Top 12 Attractions in Denver

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nicknamed the Mile High City for its exact elevation of 5,280 feet, Denver stands out as a thriving cultural hub blending rugged Rocky Mountain charm with modern urban amenities. Visitors to Colorado’s capital city encounter a pleasant laidback vibe through local craft breweries, vibrant public markets and outdoor cafes perfect for absorbing idyllic sunny days. Beyond classic tourist sites like the golden-domed State Capitol Building and swinging Riverfront Park pedestrian bridges, Denver also showcases intriguing history museums, an exploding arts scene and professional sports electrifying downtown.

AttractionDescription
Red Rocks Park and AmphitheatreAn iconic music venue set among dramatic sandstone formations, offering concerts and events with stunning natural backdrops.
Denver Botanic GardensA 24-acre garden showcasing diverse plant collections, themed gardens, and conservation efforts.
Denver Museum of Nature & ScienceA museum with extensive scientific collections, including dinosaur bones, Egyptian mummies, and a planetarium.
Denver Art MuseumHouses global art collections in an architecturally significant building, offering a wide range of artistic eras and styles.
Coors FieldThe home stadium of the Colorado Rockies, offering baseball games and entertainment.
Union Station DenverA historic rail station turned into a bustling hub with restaurants, shops, and entertainment.
Larimer SquareDenver’s historic district, offering shopping, dining, and a glimpse into the city’s past.
Molly Brown House MuseumA museum dedicated to the life of Titanic survivor Molly Brown, highlighting her contributions to society and activism.
Tattered Cover Book StoreA beloved local bookstore known for its extensive collection and cozy atmosphere.
Downtown AquariumAn aquarium featuring a wide variety of sea life, interactive exhibits, and dining options.

Yet residing so close to nature, Denver’s most memorable experiences connect to area landscapes boasting close mountain trails, rambling parks and winding waterways tucked around bustling neighborhoods. Locals embrace the easy access allowing winter ski sessions before work or hitting stand up paddle boards out on reservoirs just minutes from happy hour meetups by the office.

For travelers seeking exciting blends of urban experiences alongside natural beauty during Rocky Mountain escapes, Denver delivers big as a regional hub filled bucket list attractions catering to all interests. Use this hometown guide outlining the top sites and activities visitors shouldn’t miss to uncover Mile High magic.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

Name and Location: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a rock structure near Morrison, Colorado. It is located 10 miles west of Denver off Highway 93.

History and Significance: Red Rocks Park was once home to the Ute tribe before it was taken over by the United States in the 1800s. The natural amphitheater was formalized into a venue in 1906 when famed director John Edward Walker visualized its potential. It has since hosted countless musical events and is renowned for its acoustics.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the Visitor Center and Colorado Music Hall of Fame museum. The main attraction is attending a concert in the awe-inspiring geological amphitheater formation when in season.

Visitor Information: The park is open year-round from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Various facilities like the Visitor Center and Trading Post have separate open hours.

As an unforgettable open-air music venue immersed within dramatic sandstone formations just beyond Denver city limits, Red Rocks Park draws thousands for concerts and events within the otherworldly landscape. The natural erosional rock fortress with towering monoliths flanking steep rows of seats feels like an ancient ceremonial site used by indigenous cultures for ages to channel energy summoned from surrounding heights.

Since formally opening as a performance space in 1941, icons like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder famously graced the elevated stage framed by sculpted geological masterpieces. The Visitor Center Red Rocks Park tells stories highlighting the park’s unique geology and event timeline with exhibits trailing down alongside dinosaur tracks and native cultural history. Hiking trails weave tinbetween enormous boulders and rock formations revealing striking vistas around every turn with opportunities to burn muscle marching hundreds of uneven stairs slicing through the amphitheater seating section if feeling inspired.

