Denver, the Mile High City, is an American treasure. Nestled among the majestic Rockies, Denver is known for the grandeur of the mountainous terrain. Numerous outdoor activities can be found in God’s playground. World class skiing is abundant in the area. But once the snow thaws, Denver invites you to enjoy tons of other options.
Here are 14 things to do in springtime and summer in the Denver area.
1. Oxford Hotel
Dating back to 1891, the Oxford Hotel is the oldest hotel in Denver. Built by beer entrepreneur Adolph Zang, the five story edifice, once the tallest building in Denver, is a luxury boutique hotel in the middle of downtown, one block from Union Station. A combination of Victorian opulence and the American West, the Oxford Hotel is the perfect place to experience the great town of Denver. Be sure to visit the Cruise Room. Widely recognized as the place in Denver for cocktails, it opened the day after Prohibition expired.
2. Union Station
A renovated Beaux-Arts train station dating back to 1914, Denver Union Station has been restored and expanded. The new Crawford Hotel and great eateries like Ultreia, Snooze, and Stoic & Genuine make their home at Union Station. Denver’s light rail, Amtrak, and bus routes all intersect at the Regional Transportation District at Union Station.
3. Botanic Gardens
Covering 24 acres, this world class garden is a beautiful multi-hued oasis in the middle of Denver surrounded by lakes, streams, fountains and a large conservatory. The Denver Botanic Gardens highlight native and adapted plants that thrive in the high and dry Colorado climate.
4. 16th Street Mall
Take a pedestrian promenade designed by famed architect I. M. Pei, surround it with 42 outdoor cafes, movie theaters, and shops. Then plant over 50,000 flowers and add a million twinkling lights in over 200 trees that line the street, and you have the magical 16th Street corridor cutting through downtown Denver. Take advantage of the free mall shuttle bus, or hire a horse drawn carriage or pedi-cab after dark to head to your favorite restaurant, brewpub, theater or shop.
5. Bike rental
Denver is leading the charge for protecting the environment and making it easier for locals and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors. The innovative Denver B-Cycle program offers bike rentals at nominal fees at over 84 Denver B-stations. Many city landmarks are accessible via bicycle, so hop on a bike, stretch your legs and see the best of Denver.
6. Whiskey Distillers
Although best known for the behemoth Coors Brewery and hundreds of smaller craft breweries making beer, Denver also is home to some of the best whiskey around. Laws Whiskey House is known for their rare four grain whiskey and their motto, “There Are No Shortcuts.” Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is made from 100% malt barley base grain, and like Laws, has won many awards for its liquid gold. Learn about the whiskey making process, and sample some of the best whiskeys made in Colorado.
7. Professional Sports Teams
Coors Field is home to the Colorado Rockies, Denver’s hometown baseball team. It is conveniently located near Union Station and many popular hotels, restaurants and bars. Other sports teams in Denver include the 2016 Super Bowl Champion Broncos, who play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Pepsi Center is the venue for the NBA Denver Nuggets, the NHL Colorado Avalanche, and the National Lacrosse League team, the Colorado Mammoth.
8. Museum of Nature and Science
Denver is home to numerous world class museums. The Museum of Nature and Science has a great Prehistoric Journey exhibit, which chronicles the evolution of ancient microbes through the age of the dinosaurs and beyond. Recent special exhibitions have included the fascinating Dead Sea Scrolls, the eye-opening Creatures of Light, and other interesting and educational exhibits.
9. Denver Zoo
One of the best zoos in the country, this 80 acre wonderland houses over 4,000 animals. The crown jewel is the Toyota Elephant Passage, 10 acres consisting of complex landscapes making up one of the largest elephant habitats in North America. Another favorite, Predator Ridge, features several majestic lions, hyenas, and African wild dogs in their natural habitat.
10. Confluence Park
Some of the best views of downtown Denver can be seen from Confluence Park. This beautiful site where the South Platte River and Cherry Creek meet is where the first settlers of Denver made their home. You can kayak the rapids and sunbathe on the sandy beaches as you take in the panoramic views of the city.
11. Street Art
The Museum of Art is not the only place you will see the works of talented artists. Throughout Denver, you can marvel at the creative works of street artists who display their work on concrete walls in parks, underneath freeways, and on sides of buildings. Underneath Interstate 70 near Confluence Park, these cool cats with shades are right at home in the world of Denver Street Art.
12. Larimer Square
The oldest block in Denver, historic Larimer Square, was saved from demolition after falling into disrepair in the mid 1900s. Led by Dana Crawford, the area was redeveloped and is now a vibrant center of activity in the city. Larimer Square is one of the trendiest Denver addresses for shopping, dining, strolling, and admiring the historic architecture of the area.
13. Restaurants Galore
There are so many great restaurants in Denver. Here are a few to get you started.
Panzano is an award winning Italian restaurant in the heart of the Denver Performing Arts Complex near the 16th Street Mall. Recognized as one of Zagat’s best restaurants in America and awarded 4 diamonds by AAA, Panzano is truly a taste of Italy in downtown Denver.
Ultreia is the newest addition to the fine eateries in the refurbished Union Station. Known for their innovative and tasty tapas, enjoy indoor or outdoor dining at this chic new restaurant headed by James Beard Best Chef Southwest Jennifer Jasinski.
14. Red Rocks Amphitheater
Widely recognized as one of the greatest outdoor entertainment venues in the world, Red Rocks has featured some of the greatest musicians of all time. With its breathtaking natural beauty accentuated by the red rocks, green hills, and gorgeous views, Red Rocks has hosted The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, U2, and, of course, the late great John Denver. Not only a great venue for concerts, Red Rocks Park is a great place to hike or workout. Or just chill while taking in the grand views of the Rocky Mountains.
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