Denver is filled with hidden gems, but since tourism has increased some are less hidden than others. These days, most iconic Denver destinations are packed with out-of-staters coming into the city. Between mountain climbers and pot enthusiasts, Colorado is full of adventure seekers searching for fun activities. This guide will help you avoid tourist traffic, navigate the city, and see some of the coolest attractions in Denver!
1) 16TH STREET MALL
The 16th Street Mall is Denver’s most popular outdoor shopping area. It’s packed with famous chains, small town shops, restaurants, vendors, and quite often street performers. Whether it’s your first time visiting 16th Street or you’re a seasoned local, residents and tourists alike can find something fun to do.
2) LARIMER SQUARE
With so much hype around 16th Street Mall, Larimer Square has remained a historical secret. Completed in 1858 with the help of architect William Larimer, it was Denver’s first commercial square and served as the busiest shopping district for many years. Today the square thrives on trendy dining, shopping and nightlife.
3) NATIONAL ICE CORE LABORATORY
The U.S. Ice Core Lab lives within the Denver Federal Center on Kipling Street. Call in a few months ahead of time to reserve your tour and study more than 10 miles of ice cores. These samples were accumulated by many scientists from all over the world and are housed for future research on the planet’s climate and weather history. The lab is maintained at a pretty cold temperature, I recommend bringing a winter coat.
4) TREE CLIMBING COLORADO
Spend an afternoon with internationally recognized tree-climber Harv Teitelbaum. Pick from climbs open to the public, or schedule a custom, private climb of your choice! Read about the benefits of tree climbing, then go and experience it for yourself.
5) MARJORIE PARK
Marjorie Park is one of five unique collections within the Denver Museum of Outdoor Arts, a multi-location exhibit spanning between Denver and Greenwood Village. The Marjorie collection is located next to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre and is made up of 19 different statues and structures. Several are Alice and Wonderland themed, but the park has a few other unrelated pieces that are fun to explore. This park is one of my favorites in Denver: beautiful views and never too crowded — an ideal family spot.
6) ESCAPE ROOMS
The curiosity behind escape rooms has continued to grow over the last few years, expanding into most cities including Denver. Any puzzle lovers who haven’t heard will love this. Inspired by escape-the-room video games, entrepreneurs are creating life-like games of their own. Strategize with your group using hints and clues to escape (or decipher the room’s mystery). Every year more escape rooms open, here is a list of Denver’s.
7) DENVER TROLLEY
No better way to enjoy Denver’s unique history than on the city’s trolley. Previously known as the Platte Valley Trolley, it has serviced sight-seeing tourists for over 100 years! Start behind R.E.I. and trail along the South Platte River, down into the city. You will make pit stops at the children’s museum, the aquarium, and varying seasonal stops. It would have been nice to know about the Groupon beforehand, but it was definitely worth full cost.
8) DENVER ART MUSEUM
To skip all things historic while visiting Denver would be a disservice to your cultural self. From massive collections at the Denver Art Museum to smaller exhibits like the Molly Brown House, the city has educational activities everyone can enjoy. The Denver Art Museum is an abundance of culture and art, organized by civilization. Park on the street, pay online to avoid lines and enjoy!
9) DENVER MINT
There are two USD production facilities that provide tours, one is in downtown Denver. The Denver Mint, now 225 years old, reveals the interesting money production process, as well as a rich history. The tour is appropriate and entertaining for all ages, although there are only same-day tickets available for sale. Usually this isn’t an issue, but during major holidays you would be wise to arrive a few minutes early.
10) MOLLY BROWN HOUSE MUSEUM
After surviving the Titanic, Molly Brown became famous. She helped load lifeboats and was eventually rescued by the Carpathia. Before it reached land, she had created a Survivor’s Committee, been elected chair and raised almost $10K in survival aid. In 1932, the “unsinkable” girl lost her life to a brain tumor. She is remembered today as an icon in women’s history. Hear Molly’s story at Denver’s most compelling museum.
Finding fun things to do in the Mile High City is never a challenge. With dozens of recycled guides, the real trick is finding crowd-free spots to explore. There are plenty of hidden gems in Denver and these ten are a good place to start.
Have you been to Denver? If you have any additional tips for our readers or questions please leave these in the comments below.
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