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The best way to experience Denver is by exploring different Denver suburbs, read on to find out the best…
Denver has a thriving brewery scene and is known for its large number of food halls and urban biking trails. There are also numerous lakes and rivers you can bike or walk around, a diverse restaurant scene, beautiful historic districts, and some of the best Mexican food in the U.S.
But Denver is not a city that has a ton of specific attractions to see as a visitor.
People mostly love Denver for its livability and access to the mountains, so the best way to experience the city is to explore it as a local would – by exploring its different neighborhoods.
The real heart and soul of Denver are in the diverse suburbs that make up the city. This is where the best restaurants are, the prettiest walking and biking trails, the best shopping, and the best breweries.
Exploring these eclectic and fun Denver Suburbs will give you an excellent overview of the city and may just convince you to move here.
It took me a while to get a good feel for Denver but now, after nearly seven years of making it my main base, I finally feel like I can write a super detailed post about the best Denver suburbs to visit and what to do there. I hope it helps you plan your own Denver trip.
Please note that many of these Denver Suburbs are actually cities in their own right but are in the Greater Denver area and aren’t too far from downtown so I have included them.
The Best Suburbs in Denver You Should Visit
Check out my interactive map of the best suburbs in Denver to help plan your trip.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Berkeley, and this northwest Denver neighborhood is home to my favorite dining and shopping district in Denver: Tennyson Street. This happening district is full of local-owned boutiques, specialty stores, breweries, and restaurants.
Berkeley is a green suburb full of mature trees and is also home to two pretty lakes with walking paths and picnic areas, and quiet suburban streets full of beautiful homes.
What To Do: Explore the shops and restaurants on Tennyson, see a show at the historic Oriental Theater, sample local craft beers, visit the kitties at The Denver Cat Company, and walk around Berkeley Lake and Rocky Mountain Lake.
Where To Eat: Vital Root for inventive vegan and vegetarian dishes, Tocabe for delicious and affordable Native American dishes, The Pasty Republic for awesome sweet and savory pasties, Colorado Cherry Co for dangerously good sweet and savory pies, and the Denver Biscuit Company for epic biscuit concoctions.
Where To Drink: Local craft beer at Berkeley Alley Beer Co, FlyteCo, and The Emporium breweries. Local 46 for their live music and beer garden.
Edgewater is a cute little community centered on lovely Sloan’s Lake which is popular for biking and walking and is framed by beautiful mountain views. There are a number of restaurants, locally owned businesses, and an excellent food hall – Edgewater Public Market – in Edgewater.
Despite Edgewater being tiny, there is a strong sense of community here and it is a fun and vibrant place to hang out when you are in Denver.
What To Do: Walk or bike the 2.6-mile trail around Sloan’s Lake, check out the shops and food vendors at Edgewater Public Market, and enjoy some awesome local beer on the rooftop patio at Joyride Brewing Co.
Where To Eat: GB Fish and Chips for authentic English fish and chips, Happy Cones Co for delicious New Zealand-style fruit ice cream, US Thai Cafe for excellent Thai food, and Lazo Empanadas for traditional Argentinian empanadas.
Where To Drink: Try the excellent craft beers at Joyride Brewing Company and Barquentine Brewing Company, sip a tropical cocktail at The Electric Cure Tiki Bar, and enjoy local brews on the large outdoor terrace at Edgewater Beer Garden.
3) Highlands Square
Leafy Highlands Square is a green and quiet suburb west of downtown that is home to beautiful historic homes of different architectural styles. In summer, there are gardens full of colorful flowers.
The commercial district is located around Lowell and 32nd and is perfect for strolling with outdoor patios brimming with plants, locally-owned boutiques and stores, and excellent restaurants – especially if you love pizza.
What To Do: Attend the weekly farmers market, browse the eclectic stores and boutiques, eat out at the local restaurants, and go on a pizza crawl – there are three really good pizza places here.
