What to do in Denver


As a Turo host (car sharing) and a guy that moved to Denver when only knowing two people that were living here, I have lots of guests and friends visiting me asking for recommendations on things to do in Denver and Colorado. I aim to combine my thoughts here to serve as a reference for myself…and others!

P.S. To keep this post to appear shorter than it is, I have included “spoilers” in some of the sections. Click on them to expand additional information. (Look for the ❗️)

Example, click to show more ❗️

Good job! Keep reading 😎

P.S.S. Think I’m missing something? Contact me or comment below!

Skiing / Snowboarding

Colorado is home to some of the best skiing in all of North America, many of it an hour or two drive from Denver. I have to start this post by covering the gnar 🤙⛷🏂

Visit for webcams and road conditions provided by the state. The webcams are actually very handy and the road closures are useful during big snow storms.

If you’re a beginner, take a look at Ruby Hill and Winter Park’s Galloping Goose lift (both are free). Winter Park doesn’t advertise that Galloping Goose is a free lift for beginners, but I have confirmed it myself as of the 2022-2023 season that it still is (although I’ve heard it can change from year-to-year). View my post “The Best Places to Ski in Colorado without a Season Pass” for additional information.

If you have an Epic or Ikon pass, you probably already have a plan of where you’re going. If you want to go to one of those resorts, your options will either be a season pass or a (multi) day pass. Season passes are only sold until ~November. Season passes are $500-$1200 depending on when you buy them (cheaper the sooner you buy them) and how much access you want (blackout dates on holidays will result in cheaper passes). Day passes go for ~$200 nowadays (ridiculous), with slight discounts for purchasing a multi-day (2, 3, 4+) pass. If you ski with a season pass holder, they can buy you reduced day (buddy/friend) passes but they’re still expensive (~$150/day).

If you don’t have an Epic or Ikon pass, there are a few resorts left that are still holding out from getting bought out by a conglomerate. Their day passes will be more reasonable. And if you’re a beginner shredder, they’re a great place to learn. Day tickets at these places are around $100. View my separate post for best resorts without a season pass: “The Best Places to Ski in Colorado without a Season Pass”


Unlike skiing, hiking is something to do in Denver and its nearby areas year-round (yes, even in the winter). Denver averages highs nearing 50°F (10°C) in the winter. Combine that with nearly “300 days of sunshine” and winter hiking can be very enjoyable!

AllTrails (Apple App Store, Google Play Store) is the de facto app for finding places to hike and recording your hiking activities. I highly recommend it for any prospective hikers, no matter where you live.

If you are in shape and active, you can do most AllTrails hikes rated as “hard” (Ex. I would not take any normal parents above 50 years old on this hike but any college student that plays intramural sports should be fine). I believe anyone that can go for a 3mi (5km) walk can do an “easy” hike. The “moderate” hikes are somewhere in between the two 😜

The best thing about AllTrails is their ratings and information about hikes. This is a link to their most highly ranked hikes in Colorado (I have done half of them and can confirm). This is a link to their best hikes in Denver (more like walks in the park). Search for the area you are staying in or what is near you and go from there.

If you’re big into hiking, Colorado has over 50 peaks that are above 14,000ft (4,267m). These are known as “14ers”. There are no easy 14ers. Even the “easier” ones are multi-hour hikes, 5+mi round trip, rapidly changing weather conditions (normal to have thunderstorms in the afternoon that pushes the astute mountaineerer to start around sunrise and finish around noon), and noticeably less oxygen at the top than the bottom. Do your research before attempting to summit one of these.

