Memorial Day is coming up soon, and there’s no better way to spend it than a long weekend in Denver!
I’ve lived around Denver my whole life, so I feel like I have a fairly good understanding about everything you can do around the Mile High City.
There’s plenty to do around the city for anyone: nature lovers, party people, art fanatics…whoever you are, you’ll have a great time!
How to spend a long weekend in Denver
Light rail – Denver’s main form of public transportation is the Light Rail, which is like an above ground metro. Tickets are one-way or “day passes,” and can be purchased as either local or regional, depending on distance. You can take it to and from Downtown Denver and Denver International Airport (this costs $9). Otherwise, the stops it has are fairly limited and acts more as a commuter train than anything else.
Make sure to download the RTD app so you’ll never lose your ticket!
Taxi/Lyft/Uber – These are very popular around Denver. While Denver is a fairly walkable city, if you want to go some farther distances, you’re probably better off with a fairly cheap rideshare (you can use my Lyft code MONA364 for a $10 ride credit in Denver).
Rent a car – If you’re staying around downtown, this isn’t necessary. However, if you want to go on any day trips to Boulder or to go hiking, you’ll definitely need a car to get there. Just know that parking downtown can be very high!
Rent a bike – One of the cool things about Denver is B-Cycle, a bike rental system all over the city that you can use from $9 for 24 hours. This is a great alternative to walking and rideshares, for distances that are a little too far but a car isn’t necessary. You can pick up and drop these off wherever you find a B-Cycle station.
Where to stay
Ideal Neighborhoods – RiNo (River North), LoDo (lower Denver) and Uptown/Capitol Hill are the trendiest neighborhoods at the moment for food, art and being right in the middle of the action.
Budget hostel: Hostel Fish. This is one of very few hostels in Denver, and is definitely the best of them. It’s fun, it’s close to everything downtown, it’s nearby neighborhoods like RiNo, and it’s great for any partier. Rooms are about $40 a night.
Mid-range hotel: Maven Hotel. This is a new, very trendy hotel with not one, but two amazing restaurants. Rooms start around $145 a night.
Luxury hotel: Crawford Hotel – Crawford isn’t the most luxurious, but it’s beautiful, convenient, and well reviewed. While you stay here, check out the Cooper Lounge, a secret bar on the second floor. Rooms are $200+.
Other options: AirBnB (use my code for $40 off) and Couchsurfer are both popular choices around the Mile High City!
What to eat
Avanti – This is a “collective eatery” with tons of different types of foods, lots of room and is a blast to be at. You’ll find tacos, sushi, arepas and more while relaxing on a rooftop bar!
Coperta – This Italian restaurant is fairly new and very good! You can get tons of Roman food at a reasonable price and tons of wine options.
D Bar – This restaurant is owned by Food Network’s Keegan Gerhard, and it’s one of my favorite restaurants. From delicious food to phenomenal desserts, this place has it all for a casual or a nice meal.
Patxi’s – Authentic Chicago-style pizza in Denver? Yes! Patxi’s serves some of the best food in Denver, and I try to go here all the time. They have vegan pizzas as well for anyone who needs that!
Zoe Ma Ma – A great spot for authentic Chinese street food! You’ll get tons of delicious food for reasonable prices, from noodles to dumplings. Some fun facts: they include a tip in your bill to give their workers are living wage, and you can get a scallion pancake off the menu!
What to do
Breweries – One of the most popular things to do in Denver is brewery hopping! Denver’s less of a bar town, and more of a…bar-at-a-brewery town. There are so many all around Colorado, and several in Denver, so people love to try all kinds of beers all in one day! I don’t like beer at all, but people love Great Divide, Crooked Stave and the new Cerveceria Colorado.
Go on a hike – This is definitely something that people love to partake in, visitors and locals alike. You have so many options for a hike around Denver, you’ll easily find a beautiful trail that fits your level of difficulty.
Relax in Union Station – The lobby of Union Station is bustling, beautiful, and full of things to do! You can grab some food, a drink or even just sit and relax for a while. No matter how often I go, I always love being inside, even if it’s just to charge my phone.
Explore street art – A great, affordable way to explore the city is just walking around and admiring all the street art! There’s something for everyone around town, and you can find some phenomenal pieces!
Go to a museum – There are several to choose from in Denver, and they’re all very fun! From the US Mint to the Museum of Nature and Science, you’ll find a museum that caters to your interests.
Visit a dispensary – If you’re into that, of course. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, and there are tons of stores all over the city. Even if you’re not interested in smoking, you can always just go to experience something new!
Visit Red Rocks – It’s the most beautiful amphitheater in the world! So many legends have come and performed here, and it’s just as awe-inspiring as the pictures seem. Whether you come here for a hike or for a concert, you won’t be disappointed.
There’s so much you can do in Denver, you’ll never be bored. Denver is a relaxing, fun place to visit any time of year.