Julie moved to Denver two and a half years ago from Ann Arbor with her husband and kids Will (age 8) and Mae (age 6). Julie loves exploring the city and the nearby mountains, and we asked her to share some of her favorite things to do in and around Denver. 


The ski slopes aren’t the only curves you’ll find in Colorado – look at those coaster at Elitch Gardens! Whatever brings you to Denver it’s nice to know it’s a casual city where you can wear jeans almost anywhere, kids are welcome and everyone has a dog. So enjoy the fresh mountain air and have fun!


Homegrown Tap & Dough
Great food and they have free video games and corn hole!  We love the pizza and we always get a side of the brussel sprouts.  Great kid menu.  There is usually a wait, but it goes quick.


Food Halls

Avanti is the first food hall in Denver.  It has something for everyone and you can almost always grab a table. It’s loud and casual, making it great for kids. We love going here with a large group, and everyone is happy.  Don’t miss the arepas! Central Market is the second food hall to come to Denver.  It’s yummy, fun, and casual.  They have everything from coffee, cocktail bar, bread, full meals, to ice cream.


Blue Pan Pizza
They have a location in the Highlands and Congress Park.  We prefer the Congress Park location, because it’s larger and closer to our house.  It’s Detroit style pizza (yum) and it’s REALLY good. They offer a kids eat free on Wednesday nights, where the kids get to assemble their own pizzas at the table – so fun! Head across the street after for Sweet Cooie’s Ice Cream.  A throw back ice cream shop with original flavors.  My favorite is the salted oreo.


Botanic Gardens
A beautiful way to walk for a few hours.  It’s easy to miss, but the Children’s Garden, which is across the street, and included in the ticket price, is wonderful.  In the summer they have a little creek for the kids to play in, so bring a towel if they plan to get wet.  The Hive is cute restaurant at the back of the main gardens, although somewhat pricey.  Insider tip – they let you bring in food and drinks.  We often take a picnic on summer nights!  If you’re in town during June- August look up their concert series.  They have well known musician play outdoor concert in their small venue.  Tickets sell out fast!


Stay in the Mountains
Here are our favorite family destination hotels in the mountains.  A 2 hour drive away is Devil’s Thumb Ranch.  Our kids LOVED this place.  It has mountain views, a great game room, horse stables, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, a great spa, and good food.  It’s a 10 minute drive from Winterpark, if you like to ski. Just outside of Colorado Springs is a great family hotel, the Broadmoor.  It’s endless fun and surrounded by natural beauty.  It’s like Disney Land in the mountains.


More Attractions:

  • Washington Park (free fun – great playground, pond, bike/running path, with mountain views)
  • Winterpark Train (it only runs a few times in the winter, so check the schedule.  It’s a beautiful ride through the mountains to Winterpark resort)
  • Union Station (they have a fun water fountain for the kids to play in in the summer)


Photo credit: Facebook