How to spend 48 Hours in Denver
Denver’s ease starts as soon as your plane lands, with the airport located an hour's drive from the downtown area. You can catch the train from your hotel to downtown Denver, stepping off at the 100 year old Denver Union Station. The station doubles as an entertainment mecca, boasting farm-to-table restaurants, The Terminal Bar and Cooper Lounge. If you time your visit right, the Station also doubles as a stage for event such as farmers markets, live music and more. Once you’re done with the smorgasbord of food and entertainment options, the 16th Street Mall shuttle is your free ticket to the rest of Downtown Denver.
If you’re looking for a true Denver experience, Denver’s outdoor patios are always ready to welcome you. With 300 days of sunshine in the year, outdoor dining and bars are Denver’s bread and butter. If you’re looking for money-can’t buy views, Kisbee on the Roof at Cherry Creek offers panoramic views and cocktails to die for. That’s not all; the upscale cocktail bar is named after Thomas Kisbee, British naval officer who invented the lifesaver. If you fancy yourself as more of a foodie, historic Larimer Square, Denver Union Station and more give you the chance to sample creative cuisine at chef-owned restaurants.
Make sure you pack your comfiest walking shoes; Denver has some of the most diverse neighbourhoods you’ll find. The city has the Rocky Mountain charm with an urban feel, attracting creative souls of all ages. Notable neighbourhoods to visit include Highlands, the Arts District on Santa Fe, Golden Triangle Creative District and RiNo (River North). You’ll find gorgeous street art wherever you look, intimate live music venues, craft breweries and urban food halls.
Whether you understand art or cover one eye and try to decipher its hidden meaning, you have to visit Denver’s array of museums. Denver Art Museum houses a mix of Western and American Indian art collections, notably the works of Claude Monet. If you’re looking for something more interactive, History Colorado Center is a fantastic day out for the whole family. You’ll get the chance to learn about the cultures that have helped shape Colorado to the place it is today. If you find yourself with a few hours to spare, don’t skip a visit to the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.
The beauty of Denver being such a walkable city is your ability to walk from brewery to brewery, sampling some of the best craft beers in the world. The Mile High City has 150 unique craft breweries, and whether you’re looking for the perfect larger or stout, you’ll find your ideal flavour. You can either explore the breweries yourself, or learn from the experts on a guided beer tour. Make sure you stop at Denver Beer Co and grab a bite to eat at their dog-friendly beer garden or food trucks.
If you’re a sport fanatic, or just find yourself getting involved when it’s on the TV, you’ll undoubtedly know of at least one of Denver’s seven sports teams. Whether your poison is hockey, football or baseball, you can go behind-the-scenes of any of Denver’s sports venues. You have to catch a game to experience the true American dream, so cheer on the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies or the Colorado Avalanche and become a true Denver local.
If the thrill of getting a good bargain is more your thing, Denver is a shopaholics paradise. Make your way to Cherry Creek Shopping Centre and Cherry Creek North, to snag a bargain from notable stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Apple. Once you’ve shopped till you dropped, take a rest at a variety of restaurants or escape the crowds in small boutiques and art galleries.
Take a trip back 65 million years at Denver Museum of Nature & Science and learn about the dinosaurs that roamed this earth long before we did. If you’re visiting soon, take advantage of the ‘Science Behind PIXAR’ exhibition. It takes a unique look into Pixar’s process and the science and technology behind their beloved animated films and characters. If you’re looking for a chance to stop and smell the flowers, follow the winding paths of Denver Botanic Gardens, a lush oasis in the heart of Denver city.
Once the night hits, there’s nothing better to do in Denver than experience the live music culture the city has built. If you’re a music fan, you have to tick off a concert at the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre from your bucket list. There’s an almost nightly performance, giving you the chance to experience an array of performers, or if you time your stay just right, one of your favourite artists. Red Rocks also doubles as a hiking mecca. You can join a guided tour of the park at the Trading Post, a structure designed by W. R. Rosche in 1931. The 1.4 mile long Trading Post, originally known as the Indian Concession House, winds through the Fountain and Lyons formations and has breathtaking views of the valley and southern rock formations.
A trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park. With a travel time of only 90 minutes, you’ll make it back to Denver with plenty of time for dinner. First build up your appetite through miles of scenic hiking trails on foot or horseback riding. There’s no shortage of gorgeous views from the whole park, however if you’re an avid rock climber make your way along the Keyhole Route and to the top of the steepest mountain, Longs Peak. If you’re happier to keep your feet on the ground, there’s a trail surrounding Bear Lake that offers postcard perfect views of the Rocky Mountain peaks. Sun, snow or rain, the Rocky Mountain National Park is something you can’t miss.
Denver and the rest of Colorado are easy to explore on a self-drive holiday, with a connected network of highways and scenic routes to take you from highlight to highlight, and giving you plenty of flexibility to stop off along the way. Our Adventure World experts have put together a number of suggested itineraries such as the 15 day American Grandeurs self-drive, and can assist to customise your trip with expert advice and guidance on what to see and do en route.
For those looking for a culinary adventure, our 8 day Colorado Mountain Crests & Craft Brews small group trip will take you to the heart of Colorado's brew culture, with epic sightseeing along the way.
Or simply combine our Experience Denver package including accommodation, sightseeing and airport shuttle transfers with another Colorado journey to create your own itinerary.
These trips and more of Denver's best can be found in our brand new USA Tailor-made Collection brochure – Order your copy today!