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Ultimate Long Weekend Denver Itinerary

How would you like to spend 3 days in Denver? If it is a destination you haven’t previously considered, let me change your mind with this detailed Denver Itinerary.

Denver. The Mile High City. The gateway to the majestic Rocky Mountains and a city with more sunshine days per year than Florida (and not a lot of humidity – thank the Lord).

Denver was once home to Wild West sensibilities – steakhouses and cowboys – but now it is more like the Austin or Portland of the Rockies. These days, Denver is hip and happening and is a must for any Colorado itinerary.

Denver may not be an obvious choice when looking for a U.S. City to visit, especially next to the likes of San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, etc. but Denver has so much to offer a visitor.

Especially a visitor who, like me, loves good beer and outdoor adventures. You should definitely visit Denver, and 3 days in Denver is the perfect taster.

Larimer Square in downtown Denver Visit downtown Denver on your 3 days in Denver Itinerary

With its amazing and inventive beer, a young and vibrant population, some of the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, loads of biking and hiking trails, a downtown full of historic red brick buildings, and a world-class outdoor concert venue nestled amongst striking red rocks, I’m pretty sure you are going to love Denver.

It was really hard to narrow it down, but I have put together a three-day itinerary for what I consider to be the perfect long weekend in Denver, which includes all of my favorite things like craft beer, delicious food, and lots of outdoor time.

Cherry Creek in Denver

This three days in Denver itinerary also covers some of Denver’s best neighborhoods to visit.

If you make it a week you will be able to head into the mountains as well for a few days of touring around, or use Denver as a base and do some day trips.

Colorado really is an incredibly beautiful state that is home to a vast wilderness of stunning mountains and charming mountain towns, including my favorite, Telluride.

Hold on to your seats folks, and get ready to get excited to spend 3 days in Denver!

Lake in Denver

The Best Denver 3 Day Itinerary

3 days in Denver Itinerary map

Check out my interactive Denver map here to help plan your Denver Itinerary.

Denver Itinerary Day One

Morning – Downtown and Larimer Square

Start your day off reasonably early with breakfast at a Denver Institution, Snooze, in historic Union Station.

Visit Union Station during your 3 days in Denver

After you have stuffed yourself with their famous pancakes, Eggs Benedict, or whatever else you chose from their extensive menu, it’s time to explore LoDo – or Lower Downtown for you out-of-towners.

Make sure to marvel at the beautifully restored Union Station before you leave, and head to another Denver institution, Tattered Cover, an independent bookstore in Union Station.

Next head to Larimer Square to check out the stores there, but mostly to ogle the restored red brick warehouses strung with fairy lights that are now home to various stores, restaurants, and bars.

Visit lovely Larimer Square as part of your Denver itinerary

Heading further into downtown, walk or catch the free bus down the pleasant 16th Street Mall, where there are street performers in summer.

Don’t miss the interactive Museum of Illusions, one of the fun museums in downtown Denver you add to your Denver Itinerary. Be prepared to take lots of mind-bending photos!

Museum of Illusions

If you want to do any shopping during your visit, this is the place to do it. At the other end of downtown are Civic Center Park and the State Capitol which you can visit on a free tour.

Add a tour of the Colorado Capitol Building in Downtown Denver to your Denver itinerary

There are loads of options for lunch but I would recommend grabbing some excellent Mexican food at either Illegal Petes, D’Corazon, or Rio Grande – which is famous for its outdoor patio and giant frozen margaritas. 

If you find yourself in Denver on a Wednesday or Thursday between mid-April to mid-October, check out Civic Center Eats at Civic Center Park – a gathering of food trucks with seating and live music, where you can get anything from tacos and arepas through to Southern BBQ and nitro ice cream. Mmmmmm.

Civic Center Eats in Denver

Afternoon – Hit a Bike Trail

After a morning of awesome eats, it’s time to burn it off. Grab a city bike from one of the many bike docking points around the city and hit one of the bike trails that follow the river.

I recommend the Cherry Creek trail or the South Platte River trail from Confluence Park. 

Biking one of the many bike trails in Denver should be added to any Denver itinerary

Denver may not be by the sea like San Francisco, or on a lake like Chicago, but I think seeing a raging, wild river that flows through the heart of the city is pretty special.

Stop along the way to rest in the shade on the river banks or one of the many green spaces around the city – Denver summers are hot!

