3 Days in Denver Colorado: A Weekend Itinerary Guide

3 Days in Denver Colorado: A Weekend Itinerary Guide

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The capital city of Colorado, Denver is a fantastic travel destination in the United States. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains means you can enjoy incredible mountain views from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s the perfect destination for a long weekend because there are so many things to do over 3 days in Denver.

By a lot of standards, Denver is a relatively small city with a population just under one million people in city limits. Yet somehow this small mid-western city has everything a traveler could want.

Add in that Denver enjoys 300+ days of sunshine and relatively mild winters (yes, I promise!)…and it becomes more clear why Denver is a year-round vacation destination. This guide should help you decide what to do with 3 days in Denver and plan a perfect couples trip, guys/girls weekend or solo adventure to the city.

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One thing about visiting Denver is that there is no shortage of amazing things to do. You could visit for weeks on end and still not see it all. You won’t be bored, but you may have a hard time narrowing down the options. This gives you an idea of what to activities to put in your weekend itinerary for 3 days in Denver.

3 days in denver robe trotting 16th street market

1. People Watch on The 16th Street Mall

The 16th street mall is quite famous to Denver. It’s a one-mile long pedestrian mall sprinkled with restaurants, bars, shops and more. It’s not uncommon to find street performers here, and outdoor events during the warmer months.

The best way to experience the 16th street mall is to walk. But if you aren’t able (or willing) to walk, feel free to take advantage of the free mall shuttle! Buses run continuously in both directions along 16th street, which is closed to other vehicles along the mall.

2. Take a Hike

If there’s one thing Denverites love to do when the weather is nice, it’s getting out on the hiking trails. And luckily due to amazing Colorado geography, there are SO many options. Plenty within 30 minutes of downtown Denver even! Your best bet is to head west into the beginnings of the Rocky Mountains. Popular areas close to Denver proper include Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, Deer Creek Canyon, and Evergreen.

3. Take a Photo Exactly One Mile High

Denver is widely known as the “Mile High City” due to the elevation being 5,280 feet above sea level. But did you know there’s a place in the city that is exactly the one mile high point? There is! Head over to the Capitol Building in downtown Denver, and when ascending the stairs to the main entrance, you will find the point (look for the stair that’s engraved). What better way to commemorate your trip to the “Mile High City” than with a perfectly posed photo on that exact spot?

4. Catch The Best Sunset Views

3 days in denver downtown at sunset

As the sun sets each evening to the west, it dips down behind the mountains and casts a beautiful glow across the foothills and into the city. Some days are better than others, but when you catch that perfect Denver sunset…there’s nothing like it!

And one of the best ways to catch a killer sunset is from one of Denver’s many rooftop bars/restaurants. Where you can wind down from an exciting day of sight seeing with delicious bites and a craft cocktail.

5. Hit Some of The Best Slopes in The Country

It’s no secret that some of the country’s best winter mountain resorts are in Colorado. And while not technically in Denver, I would be remiss to not include this as it’s such a huge staple in many Denver trips.

And you don’t have to venture that far from Denver to experience it! There are many options within a 60 to 90 minute drive from Denver. If you visit during ski season, it’s worth working in to your Denver itinerary.

Browse availability and rates of these great activities and others on GetYourGuide.

Instant ticketing confirmation, cancel up to 24 hours before your activity and get your tickets sent right to your mobile device!

4 Things to Eat and Drink For 3 Days in Denver

For 3 days in Denver, you could spend your time simply eating and drinking your way around the city. And it would be great! Your pants might get a little tighter, but whatever, yolo.

3 days in denver brunch at the district

1. Brunch: A Denver Institution

Denver takes brunch VERY seriously. There are a plethora of amazing brunch restaurants in the city to choose from. Some of which with wait times of an hour or more to get a table during peak times.

However, it’s worth a little bit of a wait. The competitive environment means restaurants are frequently trying to “one up” one another with the most delicious brunch fare. Or the best spread of bottomless brunch libations. Add a lively brunch crowd and you’ve got the makings of an unforgettable meal in the Mile High City.

2. Wild Game at The Buckhorn Exchange

The Buckhorn Exchange is famed with being both Denver’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, and with holding Colorado’s first (post-prohibition) liquor license. Eating here is like dipping deep into Denver’s history!

The menu has your standard steakhouse fare that will please most people (except maybe vegetarians/vegans). Steaks, ribs, chops, and the like. But what is really unique about Buckhorn is the availability of a wide array of exotic meats. Things like yak, ostrich, or kangaroo.

And if you’re brave enough, be sure and try the Rocky Mountain Oysters.

