Light Rail Line, LoDo or Lower Downtown District, Denver, Colorado

Denver Travel Guide

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Denver is known as the Mile High City, not because marijuana is legal here, but because its elevation is 5,280 feet — one mile — above sea level. 

Denver is Colorado's state capital and the most populous city in the state. Dotted with world-class museums, gorgeous public murals, and city parks, it's also a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Denver is home to the second-largest performing arts center in the U.S., after Lincoln Center in New York, and is frequently cited as a top city for singles.  

Sports fans can watch the Denver Broncos play football, the Colorado Rockies play baseball, or the Denver Nuggets play basketball. Prefer hockey or soccer? Check out the Colorado Avalanche or Denver Outlaws. Looking to get some exercise? Take a hike in the Rocky Mountains or hit the nearby ski slopes. 

Denver is also a beer town that's home to several craft brewers as well as Coors Light, which operates the largest brewery in the world just outside the city. The city even hosts the Great American Beer Festival each year. Marijuana is legal in Colorado, and Denver is home to several recreational marijuana dispensaries.

Time Zone

Mountain Standard Time

Best Time to Go

The best time to visit Denver depends on what you want to do. In May, Denver celebrates Cinco de Mayo and hosts the Five Points Jazz Festival, Denver Arts Festival, and Colfax Marathon. During the summer, Denver holds PrideFest and Comic Con in June and a county fair in July. Autumn is the best time for foodies to visit Denver because it's when the city puts on A Taste of Colorado, Denver Beer Fest, and the Great American Beer Festival. Meanwhile, winter is a popular time for skiers and snowboarders to hit the slopes nearby. The Denver Botanic Gardens holds its holiday light show from November through January, and Denver's National Western Stock Show happens each year in January.  

Things to Know

Denver is located near the Rocky Mountains, not in the Rocky Mountains. About 200 named mountain peaks are visible from Denver. 

Alcoholic drinks have a greater effect when you're drinking at a mile above sea level, so be sure to hydrate and pace yourself. 

Marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older. Adults can possess up to one ounce of retail marijuana. Cannabis is sold through recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries. If you don't have a prescription, head to a recreational dispensary. Just make sure to find a private place to smoke, as marijuana consumption in public is still illegal. It's also illegal to take marijuana across state lines. 

How to Get Around

Trains: Denver has 11 light and commuter rail lines covering nearly 66 miles and serving 44 stations. Parking in downtown can be expensive, making rail the more affordable choice. 

Buses: The Denver area has 1,000 city buses with more than 10,000 local stops in eight counties. Local buses are an especially good way to travel from the airport to the city center and suburbs. An express bus runs between Denver and Boulder. 

Taxis: Taxis are available through companies like Denver Yellow Cab. Expect to pay about $55 for cab service between downtown Denver and the airport. Rideshare: Lyft, Uber, and Migo are rideshare options available in Denver.

Exterior of The Art Hotel in Denver
Credit: Courtesy of Curio Collection by Hilton

Best Hotels

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The Ramble Hotel

Address: 1280 25th St., Denver, CO 80205
Phone: (720) 996-6300
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With just 50 rooms, this boutique hotel is nestled into Denver's River North Art District, a neighborhood where old warehouses and factories are giving way to jazz bars, restaurants, breweries, and art galleries.  If you're a light sleeper, this may be the place for you, as the property is literally designed to minimize outside noise.

Exterior of The Art Hotel in Denver
Credit: Courtesy of Curio Collection by Hilton

The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton

Address: 1201 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 572-8000
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This pet-friendly downtown hotel is a short walk from the Denver Art Museum and Colorado Convention Center. In fact, it counts more than a half-dozen museums within a 10-minute walk. There's an extensive art collection on display throughout the property, a rooftop bar and restaurant, and some rooms with mountain views.

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Autograph Collection
Credit: Courtesy of Autograph Collection

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Autograph Collection

Address: 321 17th St., Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 297-3111
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This boutique hotel is an icon of downtown Denver. It was built as a luxury hotel in 1892 and is now operated by Marriott. The lobby is likely to transport you to a different era. The hotel has an eight-story atrium with a stained-glass skylight and six stories of interior balconies. It also has its very own rooftop beehive and an on-site flower shop.

Patterson Inn

Address: 420 E. 11th Ave., Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 955-5142
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The Patterson Inn is a National Landmark housed inside a reddish-orange sandstone building dating to 1891. The hotel offers several themed bedrooms and common areas filled with books, games, and handcarved wood. It's the kind of mansion that's sure to feel like home from the moment you walk in. The property offers free parking, but doesn't allow pets.

