Denver in Winter: How to Spend 3 Days in the Mile-High City

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Article written by: Rebecca
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Thinking about visiting Denver in winter? While it may be cold, it’s a great time to visit! Here’s my first-timer’s 3-day itinerary.

As someone who prefers the warmth of a beach destination, I was a little nervous about visiting Denver in winter.

Would it be super cold? Would it snow?

Yes and yes. But despite that, our 3 days in Denver turned out to be a great trip filled with delicious food and beautiful spots to explore – as well as some snow!

Here’s how you can make the most of a weekend in Denver and enjoy the wintery wonderland that the city transforms into.

A wintry Denver street with large buildings and snow falling. There's a sign that reads "Denver Pavilions" on the left, and wet roads reflecting the grey, snowy sky.

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What to do in Denver

Don’t have time to read this whole post and just want to quickly find out the top things to do so you can plan your own Denver winter itinerary? Here’s a summary.

Day 1:

  • Brunch at Snooze
  • Visit Red Rocks amphitheatre
  • Take a brewery tour at Coors brewery
  • Eat lunch at Bob’s Atomic Burgers
  • Have dinner at Truffle Table

Day 2:

  • Browse Tattered Cover Bookstore
  • Visit Union Station
  • Wander down 16th Street Mall
  • Have lunch at Steuben’s
  • Sample the beers at Great Divide Brewing Co or take a craft beer tour
  • Dine at Linger

Day 3:

  • Visit Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Have dinner at Work & Class

For those who want the detail for this Denver weekend itinerary, read on!

Top tip: Visiting Denver with kids? Buy a Denver CityPASS to save big on attractions such as the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Denver attractions map

Here’s a map so you can see where everything listed in this Denver itinerary is located.

Day 1 of Denver itinerary

We had an early flight from Dallas to Denver to take advantage of our time there. By the time we arrived and picked up our rental car, we were starving (or, more accurately, I was hangry).



Our weekend in Denver began with brunch. We headed straight to the highly recommended Snooze (2262 Larimer St) and were lucky enough to skip the queue and get a table straight away. I think the hostess felt sorry for us when I told her what time we’d woken up that morning.

We immediately tucked in to delicious breakfast tacos with egg, shredded hash and pico de gallo, and finished off by sharing a lemon poppyseed pancake. Snooze has several locations in Denver and as the city’s brunch institution, they’re all always busy, so plan to arrive early.

Far more lively with some food in our bellies, we got back in the car for the trip to Red Rocks. Having watched concerts staged at this venue on TV, I was blown away by seeing the outdoor amphitheatre in person.

I would love to come back here to see a concert, surrounded by the towering sandstone rock formations. Visiting Red Rocks is a must do in Denver. (If you don’t have your own car while you’re in Denver, then join a tour like this one.)

As well as the actual amphitheatre, there’s the Red Rocks Performers Hall of Fame which has photos of concerts that have taken place over the past decades.

Anyone who’s anyone in musical royalty has performed here: The Beatles, Jethro Tull, Carole King, U2, Stevie Nicks and Depeche Mode. It’s fascinating to wander through and see all of the performance photos (and take a break from the cold outside).

A person - the author's husband - in a grey beanie and black vest standing with their back to the camera, looking up at a towering red rock formation at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The sky is partly cloudy.
The view of Red Rocks Amphitheatre with no people in the foreground. The amphitheater seating curves around the stage, set against a backdrop of large red rock formations under a blue sky with scattered clouds.

The area around Red Rocks has a few museums and historical sites. We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Museum for a quick look around.


It was then off to Golden, a small town 30 minutes from Denver. It’s most famous for being the home of Coors beer, so we joined a Coors brewery tour.

The tour is guided and includes three samples in the bar at the end. When we visited, the tour was free but there’s now a small charge ($20 for the tour). It’s pretty cheap though when you consider that you get three samples and a commemorative cup to take home with you.

If you don’t want to do the tour, it’s only $10 to sample a few beers.