If you are feeling brave, wade into the waters of the South Platte River at Confluence Park to cool off, then sit in the sun to dry off on the small beach.

Swimming at Confluence Park in Denver - a must add to your 3 days in Denver itinerary during summer

For you outdoor adventure lovers, don’t miss the giant REI just across the river from the park which has its own climbing wall and you may even be able to try out a kayak on the river if you time it right.

After a busy day, you will probably want to chill out for a bit back at your accommodation before heading out to dinner.

Check out the architecture in Denver during your 3 days in Denver

Evening – Brewery Hopping and Street Art in RiNo

Before dinner, walk around the River North Arts District (RiNo) checking out all the wonderful street art and murals in this area – there is so much!

Head to Larimer Street and Walnut Street between 26th and 31st to see the highest concentration.

Check out the street art in RiNo as part of your Denver Itinerary

After your street art wanderings, hit up one of the food halls that Denver is famous for, for dinner – Denver Central Market and Zeppelin Station are both great choices and also have bars.

After dinner, it’s time for some brewery hopping! In RiNo my favorites are Great Divide Brewing Barrel Bar, Ratio Beerworks, Black Shirt Brewing Co., and Our Mutual Friend Brewing.

If sour beer is your thang (if so, we should be friends), then don’t miss Goed Zuur – a sour beer and cheese restaurant in nearby Five Points.

If you want to visit some Denver breweries that are further afield and to avoid driving while under the influence, you can book with a limo service offering brewery tours.

Explore downtown during your 3 days in Denver

Denver Itinerary Day 2

Morning – Washington Park and Pearl Street

Your second day in Denver begins with breakfast in Old South Gaylord where you can get great coffee and pastries at Devil’s Food Bakery. Wander this pleasant shopping district then make your way on foot or by bike over to Washington Park – or Wash Park as it is known by Denverites – for a walk.

It takes about an hour to walk around pretty Wash Park, where there are views over to the Rocky Mountains and a couple of lakes. The park is a peaceful spot that is popular with locals and you will see lots of them running and power walking around the park on sunny mornings.

Walking around Wash Park in Denver should be added to your Denver 3 day itinerary

From Wash Park, head to another pretty shopping precinct, South Pearl, where you can browse the boutique shops, and then grab lunch at Kaos Pizzeria which does some of the best pizza in Denver, or grab delicious Australian-style rotisserie chicken and sides from Chook.

If you are visiting on a Sunday, don’t miss the weekly Farmers Market in the warmer months.

Eating at Kaos Pizzeria in Denver

Afternoon – Meow Wolf!

In the afternoon, head to Meow Wolf – an art installation and experience like no other. Even if you don’t have kids with you, don’t miss Meow Wolf. It’s hard to explain the amazingness of Meow Wolf but it is like traveling to a dream world with different interactive experiences and rooms within.

Go and find out what Meow Wolf is all about for yourself.

Meow Wolf Denver Denver Meow Wolf

Evening – South Broadway and Red Rocks

After freshening up back at your hotel, head out to South Broadway for dinner. South Broadway is full of eclectic shops, dive bars and so many great places to eat.

Go for excellent sushi at Go Fish, Sputnik for unique vegetarian eats, or gastro diner food at Punch Bowl Social where there is also an arcade and bowling alley. And don’t miss the iconic Voodoo Doughnuts for dessert.

South Broadway in Denver

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is the endpoint of your night if you planned in advance and got a ticket to an outdoor concert or movie there and believe me, you don’t want to miss this.

Amazing views at Red Rocks, a must visit for your 3 days in Denver Add Red Rocks to your Denver Itinerary

Red Rocks is a highlight of any Denver itinerary and is truly special. The sound quality is amazing and watching the sky turn pink and purple as the sun sets over the city is a fantastic experience.

If you aren’t able to attend an event at Red Rocks then head up there in the afternoon instead, to do a short hike, visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and admire the views. It’s a truly beautiful spot whether you visit during the day or at night.

View over Red Rocks near Denver

Denver Itinerary Day 3

Morning – Outdoor Adventure in Golden

Your last day in Denver will see you visiting one of my absolute favorite spots: Golden!

Golden is a historic gold rush town in the foothills of the Rockies that is surrounded by mountains and has a river, Clear Creek, running through it. It is one of my favorite mountain towns near Denver, and it is super accessible and easy to get to.

Grab breakfast at Bonfire Burritos – they do an awesome breakfast burrito – then it’s time to choose your own adventure!

