
  • Do explore Denver’s natural surroundings, including the mountains and parks.
  • Do appreciate Denver’s cultural and historical attractions, including museums and galleries.


  • Don’t disrespect the environment or litter in parks and natural areas.
  • Don’t assume that Denver is like other cities, as it has its own unique culture and vibe.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask locals for recommendations or advice, as they are usually happy to help.

Safety and Health

Safety in Denver

Denver is a relatively safe city, with a low crime rate and a friendly and helpful police force. However, like any city, Denver has some safety risks that tourists should be aware of, such as:

  • Altitude Sickness: Denver’s high altitude can cause headaches, dehydration, and other symptoms for some people, especially those who are not used to it. It’s recommended to drink plenty of water and take it easy for the first few days.
  • Street Crime: Denver has some areas that are known for street crime, such as the Colfax corridor and certain parks at night. It’s recommended to stay in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Weather Conditions: Denver can experience extreme weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and blizzards, especially during the summer and winter months. It’s recommended to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.

Health in Denver

Denver has a high-quality healthcare system and several hospitals and clinics, including emergency care facilities. However, healthcare in the United States can be expensive, especially for non-residents. It’s recommended to have travel insurance and to bring any necessary medications with you.

Getting to Denver: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Denver

  • Denver International Airport: the main airport in Denver, located about 25 miles northeast of downtown. It’s one of the busiest airports in the United States, with several domestic and international airlines serving it.
  • Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport: a smaller airport in Broomfield, Colorado, about 20 miles northwest of downtown Denver. It’s primarily used for general aviation and private planes.

Bus Stations Near Denver

  • Greyhound Bus Station: located in downtown Denver, and serves several destinations across the United States.
  • Union Station: a historic train station in downtown Denver, also serves as a bus terminal for several regional and national bus companies.

Other Options

  • Car Rentals: several car rental companies offer rentals from Denver International Airport and other locations in the city.
  • Taxis and Ride-Sharing: several taxi and ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, operate in Denver and the surrounding areas.
  • Public Transportation: Denver has a comprehensive public transportation system, including buses, light rail, and commuter trains, operated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD).

How to Get Around in Denver

Denver is a walkable city, with many attractions, restaurants, and shops located within walking distance of each other. However, if you need to travel farther, here are some transportation options:

  • Public Transportation: Denver has an affordable and efficient public transportation system, operated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), which includes buses, light rail, and commuter trains.
  • Taxis and Ride-Sharing: several taxi and ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, operate in Denver and the surrounding areas.
  • Biking: Denver has an extensive network of bike lanes and trails, and several bike rental companies offer rentals by the hour or day.
  • Car Rentals: several car rental companies offer rentals from Denver International Airport and other locations in the city.

Where to Go Next from Denver: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Denver is a great starting point for exploring other destinations and excursions in Colorado and beyond. Here are some ideas:

  • Boulder: a college town near Denver, known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, charming downtown, and cultural events.
  • Colorado Springs: a city south of Denver, known for its natural attractions, such as Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, as well as its military history.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: one of the most popular national parks in the United States, located about 90 minutes from Denver, and offering stunning natural beauty and wildlife.


Denver is a city that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, and delicious food and drink. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned veteran, there’s always something new to discover in Denver. Plan your trip wisely, and enjoy all that the Mile High City has to offer!