Denver is one of the success stories of the American millennium. A city that has boomed thanks to its wonderful natural surroundings, ample opportunities and love of life, Denver sits proud near the Colorado Rockies. It’s a place that manages the precarious balancing act of preserving its vintage and historic aspects while building for the future. Sensational dining, friendly locals and, of course, all these great things to do…
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More info: https://www.denverartmuseum.org/en
A landmark in the city, this is a perfect example of the modern city museum. Housed in a funky, trademark Daniel Libeskind building, an angular joy, the museum’s collection is broad in scope. Wander between the well-designed galleries to discover Asian and African art from thousands of years ago, rub shoulders with more modern masterpieces from Van Gogh, Cezanne and many notable Impressionists. There’s great American art too, with Whistler, Homer and Sargent all represented. Numerous programs inform and entertain, while there are interactive elements for the kids to get hands-on with.
More info: https://www.botanicgardens.org/
Changing with the seasons, and with a packed schedule of events, festivals, concerts and more, this city highlight plays a bigger role in Denver life than your average botanic gardens. It sprawls over 24 acres, with some 50 different gardens to wander amongst. With young ones in tow, head to the interactive Mordecai Children’s Garden, while those seeking serenity will adore the Japanese garden with its lovely bonsais. In addition to just meandering among the beauty, both adults and children can join programs to learn about everything from growing vegetables to botanical watercolors.
More info: https://unionstationindenver.com/
This gorgeous 1881 building, redeveloped in 1917 after a fire, isn’t just a dining and nightlife destination in the heart of the buzzing Lower Downtown area – it’s still a functioning train station. That fact breathes even more life into this beacon of Denver, which somehow manages the dazzling feat of making a working bus and train station both cool and a pleasure to be in. Quirky independent shops and cafes line the inside, while the cozy chairs and sofas have earned it the sobriquet ‘Denver’s living room’.
More info: https://www.dmns.org/
There really is fun for all the family at this world-class city museum. From vast dinosaur bones to tiny bugs, it runs the gamut of size and scale but never in a dry or dusty way. Being adjacent to City Park means you can plan a great family day around a visit here, with both a planetarium and IMAX Theater on site should you need a sit down. Key exhibits include Egyptian mummies, numerous habitats from across the globe and engaging stuff about Pompeii, deep space and plenty inbetween.
More info: https://www.redrocksonline.com/
A natural venue hewn from the Rocky Mountains, this 9000-seat venue is magnificent in both scope and execution. An eclectic range of concerts run throughout the year, taking advantage not just of the famously good acoustics, but also the splendor of the shadow cast by red sandstone rocks towering 400ft above you. It’s fitting that The Beatles were the first band to ever perform here – this place does ‘big’ perfectly. No concert on? No matter. It’s still an essential visit, with incredible views, hiking trails and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
As you’ll see from even a cursory glance at the website, Denver’s aquarium isn’t your standard issue display of fish. Since redevelopment, it’s now very much a restaurant with a side serving of aquatic life. In many ways, that works just as well – families will love dining while hundreds of species swim around the million gallon tank. There are also amusements include a 4D theater, spider and snake exhibits and a mermaid swimming show that stays the right side of kitsch.
More info: https://www.flydenver.com/about/art_culture
Denver International Airport is not your cookie-cutter travel hub. It has a commitment to public art that can be seen from its external design and the huge ‘Mustang’ sculpture outside, to the murals, gargoyles and exhibits inside. The numerous murals are particularly striking, and cryptic enough to have inspired websites and TV shows dedicated to unpicking their meaning and trading outlandish conspiracy theories about them. The airport has embraced some of these, with conspiracy-themed exhibits and events showing that the marketing team know what they’re doing.
More info: http://16thstreetmalldenver.com/
This mile-long stretch in Downtown isn’t a boxed-in mall, but an outdoor promenade that makes up the best shopping district in the city. It’s a vibrant, tree-lined thoroughfare that combines well-known chain stores with a slew of independent and unique spots selling everything from rare vinyl to handcrafted jewelry and art. It’s just as lively as night, packed with cafes, restaurants and entertainment spots.
More info: https://denverzoo.org/
Those skeptical of the ethics of certain zoos will have their minds put at rest at Denver Zoo, where a considerate approach to enclosures – the place is very much modelled on the kind of nature reserve you’d find in Africa – gives the animals plenty of room. It helps elevate the zoo to world-class status, with lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas and rhinos among the main draws. The recreated habits are excellent, and the staff give useful lectures about the residents to visitors at feeding times.
More info: https://www.mlb.com/rockies/ballpark
Denver loves it sports, with the Broncos flying the NFL flag at Mile High Stadium and teams covering basketball, ice hockey and soccer. However, Coors Field is the pick of the venues, perhaps due to its settings and the atmosphere that goes along with it. It’s the home of MLB team Colorado Rockies and feels like a real part of Downtown, rather than a soulless corporate experience. If you can’t catch a game, you can still take a tour, and there are fun interactive areas for the budding players in your family.