Everything You Need To Know About Denver, Colorado
Do rocky mountains, high plains, and clear blue skies attract you every time you plan a vacation? If yes, then your next destination should be Denver, Colorado. Also known as the City and County of Denver, this city in the South Platte River Valley is one of the most beautiful holiday destinations ever. With the Rocky Mountains on the east and the High Plains on the western edge, Denver’s picturesque location gives the visitors an added incentive to come to the city multiple times for some much-needed getaway.
Denver derives its name from one of the governors of the Kansas Territory, James W. Denver. The city was founded way back in November 1858. Primarily, it was a gold mining town, but soon the gold dried up. However, the new mines located in the laps of so many mountains became the source of income for the locals. As they explored the mines, Denver grew rapidly because of the increased revenue. It soon became a new county seat for Arapahoe County. Within a few years, Denver became the state capital too. Many investors came together to build a rail line that connected western Kansas to Cheyenne so that people could bring new supplies into the city.
With air travel and rail developments, it didn’t take time for Denver’s economy to grow based on ranch products and shipping minerals. But, with World War II around the corner, Denver became the hub for federal activities, thanks to its location which was far away from either coast. Denver owes a lot to the gas and oil companies that invested in the downtown area. This gave the city a much-needed skyscraper boom which was also around the time when Denver started expanding.
Best places to visit
Denver has so many beautiful places that you will have a hard time deciding the ones to keep in your wishlist during the vacation. Fortunately, the following list will help you narrow down your choices and make your visit a memorable one:
Denver Botanical Gardens
This is one of the most treasured places in Denver. Thousands of tourists come here every year to see how beautifully the garden is set up. It was laid out in the 1950s occupying almost 23 acres. This is also one of the most extensive botanical gardens in the US. Take a tour around the entire garden to see how the gardeners have emphasized on various native plants and also on different sustainable, environment-friendly practices.
With more than 43 gardens inside this hub, it will take you hours to fully complete traversing throughout the garden. Some of the must-see items in this garden are the Japanese Garden that includes Marnie’s Pavilion with waterfalls, ferns, and orchids; the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory that has various subtropical and exotic tropical species.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
Although you will have to take a cab to reach this place because it is nearly 15 miles from the city center, you will not regret visiting it. This is the most popular tourist spot and is often considered a close resemblance to the Colosseum. The unique feature that sets Red Rocks Park apart is its red sandstone rock formations. You can see a massive red structure from a long way, and as you close in, the redness intensifies. You will notice the red rocks on the trails, and they are also on the outdoor amphitheater and walls. Over the years, this location has seen many famous bands performing. Walk along the trail capturing photos of the entire amphitheater and the greenery in the background.
Denver Art Museum
For everyone with a knack for paintings, the Denver Art Museum is like a hub with collections that include African, Asian, American Indian, and Oceanic art. You can also go around and find some of the pre-Columbian and Spanish works too. The entire architecture of this museum is a thing of beauty. The galleries are spectacular, and you can spend hours looking at the vast range of paintings this museum has in store. One of the reasons why this museum is well-known among all art lovers is it features both veterans and emerging talents in the field of art.
16th Street Mall
Located in the heart of the city, the 16th Street Mall is a paradise for everyone who loves shopping. Both the sides of the street have lines of souvenir shops, boutiques, department stores, and restaurants. You can stroll through the streets, try some delicious, mouth-watering ice-creams, and start your shopping again. If you are too tired, sit on the benches lined in the middle of the street. Since the only transport available is a free shuttle bus, you can roam around with your family without caring for any transport.
Compared to what Denver was in the 1800s, the Larimer Square is proof of how the city refurbished after the advent of several wealthy investors. With numerous buildings from the Civil War period continuing to exist, you will feel the change when you are at Larimer Square. It has now become a significant entertainment district with cheerful restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Come here to shop till you drop in the morning and afternoon. As the sun goes down, this place takes a different color with music and lights coming from various restaurants.
Things to do
Apart from visiting the top five places, you also need to indulge in several activities that will make the trip thrilling. Here are a few specialties of Denver that you should try:
• Learn to climb
If you are eager to learn rock climbing, there is no better place than Denver to start with. There are hundreds of spots where trainers will take you to learn rock climbing in a few days. Not just you, your entire family can be a part of this activity. Almost all the institutes cater for kids, beginners, and also the experienced climbers. With proper harness and safety measures, the instructions will teach you the basics of how to start the climb. If you can complete the course quickly you can also get a certificate too that will mention you have passed the initial test.
• Downtown Aquarium
Playing with fishes without going into the water is a unique experience. You can try this at the Downtown Aquarium that has a collection of more than 500 species. From Nautilus Ballroom, Aquarium Restaurant, Dive Lounge, to Stingray Reef touch tank, there is plenty to keep you busy throughout the day. It is one of the best ways for your kids to learn about aquatic life. They will be super-excited to see the flash flood exhibit and the live mermaid show. Make sure you stand back; otherwise, everyone in your family will get wet!
• Adams Mystery Playhouse
If you have never come across a mystery dinner theatre before, this is your chance to grab that opportunity. Adams Mystery Playhouse is the first mystery dinner theatre appropriate for all ages. Attend a comedy show where some of the top actors perform skits that will leave you in splits. Once the show is over, you can enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner with the actors. And, while you have dinner, there will be a murder in the house. Of course, everything is set up, and it is a part of the skit too. Since you are a witness of the murder, you will also have to search for clues to find the murderer. In this way, the program continues with occasional refreshment breaks. You can take your wife here without telling her what’s going to happen. She will be scared and would want to leave right away. It is an excellent way to prank your partner if he/she doesn’t know about the place.
• Ride a hot air balloon
Imagine a view of the entire range of Rocky Mountains from a hot air balloon. That imagination will soon become a reality when you take a hot air balloon ride. The balloons can reach as high as 1,800 ft, which is more than enough to give you an incredible view of the mountains and also the entire city of Denver. Don’t forget to take your camera because the view from above is spectacular. You will get a certificate of ascent and a pin after coming down. You can also pop a champagne bottle as a celebration to complete the ascent successfully.
• Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour
Want to spend some time without your kids around? Take a quick trip to Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour, and treat yourself to some of the finest whiskeys around. If you are longing to have the smoothest and most flavorful whiskey, don’t ever think of skipping this tour. You will learn a lot about the whiskey-making process. The guides will tell you all about distilling and aging the whiskeys.
Now that you have an itinerary of where to go and what to do in Denver, Colorado, don’t waste your time in surfing other locations. Pack your bags, book your tickets, and fly down to this city that offers so much more than beautiful locations.