Here are some of my favorite hikes (ordered for proximity to Denver with closest at the top of the list):

Click to show some of my favorite hikes ❗️
  • Washington Park
    • 2.3mi easy paved loop 15min from Denver
    • An easy walk in Denver’s best park (my opinion)
    • Also has a gravel running/jogging trail, paved loop for bicycling/roller blading.
    • Plenty of geese and people playing volleyball and enjoying time with friends here
    • Very popular but lots of space
  • Any of Denver’s parks: Cheeseman Park, City Park, Sloan’s Lake, etc.
  • Red Rocks Trail
    • 1.5mi moderate dirt hike 25min from Denver
    • I have never actually done this hike but Red Rocks is gorgeous and while you’re there you can even walk over to the stadium to check it out as well
  • South Table Mountain
    • 2.6mi moderate dirt hike located in Golden, CO (20min from Denver)
    • Fantastic views of Golden, Colorado School of Mines, and Coors Brewing
      • Especially during sunset
    • The left trail of the Strava link above is a much more difficult trail that is fairly steep with loose dirt. The right trail is much easier but longer distance.
    • Not on AllTrails due to apparently a part of the trail goes though private land, but I’ve never seen anyone have an issue
  • Royal Arch
    • 3.4mi hard hike located in Boulder, CO (35min from Denver)
    • Fantastic views of Boulder
    • Lots of other hikes here, easy to make a wrong turn
    • Very popular
    • My go-to that I show friends that are visiting
  • Mount Sanitas
    • 3.2mi hard hike located in Boulder, CO (35min from Denver)
    • I think it is easier than Royal Arch
    • Not as crowded as Royal Arch
  • Lake Isabelle
    • 6.6mi moderate hike located in 30min west of Boulder, CO (1hr 15min from Denver)
    • Fantastic scenery in the mountains
    • Limited to no cell service. Download maps beforehand
    • Reservation needed for parking. Cheap but difficult to get as they are in high demand
    • Will first hit Long Lake on the way to Lake Isabelle, so you could also not continue to Lake Isabelle and just see Long Lake then turn around for a shorter hike
    • Or, you can continue past Lake Isabelle to Isabelle Glacier to turn this into a long and hard hike.
    • Chance to see Moose (I am 2/3)


Find all concerts going on in Denver’s venues by looking at a ticket reseller, such as SeatGeek. Below I provide information on my favorite venues to see shows:

Red Rocks Amphitheatre Concert at Dusk

  • Red Rocks
    • One of the best (if not the best) amphitheaters in America.
      • 9,500 capacity
    • Outdoor during summer nights with the stars and Denver’s city lights in the background.
    • Shows run April to October
    • Expect to pay $50-$100 per ticket, with popular shows in the $100-$300 range.
    • Free parking + tailgating before the show with free overnight parking allowing you to easily take an Uber/Lyft home to prevent drinking and driving.
    • You have to do it once, even if you aren’t familiar with the performer!
    • Also has sunrise yoga on the weekends in the summer, but they tend to sell out quickly
  • Fillmore Auditorium
    • Fairly large indoor venue (3,900 capacity)
    • Visibility can be sub-par on the floor if you are short
    • Parking can be difficult
  • Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
    • Large outdoor venue (2x the capacity of Red Rocks)
      • 17,000 capacity
    • Accessible via RTD light rail E line and R line
  • Ball Arena (formerly known as the Pepsi Center)
    • Home of the Colorado Avalanche (hockey), Denver Nuggets (Basketball), and Colorado Mammoth (Lacrosse)
      • Occasional concert as well!
    • Easily accessible via RTD light rail C line, E line, and W line
    • Large indoor venue (21,000 capacity)
  • Mission Ballroom
    • 3,950 capacity
    • Parking can be difficult
  • Ogden Theatre
    • Medium sized
      • 1,600 capacity
    • Parking can be difficult
  • Larimer Lounge
    • Very small = intimate shows (250 person capacity)
    • Should be able to find street parking
  • Bluebird Theater
    • Small indoor venue (550 capacity)
    • Should be able to find street parking if willing to walk a few blocks (City Park)
  • Levitt Pavilion
    • Pavilion in a park, expect seating on the grass (bring a blanket / folding chairs!)
      • 7,500 capacity (rarely that many people there)
    • One of the only places with free shows available!
  • Grizzly Rose
    • Large country bar with country music + dancing + mechanical bull riding
      • 2,000 capacity
    • Has country concerts on Fridays
    • Large parking lot
  • City Park “Jazz in the Park”
  • Dillon Amphitheater
    • Medium sized outdoor venue (3,656 capacity)
    • Spectacular waterfront views of the rocky mountains + sunsets
    • 1.5hr west of Denver


Disclaimer: I am not a picky eater and I very rarely go to expensive restaurants, so keep that in mind:


Note that yellow is for breakfast/brunch spots, orange for lunch/dinner, purple for dessert.



