I didn’t know jack about Denver prior to booking my first trip there. But those, my friends, are always the best trips. I decided to go back less than two months later and fell even more in love with the city, if possible. Here is the ultimate guide to Denver in a weekend. It includes things to do, the best restaurants, and fantastic bars.

Need this guide on the go? Click here for a map that opens up right in your google maps app

Before You Go

The airport is a bit outside the city. But luckily, there’s a train that’ll take you right to Union Station, the center of Denver. Plan for around 45 minutes for this journey and a $9 ticket which you can then use on any public transportation for the rest of the day. Pretty sweet deal

There are numerous Peet’s coffee shops that give you 50% off any coffee with a Capital One card. One of them was even featuring a happy hour special for students as long as they had a Capital One card. What was the happy hour? Any coffee is free. Seriously. We all got large PSL’s because we’re basic like that. I’m not sure how this is a sustainable business model but we weren’t complaining. So if you have a Capital One card make sure it’s in your wallet!

Denver’s weather can be a bit unpredictable. Freezing cold in the morning and then hot in the afternoon with a sprinkle of snow somewhere in the middle, so pack accordingly. And don’t forget those hiking boots!

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
The view on the way into Denver. How can you beat that?

Where to Stay

Denver is a fantastic city and their public transportation is fairly good! So even if you aren’t exactly downtown, it’s not that difficult to get to and from without renting a car. Everything is also a quick uber away. However, to optimize your time, I recommend staying in downtown Denver. Search for places near Union Station to be the most central (LoDo and the Highlands are two awesome neighborhoods)

Things To Do

Take a stroll through Larimer Square: I swear I have never seen a more beautiful square in the US. When we rounded the corner and I took in the lanterns and the decorations, I was enthralled. I stood there in the middle of the road just taking it all in. Well, until I realized that the cars behind me were not having it and were contemplating running me over.

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
This place is gorgeous day and night!

Explore LoDo: This is such a cool and hip district with plenty of bars and things to do. Union Station is located in LoDo as are brunch places like Snooze (keep scrolling for a few recommendations)

Venture through the Highlands: If I lived in Denver I would absolutely live here. The vibe in this neighborhood is so great. Some of our favorite cocktail bars and restaurants were here

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
Had to stop for a quick photo en route to the Highlands from Union Station. Gorgeous walk!

16th St Mall: Even if you’re not looking to shop on your trip, this is worth a walk. The streets are lined with different stores, cafes, and restaurants. We went here after brunch…and some bottomless mimosas which made the street all the more better.

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
There’s a free bus that takes you up and down 16th street mall. I mean…why not?

Hike in Boulder: Although I could have spent all my time in Denver, I wanted to check out Boulder. A day trip to Boulder is super easy from Denver and the downtown is absolutely gorgeous

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
Feeling like a boss at the tail end of my hike

Check out Union Station: This is a pretty sweet set up. There are a couple of bars, restaurants, and some grab and go stops. Think of it as the Ferry Building in SF but slightly smaller.

Day drink at one of the breweries: Denver has plenty of breweries to satisfy your day drinking needs.

Go to Red Rocks Amphitheater: This is an absolute must. You can take in a concert surrounded by the red rocks but be sure to book in advance as tickets sell out. If you can’t swing a concert, you can visit the amphitheater for free during the day. It’s quite an impressive sight.

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
The massive red rock at the edge of the amphitheater

Where to eat

El Five: YOU HAVE TO GO HERE. Sorry for the caps but it is necessary. From the second I walked into this place, I fell in love. The wait staff are incredibly nice and attentive. The views, dear god the views. This restaurant has stunning views of the sprawling city of Denver on one end and the mountains on the other. No matter where you sit, you will be impressed. It doesn’t stop there, because the food is also exquisite. The med sampler appetizer is a must with many different options to satisfy any palette. Anything you get on the menu is sure to be a winner. You also have to get the sangria. It’s served with frozen fruits in the glass which are tasty treat after you’ve downed your delicious sangria.

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
View of the sunset from the terrace. So incredible
Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
I mean how perfect is this table?

Ophelia’s: I am obsessed with this place. It boasts an electric vibe and has live music on the weekends. The restaurant is three floors with the stage located on the bottom floor. The tables on the other floors are fashioned in such a way that you have a great view of the stage and the band. Be sure to make a reservation on Open Table to procure a great table. The food is also fantastic (I recommend the French toast and the arepas) and they have bottomless mimosas for a measly $13 aka it’s basically free so you have to do it

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
An incredibly talented band
Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
Oh my god…I want this right now
Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
Close up because how cool are these lights??

