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Planning Your Trip

Whether you’re planning a family ski vacation or a sightseeing adventure around Denver, the Mile High City offers an array of year-round activities. Here is what to pack so you arrive ready to explore.


Winter Vacation

The views of snow-topped mountains and the snow-laced sidewalks will dazzle visitors to Denver in winter. It is truly America’s winter wonderland, but you should be prepared for all that Father Winter can deliver.

 

  • Denver winter weather can be unpredictable, so a jacket with ventilation zippers is convenient for covering up or airing out as necessary.
  • Insulated but fashionable boots with traction are a must. Denver is a great walking city — even in winter — so keep your feet toasty as you explore its boutiques or craft breweries.
  • Convertible mittens are a lifesaver on cold days. Snap back the tops when inside, then cover up your digits when you plunge back into the refreshing but cold mountain air.     
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Outdoor Adventure

Denver is a launch pad for adventures of all kinds, from skiing in Beaver Creek to hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park and road biking from Copper Mountain to Frisco. Here are the essentials to pack.

 

  • A light down jacket can fold easily into a day bag or tie around your waist. Whether you’re hiking or biking, the weather can shift without warning and it is best to be prepared.
  • Bring high-powered binoculars for observing wildlife while on hikes or boating trips. Mountain goats, moose and elk are frequently spotted in the areas and parks around Denver.
  • In summer, bring sturdy sports sandals that wrap around the ankle for water-based adventure such as a scenic sunset paddle on Sloan’s Lake.

Exploring the City

From the 16th Street Mall to fashionable LoDo, there is lots to see and do in Denver. Take in a baseball game at Coors Field or a Denver Nuggets basketball game or Colorado Avalanche hockey game at the Pepsi Center.

 

  • Whether you plan to spend a day shopping, hiking or on a cultural excursion, bring a lightweight tote or day pack that leaves your hands free.
  • Hiking boots are a smart choice for the Rocky Mountains trails, which are rugged enough to require solid footwear that protects your ankles and supports your knees.
  • Sunscreen seems like an odd thing to bring to the Midwest, but you are much closer to the sun in the Mile High City, so make sure your skin is protected.  

Don't Forget:

Bring your baseball glove. Coors Field, where the Rockies play, is known for an outlandish number of home runs and pop-fly balls because of the altitude. If you plan to go to a game, make sure to bring your leather and be ready as soon as you hear the pop-crack of a batter making solid contact.  


Make your Denver getaway one to remember. From romantic restaurants to resplendent hikes, it pays to plan ahead. Here is your guide to the best experiences and most coveted reservations in and around the city.

Dining Reservations

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Once upon a time, Denver was the spot where cattle drives ended, and the local ranchers are still supplying the area with high-end cuts of beef nearly year-round, so the steak options are endless and magnificent. Head to ELWAY’S Downtown at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver for 100 percent USDA prime steaks, hand-cut on the premises, and an award-winning wine selection. Other establishments making excellent use of the local beef include Guard and Grace, where Chef Tony Guard opened up his own take on the haute steakhouse to rave reviews, as well as the buzzy 5280 Burger Bar, which also offers miniature slider versions of its big, meaty burgers.  

Day Trips

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A two-hour drive south of Denver, Pike’s Peak is the highest summit in the southern range of the Colorado Rockies and an unbelievable sight no matter how you tackle it. Pike’s Peak can be hiked (though it’s a grueling 26 miles round trip), driven to on the Pike’s Peak highway or seen by railway via the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway that transports you to the 14,115-foot summit. Summit County, a 1.5 hour’s drive from Denver, offers year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure. In winter, take a few turns at Arapahoe Basin, a local gem of a ski resort that offers steep runs and easy greens; in summer, go for the adventurous road biking on paths that circle Dillon Reservoir or take you from Copper Mountain down to the charming city of Frisco.  

Museum Tickets & Cultural Sights


Arts and culture are inherent to the soul of Denver. The city of artists and innovators is constantly dreaming up new creative expressions to see and experience. The Denver Art Museum, one of the largest cultural institutions between the West Coast and Chicago, features an incredible collection of American Indian art. The Denver Museum of Natural History and Science has ongoing programs about the natural history of Colorado and the universe at large.   

Nightlife

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From the chic lounges of Larimer Square and LoDo to the dance-floor scene in the South of Colfax Nightlife District, Denver is the place to visit when you are really ready to unwind. Start on the patio of ELWAY’S Downtown, where a lively happy hour kicks off at 4 p.m., then check out Hi-Dive on South Broadway, where local bands love to take the stage thanks to the fantastic acoustics. Before last call, head to Church Nightclub to catch local DJs and acts from around the world, or enjoy a nightcap at Lost Lake Lounge, a retro cocktail spot on historic East Colfax that showcases both up-and-coming and established musicians.   

With ballparks and bike paths, mountains, museums and a mouthwatering culinary scene, Denver can surprise even the most sophisticated traveler. Plan the perfect vacation with one of these compelling itineraries, or use them to jumpstart your own customized getaway.


Friends Getaway

Smart urban development and a vibrant food and craft beer scene have made Denver a cool getaway for travelers seeking a combination of culture and adventure. Hip neighborhoods like LoDo (Lower Downtown) and RiNo (River North) boast third-wave coffee shops and destination restaurants. Coors Field, home to the Colorado Rockies, ranks as one of America’s best urban ballparks. And the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park and the famed natural amphitheater, Red Rocks, are just a short drive away.

 

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Perfect Weekend

You’ll want to pack both your cowboy boots and your hiking boots for a weekend in Denver — the Mile High City offers big-city pleasures and outdoor adventures alike. Urban nbike trails make it easy to pedal from downtown to the outer neighborhoods and craft breweries. Starchitect-designed museums and indie galleries will satisfy
your culture cravings, and the city’s culinary creativity will give you good reason to hit the trails in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

 

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