14 Things to Do in Your First Week in Denver

  • Elise LoSasso
  • 07/11/22

The Mile High City has come far. Only 30 years ago, Denver was considered a cow town that wasn't worth a stop. Today, Denver is one of America's premier cities. With plenty of outdoor recreation, a bustling culinary scene, and plenty of cultural attractions, it's no wonder that so many people want to move to Denver.
 
With that in mind, here are our recommendations of the best things to do in Denver.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Photo courtesy of Red Rocks Amphitheater
 
Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the best music venues in the world. The historic venue has hosted countless world-class acts, including The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Marley, and of course, John Denver. The amphitheater is flanked by two giant sandstone boulders, which provide it with unbelievable acoustics. The venue holds 10,000– plenty of people to have a good time, but not too many to become overcrowded.
 
Red Rocks is more than just an amphitheater. On summer nights, locals can enjoy "Film on the Rocks" and watch their favorite movies with thousands of other fans. During the day, patrons are welcome to wander around the amphitheater. It is a popular spot for exercise enthusiasts who use bleacher seating as workout benches. Around the amphitheater are plenty of trails, making it a great place for a fun day of exploration.
 
Technically, Red Rocks is in the town of Morrison. Still, it is only about a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver.

Denver Art Museum

Photo courtesy of Denver Art Museum
 
This isn't your typical art museum. The Denver Art Museum is a relatively new building and has a distinct architecture that you won't find in many other places. Sharp stainless steel angles make the art museum look like a piece of science fiction. Be warned – many first-time visitors to the museum get a sense of dizziness due to the bizarre architecture.
 
The art pieces inside cover a wide range of history and artistic stylings. It has a large collection of European, Asian, and Native American pieces. In total, the museum typically displays about 70,000 diverse pieces. The museum holds plenty of classes and events if you want to get more involved in Denver's art scene.

First Friday Art Walks on Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of First Friday Art Walk
 
If you want to mingle with up-and-coming local artists, the First Friday Art Walk is a must-do. Located within Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, the monthly art walks are quite the spectacle. The art district houses hundreds of studios and galleries, and the art walks are a grand celebration of Denver's artistic culture.
 
The art walk has also turned into a battleground for competing food trucks. The many talented food trucks of Denver all try to win over the patrons of the art walk. There are diverse offerings, from Brazilian fast food to authentic Mexican tacos.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens
 
The Denver Botanic Gardens covers 27 acres of beautifully designed landscapes. Located on York Street right next to Cheesman Park, the Denver Botanic Gardens regularly ranks as one of the best city gardens in the country. It provides a nice green and flowery oasis in the heart of Denver. Included in the gardens are numerous sculptures provided by artists from around the world. During the summer, the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts a concert series.

16th Street Mall

The walkways on the 16th Street Mall were designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei– the same man who designed the famous Louvre Pyramid. The promenade was designed with the intention of being as pedestrian-friendly as possible. If you get exhausted from walking, you can take the free mall shuttle known as MallRide. The mall is full of restaurants and boutiques that are sure to keep you entertained for a full afternoon.
 
The 16th street mall will make you think you are in Europe. The window front stores that are unobstructed by cars will remind you of Amsterdam, and the D&F Tower was specifically designed after the Saint Mark's Tower in Venice. After dark, patrons can get around by horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs.

Lower Downtown (LoDo)

LoDo is Denver's premier neighborhood. It is also the oldest neighborhood in the Mile High City, as it served as a base camp for gold prospectors in the wild west days. Today, the LoDo neighborhood is anchored by Coors Field, one of the most gorgeous ballparks in the Majors. Even if you're not a fan of baseball, Coors FIeld has plenty of entertainment options, including the recently opened party deck. While at Coors Field, keep an eye out for the only row of seats that are painted purple. Those purple seats are exactly one mile above sea level.
 
While LoDo is a premiere destination for sports fans, it is also home to countless rooftop bars and cafes. If you're looking for nightlife options in the Mile High City, LoDo is the place to be.

