The Ultimate Denver, CO Bucket List: 12 Must-Do Experiences to Cross Off

If you’re a Denver local or considering moving to the Mile-High city, and looking to rent an apartment in Denver or buy a home, this city offers an abundance of attractions. With numerous activities to explore, and places to eat, it might be daunting for new residents to decide where to begin. To help, Redfin curated a list of must-try experiences, places to grab a bite to eat, and unique activities recommended by locals. Put on your walking shoes and embrace your adventurous spirit as you embark on the ultimate Denver bucket list journey.

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1. Buy tickets to see the Colorado Symphony 

Including a visit to the Colorado Symphony on your Denver Bucket List promises an unforgettable musical experience. Immerse yourself in the sounds of world-class musicians as they perform a diverse repertoire, ranging from classical masterpieces to contemporary compositions. 

“With a passion for artistic excellence, the Colorado Symphony specializes in providing the best in live, symphonic music to diverse audiences around the state,” explains Nick Dobreff of the Colorado Symphony Association. “With offerings for everyone, the orchestra seamlessly traverses the timeless realm of classical music while fearlessly venturing into groundbreaking collaborations with renowned artists like DeVotchKa, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nathaniel Rateliff.”

2. Visit the RiNo Art District 

Visiting the RiNo Art District is a must for anyone in the city. The area boasts colorful streets adorned with vibrant murals and street art. It’s also home to art galleries, craft breweries, trendy eateries, and unique shops, making it a perfect area for art enthusiasts and adventurers.

According to travel blogger Susan Heinrich of Midlife Globetrotter, “Denver’s River North Art District (RiNo) is a dynamic city neighborhood showcasing local art and offering diverse cuisine, bars, and breweries. It’s a great area to explore on your own, or take a guided tour to see the RiNo street art. Dining options are plentiful, I recommend Hop Alley for inventive Chinese small plates or Osaka Ramen for tasty, quick-service noodle bowls. Discover more about RiNo’s local artists and be sure to attend a special event on the first Friday of every month, June through November.”

3. Treat yourself to the best ice cream in Denver 

“Craving the best homemade ice cream experience in Denver? Little Man Ice Cream is a must-visit spot with its iconic 28-foot milk jug beckoning you to indulge in their locally sourced, decadent ice cream and irresistible baked goods,” says Denver locals Melody and Tanya of Colorado Hikes and Hops. “From mouth watering options for regular ice cream lovers to irresistible treats catering to vegans and gluten-free enthusiasts, this beloved hotspot offers a unique and inclusive experience that deserves a spot on your Denver bucket list. Don’t miss their must-try flavors like Salted Oreo and Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter.”

4. Spend the day at Denver Union Station 

Spend a memorable day at Denver Union Station, a historic landmark that offers an array of attractions and activities. Check out the beautifully restored architecture and soak in the ambiance of this bustling transportation hub. Enjoy a variety of dining options, boutique shops, and charming cafes, making it a perfect spot to unwind and experience the heart of Denver’s culture and hospitality.

“Denver Union Station has a unique blend of history, architecture, and an amazing culinary scene,” shares travel blogger Genni Franklin of Travelling Franklins. “Its proximity to downtown makes it the perfect central hub and meeting place, with restaurants, bars, and shopping. The locals love that it preserves Denver’s history and heritage.”

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5. Try the local cuisine 

Embark on a culinary adventure and savor the rich flavors of Denver’s local cuisine. From farm-to-table delicacies to iconic Rocky Mountain-inspired dishes, the city’s diverse food scene is a gastronomic delight.

Charlie Brown’s Bar and Grill is the only place to get Greek and Mexican cuisine under one roof, says Rosalind Smith, Chief Travel and Lifestyle Officer of Superior Cruise and Travel. “Make sure you plan accordingly to catch the live music every night.”

“If you’re in Denver, a restaurant you must visit is Lucile’s Creole Cafe on E Evans in South Denver, ” says wedding photographers Alex and Kelly of In Love & Adventure. “The Shrimp Poy Boy and their cheesy jalapeño grits are a must try. Also make sure you get one of their butter biscuits and pair it with their homemade jams.”

“One of my favorite go to dishes for a while now has been the fried whole snapper at Jamaican Bar & Grille on 709 W 8th,” says  Denver native Alex Stokeld of GB Fish & Chips. “Everything is good at this little spot, but the Snapper takes you right back to the Caribbean.” 

According to Denver local Julie Sanchez of The Adventures Soap Co., “MacNation Cafe is located about 30 minutes outside Denver in the Indian Hills and is a great stop for some hearty mac and cheese. My favorite is their Colorado Mac and Cheese with homemade pork green chili topped with Mexican Cotija cheese.”

