The Mile High City is just bursting with alluring attractions and captivating locales that are so spectacular you’ll think they’re figments of your imagination. Marvel at the inspiring beauty of the city’s art, architecture, and nature at these incredible spots that are well worth visiting again and again. From magical museums to wondrous wildlife, these enchanted places in Denver have surprises that will leave you speechless!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Denver Art Museum
No matter how many times you visit DAM, the exhibits and grounds are absolutely mesmerizing, and the first Saturday of every month is FREE, so take advantage (and get there early)!
2. Downtown Denver
Have you ever roamed the streets of Downtown Denver and gawked at the mind-blowing reflections on the dramatic urban landscape? The stunning architecture offers a distorted view of reality that will make you feel like you're in a carnival funhouse or an abstract art gallery. It's magnificent!
3. The Cruise Room
While we're on the subject of funhouses, have you experienced the enchanting Cruise Room at the historic Oxford Hotel? Open since 1933, it's Denver's first post-prohibition bar and is modeled after a lounge on the Queen Mary. Its uniquely mysterious art-deco style bar and speakeasy vibe add an element of intrigue to this seductive Denver institution.
4. Mayan Theatre
Another captivating Mile High landmark is the historical Mayan Theatre, built in 1930. It was almost razed in the 1980s but thankfully was saved by "Friends of the Mayan" and restored to its former glory to the tune of nearly $2 million in 1986. Today it's one of only three theaters remaining in the U.S. designed in the Art Deco Mayan Revival Style. The magnificent Mayan is truly a sight to behold!
5. Denver Botanic Gardens
Just like DAM, the Denver Botanic Gardens is a marvelous land of enchantment where the possibilities of new discoveries are endless. There are 24 eye-catching acres of gardens, one-of-a-kind sculptures, and uniquely exotic plants that will stop you dead in your tracks. (And be sure to meander through the lush tropical conservatory and be instantly transported to a magical rainforest that exists only in fairy tales).
6. The Butterfly Pavilion
Another unexpected oasis just 15 minutes north of the city is the Butterfly Pavilion, which houses over 5,000 animals, including 1,600 butterflies. There are gardens, trails, underwater worlds, tropical rain forests, and more to explore at the beautiful Butterfly Pavilion.
7. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Just north of Denver are over 15,000 expansive acres of wetlands, woods, and prairies where the deer and bison roam. Here you can marvel at over 330 species of beasts and birds at one of the country's finest conservation habitats.
8. Dinosaur Ridge
While we've managed to keep the magnificent bison from going extinct, some creatures weren't so lucky. At Dinosaur Ridge you can explore fossils and specimens left long ago by giants of the Late Jurassic Period, including bones encased in sandstone, over 300 footprints, and 32 migratory trackways.
9. Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys
When you're tired of walking among the giants, check out this quirky little museum filled with all sorts of miniature marvels. Hours are Wednesday - Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm and Sunday: 1 pm - 4 pm.
10. Chamberlin Observatory
You don't have to be an astronomer to appreciate the prized 28-foot long refracting telescope at DU's historic Chamberlin Observatory, circa 1894. Scope out one of their Public Nights hosted by the Denver Astronomical Society every Tuesday and Thursday, an ongoing Mile High tradition for over 60 years. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for children and includes informative presentations on astronomy and the opportunity for telescopic views of the moon, stars, planets, galaxies, and beyond. Public Nights at the Chamberlin Observatory are fun for the whole family!
11. Mt. Evans
To witness a sunrise or sunset from the summit of Mt. Evans at 14,264' is nothing short of mind-blowing, especially when you get to enjoy it alongside mountain goats, marmots, and big horn sheep. About an hour from Denver, the infamous Mount Evan's Scenic Byway is the "road to the sky" that allows you to drive to what feels like the top of the world and will leave you speechless! (Note: For the best chance at viewing wildlife and avoiding crowds, go on a weekday if possible, preferably at dawn or dusk.)
Have you been to these enchanted places in Denver? Do you have any additional attractions that we’ve just got to see? Share your favorite fantasy lands in the comments!