Visit Golden as part of your 3 days in Denver Itinerary Add Golden to your Colorado Itinerary

There are a number of activities to get you out in nature here, including tubing the rapids of Clear Creek (don’t let the tame name fool you), hiking one of the trails around Golden, or mountain biking one of the many trails along the front range.

You can rent mountain bikes and tubes in Golden. Ask at the Information Center for more ideas and logistics.

Walking the Clear Creek trail in Golden near Denver

Afternoon – Explore Downtown Golden

Once you are adventured out, head back into Golden for lunch at one of my favorite Denver restaurants, Sherpa House, for their delicious Nepalese/Tibetan buffet. It is very affordable and so tasty.

Add Golden to your Denver Itinerary

Or if pizza is more up your alley – check out Woody’s Wood-fired Pizza, which offers an affordable buffet with salad and their famous beer cheese soup as well as pizza. There are also a couple of excellent food halls in Golden – Tributary Food Hall and Market, and the Golden Mill.

The historic main street of Golden is a lively place for a stroll and there is a range of antique and second-hand stores to browse with all kinds of bric-a-brac. If you are visiting Golden on a Saturday in summer – visit their weekly farmer’s market.

Make Golden part of your Denver Itinerary

If you are interested in mountaineering, make sure to visit the American Mountaineering Museum, or if you are into Coors Beer, you can tour the brewery (although there are MUCH better breweries in town where you can do tastings). 

Golden also has a few excellent little craft breweries so you could (should) spend a couple of hours trying out some of the inventive brews that Colorado is famous for – New Terrain is my favorite brewery in the Denver area with a wide range of inventive beers and a rotation of awesome food trucks.

Mountain Toad and Golden City Brewing are also worth checking out – both have pleasant beer gardens and delicious brews.

Hiking in Golden near Denver - a great add on to a 3 days in Denver itinerary

Evening – Dinner and Drinks in the Highlands

After freshening up (or taking a nap), it is time to head on over to the Highlands – Denver’s hipster capital and home to sooo many great places to eat and drink.

The Highlands is made up of a few great shopping and dining districts so choose one:

Highlands Square: A super cute district located around 32nd and Lowell that has awesome Detroit-style pizza at Blue Pan Pizza, awesome wings at Fire on the Mountain (they have vegan wings too), and the Highlands Farmers Market on Sundays in the summer months.

Visit Tennyson Street as part of your Denver Itinerary

Berkeley/Tennyson Street: Another happening district with great shopping and tons of delicious restaurants and breweries. I love the well-regarded vegetarian restaurant Vital Root, the pasties at The Pasty Republic, local craft beer at FlyteCo and The Emporium breweries, and nearby Tocabe which has excellent Indian tacos.

And don’t miss The Denver Cat Company if you are a cat lover like me.

Visit Sloan Lake during your 3 days in Denver

Sloan Lake/Edgewater: Walk around Sloan Lake, drink beer on the patio at excellent Joyride Brewing Company, grab Kiwi-style fresh fruit ice cream from Happy Cones, or other delicious offerings at Edgewater Public Market.

Lower Highlands (LoHi): If you want something closer to the city, head to LoHi where you can find the massive bar and restaurant with a roof terrace that is Avanti, Linger – the former mortuary turned eatuary, and famous ice cream from Little Man.

LoHi is also home to some GREAT breweries – make sure to visit Denver Beer Company, Zuni Street Brewing, and Little Machine. And don’t miss one of the best speakeasies in the country: Williams and Graham.

Beer tasting should be part of any Denver Itinerary

Other breweries nearby that are definitely worth checking out are Raices Brewing Company – which celebrates Latin food, beer, and culture, and Strange Craft – unassuming but home to some of the best beer in Denver.

Then it’s time to fly home and sleep for at least 24 hours to recover from your action-packed, beer-soaked long weekend in Denver!

So have I convinced you to visit Denver?

Visit Union Station during your 3 days in Denver

This is just a fraction of the things to do in Denver, I didn’t even mention gritty and exciting Colfax, affluent Cherry Creek, all the other awesome food halls to check out, boho Capitol Hill which is home to Molly Brown House and the Denver Botanic Gardens, quaint Olde Town Arvada, the Art District on Santa Fe, or happening City Park – which has free jazz on Sunday evenings in summer.

And all the best day trips from Denver that you could take – that’s a whole other post.