Capitol Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn

Address: 1207 Pennsylvania St., Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 839-5221
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The Capitol Hill Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn is a National Historic Landmark in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The ruby sandstone mansion is just a block from the Molly Brown House Museum and a short walk from several of the city's top attractions. The property has been an inn since 1994 and offers eight guest rooms, each named after a local wildflower. Three rooms come with whirlpool tubs.

The Crawford Hotel lobby
Credit: Courtesy of The Crawford

The Crawford Hotel

Address: 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (720) 460-3700
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This hotel is perfect for anyone who loves rail travel. It sits atop Denver's Union Station and offers a direct train link to Denver International Airport. If you prefer, the hotel will drive you to and from the airport in a Tesla. The Crawford Hotel's Pullman guest rooms are designed to recreate the romance of train travel by making you feel like you have a luxe railcar all to yourself.

The Curtis Hotel in Denver
Credit: Courtesy of The Curtis

The Curtis, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

Address: 1405 Curtis St., Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 571-0300
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The Curtis is a quirky downtown hotel that sits across the street from the Denver Performing Arts Complex and just a couple of blocks from the 16th Street Mall. The hotel regularly plays cartoons in its retro-chic lobby, operates a store filled with nostalgic treats, and houses The Corner Office Restaurant + Martini Bar. Some rooms have themes inspired by Marge Simpson, Barbies, vintage arcade games, and more.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver

Address: 1717 Champa St., Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 296-1717

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This recently renovated property is pet-friendly and has a lobby that feels like a living room. Its newly renovated rooms are designed to deliver an artsy vibe with a touch of luxury. The property charges a $23 nightly amenity fee that covers a breakfast credit, evening beverage, and PPE kit.

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver 

Address: 1881 Curtis St., Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 312-3800
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The Ritz-Carlton is home to some of Denver's most spacious hotel rooms, several with Rocky Mountain views. The property is located near Capitol Hill and the Denver Botanic Gardens. Rooms include featherbeds, down comforters , and rainforest shower heads. It also features a 2,229-square-foot fitness center that's always open, an expansive spa, and a restaurant whose offerings include private dining.

Food at The Wolf's Tailor in Denver
Credit: Courtesy of The Wolf's Tailor

Best Restaurants

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Root Down

Address: 1600 W. 33rd Ave., Denver, CO 80211
Phone: (303) 993-4200
Website

This restaurant is known for its creative menu, brightly colored cocktails, gas station architecture, and quirky decorative items. Root Down serves brunch and dinner with menus that include carrot gnocchi, country-fried tofu, shrimp ceviche, and a dessert you'll never forget — a torched s'more. Popular cocktails include the Raspberry Beret and Don Draper.

El Five interior
Credit: Courtesy of El Five

El Five

Address: 2930 Umatilla, Fifth Floor, Denver, CO 80211
Phone: (303) 524-9193
Website

From the team behind Root Down, this restaurant is a penthouse playground with an expansive patio. Its pan-Mediterranean menu includes a selection of tapas you can sample while taking in epic views of the Denver skyline and Rocky Mountains. Menu items include smoked burrata, harissa eggplant fries, Moroccan lamb sausage, and chocolate baklava.

Bar Dough

Address: 2227 W 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211
Phone: (720) 668-8506
Website

This Italian restaurant comes from Top Chef contestant Carrie Baird. Its menu offers an elevated take on traditional Italian cuisine, and includes pizzas, pastas, and a pork milanese dinner for two. Gluten-free pasta and pizza crusts are also available.

Denver Biscuit Company

Address: Multiple Locations
Website

One of the best brunch spots in the city, the Denver Biscuit Company is the place to go for Southern-style comfort food. The menu here includes several biscuit breakfast sandwiches, biscuit French toast, and of course, biscuits and gravy. Denver Biscuit Company has also developed its own twist on poutine called Sully's Fries — waffle fries with gravy, pimento cheese, bacon, and green onions. Don't oversleep — the restaurants close at 2 p.m.

Ultreia in Denver
Credit: James Florio

Ultreia

Address: 1701 Wynkoop St. #125, Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 534-1970 
Website

This Spanish restaurant comes from a team with a track record of opening award-winning restaurants in Denver. That team includes James Beard-recognized chef Jennifer Jasinski. Ultreia is located inside Denver's Union Station and serves tapas inspired by Spain and Portugal. Menu items include bacon-wrapped dates, smoked duck legs, squid, spiced octopus, and mussels.

Tavernetta

Address: 1889 16th St., Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (720) 605-1889
Website

From the James Beard Award-winning team behind the Frasca Hospitality Group, Tavernetta aims to bring la dolce vita to Denver with fresh handmade pastas and an epic wine list. The restaurant has private heated outdoor seating where it serves a tasting menu. Its regular menu includes Italian staples like cacio e pepe, burrata, and agnolotti. Tavernatta also makes a tagliatelle with Maine lobster.

