Welcome to the Mile High City!
That’s right, our fabulous metro area is 5,280 feet above sea level!
We know that when people think “Colorado,” ski season and snow come to mind– however, our great metro area is FULL of family fun activities that don’t require snow gear! So, join us this summer to enjoy some of our 300 days of sunshine- and we promise you and yours will not be disappointed!
If you’re looking for where to stay, what to eat, fun activities for the whole family, then we’ve got some great suggestions!
Where to Stay:
There are lots of family-friendly places to stay in Denver and the surrounding areas – hotels, resorts, campgrounds and even dude ranches! Check out some of our favorites:
Hotel Monaco – A fabulous boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Denver, Hotel Monaco is sure to please parents, kiddos, and pets (because they’re welcome to some too!) This hotel has complimentary wine happy hour each evening, free bikes to borrow, a fabulous fitness center, and is walkable for most downtown attractions! For kiddos, the hotel offers welcome gifts, pint-sized bathrobes, pet goldfish to keep kids company during their stay, family-friendly dining, child-safety kits to baby-proof rooms, and more!
The Curtis Hotel – With a different theme on each floor and 24-hour cartoons on in the lobby, The Curtis Hotel is a hit with families looking to stay downtown. Pet friendly, family friendly, and business traveler friendly, the property mixes all the amenities of a modern boutique hotel with a little silliness– sure to please everyone. Games in the lobby, incredible on-site dining, flat screens and iPod speakers in the rooms, accessibility to all the downtown attractions, free wifi, and so much more make The Curtis Hotel a top pick for a Denver stay!
JW Marriott – For those looking to be further from the hustle and bustle of downtown, may we suggest the lovely JW Marriott in Cherry Creek. Located right in the middle of all the shopping, restaurants, and attractions in Cherry Creek North, the JW has something for everyone. Easy access to fabulous dining, wonderful boutiques, and comfortable family and pet-friendly rooms make this property a definite favorite! The kiddos will keep busy with complimentary coloring books, and will love the pajama-friendly kids’ brunch!
Hilton Garden Inn – If your trip takes you a little more south of central Denver, the Hilton Garden Inn in the Denver Tech Center has all the amenities to meet travel needs and provide some fun for the family. Complimentary wifi keep you connected, while your kiddos enjoy the on-site indoor pool, and the fitness center will help you make sure you don’t miss a workout!
What to Do:
Denver Zoo – Located in the heart of Denver, the Zoo sits on 80 beautiful acres and is a favorite for locals and visitors to the city. Our zoo was the first in the country to use natural habitat-like enclosures for the animals rather than just cages with bars.
Check out the Inside Scoop: Denver Zoo for great info on what to see and the history of our beautiful Zoo.
Colorado Rockies Game – An experience not to be missed, Rockies games at Coors Field are everything that’s great about summers in the Denver area – great food, cold drinks, fun for the whole family, and a chance to spend some time outside. Whether you choose to sit in the $4 Rockpile, the designated Family Section (342), or anywhere else in the beautiful stadium, you and your family will have a wonderful time at our downtown ballpark. If your little ones are especially enamored with baseball, don’t miss the chance to tour the stadium!
Colorado Rapids Game – Do your little ones love soccer? Don’t miss the chance to catch the excitement of Major League Soccer while you’re visiting the Mile High City this summer! Ticket prices are very reasonable, and your family will love their visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park!
Red Rocks Amphitheatre – In case you hadn’t heard, Red Rocks is THE place to catch an amazing concert – it’s the venue not to be missed. The setting is breathtaking- the geologically formed amphitheater features two 300 foot red sandstone rocks jutting up from the earth to create acoustic perfection. Red Rocks has hosted some of the most famous artists of all time, and continues to bring in the biggest names in music from around the world. If you’re not able to catch a concert at Red Rocks, check out Film on the Rocks, Yoga on the Rocks, Red Rocks Fitness Challenge, or enjoy hiking or biking around the 868 acres at Red Rocks Park.
Denver Botanic Gardens – Mordecai Children’s Garden – The Denver Botanic Gardens are 20 acres of beauty – featuring native andadapted plants that can thrive in Denver’s climate. Children will love visiting the Mordecai Children’s Garden where they explore, discover, and play – bug hunting, pinecone races, and story time are just a few activities children and families enjoy. For adults and older children, the Gardens feature events such as art exhibits and a summer concert series.
Museum of Nature and Science – This wonderful natural history and science museum is truly a place where the entire family can learn and really have a wonderful time. The Discovery Zone hands-on area for children will have your little ones digging for dinosaur bones, making crafts, playing with the wacky funhouse mirrors, and learning about the amazing world around them. The IMAX theatre is the perfect indoor escape for the too-hot afternoon hours, or rainy days, when you’re looking to learn and be entertained in an exciting 3D experience.
