Denver’s a dreamy destination, a lively hub where the Rocky Mountains give way to urban adventure. Days spent in the Mile High City are likely to be jam packed, with cultural and culinary delights around every street corner. And the best part? The must-see spots of Colorado’s capital can be ticked off in just one day. Read on for our insider’s take on how to spend 24 hours in Denver…
Watch sunrise at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
It’s time to carpe diem as you rise bright and early for sunrise at Red Rocks Ampitheatre. Situated a short drive from Denver’s city centre, this natural rock structure makes up one of the most famous amphitheatres in the world. Although typically used for music performances, Red Rocks opens an hour before sunrise so you can soak in clear eastward views of the fiery sky. Be sure to check the sunrise timings, as they differ throughout the year.
Feast on an all-American breakfast
Back in Denver’s city centre, satisfy your early morning hunger with an all-American breakfast. Spots like The Bindery and Sassafras American Eatery tempt diners with gooey eggs benedict, elaborate stacks of pancakes and mac and cheese loaded with bacon and sausage. You certainly won’t be diving into your 24 hours in Denver on an empty stomach.
Snap a photo at Mile High Steps
Denver is known as the Mile High City, but to truly reach those heights you’ll have to head to the steps at the State Capitol. Exactly which step sits 5280ft above sea level is up for debate, with the 13th, 15th and 18th step each boasting their own mile-high marker. But wherever you choose to stand, have your cameras to hand as the mountain range backdrop calls for a perfect photo opportunity.
Stroll around Civic Centre Park
After snapping a photo at Mile High Steps, Denver’s green space centrepiece awaits exploration. Civic Center Park blooms with 25,000 square feet of flower beds during summer and is bordered by the State Capitol and the City and County Building – a glorious blend of natural and manmade beauty. Filled with fountains, statues and a Greek amphitheatre, it’s the ideal place for a spot of people watching during your 24 hours in Denver.
Shop at Larimer Square
Grab a coffee and head to Larimer Square, Denver’s most historic block and lively shopping district. Under strings of lights and Colorado flags you’ll find rows of stylish shops perched inside of Victorian buildings. From a pet boutique filled with dog food, toys and accessories to a vintage haven stocked with clothing, shoes and accessories, there’s something for all types of shoppers.
Eat a local lunch
Your 24 hours in Denver wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of their gastronomic delicacies, so after shopping it’s time for lunch. If you stick to Larimer Square, you’ll find some of Denver’s best restaurants – indulge in mediterranean-inspired fare at Rioja, feast on authentic Italian dishes at Osteria Marco, or tuck into modern Mexican with a view of the Rocky Mountains at Tamayo. Alternatively, you could scout out a restaurant in the surrounding area that serve up delicious local dishes, such as green chile or Rocky Mountain oysters (not really oysters, but bull’s testicles).
Appreciate art at the Golden Triangle
With bellies full, it’s off to the arty heart of Denver – the Golden Triangle. This neighbourhood boasts art galleries, theatres and boutiques, but the best place to start is Denver Art Museum. It’s home to a monumental 70,000 works of art, in addition to a collection of Indigenous art from North America. Afterwards, a trip to the gift shop promises an array of art-inspired souvenirs to bring home.
Unwind in craft breweries
It’s practically criminal to spend 24 hours in Denver without checking out their ever-growing craft beer scene. So, spend the late afternoon sampling some of the best refreshing pints, from Belgian-style ales to hazy IPA’s. There’s no better way to relax after a busy day than with a tipple or two in a cosy, dimly lit taproom.
Rooftop dinner and drinks
Carry on indulging with dinner at one of Denver’s many rooftop bars. We recommend a visit to Linger, a rooftop bar that serves up a global street food with a side of stunning city views. This mortuary-turned-restaurant-and-bar (go with it) is in the Lower Highland neighbourhood, an area known for its welcoming vibes and hipster food scene.
Enjoy a show at Ball Arena
Within walking distance from Linger is Denver’s Ball Arena, a 20,000-capacity arena that attracts the biggest names in music and entertainment. It’s the hottest spot to end your evening, with the likes of Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Cirque du Soleil shows having graced the stage in previous years. Your 24 hours in Denver will be sure to end with a bang.
Written by Evie Buller