The Mile High City is the springboard to some of the best skiing in the US. There are more than 30 snow resorts in Colorado, with many on Denver’s doorstep – among them Winter Park, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone.
But the state’s capital is much more than an access point to great skiing and adventure in the Rocky Mountains; it has a downtown area with an exciting cultural, creative and culinary scene, plus a bevy of microbreweries.
Denver is also known for its network of mountain parks on the city fringe. The parks can be explored independently, or on commercial day trips, and include glaciers, grasslands, canyons and even the final resting place of Buffalo Bill.
Indulge your artistic side at...
- The Denver Art Museum
- Robischon Gallery
- The Clyfford Still Museum
Sports fans are spoilt for choice. Put on your orange, blue and white to cheer on the Denver Broncos gridiron team (in action from September to January) or head to Coors Field to watch the Major League Baseball team the Colorado Rockies (in action from April to September). Behind-the-scenes tours are available at Coors Field, and you can test your pitching speed at an interactive area at the ballpark.
Just west of Denver is Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, often described as the most acoustically perfect natural amphitheatre on the planet. Sit among massive rock outcrops at a summer concert or watch a movie under a starlit sky. More cultural enrichment is on offer with the city’s annual Shakespeare Festival, also performed outdoors, the $US110 million History Colorado Centre opened in 2012, and the Denver Art Museum.
The Molly Brown House Museum is one of the city’s most-visited historic attractions. The 1880s house provides a glimpse into the life of one of Denver’s most interesting residents. Molly Brown (played by Kathy Bates in the Titanic movie) survived the sinking of the world’s most famous ship and became an activist, socialite and philanthropist. Regular house tours are available, but restoration works are scheduled for 2015-16.
Get to know the locals at...
- the Wynkoop Brewing Company
- Coors Field, home of baseball's Colorado Rockies
- the eternally popular Denver Zoo
Eat and Drink
Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway has two steakhouse restaurants in town (as well as one at Vail ski resort) with a menu that offers combinations of prime hand-cut steaks and Maine lobster.
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox has opened in a historic building that was once a house of ill repute. Locals are loving it for the bourbon BBQ oysters and wagyu beef sliders. It’s located in LoDo (Lower Downtown) near Coors Field.
LoHi (Lower Highlands) is where you’ll find Avanti. Inspired by food trucks and European markets, it is a collective space with seven restaurant concepts in shipping containers. The food varies from tacos to Venezuelan.
Don't forget to check out...
- Euclid Hall, for casual dining
- speakeasy cocktails at Green Russell
- the Food Trucks in Civic Center Park
Where to Stay
Denver boomed in the late 19th-century silver rush and still has a number of restored historic hotels in which to stay. Cherry Creek is a fancy part of town and it’s where President Obama once checked in. There are good five-star options in the downtown area, but for something different you can head out of the metro area for a stay at a dude ranch. There are also many boutique hotels and charming bed and breakfasts dotted around the city.
Lay your head to rest in...
- the historic Oxford Hotel
- Courtyard in Downtown Denver
- rhe luxurious Patterson Inn
The Cherry Creek Mall is a popular place for big-brand shopping for overseas visitors, even those on the way to the snowfields. Cherry Creek North has boutique clothing and homewares stores, coffee shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of the mall.
Shop up a storm at...
- Cherry Creek's department stores
- the 'I Heart Denver' retail project
- historic Highlands Square
Denver Like a Local
The RiNo (River North) area is booming with restaurants, bars and microbreweries, including Denver Beer Company and Ratio Beerworks. There are some cool little back streets with street art and a concentration of galleries and creative businesses such as sculptors and designers. It’s a fun area to explore on a bike and brewery hop. If you’re asking for directions, be sure to say RiNo correctly. It’s pronounced “rhino”.
Set your own exercise routine and...
- take a jog along Cherry Creek
- hire a Denver B-Cycle
- hike the Rocky Mountain foothills