Children’s Museum of Denver – The currently expanding Children’s Museum is a place where children of all ages come together to play, learn, and grow. There is a special area where the youngest museum visitors (babies and small toddlers) have a safe, beautiful storybook environment to explore, while bigger kids check out the Fire Station No. 1, the bubble room, Big Backyard, the Assembly Plant, and many more fun exhibits.
Denver Art Museum – The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is committed to bringing art to people of all ages, and recently made admission FREE for anyone 18 years of age and younger! There are lots of ongoing events and special programs specifically designed for kids and families – so check them out and do not miss the opportunity to introduce your family to art while you’re in our great city!
Downtown Aquarium – With one million gallons of water and 500 species of animals, the Downtown Aquarium is a great place to spend an afternoon. On-site restaurants are sure to please mom and dad, while the interactive exhibits like the stingray touch-tank keep the little ones busy.
If you’re looking to get outside and just enjoy some of the beautiful parks, you’re in luck! Denver has over 200 city parks, 11 dog parks, and 100 miles or trails – and that’s just within the City and County of Denver. For some of our favorite parks and playgrounds, check out our recommendations for pairing our favorite parks with fabulous food and 5 Playgrounds You’ve Never Heard Of for some hidden local gems!
If you’re looking to get out of the city, we have lots of Denver Mountain Parks close by.
If even more adventure is what you desire, head further into the Colorado wilderness and discover one of the four National Parks our state has to offer!
Denver and food are started a serious relationship some years ago, and the incredible food scene compliments Denver’s un-pretentious feel. We want gourmet, but we want it served in an approachable way, we want to bring our family, and we want to wear blue jeans! Check out some of our contributors’ favorite Highlands restaurants and a great roundup of Toddler Top 5 – that includes some fabulous additions to the “family-friendly” list. Looking for more ideas? We have a few more suggestions, but also believe you can’t go wrong when you’re dining local in the Mile High City!
Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs – Biker Jim and his dogs are quintessential Denver Street food. Not your average street cart hot dog, Jim’s offerings include wild boar, pheasant, antelope, rattlesnake, and yak! Check out his cart on the 16th Street Mall downtown, or their brick and mortar locations downtown and south in Highlands Ranch!
The Cherry Cricket – Located in the heart of Cherry Creek North, the Cherry Cricket is the place to go for great burgers and a casual dive bar environment.
Civic Center Eats – Are you a food truck fanatic? Well, if you weren’t before, a trip to Civic Center Eats will turn you into one! 11 am – 2 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from May 7 through October 8, 2015 (excluding June 4, September 3 and 8), you will find a variety of the best local food trucks in Civic Center Park, across from the beautiful State Capitol building.
Union Station – The transportation hub for the Denver Metro Area, Union Station is so much more than just a building hurried travelers pass through! This recently renovated fabulous building houses some fabulous food options. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, the Terminal Bar is sure to please, while your kiddos snack on a sweet treat from Milkbox Ice Creamery. For a substantial meal, Snooze, Acme Burger and Brat Corporation, or one of the other fabulous on-site restaurants will keep your family full and happy!
Estes Park – If you’re looking for a mountain town getaway perfect for families, just an hour and a half northwest of Denver is the Town of Estes Park. The town offers something for everyone – hikes, horseback riding, bicycling, breweries, an aerial adventure park, great restaurants and boutique shopping! Stephen King fans will not want to miss touring the Stanley Hotel, best known for it’s inspirational role in “The Shining” – haunted rooms available for the most adventurous! On your way back to Denver, take the 3-hour scenic route by way of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. This trip through beautiful mountain scenery along the Continental Divide is one of the most beautiful drives in Colorado, back to Denver from one of our most beautiful towns!
Manitou Springs – An hour and a half south of Denver is the town of Manitou Springs. A must-do in Manitou Springs is the Pikes Peak Cog Railway – buy a ticket and head up to the 14,115 feet summit of Pikes Peak. Thousands of people have enjoyed since the trains started running in 1891. After your railway trip, check out the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade – where you can enjoy hundreds of new and antique arcade games! If you’re feeling like a real challenge, take your turn climbing the Manitou Springs Incline – 2,741 steps make up the one-mile ascent with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet!
City of Golden – Just a 20 minute trip west of downtown Denver, the first capitol of Colorado is a fabulous destination for a day trip. Adults will love the Miller-Coors Brewery Tour (free samples included), or check out one of the fabulous local breweries – Golden City Brewery and Mountain Toad Brewing are some of our favorites! Downtown Golden features a host of local restaurants, shops, coffee shops, and museums. If you’re around in late July, don’t miss the legendary Buffalo Bill Days – music, a parade, food, and a car show are all part of the fun!