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If you’re after the best things to do in Denver with kids, you’ll be pleased to know that there is no shortage of fun attractions and places to visit.  There are countless fun interactive museums, expansive city parks, theme parks and more!

And that’s just in the city centre itself!  As well as all the fun things to do in Denver for kids – it is the perfect base for day trips in the surrounding area.  You could easily write a book covering all the things to do for kids in Denver and the surrounding area – so this article will focus on the Denver attractions for families in the city area and those you can easily reach from the city centre.

No matter how old your kids are, this fun things to do in Denver kids guide has all ages covered. So whether you’re after fun things to do in Denver with toddlers, fun things to do in Denver with teenagers, or any other age in between – you’re sure to find plenty to do in this guide for visiting Denver with kids.

As well as tips for fun activities for kids in Denver, this guide also provides suggestions on where to stay in Denver with kids, how best to get around and where to eat.

So let’s get started and find you all the excellent family things to do in Denver.

Talk to other families about their tips on visiting Denver and join our Thrifty Family Travel Facebook Group or get inspired on our Thrifty Family Travel Instagram Feed.

This post may contain compensated links.  Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.

Things to do for Kids in Denver Map

To help you plan what order to do all activities in Denver for kids, I’ve provided this handy map below, which shows you the location of all the different Denver family attractions.  Zoom in and out for a better view.

 

Best Things to do in Denver with Kids

The guide below provides a fairly comprehensive list of what to do in Denver with kids. I have provided as much information as possible to make your planning easier, including locations, opening hours and ticket prices.

Please note that all prices mentioned are in USD and were correct at the time of writing.  To check the rate in your local currency, click here.

Meow Wolf Convergence Station

Fun things to do in Denver Colorado with kids don’t get much better than Meow Wolf.  This is one of the newest family attractions in Denver and is an absolute must do no matter how old your kids are.

So what is Meow Wolf?  Well, it’s a little hard to explain really.

The attraction is completely indoors, sprawled across four levels and features more than 70 one of a kind art installations.  The basic concept is that the four parallel worlds of C Street, Eemia, Ossuary and Numina have somehow collided and now you can freely move from one world to the other.

This is not the kind of attraction where you start at one end and sequentially move through until you reach the end.  Rather you’re taken to the top level via a lift and then are free to go about the four levels as you please.  Open secret doors, climb staircases, crawl through tight spaces – follow wherever your interest takes you – or more likely, wherever your kids go.

The art installation in this place is absolutely mind blowing and mind boggling all at the same time.  The imagination and thought that went into dream this place up is phenomenal, let alone the attention to detail in the execution.

Little kids will love it as if it was one huge playground over four levels, while tweens and teenagers will love trying to make sense of what they see and using their imagination to explain the stories between the alien worlds colliding.

We spent around 2 hours here and Myla declared it the best place she’s ever visited – so yeah, she absolutely loved it.  It really is one of the best Denver attractions for kids, whether you’re after things to do in Denver for teenager kids or things to do with toddlers in Denver.

Location1338 1st St, Denver

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 10 am | Friday and Saturday 10 am to 12 am

Price: $52.50 ages 14+ | $44 4-13

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Another one of the fun places for kids in Denver is the Museum of Nature and Science.  While museums aren’t always considered “fun”, – there is so much to do at this museum and a great deal of it is hands-on and interactive – I can guarantee your kids will love it here.

The museum is massive, spread out across three levels.  Various sections cover topics such as space, health, wildlife from around the world, dinosaurs, gems and minerals, Native American culture and more.  The Mazes & Brain Games section is also pretty fun for the kids and parents alike, where you can work together to get through large mazes, solve 3D puzzles and play games.

While some sections are more interactive than others, I love that throughout the museum; there are blocks and toys scattered around the place to keep younger children entertained.

Plus, the little ones will absolutely love the Exploration Studio, where they can watch themselves interacting with dinosaurs and other larger than life creatures on screen.  And there’s the Discovery Zone, where they can play in sand pits, experiment with water and climb colossal insects.

Other attractions at the museum which have an additional charge are the planetarium, IMAX 3D theatre and any special exhibition which may be on – during our visit; there was an Egyptian mummies exhibit.

We spent around 2 hours at the museum and that’s without going to any of the attractions with an additional charge.  We also didn’t play in any of the areas for the little kids – so as you can see; you could easily spend the entire day at this museum.  

There is also a cafe on site for food and drinks.

Location: 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver

Opening Hours:9 am to 5 pm daily

Price: Museum: $19.95 per adult | $14.95 per child  Planetarium: $5 per adult | $4 per child  IMAX: $7 per adult | $6 per child  Special Exhibits: $9.50 per adult | $7 per child

City Park

Image credit thanks to Adam Bove

Denver’s City Park is a sprawling 330 acre park home to two of the great kids activities Denver offers – the Museum of Nature and Science (details above) and the Denver Zoo (details below).

