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What To Do On A Layover In Denver, Colorado


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Chiquia Adelman


Best Places to Eat in Denver

Denver, Colorado, is a foodie’s paradise, offering a diverse culinary scene that caters to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger, fresh seafood, or innovative vegan cuisine, Denver has something to satisfy every palate. Here are some of the best places to eat in Denver:

  • Linger: This trendy restaurant, located in the historic Olinger Mortuary building, offers a unique dining experience with a globally inspired menu. Enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline from the rooftop while savoring delicious small plates and handcrafted cocktails.
  • Denver Central Market: For a taste of local flavors, head to the Denver Central Market, a food hall featuring a variety of vendors offering everything from freshly shucked oysters to artisanal chocolates. It’s the perfect spot to sample a bit of everything in one location.
  • Fruition Restaurant: If you’re in the mood for upscale dining, Fruition Restaurant is a must-visit. This award-winning eatery showcases seasonal American cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a fresh and flavorful dining experience.
  • Root Down: Located in a converted 1950s gas station, Root Down boasts a menu filled with globally inspired, sustainable cuisine. The restaurant’s commitment to using organic and locally sourced ingredients shines through in each expertly crafted dish.
  • Sam’s No. 3: For a taste of classic comfort food, look no further than Sam’s No. 3. This beloved diner serves up hearty breakfasts, green chili smothered burritos, and other diner favorites, making it a go-to spot for satisfying cravings.

These are just a few of the many exceptional dining options that Denver has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods or seeking out culinary delights in the heart of downtown, you’re sure to find a memorable dining experience in the Mile High City.


Outdoor Activities to Enjoy

Denver, Colorado, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting an array of activities that take advantage of the city’s stunning natural surroundings. From scenic parks to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there’s no shortage of ways to embrace the great outdoors in the Mile High City. Here are some top outdoor activities to enjoy in Denver:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: Just a short drive from Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park beckons with its awe-inspiring landscapes, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography amidst towering peaks and alpine meadows.
  • Biking along Cherry Creek Trail: Explore Denver’s urban landscape on two wheels by embarking on a scenic bike ride along the Cherry Creek Trail. This 40-mile paved pathway winds through parks, neighborhoods, and green spaces, providing a picturesque way to see the city.
  • Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre: Experience the natural wonder of Red Rocks Park, known for its iconic amphitheater and striking rock formations. In addition to catching a concert, visitors can hike the park’s trails and revel in the breathtaking vistas.
  • Kayaking on Confluence Park: For a refreshing adventure within city limits, head to Confluence Park, where the South Platte River meets Cherry Creek. Rent a kayak and paddle through the heart of downtown, taking in views of the city skyline from a unique vantage point.
  • Garden of the Gods: While technically located in nearby Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is well worth the day trip from Denver. Marvel at the towering sandstone formations and embark on hikes that showcase the area’s natural beauty.

Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll through a scenic park or an exhilarating outdoor pursuit, Denver offers an array of options for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. With its abundance of natural beauty and recreational opportunities, the Mile High City invites visitors to embrace the spirit of outdoor exploration.


Cultural and Historical Sites to Visit

Denver, Colorado, is steeped in rich history and vibrant culture, with a wealth of attractions that offer insight into the city’s past and present. From museums and historic landmarks to art galleries and performing arts venues, Denver’s cultural and historical sites cater to a wide range of interests. Here are some must-visit destinations for immersing yourself in the city’s cultural tapestry:

  • Denver Art Museum: Boasting a diverse collection of art spanning centuries and continents, the Denver Art Museum is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts. Explore its galleries to discover works ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces.
  • History Colorado Center: Delve into the state’s history at the History Colorado Center, where interactive exhibits and engaging displays bring Colorado’s past to life. From pioneer days to modern innovations, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the region’s evolution.
  • Molly Brown House Museum: Step back in time at the Molly Brown House Museum, the former home of the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, known for her heroic actions during the Titanic disaster. Tour the meticulously preserved Victorian-era residence to learn about this indomitable figure and Denver’s Gilded Age.
  • Black American West Museum & Heritage Center: Gain insight into the often-overlooked history of African American pioneers and their contributions to the American West at this museum. Through artifacts, photographs, and storytelling, the museum sheds light on the experiences of Black settlers in the region.
  • Colorado State Capitol: For a glimpse into Colorado’s political history and architectural grandeur, visit the Colorado State Capitol. Take a guided tour to admire the building’s striking interior, capped by a gleaming gold dome, and learn about the state’s governance and legislative processes.

Whether you’re drawn to art, history, or cultural heritage, Denver’s array of museums and historical sites provides a captivating journey through the city’s past and the diverse stories that have shaped its identity. With each visit, travelers can gain a deeper appreciation for Denver’s cultural richness and historical significance.


