Are you looking for a concise list of the most iconic and memorable places to visit and experience in Denver? Well, you came to the right blog.
Traditionally, I base my bucket lists on my lived experiences from popular destinations, but I made this list with more personal interests. While as you’ll see, I have participated in many of my “Denver bucket list” items, but not everything. Initially, I set out to make this a personal list for myself. In the process of making it, I quickly realized that the combination of personal interests and personal experience would be fun to share with everyone.
You’ll find here a concise list of have-dones and want-to-dos. You’ll see checkmarks next to everything I’ve done.
So, here’s to me living like a tourist in my city before our big move.
*Note: all events/activity headers are hyperlinks for more information
✓ The Denver Botanic Gardens | Keep an eye on special events taking place at the gardens. We attended the Glow in the Gardens Halloween event. It was absolutely amazing. There was “professionally” carved pumpkins, characters in costumes, and a fire dancer.
✓ RiNo Art District | You can catch one of the district’s many artsy events if you’re lucky. As a resident of Denver, we’ve had the opportunity to visit the district many times. Most recently, we attended RiNo Summer Art Market with free DIY screen printing, live music, and vendors.
✓ Washington Park | I can’t go more than a week without visiting Wash Park. It’s my go-to running trail, picnic place, and Sunday morning stroll. The 2.3-mile loop is picture-perfect. Conveniently close to Devil’s Food (one of my favorite coffee shops and home to the best place for a traditional donut), a crisp fall morning is complete with a donut and a hot drink.
✓ McGregor Square Movies on the Lawn | Movies at McGregor Square are entirely free. Show times are every Thursday at 6 pm beginning in May and ending the last week of October. I love going in October because they have a great line-up of “scares.”
88 Drive-In Theater | Drive-in movies aren’t just a thing of the past, and 88 Drive-In has been on my Denver bucket list since we moved here in 2019. 88 typically features 2 movies back-to-back with a $10 per person charge whether you stay for both films or not.
Stanley Movie Night “Film on the Field” | Another free night of films on the lawn. Stanley Marketplace is retro warehouse meets food vendor local shop spot. Other events Stanley hosts include Rescue Puppies & Yoga, weekly farmers market, story time for kids and much more.
Art, Culture, & Museums
✓ Nature and Science Museum | To say I can’t get enough of Denver’s Nature and Science Museum would be an understatement. I’ve been a few times and still haven’t walked through all the rooms. The museum has two rotating exhibit rooms. So, even if you’ve gone once, they can keep you coming back for new interesting and exciting things every few months.
✓ Museum of Contemporary Art Denver | The MCA Denver is such a fun place. Similar to N.A.S., the museum has rotating exhibits that feature new and classic artists from right here in Colorado to worldwide.
Denver Art Museum | Another great choice if you’re an art lover. The Denver Art Museum offers free days too.
✓ The Denver Center for Performing Arts | Enjoy one of many unique performances that come through the theatre.
✓ Butterfly Pavilion | The Butterfly Pavilion’s vision is to educate and conserve invertebrate species worldwide. The pavilion offers many fantastic classes, including “Bee Keeping Bootcamp” and “Macro Photography.”
In October, they hosted spiders from around the world. Greg and I had the chance to attend their “Spooky Evening Flashlight Tour.” So fun!
Ophelias Electric Soapbox Brunch
✓ Linger | Linger is one of five restaurants owned by Edible Beats, but what makes it unique is the restaurant is housed in a former mortuary.
Milk Market | Labeled as an “all-local, all-wonderful mix of take-away and dine-in restaurants,” the Milk Market has been on my mental Denver Bucket list for a long time.
✓ Awake | Denver’s first non-alcoholic “bar” features signature seasonal cocktails, live music, and specialty events ranging from tarot card readings to comedy nights.
✓ Voodoo Donuts | Voodoo Donuts began in Portland, Oregon, but the shop has become a Denver must-stop. Rain or shine, Voodoo Donuts, their classic pink box, and especially delightful donuts are a bucket list classic.
Are donuts really your thing? Mine too. Check out my Donuts of Denver | 5 Fun & Delicious Places to Crush Your Donut Cravings… COMING SOON
Shop Larimer Square | Every city has its main strip of shops to check out. For Austin, it’s 6th street; in Flagstaff, Aspen Ave; and in Denver, it’s Larimer square.
South Broadway | South Broadway is one of the best locations for funky-local shops. A few of my favorite shops are Sewn Denver, Fifty Two 80’s A Totally Awesome Shop, Awakening, Rosehouse Botanicals, and (my absolute favorite) Hope Tank.
Off the Beaten Path
Adams Mystery Playhouse | a full-time murder mystery dinner theater hosting a multi-themed events just about every night.
✓ Urban Putt | An indoor mini-golf course catered a little more for adults. Perfect for date night.
DIY Night at Upstairs Circus
✓ Meow Wolf | Meow Wolf is… a lot to process, but it’s also a lot of fun. Something I encourage everyone to do at least once.
Outside the City
There are some things worth traveling outside the city for. Weathering you are visiting Denver for a few days or have just moved to the Mile High City, here’s a list of prime adventures outside the city.
✓ Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Whether hiking the many trails or seeing a show, Red Rocks is a must when visiting Colorado.
✓ Luvin’ Arms Animal Sanctuary | This one holds an extraordinary sacred place in my heart. Luvin’ Arms is a nonprofit animal sanctuary for abused or neglected farmed animals. I enjoy spending as much time as possible at Luvin’ Arms, volunteering and attending their many unique events.
✓ Garden of the Gods | You can follow my complete travel guide to Garden of the Gods and Manitou Cliff Dwellings here.
✓ Rocky Mountain National Park | Plan a complete weekend trip to Estes Park with my “Top 10 Things to Do in Estes” here.
✓ The Stanley Hotel | The Stanley Hotel is a fantastic spot to stay for the weekend, or if you’re low on time, visit for a tour. I did a complete travel guide for the Stanley Hotel, which can be found – Here
Traditional ‘Must Do’
Hug the Big Blue Bear | Located at the convention center, the Big Blue bear is a staple to any Denver visit
Grab an ice cream from Little Man Ice Cream or, if you’re me, a Colorado Cola float.
The Tattered Cover | As my first stop on weekday mornings when I was taking the train to the city every weekday morning. As my home away from the home bookstore. I would be remiss if I didn’t include the tattered Cover.
I hope you enjoyed this bucket list and found somethings to add to your own.