Denver, the capital of Colorado, has many fun things to do. People often know the state for its large ski hills, which aren’t too far from the city. Yet, there are plenty of fun things to do right in Denver without having to take a short road trip. Like many U.S. cities, Denver is rich in nature, history, and social events. No matter the time of year, you’re guaranteed to find some fun things to do in Denver. Here are 15 attractions to help you build your itinerary.
Really Fun Things to Do in Denver
#1 – Denver Botanic Gardens
This 23-acre garden oasis has the city’s most beautiful scenery and photo spots. It has a wide variety of flowers and other plants, located both indoors and outdoors. These gardens have been open since 1951, and they have a wide range of plant species, including rainforest orchids and cacti. On top of its mesmerizing nature sights, it’s also an educational center. It hosts a variety of classes, shows, and exhibits to keep things interesting for guests. It also has picnic spots and restaurants on-site, so you can stay as long as you want and enjoy some tasty meals.
#2 – Denver Art Museum
Sure, flowers are beautiful, but so is art! The Denver Art Museum is one of the many fun things you can do because it’s home to over 70,000 art pieces from all over the world. You’ll never run out of incredible artwork to admire, especially since the exhibits are spread across two buildings. This museum has one of the most impressive art collections in the United States, and it’s especially known for its large collection of western American art. If you’re traveling with kids, you can keep them entertained by checking out many of the interactive exhibits on-site.
#3 – Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
The Red Rocks Park is home to one of the best concert venues in the state. The amphitheater can hold over 9,500 people, and it has hosted many big names over the years, including The Beatles, John Denver, and Jimi Hendrix. When you’re not seeing a show, you can also explore the 700-acre park, which is full of many incredible nature sights. It’s most notable for its colorful cliffs, which have a path winding through them. If you want to rest your legs or learn more history, there’s also a visitor center accessible to guests.
#4 – Denver Zoo
Of course, zoos are a must-see for animal lovers on vacation. The Denver Zoo has been around since 1896, and it takes up 80 acres. It’s home to over 4,000 animals, including favorites like kangaroos, tigers, pythons, and orangutans. If you’re hoping for a cuteness overload, you can also check out the zoo’s nursery to see if there are any newborn animals. If you arrive during an animal’s feeding time, you’ll get to learn some more facts about the animal. Like many other zoos, there’s even a train and carousel for the children.
#5 – Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art is the largest collection of Colorado art in America. Yet, it’s a little different than the Denver Art Museum. Instead of focusing on paintings and sculptures, this attraction showcases furnishings from the 19th and 20th centuries. It was first established in 2003, and today it has over 30,000 pieces on display. Visitors can see some iconic works, including Pierre Paulin’s ribbon chair and Irving Harper’s marshmallow sofa.
#6 – Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
The Wings Over the Rockies is an educational museum that has over 150,000 square feet of aircraft and space vehicles. If you love space, then this will be one of the most fun things to do in Denver for you. Some notable exhibits include a B-18A Bolo, an RF-84K Thunderflash Parasite, an Alexander Eaglerock, and even an X-Wing fighter from the Star Wars films. Certain exhibits are even interactive, so they’re sure to catch the eye of children while still helping them learn a little history.
#7 – Molly Brown House Museum
The “Unsinkable Molly Brown” became famous for surviving the sinking of the Titanic. While she actually went by Margaret, the name “Molly Brown” stuck in history, especially after she was included in the Titanic film. The Molly Brown House Museum was once the home of the philanthropist and activist. So, you can now visit it to learn about Brown’s history, along with other interesting information about the time period. You can take self-guided tours of the structures, and even attend special events, like garden parties and gothic-horror story hours.
#8 – Mount Evans
Colorado is full of gorgeous mountains, and Mount Evans is one that can easily be seen from the city. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a 28-mile road that’s nicknamed the “road into the sky”. It’s one of the best ways to experience Mount Evans because as you drive up it, there will be an elevation change of about 9,000 feet. The highest point on the road has an elevation of 14,130 feet, making it America’s highest paved road. Along the road, there are plenty of places to stop to hike, fish, picnic, and snowshoe. You might even pass some elk or bighorn sheep. But if heights make you nervous, then this won’t be the most peaceful attraction for you.
#9 – Larimer Square
Larimer Square is free to walk around at, and it’s known as Denver’s oldest commercial block. The space was once a pioneer camp for Native Americans in 1858. But today, it has been restored as the ideal social spot. If you’re looking for bars, restaurants, and shopping, Larimer Square is the place to be. It’s also a great area to simply walk around, especially since it often has events going on at night.
#10 – Colorado State Capitol
Capitol buildings never cease to amaze guests and residents. And like all capitol buildings, the Denver State Capitol is massive and architecturally beautiful. It was first built in the 1890s using white granite with a gold dome on top. During the structure’s open hours, you can explore certain areas inside and outside, and you can even take a tour that will bring you up a narrow staircase to the top of the dome. Even if you’re not interested in learning more about it, it’s still a beautiful building to at least drive past.
#11 – Forney Transportation Museum
The Forney Transportation Museum is one of the most fun things to do in Denver for car enthusiasts. Like the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, this attraction has many authentic vehicles inside. It’s home to over 600 artifacts that are related to transportation in history. It not only showcases historical cars, but it also has other forms of transportation, such as motorcycles, aircrafts, carriages, trains, and bicycles. You can even sit in some of the vehicles to get a more hands-on experience. If you love cars, you can expect to spend a few hours at this museum.
#12 – Adams Mystery Playhouse
The Adams Mystery Playhouse is a more obscure attraction in Denver, but it’s still one of the many fun things to do. It’s the state’s first and only dinner theatre, which is fun and appropriate for all ages. It has funny, entertaining shows, with characters coming and interacting with the guests. While you’re watching, you also get to enjoy a buffet of delicious food. It’s a murder mystery show, so if your team is able to solve the crime, you’ll be rewarded at the end.
#13 – Coors Field
If you’re a family that loves sports, then the Coors Field is a great attraction for you. It’s Denver’s 76-acre baseball field that’s the home of the Colorado Rockies. Even if you’re not into baseball, attending a game can still be a thrilling experience. The large structure has beautiful views of the mountains in the distance, and it has plenty of other amenities for guests of all ages to experience. You can enjoy lots of dining options, test your pitching skills, and even get guided tours on most days. It’s more than just a baseball field, but instead, it’s a memorable location for the whole family.
#14 – Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Museums are the perfect way to learn about history in a fun and interactive way. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science can be one of your fun things to do in Denver if you like learning during your vacations. It’s a 716,000-square-foot museum with a wide range of exhibits, such as dinosaur skeletons, taxidermy displays, mummies, and an IMAX theater. The wildlife exhibits is often a favorite, showing off 90 different species from around the world. Both kids and adults will find the exhibits at this museum fascinating, so it’s a great stop for families visiting Colorado.
#15 – Union Station
While Denver’s Union Station might’ve been made for traveling by train, it’s exciting even for visitors who aren’t looking to travel further. It first opened in 1881, and has since expanded with lots of new features and amenities. Now, the structure includes a hotel, shops, and dining inside. Of course, the station’s architecture is also noteworthy, and it’s a perfect photo opportunity. If you’re nearby, you might as well stop in and check out everything that the Union Station has to offer. And if you need to take the train somewhere, then that’s even better!
There are so many fun things to do in Denver, so it can be difficult to choose which ones to include on your trip. Whether you want to drive around and take in the sights or stay inside and learn some history, you’ll be content at Colorado’s capital city. Hopefully, these 15 great attractions made your upcoming trip to Denver even more appealing!