Shopping Options in Denver

Denver, Colorado, offers a delightful array of shopping destinations, from bustling markets and trendy boutiques to upscale malls and artisanal shops. Whether you’re in search of unique souvenirs, stylish fashion finds, or locally made goods, Denver’s diverse shopping scene has something for every taste and preference. Here are some top shopping options to explore in the Mile High City:

  • 16th Street Mall: A pedestrian-friendly hub in downtown Denver, the 16th Street Mall is a shopper’s paradise, lined with an enticing mix of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Stroll along the mile-long promenade to discover everything from major retailers to charming boutiques.
  • Cherry Creek Shopping Center: For a high-end shopping experience, head to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, home to an impressive selection of luxury brands, designer labels, and upscale department stores. The center’s elegant ambiance and diverse offerings make it a premier destination for fashion-forward shoppers.
  • Denver Union Station Market: Located in the historic Denver Union Station, this bustling market showcases a curated collection of local vendors, artisanal goods, and specialty stores. Browse through the market’s offerings, which range from handmade crafts to gourmet treats, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
  • Art District on Santa Fe: Explore the eclectic galleries and studios in the Art District on Santa Fe, where art enthusiasts and collectors can peruse a diverse array of paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works. The district’s First Friday Art Walk offers a fantastic opportunity to engage with local artists and acquire one-of-a-kind pieces.
  • Larimer Square: Steeped in history and charm, Larimer Square stands out as one of Denver’s most iconic shopping and dining districts. Discover a mix of specialty shops, fashion boutiques, and artisanal markets nestled within beautifully preserved historic buildings.

Whether you’re seeking a retail therapy session in a bustling urban center or a leisurely exploration of unique artisan offerings, Denver’s shopping options cater to a diverse range of preferences. With its blend of modern retail developments and vibrant cultural districts, the city invites visitors to indulge in a rewarding shopping experience.


Relaxation and Spa Options

Amidst the energetic urban vibe and breathtaking natural landscapes, Denver, Colorado, offers a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether you’re in need of a soothing massage, a revitalizing wellness retreat, or a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle, Denver’s spa and relaxation options provide a serene respite for mind, body, and spirit. Here are some top recommendations for unwinding in the Mile High City:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Spa: Indulge in a luxurious spa experience at The Ritz-Carlton, where a range of rejuvenating treatments awaits. From therapeutic massages to custom facials and body scrubs, the spa’s serene ambiance and expert therapists ensure a pampering experience like no other.
  • Spa Universaire: Nestled in the heart of downtown Denver, Spa Universaire offers a tranquil oasis for relaxation and renewal. Treat yourself to a holistic massage, aromatherapy session, or a restorative body wrap, all designed to promote wellness and serenity.
  • INDAH Spa: Embrace the healing power of nature at INDH Spa, an eco-conscious wellness center that integrates sustainable practices and organic products into its treatments. From hot stone massages to detoxifying body rituals, each experience is crafted to foster balance and well-being.
  • Agate Hill Spa: Located in the charming neighborhood of Highlands, Agate Hill Spa provides a serene escape with its array of therapeutic massages, skincare treatments, and holistic wellness services. The spa’s serene ambiance and personalized approach cater to individual relaxation needs.
  • The Woodhouse Day Spa: Treat yourself to a day of tranquility at The Woodhouse Day Spa, where a variety of indulgent spa packages and services await. From invigorating facials to soothing foot treatments, the spa’s opulent surroundings and attentive staff ensure a blissful retreat.

Whether you’re seeking a luxurious spa day or a holistic wellness experience, Denver’s relaxation options offer a sanctuary for self-care and rejuvenation. With its diverse array of spa facilities and wellness centers, the Mile High City invites visitors to unwind and embrace a state of tranquil bliss.


Transportation and Accessibility Options

Getting around Denver, Colorado, is convenient and accessible, thanks to the city’s well-planned transportation infrastructure and a variety of mobility options. Whether you’re exploring the city center, venturing into the surrounding neighborhoods, or embarking on day trips to nearby attractions, Denver offers a range of transportation choices to suit your needs. Here’s a look at the transportation and accessibility options available in the Mile High City:

  • Denver Light Rail: The city’s efficient light rail system provides convenient access to key destinations, including downtown, the Denver Tech Center, and popular attractions such as the Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature & Science. With multiple lines and frequent service, the light rail offers a stress-free way to navigate the city.
  • Bike Sharing: Denver’s bike-sharing program, known as Denver B-cycle, offers a convenient and eco-friendly way to explore the city on two wheels. With numerous bike stations located throughout the urban core, visitors can easily rent a bike for leisurely rides or efficient urban transportation.
  • Ridesharing and Taxis: For flexible and on-demand transportation, ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft operate throughout Denver, providing convenient door-to-door travel options. Additionally, traditional taxi services are readily available in the city for those seeking a more classic mode of transportation.
  • Denver International Airport (DEN): As a major transportation hub, Denver International Airport offers seamless connectivity to the city center and beyond. From the airport, travelers can access various ground transportation options, including airport shuttles, rental cars, and public transit services.
  • Accessible Travel Options: Denver is committed to providing accessible transportation for individuals with disabilities. The city’s public transit system offers accessible light rail cars and buses, along with paratransit services to ensure that all residents and visitors can navigate the city with ease.

With its diverse array of transportation options and a commitment to accessibility, Denver prioritizes the convenience and mobility of its residents and visitors. Whether you prefer the convenience of public transit, the flexibility of ridesharing, or the freedom of cycling, Denver’s transportation network ensures seamless connectivity and hassle-free travel experiences.