Fun Things to Do in Denver
Denver Skate Park
2205 19th Street
This 60,000-square-foot park is open to boarders, bladers, and bikers of all levels—but it’s a good idea to show up early to beat the crowds. It’s also exciting to just watch the regulars land their tricks. You never know which future X-Gamers you might spot!
Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York Street
The 24 acres of gardens at the center’s downtown location feature everything from a Cactus and Succulent House to a “living roof” to a Native American exhibit. But our favorite spot is the three-acre Mordecai Children’s Garden. Here, kids can wander through alpine wildflowers, hunt for bugs, climb across a swinging “trail” bridge, splash around in a stream as they learn to make beaver dams, and more.
City Park & Denver Zoo
17th Avenue and York Street
Pack a picnic and head over to Denver’s largest park to enjoy its playgrounds, lakes, and trails. City Park is also home to the Denver Zoo, where kids can stroll through two miles of interconnected trails at the Toyota Elephant Passage or ride the Pioneer Train past Bear Mountain as they spot grizzlies and black bears.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colorado
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, about 25 minutes from downtown Denver, is worth the trip. The stage is framed by two natural, 300-foot red sandstone walls, which give it perfect acoustics for concerts. The surrounding Red Rocks Park—there is no charge to enter—offers 868 acres to explore, with dinosaur, plant, and animal fossils (don’t miss the fragments of a 40-foot sea serpent!).
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
2000 Elitch Circle
A classic amusement park right in the middle of downtown! Older kids can take a thrill ride on the new 17-story Star Flyer swing while little ones jump on the more low-key Blazin’ Buckaroo family coaster. Or head to the adjacent water park, which features a 65-foot-tall Acapulco Cliff Dive and the Hook’s Lagoon water tree house (with slides, 150 water gadgets, and a water playground). There are even “dive-in” movies that you watch from the pool!
South Platte River Trail
East 88th Avenue
Hike or bike the 18-mile long Denver portion of this popular paved trail. It runs through the Downtown Denver and South Denver neighborhoods, past lakes, golf courses, industrial areas, and the historic Riverside Cemetery, where many of the city’s pioneers are buried.
16th Street Mall
Designed by world-famous architect I.M. Pei—who created the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris—the pedestrian promenade has granite pavers that look like the scales on a diamondback rattlesnake when viewed from above. There’s plenty to eat, see, and buy as you walk the mall. But kids will really enjoy the street performers, souvenir shopping, and nighttime horse-drawn carriage rides.
Where To Stay
Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Denver is in a renovated historic building on the 16th Street Mall. It has the feel of a boutique hotel but with bonus conveniences like laundry facilities and free Wi-Fi. Rates start at $199.
Grand Hyatt Denver is in walking distance to Denver’s top attractions and is known for its oversize rooms and indoor pool. Rates start at $239.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco offers special perks for its littlest guests, like pet goldfish in the rooms, pint-size bathrobes, and hula hoops. Rates start at $199.
Brown Palace Hotel and Spa was built in 1892 and feels like a trip back in time. Check out the rooftop beehives! Rates start at $284.