How to be a traveler (not a tourist) in Denver

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Denver is an absolutely beautiful city that is situated just east of the Rocky Mountains. Of course there are some amazing tourist destinations (like the Denver Mint, Botanic Gardens, and Museum of Nature and Science- among many others), but there are some other pretty magnificent ways to see this city (and those gorgeous mountain views) that will make you feel a little more like a traveler rather than a tourist:

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But first- Let your body adjust to the altitude

If you’re going to be traveling in Denver, know that it is called the “mile-high city” for a reason. Altitude sickness is real and it can make you feel headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Drink plenty of that delicious Rocky Mountain water and put on sunscreen. And maybe save the mountain climbing excursion until your body has acclimated for a couple days.

Check out a Denver park

Denver has a pretty fantastic park system with dozens of miles of paved trails and a ton of awesome views to see. Rent a bike or go for a hike (if the weather is good!) and check this off your bucket list. If you can make it to check out Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater (the only natural amphitheater in the world) you absolutely MUST.

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Put on your Denver Broncos or Colorado Rockies jersey and catch a game

I found that Coloradans love their sports (almost as much as us southerns love our SEC teams). Get yourself a jersey and check out that awesome view of the Rockies as the sunsets over Coors Field or at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

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Hop on and off the 16th street bus

Sure you’ll see some tourists, but many locals will use this free bus for their commute, shop, or restaurants. You can hop on and off as you would like (and people do!). The end of the route is Union Station- make SURE you hop off and see it. Not only is this 100-year old landmark a pretty amazing historic building, it’s still bustling with train traffic and some pretty cool restaurants and bars. Make sure you get yourself a booze milkshake.

Check out Larimer Square

The city’s oldest block holds tons of amazing restaurants, night clubs, and even shopping. At Christmas it’s decorated with beautiful lights- but year around the atmosphere has tons of energy. If you’re looking for a place to stroll along after sunset, look no further.

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Rent a car (preferably 4-wheel drive)

Within a 2 hour drive of Denver are a few other really cool little Colorado cities (Boulder, Colorado Springs, Breckenridge). Note that if the weather is bad, there will be areas that you may be required to have chains to continue (this is for your safety- trust us). As we were exploring some of the areas surrounding Denver, we stumbled upon Denver’s Colorado Railroad Museum, where my husband was in little-boy heaven. We also found Black Hawk- home of several beautiful casinos! We LOVED taking a weekend out of our vacation to explore the area and would absolutely recommend this to see a little more of Colorado and the Rockies.

If you are planning your Denver trip, know you will have a BLAST! This little list is not meant to replace all of your planned touristy Denver stops (we did them and had a ton of fun)- this is just a suggestion when you’re wanting to do a bit more traveling.

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