Start by spending some time at Union Station, where the A-Line train will drop you off, should you be coming from the airport. Take in the architecture of the 100-year-old remodeled train station as you wander around its boutiques and restaurants. Every Saturday from June 4th to October 22nd, there’s a farmer’s market out on the plaza, with some of the best local fare, from fruits and veggies to cheese and fresh-baked bread.
Snooze, An A.M. Eatery is the place for breakfast at Union Station. The seasonal, from-scratch menu is excellent; the pancakes are something to write home about, and the place is always busy, complete with an atmosphere full of energy.
After breakfast, if the weather’s good, consider hopping on a Denver B-Cycle and exploring the city by bike. With 87 stations throughout the city and 850 miles of trails, this is the ultimate way to see Denver. You can rent by the half hour or get a full-day rental pass, making it an easy way to get around and explore the city.
For those looking for something a little less active, hop on the free MallRide shuttle and head on up to the 16th Street Mall. There you will find a mile-long pedestrian promenade full of shops, restaurants, and cafés. To the south end of the mall, you’ll find the Denver Pavilions, a shopping and dining complex with more than two dozen shops and restaurants, as well a movie theater. Cross the stunning Millennium Bridge at the north end of 16th Street, and you’ll find yourself in Commons Park and LoHi, a hip neighborhood with plenty of restaurants and brewpubs.
Take the afternoon to enjoy some of the cultural institutions that call Denver home. The Golden Triangle Creative District, in the heart of downtown, offers a wide array of cultural opportunities from which to choose.
Visit the History Colorado Center for hands-on and high-tech exhibits about Colorado and Western History. The Denver Art Museum not only features the incredible Hamilton Building—a work of art in and of itself—but also houses one of the largest Native American art collections in the world. You can also visit Denver Public Library, the U.S. Mint, as well as many other museums, galleries, art studios, and restaurants.
Be sure to stop at the nearby Colorado State Capitol and take a picture of the gold-domed building for a perfect photo op. You can also tour the capitol building. Civic Center is another lovely spot for an afternoon stroll, with the stunning architecture of the City and County Building as a backdrop. If you’re there on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in the summer, take advantage of Civic Center Eats, where the city’s best food trucks circle up for good food and live music.
If you’re looking to get out of downtown, take a short Uber ride over to City Park. There, you’ll enjoy the park’s two lakes as well as historical monuments and statuary, picnic sites and playgrounds. The park is also home to the Denver Zoo, frequently rated the top attraction in Denver, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the city’s leading cultural institution for over 100 years.
If you’re looking to get a taste of the Colorado outdoors, spend the afternoon at Cherry Creek State Park, where you can enjoy everything from hiking and biking to horseback riding and watersports.
The options for Denver nightlife are plentiful. For a laid-back evening, pay a visit to one or more of the city’s many breweries. Enjoy great food and beer at Wynkoop Brewing Company, and shoot some pool while you’re at it. Or pay a visit to the taprooms at Great Divide Brewing Company or Prost Brewing, just to name a few.
If you want to enjoy a fancy night out, try making a reservation at one of the restaurants on Denver’s oldest and trendiest block, Larimer Square. Enjoy Parisian cuisine at Bistro Vendôme or modern Mexican at Tamayo. Have a drink at the Green Russell, a speakeasy hidden away behind a pie shop, or sip some bubbly at Corridor 44, Denver’s only champagne bar.
After dinner, there are plenty of options to spend the night out in Denver. Head into the city’s Ballpark neighborhood near Coors Field for plenty of options for drinking and dancing the night away.
For more ideas about what you can do over 24 hours in Denver, check out these attractions.