City Cheat Sheet: A Travel Guide for Denver, Colorado

City Park in Denver.

WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT THE MILE HIGH CITY IN COLORADO? The Scout Guide Denver editor Leigh Gordon can name a few reasons, but proclaims the weather is one of the biggest draws. “You can’t beat the 300 days of sunshine in Denver,” she says. “Even in the winter, it may be cold, but at least the sun is shining.” Denver is also known as an outdoorsy mecca, and with nearly 20,ooo acres of parks, and plenty of day hikes within 30 minutes of downtown, it lives up to that reputation. Finally, while culture might not be something one first thinks about in this mountain town, they have a thriving arts and culture scene, with seven different art districts across the city.  

Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Leigh shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in her city.

*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc. 

WHEN TO GO // Denver truly is a year-round city.  With sunny days most every day, locals enjoy getting outside as much as possible throughout the year. In fact, traffic picks up early on Friday afternoons as locals head West to the trails or slopes. We usually get an afternoon shower during the summer to help cool off the days, and in the winter the snow usually melts pretty quickly.

WHERE TO STAY // The Art, a hotel (1201 Broadway). Positioned near the Denver Art Museum, this hotel houses a collection of contemporary art itself and includes a rooftop patio that’s ideal for happy hour.

The Crawford Hotel (1701 Wynkoop Street). Situated right above Denver’s iconic Union Station, The Crawford Hotel is a perfect place to meet, eat, shop, drink, and sleep.

Hotel Teatro (1100 14th Street). One of the oldest buildings in the Denver Theater District, this hotel has historic features and a fantastic restaurant.

The Ramble Hotel (1280 25th Street). Located in Denver’s River North Art District, The Ramble Hotel features New York’s famed Death & Co, an intimate theater and event bar, and a new restaurant from Denver’s acclaimed Work & Class.

Clayton Hotel & Member’s Club (233 Clayton Street). The first of its kind in Denver, the Clayton Hotel & Member’s Club is a space designed for exchanging ideas located in the heart of Cherry Creek North. Clayton invites, welcomes, supports, and invests in people who are united by their commitment to affect change and have fun while doing it.

WHAT TO DO // Stanley Marketplace (2501 Dallas Street, Aurora), the Denver Central Market (2669 Larimer Street), Nurture, a Wellcare Marketplace (2949 Federal Boulevard), and the Dairy Block (1800 Wazee Street) are all must-visit marketplaces for shopping, dining, and self-care.

For art enthusiasts, Denver Art Museum (100 W 14th Avenue,  Parkway), Museum of Contemporary Art (1485 Delgany Street), Robischon (1740 Wazee Street), Visions West Contemporary (2605 Walnut Street), Space Galleries (400 Santa Fe Drive, 95 South Cherokee Street, & 3235 Larimer Street), and Walker Fine Art (300 West 11th Avenue, #A) are all worth exploring and spending time.

Denver Botanic Gardens (1007 York Street) is a wonderful spot to take in the natural beauty of the area.

Explore our many neighborhood districts like Cherry Creek North, RiNo Art District, Berkeley’s Tennyson Street, South Pearl Street, Old South Gaylord, and The Highlands.

Be sure to hike, bike, enjoy a concert or film, or practice yoga at Red Rocks Amphitheater (18300 W Alameda Parkway, Morrison).

If perhaps not visiting during ski season but you still want to get outside, Rocky Mountain National Park (multiple entrances) is an amazing destination for hiking.

WHERE TO SHOP // We have so many amazing boutiques for women all over the city.  Some we highly recommend include Garbarini (239 Detroit Street), Rebel (5910 S University Blvd, Greenwood Village), Lawrence Covell (225 Steele Street), Perch (2606 E 3rd Ave), A Line Boutique (multiple locations), Covered Cherry Creek (2353 E 3rd Ave), MAX Clothing (250 Columbine Street), Lariat (4258 Tennyson Street), Kouture Consignment (300 Josephine Street), Melrose & Madison (1500 South Pearl Street), and Blush (4305 W. 44th Avenue).

