Florida Man on the Run

Guide to Two Days in Denver

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The mile high city has so much to offer, it’s honestly difficult to only spend two days in Denver. The city is full of scrumptious food, lively culture, and a near endless supply of attractions for all ages. Though we only spent two days in Denver proper, the city is also a great base for you to explore the Rocky Mountains. We enjoyed every minute we got here and I know we will be coming back very, very soon. Read on and find out how you can make the most of your two days in Denver.

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Strolling the 16th Street Mall

Serving as the heartbeat of Downtown Denver, the 16th Street Mall is an absolute must visit during your two days in Denver. This pedestrian mall is the home to more than 300 shops and nearly 50 restaurants. Not only a wonderful walking destination in town, the 16th Street Mall serves as the central point from which you can meander to countless other places in Downtown.

If you’re heading downtown for some food, then you’ll have plenty on offer. Our trip along the mall took us to the delicious Earls Kitchen + Bar. I scarfed down a Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich, while my wife knocked down their great take on the Impossible Burger. I highly recommend stopping in and treating yourself to a nice dinner here during your trip.

Daniels & Fisher Tower at night with blue lights. Taken during the first night while spending two days in Denver.
One of the defining features of 16th Street

Our main reason for venturing Downtown to the 16th Street Mall was to visit the Clocktower Cabaret. This one-of-a-kind venue is housed in the basement of the historic Daniels & Fisher Tower which was built in 1910. The Clocktower Cabaret plays host to shows of all kinds including comedy, music, and burlesque. The venue is an intimate and gorgeous place that can’t be missed. It’s a must to see a show here while in Denver. We saw a stellar and spooky burlesque show during our trip! We had a ton of fun and the cast was supremely talented. It was the perfect way to cap our first day in Denver.

For late night, post show eats, I recommend Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. A couple blocks off the mall, they were open late and we stopped in at the end of their open mic night. They have dining above the stage which was a unique way to catch a show, not to mention some delicious dishes!

For Two Days in Denver Grab CityPass

One of the best ways see the attractions Denver has to offer is to grab a Denver CityPass. This program allows you to pay a single price and see either three, four, or five different attractions during your trip. For two days in Denver, I’d recommend grabbing the three or four attraction pass. This will let you spend plenty of time at each location. The last thing you want to do is rush your day when you’re trying to enjoy a vacation!

Denver CityPASS

When we visited, we settled on the three attraction CityPass. With this pass we visited the Downtown Aquarium, Museum of Nature & Science, and History Colorado Center. You also have the option of visiting the Denver Zoo, Children’s Museum of Denver, Denver Botanic Garden, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, or Denver Art Museum. Any of these are a great choice but if we had to do it over, I’d change out the Aquarium for the Zoo or Air Museum.

City Park and Museum Exhibits

The first day in town we headed out to City Park, which is home to the Museum of Nature & Science and the Denver Zoo. City Park itself is worth spending some time in, especially if you visit on a gorgeous day like we did. The wide open green spaces were welcoming and a perfect space for a picnic. You could even take some time on the water in a classic Swan Boat if you’re feeling up to paddling. It’d be easy to enjoy a whole day at the park if you’re spending more than two days in Denver.

Hard to beat the view of downtown than from the science museum during two days in denver
View of City Park from the Anschutz Sky Terrace

The Museum is just a treasure trove of exhibits with something for all ages to enjoy. Dinosaur lovers will certainly need to experience the Prehistoric Journey. A walk through the Earth’s distant past with countless dinosaur fossils that will leave you in awe of these ancient beasts. This is definitely the prime attraction at the museum, so be mindful that it will be popular during busy times.

If you’re more interested in what’s under your feet, then explore the mines in the Gems and Minerals showcase. This hall is packed with hundreds of mineral specimens, all of which are sure to catch your attention. In addition, you’ll get to “explore” a recreated mine shaft to see the amazing sights the miners would have seen. You’ll certainly be struck by the beauty of what Earth can create!

Deep in the mines!

If you’re not wanting to be stuck on Earth, then check out the Space Odyssey. This area features a replica of the Insight lander found on Mars! We really loved the cool space artifacts found here including some moon rocks and an actual space suit that saw action. As of May 2020, the Space Odyssey is currently under going renovations for a reopening in November 2020.

Downtown Aquarium and History Colorado Center

Our second day in Denver was when we got a chance to visit the other two attractions we had planned. My wife and I both love history, so the opportunity to explore a museum with a local focus was one we couldn’t pass up.

The History Colorado Center is located in Downtown Denver just steps from the Denver Art Museum and a block from the Capitol building. As its name suggests, it is fully dedicated to telling the story of Colorado. It is full of interactive exhibits and is a great place to bring the kids. While what the museum offers can change, they are usually there for extended periods.

The two highlights from the History Colorado Center, were the Beer Here! Brewing the New West exhibit and Written on the Land: Ute Voices, Ute History. Both of these were wonderfully informative and told stories that were intimately connected to Colorado’s history. The Ute displays were enlightening and I certainly left wanting to know more about these unique peoples.

