5-Day Denver Itinerary: Family Sightseeing & Shopping For Locals

Denver, Colorado

5 days

Market Street in the downtown area
View of Larimer Square
View of the 17th Street
Confluence Park
Colorado State Capitol shot from the gardens

About Denver, Colorado

Discover Denver, Colorado, the "Mile High City" nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Known for its vibrant arts scene, Denver offers a blend of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure. Explore the Denver Art Museum, catch a game at Coors Field, or stroll through the Botanic Gardens. Indulge in world-class dining and shopping in Larimer Square. For nature lovers, the city is a gateway to some of the world's best skiing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Don't miss the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a natural rock formation turned concert venue. Denver's craft beer culture is a must-experience, with numerous local breweries offering tours and tastings. With 300 days of sunshine, Denver is an exciting year-round destination.

5-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring City Park and Downtown Denver

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Denver Zoo in City Park. This 80-acre facility is home to over 4,000 animals, including rare amur leopards and okapi.

Lunch

Enjoy a picnic lunch in City Park. The park offers several picnic spots with beautiful views of the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains.

Afternoon

After lunch, head to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, located within City Park. The museum features a variety of exhibits, including dinosaur fossils and an IMAX theater.

Dinner

Have dinner in a family-friendly restaurant in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, known for its diverse culinary scene.

Evening

End your day with a stroll down the 16th Street Mall, a mile-long pedestrian promenade lined with shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Morning

Begin your day at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Explore the various gardens, including the Japanese Garden and the Tropical Rainforest.

Lunch

Have lunch in a restaurant in the Cherry Creek neighborhood, known for its upscale dining options.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon shopping at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, home to over 160 stores, including high-end retailers.

Dinner

Enjoy dinner in the LoDo (Lower Downtown) district, known for its historic architecture and vibrant dining scene.

Evening

Take a family-friendly ghost tour in the LoDo district, exploring some of Denver's most haunted locations.

Morning

Start your day at the Denver Art Museum, home to a vast collection of art from around the world.

Lunch

Enjoy lunch in a restaurant in the Golden Triangle Creative District, known for its artsy vibe and eclectic dining options.

Afternoon

Visit the History Colorado Center in the afternoon. The museum offers interactive exhibits that tell the story of Colorado's history.

Dinner

Have dinner in a restaurant in the Uptown neighborhood, known for its trendy eateries.

Evening

End your day with a visit to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Check their schedule for family-friendly performances.

Morning

Begin your day at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys. The museum features a collection of over 20,000 objects.

Lunch

Have lunch in a restaurant in the Highlands neighborhood, known for its vibrant dining scene.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Tattered Cover Book Store, one of the largest independent bookstores in the U.S.

Dinner

Enjoy dinner in a restaurant in the RiNo (River North Art District) neighborhood, known for its innovative culinary scene.

Evening

Take a family-friendly art tour in the RiNo district, known for its colorful street art and murals.

Morning

Start your day at the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. The museum offers interactive exhibits designed for kids of all ages.

Lunch

Enjoy lunch in a restaurant in the Larimer Square neighborhood, known for its historic charm and diverse dining options.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon at the Downtown Aquarium. The aquarium features over 500 species of animals and an interactive Stingray Reef touch tank.

Dinner

Have dinner in a restaurant in the Union Station neighborhood, known for its bustling dining scene.

Evening

End your trip with a visit to the Denver Union Station. The historic train station offers shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Attractions in Itinerary (14)

Denver Zoo

1
Denver Zoo

One of the most popular zoos in the United States, Denver Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals, including rare amur leopards, okapi, black rhinoceros, elephants, vampire bats, orangutan, and Komodo dragons.

Attractions
Entertainment
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

2
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

A museum that offers a wide range of exhibits, from dinosaurs to space exploration.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
16th Street Mall

3
16th Street Mall

A mile-long pedestrian promenade in the heart of Denver, filled with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Shopping
Entertainment
Food and Drink
Denver Botanic Gardens

4
Denver Botanic Gardens

A 23-acre park filled with themed gardens, a tropical rainforest, and a sunken amphitheater that hosts summer concert series.