Not only will families love these attractions, but there are also picnics to enjoy, paths to stroll, paddleboats to paddle on the two lakes, kids splash fountains and playgrounds, tennis courts, soccer fields and loads of green space to let the kids run out the last of their energy.

If you’re there in the late afternoon, you will enjoy the stunning sunset lighting up the city skyline. And if you’re stretching the budget, you’ll appreciate City Park as it’s one of the free things to do in Denver for kids.

Location: 1700 n. York Street, Denver

Opening Hours: Anytime

Price: FREE

Denver Zoo

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

Located in City Park, Denver Zoo is an 80 acre zoological garden home to more than 3,500 animals from across the globe. Families will love the themed animal habitats such as ‘Penguin Point’ with over 30 feet of underwater viewing, the 22-foot high ‘Sloth Tree’, ‘The Edge’ where you can come eye to eye with Amur tigers or ‘Elephant Passage’, which is 10 acres of terrain with meandering trails to spot elephants, rhinos and tapirs.

Denver Zoo also has paid interactive animal experiences allowing you to get up close with Stingrays, Elephants, Giraffes, Camels and more.

And for those wannabe vets amongst us, the Zoo has an operating Animal Hospital on site, with a viewing window to watch animal medical care – Denver activities for kids who love animals don’t get much better than this.

Location: 2300 Steele Street Denver

Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am

Price: $20 per adult | $14 per child (3-11) | Under 3s are free

Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park

Located a short drive from the centre of town is Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park – hands down one of the best Denver attractions for kids.  No matter how old your kids are, there is something for all ages here.

In the theme park section, you’ve got all kinds of rides for all age groups.  There’s the Mind Eraser, the Sidewinder, Half Pipe and the Boomerang for the older thrill seekers.  Family rides include Hollywood & Vine, the 100 feet tall ferris wheel and water rides like Disaster Canyon and Shipwreck Falls. While the littles will enjoy the carousel, tea cups, train rides and lots more.

Also scattered throughout the park are carnival-style games and plenty of places to get food and drinks.

If you happen to be visiting on a hot Summer day – the 10 acre water park will be a welcoming place to escape the heat.  Here you’ve got a huge wave pool, lazy river and a bunch of other water slides suitable for all ages from tame aqua tube slides to the 65 foot tall Mega Wedgie.  There is even an area for the younger kids to play which includes a pirate ship with six mini slides, sprayers and a tipping bucket.

Location: 2000 Elitch Cir, Denver

Opening Hours: Hours change depending on the season

Price: Standard tickets are $99 per person, but they regularly have special deals – we paid only $30 each on the day we went – so do your research.

Confluence Park

Image credit thanks to Stan Obert

At the edge of Lower Downtown, you’ll find Confluence Park – named for its location at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek.

This waterfront park is perfect for water activities, of which there are many. You’ll find kayakers paddling the rapids, tubers reclining in their donuts on the currents, keen anglers casting for a fish, kids splashing in the shallows at the beach section and for those who want to be near the water but not in it – there is loads of decking to lounge around on and watch all the water festivities.

There are also riverside trails to hike and bike, baseball and soccer fields and loads of green space for picnics and hang-outs. As far as Denver kids activities go, there is something for all ages.

Location: 2250 15th Street, Denver

Opening Hours: Anytime

Price: Free

Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

Denver museums for kids don’t get much better than the Children’s Museum of Denver… this is a museum the kids will want to come to, with exhibits that are hands-on, interactive and one-of-a kind!

The exhibits have four themes; Investigate, Imagine, Explore and Create. Each exhibit has a range of experiments to engage different interests and ages.

Some exhibits include an operational Fire Station where the kids can drive trucks, manage dispatch and put out fires;  the Adventure Forest – a 60,000 square foot enclosed outdoor play area where kids can run, climb and explore; the Teaching Kitchen where the kids can learn about nutrition, hydroponic plants and how to cook and Bubbles – who doesn’t love bubbles? Here you can go into a bubble booth and be surrounded by a soapy film!

There’s so much to do and see here the whole family will love it; definitely allow at least half a day.  This is one of the fun things for kids to do in Denver you don’t want to miss out on!

Location: 2121 Children’s Museum Dr, Denver

Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 4 pm

Price: $17 ages 2 – 59 | $15 ages 1 and 60+ | Kids under 1 free

Denver Trolley

Looking for fun things to do in Denver for families? Why not take a ride back in time on the Denver Trolley?! 

This scenic 30-minute trolley ride along the South Platte River is one small portion of the extensive 250 mile transit system that once transported passengers around Denver. However, when cars became commonplace and a new bus system was implemented, the Denver trolley service was abandoned in 1950.

