Denver City Guide

Relaxing & Unwinding in Denver

©2006 Denver CVB Stop and smell the flowers -- and maybe even catch a concert under the stars -- at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Denverites adopt a leisurely lifestyle, enjoying a day of relaxation just as much as a full-throttled, 24-hour buzz. Given the close proximity to the mountains and the acreage of parks and open spaces, there's always time to reflect, rejuvenate, and simply take it easy.

Locals linger over coffee for hours in funky caffeine houses, most of which have Wi-Fi. If the hustle and bustle of the city becomes too taxing, the snow-capped peaks are less than 30 minutes away, and there are several other spots in the city to nurture your nature side.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Denver

Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Denver

One of Denver's best-kept secrets is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (56th Ave and Havana St). Bring a book and your binoculars and unwind in the swells of shortgrass harboring mule deer, bald eagles, white pelicans forging for fish, and burrowing owls. If you're an angler, cast your hook in one of the lakes that allows catch-and-release fishing. You'll need a fishing license, your own equipment, and $3 for a fishing pass.

During the summer months, Denverites relax under the stars at the Denver Botanic Gardens (1005 York St), a blooming botanical paradise in which to enjoy some of the top musical acts in the country in one of the most serene outdoor landscapes in Colorado.

Pack a picnic, bring a bottle of wine and a blanket, and stretch out on the grass, while listening to the likes of the Indigo Girls, Judy Collins, B.B. King, and Bruce Cockburn. The lineup is usually announced in mid-April, and concerts run May-August. Tickets are available on the Denver Botanic Gardens Web site and at the on-site ticket window. A forewarning: Tickets sell out quickly, so keep close tabs on the concert calendar.

While live concerts aren't a part of the lineup at Washington Park (East Louisiana and South Downing Sts), lake fishing (don't forget your license), paddleboating (available for rent at the lake house), croquet, horseshoe pits, flourishing flower gardens, and sunbathing all make this popular park a wonderful spot to relax. 

No visit to Denver would be complete without a visit to the Tattered Cover Book Store (1628 16th St). There are three locations for this astounding literary marvel, but the newest store, in the renovated Lowenstein Theater (on Colfax Ave and Elizabeth St across from East High School), is the talk of the town. Grab a latte and plop down in one of the overstuffed chairs or sofas, cuddled up with the latest best seller.

If you simply want to unwind, grab a newspaper and a latte and watch the world go by at The Market (1445 Larimer St), a local institution whose coveted patio provides prime real estate for unparalled people-watching.

If you prefer to take in the sights of a new city with a group tour, you'll be interested in the next section. There, we provide information on organized tours of Denver.