At a mile high in the sky and among the peaceful Rocky Mountains, you will find the bustling city of Denver. As a first time visitor, there are plenty of items you should put on your ultimate Denver itinerary!
Denver is the capital of Colorado, and is a quickly growing home to over 3 million people! However, what makes Denver special is it doesn’t feel like a huge city.
Denver provides city vibes to an otherwise nature-driven and outdoorsy state, while still maintaining a relaxed culture.
For the size of Denver, traffic and crowds are hardly ever an issue, giving it the perfect happy medium between rural and urban cultures.
Denver is full of so many things to do for all ages. This list will provide some attractions and activities that are common for tourists to visit, as well as some lesser-known and unique activities as well.
If you are going to Colorado, most lists will tell you all the best hikes to go on. If this is the case, keep in mind that there is hardly a “bad” hike, as they are all beautiful!
However, this list will focus less on hiking, and more on other activities you can do! Besides, you should take a few days before going hiking anyways to adjust to the new elevation.
As a local, I should tell you that yes, you should do all the regular touristy things. However, don’t miss these lesser-known attractions, that are equally as fun!
We moved to Colorado in the summer of 2019, and have had the opportunity to explore a lot of the state already.
Denver is so much different than the rest of Colorado, so make sure you get a taste of the city life and the mountain life!
Don’t forget to get out of Denver too, and explore all the amazing places Colorado has to offer! You can learn more about some of our favorite Colorado towns in our Colorado bucket list from a local!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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This one definitely tops the list on our Denver itinerary! We will start here because, well, you’re in Denver after all.
Here, cannabis is part of everyday culture and life and is talked about pretty openly. It can take a little bit to get used to the culture, especially if you come from a state where it is not legal!
However, in Colorado, it’s looked at just like drinking a beer, and is very normal! So while you’re smoking and feeling like there is a cop watching you, there’s not. You can relax!
A previously Lutheran church was recently reopened in 2017 (on 4/20, naturally) as a new brand of religion known as Elevationism, dedicating their practice to the benefits of cannabis.
The church itself is open to anyone, as there is no specific religion attached, as long as cannabis is used as a sacrament.
Here, you can find a giant “weed” sign, pews to smoke on, and colorful ceilings. A pretty sweet Instagram photo-op if you ask me!
There are smoke-free hours for visitation if visitors wish to breathe openly, or if you are not a fan of smoking, and a gift shop for all your cannabis needs. You can visit for guided meditation and a laser light experience daily. Check their website for times and details!
Smoking weed in a church. Who woulda thought?!
When in Colorado, right?
You might also like this Colorado guide from a local! Click the image for more information!
If the International Church of Cannabis wasn’t enough to satisfy your needs, try the Marijuana Mansion! This historically haunted mansion has 3 floors for your to explore and has 10 rooms for some awesome marijuana themed photo ops!
Inside, you will find a dispensary and places to sample your newest purchase! Finding places to (legally) smoke in Colorado isn’t always the easiest, so why not go somewhere it is encouraged?!
If you are looking for something more private, you can even hold your own private events here! You can learn more about the marijuana mansion here!
Because who doesn’t love a good selfie?! This museum provides all the backdrops for all your selfie needs. In the museum, you are allowed to touch and interact with the exhibits, and take all the pictures you want!
Here, you can find backdrops and props like a ball pit, a donut wall, optical illusion rooms, giant everyday objects like crayons and fruit, word walls, swings, word walls, and so much more!
Become an Instagram queen, and have enough profile pics to last you the rest of the year! Don’t worry about people judging you for taking selfies- this is the one place where it is actually encouraged!
There are about 30 installations, all made by local artists in the area. You can expect to take 30-60 minutes in the museum, although you can spend as long as you would like!
Tickets and time slots can be reserved online, and go for $25-$29 for adults, depending on the day of the week.
Tiny Town is a great activity to do as a family, especially if you have young children. It is just West of Denver, in the town of Morrison, about a 20 minute drive away.
Here, there are more than 100 hand made miniature or kid-sized buildings!
There is also a real steam engine train ride that takes you around the town. The ride lasts about 10 minutes, just enough time to get a lay of the land (and about the time your toddler will start getting antsy!)
Kids can play in the tiny buildings, and go inside if they can fit! You can also have a picnic here, making it a great day activity for the whole family.
Plus, it will even be cool for an adult to visit a tiny town. I mean, where else can you do that?!
