21 Delightful Things to Do in Denver in Winter

If you’re traveling to Denver during the winter months, you’re in luck!

This destination is often seen as an adventure lover’s paradise during the warmer seasons for its hiking, but it’s still just that during the winter, if not even more so!

No matter how long you spend in Denver during the winter, you’ll surely have a blast!

Since it’s at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, there’s true beauty everywhere you look, and there’s no better view than the mountains covered in snow.

This article covers all of the top things to do in Denver in winter, whether you enjoy being outside or inside.

This Denver winter guide is perfect for travelers of all ages and interests, so I’m sure you’ll find the right activities for your trip.

So, what are you waiting for? Read on to find out some of Denver’s best winter attractions!

The Best Things to Do in Denver in Winter

See the Dillon Ice Castles.

Blue-tinted ice castle in Dillon Colorado an hour from denver in winter

While it’s not technically in Denver, you have to take the hour drive to Dillon, Colorado, to check out the Dillon Ice Castles.

This is arguably one of the best winter attractions in all of Colorado, so it’s not one that you’re going to want to miss!

This event takes place exclusively in winter for a few months and is filled with tons of mind-boggling sculptures.

You’ll find tunnels, castles, towers, and more. Plus, everything is lit up with lots of fun colors, bringing the place even more alive!

Unfortunately, there is no way to get to the castles using public transportation. If you’re traveling from out of state and don’t have a car with you, it’s worth renting a car to witness these! It’s also an excellent attraction for children.

Adventure through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park is filled with adventures all year round. In winter, the park comes to life in a whole different way. You’ll be right up next to the Rocky Mountains when they’re covered in snow, which is seriously magical!

Throughout the park, there are lots of great winter activities. You can check out the frozen lakes and waterfalls, catch the sunrise or sunset, take a cold but beautiful hike, or even go snowshoeing.

Another popular winter activity here is looking for wildlife. While many animals hibernate during this time of the year, you can usually still find some extraordinary wildlife from a distance. Just make sure you let the animals do their thing; don’t get too close.

Go ice skating.

Red gloved hands tying an ice skate, white jacket and white skates

No winter is complete without ice skating, and luckily there are quite a few places to go ice skating in Denver!

Don’t worry if you didn’t travel with your ice skates; you can rent them at every place listed below.

The most popular place to go ice skating here is at Skyline Park. The ice skating is outdoors, and the entire rink is usually covered in bright lights, so even when the sun goes down, the ice skating can continue. This is a great family-friendly ice skating attraction.

Another place that there is sometimes ice skating is at the Denver Airport! They’ve done this a few times at the airport, and it was completely free to go ice skating there. This means if you’re traveling through the airport in winter, you may get to enjoy this!

Tour Denver’s Capitol Building.

Denver’s Capitol Building is one of the top spots to see in the city no matter the time of year, so why not visit it in winter?

This 19th-century building truly commands your attention no matter where you are in the city because it has a huge golden dome — but the lights in winter make it even prettier!

The building stands at 272 feet tall, and visitors can tour the building for free. This is a great way to witness the architecture in Denver and also to get one of the best views in the city!

During the tour, guests are brought to the top of the dome, which offers impressive views. You can even see all the way out to the Rocky Mountains.

This view is even better during the winter months because of the snow! Keep in mind tours are only held on weekdays.

Attend the Christkindl Market.

Image Credit: Amy Aletheia Cahill via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One of the best things to do in Denver in winter is attending Denver Christkindlmarket. People come from all over to come to this German Christmas market because it’s so fun and the festivities are so lively.

The most popular thing to do at the market is eat at all of the excellent food vendor stands. There are usually vendors selling spaetzle, chocolate, mulled wine, schnitzel, and more. The food is so good that you almost forget you’re not in Germany!

If this is an event that you want to attend, try to visit right when they open. This is one of the most popular Denver winter activities, so you want to get there as early as possible to avoid all of the lines that come later in the day.

Take a day trip to Golden.

A short drive away from Denver is a beautiful town called Golden!

This historic town is one of the most popular day trips from Denver that you genuinely won’t want to miss. Plus, it’s a small town, so it has a very different vibe from Denver.

Golden is a mountain town, so it’s right next to the Rockies. It’s an incredible place to visit when it’s snowing because it feels like a storybook town! There are also tons of great things to do in Golden, from going on a hike to just shopping in downtown.

For an indoor adventure, head to Coors Brewery, which is right in Golden. There’s a free shuttle from downtown Golden that you can get that will bring you there for the tour. Throughout the tour, you’ll learn all about Coor’s brewing process!

Discover the Dairy Block.

Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Dairy Block in Denver is one of the city’s newer additions. It’s located in Lower Downtown (LoDo) and comes alive in winter!

The Dairy Block features an alleyway with tons of outdoor seating and heaters for winter and gets completely decked out in fun lights.

You might be thinking, what the heck is The Dairy Block? It’s essentially a whole bunch of things! There are food vendors, sit-down restaurants, a hotel, a bar, and a coworking space. Most people come here to grab some food because the food is delicious, especially the pizza.

Keep an eye on their winter schedule because they usually host tons of fun events once the season rolls around. In the past, they’ve had live music, markets featuring other local vendors and shops, and more.

Visit Union Station.

front of union station in Denver at christmas, colorful rainbow lights and christmas tree

Union Station is Denver’s central transportation hub. Every winter in Denver, it gets all dressed up in tons of fun festive lights that will truly take your breath away!

While you can visit while it’s light out, it’s best to wait until the sun goes down so that you can see it all done up.

At night, Union Station can be spotted from a mile away because it’s so bright. The lights are truly breathtaking, so make sure you bring your camera. Even young kids will love visiting Union Station once the sun goes down.

During the day, Union Station serves as a meeting point for the Amtrak, airport train, and Denver regional trains. The inside of the Union Station building is a hotel but is also filled with lots of restaurants, sitting areas, and shops.

Indulge at The Brown Palace Hotel.

afternoon tea with a tiered tea cake stand and tea cups

One of the top-rated hotels in Denver is The Brown Palace Hotel. It’s a 4-star hotel with relatively comparable rates considering how nice of a hotel it is. It’s also rather historic, having been built in the 1890s.