Parks
Gardens
Denver Art Museum

5
Denver Art Museum

One of the largest art museums in the West, featuring a vast collection of American Indian Art.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
History Colorado Center

6
History Colorado Center

A museum that offers exhibits and programs about the history of Colorado.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Denver Center for the Performing Arts

7
Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a large performing arts complex in Denver, Colorado. It offers a variety of shows and performances, including Broadway tours, local productions, and more.

Entertainment
Cultural Experiences
Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys

8
Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys

The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys is a unique cultural institution that houses an extensive collection of miniatures, dolls, and toys from various periods and cultures.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Tattered Cover Book Store

9
Tattered Cover Book Store

Tattered Cover Book Store is a Denver institution, known for its vast selection of books, cozy atmosphere, and excellent customer service.

Shopping
Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

10
Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

The Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus is a dynamic, interactive space where children can explore, learn, and play.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Downtown Aquarium

11
Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver is a family-friendly attraction featuring a wide variety of marine and freshwater species, interactive exhibits, and a restaurant.

Attractions
Denver Union Station

12
Denver Union Station

Denver Union Station is a historic landmark that serves as a transportation hub and a destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Landmarks
Architecture
LoDo Ghost Tour

13
LoDo Ghost Tour

The LoDo Ghost Tour is a popular choice for those interested in the supernatural. It takes you through Denver's oldest and most haunted neighborhood, LoDo.

Tours
Cultural Experiences
RiNo Art Tour

14
RiNo Art Tour

The RiNo Art Tour takes you through Denver's River North Art District, showcasing the area's vibrant street art and local galleries.

Tours
Cultural Experiences

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain Oysters

A unique delicacy in Denver, these are actually deep-fried bull testicles, often served with a side of cocktail sauce.

Colorado Green Chili

Colorado Green Chili

A spicy stew made with pork, tomatoes, and green chilies. It's a staple in Denver and can be found in many local restaurants.

Denver Omelette

Denver Omelette

A hearty breakfast dish made with ham, onions, bell peppers, and cheese. It's named after the city itself.

Bison Steak

Bison Steak

Bison is a lean and flavorful meat that's popular in Denver. It's often grilled and served as a steak.

Palisade Peaches

Palisade Peaches

These juicy, sweet peaches are grown in Palisade, a town on the Western Slope of Colorado. They're often used in desserts or eaten fresh.

Colorado Lamb

Colorado Lamb

Colorado is known for its high-quality lamb, which is often roasted or grilled and served with a variety of sides.

Elk Sausage

Elk is a common game meat in Colorado, and it's often made into a flavorful sausage.

Trout

Trout

Trout is a popular fish in Colorado, often caught fresh from local rivers and lakes. It's typically grilled or pan-fried.

Colorado Craft Beer

Colorado Craft Beer

Denver is known for its thriving craft beer scene, with many local breweries offering a wide range of styles.

Colorado Whiskey

Colorado Whiskey

Colorado's high altitude and pure mountain water make it an ideal place for whiskey distillation. There are several local distilleries producing high-quality whiskey.

Chile Relleno

Chile Relleno

A popular dish in Denver's Mexican restaurants, it's a large chili pepper stuffed with cheese or meat, battered and fried, and served with tomato sauce.

Colorado Wine

Colorado Wine

Colorado's high altitude vineyards produce a variety of wines, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Riesling.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Denver, Colorado is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is warm and city parks are in full bloom. This is also the peak season for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and camping. However, if you're interested in winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, the best time to visit would be from December to March. Denver also hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, so it might be worth checking those out when planning your trip.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 15

Mon

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 19

Mon

Presidents' Day

May 27

Mon

Memorial Day

June 19

Wed

Juneteenth

July 4

Thu

Independence Day

September 2

Mon

Labor Day

October 14

Mon

Columbus Day

November 11

Mon

Veterans Day

November 28

Thu

Thanksgiving Day

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Denver's RTD Light Rail is a convenient way to travel around the city. It connects downtown Denver with its outlying areas and suburbs. The Light Rail operates on several lines, each designated by a different color. It's a great option for avoiding traffic and parking hassles.