This particular open-air “breezer” was restored and now rattles along every weekend throughout Summer for riders to enjoy. Departing from Confluence Park, past the Downtown Aquarium onto the Children’s Museum and finishing at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

The drivers are super knowledgeable about the history of the area and love telling passengers interesting facts you won’t find in any guidebook. Definitely one of the top things to do in Denver with kids.

Location: 1400 Platte Street, Denver (behind REI) – check the map here

Opening Hours: Summer Weekends 10 am to 1.30 pm

Price: $7 per adult | $3 per child (4-12) | Under 4s are free – buy on the Trolley or at the Confluence Park ticket tent

Downtown Aquarium

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

The Downtown Aquarium is one of the fun things to do in Denver for kids, featuring over a million gallons of underwater exhibits from across the world. Here you’ll see aquatic life from the Rainforest, the Barrier Reefs, Shipwrecks, Beaches and loads more.

However, there are more than just underwater exhibits at the aquarium; there is also an impressive array of birds, reptiles, amphibians and swimming Sumatran tigers!

There are also paid interactive experiences, including snorkelling and diving with fish and sharks, becoming a marine biologist or zoologist for a day, and one-on-one animal encounters where you can meet the local sloth, snake, tortoise or porcupine.

And if you get a bit peckish but don’t want to miss out on seeing all the sea life, you don’t have to worry. The onsite restaurant is built around a 50,000 gallon centrepiece aquarium – meaning you have floor-to-ceiling viewing of this stunning underwater world. And the food caters to all tastes and budgets as well.

If you’re looking for something to do in Downtown Denver for kids, the Aquarium is one of the fun family activities in Denver that all ages will enjoy!

Location: 700 Water St, Denver

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 9 pm | Friday and Saturday 10 am to 9.30 pm

Price: $24.99 per adult | $18.99 per child (3-11) | Under 3s are free

Denver Selfie Museum

Family fun in Denver can be found behind the lens at the Selfie Museum! You’ll leave with a whole reel filled with awesome pics for your Instagram or TikTok – or if you’re not into social media, some great photos for the family album!

There are colourful walls and props, with loads of themes to choose from… donuts, smiley faces, bananas, floating beds, gumballs, graffiti, angel wings, inspo quotes… so many wild and whacky choices to make your pics pop! 

You can also bring your own props if you have something special you would like pictured. And if you want to make a costume change, the museum is prepared with loads of changing rooms available for your next outfit choice.

If your arm isn’t long enough for a selfie, there are selfie stands and tripods available for free, plus all the ring lamps are equipped with phone holders too.

For fun family things to do in Denver with teenagers, you can’t go past the Selfie Museum, and if you’ve got some night owls, it’s open late, so it is one of the fun things to do in Denver at night with kids.

Location: 1531 Stout St Ste 102, Denver

Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 12pm to 8pm | Fri 11pm to 9pm | Sat 10am to 10pm | Sun 10am to 9pm

Price: $25 per adult | $22 per child (4-12) | Under 4s are free

Big Blue Bear

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

When it comes to free things to do in Denver with kids – getting a photo with the giant 40 foot high Blue Bear has got to be top of the list.  Located just outside the Colorado Convention Centre, this is just one of the sculptures you’ll find around town – but definitely, one of the best to see with kids; we say a photo with blue bear is one of the top 10 things to do in Denver with kids.

Location: 750-776 14th St, Denver

Opening Hours: Always

Price: Free

Hammond’s Candies

Hammond’s Candies is no doubt one of the best things to do in Denver with kids… well, the kids will think so anyway! 

Hammond’s Candies is an institution in Denver. Opening their doors in 1920, the delicious handmade confections were of such high quality that the small family business grew into the iconic American brand it is today.

And now, you have the chance to peek behind the factory doors on this free 30-minute tour and discover how your favourite sweets are pulled, twisted, shaped and packaged by hand.

Once you’ve finished the tour, you must (well, the kids will make you anyway) visit the nostalgic factory store. With a huge selection of sweets, an old fashioned chocolate counter and wait for it… an ‘Oops Room’ where sweets that didn’t make the grade are discounted just for you!

This is one of the fun things to do in Denver with family – especially those with a sweet tooth!

Location: 5735 Washington St, Denver

Opening Hours: Tours run Mon-Sat 9.15 am to 2.45 pm | Store hours Mon-Sat 9 am to 4 pm

Price: Tours are free – you will need to book online

Denver Mint

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

For kids activities in Denver that are a little bit different, how about a visit to a fully functioning mint?  It’s one of the free things to do in Denver with family.

The building was constructed in the 1800’s when gold was found and there needed to be a Mint to turn the gold into gold coins.  Today the Denver Mint produces over 50 million coins each day, all housed within a beautiful historic building.

The free tours at the Denver Mint will delight kids as they show how the coins are produced… before everything goes digital! 

