Denver Colorado Itinerary: 10 Must See Attractions + 20 Tips for First-Timers

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If you’re planning your Denver Colorado itinerary and feeling overwhelmed at the options, we’ve made it easier for you.

Don’t waste any more time trying to narrow down your choices.

You’ll find the 10 must-see attractions in Denver, along with 20 tips for first time visitors, below.

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CONTENTS – In this article, find out the must-see places in Denver and helpful tips to plan your Denver Colorado itinerary, including:

Denver’s Best Kept Secrets: 10 Not-to-Miss Places

Denver is a great city for first-time visitors.

There are plenty of things to see and do, and the city is relatively easy to navigate.

However, there are a few hidden gems in plane sight that many visitors miss.

Here are 10 must-see places for first-time visitors to Denver

1. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a great place to learn about the natural history of Colorado and the American West.

In fact, it’s one of the best natural history and science museums in Colorado and the western US!

The museum also has an IMAX theater and a planetarium.

If your itinerary is packed, look into visiting on Friday evenings, when the museum is open until 9PM.

2. The Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country.

It is home to over 4,000 animals, including tigers, lions, elephants, and gorillas.

Zoo proceeds go toward helping the zoo’s mission of saving wildlife around the world.

You’ll want to get your tickets in advance because the museum limits daily visitors so you’ll have the best experience possible.

And if your plans change, you can reschedule your tickets online.

3. The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the United States.

It has a collection of over 70,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.

Depending on when you visit, you might take advantage of the Free Days at the DAM. Just be sure to get tickets in advance.

It’s a great stop to add to your Denver Colorado itinerary!

4. The Colorado State Capitol

denver state capitol

The Colorado State Capitol is the seat of government for the state of Colorado.

The building is located on Capitol Hill and is open to the public for tours.

Not only is this building a stunning work of architecture, but it’s the only capitol building in the US with gold level LEED® certification.

It’s cooled by geothermal power and is a carbon and cost-saving green building. Now that’s trend-setting!

Schedule a tour when you visit Denver.

5. The Denver Mint

The Denver Mint is one of the four major mints in the United States, along with Philadelphia, San Francisco, and West Point.

The mint in Denver produces billions of coins for circulation.

It also manufactures medals and commemorative coins.

You can take a free, guided tour of The Denver Mint when you visit – but you have to request it by email ahead of time.

This is a really unique tour to include on your Denver Colorado itinerary!

6. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

red rocks denver co 1 | Enjoy Travel Life

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is a world-famous concert venue located just outside of Denver.

The amphitheater is nestled in the red rocks of the foothills, and is a great place to see a show!

You’ll also enjoy stunning views of the city at this historic and unique venue.

7. The Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colorado.

At its northernmost point, the Rocky Mountains begin in British Columbia, Canada. They continues south about 3,000 miles to New Mexico.

In Denver, you’ll find numerous hiking trails, camping sites, and ski resorts in the mountains.

8. The 16th Street Mall

denver colorado - 16th street mall

The 16th Street Mall a pedestrian mall in downtown Denver that’s over a mile long!

There, you’ll find it is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes.

The mall is also home to the Denver Pavilions, a large outdoor shopping center.

Don’t worry, there’s a free shuttle that transports tired shoppers from end-to-end.

9. Union Station

Union Station is the main train station in Denver, and one that’s easy to add to your Denver Colorado itinerary.

The station is also a cultural hotspot, with a number of restaurants, bars, and shops.

Stay at the award-winning Crawford Hotel for the best access to this historic landmark and transportation hub.

10. Larimer Square

Larimer Square is the historic downtown district of Denver. The “1400s” block served as Denver’s “downtown” for more than 30 years.

The area is home to a number of restaurants, bars, and shops as well as a vibrant creative community.

It is also the site of the annual Denver Oktoberfest celebration!

20 Top Tips for Visiting Denver, Colorado

These are just a few of the many great places to visit in Denver.

Try to include several of them on your Denver Colorado itinerary, as they are must-see attractions!

But before departing into this adventure, take a look at our to-do list to prepare for your trip.

Tip #1: Check the Weather

Check the weather forecast and pack appropriately:

Denver is a Mile High City, which means that the weather can change quickly.

So, be sure to check the forecast before you pack your bags.

Tip #2: Book a Car Service in Denver

There are several good reasons to book a Denver car service.