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) also operates an extensive bus network that covers Denver and its surrounding areas. Buses run regularly and cover many routes that the Light Rail doesn't. It's a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to get around the city.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Denver. These services are convenient for direct trips and can be cheaper than taxis, especially if you're traveling with a group. They can be hailed from anywhere using a smartphone app.

Denver's citywide bike-sharing program, B-cycle, is a great way to get around if you prefer a more active mode of transportation. There are numerous B-cycle stations around the city where you can pick up or drop off a bike.

Renting a car can be a good option if you're planning to visit places outside of Denver or if you prefer to have your own vehicle. Most major car rental companies have locations at Denver International Airport and around the city.

Taxis are readily available in Denver, especially in the downtown area. They can be hailed on the street, at taxi stands, or booked in advance. It's a convenient option, but can be more expensive than other methods.

Denver is a very walkable city, especially in areas like downtown, Cherry Creek, and the Highlands. There are plenty of sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly areas. Walking can be a pleasant way to explore the city and take in the sights.

Electric scooters are a fun and quick way to get around Denver. Companies like Lime and Bird have scooters available for rent throughout the city. You can rent one using a smartphone app.

Car sharing services like Car2Go and Zipcar are available in Denver. These services allow you to rent a car for a few hours or a whole day, providing flexibility for your travel plans.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency$ USD

Time zoneUTC-5

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone911

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type APower socket type B

Voltage120 V

Things to know about Denver, Colorado as a first time visitor

1

Denver is known as the 'Mile High City' because it is exactly one mile (5,280 feet or 1.6 kilometers) above sea level.

2

The city has a semi-arid, four-season climate with mild winters and warm summers. The average high temperature in summer is around 88°F (31°C), while in winter it's around 45°F (7°C).

3

Denver is very sunny, boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, more than San Diego or Miami Beach.

4

The city is very dry, so it's important to stay hydrated, especially because the altitude can exacerbate the effects of dehydration.

5

Due to the high altitude, alcohol can have a stronger effect. It's recommended to drink in moderation until you know how your body reacts.

6

Denver is a very walkable city, with a compact downtown area. However, if you prefer, the city also has a comprehensive public transportation system, including buses and light rail.

7

Denver is a very bike-friendly city, with numerous bike rental stations and dedicated bike lanes.

8

The city is a foodie paradise, with a diverse food scene that includes everything from food trucks to high-end restaurants.

9

Denver has a thriving craft beer scene, with more than 100 breweries in the metro area.

10

The city is also known for its love of the arts, with a vibrant arts scene that includes numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues.

11

Denver is a sports-loving city, home to four major sports teams: the Denver Broncos (NFL), Colorado Rockies (MLB), Denver Nuggets (NBA), and Colorado Avalanche (NHL).

12

The city is very environmentally conscious, with numerous parks, bike lanes, and recycling programs.

13

Denver is located near the Rocky Mountains, making it a great base for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.

14

The city has a high cost of living compared to the national average, so budget accordingly.

15

Denver's population is very diverse, with a large Hispanic community and a growing number of Asian and African American residents.

16

The city is very casual, so there's no need to pack formal wear unless you plan on attending a special event.

17

Denver is in the Mountain Time Zone and does observe Daylight Saving Time.

18

The city has a low crime rate compared to other major U.S. cities, but like any city, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure.

19

Denver has a high altitude and it's common for visitors to experience some symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches and shortness of breath. It's recommended to take it easy for the first few days to acclimate.