Location: 320 West Colfax Avenue, Denver

Opening Hours: Tours run Mon – Thu at 8 am, 9.30 am, 12.30 pm and 2 pm 

Price: Free, but you must complete a tour request form to request your preferred date and time

Center for Visual Art

The Center for Visual Art offers free exhibitions which examine current issues through contemporary art. The Center is the off-campus art gallery of the Metropolitan State University of Denver, so the artworks you will see are a culmination of the students along with local and international artists. 

The exhibits are revolving, with new and exciting art showcased regularly. Ensure you check the website before you go, as when a new exhibit is set up; the Center closes for some time. 

To get some creative culture into your travel, the Center for Visual Art is one of the Denver family activities that will visually engage children and open a dialogue around current world events. 

Location: 965 Santa Fe Drive, Denver

Opening Hours: Tue – Fri 11 am to 6 pm | Sat 12 pm to 5 pm

Price: Free

Washington Park

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

For the outdoorsy kids with loads of energy to burn, Washington Park is one of the things for kids in Denver that you’ll love! 

There are 155 acres of grounds to explore with trails to run, tennis and basketball courts to have a game on, two lakes you can pedal boat or stand-up paddleboard on – or simply stroll through the stunning flower gardens modelled after George Washington’s gardens, they are blooming marvellous!

Location: S Downing St and E Louisiana Ave, Denver

Opening Hours: Daily 5 am to 11 pm

Price: Free

Lakeside Amusement Park

Lakeside Amusement Park is a historic family friendly theme park that is loads of fun for kids in Denver

The Park doesn’t have the bright lights and latest rides; instead there is the scenic train ride around Lakeside’s picturesque lake with stunning mountain views, a Kiddies Playland with toddler sized attractions, boardwalk games, a 140-foot drop tower, the Wild Chipmunk coaster, carousel and Ferris Wheel.

Be prepared for the paint to be peeling and some of the rides will be closed on days.  However, on the plus side, you will find shorter lines, cheaper prices and a sense of yesteryear fun! For children’s activities Denver has on offer, the Lakeside Amusement Park is wholesome family fun!

Location: 4601 Sheridan Blvd. Denver

Opening Hours: Open over the Summer with operating hours varying – check the website

Price: Varies pending on height and day – check website

Molly Brown House Museum

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

Margaret “Molly” Brown was an activist and philanthropist… but she was most well known for being the “Heroine of the Titanic”. When the Titanic sank, Molly helped fellow passengers to safety on lifeboats before she was pushed onto one herself. She then took it upon herself to care for survivors who had lost everything by raising funds from the surviving first class passengers.

When Molly wasn’t travelling the world or sinking on ships, she lived in a grand home purchased with her husband in 1894. Molly held onto the home for 30 years until her death at the height of the Great Depression. 

After subsequent owners altered the house dramatically, a group of Denver citizens formed a historic society to restore Molly’s house to its original Victorian splendour.  The house is now a museum and available for self-guided and guided tours year round.

For family film buffs who love the movie ‘Titanic’, this is one of the Denver Colorado family attractions not to miss!

It’s worth noting that there are quite a few stairs with a lift accessing only part of the Museum, so it’s best to leave the pram at the hotel. 

Location: 1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver

Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 10 am to 4 pm | Summer hours vary, check the website for hours on your travel dates 

Price: $16 per adult | $12 per child (6-18) | Under 6s are free

Denver Botanic Gardens

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

Twenty-four acres of gardens are ripe for discovering at Denver Botanic Gardens – one of the places to visit in Denver with kids. The diversity of plants from all corners of the world is showcased amongst 45 different gardens, including arid gardens, ornamental gardens, water gardens and internationally inspired gardens. To get your head around just how many gardens there are, you can check out this map here.

Among the gardens is an eye-catching Science Pyramid where enquiring minds can learn about how plants, animals, people and water are connected. 

And if you’re there between March and October, the 3-acre Mordecai Children’s Garden is one of the fun things for kids in Denver – where they can explore plants and the natural world through hands-on experiences and play.

Why not make a day of it and enjoy lunch at the onsite Hive Garden Bistro, they have a great kids menu for around $10, with mains for adults at around $15.

Location: 1007 York Street, Denver

Opening Hours: Tue – Wed 9 am to 2 pm | Thu – Mon 9 am to 8 pm

Price: $15 per adult | $11 per child (3-15) | Under 3s are free

Watch a Game

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

Family fun Denver Colorado offers is next level if you’re a sports-loving family. Denver is home to some of the world’s greatest teams, including the Colorado Rockies (Baseball), Denver Broncos (NFL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), and Colorado Avalanche (NHL).

For one of the cool things to do in Denver with kids – catch a game at the home stadiums or the local family-friendly sports bars, you’ll be cheering and soaking up the atmosphere and energy of the locals supporting their teams.

And if you don’t follow along with a particular sport but want to get amongst the sports action, these sports cover all seasons – so there’ll be something on at all times for ultimate kids fun in Denver!

