8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can't Do Anywhere Else


I moved to Colorado to attend graduate school, and fully intended to return to my home in the Southeast upon graduation. That was eight years ago. (See also: 9 Great Cities for Job Seekers)

In my opinion Denver's a dark horse among American metropolises. It's clean, easy to get around, chock full of fun things to do, and just a short drive away from the most beautiful mountains in the country. Looking for quick, affordable getaway? Keep reading for activities you can only do in the Mile High City.

1. Smoke Legal Weed

If you haven't heard by now, Colorado is the first state to legalize marijuana for all adults over age 21 (although other states, like Washington, are joining the club). There are now approximately 100 legal weed stores in the Denver metro area hawking marijuana buds as well as THC-infused edibles of every shape and flavor. Been a while since you inhaled? Let one of the many cannabis tour guides do the driving for you.

2. Eat at a Restaurant Started by a Pal of Buffalo Bill

Henry H. "Shorty Scout" Zietz was a member of Buffalo Bill's infamous band of straight-shooting band of scouts. In 1893, Zietz opened the Buckhorn Exchange, a bar and restaurant that catered to cowboys, Native American chiefs, miners, railroad builders, silver barons, and anyone else brave enough to live in the Wild West. The Buckhorn Exchange is now in its second century of existence, and still holds the first liquor license ever issued by the State of Colorado.

3. Rock Out at Red Rocks

I've seen concerts in stadiums, iconic music halls, and even on a cruise ship. None hold a candle to the experience of attending a performance at Red Rocks amphitheater. This outdoor venue is both a geological wonder and a musical masterpiece. Known around the world for walls made of massive red boulders and superb acoustics, even a band you hate would sound good here. (See also: 25 Incredible Places You Must Visit Before You Die)

4. See the Cliff Divers at the Real Casa Bonita

Before I moved to Colorado, I thought most of the places mentioned on South Park were fictional. I was wrong. Not only is Casa Bonita a real Denver restaurant, everything Cartman loved about it is real too: the treasure cave, the cliff divers, and yes, even the delicious sopapilla.

5. Stand Exactly One Mile High

The official elevation of the City of Denver is 5,280 feet — exactly one mile. Of course, the elevation varies in different parts around town. If you want to be a mile high (and you're not interested in the legal weed mentioned earlier) just head to the State Capitol building. The 18th step leading into the building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.

6. Visit 22 Craft Breweries in the Same Day

If you love to drink good beer from craft breweries, Denver should be the number one destination on your travel list. There over 20 top notch breweries in the downtown Denver area, from national brands like Blue Moon, to Colorado-only favorites like Breckenridge Brewery. Many of these breweries also offer tours in addition to tap room tastings. (See also: 10 Great Reasons to Drink Beer)

7. Take a Train Up the Rockies

No trip to Colorado is complete without at least peeking at the majestic Rocky Mountains. You could spend all day hiking to the top of a nearby peak, or you could cheat by letting a train do the work. There are eight scenic railroads in the Denver area, and all of them will show you a side of the mountains people rarely get to see.

8. See a Cattle Drive

Although it's grown up and modern now, Denver is a cow town at heart. Once a year, the city embraces its ranch hand roots by welcoming the National Western Stock Show. This 14-day event features a full-sized rodeo, livestock auction, a cow parade, and plenty of 10-gallon hats.

Know any other special to Denver activities? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

Yes...but I refuse to visit because they have a ban against staffordshire terriers.

Guest's picture

Great list! We visited Denver for the first time last month. We loved that city of Denver and the whole state of Colorado. Can't wait to go back!

Guest's picture
Larry W

You can smoke weed legally in Washington State also..

Chrissa Hardy's picture

Thanks for the catch, Larry! We've fixed this.

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