Visit Downtown Denver during your 3 days in Denver Itinerary

Then there are the sports events you could attend, all of the day hikes on the outskirts of the city, the museums downtown, and all of the weed you can smoke if you are that way inclined (it’s legal here!) – there is even a cannabis church.

There is so much to explore in Denver and the longer I am here, the more I realize this fact. It was an undiscovered gem for a long time but slowly and surely, people are starting to realize how cool it really is.

I will be releasing a massive list of my favorite things to do, eat, drink and see in Denver at a later date but I hope this 3 day trip to Denver Itinerary will help you in the meantime.

Viva la Denver!

Hiking above Golden in Denver during my 3 days in Denver

Planning Your 3 Days in Denver

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:

Add the 16th Street Mall to your Denver Itinerary

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. 

Confluence Park in LoDo

If you have ever wanted to try housesitting, there are always lots of listings on Trusted Housesitters in and around Denver. You will get 25% off your first year’s membership if you sign up with my link, but you can look at the available housesits without signing up.

Platte River in downtown Denver

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.

Walking around Sloan Lake in Denver

So, do you want to visit Denver now? And for all you Denverites and Denver lovers reading this – do you agree with my Denver Itinerary? What would your perfect weekend in Denver look like? 


The Perfect Denver Itinerary Ultimate 3 Days in Denver ItineraryHow to Spend 3 Days in Denver

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48 Comments on The Perfect 3 Days in Denver Itinerary

  1. Thank you for sharing. Exactly what I need to plan my upcoming 3 days trip in March. And those beer recommendations, you’re amazing! Thank you again..

  2. wow , this is so amazing and beautiful place for visiting. the pics of Denver should create curiosity to visit this . i am really inspired by your article. thanks for sharing this amazing article about perfect 3days Denver itinerary.

  3. Great ideas for Denver but as a 303 native, we don’t swim in the Platte. Nope! Way too polluted. If you want to get in the water, you go “up the hill” I70 West and go rafting or tubing in the hills. 🙂

  4. I love your blog and LOVE Denver… we live in Colorado Springs (previously Pagosa Springs) and so we visit frequently. We recently stayed at the new Catbird Hotel in the heart of the RiNo Art District… it was so much fun and so much to do… we did a video of our time there… check it out 🙂

  5. I’ve lived in Colorado 35 years and haven’t seen half the things you mentioned. I’m now encouraged to pin this and follow your guide for a weekend!! Thanks for reminding me how great colorado can be!!

  6. I just read the whole article about Denver, nicely written by you. It feels good, One more thing I want to say that all the photographs are equally good. Thanks for sharing your travel experience with us.

  7. I loved when I visited Denver a few years ago. However, there is clearly so much more I need to do when I return based on this post! My dream is go to a concert at red rock amphitheater.

  8. Colorado is one of my favorite places + I definitely didn’t get to explore it to the extent that I wanted to when I was passing through last year! Will definitely be keeping these places in mind for next time! <3

  9. Denver looks amazing! I heard so much about it and haven’t got to see it for myself. I love the street art and hope to see it soon. Thank you for sharing!

  10. That mural in the River North Arts District is really pretty. Denver looks like a great city with lots to do. Would love to visit one day.

  11. Love your detailed itinerary for Denver. I like places with an urban- nature mix. Saving this post for my future trip!

  12. I’ve only been to Denver once for a couple of days and was not near enough. Definitely pinning this itinerary for future reference when I visit again. So much natural beauty and charming places to explore.

  13. I LOVE Denver. I have been a few times but still feel there is so much more I need to see. The bike trails look awesome as do all of the breweries. I am dying to see a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

  14. Great post! I’ve actually never been to Denver but it looks amazing! Red Rocks Amphitheatre has been high on my bucket list!

  15. I have never been to Denver but it looks very nice to visit! The site of Red Rocks is particularly stunning! Would love to experience a concert here!

  16. Denver is such a gorgeous city! I’ve visited before, but discovered a few new places from your blog that I have to check out next time I visit. Pinned & saved your blog for my next Denver trip.

  17. This makes me want to go back to Denver! I’ve been a few times but for work or just the night before heading to Boulder or the mountains. From what I saw it’s a cool city a lots more I need to see. I’ve always wanted to attend a concert at Red Rocks!

  18. I think I would enjoy Denver with all its breweries! Definitely my kind of place. I remember a video U2 made – is that the same Red Rocks?

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