First and foremost, with so many things to see and do, you’ll want to have a reliable way to get around.

A Denver car services can take the stress out of getting around the city.

You won’t have to worry about getting to the places on your Denver Colorado itinerary when you have a driver at your service.

Tip #3: Plan Your Denver Colorado Itinerary

There’s a lot to see and do in Denver!

Be sure to plan your trip in advance so you don’t miss anything!

Tip #4: Pack your Camera

rocky mountains in denver colorado

Denver is a beautiful city.

Be sure to bring your camera so you can capture all of the sights.

Then, as you go from one thing to another on your Denver Colorado itinerary, you’ll be ready to snap a photo or take a selfie.

You’ll be happy you did once your trip is over. You might even combine them to make a travel video of trip!

Tip #4: Wear Comfortable Shoes

With so much walking to do, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes.

Nothing is worse than dealing with sore feet and blisters when you’re trying to have a good time exploring!

Tip #5: Book your Accommodation in Advance

Denver is a popular tourist destination.

That’s why it’s a good idea to book your hotel or vacation rental in advance.

That way, you’ll ensure you have a decent place to stay.

You’ll find everything from luxurious hotels like the Brown Palace Hotel to more affordable options like Airbnb.

Tip #6: Explore Denver’s Neighborhoods

Denver is made up of a number of different neighborhoods.

Each has its own unique character, so be sure to explore as many as you can during your visit.

Tip #7: See a Sports Game

Denver is home to a number of professional sports teams, including:

  • The Broncos (football)
  • The Rockies (baseball)
  • The Avalanche (hockey)

Whether you’re a sports fan or not, it’s fun to catch a game while you’re in town.

Tip #8: Visit a Brewery

craft brewery pour - denver colorado itinerary

Denver is known for its craft beer.

Be sure to visit one of the many breweries in the city to sample some of the best beer in the country.

Tip #9: Enjoy the Outdoors

Denver is surrounded by beautiful mountains and parks.

Take advantage of the great outdoors and explore all that the city has to offer.

Tip #10: See a Show at Red Rocks

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most popular concert venues in the country.

If you’re a music fan, be sure to catch a show while you’re in town.

Tip #11: Take a Day Trip from Denver

Denver is centrally located, making it a great base for exploring the surrounding area.

You can take a number of great day trips with Denver as a home base.

Some of the day trips from Denver you might want to take include

  • The Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Estes Park

Tip #12: Get a Denver CityPass

You can purchase a Denver CityPASS for discounts on attractions in Denver.

This is especially cost-effective If you’re planning to visit a number of attractions while you’re in Denver.

This pass will give you access to discounts on a number of popular attractions, including:

  • The Denver Zoo
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science
  • Denver Art Museum

Tip #13: Download a Map of Denver

You’ll want to download a map of the city of Denver before you arrive.

This will help you navigate your way around and help you get familiar with the city before you arrive.

Tip #14: Check Out the Local Calendar of Events

There’s always something going on in Denver!

For that reason, you’ll want to check the local calendar of events.

Then, you’ll see what’s happening during your visit. You might even buy tickets to events that you want to include on your Denver itinerary.

Tip #15: Visit Denver During the Off-Season

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, when you go to Denver, a good plan is to visit during the off-season.

Denver is a popular tourist destination, so the city can be quite crowded during the summer months.

Related: Good Reasons to Travel in the Shoulder Season

Tip #16: See a Theatre Performance

Denver is home to a number of excellent theatre companies.

If you’re a fan of the arts, you’ll enjoy catching a performance while you’re in town.

For instance, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is one of the leading performing arts venues in the country.

Tip #17: Explore Denver’s Food Scene

chilaquiles in denver colorado

Denver has a thriving food scene!

If you’re a foodie, you can explore all the culinary delights this city has to offer.

You’ll find everything from amazing farm-to-table restaurants, bison steak, green chili and chilaquiles, to a variety of delicious food truck fare.

Tip #18: Visit a Farmers Market

Denver is home to a number of excellent farmers markets.

You can definitely visit one or more during your stay to stock up on fresh, local produce.

Tip #19: Enjoy the Views

Denver is a beautiful city.

That’s why it’s important to take some time to enjoy the views.

Simply visit one of the many vantage points around town and take in the scenery.

Tip #20: Pack for the Season

Denver has a range of weather conditions, depending on the season in which you’ll be visiting.