Tours are only offered Thursday to Monday.

A large welcome sign reading "Howdy Folks! WELCOME TO GOLDEN" in bold letters stretches across a street lined with parked cars and buildings, beneath a partly cloudy sky. Golden CO is a great place to visit on your 3-day Denver winter itinerary.
A large outdoor display of a yellow Coors Banquet beer can and a copper brewing kettle with a plaque in front, part of the Coors Brewery Complex.

Hungry after a busy day of sight-seeing, we stopped by Bob’s Atomic Burgers (1310 Ford St, Golden) and wrote out our order on paper bags.

A close-up view of a restaurant menu titled Bob's Atomic Burgers with various burger options and checkboxes for additional toppings and cheeses.


We drove back to Denver and napped for the afternoon before dinner at the Truffle Table (2556 15th St).

This is a really cute little restaurant that’s all about charcuterie and wine. The owner was there and made some great wine recommendations. Indeed, all the staff were friendly and knowledgeable. I highly recommend it.

A charcuterie board with an assortment of cheeses, cured meats, and garnishes, accompanied by slices of bread, two glasses of red wine, and a wine bottle on a wooden table.

Day 2 in Denver in winter


The next morning, we woke to streets covered in snow – something that’s always been on my USA bucket list! And the snow just didn’t stop. Our plans to walk the streets were thwarted as the cold got too much for us. 

I’ve only been to the snow once in my life, and felt like I was slipping around on the streets! Apparently around 64 inches of snow comes down in Denver in winter, and snow can still fall even in April.

We discovered one of the best Denver activities when it’s snowing: sheltering in the Tattered Cover bookstore (1991 Wazee St) for a while. This is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the travel section where I pored over books with covers of warmer climes.

We braved the snow yet again to walk down to Union Station – an example of what all train stations should look like! It’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful things to see in Denver.

The station was built in the late 1800s and underwent a complete renovation in 2014. As well as travellers, the station attracts people looking for a coffee or meal or a photo opp, so it’s usually a bustling place. If the weather’s nice, you can get gorgeous shots of the station from outside.

A busy indoor marketplace with high ceilings, arched windows, and elegant hanging lamps. Patrons are gathered at various food stalls. This is the inside of the beautiful Union Station in Denver, Colorado.

For history and architecture lovers, this walking tour covers a variety of Denver’s areas with a knowledgeable guide.


We had lunch at Steuben’s (523 East 17th Ave), a popular diner. Expect a line. Like most diners, the main fare was traditional American comfort food: grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fried steak and the like.

A hearty meal consisting of a cheese-covered burger with lettuce and pickles, a side of fries served in paper, and a copper mug, possibly containing a drink, all on a blue tabletop.

Later, when the snow started to subside, we had a drink at the Great Divide Brewing Co (2201 Arapahoe St), one of Denver’s craft beer breweries. The brewery offers tours but we opted to squeeze ourselves into seats at the busy bar and sip a few brews.

There are more than 100 brewpubs, breweries and taprooms in Denver so you won’t run out of options to check out. Download a copy of the Denver beer trail guide online and spend an afternoon ticking them off. You could actually spend a whole weekend in Denver just tasting beers!

If you want a guided tour, then check out this option.


The chilly day finished off with dinner at Linger (2030 West 30th Ave). The menu has food from all around the world so you can take your pick of cuisines – a great place to go if you can’t decide if you want Thai or American or Indian food.

While it’s a spacious restaurant, it was packed when we were there, so you’ll definitely need make a reservation in advance.

Day 3 in Denver: Rocky Mountain National Park

Day trip

On our last day of our long weekend in Denver we awoke to a beautiful day – a crisp, blue sky highlighted the snow still on the mountains. The perfect weather for a day trip to our first-ever national park in the United States, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Visiting this national park is one of the best Denver winter activities – but if there’s too much snow, it may change your plans.

While visiting this national park is one of the best things to do in Denver, it’s technically not in Denver, so you will need to rent a car for the roughly two-hour drive.

