13 Top Things to Do in Denver in Summer (2023)

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Looking for a great summer vacation spot? Denver is an amazing spot to visit, whether you’re coming alone, visiting with friends, or bringing your whole family along. With a great mix of sports, arts, beer, and more, why go anywhere else than Denver in summer? 

We’ve rounded up our 13 top things to do if you find yourself in the Mile High City during the warmer months, plus a couple of bonus spots that you won’t want to miss out on if you have time! 

Here are the best things to do in Denver in Summer.

🚗 Click here to rent a car for your trip to Denver!

While public transportation is alright in Denver, it’s truly easiest to get around by car. (Trust us, we didn’t have a car our first year living there… not fun!)

Denver in Summer

Go to a Rockies game 

View of a baseball game from behind the net along the first base line.

This is one of our favorite things to do in Denver in summer. The city is buzzing on game day, and there is always so much to do, whether you are at the game itself or at one of the local bars or breweries right around the stadium. 

We have been to a lot of games and have picked up a few things when it comes to seeing the Rockies play in the summer. First, if you’re not the biggest fan of the heat, we highly recommend going to a game on Friday or Saturday. These games tend to start either at 6:40 pm or 7:10 pm so you don’t have to deal with the sun and heat as much. 

Sunday games are normally at 1:10 pm so they are a little warmer but are a great game to attend if you have kids with you. If you happen to be visiting during the first Sunday home game of the month, the Rockies even have a select group of coaches and players that sign autographs before the game. 

Head over to the RiNo Art District

Wooden pole with arrows pointing in each direction that have different locations printed on them.
Editorial credit: Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

The RiNo Art District is a great place to visit, especially if you are with a group of friends. The district is covered in beautiful street art and there is always something going on. Oftentimes on the weekend, there’s some sort of market or thrifting that is happening around Denver Central Market

There are also a ton of restaurants and bars along the way where you can stop and grab food. Some of them are chains, like Shake Shack, but there are a lot of local places as well. 

If you’re staying downtown, it is a little bit of a walk over to Rhino so we suggest either driving over and parking (there is street parking throughout) or taking an electric scooter! 

Stop by the Denver Botanic Gardens 

Small pond with plants and lily pads on it with a gazebo behind it.

The Denver Botanic Gardens are absolutely beautiful, and it is such a peaceful place to be. You can walk through the large outdoor areas and there are a few indoor greenhouses that are amazing. 

There are also a couple of cafes and bistros in the gardens, so you can enjoy a cup of coffee and some breakfast or grab some lunch before heading back downtown. Tickets range from $11 for children to $15 for adults, so it’s a great place to bring the whole family. 

They even have a summer concert series in the garden on select nights throughout the summer and even have local musicians play throughout the gardens on select Mondays and Wednesdays. You can check out the full calendar and purchase tickets here

Have a Drink at a Beer Garden

Group of people sitting around at table drinking beer and eating food.

There is no shortage of beer gardens throughout the city, and it is a great place to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere at these beer gardens is always amazing, and not only will you get some great drinks, but most of them also have delicious food. 

One of our favorites is Recess Beer Garden. It’s located just a few minutes drive from downtown and has an amazing, laid-back vibe. If you do head over there, we love their wings and their pork green chili fries!

Some of the beer gardens also host events or have local musicians on the weekend, so be sure to check out what’s around you when you visit!  

Explore Downtown

A table with chips, nachos, chili cheese fries and a burrito on it.

If you have a day that you want to spend exploring downtown Denver, you will have plenty to see! You can start by walking around 16th Street Mall. Honestly, most of the stores and restaurants along the mall are chains, but there are a few hidden gems along the way. 

Our favorite place to eat on 16th Street is D’Corazon. This is seriously some of the best Mexican food we have ever had. Other great places are Illegal Pete’s (for Chipotle, like Mexican food) and Illegal Burger (their truffle fries are so good)! 

There are also a couple of markets throughout the downtown area. Milk Market is one of our favorites and has some great places to eat. McGreggor Square is also a great option and is sure to have a lot going on if you head over on a game day, as it’s right across the street from Coors Field! 

Do an Escape Room or Go to Urban Putt

These are great options if you are visiting Denver with friends or your family! There are a couple of great escape rooms in downtown Denver. Our two favorite spots are EscapeWorks and Escapology. EscapeWorks is right off of the 16th Street Mall as well, so if you are staying down there, it will be a quick walk. 

Both of these places are popular and can be booked out a bit in advance, so we definitely suggest looking into booking a room before your trip just so you can get the room you want! 

Urban Putt is also a great option for any mini golf fans. The course is completely indoors and has a combination of normal mini-golf holes, virtual holes, and more! It is one of the most unique mini-golf courses we have been to, and it is always a great time. 

They do a happy hour during the week (Tuesday-Friday) where you can play both sides of the course for only $10! Keep in mind that they are closed on Mondays. 

Head to Elitch Gardens 

View from above of a ferris wheel at an amusement park.
Editorial credit: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

When you think of Denver, you probably don’t think about an amusement park, but there is one right in the city. What started as a zoological park in 1890 has transformed into an oasis for laughter and fun in the Mile High City. 