Meow Wolf

Photo courtesy of Meow Wolf
 
Meow Wolf is pushing the boundaries of what art can be. While most people think of art like paintings or sculptures, Meow Wolf is a fully immersive experience. It covers a four-story building where patrons transcend a very "Alice in Wonderland" type of landscape. Thrillist magazine described it as "walking through a washing machine in another dimension." The installation took three years to complete and relied on the contributions of over 300 artists.

Dining in Denver

The Denver culinary scene is quite diverse. While the city was established by cowboys and gold miners about a century ago, countless other groups have left their mark on the city. In Denver, you can find just about any culinary tradition. Here are some of our favorite choices for dining in Denver.

Bar Dough

Photo courtesy of Bar Dough
 
While Denver doesn't have any Michelin Star restaurants, the French culinary critics did give a nod to Bar Dough. This Italian American eatery is helmed by acclaimed Chef Russell Stippich. Stippich prides his restaurant on serving small dishes that highlight traditionally prepared meats with handmade pasta. The wood fire pizzas at Bar Dough have received rave reviews from national food critics.

The Wolf's Tailor

Photo courtesy of The Wolf’s Tailor
 
This is arguably the most ambitious restaurant you can find in Denver. The menu at The Wolf's Tailor can't really be tied to a specific culinary tradition and offers truly unique flavors. If anything, it could be described as Asian-Italian fusion, but even that description doesn't perfectly describe it. In any case, you're sure to find some fantastic flavor options at The Wolf's Tailor, including dishes that feature locally foraged mushrooms.

Comal Heritage Food Incubator

Photo courtesy of Comal Heritage Food Incubator
 
Comal is an eatery that is focused on the betterment of new arrivals in America. The incubator is run by women from Mexico and Venezuela and prides itself on employing refugees and immigrants. No matter your political leanings, it's hard to argue against the quality of food served at Comal. The eatery has a rotating menu based on ingredients that are currently in season. No matter the season, you're bound to find wonderful dishes that are inspired by the traditions of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Safta

Photo courtesy of Safta
 
Safta is the place to go for middle eastern style treats. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Alon Shaya, who is originally from Israel and perfected his culinary craft in The Big Easy. As a result, Safta may be the only restaurant in the world that serves middle eastern dishes that carry subtle cajun undertones. We recommend any dish that comes with freshly made pitas from the wood-fired oven.

Bellota

Photo courtesy of Bellota
 
No Denver restaurant list would be complete without at least one Mexican recommendation. For that honor, we chose Bellota. Bellota is an upscale Mexican fare that keeps things casual. Despite its popularity, the restaurant refuses to take reservations. Everyone is served on a first-come basis. Bellota is led by chef Many Barella, and he specializes in authentic Mexican tacos. While there are plenty of tasty tacos on the menu, we are particularly fond of the Cochinita Pibil Platter.

Brasserie Brixton

Photo courtesy of Brasserie Brixton
 
Inspired by the brasseries of Montreal, Brasserie Brixton is the only place in town to fix a craving for French Canadian cuisine. There is also a notable Asian-European influence on the menu, as seen in their blood sausage wontons. Whether inspired from Quebec or overseas, Brasserie Brixton continuously has a fluctuating menu due to its commitment to only using fresh and seasonal ingredients.

The Fort

The Fort is quintessential old-school Colorado. Instead of trying to keep up with the latest culinary trends found in LA or New York, The Fort is unapologetically pure Coloradan. The building itself is a replica of the historic Bent's Fort, the first American trading post in Colorado. But don't mistake The Fort for a tacky restaurant. There are some fantastic menu items such as bison and elk stakes, Native American dishes, and even Rocky Mountain Oysters.
 
If you're looking to move to the adventurous Mile High City, you'll need a good realtor to find the best home to move into. That's where Elise Losasso can help. Elise group in Denver and knows all the ins and outs of this competitive real estate market. The secret is out: Denver is a great place to live. With its rise in popularity and growing economy, finding a luxury home in Denver can be difficult. We're here to help.

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*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock



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