While you could easily stay here in the winter or any time of year, you’ll want to visit The Brown Palace Hotel to attend their Afternoon Tea. It’s such a fun event to attend, and it’s even more fun in the winter because it’ll warm you up.

This classic tea service happens in the afternoon between 12 and 4 pm, so make sure you plan your trip to The Brown Palace Hotel wisely.

If you don’t have time to sit down and enjoy tea with fun treats, then consider ordering from their to-go station!

Walk around the Denver Botanic Garden at night.

Colorful lights in trees and bushes in the Denver Botanical Garden, with snow on the ground, celebrating Christmas in Denver

Every winter, the Denver Botanic Garden hosts its own fun event! All of the plants get entirely covered in fun lights, which you can only witness at night once the sun goes down.

Tickets usually have to be purchased for this event ahead of time because the garden is one of the city’s top attractions no matter the time of year. It gets even more popular in the winter months because of this event!

As an insider’s tip, don’t try to visit the garden during the day in the winter. It’s not that fun because you can see all of the lights wrapped around the plants, but they’re turned off, so it kind of ruins the experience.

Go skiing or snowboarding.

ski trails in loveland pass colorado

So many people come to Colorado for outdoor sports, and the same is true in the winter. If you’re traveling with a car or have access to one, then you’ll be able to enjoy this famous Colorado pastime.

There are quite a few ski and snowboard resorts within the Denver area. You could consider going to Echo Mountain Resort near Idaho Springs, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, or Loveland Ski Area.

Some of these are smaller ski resorts, but there are still quite a few slopes that you can hit up.

If you don’t have any equipment with you, don’t worry. You can rent them here. If you’re staying in Denver for a longer period of time, consider hitting up Breckenridge or Aspen for a really fun time.

Have dinner in an igloo.

christmas lights in larimer square denver

Denver is known for its fantastic dining scene. The weather is always near perfect in the city, so there are tons of spots for outdoor seating. This still holds true in the winter, but instead of eating directly outside, you can be seated in a fun warm igloo!

There are quite a few places around the city that you can indulge and dine this way. The most popular spot is Larimer Square, which is one of the most historic parts of the city. A lot of this street is pedestrian-only, and the restaurants are top-notch.

Another great spot in the city to try out igloo dining is at Union Station. A few of the restaurants here have igloo spots, including the bar. I do recommend that you make a reservation ahead of time to make sure one of them will be open, so you don’t get seated inside instead.

Learn at one of Denver’s many museums.

The famous sculpture The Yearling outside of the Denver Library

The city of Denver is filled with so many museums. Seriously, no matter what your hobbies or personal interests, there’s probably a museum related to it somewhere throughout the city. So, instead of being freezing outside, consider going to one of Denver’s museums.

The most famous museum in Denver is the Denver Art Museum, which is right next to the Denver Capitol Building.

Other great museums here include the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Children’s Museum of Denver, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

Before you plan your trip to Denver, make sure to check online to see when free days are at the museums. The museums in Denver work hard to be accessible to everyone, so they host multiple free days each month.

Go to Winter Brew Fest.

Image Credit: Jason Cipriani via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Honestly, no Denver trip — winter or summer — is complete without taking part in the local drinking culture.

The city is filled with great local breweries, selling and making everything from ciders to seltzers to great beers.

While most people come to Denver to attend Summer Brew Fest, there’s also one in the winter: Winter Brew Fest. It’s been happening in Denver for about 15 years now!

It’s the perfect way to learn more about Denver’s drinking culture and also to try out some delicious beverages.

The event usually only takes place on one day in Denver in January, so if you know that this is an event you must attend, then be sure to find out when the date is.

Historically, there have been more than 100 different drinks to try at this event!

Shop at 16th Street Mall.

The 16th street mall lit up in colorful lights at dusk

Essentially, 16th Street Mall is a huge pedestrian-only street that’s a little over a mile long. It’s lined with tons of great shops and restaurants.

Some of them are local sellers like Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, but others are more commercial.

The mall gets all lit up in the winter and is completely lined with tons of excellent lights. Sometimes, the mall also hosts its own events. You might find that you’re lucky and attend one during your trip!

Be sure to walk along the mall and see what’s going on. It’s right next to Skyline Park, where the ice skating takes place and is also a short walk from the Christkindl Market, so there’s seriously so much to do in this area.

Snap a photo at Denver’s Mile High Tree.

colorful rainbow mile high tree lit up at night, with snow on the ground

While most cities across the United States get huge real trees that they decorate and light up in one of the city’s most popular areas, Denver at Christmas does something completely different. It gets its own Mile High Tree, which is entirely electronic!

The tree is so unique and fun. When you look at it, it’s almost like you’re watching a light show but without the music. It’s set up right along the 16th Street Mall in the open green space about halfway down the street.

Usually, you can even stand in line to go right inside of the Mile High Tree and snap some photos. This is such a fun experience! You can stand inside of it and look up to be surrounded by flashing lights.

Hike in Boulder.

Winter in the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado, a popular winter active day trip from Denver

Believe it or not, but hiking is still a fun thing to do in winter in Colorado. The best place to go hiking near Denver is Boulder.

It’s less than an hour away by car and is accessible by public transportation if you book tickets for the Flatiron Flyer.

Boulder has tons of great hikes, but arguably the most popular is hiking near the Flatirons. Because some of the more difficult hikes can get icy and snowy in the winter, try to pick one of the trails that are a bit flatter.

The weather in Denver during the winter is genuinely not that bad. Sure, it snows, but temperature-wise it’s usually not that cold compared to other parts of the United States.

So, hiking is doable in winter! Of course, be sure to still check the weather and dress appropriately for your hike.

Attend the Parade of Lights.

Colorful Christmas lit up floats at a parade
Image Credit: Brian Papantonio via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Parade of Lights is an annual event in Denver in winter held by the local 9News station.

It’s a huge parade filled with all of the Christmas and holiday festivities. It’s the perfect event if you’re traveling to Denver at Christmas with children too!

The parade takes place at night because its main focus is the lights, so that’s something to keep in mind. Young children may need to take a nap to attend!

Throughout the parade, you’ll see tons of giant floats all lit up. People get all dressed up in red and green, and the event truly gets you in the holiday spirit, no matter your age.

Be sure to get there early to save yourself a good spot with a view!

See a Denver Nuggets game.