So, make sure you research the temperatures.

Also, expect the weather to fluctuate in a day. That makes it a good idea to dress in layers so you can adjust accordingly.

That being said, we hope your luggage is already packed because it’s time to explore Denver!

Final Thoughts on Denver Colorado Itinerary

Now, hopefully your task of planning your Denver Colorado itinerary will be much easier.

If this is your first trip, you know the top attractions to see when you visit Denver.

Once you get a taste of this beautiful city, don’t be surprised if you want to come back again to explore more!


Jackie Gately at the beach


About Jackie Gately, editor-IN-CHIEF

I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years.

With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality.

Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! 

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Next Steps

If you want to take advantage of Colorado skiing opportunities, you’ll find the slopes are about 50 miles from Denver. And if you’re new to the sport, read this beginner’s guide to planning a ski trip next.

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18 thoughts on “Denver Colorado Itinerary: 10 Must See Attractions + 20 Tips for First-Timers”

  1. Denver Colorado is an amazing place to explore. The city skyline looks beautiful with the Rocky mountains in the backdrop. I would love to watch a concert at the Red Rocks amphitheater, the shopping centers at the 16 the street mall and the historic downtown of the Larimer square.

  2. This is an awesome list. Would love to visit Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre and the museum. The food scene in Denver is something I would love to explore. Great tips!

  3. This is gold. This is going to be my first time visiting Colorado so I appreciate the tips. We’d love to visit the art museum and the zoo. Will make sure to get our tickets and book our accommodation in advance.

  4. I like Denver; the city offers a variety of fun activities and is an excellent base for exploring Colorado, especially the Rocky Mountains. An excellent guide to the city with tips on how to plan your trip. I haven’t been to some of the places you mentioned yet. I haven’t been to The Denver Art Museum yet, so I add it to my list. The Colorado State Capitol is an impressive and beautiful building.

  5. An excellent compilation of Denver’s travel routes! The Denver Museum of Nature & Science would be the first place I would visit if I ever made it to Denver in order to find out more about its history. I was drawn to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre because it appeared spectacular and distinctive. It sounds like a wonderful idea to stroll about and unwind at night on the 16th Street Mall. Also, many thanks for the advice you provided, which will be very useful for visitors visiting Denver. I am definitely going to pin this post for later use.

  6. We have sadly missed spending any time in Colorado. Your post clearly shows that we need to plan for a few days in this city. I immediately thought about outside attractions so it was interesting to see your list covered lots of indoor sites. And good to learn that the city pass covered many of them. I did not know that Denver was known for craft beer. Hubby would definitely want to add a few beer stops to our itinerary. You commented on Denver being “mile high” and the need to check the weather. I might also wonder if the altitude might be an issue?

    • Yes, Linda – there is lots to do indoors as well, making Denver perfect for indoor and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s true, altitude sickness can be a problem if you’re not used to the alpine environment. It’s best to acclimate slowly if you’re doing any mountain climbing, but most people adjust to the air in Denver within 1 to 3 days.

  7. Interesting read about sightseeing spots in Denver/ Colorado. The tour through the Denver Mint would be someting I am interested to do. I have never visited a working mint. Do you know, what there is to see? Do you get a chance to actually watch the minting or printing process? Beer tasting in one of the craft beer breweries would also be high on the list. Which brewery would you recommend?

    • Hi Natascha, You will get a glimpse of the coin-making process on a tour of the Denver mint, as well as an opportunity to buy freshly-minted and commemorative coins. You’ll also learn a lot about the history of money! As far as breweries go, try Cerebral Brewing or Novel Strand Brewing Company. But really, you can’t go wrong at any of the breweries in Denver!

  8. Denver is a fascinating city. It has been on my list for awhile but never had the chance to visit. I would love to checkout the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. It is something new for me. The second place is Rocky Mountain. It is the reason, I would love to visit in the first place. I found this article helpful with some amazing tips. Keep up.

    • Glad you found some helpful tips and travel inspiration in this article on Denver! Do check back when you go to let me know what you thought of Red Rocks and the Rockies. I think they are both must-see experiences on a trip to Denver!

  9. I’ve never visited Denver when in the USA, but it looks like a wonderful city. The Red Rock amphitheatre looks great and would be perfect for a concert. I’m also keen to see the Capitol building as the architecture intrigues me. I’m sold on the food and would eat my way around the city!

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