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The Best Food, Lodging and Experiences in Denver (LL)

by Brad Fein
Denver

Once a rugged Old West mining town, the Mile-High city of Denver has lots to see. Here, the air’s thin, the trails are long, and the brews are bountiful.

Outdoor space greatly outweighs urban development around Denver. City and state parks, rushing rivers, and Rocky Mountain National Park offer endless outdoor recreation opportunities.

Denver’s climate’s pretty agreeable, though it’s quite varied. If you have both shorts and snow pants in your luggage, you should be good to go (not even kidding).

It’s all about healthy living in this active, eco-conscious city, and walking and biking are common modes of transportation. However, in true western form, the city spans about 150 square miles, so you’ll probably need a rental car, an Uber, or an RTD rail ride to access the best Denver attractions.

Lodging

Lodging
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Denver lodging options range from traditional hotel stays to backcountry camping just outside of the city. If you’d like to bounce between regional lodging options without hauling around extra baggage, find a Denver luggage storage location so you can lighten the load and focus on the fun stuff.

Hotels

Most of Denver’s hotels are in the city’s downtown region, with a few options east and south of the city center.

In downtown Denver, hotels are primarily of the national chain variety. Amenities like pools, continental breakfasts, and WiFi are pretty standard in these places.

There are a handful of boutique hotels in Denver, too. These unique lodging options provide most of the chain-hotel amenities, with some added features and flair that channel Denver’s independent and artistic vibes.

Vacation Rentals

You can really immerse yourself in the city’s atmosphere when you stay in a Denver vacation rental. Book a historic condo downtown and be on the scene for all of the action or post up near some of Denver’s best views when you settle into a rental house in Golden.

The options don’t end in the city. You can ensure this Denver trip is tranquil by making a cabin in the Rocky Mountains your temporary home.

Camping

If you’re ever going to go camping on vacation, Denver’s the place to do it. Venture a few miles outside of the city limits, and you’ll find tons of places to set up camp.

Whether you opt for rustic camping in the Rockies or glamping in a Tipi outside of town, you’ll experience the Denver outdoors at its finest. There are also numerous kid-friendly campgrounds near Denver, too; families can spread out and tap into lots of fun amenities.

Dining in Denver

If there’s one thing to bring to Denver (besides the shorts and snow pants), it should be your appetite. Meats and Mexican cuisine are top picks here, but those options only scratch the surface.

Since the city’s on the border of some vast wilderness, wild game is pretty popular. Elk, venison, and buffalo dishes are common here; Denver’s definitely the place to sample meats that are considered exotic in most areas.

Burritos and tacos are readily available at eateries around the city. And when it comes to Denver’s famous green chilli, don’t even think about it, just order it.

On the opposite side of the Denver, dining spectrum lies granola. The city’s big on its nuts and grains; this protein-packed blend is easy to make, easy to carry, and sometimes, it even tastes good. Grab a local mix at one of the small grocery stores while you’re here.

Don’t leave Denver without stopping by a few of its food trucks. You’ll get a snapshot of the city’s cuisines and then some. For breakfast Denver-food-truck style, you can count on menu items ranging from waffles and crepes to delicious doughnuts. Lunch brings gourmet hotdogs and burgers, and you can round out your gastronomic tour with a fancy ice cream treat.

Experiences

There’s something for everyone in Denver. Outdoor lovers, culture-seekers, and science-minded folks can quickly fill their trip itineraries in this diverse city.

Outdoor

Denver Outdoor
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Head to City Park, and you can keep your Denver outdoor adventures close to the city’s centre. You can easily spend a day here touring the Denver Zoo, lounging by lakes, and taking advantage of the park’s numerous recreational facilities.

Denver adventure tours are excellent ways to dive into some of the city’s best action. When in Denver, climb the rocks. Rockclimbing is kind of a big thing in this mountainous region, and there are several tour companies offering lessons, excursions, and guided ascents.

Rocky Mountain National Park is about an hour’s drive north of Denver. It spans over 200,000 acres of undeveloped mountain terrain. The possibilities are endless here, with hundreds of miles of hiking trails, raging rivers for whitewater rafting, and some of the best fishing spots in Colorado.

Cultural

For some quality cultural experiences, visit Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre for exceptional live music. Acts range from regional talent to world-famous artists. The setting’s unmatched, and the acoustics are amazing.

Museums in Denver cover an array of historical and cultural themes. The National Ballpark Museum and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame are perfect for sports fans, and art-inspired visitors will love the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art and the Denver Art Museum.

Celebrate the city’s Old West heritage with visits to some of Denver’s best historically-based attractions. The American Museum of Western Art and the Black American West Museum highlight some critical points in the region’s past, and Old West excursions, complete with chuckwagon dinners, are also available.

Consider completing your Denver heritage tour with a trip on the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Guests can enjoy all aspects of Old Colorado, with gold panning, mine tours, and a ride on an old-fashioned passenger train.

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