Later in the day we ventured to the Downtown Aquarium. Of all the places we visited during our trip, this was probably the one we could have skipped or replaced. The displays are what you’d mostly expect from an aquarium. If you don’t have a local aquarium, or if you’ve never been to one, then it’s worth checking out. However, it certainly doesn’t compare to some we have been too including the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

Finding a tiger at the aquarium was an unexpected find during our two days in denver
The Aquarium does have a pretty neat Tiger exhibit though!

Taking a Walk Down Broadway

We stayed for three nights in Denver, but only spent two days in the city itself. However, our extremely early start for the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park meant we had the opportunity to spend a late afternoon in the city on that third day. I’m really happy that we took the opportunity to walk down Broadway and check out this unique neighborhood.

We walked Broadway from Bayaud Street to 1st Avenue which is the heart of this neighborhood. Even this short little stretch is full of funky shops, neat eateries, and laid-back bars. We intended to take advantage of our time to do a bit of shopping, and weren’t disappointed with what we found. If you’re a fan of thrifting, then hit up Buffalo Exchange. Need that vintage fix while in town, then Decade Gifts is your place. Just looking to see some friendly faces, then pop into Fancy Tiger Crafts or Rosehouse Botanicals.

The art at the Pie Hole really epitomizes all of Broadway

Besides the shopping available all along this strip, you’ve got quite a few options for drinks or dinner. We took the opportunity to grab a couple slices from Pie Hole. These huge slices absolutely hit the spot at the end of a long day and the funky decor gave off just the right vibes. We topped the night off with a bit of desert from Sweet Action Ice Cream. All the homemade flavors are fantastic and they even have a wide selection of vegan options. If you’re looking for entertainment and alcohol, then I’d recommend stopping in at 3 Kings Tavern. Its that perfect mix of dive bar and rock venue that is perfectly Denver.

More Eats for Two Days in Denver

Over the course of two days in Denver, you’re gonna find yourself needing some good eats. There is an abundance of places to grab a delicious meal, but I think we knocked it out of the park on our trip.

Our first morning we zeroed in on a staple breakfast near City Park, Hooked on Colfax. This intimate coffee shop has plenty on offer for breakfast and it’s all delicious. When we stopped in on a Sunday morning, the line was to the door which I think is pretty good indication of how good the food is going to be. You definitely need to pencil this one in for breakfast if you’re going near City Park to visit the Museum or Zoo.

The second breakfast from our two days in Denver consisted of biscuits and gravy from City O' City.
Biscuits and Gravy from City O’ City

On the second day we started with breakfast at City O’ City. Breakfast here might have been my favorite meal in all of Denver. I’m a sucker for biscuits and gravy. I’ll order it pretty much anywhere I find it on the menu. City O’ City easily has the best outside of the south. Topped off with an egg, we very nearly just came back here later in the day to have it a second time for lunch!

The finger foods at Linger were the perfect end to the second of our two days in Denver.
Forgot to get this picture til after a few bites!

The end of our second day brought us to the rooftop lounge of Linger. We opted for some easily digestible finger foods while having a couple drinks and taking in the view. Linger was the perfect chill end to the day. Its hard to beat enjoying a few local beers as the sunsets over the city and the air grows crisp as night comes on. Once you finish dinner at Linger, check out Little Man Ice Cream which is just out front!

Beyond Two Days in Denver

Our two days in Denver were absolutely packed. When you include the fact that we really had an extra half day because of our road trip into the Rockies, then its pretty obvious that you’ll want to probably spend more time in Denver than just two days. To help you find a place to stay for a longer stay, check out this post on the best areas to stay in Denver.

If you’ve got one more day then you certainly need to visit the Zoo with that extra time. You’ll also want to explore other neighborhoods like the Santa Fe Art District which we didn’t have time to see. If you’re coming at the right time, you might even have an opportunity to see a concert at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. There is so much to love about Denver, that I know we will be back soon. Just writing about it makes me want to start planning a trip right now!

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17 Responses

  1. What a lot there is to do in Denver. It sounds like an ideal place for a foodie. Thanks for the suggestions of different neighborhoods to visit! I love checking cities within cities.

  2. Great guide, Zack! My cousin lives in Denver with her family, but we have yet to go visit her. She always wants to come to the beach in Florida! I can’t wait to see Denver though.

  3. Denver had me at chicken and biscuits followed by a delicious craft beer. I love your suggestions and will check them out next time. How was Brewing the New West? Sounds very interesting.

  4. This was a great summary of Denver. I definitely want to make it back there someday. I loved going up to Boulder, and also eating at the Buckhorn Exchange – so many meats I would never normally try! Can’t wait to get back and check out some of your other recommendations.

  5. Denver is one of our favorite cities! We actually almost moved there…and are still considering it in the future. City O’City is also our favorite restaurant in Denver, and maybe anywhere! It’s absolutely delicious! Great post!

    1. City O’ City was by far our favorite too. Ever since we have come home, we have been thinking about moving back out there.

  6. Never considered visiting Denver – however, this post is very inviting and shows the city from an unexpected angle.

  7. I’ve never been to Denver, looks like a fab place to explore – sounds like a Denver Grab CityPass is worth getting! Love the sound of the museum too… I’d be heading straight for the ice cream!

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