20

The city has a strong commitment to accessibility, with many wheelchair-accessible attractions and accommodations.

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Lightweight clothing for layering

  • Warm jacket or sweater

  • Rain jacket or umbrella

  • Swimsuit (for hotel pool)

  • Socks and underwear

  • Sleepwear

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat for sun protection

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash or soap

  • Deodorant

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Makeup and makeup remover

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • First-aid kit (band-aids, antiseptic wipes, tweezers)

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Valid ID or passport

  • Flight tickets or e-tickets

  • Hotel booking confirmation

  • Car rental documents (if applicable)

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash (in local currency)

  • Emergency contact information

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Headphones or earbuds

  • Camera and charger

  • Laptop or tablet (if necessary) and charger

  • Travel adapter (if necessary)

  • Portable power bank

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Snacks for the journey

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Books or e-books for leisure reading

  • Travel guide and map

  • Travel pillow and blanket

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Tissues or wet wipes

Weather Conditions

Denver, Colorado, also known as the "Mile High City," is known for its unpredictable weather patterns. It's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single day, so it's essential to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. In general, Denver experiences a semi-arid, four-season climate with mild winters and warm summers. The city receives a lot of sunshine, averaging over 300 sunny days per year. However, it's also known for its sudden weather changes, so always check the forecast before heading out. During the winter months (December to February), temperatures can range from 45°F (7°C) during the day to 18°F (-8°C) at night. Snowfall is common, but it usually melts quickly due to the frequent sunny days. If you're planning to visit during this time, pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat. Snow boots are also a good idea, especially if you plan to venture into the mountains. Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are transitional seasons in Denver, with temperatures ranging from 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (24°C). These seasons can bring anything from snow to warm, sunny days, so it's best to pack layers. Summers (June to August) in Denver are warm but not overly hot, with average high temperatures around 85°F (29°C) and lows around 60°F (16°C). Thunderstorms are common in the afternoons, so pack a rain jacket or umbrella. Regardless of the season, Denver's high altitude can lead to intense sun and rapid dehydration. Always carry a water bottle, apply sunscreen regularly, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Lastly, if you're planning to visit the mountains, be aware that weather conditions can be drastically different from those in the city. Temperatures can be much colder, and snow can fall at any time of the year. Always check the local forecast and be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

7° / -9°

January is Denver's coldest month, with frequent snowfall and chilly temperatures. Dress warmly and enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.

February

11° / -8°

February sees a slight increase in temperature, but snowfall is still common. It's a great time for winter activities and exploring indoor attractions.

March

13° / -5°

March brings warmer temperatures and less snowfall. It's a transitional month, with winter sports still available and spring activities beginning.

April

17° / -1°

April is a pleasant month with moderate temperatures. It's a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.

May

24° / 4°

May marks the beginning of summer with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. It's perfect for outdoor adventures and exploring the city.

June

29° / 9°

June is a hot month with long, sunny days. It's an excellent time for water activities, picnics, and enjoying Denver's parks.

July

32° / 12°

July is the hottest month in Denver, with high temperatures and lots of sunshine. It's a great time for water sports, festivals, and outdoor concerts.

August

31° / 11°

August is still hot but slightly cooler than July. It's a great time to enjoy outdoor activities, visit the Rocky Mountains, and explore Denver's nightlife.

September

27° / 7°

September brings cooler temperatures and the start of fall. It's a beautiful time to visit for leaf-peeping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

October

21° / 1°

October is a crisp, cool month with beautiful fall colors. It's a great time for hiking, sightseeing, and enjoying Denver's breweries.

November

13° / -3°

November marks the start of winter with cooler temperatures and the first snowfalls. It's a good time for indoor activities and early winter sports.

December

7° / -7°

December is a cold, snowy month, perfect for enjoying winter sports and holiday festivities. Dress warmly and enjoy the winter wonderland.

Did you know?

Did you know that Denver is known as the 'Mile High City' because it is exactly one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level?

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