With unobstructed sunsets casting the sandstone arena in flaming brilliance during certain shows, Red Rocks Park offers unforgettable evenings witnessing chart-topping favorites amplified by nature’s acoustic perfection. The exposed rows mean summer nights stay pleasant but do come prepared with layers during spring and fall events when winds whip excitement even higher.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Name and Location: Denver Botanic Gardens is located at 1007 York Street, Denver, Colorado.

History and Significance: Founded in 1951, Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the top botanic gardens in the United States. It features tens of diverse gardens over 24 acres and provides education programs.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy various themed gardens like a Japanese garden, rose gardens and a tropical conservatory. Various events and classes are also held.

Visitor Information: The gardens are open year-round with varying hours. An admission fee is charged.

Sprawling across 24 acres just outside downtown, Denver Botanic Garden’s diverse themed spaces present vivid botanical displays blooming in meticulous layers. Themed zones stretch through inspiring gems like the towering Water Smart Xeriscape demonstration nurturing cacti and native plants on minimal moisture alongside the relaxing Japanese Garden crafted around koi ponds and sculpted pines. Seasonal bulbs burst constantly with vibrant lilies, daffodils, or rugged high altitude wildflowers.

For an intimate plant workshop, the Well-Being Gardens focus expressly on heritage medicinal varieties and healing properties found within everyday petals and stems. Nearby, the Mordecai Children’s Garden gives kids room to connect with nature through veggie plots, bug exploration and mounted binoculars surveying the grounds. Beyond the Central Gardens, additional sites conserve endangered species native to Colorado or desert regions worldwide within carefully calibrated greenhouses open for public viewing.

Don’t miss special events like summer conservatory nights when the towering glasshouses remain lit extended hours or the dazzling Blossoms of Lights holiday festival swirling nearly a million twinkling bulbs reflecting winter magic. Whenever visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens, nature’s splendor springs to life through vibrant color and texture.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Name and Location: Denver Museum of Nature & Science is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, Colorado.

History and Significance: Founded in 1900, it is one of the largest museums in the region focused on natural history and anthropology. The museum has notable paleontology, zoology and space science exhibits.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore exhibits detailing subjects like dinosaurs, gems, ancient cultures and space discovery. An IMAX theater, planetarium and various programs are also offered.

Visitor Information: The museum is open 7 days a week with varying hours. Ticket pricing varies by age and package.

With one of America’s most extensive scientific collections containing over a million objects, the huge Denver Museum of Nature & Science entertains minds of all ages through galleries filled with dinosaur bones, Egyptian mummies, glittering gems and even a planetarium. The largest attraction in the metro area sits inside Denver’s idyllic City Park with numerous buildings housing different exhibits to explore.

The Central Hall zooms visitors through billions of years summarizing universe origins showcasing an enormous slumbering dinosaur juxtaposed displaying a living rainforest flowing massive waterfalls. Egyptian sarcophagi towered by an actual mummy uncover mysteries around ancient beliefs and funeral customs. The glowing Gates Planetarium projects visitors into outer space through immersive technology explaining nebula formations and awe around celestial phenomena. Even the Rocky Mountain hall captures regional geology specimens documenting Colorado’s own evolution.

With new rotating attractions like the Dead Sea Scrolls joining the greatest hits on display, return visits deliver fresh experiences to captivate both visiting families and local naturalists coming back since childhood. The sprawling campus provides epic half day adventures or weeklong summer camp fun anchoring community connection towards our scientific wonders.

Denver Art Museum

Name and Location: Denver Art Museum is located at 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, Colorado.

History and Significance: Founded in 1893, Denver Art Museum is known for its collection of American Indian art. It houses over 70,000 diverse works of art from across the world.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore exhibits spanning classical Western art to contemporary pieces. Facilities also include classrooms, a conservation lab, cafe and sculpture garden.

Visitor Information: The museum is closed Mondays but open Tuesday–Sunday. Ticket prices vary by age and access to special exhibits.

