Whether you’ve lived in the Mile High City for your whole life or you’re just visiting for your first time, head for the heart. There’s never a shortage of things to do in Downtown Denver. Light up and hit the town.
By Ben Owens
If you’re in the part of Denver where the streets run diagonally, the buildings are tall, and the pedicabs are offering you a lift, then you’ve made it to downtown. The heart of Denver offers a wide selection of attractions that include modern dining, annual festivals and everything in between. There’s plenty of things to do in downtown Denver that will keep even the most familiar residents on their toes, including an ever-growing lineup of breweries, distilleries and dispensaries, and cannabis tours, as well as a never-ending supply of outdoor entertainment. We have more than 3x the number of dispensaries in Denver that we do Starbucks and McDonalds combined.
Touristy Things to Do in Downtown Denver:
See the Highlights High
Every city has its “must see” spots, and Denver is no different. Make sure to hit a Rockies game at Coors Field, go shopping in Cherry Creek (a famously posh shopping district that’s actually southeast of the central downtown neighborhood), and stroll down Denver’s famous 16th Street Mall – a car-free pedestrian thoroughfare that crosses through the heart of town, complete with a free shuttle bus.
If you catch yourself near the Colorado Convention Center, watch out for the Big Blue Bear that has taken up residence in the area. Depending on the time of year, amusement parks like Elitch Gardens and Lakeside (open since 1908!) offer an escape into simpler times. Downtown Denver is also host to many annual things to do including the National Western Stock Show and the Great American Beer Festival. If you’re not in town for one of these, you can take advantage of one of more than 100 farmers markets as well.
Outdoorsy Things to Do in Downtown Denver:
Buy Bud and Explore the Green Spaces
One of the benefits of Colorado’s location is the ease of access to the outdoors. Be careful, legal places to smoke weed in Denver are still being hashed out by the City, so we recommend smoking a joint or eating some edibles in private before heading out. Civic Center Park, City Park, and Commons Park (complete with its “Stoner Hill” hangout spot) are the top green spaces in Downtown Denver, or you can venture out on the Cherry Creek Trail to Washington Park or Cherry Creek Reservoir on the south side of town.
Take a walk through the Denver Zoo, explore the Denver Botanical Gardens, or head out for a hike of your own. Many residents and visitors spend time exploring Mt. Sanitas, Royal Arch, Red Rocks, or even attending one of many guided hikes and campouts. If you’re up for really ambitious day trips from Denver, get higher than your friends — 14,000 feet high, that is! Attempt one of the many 14ers in the area (14ers are summit’s that are above 14,000 ft. above sea level) and get more than twice as high as a mile in elevation.
Educational Things to Do in Downtown Denver:
Absorb Some Wild West History
Fancy a cigar in one of Denver’s oldest cigar lounges? Or maybe you’re here to hear the tales of Buffalo Bill? If you’re looking for some historical things to do in downtown Denver, you might start with the State Capitol. You can book tours daily at no cost and see the inner workings of Colorado’s capital building. Also in the Capitol Hill area is the Denver Mint tour, where more than 15 billion coins have been produced in a single year
Or, if you wander to the other end of 16th Street Mall, you’ll find Union Station, an old railroad station that is now used for public transportation and features an incredible selection of vendors and restaurants.
Decadent Things to Do in Downtown Denver:
Feed Your Munchies
After you’ve spent your energy exploring the city, satisfy those munchies with the best culinary delights that Denver has to offer. While visitors seeking a high-romance Denver date night may dismay at the lack of Michelin Star-rated restaurants, looking a little harder will reveal highbrow edible creations worth dressing up for at restaurants such as Guard & Grace, Denver’s premier steakhouse, Stoic & Genuine, with fresh seafood flown in daily and an ever-changing cocktail list, Edge at the Four Seasons or Sushi Sa Sa, Denver’s best place to get sushi. Or, if you’d rather wear pajamas out and about, head over to the cult classic, Snooze. Go early or on a weekday to beat the absurdly long lines of patrons that frequent this no-reservations breakfast cafe.
Pro tip: take a look at our collection of restaurant recommendations in and around Denver, curated by the entire My 420 Tours team. They know what’s up as far as street-level snacking and munchies relief. Looking for a swanky place to drink? Test out the 1920’s bootleg vibe of Denver’s trendy speakeasies.
Guided Things to Do in Downtown Denver
Toke and Take a Group Tour
Denver offers so many options that it can be overwhelming to the first-time visitor. Instead of sifting through all of the things to do in downtown Denver, let a tour guide take you along a pre-crafted itinerary. Coors, Blue Moon, Great Divide, and many of the local Denver brewery tours lead you through their facilities and many have tasting rooms to allow you to sample their selections. You can also do walking tours of Denver that are designed around specific themes that combine cannabis and local attractions such as painting, art, graffiti, breweries, and urban wineries.
The Final Hit
There’s plenty of things to do in Downtown Denver during on your next visit to the city. Start by figuring out what type of activity you’d like to do, then start asking questions to in-the-know locals like us. If you’d like help crafting a custom tour of Denver or would like to schedule one of our guided tours, get in touch!