Where To Eat: Little India for delicious Indian food, Sassafras for Southern cuisine including a killer brunch, Fire on the Mountain for chicken and seitan wings with a massive range of sauces, Pizzeria Locale for Neopolitan-style pizza, Pizza Alley for New York-style pizza, and Blue Pan Pizza for Detroit-style pizza.
Where To Drink: Oasis Brewing for inventive local brews, Highlands Cork & Cafe for excellent coffee and wine in a cozy historic home, and Three Dogs Tavern for classic neighborhood pub vibes.
4) LoDo – Lower Downtown
Full of red brick Victorian-era buildings, Lower Downtown, or LoDo, is a bustling and pretty neighborhood with over 100 bars and restaurants, as well as a creekside bike trail, green parkland along the Platte River, and an iconic book store.
Don’t miss seeing the string lights crisscrossing Larimer Square at night, and exploring the beautifully restored and regal Union Station.
What To Do: Take lots of photos of the red brick buildings and flower boxes on Larimer Square, go shopping on the pedestrian 16th Street Mall, admire the beautiful architecture and restaurants in Union Station, go for a dip or tube the rapids at Confluence Park, ride a bike along the Cherry Creek bike trail, play mini golf at funky indoor Urban Putt, and shop for new and used books at the cavernous Tattered Cover book store.
Where To Eat: Casual Mexican food at iconic Illegal Petes, Mercantile Dining & Provision in Union Station for New American dishes, iconic breakfast joint Snooze in Union Station for a delicious breakfast, Denver Milk Market food hall for anything from burgers to bao buns, and D’Corazon for Mexican comfort food.
Where To Drink: Green Russell speakeasy for cocktails, Rhein Haus for German beer and food in a giant beer hall, Rio Grande for giant frozen margaritas that are best enjoyed on their patio, and Tap Fourteen for local beers in their rooftop beer garden.
5) LoHi – Lower Highlands
This funky district right by downtown is full of apartments, urbanites, and some excellent restaurants and bars. This is where you come if you want to eat some of the best food in Denver and hang out drinking local beers and cocktails in a sunny beer garden or on a rooftop patio.
Walk or bike the trails beside the Platte River if you want to enjoy the Denver outdoors and drop into the gigantic REI, Denver’s flagship store.
What To Do: Walk or bike along the Platte River, visit the giant REI, enjoy the bar and food vendors at Avanti food hall, and go for dinner or drinks at one of the roof terraces in LoHi – Avanti, Linger and El Five are great options.
Where To Eat: Linger is housed in a former mortuary and serves global small plates, Root Down for locally-sourced creative American small plates, Avanti Food Hall which has pizza, arepas, burgers, French cuisine and more, El Five for tapas with a view, Habit Donut Dispensary for inventive donuts, and Happy Camper for pizza on their extensive patio.
Where To Drink: Don’t miss one of the coolest speakeasies in the country – Williams & Graham, and try local brews at Denver Beer Co and Zuni Street Brewing Company.
6) RiNo – River North Art District
Another hip and happening district, RiNo, or the River North Art District, is chock full of impressive street art and galleries and has an industrial vibe due to the many converted warehouses.
If you want to hit up one of Denver’s famous food halls, there are three great ones here, as well as a number of the best breweries in Denver. RiNo encompasses many of the things that Denver is known for and what makes Denver great and is definitely one of the very best Denver suburbs for street art, beer, and food halls.
What To Do: Hit up one of the RiNo food halls, go on a self-guided street art tour, go brewery hopping – some of the best breweries in Denver are here, go to a concert at the Mission Ballroom, explore the numerous galleries, and go on a pub crawl on Larimer Street.
Where To Eat: Try one of the food halls in RiNo – Denver Central Market, The Source and Zeppelin Station, Los Chingones for adventurous Mexican dishes, Cart Driver for Neopolitan pizza, the food trucks at Improper City, Hop City for modern Chinese shared plates, and Work & Class for Southern and Latin American cuisine.