Basketball players at the arena playing a game
Image Credit: David Herrera via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll absolutely love this!

Basketball is a winter sport, so what better time of year to support the local Denver teams like the Denver Nuggets?

The Nuggets play at Ball Arena, which is right next to the Children’s Museum and Elitch Gardens. In other words… it’s right near downtown!

Tickets range in price, usually depending on who the Nuggets are playing. So, make sure you do your research and find out if the game you want to attend will be expensive or not. Sometimes, if you can hold off purchasing until an hour or two before the game, the tickets can be crazy cheap, like $20.

Because of the way the arena is set up, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Plus, there are huge jumbotrons in the middle of the court, so it’s impossible to miss any power plays throughout the game.

The arena also has tons of great places to eat, so you can easily buy yourself something right there if you get hungry during the game. However, it might be a little pricy!

Catch the fireworks.

Fireworks over the city of Denver at New Years

Every year, Denver has its own fireworks to help bring in the New Year. You can usually see them all around the city, so you can try to catch them no matter where you are if you’re in the city’s vicinity.

However, here’s an insider tip: head to either Confluence Park or 16th Street Mall to get an unparalleled view of the fireworks. Sure, these spots can get kind of busy with locals watching them, but the view is so unmatched that it’s worth it.

There’s no better way to bring in the New Year in the Denver area than by catching these fireworks!

Visit the Denver Zoo.

Photo Credit: Greg Goebel via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Head to the Denver Zoo to catch the Denver Holiday Lights! This is one of the most fun things to do in Denver in winter, especially if you’re traveling with children.

The entire zoo gets completely lit up with tons of lights throughout the park. Plus, the animals are still out, so you can visit with the animals and see the lights at the same time.

This is another one of the events during the holidays that you’ll want to purchase tickets for ahead of time if you can because it’s such a popular event.

Be sure to also dress really warmly for this event. The zoo is reasonably sizeable, so you’ll be doing lots of walking, and you never know when it will suddenly start snowing in this city!

The 12 Most Scenic Colorado Road Trips & Drives

If you love adventure and the great outdoors, then you’re going to love Colorado!

Located in the southwestern part of the United States, Colorado is an adventure lover’s dream, filled with beautiful hikes, epic mountain drives, and breathtaking viewpoints throughout.

One of the best ways to explore the beauty of Colorado is to go on an epic Colorado road trip, taking in the scenery and culture at your own pace.

These road trips in Colorado are truly unlike those anywhere else in the United States because of the amazing naturalness of the state.

Throughout this post, you’ll learn all about the very best Colorado road trips. By the end, you’ll want to chase your wanderlust all the way to Colorado!

The Best Colorado Road Trips

Below are all of the must-do Colorado road trips! They vary in length, but some of them are near each other.

You could easily do multiple road trips around the state in the same week if you plan wisely!

Trail Ridge Road

One of the best wonders of Colorado is Rocky Mountain National Park, and the easiest way to explore it is to road trip through it on Trail Ridge Road. This road has been a favorite among nature lovers since it was completed in the 1930s.

While on the road, you’ll be brought through beautiful cliffsides and epic views. It’s most commonly called the Highway to the Sky because it’s the highest continuous paved road in the United States and goes pretty high into the mountains.

Because it’s so high, it’s pretty common to get altitude sickness while doing this drive. Be sure to stay hydrated and pay attention to how you’re feeling along the drive just in case anything takes a turn for the worse.

The halfway point of the drive is also a great stop to relax along the trip. A great mid-way point is the Alpine Visitor Center, so be sure to keep an eye out for it along the way.

For an epic view that you won’t want to miss, be sure to climb to the top of the trail right near the visitor center.

To do this drive, start in Estes Park and follow the road until the end. Along the way, be sure to stop at both Medicine Bow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook if you have the time.

If you want to get the most out of this drive, be sure to start earlier in the day because then you can also spot some local Colorado wildlife that often hide away as the day goes on.

You’ll also want to make sure to pay attention to the speed limits, especially because the road is cliffside for some of it.

Driving Distance: 48 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 to 4 hours

Pikes Peak Highway

Hairpin curve in the mountains with several cars going up the mountain and some light fog, on a popular Colorado road trip

Pikes Peak Highway is Colorado’s most popular and well-known road trip because of its incredible viewpoints. It’s one of the most scenic drives in Colorado!

Located right outside of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is a must-visit 14er in the state!

While many people with experience will opt to hike Pikes Peak to get all the fantastic viewpoints, it’s become more accessible to get similar views by road tripping the Pikes Peak Highway.

Because this highway can be pretty dangerous in the dark to it being cliffside, it’s only open to the public between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., with the last ticketed entry at 6:00 p.m. The highway is also occasionally closed in the winter if there’s too much snow.

To do this drive, it’s pretty simple. After you pay for your entrance onto the highway, you just follow it. Be sure to stop at all of the scenic lookout points because each one is different than the other, and you won’t want to miss them.

In June 2021, the Summit View House is also going to open, which will be an excellent place for you to grab souvenirs or even a coffee on your drive.

Driving Distance: 19 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 to 5 hours

Independence Pass

Meadow along Independence Pass Road, in autumn road tripping in Colorado.

Another epic road trip in Colorado is driving the Independence Pass. The road is incredibly narrow, but the views are amazing and are a part of Colorado State Highway 82.

It’s the perfect road trip to do if you want to visit Aspen or Leadville, as it goes right between the two. Instead of just driving the pass, you could make it more of a loop and also visit Aspen and Leadville on your road trip.

Independence Pass is the highest road in Colorado that’s paved because the summit is just over 12,000 feet. As you might imagine, this pass is often closed in the winter due to snow and ice. Be sure to plan your trip wisely if you wish to do this road trip.

Similar to Pikes Peak Highway, this is a pretty simple drive as far as directions go. Just follow the road! However, this is a popular road trip to do, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the other cars, especially when the road gets narrower.

Along the drive, you’ll find a few pull-over spots where you can take in the stunning view. Don’t pass these spots by, or you’ll regret it.

A great nearby attraction that you won’t want to miss is the Independence Ghost Town that once served as a mining town back in the 1800s.

The Grottos Ice Caves are also nearby and worth stopping at if you have the time.

