Last Updated on October 2, 2022
There’s no need to go outside the city when there are so many fun things to do in downtown Denver…
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
By Carla Marie Rupp and Jason Rupp
Larry Rupp, our brother and uncle respectively, brags up many things to do in downtown Denver to friends and family. And since we’ve written about so many places elsewhere, we have to write about one our family loves so much.
Downtown Denver, Colorado, is a fun place for walking, jogging, and bicycle-riding. It’s a city full of friendly people, art, historic red brick structures, comedy, culture, theater, music and museums of all kinds. And, of course, there are restaurants featuring food from all over the world.
It’s really fun and enjoyable.
Fun Things to Do in Downtown Denver – Baseball!
Of course, Larry loves that Denver is also an exciting sports city with a professional team for every sport. “Summer,” he says, “is the best kept secret. There are so many things to do, and the weather is cool at night and by day wonderful.”
“It’s so much fun sitting at a Colorado Rockies baseball game. It’s also great going to the cafes and sitting outside. And going to the clubs in LoDo (the city’s “Lower Downtown”). I also like going to the lakes and the casinos.”
He’s not the only one passionate about Denver’s allure and that “Go West” adventurous spirit. Visitor-turned-local, Nina Di, the president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, told me she loves that big, clear blue Denver sky and meets so many people who become her friends.
She’s also learning about the movie industry’s love for Colorado. Her successful Chamber group held a big casting call for extras at her company, Marble Empire, in Downtown Denver, for a Johnny Depp movie. “I was so successful and people were so happy to find work in the movie,” she told me.
Fun Things to Do: Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Denver Art Museum
We’ve been to Denver too many times to count because we have beloved family members here to visit and enjoy — especially one recently, Lani who just graduated from high school (yay!) — and while we’re here, see the sights.
One tourism campaign this year, we learned, lured Mile High City visitors to new hotspots and even never-go-out-of-style sights is through a series of “dares.” Complete a “Denver Dare” and earn a Facebook badge is how it goes. Visitors, even locals, are dared to explore some of the fun, classy, exciting stuff Denver offers.
And it’s not only the places, but the people here who give Denver its big-city love and zest for life! They’re caring and downright enthusiastic about visitors’ enjoyment. And everyone seems to enjoy the Denver Botanic Gardens and the well-regarded Denver Art Museum.
And everyone actually looks so healthy here: it’s even rated high for its healthy citizenry! Participation sports are popular, not to mention just sitting in a Colorado Rockies or a Broncos’ game and cheering like crazy. I would guess that probably burn some calories as well, with all the yelling and jumping up and down.
Healthy Strolling and Bowling
Another fun thing to do in downtown Denver is just plain healthy strolling (or even for bowling at Lucky Strike!) the 16th Street Mall, with its free Mall Ride, is still beloved by locals and visitors alike, with its cafes, street artists, musicians, and strollers and visitors mingling with the locals.
There’s a lot to do in Downtown Denver, more than in many other large cities. We had fun with our friend Matt O’Neill, a noted contemporary artist, when he took us over to the Great Divide Brewery in downtown to look at his drawings, on exhibit this summer.
Even just sitting on a downtown bench is relaxing, as you watch all the people go by while munching on something from one of the delis or fruit shake shops. And nearby Larimer Street, is famous for its cool shops for browsing and buying, as well as the coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, even the periodic fun festivals that liven up the area even more.
Denver’s Fun Festivals
We’ve played on Denver’s streets, enjoyed its fun festivals, the People’s Fair, the Taste of Colorado (at the Civic Center next to the Colorado State Capitol), the Octoberfest … there are so many festivals! We’ve been to the wonderful Denver Art Museum, the Denver Zoo, the History Colorado Center, the Butterfly Museum (worth it, but a bit out of the center), and enjoyed amusement attractions of Eliches, the only amusement park of its kind right in the city, and old-fashioned Lakeside Park worth a trip just for its charm.
And when you go be sure to visit the farmer’s markets, because summer’s the time to find the cantaloupe, the peaches and the corn, that are all so delicious.
Dare to be delighted in Downtown Denver.
If you go:
Denver Official Visitor Information Center
16th Street Mall and California Street
1600 California St.
Downtown Denver Business Improvement District
511 16th St.