As the largest art museum between Chicago and the West Coast, Denver Art Museum gathers comprehensive global collections showcasing creative visionaries across eras within award winning architectural marvels flanking central Civic Center Park downtown. The iconic Daniel Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building’s jagged shapes sheathed by nearly 10,000 silver titanium panels glint under sunshine beside the calmer Martin Building its predecessor opened in 1971.

Inside over 550,000 square feet of galleries await housing American Indian works plus impressive European masters collections and one of world’s biggest Degas’ sculpture hoard outside Paris. Details delight throughout Asian scrolls, Modernist mixed media and dazzling textiles from across centuries. The vast Western American section tackles themes like Manifest Destiny from unflinching perspectives. And special venues host renowned travelling exhibits through ongoing partnerships amplifying accessibility towards creative talents rarely viewed elsewhere nearby.

For many visitors, the phenomenal architecture itself astounds as much as the extensive galleries allowing self-guiding wanderings or scheduled docent tour options to optimize showing diverse interests. Expect exciting open spaces like the airy Ponti Hall crowning creativity below the crescent moon roof open daily to enjoy performances, art-making socials or just eating in the trendy Palettes Cafe anchored within amazing fine arts.

Coors Field

Name and Location: Coors Field is a baseball stadium located at 2001 Blake St, Denver, Colorado. It is home to the Colorado Rockies.

History and Significance: Completed in 1995, Coors Field was the first baseball-only facility in MLB since 1962. It sparked redevelopment in Lower Downtown Denver and is praised for views of the Rocky Mountains.

What to Expect: Visitors can watch Colorado Rockies home games from April to September and tour the ballpark. Attractions include mountain views, local food and on-site brewery.

Visitor Information: The ballpark offers tours on non-game days. Game tickets can be purchased on the Colorado Rockies website.

As the beloved downtown home stadium for the Major League Baseball Colorado Rockies since 1995, Coors Field brings sports fans and families together to cheer on the beloved hometown team against challenging rivals across America’s favorite pastime. The retro-style ballpark ideally located within Denver’s Lower Downtown district centers public festivities through the long schedules from April through early fall. Visitors touring the area find classic red brick arches welcoming fans inside game days to catch thrilling national league action up close from any budget-friendly seat.

Arrive early on game days to wander local bars and restaurants offering rowdy pre-party specials scaling up crowds rolling towards the purple row entries. Inside the park, even nosebleed sections in the highest tier stay reasonably close to see decisive plays unfold with dramatic Colorado mountain views looming up behind batters. On the Rooftop level ride a giant mechanical bull between innings or sample local craft brews bearing team logos at the spacious drink rails circling overhead.

The nearby historic Wynkoop Brewing Company owned by former mayor and current Governor John Hickenlooper makes for a darling spot to review hot takes over award-winning craft beers post-game analyzing clutch moments just witnessed minutes before down the street. Feel the infectious atmosphere energizing LoDo Denver nights and days when Rockies fever spreads as seasons roll through.

Union Station Denver

Name and Location: Denver Union Station is located at 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, Colorado.

History and Significance: The historic Denver Union Station first opened in 1881. After a major renovation, it reopened in 2014 as a transportation hub and dining/retail destination.

What to Expect: Visitors can admire the restored grand interior, shop and dine at restaurants and access the terminal for Amtrak trains and Denver light rail.

Visitor Information: The terminal building is open daily with extended hours on weekends. Accessing transportation services follow separate schedules.

As the central downtown rail hub and historic landmark open since 1881, the glorious revitalized Denver Union Station now also serves as an iconic hotspot filled buzzy restaurants, boutique cocktail lounges and charming retailers spread throughout the voluminous former ticketing hall. Towering arched windows flood light through the exterior brick-and-stone façade anchoring hip lower downtown just steps from Coors Field and the central business district core.