Game times / Ticket prices: Varies – check the following links for more information Colorado Rockies | Denver Broncos | Denver Nuggets | Colorado Avalanche

Denver Art Museum

Image credit thanks to Rebecca Todd

The Denver Art Museum not only houses over 70,000 pieces of artwork across 12 permanent collections… the buildings are works of art themselves!

There are two buildings, the first being the ‘Martin Building’ created with over a million reflective glass tiles giving it a castle-like facade. The other building is the bold angular ‘Hamilton Building’ with inspiration taken from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

So whether you come to view the art collections consisting of African art, photography, textile art and fashion, architecture and design – and more, or instead you prefer to take in the amazing architecture of the buildings, this is one of the Denver things to do with kids of all ages – it’s also one of the cheap things to do in Denver with kids, as entry for kids is free!

Location: 100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy, Denver

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm (open until 9 pm on Tuesdays)

Price: $18 per adult | Under 18s are free

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Image credit thanks to Rebecca Todd 

One of the things to do in Denver for children interested in contemporary art is a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art. This museum opened in 1996 and was Denver’s first dedicated home for contemporary art. 

Previously occupying a renovated fish market, the Museum is now in a 27,000-square foot environmentally sustainable building downtown. The building was designed to minimise boundaries between the outside of the city and the inside artworks of the gallery.

The artworks are revolving exhibitions with the aim to spark curiosity and conversation. If you want to see what exhibitions are on while there, you can check out the museum’s exhibition calendar here.

Location: 1485 Delgany St, Denver

Opening Hours: Tue – Thu 12pm to 7pm | Fri 12 pm to 9pm | Sat & Sun 10am to 5pm

Price: $10 per adult | Under 18s are free

Denver Firefighters Museum

If you’re looking for kids stuff in Denver that is both fun and educational, you’ll find it at the Denver Firefighters Museum.

While the Museum was set up to preserve the history of the Denver Fire Department through photos and artifacts, there is also a ‘Little Squirts Square’. Here the kids can play and learn about firefighting on the fire truck and in the fire safety escape house.

So for things to do in Denver kids will love and learn, check out the Denver Firefighters Museum.

Location: 1326 Tremont Pl, Denver

Opening Hours: Tue – Sat 10 am to 4 pm

Price: $9 per adult | $7 per child (2-12) | Under 2s are free

History Colorado Center

Image credit thanks to Rebecca Todd

Loads of interactive Denver kids attractions can be found at the History Colorado Center.  Here you’ll find four floors with over fifteen exhibits capturing the spirit of Colorado. The Center houses permanent exhibits and travelling exhibitions, so there is always something new to discover.

There is a range of art, exhibits and artifacts to discover, all telling the tale of Colorado and the American West. And if you’ve been following along with this Denver Travel Guide, you’ll see some familiar faces, such as; the fun interactive digital ‘throwdown match’ between icons Molly Brown and Mary Elitch. Or the reproduction of Lawrence Argent’s big Blue Bear public artwork.

So make sure you bring your camera to capture all of this Denver fun for kids!

Location: 1200 N Broadway, Denver

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm

Price: $15 per adult | Under 18s are free

Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

Wings over the Rockies is one of the family attractions in Denver Colorado suitable for all ages. There are artifacts and memorabilia from a bygone era for the history buffs, and for those who prefer to look to the future, there are immersive events and realistic flight simulators.

This wasn’t always a museum though; previously, it was the Lowry Air Force Base used as a US Air Force training base during World War II and the Cold War. When it closed in 1994, a group of volunteers formed the museum, becoming the official air and space museum in 1997.

So when looking for things to do in Denver with the family, this former training base is a great attraction as you explore the collection, including spacecraft and civilian aircraft.

Location: 7711 East Academy Blvd Denver

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm | Sun 12pm to 5pm

Price: $18.95 per adult | $11.95 per child (4-16) | Under 4s are free

National Western Stock Show

Image credit thanks to Visit Denver

Travelling to Denver in January? The National Western Stock Show is one of the family things to do in Denver in Winter! This premier livestock, rodeo and horse show has been running every January since the early 1900’s.

Over 16 days, the Show is jam packed with events and attractions, including; bull riding, mutton bustin’ (where kids ride sheep out of a chute into the arena), pony rides, petting farm, animal nursery, horse jumping, livestock auctions… and so much more! 

This is definitely one of the places to take kids in Denver for not only the extravagant spectacle of it all but also to get a window into the importance that agriculture and ranching have on the lives of so many Americans.

Location: 4655 Humboldt St, Denver

Opening Hours: Every January for 16 days

Price: $17-$25 per adult | $4-$5 per child (3-11) | Under 3s are free *pricing is dependent on the day of the week you attend

Where to Eat in Denver with Kids

With all that sightseeing, you’ll need a few places to fuel up and the great news is that Denver has a very cool dining scene.  Even better, most places are casual and more than welcoming to families.