Driving Distance: 32 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 hours

Million Dollar Highway

Road against the edge of a mountain with lots of evergreen trees in the distance on a sunny day road tripping Colorado

The Million Dollar Highway is a stretch of U.S. Route 550 that goes through Colorado State. It got its name because it was not cheap at all to build, but it truly offers million-dollar views along the way.

Start the drive in Ouray and end it in Silverton to stay within the state of Colorado. If you’d like to explore a surrounding state, you can also follow it into New Mexico if you have the time.

A decent portion of the drive is up in the mountains, and it’s even more incredible if you can do the drive in the autumn because all of the trees change color.

The best part of the Million Dollar Highway is Uncompahgre Gorge, which puts the highway right against huge jutting rocks and a cliff face with no guard rails along the majority of it, so you’ll want to be careful while driving.

Along the way, be sure to use all the viewpoints to your advantage. One of the best spots to stop along the drive is on Red Mountain Pass. Make sure you don’t miss it!

Also, instead of just driving the road, be sure to take the time to explore Ouray and Silverton. There’s a fantastic train ride in Silverton that’s incredibly scenic, but this could add another day or two to your road trip.

Driving Distance: 25 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 1 day

Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway

Colorado River along the southern border of Arches National Park, Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, Utah

One of the longer road trips in Colorado is the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway. It covers a good chunk of northwestern Colorado and was named because dinosaurs were rather prominent in the area during prehistoric times.

This road trip technically also dips into Utah, but it’s still considered a Colorado road trip because half of it is in Colorado, too.

The Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway is a great road trip for families in particular, especially families with children who love dinosaurs.

Start the drive by heading to Grand Junction, one of Colorado’s most scenic areas. This is where most people start the drive. Then, go to Fruita and Dinosaur, and then go over to Utah and complete the loop.

Along the drive, you’ll want to stop at some different places and landmarks that you won’t want to miss. Some great spots include the Colorado National Monument, Canyon Pintado National Historic District, and the Dinosaur Journey Museum.

On average, this trip takes about two to three days but can take longer or shorter depending on how often you stop along the way. For instance, this drive could easily be stretched out to even a bit longer if you wanted to spend more time exploring.

Driving Distance: 512 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 3 days

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Red car going up a mountain pass on a sunny day with hills and mountains in the background

Next up is the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, which is a popular road trip from Denver, Colorado. It’s about 60 miles from downtown Denver.

Similar to Pikes Peak, Mount Evans is another popular drive to take that will bring you up one of Colorado’s 14ers.

Many people opt to hike Mount Evans, but it can be dangerous without experience. So, go to the top of a 14er by driving instead!

The easiest place to start this is from Idaho Springs, a mountain town west of Denver. From there, get to the top of Mount Evans by taking Highway 5. Driving to the top of Mount Evans is consistently ranked as one of the best things to do in Colorado.

Along the drive, you’ll be brought by beautiful lookouts as you go through the mountain. No matter what time of year you visit and do this drive, you’ll have genuinely excellent vantage points that you would not get elsewhere, so take advantage of them.

You do have to pay a fee of $15 per car in order to go on the byway, but it’s entirely worth it. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is open 24/7, but it’s best to do the drive during the day because it can be a safety hazard if you go in the evening.

Driving Distance: 28 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 5 to 8 hours, or one day

National Parks Loop

Stone dwellings carved into a cliffside and surrounded by trees in Mesa Verde National Park

For a longer road trip in Colorado, look no further than the National Parks Loop. Colorado is home to quite a few national parks, so take the time to road trip and visit all of them!

Start the loop in western Colorado in Grand Junction. From there, drive to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and then to Mesa Verde National Park.

Continue onto Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and try your hand at boarding down the sand dunes! Then, head to Rocky Mountain National Park, the last stop on the loop, and make your way back to Grand Junction.

This could be done in as many days as you want and could definitely become a longer road trip depending on how many stops you’d like to make along the way. I suggest spending at least a day or two at each of the parks, so anywhere between 7 to 10 days is perfect.

Be sure also to purchase a National Parks Pass to save yourself money when entering each of the parks!

Along the National Parks Loop, you’ll also go through some other small towns worth exploring like Telluride, Durango, and Buena Vista.

Be sure to enjoy the small towns along the way and explore the rural side of Colorado too!

Driving Distance: 941 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 7 days

Denver Area Road Trip

Dakota Ridge near Golden Colorado a beautiful hiking area

Just because you’re visiting Denver doesn’t mean you can’t take a road trip to explore more of the area.

On this quick road trip from Denver, you’ll be brought through all of the best small towns and cities surrounding Denver.

Because they’re so close together, you could easily visit two a day to complete the road trip in as little as three days or spend one day in each place on the itinerary.

Start the road trip in Denver; from there, head north to Fort Collins and then make your way to Boulder.

Next, head south to Golden (stop and check out some of the beautiful hikes!) and also Idaho Springs. End the road trip by visiting Colorado Springs.

So many great places are waiting to be explored by you in these towns. Here are some must-visit spots in each town.

  • Denver: 16th Street Mall, Dairy Block, Confluence Park, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  • Fort Collins: Horsetooth Reservoir, Boyd Lake State Park
  • Boulder: Flatirons hike, Pearl Street
  • Golden: Downtown Golden, Coors Brewery
  • Idaho Springs: Echo Mountain (in winter), Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel
  • Colorado Springs: Garden of the Gods, The Broadmoor

If you’d rather not do all of these places as a road trip, they also make excellent day trips from downtown Denver.

Each place is within an hour from Denver, so you could easily use Denver as a home base and do a whole bunch of mini road trips for nearby sightseeing if you wish.

Driving Distance: 262 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 3 to 6 days

Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

Peak to Peak Highway through the Rocky Mountains near Estes Park, Colorado

One of the most beautiful road trips in Colorado is the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway! To do this road trip, start in Estes Park to I-70.

If you love history, then you’re going to love this drive. It’s the oldest scenic byway in the entire state because it was built in 1918. It’s been a favorite among locals and tourists ever since.

The drive will bring you throughout the natural part of the state and will even bring you through some ghost towns. Plus, there will be some epic lakes along the way, so you’ll have plenty of viewpoints to look out and take a jaw-dropping picture.

Another thing to keep an eye out for along the way are the gold mine remnants. Tons of gold mines in Colorado used to be in this area of the state, and sometimes you’ll even find people panning for gold in the water.