Where To Drink: For craft beer don’t miss Epic Brewing Company, Black Shirt Brewing Co, Our Mutual Friend Brewing, Ratio Beerworks, and Great Divide Barrel Bar. Try the legendary pickle shots at the Retro Room.
7) Capitol Hill and Cheesman Park
Capitol Hill is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver and you can definitely get your history fix here with the Colorado History Museum, the State Capitol, and Molly Brown House all in this suburb. Or just wander around and admire all the beautiful historic buildings.
These days it’s known as one of the trendiest places in the city and is home to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.
Neighboring Cheesman Park is a small suburb that encompasses the popular park of the same name and the lovely Denver Botanic Gardens.
What To Do: Learn about the Unsinkable Molly Brown of Titanic fame at Molly Brown House, visit the State Capitol on a tour and get a photo on the stairs at the mile-high marker, explore the beautiful Denver Botanic Gardens, chill out at lovely Cheesman Park, learn about Colorado’s history at the History Colorado museum, and see a show at the Fillmore Auditorium.
Where To Eat: City O’City for high-concept vegetarian dishes in a boho space, Potager which has a changing organic and market-fresh New American menu, D Bar for award-winning desserts, and Bang Up To the Elephant! for Caribbean vegan eats.
Where To Drink: Sample local beer at Lowdown Brewery, sip cocktails at stylish Hudson Hill, enjoy the drinks and the vibe at the fun and friendly Wild Corgi Bar, and drop into the Dew Drop Inn for cheap beer and shots in stylish digs.
8) Five Points
Five Points is an edgy and vibrant multicultural neighborhood just north of the city center. This community is historically one of America’s most prominent black neighborhoods, and you can learn about the history surrounding this at the Black American West Museum.
What To Do: Learn about Black American history in the Western US at the Black American West Museum, see live music at The Roxy, go bar-hopping on Welton Street, and try the diverse food offerings at the different restaurants in Five Points.
Where To Eat: Birdcall for excellent chicken sandwiches, Rosenbergs for some of the best bagels in Denver, Famous Original J’s Pizza for delicious pizza by the slice, and Mercury Cafe for organic food and live music.
Where To Drink: Goed Zuur for sour and wild beers, 715 Club for a fun neighborhood dive bar hang, and the Welton Room for imaginative craft cocktails.
9) City Park
Centered around the 320-acre City Park, one of the most popular parks in Denver, City Park is also home to eclectic restaurants and bars along East Colfax, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
City Park is a popular suburb for young urbanites and you will never regret spending an evening enjoying Jazz in the Park.
What To Do: Get active in City Park, enjoy live jazz in the park for free on a sunny summer Sunday evening, go to a show at the Bluebird Theater, do a bar crawl on East Colfax Avenue, and visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for their IMAX Theater, Planetarium, and exhibits.
Where To Eat: Vine Street Pub and Brewery for an epic local beer list, comfort food, and many vegetarian options (currently closed), Tacos. Tequila. Whiskey. for, well, tacos, tequila, and whiskey (duh), Pete’s Kitchen for simple but delicious diner fare, and The Ethiopian Restaurant for traditional Ethiopian stews.
Where To Drink: Cerebral Brewing for craft beers in a science-themed tap room, The Thin Man for house-infused vodka and eclectic decor, Lost Lake Lounge for live music in an iconic dive bar, and Middleman, a neighborhood cocktail bar.
Home to the 150-acre Auraria Higher Education Center which encompasses three different places of learning, Auraria is Denver’s oldest suburb and predates the founding of the city.
Although there aren’t many bars or restaurants here, Auraria is home to one of my favorite U.S. attractions – Meow Wolf – as well as Elitch Gardens, Denver’s best amusement park, and the Ball Arena which is home to the Colorado Avalanche hockey team and the Denver Nuggets Basketball.
What To Do: Experience a magical world like no other at Meow Wolf – an interactive art installation that has to be seen to be believed, spend a fun-filled day at Elitch Gardens, walk or bike the Platte River trails, and see a Denver Nuggets or Colorado Avalanche game at Ball Arena.
