Blake Walsh

18 Best Things to Do in Denver County, CO

  • Published 2023/05/27

Known as the Mile High City, Denver is a consolidated county and city which acts as the capital Colorado.

Since it’s the state capital, it’s no surprise that Denver is packed full of interesting things to do—it’s one of those cities that left me wanting more after visiting it.

I’ve visited so many museums, parks, and tons of entertainment venues that made it one of the best cities on the West Coast for me.

Visiting Denver can be overwhelming, so check out my list of the best things to do in Denver County, Colorado to help you get started.

Tour the Denver Botanic Gardens

A pond at Denver Botanic Gardens

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Denver Botanic Gardens is easily one of the most scenic places to visit in Denver County—personally, it was a great way to kickstart my adventure.

The garden has a bit of a Japanese touch to it, as you can see a lot of Japanese aesthetics featuring bonsai and Zen landscaping.

But the garden isn’t just limited to this aesthetic, as it has many Western influences as well which makes it both exciting and serene.

Flowers at Denver Botanic Gardens

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It’s also a haven for botany enthusiasts; I’ve learned a ton of information about its horticulture during my visit here.

Located along York Street, I highly recommend Denver Botanic Gardens for a serene time.

Glass sculptures at Denver Botanic Gardens

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Appreciate Aviation at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

Exterior of Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

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If you’re a big time lover of aircrafts and spacecrafts like me, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is a can’t-miss.

It’s a beautiful museum that doubles as a hangar, housing a lot of the retired war planes that served the country during past wars.

Brightly lit and spacious, I had a ton of fun exploring the many exhibits and displays found in this museum.

Interior of Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

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Volunteer staff are also extremely knowledgeable, so be sure to have a conversation with them to learn more.

Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is located along Academy Boulevard, a site that used to be the Lowry Air Force Base.

Aircraft in Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

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Visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Exterior of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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Denver Museum of Nature and Science may perhaps be the most popular museum in the county.

Sprawling with dinosaur fossils, animal taxidermies, and an IMAX theater, this museum is a state-of-the-art complex for all things science.

They have an impressive collection of gems and minerals as well, most of which hail from different parts of the world.

Dinosaur skeletons in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Kit Leong /

But one thing I absolutely enjoyed here are the dinosaur and prehistoric mammal exhibits—it reminds me a lot of what you see in other major museums in the U.S.

You can find it within City Park, along Colorado Boulevard.

Exhibit in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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Get a Rush of Art at Meow Wolf Denver Convergence Station

Meow Wolf Denve Convergence Station is a surreal and unique experience that you can’t afford to miss, especially if you love art like me.

I find the place quirky and sometimes almost psychedelic because of the art exhibits that I’ve yet to experience anywhere else.

Each area has different themes, but most of their areas utilize intricate art mediums and lighting to bring about a one of a kind experience.

It’s a great place to learn about trendy and contemporary art too, as it’s not your usual static museum.

Meow Wolf Denver Convergence Station is a haven for art appreciation and exploration, you can find it along the city’s 1st Street.

Immerse in Marine Life at Downtown Aquarium

Exterior of Downtown Aquarium

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Downtown Aquarium is a fantastic spot to spend hours appreciating local and international marine life.

Visited by tens and thousands of people weekly, the aquarium is easily one of the most visited attractions in Colorado.

There’s a lot to absorb when I went here, as it houses well over 500 species of marine life.

A puffer fish in Downtown Aquarium

Greg Goebel from Loveland CO, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another unique thing about Downtown Aquarium is it has a tiger exhibit inside that features tiger trainers as well.

Equipped with restaurants, cafes, and other fun amenities, this is one of the best all-rounders to spend a whole day with the family.

Like most aquariums in the country, I thoroughly enjoyed the Downtown Aquarium, so try adding this to your itinerary.

See the Wildlife at Denver Zoo

Exterior of Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo has a reputation as one of the best zoos in the United States, giving world-famous zoos such as San Diego Zoo a run for its money.

