There was a time when the Mile High City was better known as a stop-off on the way to Aspen or Vail than a place to visit on its own, but an influx of innovative chefs, artists and other creative types have added an element of cool to Denver’s Western swagger. What hasn’t changed is the city’s love affair with the outdoors. No matter the weather, fun activities abound, including hiking, tubing and cycling during the warmer months and cross-country skiing, dog sledding and ice fishing in winter.
More than a concert venue, Red Rocks Park is a great hiking venue, too: Trails wind around the park’s namesake garnet-colored monoliths and through scenic meadows and valleys.
Refuel at The Source, a food-centric urban market filled with restaurants, bars and a brewery, as well as retail establishments that range from a cheese shop to an art gallery.
Art, indoor exhibits and fun seasonal displays make the Denver Botanic Gardens interesting any time of year; stop by the help desk for free garden advice from master gardeners.
Watch coins being made, learn how they’re designed and get a penny for your thoughts at the Denver Mint, which opened in 1863 to manufacture gold bars.
Open May through October, the outdoor Cherry Creek Fresh Market is Denver’s largest. Grab breakfast or lunch and shop for fresh produce, flowers, handcrafted cheeses, jams and baked goods.
Gear up at the massive flagship store of outdoor outfitter REI; on Saturdays, a specially built, 47-foot-tall climbing wall is open to the public.
Attend an author event or just roam the stacks of new and used books at The Tattered Cover, a Denver institution and one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores.
The River North Art District – RiNo – overflows with the work of painters, ceramicists, video artists, photographers and other artists, as well as museums and restaurants.
Denver is filled with “secret” bars and speakeasies; one of the best is Williams & Graham, which is hidden behind the shelves of a bookstore of the same name.
Reflecting the peaks and rock crystals of the Rocky Mountains, the Denver Art Museum’s radical extension is as much a work of art as are the 70,000 works inside.
Looking for a variety of great lodging options in the area? Click here to find and book great hotels in Denver. Call 1-800-873-8283 to speak to a Travel counselor today or visit AAA.com/TheTop10.
By Katie McElveen