Whether it is summer or winter or any of the glorious times in-between, Denver has got plenty to do and see. With award-winning theater, world-class music, a downtown amusement park, one of the nation’s most popular zoos, and a bevy of outdoor activities at your fingertips, planning a trip to Denver is sure to be time well spent, but perhaps the more pertinent question is “What’s the best way to spend my time?”
Day One: Get Oriented
Getting to know your host city is as easy as a walk through scenic downtown Denver. During the Gold Rush of the 1860s, the young city was in a *ahem* rush to establish itself as not just another dusty two-horse town. Buildings raced towards the skies and their permanence was meant to symbolize that Denver was a city that was here to stay. Spend the day walking through Denver’s downtown district and see some of this history still standing today at the Denver Mint and the Colorado State Capital Building, two of the oldest buildings in Denver.
Day Two: Have Some Fun Outdoors
Now that you’ve got your bearings on the city and soaked up some history, head out and explore the variety of outdoor venues that Denver has on display. The Denver Zoo is one of nation’s highlights and is proud to offer some of the rarest species on earth including the okapi, red-bellied lemur, and Mshindi, a rhinoceros that paints with a brush. Or, if thrills are what you’re after, consider spending the day in Elitch Gardens, a rollercoaster and waterslide park rolled into one 70 acre lot in downtown Denver. Alternatively, the Denver Botanic Gardens offer visitors a nice break from city life with its Japanese Garden.
Day Three: Go Beyond
No trip to Denver would be complete without getting outside of the city for a bit and exploring what it is that makes Colorado so special -- its proximity to (or really, entrenchment in) the Rocky Mountains. Any time of year is a good time to get out and explore the scenery. The famous Flat Irons are only about an hour away, sitting just outside Boulder (another excellent day trip) and make for fantastic hiking, camping, downhill mountain-biking or a great launching point to other resort towns like Vail or Breckenridge. And rafting is the ultimate summer activity, with a number of trips running throughout the season for first-time rafters and daredevil river riders alike.