People may think of Denver as a winter vacation stop-over on the way to Colorado’s ski resorts. However, any local can tell you that summer is our best-kept secret. Sure, our summers are hot, but while most of the country is wallowing in sweat-inducing humidity, we have more of a “dry heat” on our radar every year. As long as we have shade, sunscreen, and cold Colorado craft beer, we’re good. Every summer, you’ll find us heading outdoors to the mountains, festivals, or rooftop patios in droves, soaking up the sunshine and beautiful views.
If you’re new to Denver, or if you have friends/family coming to visit, here are a few handy suggestions to get the most out of our summer-friendly city.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
If you’re a live music fan, you already know about this stunning concert venue. Red Rocks is the quintessential concert experience and you’ll find shows almost every night throughout the summer months. We love the museum underneath the stage – it’s definitely worth checking out! On weekend mornings, participate in several exercise boot camps scattered around the amphitheater, challenging participants to run up the 69 bench seats — can you do it?
Historic LoDo Walking Tour
No better way to enjoy warm, sunny weather than with a walking tour around downtown, right? Lower Downtown, or LoDo for short, is Denver’s oldest business district and has a bit of a sordid past. (On that note this is an adults-only tour.) From crooked mayors to gangsters to brothels and opium dens, you’ll learn the crazy history of our city, as well as noted architecture, significant historic buildings, and haunted hotels.
Avanti Food and Beverage
Lauded as Denver’s hottest spot, this family-friendly “food hall” offers one of the best patio views of the downtown Denver skyline. The beautifully-designed space centers around its view, and visitors can indulge in any of the seven food vendors operating onsite or the two full-service bars. Make sure you get there early to snag a space on the upstairs patio.
Denver has many top-notch cultural institutions, and on certain days of the year, they’re free to the public! This is perfect for large families or groups. Or it’s just perfect for those of us with a limited budget. Explore the Denver Zoo, which is home to the 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage, or the world-renowned Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which features the Ultimate Dinosaur Exhibit.
South Pearl Street Farmers Market
Stroll along Old South Pearl Street and peruse booths filled with fresh produce, ready-to-eat treats, artisan cheeses, oven-baked goods, and freshly roasted green chilies. The quaint South Pearl neighborhood hosts this splendid outdoor market every Sunday, 9 am-1pm, from May until November.
Take the family out for a day at the park! City Park, which is just east of downtown, features two lakes, several monuments, two playgrounds, tennis courts, and picnic sites, in addition to the zoo and Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Then, on Sunday nights, grab your friends and head out for an evening at the park. City Park Jazz produces free concerts featuring jazz, blues, and salsa musicians.
This list should get you started for your Denver summer extravaganza. And, as always, if you take any fun photos at any of these stops, feel free to share them with us!