From visiting Union Station and checking out the city’s art galleries, to hiking in the mountains, these are the best things to do in Denver in winter.
If Denver isn’t already on your ultimate Colorado itinerary, it should be! Surrounded by gorgeous snow-covered mountains during the winter months, the Mile High city is a great little gem in the northern region of Colorado.
With a history that goes all the way back to the Old American West, Denver is nicknamed the Mile High city due to its mile-high elevation above sea level. This city is full of cosy restaurants, gorgeous hotels and lots of fun winter activities for the colder months. You could spend a day in the city at Denver Art Museum or pay a visit to Denver Botanic Gardens.
Plus, with places like Breckenridge close, by you could spend some of your time in the city and some of your times on the slopes!
Ready to start a winter adventure like no other? It’s time to share some of the top places to visit in Denver in winter.
Weather In Denver in Winter
Despite its reputation as one of the chilliest places in the Midwest, the winters in Denver, Colorado are not as extreme as in other parts of the country. The average temperature in the coldest month of December is around -8 Celsius, or 18 Fahrenheit, and in July, top temperatures average around 32 Celsius, or 89 Fahrenheit.
There are plenty of things to do in Denver in winter both indoors and outdoors, but you’ll definitely want to pack some layers and wrap up warm!
Amazing Things to do in Denver in Winter
Hang out at Denver Union Station
If you hear the word ‘station’ and immediately picture Oxford Circus at rush hour, don’t worry – Union Station isn’t your typical train station! It’s actually a top tourist attraction in Denver and home to some of the best dining options in the city.
From restaurants with open kitchens to cosy bars serving up to 30 different types of Colorado beer, Denver Union Station is one of the best places to visit in Denver in winter! Treat yourself to a flavoured beer at Terminal Bar, or try the vegan rocky road at Milkbox Ice Creamery – who says you can’t gorge on ice cream during winter?
If, like me, Christmas begins for you in November and ends in January, why not also treat yourself to a festive cocktail at the Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar, Miracle at Union Station. The pop-up bar is only available during the festive season, so don’t miss out! If you’re feeling the festive cheer, how about sampling the bar’s “Dasher” cocktail, made from gin and marshmallows. Yummy!
Go shopping at the 16th Street Mall
When it’s cold outside, what better excuse to head to downtown and indulge in a little splurging? Taking a stroll around 16th Street Mall is one of the best things to do in Denver in winter, as there are plenty of warm shops and cafes where you can take cover from any potential snowfall.
Whether you cosy up in a café with a hot chocolate or buy yourself some Christmas gifts, there are plenty of familiar stores (e.g. H&M) as well as some independent stores and American classics.
See the world in a new way at the Museum of Illusions
Ever wanted to walk on the ceiling or clone yourself? All is not as it seems at Denver’s magical Museum of Illusions! This fun indoor experience is ideal for chilly days, and perfect for adults and kids alike.
Inside this interactive museum you’ll find lots of mind-bending exhibits which will change your view of the world. You can stand a few steps from your partner and look like a giant towering over them. There’s an illusion where it looks like gravity doesn’t exist, as you cling onto the seats of a train, floating up into the air. Plus, there are several surprising mirror tricks, where it’ll look like you’ve cloned yourself or had your head detached from your body.
This is somewhere you’ll leave with a camera roll full of endless fun photos!
Click here to find out more about the Museum of Illusions, including location, prices and opening times.
Visit Winter Park Resort
If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Denver in winter, why not take a day trip to one of Denver’s best winter resorts? Winter Park Resort, located 66 miles from central Denver, has everything you need for a thrilling winter escapade.
Take your pick from the fun selection of snow activities ranging from ice skating to snow biking. If you’re not keen on the more challenging snow sports, Winter Park also plays host to some of the most fun winter activities in Denver. You could go ice-fishing, snow tubing, ride the Panoramic Express Lift or even grab a massage at the resort’s cosy lodge spa. How dreamy does that sound?
Enjoy local gastronomy in Denver
I’m a firm believer that the best way to get to know a destination is to eat my way around it! One of the best winter activities in Denver is to tour some of the city’s cosy restaurants and cafés.
Unlike many of its American counterparts, Denver doesn’t have one staple dish, but with hundreds of local businesses specialising in various cuisines, you’ll be spoiled for choice!
For an authentic Denver experience, head to Denver Biscuit Company and try one of their loaded biscuits, preferably slathered in gravy and bacon. If you’ve never tried an American biscuit before, they’re like British scones but saltier and crispier, and used as sandwich buns. Be warned: you’ll be craving American biscuits when you get home, and you might find it hard to look at an English scone in the same way again!
If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, head to Voodoo Doughnut for a pink box full of sweet treats. If you’re a fan of Yum Yums, I recommend their Maple Bar – a rectangle-shaped doughnut topped with delicious maple icing.
Take a trip to the Denver Art Museum
There are plenty of art galleries and museums to visit in this city. Many are free, so if you’re looking for things to do in Denver in winter on a budget, you’re in luck!
One of the best is Denver Art Museum! Take a look around and let yourself be inspired by the creative works on display. Don’t forget to pop into the gift shop for some unique and creative souvenirs for your loved ones…or even for yourself!
Visit Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park is a large amphitheatre, a historic Denver concert venue and one of the most visited tourist spots in Denver. It gets really busy in the summer months, but is a great escape in the winter months and should definitely be on your Colorado itinerary.
You can enjoy the snow speckled landscape and stunning views of the Rocky Mountains in peace. This is one spot you’ll definitely want to take lots of photos too! No doubt you’ll make your friends back home jealous as you post them on Instagram!
Explore the Rocky Mountain National Park
If you’re not afraid of a bit of chilly weather, and looking for outdoorsy things to do in Denver in winter, you can’t get much better than a visit to the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Just over an hour’s drive from Denver, this national park offers spectacular views of Colorado’s stunning mountain range. They’re even more beautiful when dusted with snow too. Immerse yourself in nature, but remember to wrap up warm and bring a hat and gloves! You might also want a little flask of hot chocolate if the temperatures really dive low.
Go skiing in Breckenridge
One of the best day trips from Denver is Breckenridge. Just an hour and a half in the car (or one hour 45 from Denver International Airport) and you could be in this beautiful mountain town, enjoying the ski slopes, winter hiking trails and cosy restaurants. If you want some ideas of what to do when you get there, check out my guide to the best things to do in Breckenridge in winter.
Where to Stay in Denver in Winter
If you’re looking for some old-fashioned luxury, the Oxford Hotel is your best choice. Established in 1809, this hotel is ideally located in Downtown Denver and renowned for its traditional attention to detail and personal customer service.
With the combination of its vintage Art Deco style and high-quality modern amenities, you’ll feel like a Gatsby character in one of their elegant rooms or suites!
Add a bit of modern luxe to your trip to Denver with a stay at The Ramble Hotel. Centrally located, this hotel is gorgeously decorated with deep green hues and luxurious leather padding.
Whether you want to go for cocktails in the hotel bar or enjoy room service whilst relaxing on your queen-sized bed, The Ramble Hotel combines comfort and class!
Enjoy a stay filled with luxury at the spectacular Ritz-Carlton. Located near downtown Denver, this hotel boasts oversized bathtubs, a steakhouse, cocktail bar andbutler service!
You’ll feel like a movie star as you enjoy views of the mountains from your hotel room window. With spa facilities and a flat-screen TV in every room, you won’t even need to leave the hotel!
I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out some of the top things to do in Denver in winter. Let me know what you decide to do on your trip!
If you’re looking for more inspiration, don’t miss these handy travel guides: