New arrivals in Denver will discover that, while they might be relocating for work, they'll undoubtedly have plenty of time for leisure. Whether new residents are looking for some retail therapy, dining out or partying the night away, the lifestyle in Denver offers plenty of opportunities.
Denver has a huge outdoor culture thanks to the region's mild weather. With plenty of national parks and world-class ski resorts, new arrivals to the city will enjoy taking in the beautiful surroundings and spending time in nature.
Shopping in Denver
While most Denverites prefer to spend their money on camping and sports equipment, newcomers looking for opportunities to spend their hard-earned dollars won't struggle in the Mile High City. Whether one is looking for luxury labels or bargain finds, there's a shopping experience to suit everyone's requirements in Denver.
For designer names, shoppers can head to the luxury stores at Cherry Creek, while those on a tighter budget are likely to find what they are looking for at Colorado Mills. Larimer Square is also a winner when it comes to Denver's distinct character and flavour. The square is great for shopping but is also packed with restaurants and bars that are perfect for a post-shopping treat.
Nightlife in Denver
Although Denver isn't famous for bright lights, the city actually has a tremendous after-hours culture with everything from chic cocktail lounges to trendy craft breweries and unique wineries. Neighbourhoods such as Cherry Creek are full of sophisticated partygoers, while the Lower Downtown (LoDo) area and South Broadway (SoBo) are more popular with a younger crowd. Unfortunately, due to strict noise ordinances, much of the city's nightlife spots close earlier than most revellers would like.
Eating out in Denver
Denver has a lively and thriving culinary scene. Each of Denver's neighbourhoods has its fair share of eateries, but the most dynamic restaurant scene can be found in the city centre.
Denver's downtown restaurants take advantage of the Mile High City's beautiful weather with plenty of al fresco dining options. New arrivals in Denver can enjoy dining on a wide variety of options, including Chinese, Indian, Thai, Italian, French and various African cuisines.
Outdoor activities in Denver
Denver is ideally located for outdoor enthusiasts, and the city boasts an extremely athletic population. With the Rocky Mountains to the west and the High Plains to the east, Denver residents are blessed with access to naturally beautiful landscapes and a whole host of exciting outdoor activities.
First and foremost, Denver is considered a great spot from which to explore the Rockies. From hiking and mountain biking trails to pleasant camping spots, there are plenty of opportunities to spend time in nature. Golf and fishing are also popular activities among Denver's population. In the winter months, residents head to the slopes to participate in various winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.
See and do in Denver
New arrivals in Denver will find that the city offers plenty of activities to keep them occupied in their spare time. Whether they prefer interacting with the animal world at the city's zoo and aquarium or just spending the day lazing in the sun at one of the city's parks, there is plenty to see and do in Denver.
Below are some of the most popular attractions in Denver.
This zoological garden covers an area of 84 acres and is located in City Park. It is a popular attraction in Denver, with more than 2.2 million visitors each year. The Denver Zoo houses more than 3,000 animals from across the globe and is a fun-filled outing for the whole family. Ranked as one of the most ethical zoos in the US, Denver Zoo practises conservation and aims to raise awareness about threats to biodiversity by educating its visitors.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Newcomers with green fingers will find lots of gardening inspiration at the Botanic Gardens. Despite the dry climate found in Colorado, the gardens have one of North America's most diverse plant collections, consisting of more than 32,000 types of plant species. The gardens also provide a fabulous setting for a picnic or family day out, particularly in the summer when outdoor concerts are held in the amphitheatre.
Colorado State Capitol Building
A spectacular example of 19th-century classical architecture, complete with its distinctive gold-leaf-covered dome, Colorado's State Capitol is a must-see. The building is situated a full mile above sea level, lending Denver its nickname of the 'Mile High City'. Visitors can tour the building, including the dome, and learn about the history of the Capitol and the city.
Denver Art Museum
Art lovers will get the chance to admire collections consisting of more than 70,000 diverse works from across the globe at the Denver Art Museum. The museum is especially well known for its excellent collection of Native American art. There are also imaginative hands-on exhibits and games to keep the little ones entertained.
A trip to the aquarium is a delight for the whole family. Young visitors can enjoy interactive experiences such as the touch pool and the old shipwreck while also learning about the 5,000 marine animals housed in the aquarium. Afterwards, families can enjoy a meal at the aquarium restaurant seated beside a 150,000-gallon tank filled with all sorts of sea creatures.
What's on in Denver
New arrivals in Denver will be treated to a busy events schedule. Whether it's sports events, food festivals or family-friendly days out, Denver has something to suit everyone.
Here are some of Denver's most popular yearly events.
St Patrick's Day Parade (March)
Attracting around 400,000 people a year, this is Denver's biggest annual parade, as well as being one of the biggest in the country. It features horses, stagecoaches, marching bands and eclectic floats. It's sure to be a fun day out for the whole family.
Cinco de Mayo 'Celebrate Culture' Festival (May)
Denverites enjoy celebrating Cinco de Mayo in a big way. This annual extravaganza also draws more than 400,000 people to Civic Center Park, where hundreds of different stalls sell Latino food, crafts and memorabilia. Two stages provide plenty of live entertainment, while attendees can also attend events like the Community Parade, taco-eating contest and the green chilli bowl cook-off. The little ones can also head over to the Children's Carnival, where they will be spoilt for choice with plenty of activities and rides to enjoy.
Denver Summer Brew Fest (July)
This event gives residents a chance to sample some of the best local craft beers, with plenty of options from Denver and beyond. Festival goers can also enjoy the line-up of bands playing live music and head over to the food stalls for a tasty treat. This fun day out is enjoyed by beer lovers across Denver and the broader Colorado area.
Pumpkin Festival (October)
A fall highlight, this festival is held at the Denver Botanic Gardens and is an ideal family excursion. There are plenty of activities for kids, from hayrides and carnival games to pumpkin picking and face painting. The festival also offers live music, food trucks and vendors, as well as local craft stalls.
Denver International Wine Festival (November)
This festival is a delight for wine lovers, consisting of tastings, local winery tours, and even a food-and-wine-pairing competition between local chefs. A superb selection of wine will be on offer, with hundreds of wines from around the world available for tasting. Festival goers will also be treated to live music and entertainment throughout the week.
►Read the Working in Denver page for more information on the city's economy.
"Our favourite family attractions are the parks (City Park, Congress Park, Wash Park, Sloan’s Lake), the zoo, skiing, camping and Union Station." Learn more about South African expat, Hendrik's life in Denver in our interview with him.
Are you an expat living in Denver?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Denver. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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