Manager @ Denver Urban Adventures. World traveller. Avid hiker. Colorado lover.
Not everyone has a week to spend in Denver; in fact, many visitors hurry off to the mountains for skiing, mountain biking, climbing and hiking. For those of you fortunate enough to have a free day in Denver, or better still, are attending a week-long conference in the Mile High City, there is no reason to not get out and explore the local Denver scene. Here are our favourite ways to do just that.
Take in local art on First Friday art walks
Every first Friday of the month, the art studios in the River North (RiNo) and Santa Fe art districts open their doors to allow visitors to rub elbows with local artists and see what’s new and hot in Denver’s art scene. They don’t stop there though; art is on the walls at almost every restaurant and store in the neighbourhood. Check their websites for maps of who is participating in each ‘hood.
#localsknow tip: To explore RiNo with us, join our daily tour of the best of the district’s art and food scene.
Dive into the trendiest open-air art districts of Colorado as you go behind the scenes to meet some local RiNo artists in their private workshops.
Work out with some new friends
We are a super sporty community, and let’s face it: hotel gyms are not always well equipped, and sometimes it’s just easier to work out in a group.
The November Project is like working out with 20 to 30 of your best friends. Every Wednesday and Friday, you can find this group of lovable, early-morning fitness fanatics working out in refreshing and new ways. Expect a full body workout AND a hug, and to leave with a huge smile.
- Wednesday: 5:30am & 6:30am start time at Civic Park.
- Friday: 5:30am & 6:30 start times. Check their Facebook page as the location can change.
Workouts and hugs are all free — expect to make a new friend here.
Get your rock climbing on. There’s almost always someone at Movement who needs to partner up for a belay.
With drop-ins on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you’ll have a chance to hone your skills, get a workout, and meet some locals at Dive Volleyball.
Watch sports, which are BIG in the Big D (and I don’t mean Dallas)
#localsknow tip: If the Rockies are playing in town, check to see if it’s a fireworks game; if so, head to the roof of nearby Avanti for spectacular views and great food and drink.
Find frogs and flowers at the Botanical Gardens
At the Denver Botanical Gardens, the tree frogs and bonsai trees are my favourite part of the gardens, but you never know what you’ll find here. Two years in a row they had a blooming corpse flower, which takes 7 to 20 years to bloom and lasts only 48 hours.
#localsknow tip: If you happen to be here during the holiday season, the Botanical Gardens stay open late and staff go all-out decorating the park. Definitely a fun experience.
Take in a show
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a wonderful place to see plays, musicals, cabaret and even improv. Grab a friend and check it out.
Find a festival at Larimer Square
It’s worth a quick internet search or better yet, a stroll down to 16th and Larimer to see what’s going on. On any given weekend, you can find a festival or other celebration in full swing.
Don’t forget the free days!
Denver museums have a slew of no-cost, open door days where you can walk right in and see what all the fuss is about without reaching for your wallet. It is a great perk and I highly recommend taking advantage of it. Keep in mind these days are popular — so show up early to beat the rush. The participating museums are:
- Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St., 720-337-1400
- Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave Parkway, +1 720-865-5000 *Note: Kids 18 and younger get free general museum admission every day.
- Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., +1 720-865-3501
- Chatfield Farms
- Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, 2121 Children’s Museum Dr., +1 303-433-7444
- Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd., +1 303-370-6000
- Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys, 1880 N. Gaylord St., +1 303-322-1053
Hopefully you now have a great reason to schedule an extra day in Denver. Yet to be convinced? Don’t worry, this is not an all-inclusive list; take a peek at our ever-growing collection of Denver tours where we visit the best that Denver has to offer and give you a peek behind the curtain to see what a day in the life of a local looks like. Enjoy Denver; we’re glad you’re here!