I am going to be in Denver this weekend for the F-A Alternatives Conference, and I find myself with some time to kill.

Any suggestions what to do in Denver ?

Category: Travel

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59 Responses to “What to Do in Denver Over the Weekend?”

  1. C-130Load says:

    I don’t really know what you like to do for entertainment. That being said, I am particular to a restaurant downtown. It is pretty tasty and a nice atmosphere. Here is the link for your appraisal.


    Enjoy your time out here.

  2. danabrams says:

    I are at buckhorn exchange 14 years ago and I still talk about it. Also, the height if the stadium makes a Rockies game especially fun (of course, I saw Mark McGuire hit two homers there).

    One other thing you could do is make it easier to comment on your site without needing to login twelve times.

    • The Window Washer says:

      Buckhorn is a wild game restaurant and fun. Kind of place the managed to find beaver to cook for Jerry Mathers when he came in.

    • Alexa2 says:

      From a former annual visitor to Denver: Eat at the Buckhorn Exchange at least once.
      This 120 year old restaurant (oldest in Denver) is a National Historic Landmark, with few comprises with modern convenience. The walk up the steep stairs (to the bar), the walls jammed with about 500 animal trophies, plus stuffed animals like leopard and bear, etc, most about 100 years old, remain unchanged.
      The attraction (besides their cowboy-sized steaks) is the menu of exotic meat (buffalo, elk, quail, game hen, rattlesnake meat, and even alligator tail). We once had ostrich, a very low fat tasty beef-like meat. I think they had zebra or lion steaks many years ago before they were banned? I know of no restaurant in the U.S. like it.
      It’s a Western experience you should experience. Check their website (read the History part) and definitely make a reservation in advance; tables are limited in this modest-sized building.

  3. Bob A says:

    If you have a car you could take a drive up I-70 to the continental divide and check out the view

  4. chartist says:

    fly fishing in cheesman canyon….BR, it’s time to hang up that bass fishing spinning gear and take in the beauty that trout live in!. …..Hire a guide….Next year you’ll be ready for Jackson Hole fly fishing as you take in the latest drivel spewed by the future chief of the federal reserve.

  5. TimS says:

    I live in Denver, so I can provide a few options:

    Check out the Underground Music Series (UMS). It’s an opportunity to see some up and coming bands and DJs: http://www.theums.com

    Knowing you like jazz, one of the legendary jazz bars West of the Mississippi is El Chapultepec which has been played by many of the jazz legends. Jazz 7-days a week and it’s downtown near Coors Field. It’s divey, but tons of history.

    You can also check out “My Brothers Bar” which is near downtown. Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy hung out there during their “On the Road” days. Good burgers and they sell boxes of Girl Scout cookies year round for dessert. (If you are a burger guy, the best burger in Denver is at the Cherry Cricket in Cherry Creek North which is southeast of downtown a few miles).

    There are lots of bars/restaurants downtown. Assuming the weather is nice, find a place with a patio or rooftop deck–there are tons of them.

    If you are around Sunday night, the City does Jazz in the Park at 6PM in City Park. City Park’s design was influenced by Central Park. It’s about 2 miles east of downtown. Admission is free. http://cityparkjazz.org/calendar

    As a previous commenter suggested, Coors Field is a great place to see a game. The Cubs are in town, so you’ll see lots of Cubs fans at the game.

    I hope you enjoy Denver!

  6. landryst says:

    I would drive up to the Rocky Mountain NP. This is the perfect time of year to explore the park. It’s a beautiful drive from Denver pretty much whatever route you take. If you like scenic drives, you can’t beat Trail Ridge Road up to the Alpine Visitor Center. There’s a short trail from the Alpine Visitor Center to a 360 degree view of the park (from about 12,000 feet). If you have time, drive UP the old scenic road (Fall River Road) to the Alpine Visitor Center and come down Trail Ridge Road; the Fall River Road is an old dirt road with some neat views, but it’s slow going (and it’s one way up). If you have time, drive up to Bear Lake and hike around the lake (it’s about a mile); there are some really nice views of Flattop Mountain and other summits in the area. There are some other lakes further up from Bear Lake (Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake), so you can spend an hour to half a day hiking around that area. If you have time for a half day hike, try a hike to the Loche, it’s an alpine lake accessible by a three mile (each way) hike (the trail gains 1000 ft in that time, and starts at over 9,000 ft. elevation, so it’s a bit more strenuous than most three mile hikes.) The trailhead for the Loche and Bear Lake aren’t far from the entrance to the RMNP, so they’re convenient to get to.

