It’s been way too long since our last post, but we’re back! We’re back with a special post on a guided tour through the city of Denver in 8 hours or less, as a solo-traveller.

It so happened that just last week I have made my way to US for the second time in a month for a conference for my day-job. The location of the conference: Denver! Since it was my first time here, I was looking very much forward to it.

As soon as I found out how much time ( or better said, how little time) I had to explore Denver, I decided I’ll go for it and make a plan to see Denver in about 8 hours over the span of 2 days. And so did I – made a plan, seen the city and now that I’m back in Copenhagen I thought to share my experience with you.

Where to go? What to see?

So, the problem at hand: I had about 8 hours over 2 days, with half of the time being around dinner time, and the city of Denver – 19th largest city in United States, according to the US Census Bureau. Plenty of things to see, and way too little time to do so.

Before leaving for US I started reading a bit about Denver and making a list of what I would like to see and kind of in which order. I’ve added the list I’ve made before the trip and it’s updated version after the trip, based on what I liked most. The order changed a bit and I’ve had a few pleasant additions.

Before the trip

  • Larimer Square
  • Denver’s 16th street mall
  • Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
  • Colorado State Capitol
  • Civic Center Park
  • Denver City Park
  • Denver Union station
  • Confluence Park and South Platte River
  • Millennium Bridge
  • Denver Blue Bear

After the trip

  • Sunset from a rooftop
  • Denver City Park
  • Red Rocks Park
  • Confluence Park and South Platte River
  • Millennium Bridge
  • Colfax Avenue
  • Colorado State Capitol
  • Civic Center Park
  • Larimer Square
  • Denver’s 16th street mall
  • Denver Blue Bear
  • Denver Union station

How did I go about organizing my sightseeing? I split up the places I wanted to see in the city from those outside of the city. In my case, the only place outside of the city was Red Rocks park. But I still had about 10 locations I wanted to see in about 4 hours in the city. So, I’ve started a map on GoogleMaps to organize the best route. My idea of sightseeing generally involves a lot of walking. However for Denver I quickly realized I will have to take an Uber or two.

8 hours over two days, 12 locations, 5 Uber trips and about 25000 steps later I’ve managed to see all I had set my mind on in Denver. Feel free to reach out if you’re interested in access to the map I’ve put together.

View the sunset from a rooftop

Wherever your turn your gaze in Denver, as long as you’re facing the Rocky Mountains you are guaranteed one hell of a view! That being said, why not combine the view of the mountains with the sunset and a great cocktail – what can go wrong? I’ve used this website as inspiration in choosing a great rooftop bar, and decided to go with 54thirty (since it was a 5 minutes walk from my hotel). 54thirty is a recently opened rooftop bar on top of the Lé Méridien Denver Downtown and it is marketed as “Denver’s highest open-air, seasonal rooftop bar”. But because a picture is worth a 1000 words, I’ll leave you with this photo to convince you of the beauty of this view.

Walking through City Park

Denver’s City Park was one of the places I really wanted to see. But I was not willing to give up my plan just to experience City Park. At first my plan was to walk all the way from the Colorado State Capitol Building to City Park, which is a 50 minutes walk. However, after walking for about 15 minutes and stopping to taken every small street I decided to save some time and take an Uber to the park. That turned out to be a wise decision!

While in the park, I have spent almost an hour walking around, taking the view in and taking way too many photos. In short, I love parks – it’s maybe the mix of green or red of the trees ( depending on season) with the blue and white of the sky, and with the city skyline in the background or in this case, the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. On the other hand, if Zoo’s and Museums are your thing, the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science are part of City Park.

Red Rocks Park

Red Rocks Amphitheater is located west of Denver at about 25 km and it is an open air amphitheater built into a sandstone rock structure. The Amphitheater is surrounded by Red Rocks Park, which has a multitude of trails taking you close to the parks’ rock formations. The venue is open for visitation up to 14:00 on concert days ( almost every day during summer time) or up to 19:00 in the rest of the time. You can find more information about opening times here.

Good to know! The restaurant situated inside the park is not accessible for dinner for on concert days, unless you are attending the concert. The park is open one hour before sunset until one hour after sunset.

The day I visited it was a concert day and it looked like a storm was on the way. Nevertheless, I managed to walk for about 45 minutes on the Trading Post Trail. I was lucky enough to leave just in time to avoid the massive thunderstorm.

Certainly, this will be one of the first locations I will go back to on my next trip to Denver! At every turn on the path there’s a view of rocks seemingly protecting the path, and opening a window into the rolling hills of green extending up to the nearest roads or cities.

Additionally, if you need more inspiration on what to see in Denver take a look at the slide show below!

Moreover, courtesy of Southwest (and my delayed flight), I got to enjoy one last sunset in Denver. In conclusion, I’ve spent my short-time in Denver taking a glimpse into what this city has to offer, and I am planning to go back for a longer stay as soon as possible.

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