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Blue Bears & Red Rocks: Colorful sites in The Mile High City

Parks and public art make Denver a city that's incredibly fun to explore

  • 9
  • 01:01
  • 29 mi
  • $5
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Created by Visit Denver - April 30th 2018

Denver is a veritable rainbow of fun. From the brilliant blue skies and the distinctive shiny gold dome of the Colorado State Capitol building, to the neon lights of Denver Union Station and flowers of Denver Botanic Gardens, this city is filled with life and color. The Mile High City's quirky art and gorgeous natural parks make for a trip with loads of bright photo ops and memorable moments. Exploring the different shades and hues Denver's attractions have to offer makes for one totally epic adventure!

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Confluence Park

You won't find another major city with so much beautiful green space. Pop over to Confluence Park and you'll discover that in one place you've got views of water AND the city. Plus, you’re right next to many of Denver's other treasures. Stop and have a picnic, watch the kayakers paddle by, or simply take a deep breath of fresh air without having to step out of the city. Footbridges and other neat finds will make for great photographs and time spent walking in an urban nature area that will make you happy that you visited.


Denver, CO

Since 1881, Denver's Union Station has been a transportation hub, and served as a major part of the city’s development during a crucial period in its history. Denver made sure to invest in the future by building a train station that would stand the test of time. Union Station is a historic landmark that attracts people from all over the country to visit and experience a bit of Colorado’s history. At Denver Union Station, travelers take advantage of the bus routes, light rail line networks, and even the Amtrak train that still runs. However, if you're not in need of a mode of travel, award-winning dining experiences can be found right in the station, such as Stoic & Genuine, a seafood and oyster bar, quick-service restaurants and coffee counters, and much more. A bookstore, adorable flower shop, and jewelry and gift shop offer the perfect gift or treasure to take home. Tired after all this adventure? The Crawford Hotel is right inside the station for a one-of-a-kind experience you won't forget. You heard that right! Stay in the historic landmark and live in luxury for a night or two! Plus, Terminal Bar is next to The Crawford Hotel; located in the old ticketing office, you can now order a drink at the window and enjoy it in the vintage bar, or on the Plaza Beer Garden.

Blue Bear

You may have stumbled upon a giant 40-foot blue bear looking into the Colorado Convention Center while exploring The Mile High City. This statue, created by Lawrence Argent, was built in 2005 and was instantly accepted by locals as a beloved gem. Argent saw this project as a reflection of the Denver resident, often finding himself wondering about the things taking place inside the Colorado Convention Center, where so many events happen, ideas are exchanged, and people talk, laugh, and learn. The Blue Bear (formally named “I See What You Mean”) can be seen from any side, and it really is fun to view a great piece of art without entering a museum or even getting out of your car. The bear has become synonymous with the idea of Denver to many people, and continues to ride is popularity to become an attraction that visitors don’t want to miss.

Denver Art Museum

Not only is a stop at the Denver Art Museum a source of inspiration, it holds many pieces of art history that have become household names. From works by artists like Picasso, Duchamp, Matisse, and O'Keeffe to photography to sculptures of all kinds, the museum is a must-stop for any kind of artist passing through. Open daily and easy to find right in the heart of the city, it's an easy afternoon activity for those wanting to learn something new and see things they can't elsewhere. Admission is free to those under 18, and new exhibits are popping up frequently, so a stop here is one that will be different each visit, promising fresh and exciting things around each corner.

Colorado State Capitol

After time spent roaming around the gorgeous city, taking in the sights, great foods, and smiling faces, hop on over to the State Capitol for an experience unique to the area. The Colorado State Capitol is free and open to the public, and you'll even discover guided tours for an educational and entertaining trip through both past and present. The building itself was modeled after the United States Capitol, but is constructed with materials found only in Colorado, such as granite, but contains materials found only in Colorado, such as granite, rose onyx, and marble. Even the distinctive golden dome was sourced over a century ago by Colorado miners. Here you'll find yourself wanting to learn as much as possible, and snap as many photos as you can of the gorgeous surroundings. Standing on the official one-mile high step at the Capitol is an essential Denver experience!

City Park Denver

When the city of Denver crosses your mind, the views from City Park are most likely what you imagine. The skyline of skyscrapers, breathtaking mountains, and green grass and trees all make up a city in its own league of beauty. Not only do the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Denver Zoo call this park home, but many recreation opportunities make City Park a place in which anyone will love to spread out and experience Denver. The giant park hosts a number of great events throughout the year, and provides a place of serenity for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle. The opportunities here are truly endless. Play a round of golf, paddleboat around the lake, take a stroll, enjoy a picnic... there are lots of ways to enjoy City Park!

Denver Botanic Gardens

24 acres of diverse plant species from all over the world make for an afternoon of a different kind of beauty than those famous mountain views found in Denver. Whether you're a seasoned botanical aficionado, or interested in checking out some gorgeous scenes, just a drive by this York Street location will draw you inside. A bonsai pavilion, countless native species, and other inspired areas make for a gorgeous oasis full of life and beauty. One highlight is the Monet Pool, an aquatic garden filled with waterlilies, cattails, pickerel plants, cannas, irises and more. Soak in the views of the blooms from the Hive Bistro’s patio; whether you enjoy a snack from the frozen fruit bar or you're craving a green chile burger, it's a great way to take a moment to just enjoy the atmosphere. The Science Pyramid, using technology and demonstrations of all kinds, as well as the Children's Garden, offer additional education and fun for all ages. A full library and gift shop allow visitors to extend their experience and gain further insight into what they've seen on the grounds.

Washington Park

If you're in Denver and plan on experiencing its infamous parks, you'll want to head towards Washington Park, one of the largest in town. The park features 155 acres containing lakes and trails that will keep visitors in awe of the peace and beauty tucked away in a bustling city. Tennis courts, fields, playgrounds, and even a rollerblade court (oh yeah, you read that right), make for an active day of fun for any kind of outdoor enthusiast. Or, simply take a stroll on the miles of path, sit down for a picnic or some quiet reading, and stop and smell the dozens of flower beds blooming with color. Nearby there are plenty of shops and restaurants, so if a quick visit or game with the kids is all your day allows for, Washington Park’s convenient location makes things easy and breezy for rolling right through your list of Denver treasures.

One of the most well-known venues in the country, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre draws both tourists and rock stars alike. Two 300-foot monoliths make up the giant theater that has welcomed people to enjoy this wonder in a wide variety of ways, even before officially opening as a music venue in 1941. Check the concert lineup for your favorite band, head out in the morning for an easy hike along the trails or stop at the Visitor center and restaurant. The massive amphitheater is located right outside the city, and joggers, photographers, and even yoga enthusiasts can be found here on a daily basis. The site contains hundreds and hundreds of acres, so there is a lot to explore. Really, everyone will find something to do in this paradise of a destination. And, as you take it all in, think about how even The Beatles found themselves jamming right on this very stage in 1964.

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The diverse parks and art that can be discovered in Denver are what make this city such an amazing place to visit. With every day spent here, you'll discover something completely different than the last, and who doesn't want that kind of variety in an adventurous trip? Denver is hands-down a place that everyone must experience at least once in their life, and as soon as you visit it'll be a place that feels welcoming and spontaneous at the same time. You'll want to return again and again.

Banner Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Visit Denver

Denver, Colorado is an outdoor city offering urban adventures for all ages. Experience live music at Red Rocks, explore diverse neighborhoods and discover The Mile High City’s creative side in arts & culture, cuisine and craft beer. Or take a Rocky Mountain day trip within easy reach of the city.