Beast + Bottle

Address: 719 E 17th Ave., Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 623-3223
Website

With locally sourced ingredients and a menu that changes seasonally, this rustic American restaurant takes diners on a journey around the world. The current menu includes falafel, a Cuban sandwich, lamb pho, rigatoni pasta, and lemon-turmeric cake. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday evenings.

Food at The Wolf's Tailor in Denver
Credit: Courtesy of The Wolf's Tailor

The Wolf's Tailor

Address: 4058 Tejon St., Denver, CO 80211
Phone: (720) 456-6705
Website

The Wolf's Tailor is meant to bring together elements of local chef Kelly Whitaker's travels through Europe and Asia. The restaurant is currently serving an omakase tasting menu that reflects the team's love for charcoal cooking, grains, and daily harvests from the garden. Tented outdoor reservations and takeout are available.

Denver Botanic Garden
Credit: Nikki A. Rae/VisitDenver

Things to Do

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Beautiful Spring Hike to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado
Credit: Getty Images

Rocky Mountains

Website

Denver is a gateway to the Rocky Mountains, which stretch from western Canada to New Mexico. Seventy-eight of its 100 highest peaks are located in Colorado, where Rocky Mountain National Park covers 415 square miles and offers more than 300 miles of hiking trails. Echo Mountain, Winter Park, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail are ski towns within a couple of hours of Denver by car.

Cannabis Dispensaries

Address: Multiple Locations

Colorado was the first U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana, and Denver is now dotted with hundreds of cannabis dispensaries. Lucy Sky, The Herbal Cure, and Botanico are a few popular options. Euflora is welcoming to first-time visitors and has a location at the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. It sells flower, concentrates, edibles, smoking supplies, and T-shirts. Prior to the pandemic, the store operated greenhouse tours as well.

Don Luces Brewery in Denver
Credit: Rebecca Todd/VisitDenver

Brewery Tour

Address: Multiple Locations
Website

Denver is a beer drinker's dream come true. The city is home to a number of craft breweries, as well as to the world's largest brewery — the Coors Brewery in nearby Golden, Colorado. The Coors Brewery can brew up to 22 million barrels of beer each year and offers self-paced tours. Denver's first brewpub, the Wynkoop Brewing Company, offers tours in downtown Denver.

Sculpture, larger than life size broom and dust pan outside of Denver Art Museum
Credit: Krista Sidwell/500px/Getty Images

Denver Art Museum

Address: 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy., Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (720) 865-5000
Website  

The Denver Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the American West. Its collections represent cultures from around the world and include more than 70,000 works of art. The museum sprawls across several buildings, including the Hamilton Building, inspired by the Rocky Mountains and covered in 9,000 titanium panels.

Denver Botanic Garden
Credit: Nikki A. Rae/VisitDenver

Denver Botanic Gardens

Address: 1007 York St., Denver, CO 80206
Phone: (720) 865-3500
Website

A 24-acre oasis in the heart of the city, the Denver Botanic Gardens is home to North America's largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates. And each winter, the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts one of the country's most gorgeous holiday light shows.

Inside of State Capitol In Denver
Credit: Rebecca Todd/VisitDenver

Colorado State Capitol

Address: 200 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 866-2604
Website

The interior of the Colorado State Capitol, which houses the state Senate, House of Representatives, and governor's office, is temporarily closed, but visitors can still check out its exterior and gleaming gold dome. The latter is crafted from a gift of 200 ounces of gold made to the state by Colorado gold miners in 1908.

Molly Brown House Museum exterior
Credit: Rebecca Ann/Courtesy of Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown House Museum

Address: 1340 Pennsylvania St., Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 832-4092
Website

The Molly Brown House Museum is dedicated to telling the story of American socialite and philanthropist Molly Brown, better known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Brown and her husband bought the home that became the museum in 1894. Brown survived the sinking of the Titanic after helping several fellow passengers evacuate the ship. She later organized a survivors' committee to counsel those who lived through the Titanic's sinking.

Forney Museum of Transportation

Address: 4303 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO 80216
Phone: (303) 297-1113
Website

If you're fascinated with how to get from point A to point B, this museum is for you. The Forney Museum of Transportation has been open for more than 60 years and houses a collection that includes buggies, motorcycles, steam locomotives, aircrafts, and more. Amelia Earhart's 1923 Kissel Gold Bug is among the hundreds of items in its collection

Street scene along the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver Colorado at night with lights and people in view
Credit: Getty Images

16th Street Mall

Address: 1001 16th St., Denver, CO 80265
Website

This mile-long thoroughfare is designed for pedestrians and closed to regular automobile traffic. The promenade resembles the skin of a diamondback rattlesnake from above. On the ground, visitors will find dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops. Horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs are generally available after dark.