Where To Eat: There are barely any restaurants in Auraria proper, but head a bit further south to eat at one of Denver’s oldest and most iconic restaurants – the Buckhorn Exchange. This National Historic Landmark is a steakhouse that also serves up Elk, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Alligator, and Rattlesnake.
Where To Drink: Located just outside of Auraria are two of my favorite breweries – Raices Brewing Company and Strange Craft Beer Company.
Beautiful Golden is the closest mountain town to Denver and has serious Wild West vibes, a beautiful river running through it, and mountain views. This pretty Denver suburb is my favorite place in Denver and it’s where I got married – that’s how much I love it.
Lovely Golden is where you go for beer and adventure – Golden does both really well. Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the best outdoor music venues in the world, is just down the road, and you can even see dinosaur fossils here, and Buffalo Bill’s grave. What a place!
What To Do: There are so many things to do in Golden that I wrote a whole separate post. But to give you a quick rundown you can hike and bike, tube on the river, visit local museums, check out the excellent local breweries, sample the offerings at two food halls, see dinosaur fossils, catch a show at nearby Red Rocks Amphitheater, drive a scenic byway, see Buffalo Bill’s grave, tour the Coors Brewery, and more!
Where To Eat: Sherpa House for Tibetan and Indian dishes in a cozy house that is also a Tibetan Cultural Center, The Golden Mill and The Tributary food halls for a range of options, Woody’s Woodfired Pizza for their pizza and salad buffet, Bonfire Burritos for their excellent breakfast burritos, and Bob’s Atomic Burgers for simple but delicious burgers and fries.
Where To Drink: The best breweries in Golden are New Terrain Brewing Company, Golden City Brewery, and Mountain Toad Brewing. For cocktails head to the Miners Saloon and Golden Moon Speakeasy, and for beautiful mountain and river views, grab a drink or two at The Golden Mill and sit on their rooftop terrace.
12) Olde Town Arvada
Charming Olde Town Arvada is a walkable suburb that doesn’t make it on many lists of places to visit in Denver – but it should. It has one of the best commercial districts in Denver with small-town Main Street vibes that I love and lots of interesting stores and boutiques.
There are some solid dining and drinking options and a disproportionate number of patios to enjoy the endless Colorado sun during the summer months. Make sure to head down to Clear Creek as well to stroll the trails or play some frisbee golf.
What To Do: Walk or bike along the Clear Creek trail, go shopping – there are some great stores and boutiques here, play frisbee golf for free at the Johnny Roberts Disc Golf Course, enjoy the sun on one of the many patios, and attend the Sunday Farmers Market.
Where To Eat: School House Kitchen and Libations for comfort food and excellent apps, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop for simple tacos done well, Yak and Yeti Restaurant and Brew Pub for their awesome Indian and Nepalese buffet and craft beer, Rheinlander Bakery for their German pastries, and Beau Jo’s for Colorado Mountain pies.
Where To Drink: School House Kitchen and Libations does excellent cocktails and they have over 1000 whiskeys, Denver Beer Company for craft beer on their sunny patio, The Bluegrass Lounge for live music and bourbon, and New Image Restaurant and Brewery for IPA lovers.
13) Washington Park and Platt Park
Washington Park is a largely residential neighborhood of mature trees and beautiful homes that is centered around its namesake park which is popular with both locals and visitors.
Olde South Gaylord is a pretty commercial district where you can shop and grab a bite to eat, and don’t miss my favorite cafe in Denver: Wash Perk.
Neighboring Platt Park is home to one of my favorite walkable commercial districts, Pearl Street, as well as a couple of fun breweries.
What To Do: Stroll the treelined streets and check out the stores of Olde South Gaylord and Pearl Street, get active by walking, biking, or playing sports in Washington Park, visit the unique International Church of Cannabis, and visit the bustling Sunday Farmers Market on South Pearl Street.
