16 Ways to Vacation in Denver like a Local

The Mile High City, in the state of 300 Days of Sunshine: where you can go skiing in the morning and golfing that same afternoon. Denver will positively send you over the moon. Colorado natives are a sophisticated and relaxed bunch. The Colorado front range is often known as the Napa Valley of Microbrews. To put it simply, Coloradans are an amazing crowd to be around and the state has so much to offer. OneRooftop has compiled this list of 16 different places to go to experience the state’s capital like a local.

The Arts

Denver Art Museum

Known by locals as The DAM, the Denver Art Museum is a masterpiece on the inside and out. Take some selfies with the various modern art statues outside the museum, or step inside to trace back through art movements through history and all over the world.


Clyfford Still Museum

This art museum situated right next to the DAM is smaller but pays tribute to one of the leaders of Abstract Expressionism. The museum offers a unique opportunity to learn about modern art as it is a topic most of us still grapple to understand.

Shopping for Anything

16th St Mall

A pedestrian mall in downtown Denver where you can find shops, food, street performers and more. Feet get tired while shopping? An electric bus runs up and down the mall that you can hop on and off at your leisure for free.


Finding the Right Concert Venue

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Where to begin. At 6,400 feet, the amphitheater lies between colossal red rock structures, creating natural acoustics and the most beautiful venue in Colorado for a show. For perspective: on a day with no wind, a person speaking on stage without amplification can be heard at the very back of the 69th row!

El Chapultepec

A storied spot in Denver, known for its low-profile jazz, funk, and soul. According to experts, however, your belly might be happier getting food someplace else before the show…

The Mercury Cafe

A spot for weekend brunch or dinner during the week, you can stop in to see music, film and theater, or poetry readings. Check out their *stacked* event calendar for everything in between. Here’s what an average week looks like:


For Libations and For Eats

Snooze Breakfast


By their motto, “Wake up to Snooze,” this brunch joint has become a local favorite for custom creations. Try their eggs Benedict!

City, O’ City.

A bohemian-feeling eat and drink spot, City, O’ City features on their walls the unique art of a local artist each month

Union Station

Still the city’s hub for Amtrak trains, Denver’s downtown Union Station brings together some of the city’s finest dining and shopping. Mixing Colorado history and progression, Union Station is a destination to stop at if in the downtown area.

Voodoo Doughnut

Started by a couple of Portlandians, Voodoo Doughnut has moved to Denver and is a funky place to get an artistically rendered treat like the “Voodoo Doll Doughnut” here, at any hour of the day, any day of the week. (That stake in the donut’s heart is a pretzel, by the way. And that heart spills a cinematic raspberry filling.) It’s vegan too!

Lucile’s Creole Cafe

Lucile’s has locations in both Denver and the nearby city, Boulder. Lucile’s is known for its amazing New Orleans breakfasts. OneRooftop was told that these biscuits were seriously a force to  be reckoned with.

Williams & Graham

A Denver speakeasy. Need I say More?

Ok, maybe. Everybody in Denver loves this northwest bar for its old-timey vibe and creative mixology. But, word to the wise–book ahead of time.

Going Out With Family

Dino Ridge

Dinosaurs in Colorado? This is a great place for a day outside with the family to see and touch real dinosaur bones and dinosaur tracks and other fossils. Along the two-mile trail there are many educational stops to engage with and learn about the Jurassic past of Colorado.

Larimer Square Chalk Art Festival

This isn’t the hopscotch chalk you remember from childhood. The Denver Chalk Art Festival on Larimer Square is an annual two-day free event where over 200 artists come show off their talents in extravagant, dimension-bending scenes drawn completely in chalk. The Chalk Fest is coming up, June 6-7. Can’t make it that weekend? The Larimer Arts Foundation is adding another weekend in Centennial, CO September 19-20.

Nature: I mean, it IS Colorado

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Only an hour south of Denver, the Garden of the Gods Park is worth the trip down to explore its wonder. If adventure does lead you down to Colorado Springs, try stopping for lunch at one of the city’s local restaurants. Get a famous Quesadilla at Wooglin’s Deli, or a well-crafted cocktail and sandwich at Shuga’s.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

If you’re in Colorado Springs, the historic cog train brings you from the feet of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs up to the summit at 14,114 feet. Although, of course, if you’re feeling adventurous you can always hike all the way up on the bar trail.

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