If you only have two days in Denver, you can skip the national park (or cram everything I’ve mentioned already into two days and then make this day trip your second day).

Don’t have a car? This day tour to Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver means you can still get out to this beautiful national park.

The drive there is gorgeous, with plenty of places to stop for photos. Once we arrived in the park, the snow made it even more stunning. We mushed our way through a few different hikes of varying length and difficulty. There were plenty of rangers on hand to direct people and make sure no one fell through the iced lakes.

Don’t forget to purchase your America the Beautiful pass in advance! It will give you access to Rocky Mountain National Park as well as 2,000 federal recreation sites throughout the United States. If you don’t have a pass, entry is $30 for a 1-day for one vehicle.

Two people - the author and her husband - posing with smiles in front of the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance sign, surrounded by pine trees with a hint of snow on the ground and clear blue skies above.
A person - the author of this article - seated on a rock, viewed from behind, gazing out at a tranquil lake surrounded by pine trees with snow-capped mountains in the distance under a clear blue sky.


We returned to Denver and ate dinner at Work & Class (2500 Larimer St), a small restaurant housed in old shipping containers. It’s one of the coolest places to visit in Denver. The food was great, the vibe cool and the service unpretentious.

A table with various dishes, including what appears to be roasted chicken, sliced sausage, and sautéed kale. Hands are seen using utensils to serve the chicken.

The next morning, we were up at a ridiculous hour to catch our 5am flight back to Dallas. And just like that, our 3 days in Denver were over. And I had survived the snow and Denver in winter!

PS. If you’re travelling through Denver airport this winter, make sure you check out the ice-skating rink that’s been set up!

Where to stay in Denver

If it’s your first time in Denver, I recommend staying in the LoDo (lower downtown) area. It’s close to all the main Denver attractions so you can walk to Union Station and down the 16th Street Mall, a 2-kilometre pedestrian mall.

There are plenty of eating options around here. There are also many lovingly restored historic buildings, some of which have been turned into accommodation. Some recommendations include:

How to get to Denver

All major airlines fly into Denver International Airport, which is located around 35 minutes from downtown Denver. There’s a convenient airport train that takes passengers straight to Union Station ($10 each way).


How to get around Denver

We rented a car at the airport because we knew we’d be heading to Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’re heading anywhere outside of the city, a car will be essential. Be aware that parking in the city can be pretty expensive.


Uber is of course everywhere and every driver we had was so nice and gave us great recommendations for what to do in Denver and where to eat.

The LoDo area is very walkable. For an outdoorsy city like Denver, it’s not surprising that the city also has Lime and Lyft bikes and scooters for rent.

There’s also a free shuttle that goes up and down 16th Street Mall.

Best time to visit Denver

While this Denver travel guide has focused on visiting Denver in winter, the city really is a year-round destination. Winter brings plenty of snow activities like skiing, ice skating and snow shoeing. Even with the snow, you can have a great weekend trip to Denver as we did – it’s one of the best destinations for a weekend adventure in Colorado.

You could plan a Denver vacation for the shoulder seasons from April to May and September to October. During these months, the weather is comfortable and perfect for outdoor activities. Accommodation is usually cheaper.

Summer is the peak tourist season in Denver, with people flocking to the area to experience all the beautiful outdoors activities that Colorado has to offer.

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Have you ever been to Denver in winter? What are your favourite things to do in Denver in winter?

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  • Book flights to and around the USA online with Skyscanner. I like this site because it shows me which dates are cheaper.
  • Find a great hotel in the USA. Check prices on and Expedia online.
  • Check out the huge range of day tours throughout the USA on GetYourGuide or Viator. There’s something for everyone.
  • A copy of the Lonely Planet guide to the USA will be handy.
  • One thing I always purchase is travel insurance! Travel Insurance Master allows you to compare across multiple policy providers, while SafetyWing is great for long-term travellers and digital nomads.


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I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.

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