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Top Things to Do in Denver

Known as the Mile High City due to its elevation of exactly one mile (5,280 feet above sea level), Denver is the capital and most populous city of Colorado. Diverse and vibrant, Denver hosts many museums, outdoor activities and a bustling social scene. A great starting point for wanderers heading toward the Rockies, as well as the perfect playground for families with kids, here are the things to do in Denver that you definitely shouldn’t miss! Whether you’re just visiting for a few days or you’re looking to rent an apartment in Denver, be sure to check them out!

Denver Zoo

 

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Back in 1896, Thomas McMurray (then mayor of Denver), received an orphaned bear as a gift from his political opponent, William Jennings Bryan. With one black bear named Billy Bryan and no place to put it, the Denver authorities built a cage in the middle of Denver City Park, where people could gather and see the bear. Throughout the years, that one cage turned into a small, free zoo, with more and more animals being added to the collection. Then, with the construction of Bear Mountain in 1918, Denver Zoo became the first zoo in North America to replace cages with enclosures that simulate native habitats.

Today, it’s home to 3,000 animals and focuses on conservation programs, putting effort toward restoring wild lands and repopulating endangered species. Plus, in addition to the regular exhibits that everyone has access to, you can also get up close and personal with sloths, llamas, sea lions and other friendly animal ambassadors in private meet-and-greets.

Molly Brown House Museum

History and movie buffs alike will love the next place on our list: The “House of Lions” located at 1340 Pennsylvania St. was the home of philanthropist and Titanic survivor Margaret Brown. A socialite that acquired great wealth due to her husband’s mining engineering efforts, Brown enjoyed traveling, even calling herself “a daughter of adventure.”

But, her greatest adventure was about to begin the day she boarded the RMS Titanic on April 10 as a first-class passenger. the ship sank, five days later, Margaret Brown not only helped with the evacuation of passengers until she herself was forced to abandon ship on Lifeboat No. 6, but she insisted that the lifeboat go back and save more people. Her efforts gained her a place in history and the nickname “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

In 1970, Brown’s Denver home was saved from demolition and major efforts were put into restoring its original, early 20th-century grandeur. A tour of the house will give you a glimpse into the life of the eccentric activist and the Denver lifestyle of that era. You can even do so from the comfort of your own couch, as well, via virtual tours.

Dinosaur Ridge

 

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Take a trip back even further through history — all the way to the Jurassic Era — with a visit to Dinosaur Ridge. Located just west of Denver in the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark, this dinosaur fossil site receives approximately 250,000 visitors annually and is ranked the #1 dinosaur track site in the U.S.

After the first T-rex tooth was discovered here in 1874, excavations began in 1877, eventually unearthing several species of dinosaurs — such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus and Allosaurus. The walk is about two miles round-trip across the ridge. If walking isn’t for you, shuttle buses are also available at an additional cost. A great place for dino lovers of any age, note that the trail lacks shade and water, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen and pack up some drinks.

Larimer Square

 

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If Denver had a heart, it would be Larimer Square. Follow the string lights to Larimer Street to see the place where it all started: Denver’s first block and first commercial district was home to the first city hall and the city’s first designated historic center. Today, it’s a pedestrian area full of Victorian-era buildings that house quaint shops and restaurants. Plus, the regular events and the busking musicians make it a fun place to be. Visit for the shopping and great food and stay for the vibe.

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

After serving initially as a U.S. Air Force Academy, Lowry Air Force Base was a U.S. training base during World War II and the Cold War. More than 1 million people graduated from here and went on to aid in military efforts during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War.

Today, it hosts the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. The history of the former air force base — in the form of collections and archives — is housed inside Hanger 1, which was built in 1939. Get a glance at dozens of historic airplanes, including one of only two B-1A Lancers, as well as a B-18A Bolo, one of five remaining WWII-era bombers. Simulators and other interactive experiences will help you immerse yourself even more into the world of aviation. Exploration of Flight is a must-see second location for Wings Over the Rockies that focuses on the future of travel and space exhibits. Here, you can take a ride on the gyro chair and even experience flight itself.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Hiking enthusiasts can’t visit Denver without taking a trip to the Rocky Mountains. And, while you’re there, don’t miss Mount Evans. However, what makes Mount Evans so special is the journey to get there: Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a narrow road also known as “the road in the ski.” The highest paved road in North America, it climbs up to 9,000 feet of elevation. Grab your camera, because on the way, you’ll stumble upon many lookout points from which you can admire the Rockies.

Another pitstop is Echo Lake, where you’ll find picnic tables and fishing opportunities. With its short trails, this beautiful Alpine Lake is a great way to introduce novices to the beauty of the Rockies.

The Denver Art Museum

 

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The Denver Art Museum is home to more than 70,000 diverse works by famous artists — from Van Gogh and Matisse to Whistler — but its collection of American Indian art is its most impressive, by far. It attracts 600,000 visitors annually of all ages. Yes, kids can tag along, as well. Children between the ages of six and 11 can spend an entire day exploring and creating art with the help of local artists. After a day full of fun activities, don’t forget to drop by at The Ponti in the Martin Building for a unique dining experience that turns locally sourced food into art.

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Andrea Neculae
Andrea Neculae
Andrea Neculae is a creative writer at RentCafe, with a passion for bringing human-interest stories to light. Writer by day and bookworm by night, she loves reading and reviewing anything from the classics to sci-fi and fantasy. Her writing skills are complemented by a special interest in graphic and web design. From research about the rental market to home décor and interior design, Andrea’s articles cover many layers of a renter’s universe. With an academic background in Language Arts, Andrea is always looking to develop new skills and further her knowledge. You can connect with her via email.

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