Here are our top tips on where to eat in Denver with Kids.

Snooze an AM Eatery at Union Station

Union Station is so much more than Denver’s main railway.  This 100 year old historic landmark is home to a range of top restaurants, cafes, bars and shops.

One of the super popular places at Union Station is Snooze an AM Eatery.  We visited on a standard weekday around 9 am and the place was absolutely heaving with people – so we knew we were about to enjoy a fabulous meal.

The casual eatery spills out over the walkway outside Union Station with fabulous views of the historic building.  Inside, you’ve got casual booths perfect for families.

The Snooze menu is an all day breakfast menu.  While you’ve got your standard bacon and egg type meals, there are also tasty breakfast burritos, tacos, tostadas, pancakes and vegan and vegetarian options too. They also have a great kids’ menu, with all meals being $6.50, including a drink.

I had an amazing Sweet Potato Bacon Smash Up, topped with avocado and a poached egg, while Myla ordered a pancake float – yes, a float of pancakes!  You can choose any three pancakes, each beautifully presented with a range of toppings such as berries, ice cream and syrup.  They were good – she let me try them!

Snooze prides itself on using fresh, local ingredients, all responsibly sourced to ensure everything you eat has a positive impact on all the people involved in bringing the ingredients to your plate as well as having a positive impact on the environment.  You can find out more about the Snooze standards here.

Other great places to dine with the kids at Union Station include ACME Delicatessen for grab n go sandwiches, Mailbox Ice Creamery for ice creams, sundaes and shakes, ND streetBar for burgers, Pigtrain Coffee Co for coffee and delicious pastries for the kids.

Location: Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver

Open: Weekdays 7 am to 2 pm | Weekends 6.30 am to 2.30 pm

Prices: Meals range from $10 to $16 – check out their menu here.

Denver Milk Market at the Dairy Block

Another historic location that has been turned into an uber cool dining precinct is the Dairy Block.  Previously home to the Windsor Dairy, this city block has been transformed into a vibrant area with shops, restaurants and bars, with the highlight being the Milk Market.

The Milk Market is an indoor eatery with 16 food and drink establishments in one location.  With so many options available, this makes it the ideal place to dine when every family member wants something different to eat.

We popped into the Milk Market for lunch one day and Myla opted for pappardelle bolognese from Mano Pastaria while I had a quick and easy grab-n-go salad for only a few dollars. Both meals were fab, but Myla’s pasta was particularly good and in fact, she declared it the best dish she had eaten in 3 weeks of exploring the USA.

We also opted for some sweets, including delicious creamy gelato from Cornicello and a few donuts from Morning Jones to take home.  Would you believe all of this (including lunch and drinks) cost less than $50!  

Other food options include pizza, seafood, burgers, sandwiches and more, 

While there are plenty of tables and chairs for dining indoors, I recommend you venture out the back into the very Instagram worthy alleyway.  This is the perfect place to venture at night or late afternoon with the alleyway lined with wine bars – so the parents can enjoy a beverage or two after traipsing around the kiddy attractions all day. 

Location: 1800 Wazee Street, Denver

Open: 7 am to 2 am daily

Prices: Meals range in price, so for more information, it’s best to check out their menu here.

Denver Biscuit Co

If you’re craving gourmet biscuit sandwiches, whether for breakfast or lunch – then take the kids to Denver Biscuit Company.  These guys make delicious buttermilk biscuits from scratch every morning and stack them with a range of fresh ingredients to cater to even the fussiest little eater.  But it’s not just the biscuits these guys make from scratch – they make everything in house including jams, sauces, butter, pickles you name it!

Being an Aussie I don’t know much about biscuits, but what I do know is the biscuits at Denver Biscuit Co are absolutely divine!  I opted for the Elmer – a savoury biscuit sandwich filled with pork belly, crispy fried onions, coleslaw, delicious pickles and BBQ sauce.  It was so filling and sooo good it kept me going for hours.  Myla went for a more traditional style breakfast biscuit with rashes of bacon and a gorgeous house made honey butter which she shared with me.

There are a couple of locations around town.  The closest to Downtown is not too far from City Park – along Colfax Avenue, which is the venue we stopped in for breakfast before heading to the Denver Musuem of Nature and Science.

Location: 3237 E. Colfax Ave, Denver

Open: Weekdays 8 am to 2 pm | Weekends 8 am to 3 pm

Prices: Meals range from $13 to $15 – check out their menu here.

Larmier Square

Image credit thanks Evan Sem�n Photography

Just a short walk from Union Station in the center of Downtown Denver is Larmier Square, another super trendy place to visit with the kids for lunch or dinner.  