    • Michael says:

      I can’t believe nobody else has actually made the civilized gesture of actually offering to buy you a beer. In RMNP. At the Sheridan Hotel. Where it is beautiful.

      Please allow me the honor if you have the chance (or the thirst). Thx!

  7. beatnikbob says:

    El Chapultepec – one of the best jazz bars still standing, but who knows for how long. LoDo has taken over the old neighborhood, but I’ll always remember one of the best nights of bebop I’ve ever witnessed. And the Oxford Hotel nearby ain’t bad.

  8. TimS says:

    I am a Denver resident, so here are a few suggestions:

    The Underground Music Series (UMS) happens once a year and features up-and-coming bands at a group of bars and outdoors on Broadway. http://www.theums.com/

    Knowing you are into Jazz. Here are two suggestions:
    El Chapultepec is a bar downtown that has been open for ages and seen all of the jazz greats play there. They have jazz 7 nights a week. It’s a bit divey, but tons of history.

    Jazz Part II: Free Jazz in City Park (whose design was influenced by Central Park). Jazz is Sunday night at 6PM. CIty Park is about 2 miles east of downtown (10 minute taxi ride).

    Visit My Brothers Bar (the name of the bar, not really my brother’s). Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy hung out at this bar regularly during the “On the Road” days. Great burgers and they sell boxes of girl scout cookies year round for dessert.

    Speaking of burgers, the best burger in Denver is at the Cherry Cricket in Cherry Creek North which is south east of downtown near the headquarters for Janus. Also divey, but amazing burgers. The place is owned by the governor of Colorado (via a blind trust). See where the governor got his start by checking out the Wynkoop Brewery downtown. One of Colorado’s first microbrews and started the resurgence of what is now considered Lower Downtown (including the location of Coors field).

    As someone else mentioned, going to a game at Coors Field is always enjoyable. The Cubs are in town, so many Cub fans will be in attendance (lots of Chicago transplants).

    Assuming the weather is nice (it usually is), find a place with a patio or rooftop deck to grab a drink or a meal. There are many good ones.

  9. bunabhucan says:

    If you live or work in New York then Denver itself is unremarkable, chunks of it look like Kansas City or Indy or any other flyover city. Until you look at the horizon.

    What Denver has that these other cities don’t is the Rockies. My suggestion is drive to Rocky Mountain national park if you have a big chunk of time, or Boulder/Colorado Springs for a meal if you only have a few hours. Boulder has patchouli and hemp, the Springs has Jesus and guns. Both have yuppie foodie stuff and microbreweries. Boulder is a ~20 minute drive from Denver in Sunday traffic. Eat in the Flagstaff if you want to spend and be spoiled, eat in the Mountain or Southern Sun if you want good local food.

  10. jelley says:

    If you’re wanting to stay in the city area and wanting to keep it casual I would go on Saturday morning to the Golden, CO farmers market and walk along Clear Creek (http://www.cityofgolden.net/play/recreation-attractions/clear-creek-white-water-park/) Golden is pretty nice for killing a couple of hours as you could grab a beer at Golden City Brewery and check out the local folks. You could also go take a tour at Coors if you wanted. Nice views of the mountains -

    If you’re wanting to grab some mountain air I would drive on I-70 West through the Eisenhower tunnel and stop at Silverthorne, Dillon, Frisco area which is the first towns on the other side of the Continental Divide. Just exit 205 and take a left. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dillon_Reservoir

    If you’re staying in the Denver area check Great Divide beer as they produce the finest beer these lips have ever tasted (Rumble Wood IPA, any Yeti Stout)

    Email me if you need any other suggestions -

  11. chomen says:

    Drive to Boulder. Park new 9th and Pearl. Ask for directions to the Trident Coffee Shop and Bookstore. Go there. Drink coffee or green tea. Sit on the sidewalk outside, if you can. Enjoy the college girls as they walk by on their way to the mountain trails.

