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Layover Ideas Denver Airport DEN

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Top 5 Layover Ideas for Denver Airport

If you find yourself with a long layover at Denver Airport, don't worry, there's plenty to do. Here are our top 5 recommendations for activities within a 12-hour layover.

1. Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Phipps IMAX® Theater

Located just 20 miles from the airport, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Phipps IMAX® Theater is a must-visit for science and nature enthusiasts. With a variety of exhibitions and programs, you can experience the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the Universe. Allow 2-4 hours to tour the Museum. The Museum is open seven days a week year-round, with the exception of December 25.

2. The Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo, rated as one of the top 10 in America, is home to 3,500 animals within its sprawling grounds in City Park. From a 1.5-acre rainforest under glass to the underwater viewing of polar bears, the Denver Zoo offers a unique and immersive experience. Located approximately 20 miles from the airport, plan to spend a few hours exploring the zoo.

3. The 16th Street Pedestrian Mall

Want to do some shopping or people-watching? Head to the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, a mile-long pedestrian promenade lined with shops, restaurants, and outdoor cafes. Located in the heart of Downtown Denver, allow 2-4 hours for a stroll on the mall.

4. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

For music lovers, a visit to the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is a must. This 9,000-seat natural outdoor amphitheatre is carved out of huge, 500-foot high, red sandstone cliffs, overlooking Denver and the plains. Whether you're attending a concert or just touring the Visitor Center, plan to spend at least 2-3 hours here. The amphitheatre is located 20 miles west of Denver.

5. Cherry Creek North & Cherry Creek Shopping Center

If you're in the mood for some upscale shopping, head to Cherry Creek North & Cherry Creek Shopping Center. You'll find a mix of galleries, restaurants, shops, clothing designers, and cafes, all on pleasant tree-lined streets. The shopping center is one of the largest in the Rocky Mountain region with 140 upscale stores. It is located approximately 25 miles from the airport.

Nearby Attractions for an Extended Layover

If you find yourself with an extended layover of 12-48 hours at Denver Airport, there are numerous attractions within a reasonable distance that you can explore. Here are some recommendations for activities that can be accomplished within this time frame.

1. Explore the Rocky Mountain National Park

Located just 90 minutes from Denver, the Rocky Mountain National Park offers a unique opportunity to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. With over 300 miles of hiking trails, crystal clear lakes, and abundant wildlife, it's a nature lover's paradise. Plan to spend a full day here to make the most of your visit.

2. Visit Boulder

Take a trip to the city of Boulder, about 45 minutes from Denver. Visit the Pearl Street Mall for shopping and dining, hike the trails at the Flatirons, or tour the University of Colorado Boulder campus. You can easily spend a day exploring this vibrant city.

3. Take a Brewery Tour

Colorado is known for its craft beer, and there are several breweries near Denver that offer tours. Spend a day sampling local brews and learning about the brewing process. Some breweries may even offer transportation from Denver.

4. Visit Colorado Springs

Located about an hour south of Denver, Colorado Springs offers several attractions worth visiting. The Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark, is a must-see. If you have time, also visit the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center or the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Plan to spend a full day exploring Colorado Springs.

5. Tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory

Located in Boulder, the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory offers free tours that take you through the tea-making process from raw ingredients to the finished product. The tour also includes a visit to the famous Mint Room. Plan to spend a half-day for this activity, including travel time.

Updated on: November 22, 2023