Inside the cavernous main terminal space, historic details like the illuminated Coors Chandelier complement the 130-foot long Destination sign ticketing mármol Concourse welcomes crowds gathering for Pad-Thai noodle bowls steps from train platforms shuttling ski bound travelers beside young professionals waiting out brief layovers sipping martinis fireside The Cooper Lounge speakeasy. Throughout layers spaces Union Station symbolizes Denver’s grand ambitions as an inclusive crossroads where rugged outdoor culture collides with urban flair.

Larimer Square

Name and Location: Larimer Square is an urban block in downtown Denver located between 14th and 15th streets on Larimer St.

History and Significance: Dating back to the 1860s, Larimer Square is one of the oldest city blocks in Denver. It is known for Victorian-era buildings housing restaurants, boutiques and entertainment.

What to Expect: Visitors will find shopping, dining, nightlife spots and historic architecture. Seasonal street festivals and a free summer concert series also occur.

Visitor Information: Larimer Square is open year-round. Individual businesses have varying hours but most are open late afternoon through late evenings.

As Denver’s very first designated historic district, the vibrant blocks surrounding Larimer Square preserve urban tales beginning along this initial settlement creeping out from the South Platte River toward the Colorado gold rush era into today’s resurgence as a premier downtown shopping and dining nexus. The petite district only spans a block down Larimer Street between 14th and 15th Avenues, yet packs loads of boutique retail therapy options spread overhead through welcoming restaurants buzzing from brunch through midnight revelry.

Crowds swarm throughout the year popping between the 40+ locally owned businesses sparkling behind iron-framed facades of the meticulously restored Victorian-era buildings still proudly standing after facing substantial decline by the 1960s prior towards revival initiatives saving these remnants of Denver’s rugged early personality. Today young residents fill the lively plaza socializing around the nostalgic ambiance conveyed from enduring sites like tho Historic Mills Building (1891), Trimble Court alleyway or the Old Larimer Square fountain. Visitors explore bits of these backstories told through interpretive walking tours and marker plaques saluting those pioneering founders setting forth the foundations later generations continue building upon brick by brickboth literally and regarding local culture endures ever-evolving eras.

Molly Brown House Museum

Name and Location: Molly Brown House Museum is located at 1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, Colorado.

History and Significance: This Victorian home belonged to Margaret “Molly” Brown, survivor of the 1912 Titanic sinking. It opened as a museum in 1970 and offers insights into 1890s life.

What to Expect: Visitors can tour Brown’s preserved home containing original artifacts. Interpretive displays detail Victorian-era culture, women’s history and life in mining towns.

Visitor Information: The museum offers daily guided tours for an admission fee. Evening ghost and holiday tours are also available seasonally.

Beyond her appearance as the tenacious survivor shining in Broadway shows and Hollywood films recounting the notorious sinking Titanic voyage, historic heroine Margaret “Molly” Brown lived astounding chapters forging fortunes through Victorian-era Denver society before later championing causes like woman’s suffer age and labor rights. At the carefully preserved Molly Brown House Museum in the Capitol Hill neighborhood today, visitors glimpse into Brown’s extravagant yet progressive life through rooms filled with original furnishings, costumes and artifacts detailing New Woman independence just after Colorado outlawed discrimination by sex protecting wives rights towards property plus employment and earning possibilities..

Wandering through tight narrow quarters beside the dignified living spaces, one better understands Brown’s drive towards advocacy seeing urban 1990 life contrasts more sharply against her own elevated privilege ultimately leveraged later fueling passions for equality beyond just her immediate experience. Downstairs be sure also to check out the special exhibit showcasing amazing gowns modeled to feature intricate beading also embroidery work – fully appreciate Brown’s maverick instincts daring standards of the day while display how own values shifted widened travels expanded mindsets dwelling that thin margin between idle aristocracy with progressive policymaking.

Tattered Cover Book Store

Name and Location: Tattered Cover Book Store is an independent bookstore with four Denver locations, including one at 2526 E Colfax Ave.

History and Significance: Locally owned since 1971, Tattered Cover Book Store is the largest independent bookstore in Colorado. It has supported local authors and defended First Amendment rights.

