Because Denver International Airport (DEN) is located 23 miles northeast of downtown Denver, you will need at least 5 -8 hours of time between your flight in order to take advantage of any sights in and around Denver.
Top Recommended Layover Activities In Denver:
1. Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Phipps IMAX® Theater
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Phipps IMAX® Theater is the Rocky Mountain region’s leading source for informal science education. A variety of exhibitions, programs and activities help Museum visitors experience the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth and the Universe. Allow 2-4 hours to tour the Museum. Located just 2 miles due south of I-70 on Colorado Boulevard. The Museum is approximately 20 miles (30 minutes, depending on traffic) from DEN.
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Museum is open seven days a week year-round, with the exception of December 25.
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday
Phipps IMAX® Theater
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday–Wednesday
10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Thursday–Saturday
10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. Sunday
2. The Denver Zoo
The Denver Zoo is consistently rated as one of the top 10 in America with 3,500 animals in lovely spreading grounds in City Park. "Tropical Discovery," is a 1.5-acre rainforest under glass in which visitors feel the sensation of walking through a jungle teeming with wildlife. Other highlights of the Zoo include "Northern Shores" where you can watch polar bears swim underwater and Primate Panorama, where visitors can get as close as 10 feet to over 29 species of monkeys. The Zoo celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1996. (303) 376-4800. Located approximately 2 miles due south of I-70 on Colorado Boulevard and 26th Avenue. The Denver Zoo is approximately 20 miles (30 minutes, depending on traffic) from DEN.
3. The 16th Street Pedestrian Mall
A mile-long pedestrian promenade through the heart of downtown Denver, the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall is lined with shops, restaurants and outdoor cafes. Free buses leave either end as often as every 90 seconds, making this the best spot for "people watching" in the city. In summer, the Mall is decorated with 25,000 flowers including 8,400 impatiens, 6,528 petunias, 648 snapdragons and 370 geraniums. Located in the heart of Downtown Denver, allow 2-4 hours for a stroll on the mall.
4. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of Colorado’s premier tourist attractions. A 9,000-seat natural outdoor amphitheatre carved out of huge, 500-foot high, red sandstone cliffs, all overlooking Denver and the plains. Set in the foothills just west of Denver, Red Rocks is a world-renowned venue for live musical performances. Attending an event at Red Rocks is not only an incredible way to experience the music, the inspiring performances and the thrill of witnessing world famous stars doing what they do best - it's also the enjoyment of being just 30 minutes outside of Denver and at the same time in another world. The Beatles, U2, Eric Clapton and many other stars of the past and present have played Red Rocks. Plan to spend at least 4-6 hours to attend a concert, or 2-3 to tour the Visitor Center or take a hike or picnic in the park. Located 20 miles west of Denver just off of I-70 at the Morrison exit.
5. Cherry Creek North & Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Cherry Creek North is an eclectic mix of galleries, restaurants, shops, clothing designers and cafes, all on pleasant tree-lined streets directly adjacent to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, one of the largest in the Rocky Mountain region with 140 upscale stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor and Foley's. Beautiful restaurants, architecture and events make this a premiere shopping experience. Cherry Creek is located 5 miles due south of I-70 on Colorado Boulevard. It is approximately 25 miles (35 minutes, depending on traffic) from DEN.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions From Denver
Located at the base of the Rockies, Denver has always made an excellent base from which to tour the beautiful and historic Front Range of the mountains.
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is located 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Denver and features 400 square miles (1,036 sq km) of scenic beauty, including Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the world crossing the Continental Divide at over two miles above sea level. The park has two information centers, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, tranquil lakes, waterfalls, wildlife and horseback riding. Estes Park is a resort town on the edge of the park with restaurants and shops.
2. Central City and Black Hawk
Central City and Black Hawk are two historic old mining towns from the 1870's that have come alive with limited stakes casino gambling. Located 34 miles (55 km) west of Denver, the two towns offer over 30 casinos with nearly 9,000 slot machines, blackjack tables and poker games. Once called the "Richest Square Mile on Earth," Central City and Black Hawk are known as having some of the best preserved Victorian architecture in the West. Other attractions include the Teller House Hotel where President Grant once stayed and the Central City Opera House, which each summer still features an outstanding summer season of opera. There are mine tours, mining museums and several places that still offer instruction in the fine art of gold panning in a stream where a half billion dollars of it was found.
Georgetown is a delightful Victorian village with 200 restored buildings from the 1870's, set in a spectacular mountain valley. The main street has shops and restaurants and many of the old homes have been turned into antique stores. The Georgetown Loop Railroad operates in the summer months with narrow gauge steam locomotives curling down a mountain ledge, at one point crossing over a 90-foot (27 m) high trestle. The town is located 42 miles (68 km) west of Denver.
4. Mount Evans
Mounta Evans has the highest paved auto road in North America snaking its way to the 14,260 foot (4,346 m) summit. The free road is open only from June through Labor Day and frequently has snow on it, even in August. The view from the top takes in the entire Front Range. The summit is 60 miles (97 km) from downtown Denver.
5. Pikes Peak Country
Pikes Peak is located 75 miles (97 km) south of Denver and features more than 40 attractions centered around 14,000-foot (4,267 m) high Pikes Peak. Things to see include the Air Force Academy, one of three United States military academies; the famous Broadmoor Resort with its lake and three golf courses; the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame with its exhibits on this exciting professional sport; and Garden of the Gods which has gigantic 500-foot (152 m) high red sandstone rock monuments at the base of Pikes Peak.