6. Enjoy a hike through the beautiful wilderness  

Experience Denver’s breathtaking wilderness on a scenic hike, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, lush forests, and majestic mountains. This outdoor adventure will rejuvenate your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories.

“For nearby hikes that are more enjoyable, and won’t leave you suffering from the altitude or direct sunlight, I would recommend Lair O’ the Bear Park or Apex Park,” shares Denver local and founder of New Treks. “Lair O’ the Bear Park is close to Denver and has a great view. I would recommend taking the Bear Creek Trail to Panorama Point in Apex Park. Apex Park is a more mellow hike in Golden, CO and I would start at the East Trailhead. Take the Magic Mountain to Enchanted Forest route to enjoy the stream and cooling forest, but be aware that hikers are only allowed to travel on odd number calendar days as mountain bikers utilize this trail on even number days.”

7. Schedule an event at the Historic D&F Tower 

This iconic landmark offers a charming and historic setting, making it an ideal venue for special occasions and celebrations. From weddings to corporate functions, the D&F Tower’s distinctive charm will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on your guests.

“Built in 1911, this free standing Clock Tower was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi & was Denver’s first skyscraper,” shares owner of Clock Tower Events Holly Kylberg.  “Today the D&F Tower houses lots of unique businesses plus a five floor event venue at the top available for private events. The staff will take care of all the details and set the stage for a truly magical experience, and you’ll have the stunning backdrop of the giant clock faces. If you book this space you will have access to five unique floors for exploring along with two balconies to savor the city and mountain views, and possibly a stellar sunset if timed right.” 

8. Plan a brunch in downtown Denver 

Plan a delightful brunch in downtown Denver to savor the city’s vast culinary scene. Discover a plethora of charming cafes and restaurants that offer a delectable array of brunch options.

Onefold has been a staple in Denver for almost a decade, ” says local restaurant owner Mark Nery. “We originally opened with 20 seats but after high demand we expanded to a much larger location downtown. We separate ourselves from other breakfast restaurants with our family inspired scratch made dishes. The must-tries are our breakfast burrito which has a fresh tortilla made to order and house made green chili and the bacon fried rice that was my favorite breakfast dish in our house growing up.”  

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9. Stay in the infamous room #320 at the Oxford Hotel 

Experience a one-of-a-kind stay by booking the infamous room #320 at the Oxford Hotel. This historic room holds intriguing stories and a unique aura that adds an extra layer of allure to your accommodation. Immerse yourself in the hotel’s rich history and enjoy a stay that’s filled with mystery and charm.

Not only is the Oxford one of the classiest and most historic hotels in Denver, but the room is known to provide extra chills for its guests, says Dark Side of Denver Ghost Tours. “Find out who haunts this room and why on one of our tours.”  

10. Experience Denver’s microbrewery scene 

Microbreweries focus on crafting unique and distinctive beer flavors, often experimenting with various ingredients and brewing techniques. According to Denver Local Lee Olliffe,  “you must experience Denver’s amazing microbrewery scene with Denver Brew Tours. Denver Brew Tours offers private party bus tours that are totally customizable, or join a group walking tour. You can learn about and try the many different beer styles that make the Colorado brewing scene one of the best around.” 

11. Start your morning with a delicious coffee 

According to Denver locals Andrew and Lina, owners of Campo Juice & Kitchen, “We always start our mornings off with coffee, and the best coffee shop in Denver is Lekker coffee at 3460 Larimer. The owners are a mother and daughter team named Kara and Dawn and they are really awesome people. I get the nitro cold brew and my wife gets the latte.”  

12. Try the vibrant and diverse food truck scene

Explore Denver’s diverse food truck scene to indulge in a delicious and unique culinary adventure. From savory street tacos to gourmet burgers and global fusion delights, these mobile kitchens offer an array of flavors that cater to every taste. 

“Indulge in an extraordinary local culinary experience that sets Denver apart from everywhere else,” states Food Truck Avenue founder David. “At Mac ‘N Noodles Food Truck, we redefine macaroni and cheese by infusing it with our own creative twist utilizing our own homemade secret family cheese sauce recipe. You also don’t want to miss Mile High Cheesesteaks, where we take the classic Philly Cheesesteak and transform it into a local favorite, the Denver Cheesesteak. Other unique flavors include our Korean Philly with Kimchi and Jalapeno Popper Cheesesteak with a homemade cheesewiz and raspberry sauce.”

Denver Bucket List: the bottom line

Denver, Colorado, offers an unforgettable array of experiences that every resident and visitor should add to their bucket list. This city’s charm and uniqueness will leave a lasting impression on you. Get ready to immerse yourself in the mile-high wonderland, checking off each must-do experience and creating cherished memories for a lifetime.

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