  12. jelley says:

    Also, 30 minutes to Golden, 90 minutes to Dillon area, and 10 minutes to Great Divide -

  13. preserve says:

    I just came back from denver.

    I recommend just airbnb around boulder and ride a bicycle around town. maybe do some hiking. The beer is amazing (including coors). So is the coffee. The secret ingredient is the water. It is perfect in Boulder right now because college kids are not back..

    If you like music you can go to mashups… I’m not sure if downtown denver is good if you are with females, but otherwise not a bad stroll if your around a bunch of men..

  14. BrianTimoney says:

    A nice evening stroll that has much to recommend to someone prone to economic reflection–

    –start at the Tattered Cover at 16th & Wynkoop, our regal independent bookseller.

    –check out the construction at Union Station as multi-modal hub to accomodate the emerging Light Rail network.

    –at the first pedestrian bridge (over the railroad–so key to Denver’s early growth), look back at Coors Field and see one of the very few examples in the US of a downtown ballpark that actually did unleash all sorts of positive economic externalities.

    –walk through the Commons Park, note the demographics–including dogs.

    –next pedestrian bridge over the Platte River, gaze south to the confluence where the city “began” in 1859

    –on Platte Street, feel free to take a 1-block detour south to 15th & Platte for Denver’s oldest bar–My Brother’s Bar–where Kerouac and Neal Cassady drank.

    –take the new pedestrian bridge over I-25, a good view of Mile High Stadium and an amusement park that now sits on some very valuable land.

    –walk up 16th Street and notice the activity around the bars and restaurants–foot traffic matters.

    –curl up the hill and you’ll be in a neighborhood with construction everywhere; peek in the realtor’s window to get an idea of prices. (not cheap).

    –the end of your walk is at Old Major–a very pleasant place to tip a beverage. You also passed Linger going up the hill which has great rooftop views.

    Demographics, pronounced preferences to live closer to the urban core, in-migration of the young and educated: you’ll see all around you why Denver can claim some unique ingredients not easily found amongst most of its Midwestern brethren.

    Map: http://bit.ly/15hbsIG


    p.s. Get ice cream ( http://www.littlemanicecream.com/ )

    • The Window Washer says:

      My Brothers bar is neither the oldest bar or the oldest tavern license in town and hasn’t been a good bar since they cut back the selection behind the bar about 10 years ago.
      Old Major. Friend ended up getting a warm martini and cold onion soup. I got the perfectly cooked totally bland mussels. Waitress inexperienced but cute so it had that.
      Little man ice cream is unremarkable.
      this is the perfect description of why to avoid LOHI.

  15. mhertz says:

    Here’s what we encourage friends and family from Philly, NYC and Balt/DC to do when visiting us in Denver:
    - Red Rocks; see a concert there if you can although does not look to be a good concert weekend, but even a small hiking tour (at sunup!!! or anytime) is a great way to immerse yourself in the rockies 20 minutes from downtown
    - American Indian Art Collection at the Denver Museum of Art http://www.denverartmuseum.org/collections/american-indian-art
    - Anschutz Collection of Western Art http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20265947/anschutz-collection-western-art-open-public-2012 if you are there Mon-Wed
    - Taco de Mexico, or if you are looking for convenience D’Corazon, Pinche Tacos for the best marg and street tacos
    - New Saigon or Pho Duy for Vietnamese
    - Mizuna for fine dining (Table Six, Potager, Something Else, Frasca)
    - Denver B cycle is an easy way to get street view
    - Biker Jim’s for a quick and delicious dog
    - great venue for a concert at Botanic Gardens on Saturday is http://concerts.botanicgardens.org/event/251791-steve-martin-steep-canyon-littleton/ SOLD OUT, but if you really want to go…..