  • Click to show some of my lunch recommendations ❗️
    • The first Chipotle ever
      • Will taste like all the other Chipotles but is something to say you’ve been there
      • Very limited indoor seating
    • La Chiva Colombian Cuisine
      • I recommend the La Chiva Picada, a sample platter for 2 (~$40)
      • Lots of meats with some plantains
    • J’s Noodles Star Thai
      • The best thai I’ve had
      • Great, cheap food (~$15)
      • Limited indoor seating. Best to order takeout in advance via DoorDash
        • Not uncommon to have wait times ~1hr (for both online takeout and dine-in). Very popular place
    • Milk Market
      • Basically a food court with a bunch of different options (~$20)
        • Does everyone want something different? Go here
      • Very cool side alley with art and outdoor seating
    • Sushi-Rama
    • Sushi Den and Izakaya Den
      • Located right next to each other
      • Apparently fresh fish is flown in daily from Tokyo
      • Special occasion spot ($$$)
    • Blue Moon Brewery
      • Higher quality food than a typical “brewery”
        • I recommend the Bison Burger


  • Little Man Ice Cream
    • Just some really good ice cream that will probably have a 20 minute (outdoor) line no matter the month
    • I like salted oreo if it’s available!


Note that there are many, many more than this. These are just some of my favorites.

  • Downtown
    • Larimer street and Market street
      • Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, Larimer Beer Hall, ViewHouse (Ballpark location), Retro Room, Gin Mill, Star Bar (karaoke), Herb’s (live music)
  • River North (RiNo)
    • Blue Moon Brewery, Number 38, Improper City, Finn’s Manor, Federales, Lustre Pearl, Matchbox
  • South Broadway
    • Adrift, Irish Rover, Canopy, Historians, Punch Bowl Social, etc.
    • Stranahan’s Distillery (whiskey)
    • Honorable mention to the Dive Inn. A dive bar with cheap drinks, pool, and ping pong.
      • 5 min drive away from other bars
  • LoHi
    • I don’t go out in LoHi very often but Avanti is very popular
  • The Grizzly Rose
    • A massive bar located 10mins north of Denver
    • The premier spot for country dancing, mechanical bull riding, etc. Yee to the haw! 🤠

Water things

It gets hot here in the summer!


  • Rent a scooter/bicycle and explore the city
    • Easier when you have a tour guide that can lead you to bicycle friendly roads
    • E-bikes are great for older / less active family members
    • Some scooter companies offer unlimited use day passes for ~$25
  • Bicycle around Dillon reservoir
    • The most scenic bicycle ride that I’ve ever done
    • 20.5mi loop with one steep section (but you can always turn around once you get there!)
    • E-bikes available for rent nearby that make this ride accessible for almost everyone no matter their fitness
  • Aquarium
    • I haven’t been there but it’s gotta be a good spot for families, right?
  • Colorado Rockies (baseball), Denver Broncos (American football), Colorado Avalanche (hockey), Denver Nuggets (basketball), Colorado Rapids (soccer), Colorado Mammoth (Lacrosse)
    • Common to go to Rockies games on a Friday or Saturday night, then walk to bars downtown.
      • “The Rooftop” in Coors Field is the spot to pregame
  • Drinking! 🍻
    • Coors brewery tour (Golden, CO. ~25min from downtown)
      • $20 for the guided tour or $10 for samples only
      • Reservations required
      • Available Friday - Sunday (and maybe some Thursdays)
      • ~1.5hr tour
    • Visit one or many of Denver’s local breweries, distilleries, or even wineries.
    • PubPass offers a $25 book that includes buy one get one drinks at 25 different places. Consider it an investment.
  • Gamble in Black Hawk
    • Black Hawk is the Las Vegas of Colorado


If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Think I’m missing something? Contact me or comment below!


This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

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