Why You Should Visit Denver This Summer

Bright sun, low humidity, and miles of outdoor trails await.

Why You Should Visit Denver This Summer

Grab an alfresco drink at Dairy Block Alley.

Photo Jeff Fierberg

America’s cities are back: bigger, bolder, and packed full of exciting events, new outdoor spaces, and reimagined dining. Check out Cities We Love for inspiration this summer.

Three hundred days of sunshine, low humidity, and no bugs—just some of the reasons that metro Denver lives outdoors. Other reasons: more than 150 craft breweries with beer gardens (check out the Denver Beer Trail map to get your bearings), outdoor film venues (try a dive-in movie at the Elitch Gardens water park), and 850 miles of paved bike trails, including the new outdoor art–focused 5280 Trail connecting Denver’s inner-city neighborhoods.

During the day, Red Rocks (a Denver Mountain Park), bordered by sandstone formations, is popular for hiking trails. At night, it’s all about the music. Everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Wiz Khalifa has performed in this acoustically perfect natural amphitheater. Early risers can join 2,500 fitness-focused down-doggers for Yoga on the Rocks (weekend mornings at 7 a.m.).

Golfers will want to play Denver-owned Arrowhead Golf Course—around, through, and over 300-million-year-old sandstone rock formations. Evergreen Golf Course (also owned by the city) is carved into the side of a mountain; expect narrow fairways, tricky greens, and possibly a herd of elk to play through.

When hunger strikes, try Bao Brewhouse, in the historic Euclid Hall and part of the latest refresh of Larimer Square, which serves Chinese street food like soup dumplings and pork-belly fried rice. Or visit Sunday Vinyl Kitchen and Wine Bar in the Union Station neighborhood for dozens of wines, some rare, by the glass and a short menu featuring favorites like smoked salmon tartare and wagyu steak frites. Head to Flight Night (every Wednesday) for five wines exploring an unexpected theme paired with an interesting playlist. For drinks, order a craft brew through the old ticket window in the beautifully restored waiting room of the 1914 Beaux Arts Union Station (dubbed “Denver’s living room” by locals), or grab a hoppy IPA at Tom’s Watch Bar in nearby, newly opened McGregor Square.

Clayton Members Club & Hotel, Coworking Table

Clayton Members Club & Hotel, Coworking Table

Photo by Jimena Peck

Where to stay

The baseball-themed Rally Hotel in McGregor Square is literally steps away from Coors Field. Each of the 182 wood-and-leather rooms has great views and it’s pet friendly.

Stay at the Rally Hotel: from $219/night, expedia.com

In the chic Cherry Creek neighborhood, Clayton Members Club & Hotel has 63 rooms. Amenities of the Members Club—art openings, dance performances, panel discussions, Ferrari test drives—fitness spaces, five eateries, and a rooftop pool are available to hotel guests. “The Clayton values opportunity, equity and inclusivity and reaches out to the greater community through its nonprofit arm, the Clayton Contributes Fund,” says Rachel Smith, head of membership.

Stay at the Clayton: from $319/night, expedia.com

Go deeper

Take an ecofriendly, made-in-Denver eTuk to the historic Dairy Block downtown and graze a dozen hyper-local eateries, sampling the fry bread tacos at Kachina Cantina and the miso Japanese eggplant at For{a}ged. In the festively lit Dairy Block Alley, curated pop-ups all summer showcase emerging Colorado artists and musicians. “Dairy Block is rooted in . . . and gives back to our urban community,” says marketing coordinator Maggie Pryde, “ . . . providing well-deserved exposure to creatives.”

>>Next: The Best Cities in the U.S. in 2021

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