Larmier Square was Denver’s first commercial district and later the city’s first historic district.  Today you can wander the area admiring the heritage architecture while browsing modern shops housed in Victorian buildings.  It is a lovely place to walk through, especially at night with lights strung overhead.

While the area is decked out with many high end restaurants, places to eat that are great for families include Bubu for quick and easy Asian fare or Smoke House for slow cooked BBQ.

Location:1430 Larimer Street, Denver

Open: Varies per store

16th Street Mall

Image credit thanks to Kari Geha and Downtown Denver Partnership

In the heart of Downtown Denver is the 16th Street Mall, a mile-long pedestrian mall with loads of great shops, attractions and places to eat.  There is a wide variety of places to eat in the mall including 42 outdoor cafes making it the ideal place to go in search of a meal with the kids.
 
There are many different dining options, including casual cafes, bakeries and delis, and family-friendly restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe and Earls Kitchen + Bar.

In addition to dining options, the Mall has movie theatres and the free MallRide to get you around and after dark; there are even horse drawn carriage rides where you can sit back and relax while enjoying the beautiful lights that twinkle away in the trees that line the mall.

Location: 16th Street, Denver

Open: Varies from place to place

Prices: Varies from place to place

RiNo Art District

Image credit thanks to Adam Larkey Photography

This hip arts district was once a run down area of warehouses and factories, but today it is full of shops, breweries, restaurants, bars and some very cool colourful murals.

I’d recommend you begin your visit to RiNo with a self guided tour checking out the colourful street art.  The district regularly holds programs allowing local artists to create some amazing pieces in the area.  You can wander the streets and discover the art as you go, or make yourself a map from here and check out your favourites.

After your self-guided art tour, pop into any cafe or restaurant that piques your interest, or head to one of the food halls such as Central Market or The Source.  Both food halls have a range of food vendors selling items such as baked goods, pizza, sandwiches, ice cream and more.

Location: Around the streets of Upper Larmier Street, north of Broadway, Denver

Open: Varies from place to place – generally, 8 am to 10 pm daily

Prices: Varies from place to place

Best Family Hotels in Denver

Not quite sure where to stay in Denver with kids?  We’ve covered our top three picks for the best family hotels in Denver below.  Each of these hotels offers great value and are in excellent locations for sightseeing around Denver.

Click here for our more comprehensive guide on the kid friendly hotels Denver offers.

The Curtis Denver

For families with tweens or teenagers, then you’ll want to consider the Curtis Denver – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.  This is a unique hotel with an ultra cool retro vibe and is within walking distance of all the main city attractions.

While you may not notice it when you first walk through the entrance of the Curtis, you’re actually walking through an old school caravan. However, once you walk in, you will notice just how Instagram-worthy the foyer is.  There are many great photo opportunities here, and I can guarantee if you have teenagers with you, they’ll be whipping out those phones for selfies.

But the Instagram photos don’t stop there – you see, all 13 floors of the hotel are themed too.  Some rooms are what they call “hyper themed”, such as the Barbie room, the video game room or the disco room.

Families are best suited to rooms with two queen beds or a king bed with a sofa bed.  Rooms also feature a TV, coffee maker, mini fridge and air conditioning.

For meals, the hotel has a Starbucks onsite as well as a restaurant and bar.  The hotel also has parking (extra), a gym and free Wifi.

From the Curtis Denver Hotel, you can easily walk to a range of restaurants and attractions, with Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall just a 5 minute walk away.

Click here for more information and to check the current price

Home2 Suites by Hilton

 

If you want to be in the centre of everything, then the Home2 Suites by Hilton is the best place to stay in Denver with kids. Located a block from 16th Street Mall, you have all the shops and eateries on your doorstep.

However, if you want to save money and eat in, you can do that easily with all Hilton rooms offering a kitchenette with a full sized fridge, microwave, sink and dishwasher (and induction cooktops available from reception) – all perfect to prepare and store meals for the whole family.

Rooms are modern and can accommodate up to four in a King and sofa bed, alternatively there are Queen suites with two double beds. The hotel also offers free WiFi, a gym, restaurant and bar, parking onsite (extra) and a free hot breakfast each day.

For convenience in location and amenities, plus being under the Hilton-name, the Home2 Suites by Hilton is a good accommodation option when looking for places to stay in Denver with kids.

Click here for more information and to check the current price

Homewood Suites


If you’re looking for fun stuff to do in Denver with kids when not out and about exploring, a stay at the Homewood Suites gives you access to their indoor pool – which is a bit of a rarity in Denver at this decent price point! Also rare is the spaciousness of their rooms which are 40 – 50 sqm+ giving ample space for families to spread out.

Rooms are neat with a corporate feel and can accommodate four people in a double bed and sofa. Rooms are also suitably equipped for families with a full kitchen, including a fridge, microwave, stovetop, oven, dishwasher and coffee machine. However, if you don’t feel like preparing breakfast, you’re in luck, as there is a daily free hot breakfast for guests. 