Worried about how your body will react to the elevation changes? Read this guide for some tips!
Linger is a famous restaurant in Denver, and is always packed and has great food.
Normal, right? Wrong.
This restaurant used to be a mortuary and actually held the body of Buffalo Bill back in 1917! Creepy? Cool? Both? You decide!
It used to be called Olinger’s Mortuary, but owners got rid of the “o” and changed mortuaries to eateries.
The host stand is an original church pew from the mortuary, and is even Zagat reviewed!
The restaurant even has a rooftop, with amazing views of the city of Denver. Forget for a moment that this restaurant once held tons of dead bodies, and try to enjoy the sights!
Give it a try if you’re not creeped out!
Pro tip: Little man ice cream is right next door, another local favorite! You can’t miss it- it is a giant milk jug!
Casa Bonita is another great Denver itinerary item. Another interesting thing to do in Denver is dining at Casa Bonita. While the Mexican cuisine is delicious, visitors don’t come just for the food.
Inside, you will find a 30-foot waterfall, cliff divers, fire throwers, gold leaf-covered domes, a 14 feet deep pool, pirate shows, gunfight shows, gorilla shows, and the list goes on! Talk about dinner with a twist!
This restaurant is truly the definition of dinner and a show. You can find showtimes on their website, so you can visit them during the shows you want to see!
This is a great place to take kids (and adults!) for a unique dining experience. It’s not everyday you get to watch pirates and flame throwers while you munch on your tacos!
The sun is extra hot at higher elevations. Read this guide for some ideas of how to prevent getting a sunburn!
Denver’s Union Station is a place where you can shop, dine, stay, or travel. Truly a jack of all trades!
Inside, you can dine at many restaurants including pizzerias, pubs, breakfast joints, ice creameries, cafes, tapas, and bars.
Additionally, there are many local vendors for shopping, such as jewelry, boutiques, books, and gifts.
If you are looking to stick around, you can even stay in the hotel rooms above all the hustle and bustle!
One of the coolest parts about Union Station is that it is an operating RTD, Amtrak, and bus transit station! Who knows, maybe you will just catch a train to California while you’re here!
If you visit during the holiday season, they set up a huge Christmas tree, light displays, and you might even catch Santa visiting here!
Larimer Square is Denver’s oldest and most historic block. It is now packed with boutiques and hopping, restaurants, nightlife, and bars.
Here, you can dine on any cuisine imaginable, get all your shopping needs met, go to a comedy show, do some wine tasting, or even get your hair done!
Here you will find Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Deep Roots Winery, the 16th Street Mall, nightly ghost tours, Comedy Works, and so much more!
There are often events that take place here, so be sure to check their calendar!
You can even take a walking tour to learn all about the history of Denver. There is definitely something for everyone here!
Colorado’s mountains are beautiful! Make sure you are staying present and take advantage of every moment!
Denver Pavilions is an interesting thing to do in Denver. It is an outdoor shopping area located on the 16th street mall and has over 40 stores and restaurants.
Denver Pavilions is a hot spot for both your favorite brands and local boutiques.
Here, you will find popular entertainment such as the Coyote Ugly bar and Hard Rock Cafe. You can even take a picture with the iconic Denver sign for the ultimate Denver selfie!
Grab dinner and a movie, buy a new outfit, or have a crazy night out at one of the many bars! The possibilities are truly endless here!
This definitely makes the list on our Denver itinerary!! While it is not located directly in the city, it is nearby, and close to the airport.
Here, you can drive your vehicle 11 miles through the refuge, and view some true Colorado wildlife!
Try to go early in the morning, or right before sunset to get the best chances of seeing wildlife. Especially if it is a super hot day, you won’t see much during the peak afternoon hours.
You might see bison, deer, elk, bulls, coyotes, prairie dogs, pelicans, and more! Keep your eyes pealed, you never know what might pop out!
Plus, this is completely FREE, and you don’t have to make reservations. Simply drive through whenever you want! If you don’t see any animals the first time, you can try again later!
Other Denver itinerary activities!
Denver is just a small part of the state of Colorado. If you are staying in Denver, consider leaving the city to see the rest of the state! Explore the mountains, do some hiking or skiing, and enjoy the beauty of the Rockies. Take a look at the Colorado bucket list from a local on more things to do in this amazing state!
Thank you for reading our Denver itinerary! If you have any other suggestions for those traveling to Denver, please leave a comment below!