Things to do in Denver

Heading to Denver, a major gateway to the Colorado Rockies? The Mile High City offers visitors a lot to do. Here are a few can’t miss things to do in Denver. Add them tn your itinerary.

Denver Art Museum

things to do in Denver

Denver Art Museum, photo/Billie Frank

Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway (720) 865-5000: This asset to the Denver art scene houses over 70,000 works in nine permanent galleries including African, American Indian, Asian, European and American, modern and contemporary, Pre-Colombian, photography, Spanish Colonial, and western American art.  They also have special exhibits, sometimes mounted by the museum as well as traveling shows. Check with the museum for their schedule. Walk around LoDo (the bounded by Speer Boulevard, 20th Street, Wewatta and Market Streets).The first time I visited Denver, the lower downtown area was seedy to say the least. Officially designated as LoDo in 1988, the area’s old buildings have been saved, refurbished and repurposed. LoDo has evolved into a trendy area with boutiques, brew pubs and a diverse dining scene.  The hub is Larimer Square, where the city of Denver started in 1858.

If you want to see more art, the Art District on Santa Fe (SantaFe Drive between 5th and 11th Avenues and on adjoining Kalamath Street between Alameda and 11th Avenue) is the city’s unofficial gallery hub.  The Denver art scene is vibrant and worth a visit. There are over 70 galleries, restaurants and shops clustered in this area a short walk from downtown.

Denver Botanical Gardens

things to do in Denver

Orchids at the Denver Botanical Garden, photo/Steve Collins

Denver Botanic Gardens 1007 York Street  (720) 865-3585: This gem in the middle of the city is a great place to visit year-round. The gardens, especially the Japanese Garden, are lovely even off-season. In colder weather take advantage of the indoor orchard greenhouse, the tropical garden and The Orangery. The little ones will love the Mordecai Children’s Garden built on the parking garage’s roof.

Molly Brown House Museum

things to do in Denver

Molly Brown House, photo/Steve Collins

Molly Brown House Museum 1340 Pennsylvania Street  (303) 832-4092: The musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown is about her .Kathy Bates played her in the blockbuster movie, Titanic. If you want to meet the real Molly Brown, take a tour of her restored former home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The approximately 45 minute tours leave on the half-hour.

If you go:

Denver dining

Denver dining

Breakfast

Lucile’s  275 South Logan (303) 282-6258, offers a taste of New Orleans in the heart of Denver. Lunch: My Brother’s Bar 2376 15th St (303) 455-9991, in business over 40 years (there’s been a saloon on this spot since the 1880s) offers delicious burgers served in paper accompanied by a big plastic box with condiments. We ate at Lucile’s Fort Collins location when we lived there and it’s always on our itinerary when we go back for a visit.

Dinner

Ace, 501 East 17th Avenue (303) 800-7705, is a fun spot where you can dine on Asian-inspired food and play ping-pong.

Denver lodging

Denver lodging

The Brown Palace, photo/Steve Collins

Where to stay: Depending on when you travel, you might find some great deals on hotels in The Mile High City. You can check Denver hotel reviews  and compare prices at Trivago and other discount hotel sites.

The Brown Palace, 321 17th Street (303) 297-3111, is a historic hotel at the edge of the city’s LoDo area. Opened in 1892, the hotel offers guests a luxurious home away from home. If you can’t stay, at least go for their sumptuous afternoon tea in the retro lobby or sign up for the hotel’s weekly tour.

Magnolia Hotel 818 17th Street (303) 607-9000, part of a small chain, is a mid-level lodging with a lot to offer.  A daily cocktail reception and breakfast are included in the price. Go for a one-bedroom suite, they are $30 to $50 more than a standard room offering great value. Enjoy your visit to The Mile High City.

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