Resting in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains and perfectly placed near the heart of Colorado, Denver is a lost gem of the American West. Affectionately called the Mile High City, Denver is a thriving city of rich culture, charming and distinguished neighborhoods, a thriving marijuana community, and gateway to the mighty Rocky Mountains.
Despite it’s natural beauty and self-made charm, Denver is often overlooked by traveler, but if you’re looking to visit Denver on your next trip through the U.S., then you’ll enjoy our quick guide to visiting Denver.
Getting to Denver
Located near the heart of Colorado, Denver is roughly a 2 hour flight from Los Angeles, 1 hour and 45 minutes from Las Vegas, and 4 hours and 25 minutes from New York.
Flights to Denver will lead you to Denver International Airport (DIA) on the Northeast side of the city where you can take the University of Colorado A Line to downtown Denver, ending at Union Station.
Union Station also connects trains to the city through Amtrak, letting your experience the gem of the Rocky’s by rail.
Weather in Denver
Due to it’s high altitude, Denver experiences cold winters with high snowfalls from November to March. Though the city and surrounding region become blanketed in snow, the nearby Rocky Mountains open up their slopes to snowboarders and skiers. During the holidays you can experience Denver’s very own Christkindl Market.
From April to May you’ll start to see the temperatures rise, however you can still expect steady rainfall. This makes it a perfect time to bargain shop for hotels, as prices drop, and visit the city’s many museums, which will be free of tour crowds. You can even see Cherry Blossoms beginning to bloom in the botanical gardens. Visitors should look out for Soul Food Festival and the Five Points Jazzfest as rainfalls dwindle in May, and of course 420.
Summer starts in June and runs through, experiencing high temperatures in July. This is also the busiest season as hikers use the city as a basecamp while exploring the Rocky Mountains. During June you can experience PrideFest and Juneteenth, one of the largest celebrations of the abolishment of slavery in the U.S.
September and October offer comfortable temperatures with lively festivals, including Oktoberfest and the Great American Beer Festival. You may get to see the first signs of snowfall on the Rocky’s many peaks.
Top Attractions in Denver
Whether you’re looking to enjoy Denver on a layover or have a week to explore here, we’ve got you covered.
Layover in Denver
As soon as you land, hop on the train to Union Station, right in the heart of Downtown. From here you can take the free 16th Street Mall Shuttle to get around, or pick up a bike at a Denver B-cycle station. Grab a cup of coffee in Larimer Square to kick-start your heart, or slip into one of the many charming cafes for a bite to eat.
Head Southeast through the Business District to the Golden Triangle, from which you can find the Colorado State Capital, Denver Art Museum, and History Colorado Center, all of which offer great introductions to Denver and Colorado as a whole.
If you’re up for some shopping, grab your wallet and a ride-share or bus to Cherry Creek, one of the largest shopping centers between San Francisco and St. Louis. You may also want to stop in at Cheesman Park, home to the Denver Botanic Gardens.
End your day at any of Denver’s hit sports bars or breweries, such as the Great Divide Brewing Company to the Jackson’s Denver, located in the Lodo District. If you still have some energy left, try for a game at the Pepsi Center, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, or Coors Field.
A Taste of the Rockies
Now if you only have one day for Denver but also want to experience the Rockies, don’t fret. You can still enjoy both with a lively, packed day.
Start off by heading to Union Station where you can board a Foothills of Denver Tour at 9:00am. In just 4 hours you’ll get to experience the Front Range, the Red Rocks Amphitheater (a must-see for first time visitors) and Lookout Mountain for amazing views of the Continental Divide. You’ll stop off in Evergreen, the perfect rugged town from which to enjoy brunch in the Rockies. You’ll be traveling with a maximum of 13 other travelers, so you’ll have plenty of time to ask your guide questions and dodge the big bus crowds.
Your guide will drop you back off at Union Station, where you can enjoy the morning route we suggested above.
A Week in Denver
If you want to extend your trip in Denver, then you can easily spread out any of the above activities throughout a week. Take you first day to introduce yourself to Downtown Denver and the Golden Triangle. Then, spread out a tour of the breweries, a sports game, and some time to shop over the next few days. Marijuana enthusiasts can even take a tour of the various dispensaries and groweries of the city.
Artists looking to get more acquainted with the local culture of Denver should check out the Urban Walking Tour, which offers daily departures around the year.
|Dollar||United States Dollar (USD)|
|Cultural Etiquette||When meeting someone new, its customary to offer your name and a handshake.Don’t worry too much about formal or informal titles unless it involves slang. Americans only use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. for formal business settings, and first names are okay for a first meeting.
Either arrive on time or a few minutes late. American’s are casual about arrival times and tend to prefer guests don’t arrive too early; otherwise you’ll interrupt them when they’re finishing dinner or cleaning up the living room.
Remember to always tip at a restaurant, for transportation such as cabs or airport shuttles, and for services such as help with baggage or housekeeping.
The Independent Traveler has a great guide to tipping in the U.S. 15% of the bill is considered the minimum, 20% the standard, and anything above is for great service.
|Food||Classic American and American-style Mexican food.
Locals suggest visiting RiNo, LoHo, LoDo, and Uptown for the best restaurants in the city.
Marijuana enthusiasts should definitely try out the range of edibles at local dispensaries (safely and legally, of course).
Follow the maps at Eater Denver to customize your foodie trip to Denver.
|Restaurant Etiquette||Tipping is standard practice in the U.S. , from restaurants to hair dressers to bellhops, so be prepared to provide at least 15% if someone helps you out professionally.|
|Safety Level||Relatively safe, but visitors should always take precautions while traveling.
|Getting Around||The Regional Transportation District offers bus transportation and light rail, with 34.8 miles of tracks across 36 stations. Local buses are accessible for disabilities.
Visit Denver’s official guide to the transportation services for more details.
|Emergency Services||All Emergencies: 911|