3 Days in Denver Travel Guide
While you can fill up a whole weekend with things to do in Denver, there are also many destinations a couple hours away from Denver that are amazing as well. The Rocky Mountain National Park is usually a must visit when coming to Colorado. There are even some smaller towns like Boulder and Colorado Springs that are bustling with activities.
Whether you’re coming for the brews or the hikes, Denver is a must visit location for any different type of traveler. Check out this post for the when to go, where to stay, how to get around, what to expect, and what to do when planning your trip to 3 days in Denver!
Here is my Ultimate 3-Day Denver Travel Guide to start planning your trip!
When to go...
Denver is a year round destination, there is really no wrong time to visit. Colorado is known for its 300 days of sunshine, you’re bound to have fun no matter when you go, it just depends on what you’re looking to do!
Spring and Fall will offer the best prices for stays and lower tourist traffic. Both will offer nice moderate temperatures, with Spring adding in the blooming flowers and Fall bringing the fall foliage.
Summer is a popular time for tourists to visit Denver, or Colorado in general. Especially those planning to visit the Rocky National Park, this is high season so make sure to plan in advance. Be prepared for some dry heat in Denver as it can still get pretty hot.
If you’re worried about visiting Denver in the winter, you shouldn’t be! Snow does not stay on the ground too long and many areas stay open. Denver itself won’t be as busy as many flock towards ski resorts for their winter activities.
Where to stay...
There are many different areas you can stay in Denver. However, it’s not too hard to get around, so I usually like to stay within these two areas. My two favorite areas to stay in Denver are LoDo and RiNo.
LoDo (Lower Downtown) is located in the heart of downtown and is Denver’s oldest neighborhood. Here, you will be in a vibrant neighborhood, and bonus, close to nightlife.
The Maven Hotel at Dairy Block is a unique hotel near the Dairy Block area.
RiNo (River North) is east of downtown. The neighborhood is a trendy neighborhood focused on art. Here, you will find contemporary galleries, craft beer and many people just knocking about.
The Source Hotel is right in the heart of RiNo.
How to get around...
The nearest airport to Denver is the Denver International Airport (DIA) and is the largest airport in the U.S. It’s about 45 minutes from downtown Denver, and depending on the time you go, be prepared for traffic.
If you’re planning to just spend a weekend in Denver, it is easy to get by on foot or Uber. Also, Denver has a light rail system and bus system that makes it easy to get between the metropolitan areas.
However, if you’re planning to take a trip to the Rocky’s or another nearby town, I highly recommend renting a car. Whether you road trip through the state or rent one for the day, it will make it easier to explore areas outside of Denver.
What to expect...
Denver is a pretty hipster city and has a great laid back vibe. With that in mind, here are some things you should know when planning a visit.
1. Recreational marijuana is legal. Remember to be smart, be safe and have fun!
2. As I said before, Denver is the Mile High City, sitting 5,280 feet above sea level. You might need a day to acclimate to the altitude and remember to watch out for signs of altitude sickness. Especially, if you head to higher elevations outside of Denver.
3. Colorado is known for its outdoors and hiking! If you’re planning to take advantage of the outdoors, make sure you have the proper hiking shoes, equipment etc.
4. Denver and Colorado in general is super dog friendly! We love to bring our pup here for hikes and there are plenty of outdoor restaurants to dine as well.
5. As I said before, Denver is very laid back! Everything including what I wore was casual. The important thing is to be comfortable and to have proper walking shoes if walking around the city.
Day 1 - Explore Denver
For day 1 of your 3 days in Denver, take time time to explore the city and check out the must eat restaurants!
Brunch: Head to Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, there are a couple of these around Denver and I love to go for brunch. There are plenty of items on their menu but I love any of their pancake dishes!
Walking Tour: Walk around and see the city, there are a couple of free walking tours that you can join or you can walk through the city and explore at your own pace! Start at the Colorado State Capitol where there is a great photo op of the mile high step. From there you can walk down 16th Street Mall to people watch and shop around the stores. After that, walk down through the historical Larmier Square. Finally, you can end off your walking tour at Union Station, and grab lunch.
Dinner: One of my favorite restaurants for dinner time is Safta. This Israli restaurant has great small and big plates. On top of that, the drinks and atmosphere are top notch. Make sure to make reservations in advance as they are often pretty busy.
Nightlife: There are a some good rooftop bars in Denver that are worth checking out. I really enjoyed 54thirty Rooftop on top of the Le Meridien hotel. If you’re looking for a cool bar with beer I would also recommend RiNo Beer Garden.
Day 2 - Hiking/Day Trip
For your 2nd day of your 3 days in Denver, take a hike or day trip to one of the close by towns! Close to Denver are a couple of hikes if that is something you are into doing, or you can take a day trip as well. A couple hours away are come incredible places to visit. Here are a couple day trips that I recommend taking. For some of these I have already written how to spend a day there.
Boulder: Only 30 minutes from Denver, there are hikes, breweries and some great food options. The popular Chautauqua Park is a great option especially if you are into hiking.
Golden: Also only 30 minutes from Denver, this town is filled with mining history as well as the popular Coors Brewery.
Colorado Springs: About 2 hours from Denver, you could easily spend more than a day here. From hikes, to breweries there are endless activities to do. For sure if you go here, would be to visit Pike’s Peak.
Rocky Mountain National Park: Also 2 hours from Denver, depending on where you start, the RMNP really can be a whole trip on it’s own. If this is on your todo list, you can head over there to get in some day hikes as well.
Fort Collins: 2 hours in from Denver, this cute town is filled with some of the best breweries.
Day 3 - Brew Tour
For your last day in Denver, be sure to check out the popular breweries!
Brunch: On your last day, head to Denver Biscuit Company for brunch and some of the best biscuits
Brews: Denver has great breweries that you should check out before leaving! You can join Denver Brew Tours or create your own DIY one. Downtown Denver has several good ones including Great Divide Brewing CO. If you head to South Denver, a unique one is TRVE which plays heavy metal music. Highlands is another popular area for breweries.
Afternoon: RiNo is one of my favorite places to walk around and day drink. The bars and atmosphere are lively. If you find yourself here during lunch, head to Barelona for Spanish tapas and wine.
Dinner: If you have time for one last meal, Postino, is a great Italian place for dinner.