    I rely on your twitter feeds. Let me know if you have specific questions. (we have a mutual friend/acquaintance who can vouch for my veracity!!!).

    • The Window Washer says:

      Seriously I second most of these recommendations. Take him up on the offer of Steve tickets.

      • The Window Washer says:

        After a read of todays comments follow up with mhertz and try for the Air force gig. The only food experience you’ll get here that you can’t get better back home is Taco de Mexico.

  16. clay says:

    Here you are Barry, go for the gusto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6HG9o-ADhc&feature=player_detailpage

    Not sure if they offer rides, but they have some 2-seaters, so you could show up and beg. Or you can just come out to Middletown, NY and we’ll set you up. http://www.valleysoaring.org/

  17. idaman says:

    spend a $1,000 dollars and visit Aspen, or $500 and visit Telluride, for two days.

    It’s as good as going to Europe (not in the history or cultural sense, but just in the amazing sense). They are true gems.

  18. Barry Porter says:

    Denver Art Museum 100 W 14th Ave

    Venice Restaurant 1700 Wynkoop – 303-54-2222 make reservations

    Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd

    Jax fish house 1539 17th Street

    Michelangelo show 500 16th Sy

  19. Chief Tomahawk says:

    Drive to the top of Pike’s Peak! Then do Garden of the Gods, which is in the same neighborhood.

    Estes Park/Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park is liable to be a ZOO this time of year. But if you do go, the main horde of traffic will take a left at the light to snake thru Estes Park at a snail’s pace. Instead, go straight, cross over the river bed and then turn left, entering the peripheral parking for the main strip through town. Will save about an hour of crawling…

  20. davebarnes says:

    I live in Denver

    Hops & Pie for great beers and food.
    The Zoo.
    Denver Botanic Gardens. (Sleeper was filmed there.)
    Yelp is your friend.
    Rioja is a GREAT restaurant. And so is Z Cuisine.
    Casa Bonita (IFF you are traveling with an 8-10 year old child).

  21. lalaland says:

    It’s nice to see you’ve learned how to travel without crashing markets (finally).

  22. theexpertisin says:

    Instead of goofing off, you should have scheduled to be guest lecturer at the Air Force Academy. They bring in the best of the best regularly for a variety of topics.

    I think your attitude and expertise would have been well received.

    Maybe next time……..

  23. jaymaster says:

    Get a Del Taco combo beef/bean burrito. A must have when I’m out west. The best cheap fast food anywhere!

  24. The Window Washer says:

    Dude it’s Colorado get stoned!
    Some of my tenants grow shoot me an email.
    DO NOT GO WEST OF I-25 INTO “LOHI”, gauche urban white trash. Everyone will try to send you there. DO NOT GO! Only exceptions are for good casual food at Bang which doesn’t take reservations or Root Down which you’re probably too late to get a reservation at. Repeat DO NOT GO TO “LOHI”.
    I pretty much second all of mhertz suggestions.
    Sweet Action Ice Cream on Broadway. Seriously I’m sending you to an ice cream place. It’s that good.Taco de Mexico on 7th and Santa Fe for Mexican. Kinda place that has plastic plates and cheeks meat burritos. Café Berlin for german food, think spatzel. Right by the hotel also.
    The Clyford Still museum is a must see. Quite simply one of if not the best single artist museum in the world.
    BEER BEER BEER! Great Divide tasting room. Have a taster of everything on tap start on the left and go across.
    Smoke a cigar INSIDE at the Brown Palace at the Palace arms.
    The Cruise Room an 80 year old martini bar in the Oxford Hotel. Has the original art deco décor and is where the first keg of Coors was tapped after prohibition. Some of the best bartenders in the city.
    Do an early morning run to confluence park and check out the coolest REI in the country downtown, old cable car power station.
    Casa Bonita if you’re a South Park fan and have a hit of acid handy.
    Keep in mind this is the west going anywhere out of town will eat half a day in a car.
    Doing a get together at the hotel bar?

    • ami_in_deutschland says:

      Café Berlin for german food, think spatzel. Café Berlin for german food, think spatzel.

