Most people associate Denver with mountains and legal use of certain “herbs” but this city is so much more than just winter-sports and Colfax Avenue (which is the longest main street in the country). Denver in itself has so many activities inside and in its vicinity that there is never a moment to spare!
I know the winters here are surreal and this is a famous destination known for its beautiful ski slopes but in my opinion, Denver during summer has a charm that is very difficult to resist. From hiking up one of the tallest peaks to biking around the city to sitting in one of the many breweries or just catching a ball game. There is something here for all ages and in all moods.
Here are a few of the innumerable things you could be doing when you visit the Mile-High City.
Downtown Denver is one of the liveliest downtown areas that I have been to. It is full of art, crafts, and music. The area has a lot of fun activities including brewery tours and shopping malls. A few places I would recommend are:
1. Coors Field:
The home ground for Colorado Rockies is one of the places where you can grab a glass of beer and relax on a Sunday. The stadium is very close to the Union Square station and 16th Street Mall. You can always visit these places after the game for some good food.
2. 16th Street Mall:
16th street is a pedestrian road surrounded by great places to shop and eat. Located in the heart of downtown Denver, there is not a dull moment on the streets. You can find people playing music and performing on the streets, horse-carts carrying people on the roads and the general hustle-bustle of the tourists in the city. The FreeMallRide buses offer free bus services on the street so you don’t have to walk the entire way. There are over 50 restaurants and 300 local shops on this street alone.
3. Capitol Hill:
Located at the intersection of Broadway, Colfax Avenue, Downing Street and Seventh Avenue is the Capitol building. If you are in the city during 4th of July, this is the place to be. The firework show is wonderful and the downtown area is as always a treat.
4. Confluence Park
If you feel nostalgic about water bodies and like going for a walk near the riverside, this is the place to go. There is green grass and a sidewalk to walk, run or cycle.
Places around Denver
1. Lookout Mountain Overlook:
Daytime View from the Overlook Located at about 30 min drive from the city, you get one of the most mesmerizing views of the city lights. The skies are generally clear and you can gaze into the millions of lights above and below you.
2. Mount Evans and the Scenic Byway
Mt Evans is the highest summit in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. It is also the highest paved road in Colorado. Located at about 14,130 ft this mountain and the drive to the top feels like you are in the Alps. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach the summit from Denver, so be sure to plan the day accordingly.
You can visit Echo lake park on your drive to Mt Evans. The picturesque lake is surrounded by majestic mountains on all sides and is very serene. There is a restaurant and a gift shop here. You can have a lunch picnic by the lake while enjoying the calm beauty of nature.
3. Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak is the highest summit in the southern Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This 14,115 ft tall mountain is located 12 mi from Colorado Springs. You can get here by car or by taking the train to the summit. There are many trails to hike around the mountain. Be sure to carry extra layers as even during summer, it can get very cold on the top.
When at Pikes Peak, be sure to get the really hot and fresh doughnuts along with some warm coffee. The lines can get really long but they are worth the wait. The doughnuts have been served here for more than a century and you will know why they are famous when you try one for yourself.
4. Garden of the Gods:
Located about an hour away from Denver, this public park in Colorado Springs should be on your list of things to do while here.
The sedimentary rocks are a popular tourist destination because of the bright red colour which makes for really beautiful photographs. The Garden of the Gods is a popular place to hike, bike and climb mountains. Be sure to carry lots of water as it is very easy to get dehydrated when inside the park as the temperatures tend to go very high during summer. Also, check the timings before you travel as they have a varied time schedule.
You can combine the Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods in a one-day trip from Denver.
5. Boulder, Colorado:
This college town is located at a 40 min drive from Denver. There are wonderful places to eat and drink in the city. You can visit the University of Colorado, Boulder to witness beautiful architecture. The Rocky Mountain National Park is just a 1.5-hour drive from here.
Where to Eat?
Voodoo Doughnut: If you like unusual, tasty doughnuts with funky names, this is the place you want to be. The doughnut store from Portland has a branch in Denver and they have the most mouth-watering selection of doughnuts.
Venice: If you are looking for an intimate family dining experience, the Venice on 17th street is the place for you. They have the really amazing ambience and a wonderful wine listing. They get you a free dessert if it’s your birthday too!
For information on the Rockie Mountains National Park or about visiting Aspen during Summer, log into the National Park section of the website.