Denver is the capital of Colorado and definitely a city that cannot be missed when adventuring around the state. A trip to Denver is perfect for anyone and everyone, especially those who love adventuring in the great outdoors, hiking and staying active as well as being in the mountains. Traveling to Denver is great for a solo adventure, girls’/guys’ trip, bachelor/bachelorette party, couples’ getaway and a family vacation. Here, you’ll learn how to craft the perfect Denver weekend itinerary for any occasion.
The city of Denver is considered the “Mile High City” because it is exactly one mile above sea level. An interesting fact about the capital of Colorado is that it’s situated in the Great Plains, just outside of the Rocky Mountains. Denver also has 300 days of sunshine a year and is known as one of the most active and eco-friendly cities in the United States.
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Planning a Trip to Denver
What is awesome about Denver is that it is a great destination to travel to anytime throughout the year. Summers feature dreamy sunny days and winters offer a magical snow-filled wonderland. You could get to Denver by flying into Denver International Airport and taking the train to Union Station downtown. Once you are in the city, you could easily get around by simply walking and taking an Uber or Lyft. One of the best and easiest ways to get around Denver and to also venture outside of the city is by renting a car. (If you are traveling to Denver during winter, it is recommended that you rent an SUV with 4-wheel drive.)
Where to Stay in Denver
The best luxury hotel to stay at during a weekend in Denver is Hotel Teatro, which is located in the LoDo area of the city. The LoDo district is where all of the popular tourist attractions and restaurants reside in Denver city, including the popular Larimer Square.
Not only is Hotel Teatro located in the heart of Denver, it is also in close proximity to the Denver Center for Performing Arts, the Colorado Convention Center, Union Station, Coors Field and Pepsi Center. The hotel also has a great restaurant and bar that offers something for every guest.
If you are looking for a great budget-friendly accommodation in the heart of Denver, Hostel Fish is the perfect place for solo travelers, backpackers and those looking to save money during their weekend getaway in the city.
Hostel Fish believes that shared rooms and neo-urbanism create a great space for the “seekers of life’s adventures” to meet each other, foster new friendships and adventure together. Hostel Fish offers private rooms and shared bunk rooms. There is also a guest lounge, bar and kitchen in the hostel. They also offer communal tours, pub crawls and so much more in Denver.
Crafting Your Denver Weekend Itinerary
Whether you are exploring the city or adventuring to a park just outside, there are a plethora of memorable things to do during a weekend in Denver, Colorado. Check out the below itinerary:
Denver Weekend Itinerary Day 1: Explore Denver
Breakfast in Union Station
During a trip to Denver, you cannot miss out on seeing the iconic Union Station located in downtown. Not only is Union Station the capital’s primary train station, it is also considered Denver’s “Living Room” for dining, drinking and shopping.
The best place to grab breakfast in Denver’s Union Station is at Snooze an A.M. Eatery. There is something for everyone to enjoy at Snooze. If you enjoy a sweet breakfast, there are amazing French toast and pancake options and if you prefer having something savory, there are egg dishes, breakfast burritos and tacos plus so much more. There are also numerous drink options whether you want coffee and tea or something alcoholic like a mimosa, “Brewmosa”, Bloody Mary and other spiked beverages such as hot chocolate with tequila.
Denver Botanical Gardens
After savoring a hearty breakfast, make your way over to the Denver Botanic Gardens and wander through their wide range of gardens and collections that offer a beautiful diversity of plant life worldwide. In addition, there are seasonal plant displays to admire year-round: colorful tulips in the spring; stunning hydrangeas during the summer months; beautiful chrysanthemums in autumn and poinsettias to ring in the holiday spirit during the winter.
Picnic Lunch in Washington Square Park
Since Denver is known as one of the best outdoor cities in America, I recommend either picking up food at a grocery store or ordering out from one of the city’s best restaurants and enjoying a picnic lunch in Washington Park.
Also known as “Wash Park” by locals, Washington Park is Denver’s most popular city park where there are two lakes, flower gardens, expansive lawn and so much more. It is the perfect place to take a stroll, workout, enjoy paddle boating and, of course, having a picnic! Washington Park in Denver offers five picnic sites that include shaded locations for you to enjoy a lovely lunch surrounded by beauty.
Afternoon Drinks at Avanti
Located in the Highland area of the city, Avanti Food and Beverage is one of the best places to have fun in Denver. This wonderful eatery is the perfect place to enjoy drinks and snacks on a beautiful day and there is something for everyone! There are two large bars, a lounge, dining area as well as a rooftop deck that overlooks the city.
