No matter if you’re a resident or just passing through, there’s always something new to discover in the Mile High City! Here are 15 hidden gems in Denver you don’t even know exist.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The 13th Step of the Colorado State Capitol Building
Well, you probably know that the stairs to the Capitol Building exist, but do you know that the 13th step is exactly 5,280' above sea level? That's one Mile High photo op!
2. The Dancers
The 25-ton "Dancers" at the Denver Performing Arts Complex might not be very hidden, but the speakers are. Artist Jonathan Borofsky composed a piece of music to accompany it entitled "Let's Dance." It plays continuously from speakers mounted at the base of the sculpture and highlights the artist's belief that, "Everything is connected, and all is one." We concur.
3. Lakeside Amusement Park
Lakeside Amusement Park opened its doors in 1908 and is the oldest in the state. With its nostalgic adventure rides, affordable prices, and family atmosphere, it is truly one of Denver's hidden gems. (And who doesn't love stuffing their face with cotton candy, churros, and fried candy bars?!)
4. The Big Blue Bear
This 40-foot-tall, bright blue bear at the Colorado Convention Center is not exactly a secret, but no matter how many times you pass him by, you can't help but get feelings of whimsy, delight, and wonder. "I See What You Mean" by artist Lawrence Argent is truly a Mile High treasure.
5. Dale Chihuly's Sculptures at the Denver Botanic Gardens
You may have experienced the beauty of the botanic gardens, but have you seen the sculptures? Following renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly's exhibition in 2014, donors purchased some of the works, which were permanently installed for your viewing pleasure. And they're especially breathtaking at night!
6. Rockmount Ranch Wear
"The West is not a place. It is a state of mind," said "Papa Jack" Weil, founder of this third-generation business who worked every day of his life until his passing at the ripe old age of 107. Papa Jack was a true pioneer in western fashion. He founded the original snap shirt and put out the first commercially produced bolo ties. The store is still in operation, so stop by and get you some pearl snaps!
7. Banjo Billy's Bus Tours
Want to hear stories about the ghosts, crimes, and history of Denver? Hop on this old school bus turned moonshining shack and party barge and take a brewery tour. It's definitely one of a kind!
8. The Hi-Dive
There are plenty of music venues in Denver, but this tiny club is one of the lesser known underground haunts that has hip bands, local beer, and real rock 'n roll.
9. Grizzly Rose: Country Bar, Nightclub, and Dance Hall
Honky tonks aren't just for Nashville! This historic saloon has live country music, line dancing, two-step, and country swing every night of the week! Oh, and did I mention the mechanical bull? Giddy up!
10. Mario's Double Daughter's Salotto
The drinks are as eccentric and over the top as this bar's Tim-Burtonish decor. With cocktails like "Teddy Bear's Orgy," how could you not be curious? And their claim to fame is a secret concoction with 17 liquors that's sure to knock you into next week!
11. Williams & Graham
Disguised as a tiny bookstore, this amazing night spot is as close to a speakeasy as you'll ever get. Behind a moving bookcase is a Narnia-like world of cocktails and cool. They might have to reinstate Prohibition after this one!
12. The Infinite Monkey Theorem
"Backalley winemaking at its finest," is this urban winery's motto, and they certainly live up to it! Stop by their tasting room and wine lab to learn more about their products...and why they also put wine in a can. (P.S. Did you know there are about a dozen other wineries in the metro area?)
13. Churchill Bar
Cigars aren't just for weddings and babies. No way! Located in the Brown Palace Hotel in the heart of Denver, this real-deal bar is plush and sophisticated. If you like books and wood and leather - and scotch as smokey as cigars - this is your "Cheers."
14. Healing Waters Float Studio
If you need of a little relief after all those cigars and cocktails, join the underground culture of float tank enthusiasts, and enjoy a little relaxation for mind and body. These salt water float tanks are meditative stress relievers, and Lord knows we all need some of that!
Did we peak your curiosity?! Do you know any hidden gems in Denver that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.