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Hidden Gems in Denver
Denver was full of hidden gems before the tourists took over. Nowadays, most iconic places are filled with transplants. Between pot enthusiasts and mountain climbers, Colorado is full of adventure seekers looking for things to do. Use this guide to navigate the city, avoid tourist traffic, and see some of Denver’s finest attractions.
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1. Larimer Square
With so much hype around the 16th Street Mall, Larimer Square has managed to stay a historical secret. It was completed in 1858 with the help of architect William Larimer. This was Denver’s first commercial square, and served as the busiest shopping block for many years. Today it is recognized as a historic district, and is filled with local restaurants, bars, and shops.
2. National Ice Core Laboratory
The Denver Federal Center is home to the U.S. Ice Core Lab. Over 10 miles of ice cores collected and stored for important research on our planet’s history. Dozens of different scientists have taken samples from these cores to study the Earth, mostly its climate and weather. Call several months in advance and you can arrange to take a tour. Keep in mind how cold the laboratory is kept, you would be wise to bring a coat.
3. Tree Climbing Colorado
4. Marjorie Park
Denver’s Museum of Outdoor Arts is a multi-location exhibit spanning between Greenwood Village and Denver. Marjorie Park is one of five unique collections within the museum, located next to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre. There are 19 different statues and structures scattered across the park, several themed after Alice and Wonderland. The park has several other features that contribute to it being the best park in Denver. Beautiful views, never busy enough that you notice, and the perfect family spot.
5. Escape Rooms
Escape rooms have been up and coming for a while now. But puzzle lovers who haven’t heard, you’ll love this. Inspired by escape-the-room video games, entrepreneurs are creating life-like games of their own. Strategize using hints and clues to escape, or decode the room’s mystery. More open each year, and they span across the globe. You can find a list of Denver’s here.
6. Denver Trolley
Denver has a unique history, and there’s no better way to explore it than the Denver Trolley. Back in the day it was It known as the Platte Valley Trolley. It has been servicing sight-seeing tourists for more than 100 years!! It starts behind R.E.I, and trails along the South Platte River, down into the city. You’ll stop at the children’s museum, the aquarium, and sometimes various seasonal stops. It would have been good to know about the Groupon ahead of time, but it was definitely worth it at full cost. Check the schedule before you go to confirm that the trolley is running.
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7. Linger Eatuary
Linger Eatuary was once Olinger Mortuaries. The restaurant owners fully embrace the location’s creepy history, showcasing it inside and out. Eat off of glass-topped conveyer belts and pay your respects to Buffalo Bill. Don’t worry, the morbid decor doesn’t take away from how delicious the food is.
8. Denver Mint
Denver is one of two USD production facilities that gives tours. Now 225 years old, the Denver Mint has rich history on top of an interesting process behind money production. The tour is entertaining for groups of all ages, and affordable too. There are only same-day tickets for sale. This isn’t usually an issue, except during major holidays when tourist traffic is at its worst.
9. Molly Brown House Museum
Molly Brown is famous for surviving the Titanic, but her story is much longer than that. After she helped load Titanic lifeboats, she was rescued by the Carpathia. Before it reached land, Molly had established a Survivor’s Committee, been elected chair, and raised almost $10,000 in survivor aid.
A few years later, during WWI, Molly traveled to France where she helped build a relief station for soldiers. The “unsinkable” girl lost her life to a brain tumor in 1932. Today she is remembered as an icon in women’s history. Hear Molly’s story for yourself at Denver’s most compelling museum.
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10. Tupelo Honey Cafe
Tupelo Honey is the new guy in town, but with drinks as cheap as 75¢, who could say no? It all started with a mission to bring good, home-cooked southern food to Colorado. Since, they have attracted a dedicated following of cocktail lovers (mostly thanks to the Frosé).
You won’t have a problem finding fun things to do in the Mile High City. With so many recycled guides, the real trick is finding spots without lines or crowds. There are still dozens of hidden gems in Denver, so don’t stop searching, but you can start with these ten.
© 2017 Jayson Goetzz