3. Green Chile Anything

Visitors might be surprised to know that Colorado is known for green chili. You can buy them by the bushel on the side of many roads in the summer. They are a frequent focal point on dishes in many Colorado restaurants. And both official and unofficial debates are held to determine who has the best pork green chili.

So keep your eyes focused on those restaurant menus and be sure and try a dish featuring this local delicacy.

4. The Denver Beer Trail

Beer is ingrained into the heart and soul of Denver culture. Favorable water laws have been bringing brewers to this area for decades. We even have the world’s largest brewery, Coors, right here in our backyard.

And the best way to experience beer in Denver? Do a little brewery hopping along the Denver beer trail. You can hit multiple spots and cover everything from IPAs to sour beers to your standard wheat and more.

3 Places to Stay For 3 Days in Denver, Colorado

Staying in the downtown core of the city means you’ll be close to all the action, generally speaking. But ultimately, Denver has plenty of lodging options to fit every type of budget!

3 days in denver brown palace

1. Luxury: Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

When it comes to luxurious lodging in Denver, it doesn’t get any better (or more well known) than The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa. Staying here is like taking a step back in time. This hotel has been updated with modern touches, while keeping a strong hold on its historic charm.

However, this all comes at a cost. So be prepared to spend a pretty penny!

2. Mid-Range: The Westin Marriot

Marriott properties are always a good bet for a solid mid-range hotel. The Westin Downtown Denver is located smack dab in the middle of the famous 16th street pedestrian mall. Which means you’ll be close to all the action downtown Denver has to offer

3. Budget: Hostel Fish

Cities in the US are typically behind the game when it comes to hostels. But Denver does have some options. Hostel Fish is located above Ophelia’s, which is a well-known hot spot for amazing food and live music. They have modern furnishings, an amazing location, and both private and dorm-style beds available.

2 Must-Capture Instagram Spots

If you took a trip and didn’t post about it on the ‘gram, did the trip even happen?? #No

Make sure to hit up these spots for peak jealousy-inducing shots for your grid and/or stories.

3 days in denver robe trotting red rocks amphitheater

1. Red Rocks Amphitheater

Known as being one of (if not THE) best outdoor music venues in the United States, Red Rocks Amphitheater is a site to be seen. The amphitheater itself is constructed in between towering red rock formations on either side. And beyond the stage (looking to the east) is the city with the Denver skyline on display.

#RedRocksAmphitheater #Nature #Denver

2. Denver Selfie Museum

Yes, you read that right…Denver has an entire museum dedicated to helping you achieve selfie perfection, The Denver Selfie Museum. This pop-up museum of Instagram art has 25 amazing installations to help spice up your insta grid.

#OOTD #Blessed #Denver #DenverSelfieMuseum

1 Insider Denver Travel Tip

Denver is lovingly known as the “Mile High City.” If you live here, the high elevation doesn’t bother you much. However, for those visiting from a lower elevation (especially sea level), adjusting to the altitude can be a little rough. It also takes more than a long weekend or 3 days in Denver to get used to the elevation.

Many can experience headaches or nose bleeds. You may feel extra tired, or just a little “off.” However, a little advanced preparation can help combat this. Here are my best tips to avoid altitude sickness while visiting Denver:

Drink water – both before you arrive, and while here. Our climate is dry and desert like, so you’ll need to drink almost twice as much water here as you do at home.

Adjust your alcohol consumption – drinks pack more of a punch here than at sea level. Pace yourself, or you may wind up getting hit like a ton of bricks.

Wear sunscreen – that high elevation means we are closer to the sun! Sunscreen is a must to protect your skin here.

Author's Bio

Kara is the founder, writer and editor behind Destination: Live Life, a travel blog. After fleeing small-town life in Wyoming, Kara has called Denver, CO home for the last 12+ years. When she isn’t living that travel life, she can be found petting every dog that will let her, and laughing (loudly) at any opportunity.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Denver is definitely on my to-visit list! It’s just so hard to decide which season to visit in. I will definitely have to try some of those hikes when I do go!

  2. I’ve only been to Denver once for a business trip and didn’t have a chance to explore. On a return trip, I’d love to go hiking (or take a day trip to attempt a 14er). I’ve seen several of my friends post photos from the Red Rocks Amphitheater, so this would be an awesome place to hike. I do remember the high elevation and had a hard time breathing just walking around the streets.

  3. Great post! Denver is definetly on my list. The mile high spot is so interesting. I’d heard the nickname before but didn’t know there was an exact spot. The ampitheater looks amazing and it looks liek you would get some fantastic views from it! The selfie museum would be interesting to see as well

  4. I hope people watching is not of those activities we would consider “gone were the days” because of changes to travel because I would love to sit down on 16th street mall and do just that. That brunch also looks very yummy and would check it out if I end up in Denver one day!

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