Arguably one of the must-sees along the way are the aspen trees; however, they are only stunning in the fall when they’re yellow. So, try to do this drive in the fall to really get the most out of it.

Driving Distance: 59 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 3 to 5 hours

San Juan Skyway

Fall colors of the yellow Aspens along the San Juan Skyway north of Durango Colorado.

The San Juan Skyway is another beautiful road trip, and it’s even been mentioned in popular news outlets like Travel + Leisure for being one of the best spring drives in the United States — though fall with its golden aspens isn’t bad, either!

Most people will start this drive in Durango. From there, head to Mancos, Dolores, Stoner, Rico, Telluride, Ridgeway, Ouray, Silverton, and then finish by heading back to Durango.

There are tons of great places to visit along the drive, including Mesa Verde National Park, San Juan National Forest, and Bridal Veil Falls.

If you love skiing, you’ll want to check out Durango Mountain, and if you love hiking, visit one of the 14ers, El Diente Peak or Mount Wilson.

If you love scenic train rides, you can even finish out the loop by riding the train from Silverton to Durango. This is one of the most popular train rides in the state.

While you could technically do this entire drive in just 7 hours, I don’t suggest that you fly through it. There are so many epic places to visit and beautiful small towns that you should truly take the time to explore.

Too often, small towns filled with history are skipped for big cities. Don’t let that happen when driving the Suan Juan Skyway!

Driving Distance: 236 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 1 to 3 days

Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway

Fall drive through Phantom Canyon in Colorado, USA with its brilliant yellow aspens

Another of Colorado’s state scenic byways that makes a great road trip is the Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway. This road trip, like you may have guessed from the name, brings you through some of Colorado’s gold rush sites.

The best place to start the Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway is in Cañon City, and then check out the Royal Gorge Route Railroad.

Be sure also to visit Phantom Canyon Road and Victor. Head back and check out Florence, and finish by looping back to Cañon City.

Similar to every other road trip, there are some great places that you won’t want to miss, like the Lowell Thomas Museum, the Ag and Mining History Museum, the Outlaw & Lawmen Jail Museum, and the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.

An absolute must-do is the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. It’s a highly scenic drive, and you’ll learn a lot about the area along the way while witnessing it for yourself.

Please note that there are also quite a few ways to do this road trip. It’s best to do it in about two days so that you can fully explore the area, but there are different ways to take in the views.

In fact, some people even opt to take a helicopter tour over the byway to get unparalleled views!

Driving Distance: 131 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 2 days

Highway of Legends

Highway of Legends winding through southwest Colorado on a sunny day

The Highway of Legends is a southern Colorado scenic drive that begins in Walsenburg.

From there, get on the highway and go to Trinidad, Weston, Stonewall, Cuchara, La Veta, and back to Walsenburg to complete the loop.

This road trip can easily be done in just a few short hours, but take at least a full day or two to explore it and see all that it truly offers fully.

For example, you won’t want to drive quickly through the Spanish Peaks, Cuchara Pass, Cuchara Valley, or the beauty in Cokedale or Trinidad.

Trinidad, in particular, is known for its interesting Victorian architecture that will make you step back in time!

If you want to lengthen your trip, then you can easily do so. There are tons of beautiful places to explore here, including San Isabel National Forest, La Veta Pass, and the Spanish Peaks State Wildlife Area.

There’s even a 14er that you can do if you feel up to it: Culebra Peak!

For a great train ride, be sure to check out the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad, which brings visitors right through the San Luis Valley and La Veta Pass.

The views are absolutely incredible, and you can ride inside a vintage train, making the experience even more memorable.

The Highway of Legends is one of the best ways to explore some small towns in southern Colorado, so don’t pass up this road trip.

Driving Distance: 82 miles

Recommended Road Trip Length: 1 to 2 days

2 Days in Denver: The Perfect Weekend in Denver Itinerary

Denver, Colorado, is often seen as the perfect home base for adventuring in the Rocky Mountains, but the city itself is filled with great history, tasty food, and tons of fun things to do.

Whether you’re planning on spending a few days in Denver before exploring the Rockies, or you’re just stopping by for a weekend, this Denver itinerary is the perfect way to find out what’s worth doing in the Mile High City.

Throughout this article, you’ll find out the perfect way to spend two days in Denver if it’s your first time visiting this city. Perhaps you’ll even want to spend longer after reading this! 

Flying into Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport - view of food courts and people walking around the airport interior

If you’re flying into Denver, there are a few ways to easily get into the city.

Renting a Car: In my opinion, this is the best option for this itinerary, which has destinations like Red Rocks Amphitheater on it which are hard to access via public transit (and would require a ~$60 return Uber ride).

Not sure where to get the best deal on your rental? I’ve rented cars dozens of times through various search engines and have settled on Discover Cars as the best car rental search engine – it searches over 500 trusted rental companies to find the cheapest price for your rental! Compare prices for car rental from Denver here.

Taking Light Rail: The light rail from the airport is a great eco-friendly alternative to renting a car. Not having a car will make some aspects of this Denver itinerary more challenging, but if you can’t drive — or just prefer not to — light rail into the city costs just $10.50 and is easy and convenient.

Uber or Lyft: If you prefer to land and hit the ground running without having to deal with public transit or renting your own car, a ride-share from the airport to your hotel to drop off your bags is the best bet. An Uber or Lyft from the airport costs around $40. 

Where to Stay in Denver

Light rail station in front of Union Station in Denver. Text on building reads "Union Station Travel by Train"

If you’re trying to figure out where to stay on your Denver weekend getaway, we’ve got you covered with a few great suggestions!

In general, on a weekend trip, I don’t suggest Airbnb. Checking in and out can be a pain in the butt with flaky hosts, and Airbnb’s service and cleaning fees have gotten insane lately. 

