Denver, Colorado, also known as the Mile High City, is a popular and widely traveled destination in the United States. From hiking, breweries, and winter activities, this hotspot destination has endless things to do. This post here is my 3 Days in Denver Travel Guide to help you when planning a trip for three days in Denver.
While you can fill up a whole weekend with things to do in Denver, there are also many amazing destinations a couple of hours away from Denver. Of course, the Rocky Mountain National Park is usually a must-visit when coming to Colorado. Even some smaller towns like Boulder and Colorado Springs 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 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. In addition, Colorado is known for its 300 days of sunshine. So you’re bound to have fun no matter when you go.
Spring and Fall will offer the best prices and lower tourist traffic. In addition, both will offer pleasant moderate temperatures, with Spring adding in the blooming flowers and Fall bringing the fall foliage.
Summer is a popular time for tourists visiting Denver or Colorado. Especially for those planning to visit the Rocky National Park. Summer is high season, so make sure to prepare. 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 stays on the ground for a short time, and many areas remain open. Denver will be more relaxed than busy as many flocks toward ski resorts for their winter activities.
Where to stay
There are many different areas you can stay in Denver. However, it’s pretty easy to get around, so I stay within these two areas. My two favorite places 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 community and 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. This trendy neighborhood focuses on art. You will find contemporary galleries, craft beer, and many people just knocking about here.
The Source Hotel is suitable in the heart of RiNo.
How to get around
The nearest airport to Denver is the Denver International Airport (DIA), the largest airport in the U.S. It’s about 45 minutes from downtown Denver. Depending on the time you go, be prepared for traffic.
If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Denver, it is easy to get by on foot or by Uber. Also, Denver has a light rail and bus system that makes it easy to get between the metropolitan areas.
However, I highly recommend renting a car if you plan to take a trip to the Rocky’s or another nearby town. Whether you road trip through the state or rent one for the day, it will make exploring areas outside Denver easier.
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.
- Recreational marijuana is legal. Remember to be smart, be safe and have fun!
- As I said, 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 for signs of altitude sickness, especially if you head to higher elevations outside of Denver.
- Colorado is known for its outdoors and hiking! If you’re planning to take advantage of the outdoors, ensure you have the proper hiking shoes, equipment, etc.
- Denver and Colorado, in general, are super dogs friendly! We love bringing our pup here for hikes and plenty of outdoor restaurants to dine in.
- 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 three days in Denver, explore the city and check out the must-eat restaurants!
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!
Walk around and see the city. There are a couple of free walking tours that you can join, or you can walk through the town and explore at your own pace! Start at the Colorado State Capitol, where there is a great photo op of the mile-high step. Next, 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 your walking tour at Union Station and grab lunch.
Safta is one of my favorite restaurants for dinner time. It has excellent small and big plates. The drinks and atmosphere are top-notch. Make reservations in advance.
Day 2 - Hiking/Day Trip
For the 2nd day of your three days in Denver, take a hike or day trip to one of the closes towns! Close to Denver are a couple of hikes if that is something you are into, or you can take a day trip. Here are a couple of day trips that I recommend taking. I have already written about how to spend a day there for some of these.
Only 30 minutes from Denver, there are hikes, breweries, and some great food options. The famous Chautauqua Park is a great option, especially if you are into hiking.
Check out How to Spend 24 Hours in Boulder.
Also, only 30 minutes from Denver, this town contains mining history and the famous Coors Brewery.
About 2 hours from Denver, you could spend more than a day here. From hikes to breweries, there are endless activities to do.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park is also 2 hours from Denver. Depending on where you start, the RMNP can be a whole trip. You can also head for some day hikes if this is on your to-do list.
This cute town has some of the best breweries two hours from Denver.
See my Day Trip to Fort Collins.
Day 3 - Brew Tour
For your last day in Denver, check out the popular breweries!
On your last day, head to Denver Biscuit Company for brunch and some of the best biscuits.
Denver has great breweries that you should check out before leaving! You can join Denver Brew Tours or create your DIY. Downtown Denver has several good ones, including Great Divide Brewing CO. If you head to South Denver, TRVE plays heavy metal music. Highlands is another popular area for breweries.
RiNo is one of my favorite places to walk around and day drink. The bars and atmosphere are lively. Head to Barcelona for Spanish tapas and wine if you are here during lunch.
Postino is a great Italian place if you have time for one last meal.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
If you have energy and are feeling for another adventure, check out Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It’s about 30 minutes away from downtown Denver.
Viewing one here is quite the experience if you can catch a concert. Or simply just go walking on the trails or running is a great exercise.