Denver is a fantastic place to visit, and an even more fun place to live. Plenty of people come through Denver to enjoy Colorado’s hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and other outdoor activities that bring so many people to the state. Although many travelers choose to head outside of Denver to get to these activities, we recommend spending at least 24 hours in Denver to truly experience everything the city has to offer. There are so many fun things to do in Denver, but we put together an itinerary of the most iconic and favorite spots to make sure your day in the Mile High City is packed with as many fun things as possible.
Start your day in Union Station, a 1914 train terminal tuned into a hub for dining and shopping. You can get here by taking the direct train right from the Denver International Airport. The terminal Grand Hall still has all of the charms of an old train station, with cozy armchairs and big sofas, this is the perfect place to sit down and get your bearings as you arrive in Denver.
There are two breakfast places we recommend to start off your day in Union Station. First is Snooze an A.M. Eatery. They have plenty of breakfast options, but if you are a sweet breakfast person, you have to try their pancake flight, pineapple upside-down pancakes, or the OMG French toast stuffed with mascarpone and topped with vanilla crème, caramel, strawberries, and toasted coconut. If you are a boozy brunch-goer, they also have quite a few takes on mimosas that you may enjoy. The other option is Mercantile Dining and Provision. They fall more on the savory side of breakfast, with options like smoked salmon toast, Turkish eggs, and pork belly biscuits.
Tuk Around Denver
If you only have 24 hours in Denver and you want to see and experience as much as possible, your best bet is to rent an eTuk Ride. The electronic tuk-tuk will pick you up right outside of Union Station and the local guide will take you to all of the best destinations in Denver. If you choose to do the Ultimate Urban Denver City Tour, you will get to see Civic Center Park, Downtown Core, Golden Triangle (Main Arts District), Larimer Square, LoHi and LoDo Neighborhoods, Sports Stadiums, RiNo Neighborhood and Street Murals, and Central Market Stop. The tours are rain and shine and can either be open-air or covered with heated seats depending on the weather. It’s about a 2.5-hour tour and is the fastest and best way to see all of the best parts of Denver in a short amount of time.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Before grabbing lunch, head over to see the Denver Botanic Gardens. They’re always rotating out different seasonal plant displays, so depending on what time of year you go, you can see something completely different. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and work off breakfast while you get ready to enjoy some more delicious Denver food for lunch.
Denver Central Market
For lunch, head over to Denver Central Market, where you’ll find something for everyone in your group. Denver Central Market is essentially a large food hall with 11 vendors in a fun artsy, industrial setting. Here, you can order Italian, cured meat and cheese, salads, smoothies, ice cream, coffee, cocktails, oysters, sandwiches, fresh fish, chocolate, fresh pastries, fast-casual, and so much more!
Explore Art and Beer
While you’re in the area, check out two things Denver is well-known for: art and craft beer. In the River North Art District, you can find murals on buildings, walls, and garage doors. Just about every street you walk down will have a new mural for you to enjoy and snap a picture in front of. While you’re walking around RiNo, stop into some of the craft breweries there. Denver is home to over 100 craft breweries, so rest assured that you will stumble upon quite a few while you’re there.
Larimer Square is Denver’s oldest street, and it’s a must-see place when looking for things to do in Denver. Once a spot for gold prospectors to stay while they looked to strike big, this area is now home to coffee shops, restaurants, and cocktail bars. For award-winning Mediterranean food, check out Rioja. The dishes are delicious and fairly priced. After dinner, walk around and grab a drink at one of the many bars in the area.
Little Man Ice Cream
Lastly, you cannot leave Denver without visiting Little Man Ice Cream to get a late-night treat. They’re open late and worth the trip. The stand is inspired by the vintage Coney Island stands and is a 28-foot-tall ice cream can – you can’t miss it. It’s one of the most iconic places in Denver and a must-see before you head out to enjoy the other sites Colorado has to offer.
We hope you enjoyed our guide of things to do in Denver, Colorado: the ultimate itinerary! The city has so much to offer, so it can be hard to fit it all into one day. If you enjoyed your day in Denver, we hope you come back and spend more time in Denver during your next trip out here!