This is a great place to add to your list if you are visiting with younger kids. Tickets are $50 if you purchase them online before your visit, and anyone under 2 gets in for free

Stop by a Local Brewery

Small plank of wood with 4 small glasses of cider on it.

Whether you are looking to take a brewery tour, go brewery hopping, or just relax and have a local brew, there is no shortage of great places for you to visit. Denver is chalked full of local breweries that have amazing craft beers. 

If you are looking for something a little more fun, there are even some tours that will take you between some of the local spots. 

Cider more of your thing? There are a few great places right downtown. Our favorite, by far, is Stem Ciders. They’re located right in the RiNo District, so it’s a great place to stop while you explore down there! 

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    Visit the Denver Zoo

    An animal sitting on a wooden fixture at a zoo.

    From penguins to lions and tigers to snakes and so much more, the Denver Zoo has it all! Tickets range from $18 for kids to $24 for adults, and anyone under 2 gets in for free. 

    There are also additional exhibits throughout the zoo, like the Stingray Cove experience, that you can purchase a ticket for (it’s only $2) to get up close and personal with Stingrays!

    This is a great option if you are visiting with kids, just remember that Denver in summer can get pretty warm, so be sure you are prepared for the heat. 

    Have a Picnic at Confluence Park 

    A river flowing in a city with a bridge crossing over it in the distance.
    Confluence Park is a great place to have picnics.

    Confluence Park is a beautiful, open space just a short walk from the end of 16th Street Mall. There is a ton of open grass space throughout the park, and is a popular place for locals to hang out and relax. 

    We love packing up a little picnic and heading over to the park for the afternoon. If you don’t want to grab something from the grocery stores downtown before you head over, there are also some restaurants and cafes around the park where you can grab some food before finding the perfect spot to relax. 

    Visit Some of the Museums

    Front of a building with glass panels across the front.

    There are a ton of museums right in the downtown area that you can visit. This is a great way to break up your day in Denver in summer and get into some a/c during the hottest part of the day. 

    You can find various art museums, children’s museums, nature and science museums, and so much more! Some of them even have events and classes that happen throughout the summer, so be sure to check the museum’s website to take advantage of all that it has to offer! 

    Visit the Denver Aquarium 

    Two turtles walking a log in a small enclosure.

    If you are looking to see some wildlife but avoid the heat, the Denver Aquarium is the perfect place to spend the day. Although it’s not as big as some other aquariums around the country, there is plenty to see throughout the building. 

    They have events and discounts throughout the month, so be sure to check those out when you book your ticket! Once a month, they also have a low sensory morning where they turn down the ambient sounds to help create a quieter and more calming atmosphere so everyone can enjoy the beauty of the aquarium! 

    Eat at an ice cream shop

    An ice cream shop shaped like an old school milk jar with red umbrellas in front of it.

    Finally, no trip to Denver in summer would be complete without stopping and getting some ice cream. There are a ton of places throughout the city that you can stop by as you explore throughout the day.

    If you’re around 16th Street Mall, our favorites are Kilwins and Gelato Boy. There are also a couple of great ice cream shops around Confluence Park if you want to end your relaxing picnic with a sweet treat. 

    Finally, Little Man Ice Cream is a favorite among a lot of people. This is one of the best Denver summer activities. It is a bit further outside of the downtown area, so it is easier to get to it with a car, but it’s definitely worth the trip if you can make it (even if it’s just to see the building itself!). 

    Bonus Spots Around Denver

    View of the Flatiron mountains with a large field in front of it.
    The Flatirons are one of the most popular spots to hike near Denver!

    If you have the time and a way to get around, there are so many great things to do right around Denver. Boulder is only about 30-40 minutes away and has its own version of 16th Street Mall called Pearl Street, as well as some great hikes in the Flatirons. 

    Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater are also beautiful and definitely worth the trip. If you can, we highly recommend seeing a concert there during your visit! 

    Finally, if you have a free day and don’t mind a bit of a drive (around 1 hour 30 min – 2 hours), you can head over to Rocky Mountain National Park. You will have to get a timed entry pass to get into the park over the summer, so you definitely want to plan this ahead of time if you want to go! 

    🚗 Click here to rent a car for your trip to Denver!

    While public transportation is alright in Denver, it’s truly easiest to get around by car. (Trust us, we didn’t have a car our first year living there… not fun!)

    FAQ: Things to do in Denver in the Summer

    What attractions are open in Denver during the summer?

    The Rocky Mountains provide a natural playground for outdoor activities like biking, camping, and hiking. There are also plenty of museums, galleries, parks, and other attractions to visit in Denver during the summer months. For example, the Denver Art Museum is open year-round, as well as the Denver Zoo. The Downtown Aquarium also provides a great family-friendly experience.

    Is it hot enough to swim in Denver during the summer?

    Most days will be warm enough for you to take a dip in one of many public pools or lakes located nearby.

    Are there any festivals or events happening in Denver this summer?

    Summer is always full of exciting events in Denver—from the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival and legendary Red Rocks concerts to the Cherry Creek arts festival. No matter what your interests are, chances are that you’ll find something fun going on this summer.

    Final Thoughts: Summer in Denver

    There you have it, our top picks for what to do in Denver in summer. We hope these tips help you plan out the perfect trip to the Mile High City! 

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