Here are our suggestions for hotels in Downtown Denver:

LUXURIOUS | For a classic luxury hotel experience, The Brown Palace hotel offers up the best place to stay in Denver. It’s over a hundred years old, and you can sense the history in every nook and cranny of this gorgeous hotel, particularly its stunning lobby. Amenities include twice-daily maid service, six on-site restaurants, and an on-site boutique spa.
>> Book online here

CENTRAL | Another great option on the luxury end of the spectrum is The Crawford Hotel at Union Station. It’s literally part of the train station, so you can enjoy the food hall and restaurants in Union Station right at your fingertips. The rooms have an industrial-chic vibe and the location couldn’t be more central: the light rail is right in front!
>> Book online here

BUDGET | There are a few great hostels and budget-friendly options in Denver. One of the coolest hostels in Denver is Ember Hostellocated in Capitol Hill. This chic hostel has everything from 4 to 16 person bunk rooms as well as private rooms. The furnishings are boutique hotel-level stylish (including the bathrooms!), and there are all sorts of amenities to enjoy like a hot tub, fire pit where you can roast s’mores, and social events.
>> Book online here

Day One of Your Denver Weekend Itinerary

For your first day during your weekend in Denver, you’ll be spending a lot of time sightseeing in the LoDo area or Lower Downtown. 

This is often seen as the main downtown area, and there are tons of things to do here!

The historic downtown area of Denver with summer plants and people out enjoying restaurant seating outdoors

Order breakfast at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery.

Start your morning off right by ordering breakfast at one of the top-rated breakfast restaurants in all of Denver: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

They have three locations around the city, but you’ll want to make sure you head to the one on Larimer Street because it’s closer to the second stop on today’s itinerary.

Snooze has a very retro diner vibe, but it’s also very vibrant and upbeat at the same time. Each of their locations is pretty similar, with fun orange seating, and there’s usually a lot of spots to sit outside too.

Their menu is pretty extensive with breakfast entrees because that’s what they specialize in. I always order their “Bella! Bella! Benny,” which is an eggs benedict with prosciutto and balsamic.

Here’s an insider tip from a local: Snooze is popularly visited no matter the day of the week. Be sure to join the waitlist on their app because sometimes the wait times can be an hour or longer. 

The earlier you get up to go there, the better your chances of getting seated quickly!

The exterior of the Snooze eatery, a popular breakfast stop on a weekend in Denver
Image Credit: Jeffrey Beall via Flickr

Look for street art in RiNo (River North).

After breakfast, it’s finally time to start exploring all that Denver has to offer!

Begin in the River North Art District, or RiNo, neighborhood, which is most well known for its hipster coffee shops, art galleries, and breweries.

This area of Denver is also known for its fantastic street art! 

A lot of the street art pieces are actually part of the city’s Crush Walls, which means that they get painted over with a new piece of art every year. 

You can download maps of where the current Crush Walls are by looking online at their site and create your own little self-guided street art walking tour.

You can easily try to walk around RiNo if you want, but the neighborhood is pretty large.

Consider renting one of the electric scooters from either Lyft or Lime to get around and be able to maneuver yourself to find some of the best street art here!

Don’t forget to bring your camera, because this is part of the day where you’ll want to make sure you have it. 

Be sure to stop by some of the coffee shops here, because a lot of them have worked with local artists to get personalized street art murals for the outside of their shops.

Mural of a woman looking up to the sky, pop art style, in Denver Colorado
Image Credit: Paul Sabelman via Flickr

Grab lunch at the Denver Central Market.

Exploring the street art in RiNo can really take a lot of your energy, so you’ve probably worked up an appetite! 

Don’t worry; there’s one must-visit place to grab food in this neighborhood: the Denver Central Market, a tasty food hall-style marketplace.

This fun and modern eatery is filled with tons of vendors selling everything from pizza to ice cream and even specialty cheeses. 

These restaurants allow you to either pick up the food to go or eat it right at Denver Central Market!

Open-air seating is abundant here, and the entire outdoor seating area is surrounded by more amazing street art, including a popular mural that says, “Talk Denver to me.” 

Most of the vendors will bring the food directly to your table, too, no matter where you’re sitting outside.

Some restaurants here include GreenSeed, Izzio Artisan Bakery, and High Point Creamery, where you can get a flight of five ice creams with toppings!

Several scoops of Ice cream served in a tray
Image Credit: Jpellgen via Flickr

Stop for a drink at Stem Ciders.

Hopefully, you aren’t too full from lunch because before you leave RiNo, you’ll want to stop by Stem Ciders

This urban city cidery has lots of outdoor and indoor seating and tons of amazing flavors that you won’t want to miss.

They have both seasonal and year-round flavors, so if you were to visit multiple times in a year, you’d find different drinks on the menu. 

Some of their best flavors include Lavender, made with cinnamon and cardamom, and Chile Guava, made with Guajillo chiles.

If you have trouble choosing which flavors you want to try, don’t worry. You can order a flight of four different flavors for less than $10. This is the perfect way to try out a handful of their flavors! 

They have pre-selected flavors in some of the flights, too, so that you can try some of their bestsellers.

A flight of five colorful ciders

Walk around 16th Street Mall and do some shopping.

From RiNo, make your way to LoDo’s 16th Street Mall. 

This mall is a little over a mile long and is essentially a long pedestrian-only street filled with both local and commercial shops and restaurants.

You could easily spend a few hours exploring here, but try not to get too carried away! A few of the shops you absolutely can’t miss include The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Where the Buffalo Roam.

This street has quite a few street vendors too, so if you’re hungry already, you can easily grab yourself a snack.

Don’t worry if you start to get knackered already! 

You can hop on the Free Mall Ride, a free shuttle that runs all the way from Union Station to Civic Center Station, which is right next to the Colorado State Capitol building. The bus stops on every single block, making it easy to get around.

Colorful 16th street mall lit up at late afternoon as the day starts to turn to night

Visit the Colorado State Capitol building.

Next, make your way to the Denver State Capitol building. 

This historic landmark was built in the 19th century and commands your attention no matter where in LoDo you are, so it’s pretty hard to miss it.

While tours are only offered Monday through Friday, it’s still worth stopping by this building just to marvel at its huge gold dome. 

While you’re here, you can also take the time to explore some of the other great spots in this area before heading to the next stop on this Denver itinerary.

One of the spots worth visiting here is Civic Center Park, a huge green space with tons of seating right in front of the Capitol. 

It’s often the place where a lot of Denver’s best events and festivals are held, including the annual Christmas Market!

Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver, summer flowers in front of the building on a sunny day

Go to Union Station.

One of the final stops on your first day of this Denver weekend itinerary is Union Station! 

This historic building is also a hotel and the central transportation hub in Denver. 