Where To Eat: Devil’s Food Bakery for an array of sweet and savory baked goods, Kaos Pizzeria for delicious pizza, Australian chicken joint Chook for really good roast chicken and sides, Duffeyroll Bakery and Cafe for their legendary cinnamon rolls, and Lucile’s Creole Cafe for an excellent Cajun/Creole brunch.
Where To Drink: Platt Park Brewing Co. and Alternation Brewing Company for local craft beers, local favorite Wash Perk for coffee and tea drinks in a cozy house, and lively Dive Inn dive bar which has pool and ping pong.
14) South Broadway – SoBo
Eclectic South Broadway, or SoBo, is a commercial suburb that is home to a fantastic selection of trendy breweries and restaurants and is a fun place for a night out on the town.
It is also home to over 100 antique stores, vintage boutiques, a rare book store, and an Art Deco movie theater.
What To Do: Bowl, play arcade games or do karaoke at Punchbowl Social, go shopping at the vintage boutiques, browse the antique stores, see a movie at the Art Deco Mayan Theater, and go on a pub crawl.
Where To Eat: Voodoo Doughnuts for inventive donut concoctions, Go Fish for excellent sushi, Sputnik for unique vegetarian eats, and Bruno’s Italian Bistro for pasta, steak, and seafood.
Where To Drink: Punchbowl Social for drinks and games, Banded Oak Brewing Company, Baere Brewing Company, and TRVE Brewing Company for excellent craft beers, and Historians Ale House for locally-sourced food and beer.
These are the Denver suburbs that I most enjoy spending time in and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. I think after visiting at least a few of these suburbs in Denver you will get a better feel for the community spirit in the city, and you’ll see why so many people are moving here.
Plan Your Denver Suburbs Trip
Where To Stay in Denver
When it comes to where to stay in Denver, I would recommend LoDo or the Highlands for ease of access to the city and beyond.
If you are looking for self-contained accommodation, here are my top picks for affordable, highly rated, and well-located options in Denver:
- RiNo Luxury Flat
- City Park One Bedroom
- LoHi Garden Level Apartment
- Urban Refuge Carriage House
- Newly Renovated 1908 Bungalow
I really love Denver’s historic hotels, and I recommend staying in the Brown Palace Hotel which is supposedly haunted, the beautifully appointed The Crawford Hotel in Union Station, or the regal Oxford Hotel – all located in downtown Denver.
Other great hotel options in Denver include the luxurious design hotel – The Ramble Hotel, and the affordable and light-filled Element Denver.
For a more budget-friendly option, stay at Hostel Fish, or Ember Hostel, both of which are boutique hostels with gorgeous decor and a great location.
How To Get to Denver
Denver has a well-served airport, DIA, which is the fifth busiest airport in the U.S., so a lot of visitors choose to fly into Denver, but you can also catch a bus to Denver, catch an Amtrak train, or drive there.
How To Get Around in Denver
Although there is public transport in Denver, everything is quite spread out. The easiest way to get around in Denver would be to hire a car, but alternatively, you can get around Denver by train and bus.
Uber and Lyft are also prevalent in Denver and you never have to wait long for a ride.
Getting from the airport to Denver’s downtown is easy. There is a train that connects the airport to Union Station in LoDo, with further trains branching out from there.
If you liked this – check out some of my other Colorado posts:
- The Perfect 3 Days in Denver Itinerary
- Experiencing Cannabis Culture in Denver on a Tour
- 15 Fun Things To Do in Golden CO That Won’t Break the Bank
- Absolute Best Hikes in Golden To Work Up a Sweat
- Ultimate Colorado Road Trip Itinerary To See the Best of the State
- 11 Mountain Towns Near Denver You Have To Visit (1 Hour or Less)
- 15 Best Colorado Mountain Towns to Visit Any Time
- 15 Best Colorado Hot Springs For True Hot Springs Enthusiasts
- 10 Best Hidden Gems in Colorado
- Visit Telluride: The Best Mountain Town in Colorado
- Tackling the Hike from Aspen to Crested Butte: The Best Hike in Colorado