1. Union Station
Denver's Union Station is a two for one: it's a working public transit station and a wonderful dining and shopping location. This historic building first opened in 1881 and has since undergone major renovations, which now includes a hotel, restaurants, unique stores and a train hall. Walk through this lovingly restored gem where you can admire the stunning architecture from days gone by and stop for an ice cream.
The history of Larimer Square extends back to the 19th century when Colorado was all about gold and the famous gold strikes that put this state on the map. The square was once home to a lot of ‘firsts’; first bank, first dry goods store, first bookstore, first theater, and also the site of the city’s first post office. The site of the original gold rush pioneer camp (known back then as Auraria) actually grew into Larimer Square. This historic neighborhood remains the heart and soul of the Mile High City.
RiNo Art District’s mission is to champion the arts and local entrepreneurialism by providing affordable creative space, supporting local artists and businesses. Actually name River North District, the area once known for historic warehouses and factories now celebrates jazz bars, restaurants, brewpubs, art galleries and working studios. The art definitely extends beyond gallery walls in this neighborhood, with its colorful and innovative street art murals in alleys and on buildings around almost every corner.
4. Denver Art Museum
This museum is perhaps best known for its holdings in Native and Western American art. The galleries showcase more than 70,000 works by famed artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Winslow Homer. The Denver museum houses one of the most impressive collections of art between Chicago and the West Coast.
5. Denver Botanic Gardens
Enjoy a beautiful day strolling through nature’s beauty. There are 43 individual gardens, some of which are laid out in natural landscapes, others of which are in more formal gardens. Some of the highlights include the Japanese Garden; Marnie's Pavilion with orchids, ferns, and waterfalls; and the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory, with exotic tropical and subtropical species.
6. Denver Zoo
Modeled after a Kenyan nature preserve, the Denver Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals, including tigers, black rhinos, kangaroos and orangutans. Sprawling across 80 acres of City Park, this zoo boasts a number of ways to view our animal friends. Head to Predator Ridge, the recreated African savanna, to see hyenas, lions and African dogs roam, watch monkeys swing from tree branches at Primate Panorama or catch a glimpse of colorful critters like Panamanian golden frogs and green tree pythons at the Tropical Discovery center. You can also take on a ride on the zoo's train and carousel.
7. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Beginning its life in 1868, the naturalist and pioneer Edwin Carter, who had devoted his life to his true love – birds and mammals of the Rocky Mountains – had deciding to assemble what turned out to be one of the most inclusive collections of Colorado fauna, and started displaying his treasures from his log cabin home, dubbed the Carter Museum. This later expanded into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Among the most notable exhibits are the imposing dinosaur skeletons, remains of Ice Age animals, the collection of minerals presented by the Coors family, and one of the largest nuggets of gold found in Colorado.
Constructed in the 1890s from Colorado white granite, the building officially opened in 1894. You will be amazed at the attention to detail that went into its decorations too, the structure’s gold dome consisting of real gold leaf, commemorating the Colorado Gold Rush. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Place, becoming part of the Denver Civic Center National Historic Landmark District in 2012. Take a tour and climb the narrow staircase up into the dome itself. Make sure you find the 13th step on the west side of the Capitol which is exactly one mile above sea level, thus the name "mile high city."
9. United States Mint
The third of four national mints, the Denver Mint branch struck its first coins in 1906. Built in 1897, the mint is still operating and producing coins for circulation, together with commemorative coins. Having opened in 1863, its purpose was to transform the Gold Rush's findings into coinage. Today, the U.S. Mint in Denver can produce up to 50 million coins a day.
10. Molly Brown House Museum
Molly (or Margaret as she was christened) was the brave socialite and activist who found fame when she survived the 1912 sinking of the legendary Titanic and then urged the crew of Lifeboat No. 6 to go back to the capsize are to look for any survivors. Join guided tours of her 1889 home to hear how Margaret Brown led a remarkable life for a woman of her time.
11. Hammond’s Candy Factory
Hammond’s complimentary candy factory tours are educational and fun for candy lovers of all ages plus they have a sweet ending. The factory has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world who have seen how the well know handcrafted candy canes, lollipops and ribbon candy are pulled, twisted, and shaped by hand the way it used to be in 1920.
Join our Tour Team for stories and insights from the locals. Select a tour date that fits your schedule. Visit ColoradoTourCompany.com for available options. See you soon.