Discover Denver is at its most dynamic in this central district, which has cool craft breweries, bars, galleries, boutiques and entertainment venues.
Downtown Denver is abuzz with activity, both night and day. Go kayaking on the Platte River, shop at the downtown boutiques and malls and revel in the lively atmosphere in the latest wave of hip bars and brewpubs.
The downtown district has long been the core of the city of Denver. It is still the beating heart of the state capital. It’s also the city’s busiest shopping quarter. Stroll down the mile-long 16th Street Mall and browse the stores in the Denver Pavilions, a retail and entertainment complex that also features several dining options as well as a movie theater.
For some culture, stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which is housed in a striking contemporary building that resembles a glass box. Inside, it hosts ever-changing exhibits and features a rooftop café garden.
Look for the golden-domed Colorado State Capitol building on the southern edge of downtown. Watch as tourists pose on the front staircase, where one step is inscribed with the words: “One mile above sea level.”
Follow the 16th Street Mall all the way to the north end to reach Commons Park, a pretty green space along the river. Explore the neighboring historic Lower Downtown (Lodo) district, known for its elegant Victorian architecture. The historic buildings feature trendy bars, restaurants and boutiques. It’s particularly well-known for its brewpubs, some of which feature on the downloadable Denver Beer Trail. While here, watch a baseball game at the iconic Coors Field and visit the neoclassical Union Station, a renovated, fully functioning train station housing independent stores, a hotel and restaurants.
Free parking in Downtown Denver is very hard to find on weekdays, so it’s better to travel on foot or by public transportation. Use light rail or RTD buses to get downtown from the suburbs. Once here, ride the free 16th Street Mall shuttle. It’s also possible to get around using Denver’s B-cycle bike-sharing program.