Photograph by robertharding, Alamy Stock Photo
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The Buckhorn Exchange restaurant in Denver, Colorado, was established in 1893.

Photograph by robertharding, Alamy Stock Photo

Discover the Best of Denver

Make your Colorado trip one for the books with these top 10 tips.

Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty in every direction, Denver itself has become the epitome of a modern urban wonderland. What was once a hidden gem is now one of the premier destinations in the United States.

Natural Wonder

Nestled adjacent to Cheesman Park, the Denver Botanic Gardens cover 23 acres and contain the world’s largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates around the world. The park features a conservatory, several themed gardens, and a sunken amphitheater for summertime concerts. Bring your umbrella for a stroll through the gorgeous Japanese garden.

Cultural Site

Fitting for a city that rests amid some of the world’s most stunning natural wonders, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science houses exhibitions and collections that celebrate the natural history of Colorado, the Earth, and the universe.

Best Day Trip

You could choose from thousands (really, thousands) of day trips in the nearby Rocky Mountains that would leave you awestruck, but only a short drive to nearby Idaho Springs will bring you to St. Mary’s Glacier. After a relatively easy hike you’ll encounter a shimmering lake nestled among snow-kissed mountains that rivals any view, anywhere. Just remember to take it slow, as the altitude reaches more than 10,000 feet.

Off the Beaten Path

The sparkling, modern Elitch Gardens theme and water park downtown offers plenty of family fun, but if you prefer a more laid-back, retro vibe, visit Lakeside Amusement Park in northwest Denver. If the rides seem a bit too rickety, you’ll still enjoy the atmosphere, the mid-century neon signs, and the games along the midway.

Most Iconic Place

In the center of downtown Denver, Union Station has been immaculately renovated to modernize its amenities without losing any of its historic charm. Bars, boutique shops, and award-winning restaurants are peppered throughout the space, and the station serves as the light rail hub for travel all around the city.

Late Night

The stretch of Colfax Avenue that runs between the Capitol Hill and City Park neighborhoods features every flavor of nightlife, from restaurants and bars to music venues, theaters, and dance clubs—all within easy walking distance of each other.

Historic Site

In the heart of downtown Denver lies Confluence Park, where the South Platte River meets Cherry Creek. The site marks the area where a search party first set up camp to scour the land for gold in the late 19th century—an encampment that would become the city of Denver. Today you’ll find stunning views of the city and a charming escape for sunbathing or kayaking.

Neighborhood to Explore

Home to antique shops and vintage stores, some of the city’s best restaurants and bars, and more than a few marijuana dispensaries, Denver’s South Broadway neighborhood has something for everyone. But the area’s crown jewel is nearby Washington Park, where tourists and locals alike come to take in the historic buildings, manicured lawns, picturesque lakes, and the largest flower garden in Denver.

One-of-a-Kind Dining

A Mexican restaurant and entertainment extravaganza combined into one charmingly kitschy package, Casa Bonita has become a Denver institution. You won’t find many culinary surprises, but you can dine while watching cliff divers plunge 30 feet from a waterfall, explore Black Bart’s secret hideout, and entertain the kids with puppet shows and arcade games.

More Than Music

An iconic rock array that’s home to one of the most famous concert venues in the world, Red Rocks is more than a music lover’s paradise. It also features gorgeous hiking trails and an archaeological site where fossils of some of the world’s best known dinosaurs were discovered.