Colorado Flags in historic Larimer Square in downtown Denver.
Credit: Getty Images

Larimer Square

Address: 1430 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80202
Website

This block of Victorian buildings is where the modern-day city of Denver got its start. Nowadays, it's home to shops, bars, restaurants, and clubs. It's a great place for people-watching on a pleasant night.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

Address: 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, CO 80465
Phone: (720) 865-2494
Website

This may be one of the most epic places in the world to see a concert or take an outdoor yoga class. Over the years, this venue has hosted artists like the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen against the backdrop of its gorgeous red rocks. Even when there isn't a show, it's a sight to see.

Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver
Credit: Courtesy of CCSC

Best Shopping

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Interior of Rockmount Western Wear store in Denver
Credit: Stevie Crecelius/VisitDenver

Rockmount Ranch Wear

Address: 1626 Wazee St., Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 629-7777
Website 

If you're looking for Western wear, look no further than this family-owned business that's been outfitting Denver since 1946. This store pioneered Western shirts with snaps and has dressed celebrities like Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Robert Redford, Elvis Presley, and David Bowie.

Inspyre Boutique

Address: Multiple Locations
Website

This chain of boutiques has a mission: Surface incredible clothes, accessories, and gifts while keeping everything under $100. Inspyre Boutique now has four stores in the Denver area. No single item is priced over $100.

Art District on Santa Fe

Address: 525 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (720) 773-2373
Website

This creative art district is home to a number of galleries, boutiques, and vintage shops. Check out Creative Living to spruce up your outdoor space, Abstract Denver for fresh wall art, or Carol Mier Fashion for a new look.

Street scene along the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver Colorado at night with lights and people in view
Credit: Getty Images

16th Street Mall

Address: 1001 16th St., Denver, CO 80265
Website

This isn't the traditional enclosed shopping mall you may have in mind — the 16th Street Mall is an outdoor promenade lined with shops and restaurants. It's a great place to shop for souvenirs to take back home.

Colorado Flags in historic Larimer Square in downtown Denver.
Credit: Getty Images

Larimer Square

Address: 1430 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80202
Website

This may have been the block where Denver was born, but these days, it's a haven for boutique shopping. You'll find everything from clothing and gifts to leather goods here.

Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver
Credit: Courtesy of CCSC

Cherry Creek Shopping Center

Address: 3000 E 1st Ave., Denver, CO 80206
Phone: (303) 388-3900
Website

This upscale shopping center not far from downtown Denver is where you'll find high-end stores, including Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Burberry, and Tiffany & Co. It's also home to Nordstrom, Macy's, Free People, and an Apple store.

Denver Premium Outlets

Address: 13801 Grant St., Thornton, CO 80023
Phone: (303) 200-3805
Website

This sprawling outlet is a half-hour's drive from Denver, and it includes a number of options to get your favorite brand names for a fraction of the price. Among them: Le Creuset, Ferragamo, Nike, Kate Spade, and Coach.

Neighborhoods to Know

Central Business District: This is a neighborhood that's mostly business, though it's also home to the 16th Street Mall, an outdoor promenade lined with shops, restaurants, and art. You'll also find the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, and a sculpture known as the Big Blue Bear here. 

Highlands: Highlands is a laid-back Denver neighborhood with a great selection of restaurants and bars. The neighborhood sits on a hillside overlooking the city and is sometimes called North Denver. 

LoDo: LoDo is where downtown Denver parties. This part of the city is known for its nightlife, though it's also home to offices and apartment buildings. LoDo is where you'll find Union Station and Larimer Square — the block where the modern-day city of Denver got its start. It's on the edge of Coors Field, home to the Colorado Rockies. 

Capitol Hill: This is Colorado's most densely populated neighborhood, and it includes the Colorado State Capitol building. Capitol Hill is home to the Molly Brown House Museum and situated just west of the Denver Botanic Gardens. It's an area that's brimming with bars, restaurants, and interesting locals. 

Five Points: This neighborhood was once the center of Denver's jazz scene and still hosts an annual jazz festival. Nowadays, it's a hipster haven known for its restaurants, bars, and public art. 

Weather

Denver summers are hot, while its winters tend to be cold and dry. The temperature rarely dips below 6°F or rises above 96°F. The warmest months are June through early September. The coldest are late November through early March. Expect snow between November and February. 

The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month.

January: 20°F to 49°F
February: 21°F to 49°F
March: 29°F to 58°F
April: 35°F to 65°F
May: 45°F to 73°F
June: 55°F to 86°F
July: 61°F to 92°F
August: 59°F to 90°F
September: 50°F to 82°F
October: 37°F to 68°F
November: 27°F to 57°F
December: 19°F to 47°F

Apps to Download

RTD: Mobile tickets for trains and buses 
iOs | Android

ParkMobile: Pay for local parking 
iOs | Android

Colorado Trail Explorer
iOs | Android