It’s where you can catch the train to the airport or even hop on the California Zephyr Amtrak to either San Francisco or Chicago!

This building is glorious, so you’re not going to want to miss it! 

The inside is magical, and there are tons of shops and little restaurants that offer to-go food. Even if you’re a picky eater, you’ll be able to find something to eat here.

Spend some time exploring Union Station and check out the shops! One of the best shops here is the Tattered Cover Bookstore, which is the leading independent bookstore in Denver. 

They have a few locations around the city. While this location is quaint and on the small side, it’s still great to visit and support a local shop.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during the winter, then you’ll be shocked at how snazzy Union Station gets! 

There’s usually a giant tree that gets placed in the center of the building, and both the inside and outside of Union Station get decked out in holiday lights for all to see.

The exterior of Denver Union Station with cars and taxis in front of it

Grab dinner and relax in Confluence Park.

So, this stop on the itinerary might change depending on the weather or time of year that you’re visiting. 

For example, traveling in the winter or when it’s raining might not be a great time for having a picnic in the park, so instead, consider eating at one of the sit-down restaurants right at Union Station for dinner.

Visiting in the spring, summer, or fall, though, is perfect for this fun itinerary item! 

Get a to-go dinner from one of the restaurants at Union Station and take a short walk to Confluence Park. You’ll have to cross over a bridge that’s considered one of the most picturesque spots in the city.

Confluence Park is a giant green space in Denver right next to the river that’s filled with spots to sit and relax. 

This is an excellent place to have a picnic, which is actually one of my favorite things to do in the city!

After dinner, you could also consider walking along the river a little because there are some great paved trails that will bring you to some of the city’s best natural scenery.

End the day with ice cream from Little Man.

There’s no better time for dessert than after a fun picnic dinner! Arguably the best spot for an ice cream dessert in all of Denver is Little Man Ice Cream

This Denver staple has been a favorite among locals and tourists visiting the city since it opened in 2008 and immediately took everyone by storm!

To get there, you could either take the bus, order a ride-share like Uber or Lyft, or take a walk. The walk really isn’t that long and allows you to explore this part of Denver on foot.

Little Man Ice Cream is situated inside a huge milk jug-shaped stand that takes orders by walking up to the window. 

They have lots of outdoor seating, so you don’t have to worry about walking around while eating your ice cream.

What’s so great about Little Man Ice Cream is its flavors. They switch them out throughout the year depending on the season, so they’re pretty much never the same.

Usually, flavors like Oreo, Snickers, and Twix are always on the menu, among others.

Milk jug ice cream stand in Denver with the text 'little man ice cream'
Image Credit: Vxla via Flickr

Day Two of Your Denver Weekend Itinerary

Hopefully, you got a good night’s rest because your second day in Denver is going to be a full day of fun! 

You’ll be traveling a bit more around the city today, so consider buying a local day pass for public transportation, which costs $6, unless you have a car with you.

Catch the sunrise at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Today, start your day bright and early! 

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is one of the can’t-miss Denver attractions. 

It primarily serves as the Denver area’s main concert venue for excellent live music [editor’s note: I saw an amazing Jethro Tull concert there!], but it’s also filled with tons of other fun things to do that most visitors don’t know about.

Red Rocks opens about one hour before sunrise, so try to get there around that time! 

Take a quick hike up to the concert venue seating and settle in to watch the sunrise. This is truly magical because you’re surrounded by mountains and can watch the sun begin to hover on top of the city!

If you’d rather catch the sunrise by doing something other than sitting, you’re in luck. There’s an easy trail that brings you around Red Rocks (that also opens an hour before sunrise) that you can walk around, or you can use the seating venue as a fitness area.

Remember that Denver is located one mile above sea level — hence its nickname, the Mile High City — so expect any exercise you do to be a little tougher here due to the altitude!

A few other great places to catch the sunrise other than Red Rocks include Lookout Mountain in Golden or The Flatirons in Boulder. 

All of these are within 30 minutes by car from downtown Denver!

If you don’t have a car, you can take this morning tour of Red Rocks and Lookout Mountain. It starts at 8 AM, so you can sleep in a bit, but you will miss the sunrise.

It’ll bring you back to Denver by noon, so you have plenty of time to finish out the rest of this itinerary.

Book your Red Rocks + Lookout Mountain tour here!

Red rocks amphitheater at sunrise with colors over the horizon illuminating the red rock and stadium steps

Head to breakfast at Syrup.

Another one of the best spots to grab breakfast in Denver is a little restaurant called Syrup.

This popular breakfast and brunch spot opens at 7:30 on the weekends, so it’s sure to be open by the time you get there.

The menu at Syrup is immense. You can find everything from delicious beignets to waffle sliders. They even have specialty “crack bacon,” which is made with black pepper and brown sugar!

Because of the order of things on this Denver itinerary, be sure to eat at either Syrup Cherry Creek (Josephine Street) or Syrup City Park (York Street). 

They’re closer to the Denver Botanic Gardens, which is next on this list!

Biscuits, eggs, hash brows, gravy, and bacon with a bloody mary
Image Credit: Aaron Hockley via Flickr

Spend the morning exploring the Denver Botanic Gardens.

From Syrup, head to the Denver Botanic Gardens

While you may think that this is the sort of landmark that must only be worth visiting in the summer, you’re wrong! In the winter in Denver, the botanical gardens get covered in lights, and it’s truly beautiful.

The Denver Botanical Gardens cover just over 20 acres and are separated into different areas based on the type of flora and fauna. 

There are also a variety of seating areas throughout the park so that you can rest in a truly peaceful and tranquil area.

Tickets cost $15 per person, and it’s best to purchase tickets online

Sometimes it can be challenging if you show up to pick up tickets in person, so don’t take the chance if you can help it. Children and students have a discounted ticket price.

Book your tickets online here!

If you still are a little hungry after breakfast and need a morning pick me up, you can grab one at the Offshoots Cafe or the Hive Garden Bistro

Be sure to check the online schedule to see if the gardens are hosting an event during your visit too!

Lily pads and a pond and a gazebo in Denver Botanic Gardens

Grab some sweets from Voodoo Doughnuts.

While you’re in the area, you have to head to Voodoo Doughnuts. This is the best place to get donuts in all of Denver, even though it’s not a local business.

