Brimming with beautiful parks, a bustling art scene and innumerable bike and hiking trails, it’s no wonder why Denver is considered one of the most progressive cities in the US and is at the top of many travel-lovers’ lists. If you’re headed to this sensational city for a weekend getaway, you’re probably worried about how you’ll possibly see and do it all in just 48 hours.
Well, no need to fret! Follow this simple itinerary and find out where to eat, stay and play to make the most of your weekend adventure in the Mile High City. Here’s your ultimate 48-hour guide to Denver!
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Day 1 in Denver
Bagel… or bust! We know what you’re thinking — bagels in Denver? Oh yes. And the best place to start your day off with a breakfast bagel is Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen. Besides the perfectly chewy NYC-style bagels, created by former Jersey boy Josh Pollack, be sure to try their Western takes on the classics like the green chile cream cheese, or the Heebster — a sandwich complete with whitefish salad, wasabi flying fish roe and scallion cream cheese!
Take a nice 30-minute stroll (or take a cab if you must) to get to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. With so many exciting exhibits, this is a place that’s great for both young and old alike!
Soak in the serenity in the confines of the lush Denver Botanic Gardens where you’ll see all kinds of plants and flowers. Denver is famous for its bountiful natural sites, so go ahead and take a minute to sit down and watch the world float by.
Fun Fact: Denver is nicknamed the “Mile High City” because it sits exactly one mile above sea level.
You’ve strolled through gardens and museums, so we’re guessing you’ve worked up an appetite by now? Take your empty belly over to Machete Tequila + Tacos, for tacos made with fascinating fillings like squid ink or hibiscus, and some great tequila to wash it all down with.
Need some whiskey to wash down that tequila? Find your way to 200 S. Kalamath Street, where you can engage in the highly rated whiskey tour at the Stranahan Distillery. Here, you’ll be able to sample some unique Colorado whiskey and see their whole process from barrel to bottle.
It’s time to walk off that buzz. Take your tipsy self over to Fifty-Two 80s, an antique store that specializes in pop culture accessories from the 80s. This quirky and fun pit stop will have you feeling like you’ve time traveled back to your teenage years (or it could just be all that whiskey)!
Dinner time! And what better place to nosh on Denver classics, than the very spot where Denver was founded? Head to Larimer Square, Denver’s historic district, full of bars, restaurants and independent shops galore! Some crowd favorites are Rioja — a Mediterranean restaurant known for it’s locally sourced ingredients, Tamayo — a modern Mexican eatery complete with a rooftop bar and a collection of over 100 types of tequila and The Crimson Room — a sleek bar and lounge that offers a wide range of cocktails and jazz concerts on the weekends!
(But really, just take a stroll down Larimer Street and you’ll find endless choices!)
We hope you had a fun-filled first day, but it’s probably time to close out that tab, head back to the pavilion and rest up before you start your second day in Denver!
Day 2 in Denver
Rise and shine travel lover, it’s time to start day 2! To fuel up for the day, head to Sunny’s on W. 44th Ave, where you should grab some coffee, waffles or their famous Bomber (bacon with cauliflower, onions, cherry peppers topped with cheddar cheese and eggs).
Honk, honk! Shift gears from breakfast and make your way to the Forney Museum of Transportation, which showcases some really well-preserved vintage automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, and even trains from decades past, with a few oddball vehicles for display as well.
Assuming you’ve worked up an appetite, rev your engines and head to The Buckhorn Exchange, a unique eatery that serves up exotic fare that includes rattlesnake, alligator tail and yep, you guessed it — some Rocky Mountain Oysters… better known as bull testicles! If you’re not the adventurous type don’t worry, they do have a mean buffalo steak and other “normal” menu items. If you think what’s on the plate is weird, check out the interior – it’s full of frontier fervor with mounted animal heads and old weapons. The Buckhorn is also rumored to have served none other than Buffalo Bill himself!
It’s time to walk off that unique lunch experience. If you’re an art lover, you’ll definitely want to stop by the Denver Art Museum. With over 70,000 diverse works of art from across the glove, this museum is especially known for its vast collection of American Indian art.
After you’ve had your fill of art, it’s time to take some pictures of your own! Head on over to the Civic Center Park and pose in front of the Colorado State Capitol building to get those Instagram-worthy pics in. Go ahead and take a free tour to learn more about the state’s history, while you’re there! Once you’re done snapping away and to continue on our history kick, skip on over to the nearby Molly Brown House Museum, which tells the story of Margaret “Molly” Brown – activist and philanthropist who famously survived the sinking of the Titanic.
As evening approaches, mosey along to the Highlands, Denver’s most “it” neighborhood. Separated into three separate districts — Highlands Square, Tennyson Street and Lower Highland (LoHi) — it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with so much to do… and so little time! While you contemplate what to eat, make your way through the three-story flagship R.E.I store to see all the latest and greatest outdoors gear.
Next, head on over to Linger a neighborhood favorite for ethnic eats, situated in a historic mortuary and overlooking the Denver skyline. Catch some amazing views while noshing on anything from masala dosas to fried chicken, all made from farm-fresh ingredients!
…And there you have it, folks – 48 hours in Mile High City!
Have any must-see sights in Denver to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!