Exploring the Best Landmarks of Denver


Known as the Mile High City, Denver is one of America’s most vibrant and exciting destinations. This cosmopolitan hub in the Rocky Mountain region boasts a thriving arts scene, vibrant neighborhoods bursting with energy, an abundance of outdoor adventures, and landmarks that offer a window into the city’s storied past.

From historical sites like Larimer Square to cultural institutions like the Denver Art Museum, Denver’s landmarks tell the tale of the Queen City of the Plains. Outdoor attractions like Red Rocks Park and concert venues allow visitors to immerse themselves in Colorado’s natural splendor. Urban adventures await in areas like the RiNo Art District, where street art and creative businesses are revitalizing the neighborhood.

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly activities, cultural experiences, outdoor escapes, or local flavor, this guide to the best landmarks in Denver has something for everyone.


  • Denver is known for its thriving arts scene, vibrant neighborhoods, outdoor adventures, and historical landmarks
  • Top attractions range from cultural sites like the Denver Art Museum to natural wonders like Red Rocks Park and concert venue
  • Creative districts like RiNo and areas like Larimer Square showcase the city's storied past

Overview of Denver’s Key Attractions

From amusement parks to world-class museums, Denver’s key attractions offer unique experiences for visitors. Family-friendly landmarks like the Denver Zoo and Denver Aquarium allow kids and adults alike to discover new worlds.

History buffs will enjoy the Molly Brown House Museum, home of the “unsinkable Molly Brown,” Titanic survivor and philanthropist, or taking a 45-minute tour of the Denver Mint.

The Denver Art Museum houses a world-renowned collection for art and culture lovers, while creative spaces like the Denver Performing Arts Complex showcase the best in music, theater, and dance. Nearby, the Brown Palace Hotel offers guided tours and afternoon tea.

Local street food, al fresco restaurants and bars, and gift shops can all be found at the 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian strip in downtown Denver that is 1.25 miles long. Downtown Denver is a hub of activity, with the Colorado Convention Center, Civic Center Park, and the Colorado State Capitol.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also find plenty to do. Red Rocks Park and its legendary amphitheater provide incredible views and concerts with the Rocky Mountains’ majestic peaks as a backdrop. Just outside the city, visitors can explore the fascinating geology of Dinosaur Ridge or the wildlife of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. From urban adventures to natural escapes, Denver’s attractions truly offer something for everyone.

Exploring Denver’s Vibrant Neighborhoods

In addition to its top landmarks, Denver is known for its vibrant neighborhoods. Areas like LoDo (Lower Downtown), RiNo (River North), and the Highlands have unique personalities and cultures.

LoDo serves as a hub for nightlife and entertainment. Visitors can barhop along Larimer Square, catch a baseball game at Coors Field, or take one of the many brewery tours to sample Denver’s famous craft beers. Stop by the dog-friendly Confluence Park for a picnic while watching kayakers and taking in the panoramic view of downtown Denver.

Just north, the RiNo Art District mixes industrial charm with a thriving arts scene. As one of the top areas for street art, it brings creative energy and revitalization to the neighborhood. For boutique shopping, dining, and city views, the Highlands offers lively urban streets and quiet residential areas to wander.

By exploring Denver’s distinct neighborhoods, visitors can experience the diversity of art, culture, cuisine, and community that makes the Mile High City special. These urban hubs showcase Denver’s creativity and passion, from local brewpubs to street art tours.

Outdoor Adventures in the Rocky Mountain Region

While Denver offers plenty of urban excitement, visitors should not miss the chance to experience the city’s natural surroundings.

Just west of the city, visitors can take the historic Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway to discover sites like the gravesite of famed Western showman Buffalo Bill and the unique rock formations of Red Rocks Park and Dinosaur Ridge. Travelers can also venture into the mountains to the historic mining towns of Idaho Springs and Georgetown before continuing on the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, which peaks at over 11,000 feet.

For winter sports, Denver makes an ideal base camp for skiing and snowboarding adventures. Top resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and Winter Park offer downhill thrills with stunning Rocky Mountain views. Many of these world-class ski resorts are only a 1-2 hour drive from downtown.

With the call of the mountains so close, Denver visitors would be remiss not to include outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, rafting, or wildlife viewing on their Mile High City itinerary.

Art and Culture: Denver’s Creative Spirit

Beyond its urban energy and natural beauty, Denver is also home to world-class art and cultural institutions. From distinguished museums and galleries to vibrant neighborhoods bursting with creativity, the Mile High City celebrates the arts.

The Denver Art Museum and its striking Frederic C. Hamilton building are must-sees. This impressive facility houses indigenous American artifacts, European masterworks, contemporary pieces, and temporary exhibitions from around the world. Just next door, the History Colorado Center immerses visitors in the state’s frontier past with high-tech and hands-on exhibits.

In addition to formal institutions, Denver’s art and culture shine through in its neighborhoods. The River North (RiNo) Art District represents the heart of Denver’s creative community. Once an industrial area, RiNo now overflows with street art, galleries, creative businesses, and events. Murals and graffiti art decorate walls and alleys throughout, making it one of the top neighborhoods for urban artscapes.

From world-famous museums to up-and-coming creative communities, the Mile High City inspires visitors to engage with art and culture around every corner. Public art installations, galleries, events, and eye-catching architecture reveal Denver’s passion for the arts.

Historical Sites Reveal Denver’s Past

While many of Denver’s top attractions highlight the city’s modern culture, creativity, and natural beauty, historical landmarks also reveal chapters of the city’s storied past. From Old West outposts to prohibition-era hotels, these sites offer windows into historic Denver’s frontier beginnings.