Denver is known for its craft beer scene, so Avanti is a great place to sip on a brew, enjoy the views and have fun with friends!
See a Concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
One of the top things to do during a trip to Denver is visit Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater and see a concert there. Red Rocks is situated 10 miles west of the heart of Denver and it is an open-air amphitheater built into a rock structure. Not only is it the perfect venue to see a show, it is also a great place to watch the stars at night, go on a hike, shop, do a tour, enjoy food with a view, bike and more.
Throughout the year, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater features various music artists and bands from around the world such as Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Brantley Gilbert, Hillsong, Halsey, Goo Goo Dolls, Maren Morris, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rascal Flatts and more! Red Rocks offers numerous concerts and events throughout the year, but nothing beats an outdoor concert during the warmer months. Check before you plan your trip and work Red Rocks into your Denver weekend itinerary.
Dinner in Denver
Either before or after the concert, it is recommended to get a delicious dinner at Linger – a trendy Asian fusion restaurant. Located in an old mortuary in the Highland neighborhood, Linger is one of the best places to eat in Denver. It offers a chic interior as well as a rooftop that overlooks the city. During an evening at the “Eatuary”, it is recommended to get pad Thai along with Korean fried chicken bao bun. They are both delicious!
Denver Weekend Itinerary Day 2: Day Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
Breakfast in Estes Park
A Denver weekend trip is not complete without visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. The mountain town of Estes Park is around a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Denver and it offers the perfect quaint eateries to grab breakfast at. One of the top cafés to enjoy breakfast in Estes Park is at Notchtop Bakery & Café. The banana bread French toast is absolutely delicious!
In addition to grabbing breakfast, Estes Park is also the perfect town to go shopping and walk around.
Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
After breakfast, drive to Rocky Mountain National Park – one of the most breathtaking National Parks in the United States! The lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park are absolutely stunning, so it is best to drive a half hour and park your car near the Bear Lake Trailhead parking lot.
Rocky Mountain National Park offers enchanting woodland trails that feature beautiful evergreen trees, stunning lakes and magic all around. The three lakes to see in this area are Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Bear Lake. During the summertime, the water is emerald blue and, in the winter, the lakes are ice-covered. There are also sky-high mountains all around! Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park during the wintertime will make you feel like you’re in a snow globe in a wonderland!
No matter what season you visit Rocky Mountain National Park, it is the best place to experience Colorado’s beauty. This is why people visit Colorado and it absolutely belongs on your Denver weekend itinerary.
Get Ice Cream in Denver
There is nothing like a refreshing ice cream cone in the middle of the afternoon after a fulfilling hike. One of the best places to grab a scoop of ice cream in Denver is at Little Man Ice Cream. Located in the Highland neighborhood of Denver, Little Man Ice Cream is inspired by the vintage Coney Island hot dog-shaped stands as it is conducted within a 28-foot tall, 14,000 lb. ice cream can. This adorable ice cream parlor has numerous flavors of homemade ice cream and it is the perfect place to relax in the sun with friends and loved ones.
Lose Yourself in Larimer Square
A Denver itinerary definitely has to include Larimer Square – the capital city’s oldest street filled with stringed lights. This beautiful lit-up street consists of independent shops, high-end restaurants, cozy bars as well as wellness and beauty services.
Larimer Square is the perfect area in Denver to go boutique shopping, grab a coffee and also enjoy an amazing dinner. One of the best places to eat in Denver is Rioja, which is an award-winning Mediterranean restaurant that is perfect to go to on your final weekend night in Denver. Rioja offers a relaxing and swanky ambiance, delicious meals as well as a warm and welcoming staff. No matter what dish you decide to choose from Rioja’s menu, you will definitely be happy!
- Walk through the Denver Art Museum.
- Visit the Colorado State Capitol.
- Watch a Denver ball game.
- Do a day trip to the mountain towns of Boulder and Fort Collins.
- Hike Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs or Pikes Peak.
- Take a beer tour through the Coors Brewery.
- Go skiing in Vail during the winter.
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Taylor is the millennial, boutique travel blogger, writer and content creator behind Brown Eyed Flower Child. Originally from New Jersey, outside of New York City, Taylor enjoys traveling all over the world and showcasing everything she experiences “through her eyes” on both her blog and social media. Along with traveling and blogging, Taylor’s hobbies include being active and going hiking, skiing and ice skating as well as doing yoga and dancing. She also loves to read; visit wineries and discover hidden food gems.