It’s easily one if not the most visited attraction in the county and in Colorado in general because of its sheer size and state-of-the-art facilities.

I appreciated seeing the stingrays, sea lions, and large mammals like elephants and rhinos.

Flamingos at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo also has a lake and other attractions like a 4D movie and some lego animals for photo opportunities.

Located in Steele Street, this is a can’t-miss visit in Denver County.

Bears at Denver Zoo

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Have a Blast at Elitch Gardens

Thrilling rides at Elitch Gardens

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Do you love thrilling rides like me? Elitch Gardens is the primary amusement park in Denver and serves as one of the best in Colorado.

It’s famous for its adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, but they have plenty of child-friendly rides here too.

The food I ate here is amazing as well, particularly its funnel cakes that’s honestly one of the best I’ve tried in an amusement park.

A rollercoaster at Elitch Gardens

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While it’s not as big as Six Flags, Elitch Gardens is famous for being a great amusement park nonetheless with unique things to offer.

Located in Elitch Circle, try this place out if you want a cute date or a fun family day with your loved ones.

Aerial view of Elitch Gardens swimming pool

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Exercise and Have Fun at Paco Sanchez Park

Paco Sanchez Park is one of the main parks in Denver that doubles as a tourist attraction.

There’s a lot of things to do here because it’s geared for family fun—disc golf, skateboarding, and river trails are some of its headliners.

Personally, my favorite here is simply strolling along the Lakewood Gulch which is a great way to spend some down time.

Paco Sanchez Park’s playground area is particularly attractive to families with kids as well, as it’s a lot more robust compared to typical city park playgrounds.

Found in Knoxx Court, Paco Sanchez Park is a great way to appreciate the simpler side of Denver.

Do Recreational Activities at Washington Park

Daytime view of Washington Park

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Denver is home to a plethora of parks, and Washington Park is one of the biggest.

Not only is it famous for its size, but Washington Park is also known for being one of the most tranquil spots in Denver.

It’s located in the neighborhood area of the same name, so you can expect it to be farther from the main attractions of the county.

You can do a lot of things here—renting bikes, boats, and bringing the kids to the playgrounds are some examples.

There are also tennis courts here and plenty of walking trails, and it even connects to another park at its southernmost end.

The waters of Washington Park

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Visit Molly Brown House Museum

Exterior of Molly Brown House Museum

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Molly Brown House Museum is one of the most unique attractions in Denver.

It’s owned by Margaret Brown, also known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” after she famously survived the catastrophic Titanic disaster during 1912.

Today, you can visit her house and tour it—I’ve seen a lot of remnants of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

There’s a gift shop here as well, where I bought a lot of unique souvenirs for friends and family.

Molly Brown House Museum is a quick and easy stop when traveling to Denver, so consider visiting it along Pennsylvania Street.

Watch an Event at Ball Arena

Exterior of Ball Arena

Troutfarm27, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ball Arena, formerly called Pepsi Center, is a main sports hub in Colorado.

It’s home to many iconic teams representing the county, such as the Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Denver Avalanche (NHL) and Denver Mammoth (NLL).

As a fan of the NBA, seeing the Denver Nuggets—currently one of the best teams in the sport—was highly invigorating.

Besides catching a sports game, Ball Arena is also a primary place for famous concerts.

A state-of-the-art arena with lots of amenities to check out, don’t miss out on Ball Arena, found at Chopper Circle.

Have a Feast at Denver Biscuit Company

While Denver is bustling with so many food establishments with various influences, Denver Biscuit Company should be a can’t-miss no matter what’s at stake.

This is one of the best places I’ve ever eaten at on the West Coast, as their biscuit sandwiches are just mouthwatering that it’ll leave an imprint on your taste buds.

There’s more in store at Denver Biscuit Company—I also ordered pizzas, shrimp and grits, cinnamon rolls, and their strawberry shortcakes with the family.