Snooze: Going here for brunch was one of the best decisions we made. With a few locations around town, you’re sure to find one that’s convenient for you. We ordered a few entrees and just went to town. I highly recommend the huevos rancheros, the pancake flight, and the spuds deluxe. I am straight up salivating right now.

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
The spread. It’s okay to be jealous

Avanti: This is such a cool concept. It’s a collective eatery with seven different restaurant concepts housed in modified shipping containers. They have twenty draft beers, plenty of cocktails, and a selection of wine. They have two large bars on the main level and the rooftop and a good amount of seating with an awesome vibe.

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
The view heading in

City oh city: Although this place is vegetarian, the food is hearty and flavorful so meat eaters don’t write it off. They have bottomless coffee (hello, you have my heart) and a fantastic selection of dishes. If you’re there for brunch, try one of their speciality waffles. Nomm

Little Man Ice-cream: It is unbelievable how long the line can get outside of this little ice cream stand but the flavors are good and the price is right so, if you like ice cream, the wait is well worth it. Plus it’s in the cutest little location

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
Such a cute stand!
Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
Hello fresh ice cream

Where to drink

Cocktails

Green Russell: This cocktail bar has the best pretzels and beer cheese…trust me, I’m quite the beer cheese snob. Beyond that, the cocktails are delicious and the bartenders are very knowledgeable and friendly

Williams and Graham: This speakeasy is a fun experience. If you can’t snag a reservation, go right at opening and there will be plenty of room for you. They’ll write your name down on a card and put it through a little trapdoor and usher you through the entrance behind a bookshelf. The cocktail list is enormous but if you still can’t find something to your fancy, the bartenders will come up with something for you

Forest Room 5: This cute little bar has a wonderful outdoor space that makes you feel like you’re in a forest (as you could have probably guessed from the title). The vibe is laid back and the drinks are deliciously concocted

Corridor 44: This was such a happy find. We were walking down Larimer Square and all of a sudden we saw a sign that said Happy Hour, $4 Champagne Cocktails. You best believe I was in that bar so fast that my friend had no idea what was going on. Boy oh boy, those cocktails did not disappoint!

Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
#artsy
Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs
Because who doesn’t want a picture with their beautiful champagne cocktail?

Brews

Great Divide Brewing: This no frill brewery has some fantastic brews. Their double IPA is incredibly (dare I say dangerously) smooth and is less hoppy than most. They had a food truck parked outside and allow you to bring in the food to satisfy your munchiesWe had like three plates of Greek fries. Zero regrets

Wynkoop Brewery: This place is great for groups as it has different games and pool tables. There’s also plenty of seating and a large food and drink menu. It’s easy to pass an afternoon here playing drinking games and knocking back the brews

As you can see, there is so much to see and do in Denver. I know I personally can’t wait to go back. Or maybe, it’s time for me to just move there!

Need this guide on the go? Click here for a map that opens up right in your google maps app

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Heading to Denver soon? This ultimate guide will give you the top things to do in Denver, the best restaurants to eat at, and some of the best cocktail bars and breweries to satisfy your day drinking and evening needs

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22 Comments

  1. Great guide to Denver — I even found some places I haven’t tried and I live here! I love how you recommended Larimer Square because it is one of my favorite places in the city. There is also a restaurant called Tamayo on the corner of Larimer and 14th that has an amazing brunch special of bottomless tapas and drinks for $39 a person, so next time you’re in Denver you’ll have to check it out. Thanks for a great review of the Mile High City!

    • Priyanka Reply

      Glad you liked it 🙂 Ooh I will def check out Tamayo next time I’m there!

  2. We will be passing through Denver soon, this is enticing me to stay a weekend to do everything you’ve mentioned! Great guide <3

    • Priyanka Reply

      It really is such a fantastic place! You will love it!

  3. Such a great guide! Thank you for sharing! Denver has been on my ‘hit list’ for a while now; I’ll definitely refer to this guide when I go. (larimer square looks especially awesome!)
    Lee | LegalLee Blonde

  4. Sounds like a great place. I’ve always wanted to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow..What a wonderful cosmopolitan city..Nice restaurants and great city life..This post will inspire all those who love city life..

  6. Definitely a must visit. Larimer Square looked absolutely stunning. Is it decorated like that all year round? Or was there some sort of special event that they spruced things up for?

    El Five also looked fantastic. I bet a sunset dinner would be so romantic! Would love to eat here if I’m ever in the area!

    • Priyanka Reply

      Yes! I went a couple of times at different points of the year and both times it was decorated! El Five truly is fantastic! You have to eat there

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