What to Expect: Visitors can browse books spanning all genres and subjects. The stores host author events and have on-site cafes. Customers praise the warm atmosphere.

Visitor Information: Store hours vary by location but are typically open daily from at least 9AM to 9PM. Online ordering and curbside pickup are also available.

As Denver’s beloved local independent bookstore going strong in multiple locations for over 40 years since founding in 1971, browsing shelves at the Tattered Cover satisfies literature lovers through intimate spaces promoting harmonious connections. Their historic LoDo location packs endless rows stacked floor to ceiling with carefully curated works awaiting eager new readers. Knowledgable staff insightfully guide patrons towards titles matching interests ranging widely through genres and niche categories beyond predictable best seller piles.

Upstairs a quaint café pours strong cups of inspiration between scouting written works or just taking peaceful respite admiring rare book collections under display. For those craving that cozy neighborhood book nook ambiance, Tattered Cover cradles comfort beside whispered wisdom bound between thousands pages. New authors hold launch events while leading poets read aloud their latest verse floating through the comforting aisles. And the prominently placed staff recommendation shelves reveal dependable gems missed otherwise by the usual algorithms.

An enduring Denver mainstay cherished for keeping marginalized voices lifted and urges towards growth kindled through compassionate words, Tattered Cover reminds that stories shape society’s future as much as past when we listen closely thumbing together page by page.

Downtown Aquarium

Name and Location: Downtown Aquarium is located at 700 Water St, Denver, Colorado next to the Colorado River.

History and Significance: Opened in 1999, the Downtown Aquarium mixes an aquarium, restaurant, rides and exhibits. Key features include a diversity of fish, stingrays, an aquatic carousel and interactive animal displays.

What to Expect: Visitors can discover aquarium worlds, dine at the on-site restaurant, and enjoy entertainment like magic shows. Discount packages combine attractions.

Visitor Information: The aquarium is open daily year-round, with varying hours. Ticket prices vary by age and chosen attractions.

Family fun awaits around every turn at the marvelous Downtown Aquarium packed floor-to-ceiling with wondrous sea creatures living within creative habitats emulating a journey down to the ocean depths. Admission includes access to all the exhibits winding past glowing jellyfish, playful otters and a giant sea turtle named King Neptune gliding through his 150,000 tank replica of the fantastic Stingray Reef. Small children zone right towards the touch pools outside while inside ten-foot sharks glide ominously offering thrills gently reminding the food chain order.

Not just an incredible aquarium, lively entertainment keeps energy high as divers leap with feathered performers through shows featuring eagles or macaws soaring overhead. Delicious restaurants let you sample sustainably sourced seafood watching exotic fish swim behind window panes beside your booth. And adults get their own underwater spectacle when the aquatic wonderland transforms into a lively club on weekend nights with DJs spinning tunes aligned to oscillating light beams until last call. With nonstop adventure awaiting backstage beside spotlighted habitats supporting essential rescue efforts and rehabilitation initiatives when needed, the Downtown Aquarium makes a splash as a leading Denver destination.

Conclusion

With the soaring Rocky Mountains beckoning adventures just beyond the Denver skyline and an endless frontier still yet to be explored peak-to-peak, beholding natural beauty seems overviewed returning home refreshed by thin air perspectives only possible through escaping elevation. Yet within the bustling Mile High City itself, dynamic attractions capture views into our cultural journey through earthbound challenges confronted, innovations unleashed plus victories celebrated together when spirits soar united as one. Through Denver’s remarkable museums, thrilling stadiums, cherished bookstores and grand theaters where luminaries ascend transgenic stages transporting ideas into Stratosphere imagination once again knows no limits. And pausing awhile admiring panoramas outside cafes snuggled downtown, one feels renewed kinship towards those early prospectors who glimpsed glimmers of possibilities glinting like gold beneath rustic exteriors promising more fortunes await around the next sunny turn.

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