      That’s “spätzle” (or “spaetzle” if you don’t want to bother with umlauts). I’d probably be more confident of them being properly made at a Cafe Stuttgart. ;o)

  25. chicagosean says:

    Barry… Tour Guide Seany at your service. If you want to engage in some “active” activity (hiking, climbing, great drives), I’d be happy to show you my new world.

  26. defensiveinvestor says:

    Love Denver with 300 days of sunshine a year and no humidity or mosquitos compared to the rest of the country this time of year. I was just there a few weeks ago.

    Per the others – a few ideas:
    - go to the Rockies game and sit in the cheap seats. enjoy a few beers and views of the mountains while watching the game.
    - if you golf – go to a course like Arrowhead in the foothills – you will get views and additional distance on your drives.
    - just do something in the mountains – pike’s peak drive to the top or take the cog railway to the top (1 hr south to colorado springs), steam powered train ride in georgetown (1 hr west on Hwy 70), take an off-season ski lift and have lunch with views of the mountains (breckenridge, vail, beaver creek)
    - eat on a rooftop somewhere in lodo near the stadium
    - the new elephant exhibit at the zoo – if you go in the morning, the tigers, elephants, gorillas and other animals will be really active.

  27. The Window Washer says:

    Give all our comments to the Hyatt concierge to annotate include $20 to overcome the tips a lot of restaurants/bars drop off every week.

  28. farragut says:

    Are psychotic ex-girlfriends living in Denver fair game? If so, I can guarantee you won’t be bored…! >:-)

  29. The Window Washer says:

    Holy Cow forgot Mrs. BP is in fashion so you HAVE to go to Rockmount Western wear. I recommend the “Rain Dance” scarf near the bottom of this link. Buffalo Bill’s scarf is nice also.Just inside the door of the shop on the right.
    Talk to the owner. Try on a pair of Luchesse boots.


  30. hondje says:

    If you have a free day, shoot up to Cheyenne and catch the Rodeo. Smell some honest bullshit for once.

  31. BennyProfane says:

    One word: Edibles.

  32. jacobsk says:

    Rent a car, Drive to Mt. Evans and enjoy the view from 14,000 ft. I did this last time and i think it took 5 hrs back and forth from Denver. The drive to the top is the best.

  33. Pnfriel says:

    Pete’s Kitchen has a great Greek salad


    • The Window Washer says:

      Please the last time I went there my friend spit her first mouthful into a napkin. Barry walks out of an office in Manhattan every afternoon don’t recommend food, we really don’t have it in Denver.

  34. vjrdataman says:

    Having lived in Denver for 33 years (moved from Cali to do grad work at Colorado School Of Mines, yes I am a geek :-) ), here are my suggestions:

    If just coming in on Sunday then
    1) Check out the construction at DIA as you leave, light rail is being built to the airport along with a major hotel. Remember your thing for infrastructure the other day :-).
    2) Brian Timoney’s suggestions are very good.
    3) Check out the main Denver Public Library (at 14th and Broadway).
    4) Coors Field with the Cubs in town
    5) El Chapultepec the jazz bar in Lower Downtown

    If coming in on Saturday then rent a car (they are pretty cheap on the week-ends) then:
    1) Go to Red Rocks in the morning, then drive through Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park
    2) Take a trip next day down to Colorado Springs and check out Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy.

    Also Barry, next time you know you are coming to Denver, give us a little more advance notice. As you are an author, I am sure that “The Tattered Cover” bookstore would welcome you to have a speak and sign at the 16th street mall store in Lower Downtown

  35. Geoff Lipsey says:

    Go to the Downtown Redevelopment District and visit the Natural History Museum. Stunning display of the geologic history of the Rocky Mountain Front Range, including Denver area.

  36. rj chicago says:

    Barry – Forget Denver completely and head west, southwest or northwest – forget the city completely.

  37. eroldictat says:

    Two restaurants at different ends of the spectrum: Denver Biscuit Company for a glorious gut-bomb. Fruition for a refined dining experience from a James Beard recognized chef. Enjoy BR.

  38. Khav says:

    One of your most commented posts, Barry!