Voodoo Doughnuts originated in Portland, Oregon. It’s been featured on quite a few episodes of shows on The Food Network and is known for its fun and crazy doughnut flavors that will have you drooling and begging for more!

Some of their flavors include Dirt, Voodoo Bubble, Chuckles, The Homer, and Bacon Maple Bar.

One of the most underrated (but delicious) flavors is Grape Ape, a yeast doughnut with frosting and sour grape candy dust on top. The flavor is so unique and tasty!

Here’s a tip from a local: if you want to save some money, consider purchasing the baker’s pick dozen. 

They’ll pick the flavors for you, but you get a lot more doughnuts for your money versus if you were to buy each doughnut separately. Each doughnut actually costs between $3 and $5.

Tiers of many different kinds of colorful donuts at Voodoo Doughnuts
Image Credit: Davis Staedtler via Flickr

Stop by City Park.

Right in this area is also City Park, a huge park covering more than 300 acres. 

It’s home to the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and tons of trails for you to walk, bike, or run.

Biking is usually the most popular thing to do here! 

There are bike shops in the area where you can rent a bike, or you can rent a Lyft bike using the Lyft app on your phone, which is what most people do here nowadays. 

Be careful how long you spend on a bike because the price can add up if you’re not careful!

If you’d rather not visit City Park, you could also consider stopping and perusing East Colfax Avenue instead. 

This is one of the more hip areas in Denver, so there are tons of fun little stores to pop your head into and explore.

Bench looking over the lake and pretty structures downtown in Denver

Have lunch at Sam’s No. 3.

For lunch, head to Sam’s No. 3

It’s a local Denver chain with three locations that is known for its delicious food. Their menu has burgers, sandwiches, steak, salads, and more. They also have tons of breakfast items if you want to have breakfast twice in one day!

Be sure to go to the downtown location instead of the one in Aurora or Glendale. No matter what you order on the menu, you’ll surely enjoy it. Plus, the restaurant is family-friendly and has a really fun atmosphere.

The downtown location also has outdoor seating, so if you’re visiting when the weather is nice, you can enjoy yourself and sit outside.

Image Credit: sfgamchick via Flickr

Go on a craft brewery tour, catch a game at Coors Field, or go to the Denver Art Museum.

Oh no, it’s your last afternoon in Denver! Don’t worry; there are a few things you can consider doing in downtown Denver to go out with a bang.

One of the most popular things to do in Denver is try all of the local breweries, so you could consider going on a craft brewery tour. These usually include stops at all of the best breweries in the area and allow you to taste their drinks too.

Book your craft brewery tour online here!

The second option is seeing a game at Coors Field to watch the Colorado Rockies play. 

Try to wait and buy tickets a few hours before the game instead of in advance because they can usually be purchased for less than $20 if you’re up for playing a wait-and-see game.

If possible, you may be able to catch a Denver Broncos game at Mile High Stadium as well, depending on timing.

Last but not least, you could spend the afternoon visiting the Denver Art Museum, which is Denver’s most popular museum. 

If you’re not into art, there are tons of other museums in the downtown area that you could consider visiting instead.

A photo of flowers in front of The Denver Art Museum with Downtown Denver in the background

Head back to LoDo to grab dinner in Larimer Square.

The perfect way to spend your last evening in Denver is to go to Larimer Square, the most historic part of downtown. The Victorian buildings here will take you back in time!

Larimer Square is lined with tons of great places to eat, including French bistro and top-rated Italian restaurants. 

Plus, the area is mainly pedestrian-only, so there is an abundance of outdoor seating options, and the entire square is covered in lights that make the whole street come alive at night.

No matter where you eat here, you are sure to love it!

Windows of the historical brick building on Larimer Square with string lights in front of it

Say your goodbye to Denver.

If you have time after dinner, you can walk to the nearby Big Blue Bear, a 40-foot tall sculpture adjacent to the Denver Convention Center, or you can grab drink at one of Denver’s best taprooms or rooftop bars! 

I suggest FIRE Terrace for a great rooftop bar in Denver atop the ART, a hotel.

colorful view of denver at night with lit up fire pits and city colors

Have More Time in Denver?

If you have a long weekend in Denver planned and need to fill up another day, or are planning a Colorado road trip with other destinations other than Denver, you can add a day trip or two to your itinerary

Rocky Mountain National Park

One of the most bucket-list worthy national parks in the USARocky Mountain National Park is located only a short drive from Denver. The Visitor Center is less than two hours from downtown Denver.

If you rented a car for your weekend in Denver, take that to RMNP and enjoy some of the best hikes and things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. You can visit for the day or stay overnight in Estes Park.

If you did not rent a car and are relying on public transit for your Denver weekend trip, it’s best to go by guided tour. These are relatively inexpensive and are a great, convenient way to avoid the hassle of visiting the park independently.

Book your Rocky Mountain National Park day tour here!

beautiful mirror lake in rocky mountain national park in summer with small patches of snow remaining

Boulder

Located just over 30 minutes from Denver, Boulder is a fantastic place for a day trip from Denver. 

This vibrant university town is also a hiker’s paradise — and it’s also heaven for craft beer lovers too, as Boulder is one of the brewing capitals of Colorado, with tons of great taprooms and brew pubs!

One thing not to miss on a day trip to Boulder? The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, which is a Silk Road-style teahouse in the heart of Boulder’s downtown area. 

It was given to Boulder as a gift from its sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and it was sent to Boulder in pieces and constructed on-site!

No car? You can get to Boulder easily via the Flatiron Flyer, or via a guided tour — I suggest this beer + hiking themed one!

intricate detailing on the dushanbe tea house in boulder with teal and blue and pink detail

Golden

Another great city just 30 minutes from Denver, Golden is a former Gold Rush town that is a great place to add to your Denver itinerary.

They have several epic hikes in Golden, including the Clear Creek Trail and Lookout Mountain.

There are also excellent museums, including the Colorado Railroad Museum, which has vintage train cars and a 19th-century railroad depot!

Colorado vintage train in the museum in Golden Colorado

Read More

We have a lot of great content and travel tips for Colorado! 

Check out our Denver travel guide that covers all the most useful things to know before you visit Denver.

We also have a post on the best things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park!

We also have posts on hikes in Golden and hikes in Breckenridge on the way!