While Austin tends to steal the spotlight when it comes to trendy travel destinations in the U.S., we're making the case that you should extend your view beyond the Southwest to the Rockies. Of course, you can't skip Austin (the barbecue alone is worth booking a flight), but trust us—Denver deserves a spot on your travel bucket list too.
Boasting a booming art and restaurant scene, the Colorado capital is quickly becoming the trendiest city in the west. From an up-and-coming neighborhood filled with beautiful murals to one of America's best new restaurants, the mile-high city is a must-visit destination for art lovers and foodies alike. Below we've crafted a shortlist of all the best restaurants, sights, shops, and hotels to make planning a trip to the Colorado metropolis a no-brainer.
Here are 16 local-approved things to do in Denver to add to your itinerary.
Spanning a trendy market with a variety of options to a Southern-inspired brunch spot, here's our shortlist of where to eat when in Denver.
Crema Coffee House: Get a jolt at this hipster haven and coffeehouse.
Denver Biscuit Company: For a Southern brunch, head to this local haunt.
The Denver Central Market: Named one of America's best new restaurants by Bon Appétit, this spot offers a variety of options, making it the perfect destination for a group of travelers with different palates to please.
Cart-Driver: If you're craving pizza, this is the best spot in Denver to get your fix. (We recommend the mushroom pie.)
With impressive art museums in Capitol Hill and Golden Triangle and an ever-expanding street art scene in the River North Art District (RiNo), Denver is quickly gaining an artsy reputation. Here's where to go to check it out.
Museum of Contemporary Art: Head to the rooftop patio for a cup of coffee after you've browsed through the museum.
Clyfford Still Museum: Featuring a substantial collection of art by the abstract impressionist Clyfford Still, this museum's architecture is just as impressive as the art it houses.
Denver Art Museum: With a collection of over 70,000 works of art, this museum is a must-visit for any art lover.
From an artisanal apothecary to an iconic independent bookstore, these shops are worth wandering into while you're exploring the streets of Denver.
Fig + Yarrow: For handcrafted, organic skincare products, head to this artisanal apothecary.
Tattered Cover: Located in a historic downtown building, this bookstore is a Denver institution no voracious reader should miss.
Svper Ordinary: Part retail space, part gallery, this cool shop is worth stopping into while you're in the artsy RiNo district.
Goldyn: This curated shop in the up-and-coming Lower Highland (LoHi) neighborhood is a must-visit for anyone looking for locally designed clothing, jewelry, and miscellaneous curiosities.
Whether you want to be centrally located in downtown or closer to the trendy Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood, these are the best places to stay in Denver.
The Art, a Hotel: Art lovers, forgo all standard accommodations, and book a room at this unique hotel.
The Crawford Hotel: A great spot to stay if you like to be central, this hotel is situated in the iconic Denver Union Station.
Hotel Teatro: Located steps away from Skyline Park and Larimer Square, this boutique hotel is ideal for visitors who want to walk through the city.
The Maven Hotel at Dairy Block: The décor at this LoDo location is so cool that it doesn't even feel like you're staying at a hotel.