About This Place
Colorado’s capital is a real-world example of how to successfully weave the riches of a surrounding landscape into a thoroughly modern city. Situated between the Rocky Mountains and High Plains of Colorado, Denver offers visitors equal doses of big-city diversion and outdoor pleasure.
Top attractions in this 19th-century mining settlement-turned-thriving urban destination typically involve more than just a brush with nature. Prominent among the city’s more than 200 parks is City Park. This downtown preserve of more than 300 acres has trails for biking and walking, a golf course, and two lakes that can be toured by boat. To get around, borrow wheels through Denver’s public bike-share service or rent a boat shaped like a colorful pelican or duck.
While at the park, visitors can tour the Denver Zoo or Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Exhibits at the largest natural history museum in the Western United States range in topic from North American Indian artifacts to gems and minerals mined in the local area, in tribute to Colorado’s past. Museum highlights include a planetarium, IMAX theater, and a cafe with sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains.
Ten minutes east of downtown lie the Denver Botanic Gardens. This popular Denver attraction for nature lovers includes a tropical conservatory and a Japanese garden where tea is served seasonally. Mix up a day among the flora with a trip to nearby Cherry Creek Shopping Center, a Denver mall anchored by many high-end retailers. The REI Flagship store in the Riverfront neighborhood is a hit among outdoor fashionistas, as is the 16th Street Mall, a popular Denver shopping center. Located in the historic LoDo (Lower Denver) neighborhood, this 12-block commercial district is lined with restaurants, bars and stores, where you will find an ideal place to people-watch and get a bite to eat.
Brewing more beer than any other urban center in the U.S., Denver earns its nickname “Suds City” in part by hosting several high-profile annual events. Denver attractions involving beer overlap in October: hops lovers can choose between a gigantic Oktoberfest that draws over 350,000 people, the regionally sponsored Beer Fest and a national festival, the Great American Beer Fest, held at the Colorado Convention Center.
Those fond of cultural pursuits can enjoy dance, music, comedy and dramatic theater all at one multipurpose venue. The expansive Denver Performing Arts Complex is home to ballet and opera companies and 10 performance spaces. The 12-acre complex offers a year-round roster of diverse entertainment.
Re-visit Denver’s gilded past at Brown Palace and the state Capitol. Brown Palace is a luxury hotel that was built in the late 19th century. The opulence of the place lives on, to be savored over a cup of tea while resting on a plump couch in the lobby. The Capitol building is open to the public. Its artwork and exhibits detail Colorado’s early history, amid an interior that features an elaborate rotunda and rose onyx wainscoting along the walls.