Looking for new Denver hot spots to check out before summer wraps up? Luckily, the Mile High City has a little something for everybody. Whether you’re an aircraft enthusiast or a budding marine biologist — there’s something to spark your interest on the list of 15 places to visit in the Denver metropolitan area this summer.
1. Downtown Aquarium
700 Water Street
The Denver Downtown Aquarium is fun for the whole family. With a full-service restaurant, an upscale bar, and of course all of the aquatic animals you could wish for, the aquarium provides an entire day of entertainment. Exhibits include the Sunken Temple ruins, the Coral Lagoon, a wharf habitat, and more. There is a 4-D theater and an aquatic carousel that allows the kids to ride on the back of a sea monster. Prices begin at $27.50 for adults and $20.99 for the kiddos. Value tickets include a 4-D experience and stingray fish food or amusements can be purchased separately.
PRO Tip: Summer Family Nights at the Downtown Aquarium run from June 12th through July 20th. Discounted exhibit tickets are provided with restaurant receipts and include free activities, animal appearances, and retail discounts.
2. Meow Wolf Denver
1338 1st Street
The Convergence Station location is Meow Wolf’s largest permanent exhibition and is frequently cited as Denver’s most unique performance venue. The immersive art experience is one-of-a-kind and the perfect summer activity. Whether you’re attending a community event or a concert, Meow Wolf is sure to delight the senses. Guests will be transported into new dimensions, including storytelling plots that inspire creativity and exploration as you wander through the 90,000-square-foot building.
PRO Tip: If you’re excited to check out Meow Wolf, upcoming summertime events include the Global Dance Festival, Florist & Skullcrusher, Bedtime Stories, and Cat Dealers.
3. Santa Fe Arts District
858 Santa Fe Drive
One of Denver’s best summertime activities is a walk around the Santa Fe Arts District. The district is nationally recognized as an arts and culture center which encompasses over 100 artists, galleries, studios, and theaters along Santa Fe Drive. Special events are hosted throughout the year that bring members of the community together in the spirit of creative celebration. The First Friday Art Walk occurs every month between 5:30 and 9:30 PM. Food trucks are located on 7th and 9th Avenues, providing sustenance to hungry art walkers.
PRO Tip: Visit the Santa Fe Arts District on the last Sunday of the month for a free gallery crawl. The event occurs between 11 AM and 3 PM and is suitable for the whole family.
4. Balistreri Vineyards
1946 East 66th Avenue
Nothing says summertime like a trip to the vineyards. Invite a few friends to go wine tasting at Balistreri Vineyards while you soak in the Colorado sunshine. The family-owned winery was started in 1998 and has since created award-winning natural wines that delight even the most discerning connoisseur. Wine tasting reservations can be made for $20 and include the current lineup at the vineyards, generally between 15-20 wines, and a complimentary tour. Lunch reservations can be booked separately.
PRO Tip: Check out the upcoming events at Balistreri Vineyards, including the Italian Wine & Movie Night being hosted on July 22nd, 2023. A special movie menu will be served during the filming of At War With Love.
5. Clyfford Still Museum
1250 Bannock Street
Many Denver residents have made their way to the city’s popular museums, such as the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. If you haven’t yet stopped by the Clyfford Still Museum, use this summer as an opportunity to change that. The minimalist aesthetic places emphasis on large-scale paintings and artwork from the late Clyfford Still, an abstract expressionist. The museum is free and offers the chance for families to delve deep into the art with specialized family programs and even an Art Crawl hosted several times throughout the month.
PRO Tip: Exhibitions are subject to change, with current showcases including Awful Bigness and Abstract Expressions: Terrace Installations.
6. The Brown Palace
321 17th Street
The Brown Palace isn’t just a luxury spa hotel location in the heart of downtown Denver, it’s also steeped in rich history and tradition. Built back in 1892, the hotel has been a highly-rated four-star hotel since the 1970s. You don’t have to stay the night to enjoy the infamous Brown Palace Lobby Tea. High tea is served daily in the afternoon in the atrium of the hotel between the hours of 12 PM and 4 PM. Tea includes handmade pastries, scones, sandwiches, and of course, warm tea topped with Devonshire cream that has been shipped directly from England. Throughout the atrium, sounds of the grand piano float amongst guests who are busy chatting and people-watching.
PRO Tip: From 4:30 PM to 8 PM Monday through Saturday, you can enjoy a cocktail in the atrium if tea isn’t your beverage of choice.
7. Empower Field at Mile High
1701 Bryant Street
Whether you’re catching a concert or a Broncos game, Empower Field is a must-see when it comes to Denver attractions. You don’t even have to be a football fan to enjoy the ambiance of the stadium full of excited fans cheering for the celebrated home team. Public tours are available and are guided by knowledgeable employees from the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The stadium has a capacity of over 76,000, which creates the perfect storm for the notoriously loud Denver fans.
PRO Tip: If you’re attending a game or a live music concert at Empower Field, be aware of the clear bag policy and the parking regulations around the venue.