The hotel offers free WiFi, a gym, a bar and parking (extra). And of course the indoor pool and hot tub. Again, Homewood is part of the Hilton group giving you a sense of security staying under the roof of a good name.

Location-wise, Homewood is in the heart of Downtown Denver, a block from the 16th Street Mall and a 10-minute drive from Coors Field or Ball Arena if you decide to catch a game.

Click here for more information and to check the current price

Getting Around Denver

Image credit thanks to Steve Crecelius

Below we’ve provided suggestions on getting around Denver, including how to get from the airport to Downtown Denver and around all the attractions in town.  We also include tips on getting around Denver without a car.

Airport to Downtown Denver

Below are tips on how to get to and from the airport to Downtown Denver.

Rent a Car

If you plan on renting a car to get around Denver, you’re best to pick it up from the airport.  There are loads of different car hire companies just a short drive from the airport.  

To get to the car rental companies, simply follow the signs for Ground Transportation to level 5.  Then continue to follow the signs for rental car shuttles to island 3, where all the car rental companies regularly send courtesy shuttles to pick up customers.

This is what we did upon arriving at Denver Airport.  It probably took about 10 minutes for our bus to come and during that time, we saw buses for all the other car rental companies, so they come very frequently.

The shuttle also works in reverse, so it will take you back to the airport once returning your vehicle.

Rideshare

For families that don’t plan on renting a car while in Denver, often the best way is to use a rideshare app such as Uber or Lyft.

The drive into town takes between 30 to 50 minutes depending upon traffic and the fee will vary too depending upon demand.  Expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $60.

To meet your rideshare, simply follow the signs for Ground Transportation to level 5, then continue to follow the signs for rideshare to island 3.  It’s probably a good idea to wait until you get here before ordering your ride.

Public Transport

The best way for those wishing to take public transport to and from the Airport is via the RTD metro train.  The journey takes around 40 minutes and trains leave every 15 minutes between 5 am and 8 pm and every 30 minutes outside these hours.  

The Airport Station is on level 1 of the DEN Transit Center, near the Westin Denver International Airport Hotel.  Simply follow the signs to the Transit Center on arrival.

The fare is $10.50 each way per adult, $3.20 per child and kids 5 and under ride free.  Tickets can be purchased at the railway station from vending machines.  

The train stops at Union Station and from here, you can walk to most hotels around the city or take a rideshare or bus.  Depending on the location of your hotel.

Around Denver

Image credit thanks to Paul Wedlake Photography

Below are tips on how to get around to all the attractions during your stay in Denver.

Renting a Car

While we were in Denver, we had a hire car which we had picked up from the Denver Airport on arrival.  This made getting around town really easy.

While some towns might not be ideal for driving, and more so parking, we found it really easy to get around Denver with a car.  Most places had parking (for a fee) and street parking was everywhere – even in the centre of town where you could park on the street for a few dollars.

If you also plan on travelling elsewhere in Colorado, as we did, this makes getting to your next destination easy.

Ride Sharing

If you don’t want the hassle of having a vehicle while in Denver, then another option is to use ridesharing apps such as Uber or Lyft.  While we didn’t use ride share while in town, it is widely used throughout the city and very convenient to use in situations where you’re unable to walk or public transport isn’t readily available.

Public Transport

The Downtown Denver area is very walkable and you can easily get from one end to another.  However, with many attractions outside the downtown area, it helps to understand how to get around via public transport if you don’t have a vehicle or don’t want to always rely on rideshare apps.

Denver has a fairly good public transport system with a combination of buses and trains, getting you to most places across the city.  To help plan your public transport routes, I recommend using Google Maps.

Fares for using the trains and buses are $3 for up to 2 zones ($.90 for kids 6-19) or $5.25 for up to 3 zones ($1.60 for kids 6-19).  In most cases, you’re probably best to get a day pass which also covers buses and is $6 for two zones ($1.80 for kids 6-19) or $10.50 for three zones ($3.20 for kids 6-19).

Tickets can be purchased at RTD vending machines or on any bus (cash only).

Free MallRide

For short trips around Downtown when the kids complain their feet are tired, jump onboard the free MallRide (pictured above).  

The free bus runs up and down 16th St between Union Station and Civic Centre Station – although currently, with some construction going on 16th St, the bus travels along 15th and 17th Streets between Champa and Wazee Streets.

The Mall Ride stops on every corner between 5 am to 1.20 am on weekdays, 5.30 am to 1:20 a.m. on Saturdays and 6:30 a.m. to 1:20 a.m. on Sundays.  Services run every 3 to 15 minutes.

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We hope this guide has got you excited to visit Denver! We have some great guides on exploring Colorado with kids – including things to do in Loveland with kids and things to do in Fort Collins with kids. We also have a 7 day Colorado road trip guide here.

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