    Rioja has a great brunch and I like Zengo alot for dinner.

    Denver and Fort Collins are definitely known for their beer and New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins has a fantastic tour. Will also recommend Denver Beer Company and Wynkoop’s in downtown Denver

    Coors field is a fun venue and also has a brewery inside it. They also serve rocky mountain oysters in the stadium if you need a little more testosterone….

    I-70 has construction around the Eisenhower tunnel (Idaho Springs) and I’ve heard of some big back-ups there on the weekends.

  39. Craig says:

    You could visit the Chamberlin Observatory, built in the late 1800s. Gorgeous huge brass telescope, looks like something from an H.G. Wells novel. If you like Victorian scientific equipment, it’s cool.


  40. dompazz says:

    http://www.brownpalace.com/Dining/Palace-Arms — still one of my favorite places to eat. The cigar bar next door is fun as well. http://www.brownpalace.com/Dining/Churchill About 4-5 blocks from the Hyatt.

    Get out and walk. The city is great for walking. Go down 16th to the river. Green space and trails along the river are relaxing. The REI on the other side is fun to window shop.

  41. ReginaV says:

    As a 40-year resident of Denver, here are some thoughts that might help you decide how to spend your time:
    1. It’s monsoon season. If you want to spend time outside, do it in the morning. Thunderstorms are likely in the afternoon.
    2. Downtown will not be very lively on the weekend, except near Coors Field.
    3. Conversely, do not go to the mountains to seek solitude. Everyone will be there.
    4. Corollary to #3: Avoid coming down out of the mountains on Sunday afternoon via I-70. What should be a 2-hour trip will take more like 4 or 5 hours.
    5. If you want to drive up to the summit of a high mountain, I suggest Mt. Evans instead of Pike’s Peak. It’s closer to Denver, the views and wildlife are spectacular and, based on an article I read last weekend, the “amenities” at the top of Pike’s Peak are in a state of disrepair.
    6. Denver’s climate (lack of humidity and bugs) and proximity to awe-inspiring natural beauty and mountain recreation are what set it apart from other cities. Some time spent outside is highly recommended.
    7. As Brian Timoney suggested earlier, his walk around downtown would give you some insight into some of the good things Denver has done/is doing economically and in terms of transportation infrastructure.

    I love it here. Hope you enjoy your visit.

  42. wrongwy says:

    laughing, no one has mentioned recreational mj. personally, love the botanical garden and if you leave the city, rmnp and estes park (The Shining Hotel) are great.

    • The Window Washer says:

      Dude read the comments MJ is well placed. And supplied he know people in town. Look as Josh’s blog.
      Botanical Gardens is good for a short couple hours.

  43. gstroker says:

    Lots of responses, but I will give it a shot … Love Denver … her goes

    Bar Restaurant and rooms ….. Lots of history

    Been there forever … local flavor

    Although started in Aspen … first restaurant in Denver. Best when there is 3 foot of snow and cold

    Old Republic Bank parking garage. Believe or not, I helped Philip Johnson design the exterior skin. I was contractor that built the exterior skin.

    Gateway to Red Sky Golf … Best Golf ever …. Want to play? Let me know.

    Finally …. Close to best music venue on planet … really

  44. Gmcourtney says:

    Plenty of good responses already.

    I second the recommendation to check out Tattered Cover. Anyone who enjoys words enough to write so much, should enjoy this bookstore.

    Check out some of our breweries. Great Divide has the taproom downtown (best beer in town), Breckenridge Brewing has a restaurant. Our Governor’s place is Wynkoop Brewing Co. (my least favorite beer, but cool place to hang out upstairs and play some pool). Strange Brewing Co. is a relatively new brewery in town.

    Get breakfast / brunch at Lucile’s. Best brunch in town. http://www.luciles.com/

    Go check out Red Rocks. Great trails to walk around even if you aren’t interested in the artist playing that night.

    If you find yourself bored, and want some socialization, I’d be happy to buy you a coffee/lunch/beer. My email is in my profile.

    Enjoy your stay in our city! It’s a pretty great place.