8. Dairy Block
1800 Wazee Street
If you’ve never visited the infamous Dairy Block micro-district in downtown Denver’s LoDo neighborhood, make this summer your opportunity. The renowned destination offers visitors a multitude of shopping, dining, and drinking opportunities. There are coffee shops to visit, co-working spaces to frequent, and even the Maven Hotel for those looking to stay the night. The district carries a robust schedule of community-oriented events, including live music, local art shows, and even makers’ markets that enable Denverites to support small businesses. Some of Dairy Block’s establishments include Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, Poke Lola Social Club, Penelope Coffee Bar, Lodough Bakery, and the Denver Milk Market
PRO Tip: For added convenience, there is a helpful directory of the many businesses that make up Denver’s Dairy Block.
9. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
7711 East Academy Boulevard
Denver’s aviation museum was founded in 1994 on the former grounds of the Lowry Air Force Base. The museum preserves the operations of the base as they were from 1938 to 1994 in its comprehensive collections and archives. Visitors will learn about aviation in the past, present, and future tense, as well as space endeavors that have changed the course of history. The museum has over 50 aircraft on display, including a rare B-18A Bolo, which is one of only five remaining WWII-era bombers. Guided walking tours are available, with tickets beginning at $18.95 for adults between the ages of 17 and 64. Military personnel and veterans receive a discount, as well as seniors.
PRO Tip: If you find yourself wanting to revisit the museum to keep up to date with new exhibits, some packages offer unlimited free general admission for up to six guests.
10. Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
1201 Bannock Street
If you’re looking to beat the midday heat, a peruse of the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art will allow visitors to time travel through 150 years of artwork. The museum has an evolving collection with over 30,000 works by over 1,500 artists and designers. The three principal collections include a Colorado regional collection from 1845 to the present, a retrospective of Colorado’s distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland, and an international decorative art collection from the 1870s to the present.
PRO Tip: The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art welcomes all visitors, ages 13 and up. Online tickets are available for pre-purchase or they can be purchased at the door. General admission prices begin at $12 and seniors, students, teachers, and active duty military receive a discount.
11. Forney Museum of Transportation
4303 Brighton Boulevard
Those interested in a one-of-a-kind historical experience should check out one of Denver’s many museums. The Forney Museum of Transportation is a unique collection of over 800 historical transportation artifacts, beginning with a 1921 Kissel. Not just limited to automobiles, the museum has buggies, motorcycles, steam locomotives, aircraft, and even carriages. The non-profit organization sells tickets at the door, with adult prices beginning at $15 and children up to 12 years old are $8.
PRO Tip: Museum parking is free and there are lockers available on the premises. No bags or purses are allowed in the museum, including backpacks.
12. Elitch Gardens
2000 Elitch Circle
Elitch Gardens is Colorado’s destination for roller coasters and family-friendly rides. The dual theme and water park hosts a range of events, including “dive-in” movies and fireworks during the summer. The park is open between May and October, with over 50 rides and a variety of dining options, including a pizzeria and all of the theme park favorites such as funnel cakes, popcorn, nachos, and even gourmet cookie dough. Tickets for the theme park include free admission to the water park, which is the perfect place to cool off during the afternoon hours and catch the fireworks on select dates.
PRO Tip: Families still have time to snag a 2023 Fun Pass, which is only $10 more than the cost of a one-day ticket. The Elitch Gardens Fun Pass is good through October 8th, 2023, and includes unlimited park admission.
13. South Broadway’s “Antique Row”
1100 South Broadway
Affectionately nicknamed “SoBo,” South Broadway is the place to be for antique lovers. The eclectic neighborhood hosts multiple vintage clothing stores, art galleries, craft shops, and hip venues. If you want to get out and enjoy the sunny Denver weather this summer, hit up a few of the 100 antique merchants packed onto the 18 blocks of Antique Row. Even if you don’t have something specific in mind, you’re likely to come across something that piques your interest. Make sure to stop by popular shops such as Turn of the Century Antiques, Gallagher Books, and Finders Keepers.
PRO Tip: As you’re perusing the goods /along Antique Row, check out some of the city’s oldest and most historic buildings that line the streets.
14. Denver Union Station
1701 Wynkoop Street
Denver Union Station is arguably one of the crowning features of the city. If you’ve never allowed yourself the time to properly visit the station, this summer marks the prime time to do so. The historic landmark has been around for over a century and stands as a vibrant destination for people to dine, drink, shop, and even sleep. There is often live music, farmers’ markets, and even fitness classes being hosted at Union Station. These signature events create a unique experience for community members to gather and enjoy the historic premises in a modern way.
PRO Tip: Stay up to date with the happenings at Denver Union Station with the event calendar. Upcoming gatherings include Swifties at the Station, Fitness on the Plaza, and a Counter Culture Oyster Class.
15. Mount Evans
If you want to enjoy a scenic drive, Mount Evans makes for a perfect summer activity. The road is closed during the wintertime due to inclement weather and reopens from Memorial Day through Labor Day, roughly. The byway is the highest paved road in North America, reaching the 14,130-foot summit of the mountain. Along the way, you’ll admire alpine lakes and breathtaking views. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a few mountain goats and bighorn sheep that call Mount Evans home. Those planning on entering Summit Lake Park will need to pay a recreation fee.
PRO Tip: The Mount Evans Highway required timed-entry reservations during the summer months, due to its popularity. This allows everybody the opportunity to enjoy the drive and the views from the top.