With breathtaking outdoor activities all year round and a culture that is trendy but embraces traditional values, Denver, Colorado and its surrounding suburbs is one spot on the globe that millions are very happy to call home.
Denver didn’t start as a maritime port (it’s landlocked), a railroad stop or as a place to getaway from somewhere else. Denver started as a gold miners Mecca, named after a Kansas governor that had recently resigned. Once its elevation was established, Denver earned the nickname, “The Mile High City”, as it lies a mile above sea level.
Eventually, the US Mint was built in Denver and is one of only two operating mints creating US currency. With homes sprawling from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the eastern plains, the Denver metropolitan area is full of city conveniences, country charm and arguably the best skiing in the world.
Outdoors or In
There are more parks per capita in Denver than any other city in the US. The longest greenbelt in the US meanders through the city, crossing streams and forests. Thousands of acres are owned and maintained to provide a peaceful getaway for people and wildlife alike, both in city and rural areas. Maps of trails and open spaces can be found at the link at the bottom of this article.
Butterfly Pavilion & Insect Center
Take an hour or two to step indoors and admire beauty beyond belief. The Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, located about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Denver offers visitors the opportunity to enter a life-sized terrarium filled with thousands of live butterflies, frogs and insects. Hands-on activities outside of the butterfly garden include oceanic displays (you can touch live starfish), an insect room (hold Rosie the tarantula if you’re brave enough) and more. Call 303-469-5441 or visit the link at the bottom of this article for more information.
Four Mile Historic Park
Aptly located four miles from downtown Denver, Four Mile Historic Park is part park, part historical exhibit, part inner-city oasis. You’ll find Denver’s oldest standing structure, guided tours and exhibits outlining what Denver was like during the pioneering days among the trails for all activity levels. Call (303) 399-1859 for more info.
Museums and Musings
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum is located just minutes from LoDo, or Lower Downtown. While the building is somewhat plain on the outside, it is a great adventure for the senses inside. Permanent exhibits include art from Africa on the fourth floor, Asian art on the fifth and architecture & graphics on the second and sixth floors. Modern, contemporary, American Indian, European and Oceanic art are located throughout. The basement is just for kids and kids-at-heart. There are plenty of hands on activities to introduce artistic mediums to children ages 2 through 12. If you are traveling with children, stop by the backpack center near the entrance and let the kiddos enjoy a scavenger hunt and activities for each floor. The first Saturday of each month is free at DAM.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
What do Egyptian Mummies, space exploration and a tour through the human body have in common? They can all be discovered and enjoyed at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Two real mummies from very different circumstances are compared through science and displayed for you. Every aspect and function of the human body is laid out in the Hall of Life. Prehistoric Journey and numerous wildlife exhibits offer visitors the chance to see hundreds of animals throughout history. An enormous collection of gems and minerals fill a cave-like tunnel system. To top it off, there’s an IMAX theater on the first of the three floors of the museum. Allow at least 2 hours for a rushed trip, a full afternoon to really take it all in. Call (303) 322-7009 for events and hours.
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, Colorado 80205 | 303.322.7009
Denver on the Cheap
Pearl Street, Boulder
Northwest of Denver is the City of Boulder. Head to Pearl Street Mall on the weekend and see everything from hippie to ultra-hip, all for free.
16th Street Mall, Denver
You can find everything – and anyone – including the kitchen sink at 16th Street Mall, starting in the heart of LoDo. Free for all.
Coors Brewing Company, Golden
Tour the brewery that made Golden famous. Complimentary brewery tours daily. Golden is about 30 minutes southwest of Denver.
Budweiser Brewing, Fort Collins
Fort Collins is located about an hour north of Denver and is home to one of five Anheuser-Busch Budweiser breweries in the US. Complimentary tours daily.