Steadbrook (3151 Larimer Street), Andrisen Morton (270 Saint Paul Street), Homer Reed (17171 Tremont Place), Trout’s American Sportswear (1077 S. Gaylord Street), and Timber Trade Co. (3070 Blake Street) are wonderful options for men, from casual and sporty to custom and professional.

Broomtail (1931 East Kentucky Avenue), Where the Sidewalk Ends (online, free local delivery), Real Baby (4315 Tennyson Street), Timbuk Toys (multiple locations), and Second Star to the Right Children’s Books (1545 South Pearl Street) are great children’s boutiques and toy stores.

For gifts of all kinds, check out White Peacock (2440 East Third Avenue), Wish Gifts (multiple locations), Rosy Rings (2940 E 6th Avenue), Sacred Thistle (1110 Acoma Street), Bloom Denver (300 University Boulevard), Tattered Cover Bookstore (2526 E Colfax Avenue), and Talulah Jones (1122 East 17th Avenue).

HW Home (199 Clayton Lane), Coda Studio (248 Detroit Street), MillerLane Mercantile (4315 West 44th Avenue), Form Studio (4234 Tennyson Street), The Lark (1219 E. 4th Avenue), Homefest (5912 South Holly Street), and Design Wright Studios (2800 Walnut Street) are fabulous home and accessory stores.

And don’t miss Dan Sharp Luxury (218 Steele Street), The Vintage Label (1801 Blake Street), or Rockmount Ranch Wear (1626 Wazee Street), which are all unique and special.

WHERE TO EAT // Avanti Food & Beverage (3200 Pecos Street). Inspired by European markets and food truck roundups, Avanti has created a modern day food hall with seven culinary options in one space.

Safta (3330 Brighton Boulevard). Through their food and beverages, Safta takes you on a journey paying homage to the culinary landscape of Israel.

The Wolf’s Tailor (4058 Tejon Street) and Bruto (1801 Blake Street). James Beard nominated chef Kelly Whitaker is behind these two Denver restaurants, which are both must-visits.

Annette (2501 Dallas Street, Aurora). A scratch-to-table dining experience from James Beard nominee Caroline Glover.

The Cherry Cricket (2641 2nd Avenue and 2220 Blake Street). Denver’s best burger dive.

Perdida (1066 S. Gaylord Street). Experience the magic of the Mexican Coast in Washington Park’s newest dining experience.

Of A Kind (233 Clayton Street). Inspired coastal flavors from locally sourced ingredients from executive chef Brandon Duley, who came to Of A Kind from Gjelina in Los Angeles.

WHERE TO SIP // Aviano Coffee (multiple locations), Little Owl Coffee (1555 Blake Street), Corvus Coffee (multiple locations), and Blue Sparrow Coffee (multiple locations) are ideal places when in need of a caffeine fix.

Blanchard Family Wines (1855 Blake Street) and Noble Riot (1336 27th Street) are two of the best wine bars in town.

The Family Jones (3245 Osage Street). For quality ingredients, thoughtful blending, and a touch of moxie, head to The Family Jones Spirit House, where they create and craft all of their recipes.

Room for Milly (1615 Platte Street). Inspired by travels and explorations of foreign lands and curiosities, Room for Milly serves intriguing cocktails and well-made bites.

Forget Me Not (227 Clayton Street). Designed with intention and care, Forget Me Not is more than just a cocktail bar, it’s a place for connections to be celebrated.

Bar Helix (3440 Larimer Street). A modern, elevated lounge inspired by the Negroni, Bar Helix offers more than a dozen varieties of the iconic cocktail and more.

Sunday Vinyl (1803 16th Street). This intimate restaurant and wine bar is dedicated to the connectivity of food, wine, and music.

Death & Co (1280 25th Street). To visit New York City’s iconic bar’s distinctive concept in Denver, head to the lobby of The Ramble Hotel.

LOCAL PRO-TIP // Sunscreen. Water. Layers. It’s very typical for Denver’s weather to change from warm and sunny to chilly and windy in a matter of hours. At a mile high, the sun is stronger and the altitude really does affect most visitors. With four locations in Denver, we recommend popping into Hydrate IV Bar for vitamin-infused IV therapy cocktails to keep you hydrated during your stay.

You can download this Denver cheat sheet by clicking here. For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Denver, follow The Scout Guide Denver on Instagram.