Where else but downtown Denver can you spend a day playing at a major amusement park scarcely more than a stone’s throw from not one but three professional sports centers and the cosmopolitan pleasures of a major American city? Even if you can think of one or two examples, we bet they’re not half as attractively set as the Mile High City. Frankly, it’s hard to rival the Rocky Mountains for backdrop.
So let’s say you’re in town with your family in tow, and you’re looking for ways to stay busy. One of the obvious choices is the aforementioned amusement park, Elitch Gardens, a waterpark and amusement park all rolled up into one really accessible package. And it’s close enough to the hotels, shops and restaurants off the 16th Street Mall to mix things up in downtown Denver at dinner time. Furthermore, this places you virtually next door to other family-friendly attractions like the Downtown Aquarium, the Children’s Museum and REI (where you can stock up on kid-sized long johns for your next skiing vacation).
And while it’s not technically downtown, the Denver Zoo is close enough to include in this category. Between animal exhibits and meandering trails in the surrounding City Park you should have no trouble tiring out even the most energetic tots (or teenagers). If you find the weather uncooperative, just venture across the park to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science; you’ll be sheltered from the storm and have the opportunity to enjoy a crash course in mummies, minerals, Mars and other educational topics.
Budding sports enthusiasts in your group? Book tickets to see one of Denver’s seven (yes, seven) professional sports teams do their stuff. Though the Denver Nuggets (basketball), Colorado Rockies (baseball) and Denver Broncos (football) are the big three, there’s also pro soccer, hockey and lacrosse to consider on a night out.