Top Denver Tourist Attractions: Culture, Sports, and Nature


Known as the Mile High City for its elevation of over 5,000 feet, Denver offers visitors a vibrant urban playground surrounded by natural splendor. This Colorado destination has something for everyone, from world-class museums and performing arts to outdoor adventures across four seasons.

We’ll share the Denver tourist attractions you won’t want miss during your visit to this Rocky Mountain city.


  • With an arts scene boasting venues like the Denver Art Museum and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver delivers vibrant culture.
  • Outdoor activities range from urban hiking and biking trails to nearby ski resorts and wildlife tours.
  • Visitors can attend professional sporting events, sample local cuisine during Denver Restaurant Week, and explore historic neighborhoods.

Local Experiences and Culture

Beyond the postcard-worthy mountain backdrop, Denver overflows with authentic local charm. Neighborhoods like LoDo (Lower Downtown) provide a window into the city’s frontier past with Victorian architecture and historic warehouses converted into breweries, shops, and restaurants.

The city comes alive through cultural events and traditions that welcome visitors, like First Friday Jazz Hop in the historically Black Five Points area. For more immersive community interactions, cultural tours led by Indigenous guides offer an enriching perspective on Native American heritage.

On sunny days, stroll the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver where you’ll find plenty of shopping, dining, and special outdoor events. You also won’t want to miss the nation’s most visited botanic garden, which just happens to be Denver Botanic Gardens.

Arts and Entertainment

As a world-class arts destination, Denver spoils visitors for choice. The Denver Art Museum‘s collections span Monet paintings to contemporary installations, while the museum’s striking Frederic C. Hamilton Building itself is a work of art.

The city’s packed calendar of summer music festivals celebrates genres from jazz to indie rock. Venues like the Gothic Theatre and Bluebird Theater host intimate concerts in historic buildings. A most iconic Denver attraction is Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the legendary open-air stage backed by red rock sandstone formations.

For theater and dance, head to the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Comedy Works downtown promises laughs, or catch an improv show at the Bovine Metropolis Theater.

Denver neighborhoods like Cherry Creek have their own unique flavors of arts and culture to explore.

Outdoor and Seasonal Activities

Surrounded by nature, Denver offers outdoor adventure across four seasons. Families flock to the Downtown Aquarium and Denver Zoo while thrill-seekers ride the roller coasters at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park.

Spreading across 650 acres, City Park has lakes for boating, trails for biking and running, and museums housed in stately pavilions. For an alpine escape downtown, hike through conifer forests and meadows in Red Rocks Park. If you’re itching for mountain adventure, Rocky Mountain National Park is less than two hours drive from the heart of Denver.

In winter, bundle up for snowshoeing or book an exhilarating snowmobile tour. Once the snow melts, explore Denver’s urban waterways with kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. Just beyond the city, fly fishing and rafting adventures await on the South Platte River.

Sports and Recreation

Denver fans live and breathe sports, especially the beloved Broncos football team. Catch NFL action at Empower Field at Mile High or head to Coors Field downtown to cheer for the Colorado Rockies baseball team.

The Pepsi Center hosts exciting Denver Nuggets NBA and Colorado Avalanche NHL games. Soccer fans can get their fix with the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

For recreational fun, escape rooms, axe-throwing venues, and archery tag facilities offer unique group outings. Or play a round of mini golf under glowing lights at Monster Mini Golf.

Food and Beverage Scene

As a top foodie destination, Denver dining will leave visitors spoiled for choice. During Denver Restaurant Week‘s two-week extravaganza each spring and fall, hot spots serve special tasting menus at prix fixe rates.

The city’s culinary creativity shines at venues like Rioja, where Chef Jennifer Jasinski plates Mediterranean-inspired small plates and wood-fired entrees. Food halls like Stanley Marketplace and The Source bring together artisan purveyors under one roof for more casual fare. The Denver Central Market should also be on your list.

Denver also reigns supreme in craft beer. Follow the Denver Beer Trail to beloved breweries like Great Divide and Ratio Beerworks, or opt for a guided brewery tour.

Historical and Cultural Landmarks

History buffs will delight in Denver’s architecture, which spans Victorian buildings to sleek modern designs by renowned architects like Daniel Libeskind. Downtown, the grand Union Station transit hub offers shopping and dining in an ornate 19th-century train station.

The neoclassical columns of the Colorado State Capitol preside over Civic Center Park‘s flower gardens and public art. Nearby, the Molly Brown House Museum immortalizes the story of the legendary Titanic survivor.

The 1910 Denver Public Library post-modern Greek temple building is also a sight to behold!

In lively LoDo, Victorian warehouses now house trendy shops and restaurants around Larimer Square. The Mordecai Children’s Garden enthralls little ones with interactive installations like a vine maze and bee hive climber.

The Science Pyramid complex at the Gardens’ York Street location houses tropical and carnivorous plant displays beneath geodesic glass domes. For more urban oases, parks like Washington Park and Cheesman Park offer classic green spaces with lakes, trails, and mountain vistas.

If you’re a history buff who just can’t get enough, you’ll want to visit the History Colorado Center or go on a Denver Mint Tour.


How do I get around Denver without a car?

Walk, bike, or use Denver’s public transit system for convenient access around downtown. The RTD light rail network also reaches outlying neighborhoods and suburbs.

What is there to do in Denver at night?

Denver’s nightlife scene offers everything from concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre to craft cocktail lounges in trendy neighborhoods like RiNo (River North Art District).

What is the best time of year to visit Denver?

Spring and fall are mild and sunny, making it ideal for enjoying Denver’s outdoor spaces and seasonal events. Cherry Creek State Park is especially lovely at those times. Denver winters are cold but perfect for skiing and snow adventures.

What is there to do in Denver when it rains?

Head indoors to top museums like the Denver Art Museum or Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Catch a show at venues in the Denver Performing Arts Complex or Comedy Works downtown.

How long should I spend visiting Denver?

At least 3-5 days to experience top attractions like the Denver Botanic Gardens, a sporting event, outdoor activities, museums, neighborhoods like LoDo and RiNo, and the local food and beer scene.

What are some unusual Denver tourist attractions?

The Denver Mint Tour is probably one that most visitors wouldn’t think of.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.