Larimer Square represents Denver’s earliest origins. Dating back to 1858, the city’s first commercial block now brims with restaurants, boutiques, and nightlife. Visitors can take walking tours to explore the Victorian buildings of this historic district before stopping at the Denver landmark Oxford Hotel, which opened in 1891. In nearby Golden, travelers can also tour the Coors Brewery or visit the site of the 1859 gold rush along Clear Creek.

Five Points neighborhood also provides a look into Denver’s history as one of the first neighborhoods open to African American residents in the late 1800s. Today, Five Points offers a lively urban experience with a strong cultural heritage. Visitors can take jazz and historical tours while exploring the neighborhood’s art galleries, restaurants, and music venues.

By encountering Denver’s heritage firsthand through landmarks like Larimer Square, the Oxford Hotel, and Five Points, visitors can trace the Mile High City’s storied past from frontier outpost to vibrant cosmopolitan destination.

Family-Friendly Attractions Abound

While adults may enjoy Denver’s art museums and brewery tours, the Mile High City also offers plenty of family-friendly landmarks. From educational museums to amusement parks, Denver delivers kid-approved adventures.

City Park is the best place to start for a day of family fun. In City Park, Denver’s own unique version of New York’s Central Park, you will find city views with a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, a public golf course, playgrounds, picnic spots, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, free concerts, and more.

The Denver Zoo offers families the chance to get eye-to-eye with exotic species from around the world. This 80-acre facility allows visitors to explore habitats ranging from the lush Rainforest to arid African Savanna.

Just next door, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science offers interactive exhibits covering everything from space to dinosaurs. The on-site IMAX theater and planetarium add even more immersive educational experiences.

When families need a thrill, Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park downtown provides roller coasters, log flumes, shows, rides, and slides. Young wizards can explore magic at The Wizard’s Chest, which was voted one of the Top 10 Toy Stores in America. These lively attractions prove there’s no shortage of family fun to be had in the Mile High City.

Wellness and Relaxation

Between sightseeing adventures, visitors can also find rejuvenation and relaxation across Denver. For upscale wellness experiences, hotels like the Oxford Hotel and the Kimpton Hotel Born offer luxurious spa treatments and amenities. The Oxford’s spa menu includes massages, body treatments, and facials to unwind body and mind.

Outdoor options also abound for wellness seekers. The Denver Botanic Gardens’ 24 acres provide tranquil spaces to meditate amid beautiful displays of plants and water features. For multi-sensory relaxation, Levitt Pavilion Denver offers free concerts and yoga sessions during warmer months with the backdrop of Ruby Hill Park’s lush lawns.

Whether indulging in a soothing spa treatment or stretching out under Colorado’s blue skies, Denver visitors have ample opportunities to refresh, recharge, and relax during their stay.

Culinary Exploration

To round out the trip, no visit to Denver is complete without exploring the city’s dining scene. From local specialties like green chili dishes to diverse international cuisine, the Mile High City also brings an adventurous attitude to its food.

The historic Larimer Square and trendy areas like LoHi (Lower Highlands) offer some of Denver’s hottest tables. Regional favorites include farm-to-table restaurants like Urban Farmer and Mexican eateries offering authentic green chili recipes. Beer lovers can also explore local brews with a Denver Beer Company Brewery tour or by sampling The Mile High City’s famous craft beers.

For an authentic taste of Denver’s history, the Buckhorn Exchange opened in 1893, serves Colorado cuisine. In the Five Points neighborhood, the Welton Street Cafe serves soul food, Caribbean jerk dishes, Vietnamese pho, Ethiopian stews, and more, reflecting the area’s culture and diversity.

Denver delivers an eclectic mix of culinary experiences, from local specialties to international flavors. Through its cuisine, the city provides yet another way for visitors to savor the Mile High destination’s unique history, culture, and identity.


What is there to do in Denver when it rains?

Even when the weather turns wet, Denver offers many indoor attractions to entertain visitors. The Denver Art Museum and Denver Museum of Nature and Science both provide hours of exhibits and activities under one roof. Downtown Aquarium, Denver Botanic Gardens’ tropical conservatory, and Butterfly Pavilion also allow visitors to experience living landscapes indoors. Brewery or history tours, theater performances, and shopping at Denver Pavilions or Cherry Creek Mall also make great rainy-day activities.

What is there to do in Denver at night?

At night, Denver comes alive with concerts, shows, events, and a vibrant bar and club scene. Popular nightlife spots include downtown’s LoDo neighborhood, which offers concerts at the Pepsi Center and Coors Field alongside clubs and comedy shows. For live music, Larimer Square and the Bluebird Theater in RiNo bring local and national acts. Various Denver neighborhoods like South Broadway and Capitol Hill provide clusters of hip bars, clubs, and lounges for visitors to bar-hop at night.

Is Denver worth visiting?

With its unique blend of urban and natural adventures, cultural attractions, historic landmarks, family activities, and culinary delights, Denver offers memorable experiences for all types of travelers. Visitors can discover everything from thriving arts communities to Old West heritage, all fueled by the city’s youthful energy and friendly local culture. So whether you’re a culture vulture, thrill-seeker, or nature lover, Denver’s diversity and dynamism make it well worth a visit.

What is the best time of year to visit Denver?

Denver provides plenty of seasonal activities, from winter sports to summer festivals. For the best weather, late spring through early fall creates ideal sightseeing and outdoor adventure conditions. Summer sees popular events like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, while September brings more comfortable temperatures for hiking and cycling in the Rockies.

Early snow transforms Denver into a winter wonderland by mid-November, perfect for ski trips. Holidays sparkle in the Mile High City with parades, lights, and festive spirit. So, while the weather changes, Denver entices visitors to explore year-round.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.