This is going to be a list of things to do in Denver when you are very much alive and kicking – not as the movie tells us, Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead! In this movie, an old man says “Life is like a mustard burp, momentarily tangy and then forgotten in the air”. For this reason, travel is something we should embrace as often as we can, and the Mile-High City with the Rocky Mountain backdrop is an excellent place to visit. Lonely Planet describes it as where “Old West blends effortlessly with cosmopolitan hip” so without much further ado, here are some awesome things to do in Denver.
1. Get Neighborly in Larimer Square
Larimer Square is where the Mile High City breathes that thin mountain air in deep. One of the most historic things to do in Denver is to explore Larimer, in which, a little over a century and a half ago, the whole community of Denver was housed. Though Denver’s grown taller and wider, the child’s heart and soul still pumps in this historic downtown neighborhood, where visitors can start by eating in one of the fine restaurants in the area’s historic buildings or go on a shopping spree in a series of hip Denver shops. Better yet, drop by Larimer at night, when it ceases to hit the snooze alarm and starts to buzz with life. Countless festivals play out upon the square year-round, the most popular of which is La Piazza dell’Arte in June, where you’ll see hundreds of artists converge and paint away in the square as if it were a canvas.
2. Discover Art for Art’s Sake at Denver Art Museum
Perhaps you didn’t know that Denver was so artsy? Well, it is, as you’ll see upon visiting the Denver Art Museum. In fact, any art geek will be drawn in by the architecture of the building itself, whose ragged abstract lines and edges were designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti in the 1970s. With seven stories of incredible masterpieces, from world renowned artists like Frederic Remington and Georgia O’Keeffe, to name only a couple, you’ll be sure to spend an inspiring afternoon in an exploration of one of the top attractions of Denver. DAM’s works of art were drawn together over a 40-year span, with its Western art collection being one of America’s most prestigious.
3. Talk to the Animals at Denver Zoo
Spend a day with the lions and tigers and bears – oh, my! – at Denver Zoo. Home to over 700 species, Denver Zoo was designed after a Kenyan nature preserve. The gorgeous landscaped habitats allow you to envision how the animals might appear in their own natural settings , with Predator Ridge mirroring an African savannah where lions and hyenas sulk around. Be sure to visit the nursery, where the baby animals are kept under close surveillance. And if your legs are getting weary, hop aboard the first ever natural gas-powered zoo train to chauffeur you between exhibits.
4. Take Me out to the Ball Game at Coors Field
With Denver’s favorite home-brewed beer as the namesake, any sports fan is sure to have a good time watching the Colorado Rockies baseball team on its home turf. With over a 50,000 seat capacity, you’d still better book in advance, as tickets can go quick. After you’ve eaten all the peanuts and crackerjacks you can swallow, go burn off those cals by taking a swing in the Interactive Area, behind the Main Concourse’s bullpens. Here, you can “try-out” in the batting cages and see if you have what it takes to play fast-pitch with the big hitters.
5. HIt the Shops at 16th Street Mall
A short walk from Coors Field, you can shop till you drop and then catch a game, or vice versa of course. The 16th Street Mall is the Magnificent Mile of the Mile High City...only it doesn’t span a mile; just 16 blocks. Still, the dining, shopping and entertainment could blow the Windy City’s Michigan Avenue away with its trendiness. Gap, Niketown, and Virgin Records can all be found here, alongside smaller hip boutiques.
6. Have Some Fun at Lakeside Amusement Park
This nostalgic little amusement park is great for young kids to take in a bit of fun. The old rides are kitschy, and though aimed at the younger crowd, young and old alike will enjoy a day, riding all the classic carnival fare, like bumper cars and boats, as well as the roller coaster, The Cyclone, whose wooden tracks are almost scarier than metal ones, with their bumpy sharp turns and shock drops. Visit at night to see the park all lit up in neon.
7. Increase Your Knowledge at Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Another entertaining family-fun outing, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science serves up everything from Egyptian mummies to dinosaur bones, focusing on six areas of research: space science, health sciences, anthropology, geology, zoology, and paleontology. You can take a Prehistoric Journey, walking through the developmental stages of Earth, or you can enjoy a 3D experience of space travel at the IMAX Theater.
Let’s end on another quote from “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead” Easy Wind said “Remember when you was a kid and you would spend the whole year waiting for summer vacation and when it finally came it would fly by just like that? It's funny, Jimmy, life has a way of flying by faster than any old summer vacation really f***ing does.” If you spend part of your life in Denver, even a few days, it will be time well spent. Who has been to Denver?