Denver is a city in the state of Colorado that boasts of 300 days of sun every year and. While this may be a slight exaggeration by the state in an attempt to attract more visitors to the city, Denver is still an interesting and fascinating place to visit.
Denver sprang up around gold mining camps near the Rocky Mountains in the early 19th Century. Today, however, the city offers dynamic attractions and activities for people of all ages, most of which can be enjoyed free of charge, making The Mile High City one of the most budget-friendly cities in the United States.
Still not convinced? Perhaps this list of free showplaces in Denver will change your mind.
- Colorado State Capitol Building
- History Colorado Center
- United States Mint
- The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank
- Hammond’s Candies
- The Denver Beer Trail
- Denver Union Station
- Cherry Creek
- Larimer Square
- Civic Center Park
- Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
- Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
- Tipster Free Walking Tours
- Lakeside Amusement Park
- 16th Street Mall
- Denver Pavilions
- Sloan’s Lake Park
- Red Rock Amphitheater
- Denver Firefighter’s Museum
Colorado State Capitol Building
Make your way to East Colfax Avenue and find the Colorado State Capitol Building. The State Capitol Building is arguably one of the most recognizable features of the Denver Skyline. The building has a golden shaped dome, with its highest point standing at over 5,200 feet above sea level. Enjoy free guided tours here between 7 am and 5 pm, every weekday.
History Colorado Center
Located along North Broadway Street, the History Colorado Center provides engaging exhibits and programs that are geared at educating visitors on the history and future of the Rocky Mountains. Here you will also get to set off dynamite in the virtual hard rock mine and experience the exhilarating ski-jump simulator.
United States Mint
Make your way to West Colfax Avenue for an opportunity to learn more about the illustrious history of the United States Mint and how billions of coins are produced here every year without flooding currency into the market. Enjoy free, guided tours at the Denver facility but note, only adults and kids above the age of 7 are allowed.
The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank
While you are still in a ‘monetary spirit’, head over to 16th Street and visit the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. This branch offers guests a chance to observe the United States financial machinery in action by teaching you about the function of the Federal Reserve and how it promotes a healthy economy across the country.
Hammond’s Candies is located along Washington Street. Hammond’s Candy Factory was opened over 100 years ago by Carl T. Hammond and, today, the factory offers visitors free tours of the factory. If you are a sweet tooth you have probably wondered how some of your favorite treats are made and this is just the opportunity to witness the processes from start to finish.
The Denver Beer Trail
Get the map here and head out on a self-guided tour of the Denver Beer Trail. Visit over 30 breweries and pubs and experience, first hand, the thriving and creative beer culture in The Mile High City. Most of these pubs and breweries are conveniently located in the downtown area, so you don’t have to travel long distances to get to your next watering hole.
Denver Union Station
You will find the historic Union Station along Wynkoop Street, an iconic meeting point for Denver residents and visitors alike. The renovation of this historic station inspired the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood. The area is now adorned with luxurious hotels, award-winning restaurants, malls, galleries, and an aquarium; all of which should keep you sufficiently occupied during your visit.
The Cherry Creek Shopping Center is located only 15 minutes from the city and is home to a myriad of budget-friendly restaurants and over 150 stores including Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Michael Kors Nordstrom, Hugo Boss, and many more. Download your ‘Passport to Shopping’ here and enjoy significant discounts at more than 60 stores at Cherry Creek.
As the name suggests, Larimer Square is located on Larimer Street; the Square is the city’s very first block. Larimer Street was home to the very first Denver businesses and saloons and, today, the classic 19th Century buildings have metamorphosed into wine bars, shops, and chef-driven restaurants. Sample the amazing cuisine here and perhaps even pick a souvenir from any one of the unique shops lining Larimer street.
Civic Center Park
The Civic Center Park extends from Bannock Street to Broadway, just South of Colfax Avenue. From the park, you can see the magnificent State Capitol Building and at night the park is bright with eye-catching colors, spread all across the grounds. Head over to the amphitheater for a chance to catch live music performances or any other ongoing event.
Lower Downtown is commonly referred to as LoDo by Denver residents. Downtown is, essentially, the heart and soul of the city and, as expected, there are numerous things to do and see here. This 29-block district is characterized by trendy bars, pocket-friendly restaurants, unique shops, and some of the city’s original buildings, well preserved to date.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
This stunning cathedral is located along Logan Street and, as far as church architecture goes, this one takes the cake in Denver. The art and design that went into this building has left many a visitor awestruck; everything from the roof to the floor is absolutely beautiful. Catholic or not, don’t miss out on your chance to behold this spectacle.
Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
The Southwest Rink in Skyline Park is located along Arapahoe Street and, as much as the facility may be closed right now, it makes for the perfect winter excursion. During winter visitors are able to skate for free, every day of the week, up to the 14th of February. Rent a pair of skates for only $2 and head out onto the ice for some fun.
Tipster Free Walking Tours
Head over to Wazee Street on Friday between 4 pm and 6 pm to take part in a free walking tour. You are however encouraged to donate an amount of your choosing to the cause if you find the experience enjoyable. No reservations are needed for this experience, just show up, join fellow tourists, and have fun as you tour Denver with a local guide.
Lakeside Amusement Park
Find this amusement park on Sheridan Boulevard. Fun fact: Lakeside is a family-owned amusement park, one of the very last in the country, but it is no less enjoyable than conventional amusement parks. The lines here are reasonable, the prices are economical, and the rides are amazing.
16th Street Mall
16th Street Mall is located along 16th Street in the heart of Denver. You will find plenty of places to relax and shop in the mall and, once you are done with the indoors, you can head out to explore the rest of 16th Street. The street is filled with bright decorative lights at night and there is a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, and shops that stay open till late in the night.
Also located on 16th Street, the Denver Pavilions are the 16th Street Mall’s biggest competitors. Here you will find an assortment of knickknack shops, eccentric clothing stores, unique restaurants, and a movie theater. This is a more budget-friendly complex in comparison to the 16th Street Mall, so if you’re looking for a bargain, this is the place to be.
Sloan’s Lake Park
Make your way to North Sheridan Boulevard and take on the 2-mile hiking path that winds around the park. During summer, you will get to water-ski and go kayaking on the lake. As a bonus, there is a large parking lot available and this park is traditionally less crowded than others in the city.
Red Rock Amphitheater
This amphitheater is located along West Alameda Parkway and, Lower Downtown may be the heart of Denver, but this is the spirit of the city. Enjoy spectacular views of the Red Rocks Amphitheater and their breathtaking, colorful surroundings. Head out into the wild for this awe-inspiring, unforgettable experience.
Denver Firefighter’s Museum
The firefighter’s museum is a non-profit establishment located on Tremont Pl in what was historically known as Fire Station No.1, one of the very first fires stations in Denver, built in 1909. Learn more about Denver’s fire department history all the way from the early 20th century to the present day. You will also get to view a wide collection of firefighting equipment and memorabilia.
Few cities in the United States offer the same mix of natural attractions, progressive culture, and vibrant history that Denver offers. Denver has something for the whole family and the best part is, the city experiences an average of 245 days of sun, really making The Mile High City a perennial tourist hub that you should not be missing out on.