There’s more to taste here, so if you fell in love with the place like me, visiting twice or thrice is a no-brainer.

There are several branches throughout Denver, so you won’t have a problem visiting this iconic restaurant.

Explore Civic Center Park

People at Civic Center Park

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Civic Center Park is brimming with tons of attractions and other fun events within it, incentivizing you to explore the area fully.

Whether it’s food festivals, Christmas markets, or art fairs, Civic Center Park has plenty to offer that warrants a visit.

While there were no main events during my visit, I saw attractions like the Voorhies Memorial and the Denver State Capitol Building which made it worth the trip.

Food trucks at Civic Center Park

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This is also a famous spot for walking tours, something to consider if you’re into those.

Civic Center Park can be found along 14th Avenue.

People at Civic Center Park during a festival

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Learn History at History Colorado Center

Exterior of History Colorado Center

Trueshow111, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Personally, one of the things I look forward to when visiting a capital city is to learn about the local history of it.

At History Colorado Center, not only will you learn about Denver, but the entire state as well.

During the time I’ve spent here, I learned a lot of information about the roots of Colorado both from a political and an anthropological perspective.

History Colorado Center is also engaging even for casual goers, as their exhibits are top-notch and interactive.

It’s found in Broadway, clustered among many other smaller museums in the area.

Do River Activities at Confluence Park

The waters of Confluence Park

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If there’s a scenic river to see, I always make sure to pay a visit to it as I love the simplicity it brings.

Denver’s Confluence Park does exactly this, giving you scenic access to the South Platte River.

Plenty of activities can be done here, such as kayaking, biking, or simply going for a stroll.

As for me, all I did was just do some sightseeing and enjoy the nice breeze during a late afternoon.

To access the river, Confluence Park is found along 15th Street.

People at Confluence Park

Arina P Habich /

Watch a Movie at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloans Lake

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloans Lake isn’t your typical movie theater experience.

Watching a movie here was a unique experience for me—the cinema is packed with tons of food, beverages, along with a stylish aesthetic to boot.

One of the best things about this place is that it feels like you’re walking up to a personal home theater.

The vibes are just comfy and intimate, and it’s truly geared for adults.

If you love movies, beer, and food, I highly recommend watching a flick at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloans Lake.

Watch a Live Performance at Gothic Theatre

Exterior of Gothic Theatre

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Gothic Theatre is a great place to catch a band during your stay in Denver, especially if you don’t like mainstream performances like me.

What I loved about this place is its intimacy—because it’s not mainstream, Gothic Theatre has this passionate atmosphere that’s perfect for dates.

The bands here are also great, with some being in the alt rock genre while others being metal.

A guitar player in Gothic Theatre

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Another beautiful thing about Gothic Theatre is its art deco design—it was previously an art deco movie house so it has plenty of remnants of its heritage.

If there’s an event that you fancy here, Gothic Theatre can be found along South Broadway.

Interior of Gothic Theatre

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Visit the Denver Art Museum

Exterior of Denver Art Museum

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Another famous attraction in Denver nationwide is Denver Art Museum.

As a lover of art, this was a no-brainer to visit—however, you can still appreciate this even if you’re just a casual art lover as well.

It’s home to some iconic artworks from artists such as Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh.

Big sweep sculpture at Denver Art Museum

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The architecture here is one of the best I’ve seen as well on the West Coast—it’s a haven for photo opportunities for all kinds of tourists.

Denver Art Museum is located along 14th Avenue Parkway.

Interior of Denver Art Museum

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Final Thoughts

My time in Denver is a memorable one that cements it as one of the best cities and counties on the West Coast.

The sheer amount of museums, parks, and entertainment attractions here can easily take up a whole month.

Some of my favorites here are Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Meow Wolf Denver Convergence Station.

Others like Denver Biscuit Company and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloans Lake complete the experience.

If you like my stories about Mile High City, try these things to do in Denver County, Colorado.

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