Things to do in Denver

Hidden Gems in Denver

Got a penchant for the path less traveled? See yourself as subversive? Us, too. Here’s a quirky list of hidden gems in Denver for curious explorers.

Join us on an expedition of hidden Denver, where renegades and nonconformists gather and the buzz of the city thrums far beyond the beaten track. Discover little-known haunts and things to do in Denver that whisper local secrets about culture, heritage, art, and history.

Here, the offbeat reins supreme, and anyone with an inquisitive nature and healthy dose of wanderlust is welcome.

Cultural Hiddens Gems

Seeking an authentic cultural experience that captures the local area’s essence? You can check out some of Denver’s museums or experience the thrill of discovery at one of these hidden Denver gems.

1. The Infinite Monkey Theorem

The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery was started by a fellow with a dream of bottling the essence of Colorado. This delicious, wine-shaped dream is one you can smell, sip, and sample for yourself in the public tasting rooms.

If you want to learn how the ladies who now own and operate the urban winery turn the best grapes from the Western slopes into wine, tour the Wine Lab and hear about it first-hand.

And what about that name? The Infinite Monkey Theorem states, “That a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.” The ladies in charge at this urban winery have managed to strike gold in far less time.

2. Dikeou Collection

Siblings Devon and Pany Dikeou established the Dikeou Collection back in ‘98. Free, open to the public, but accessible by appointment only, it exhibits the works of over 45 artists. It’s a treasure trove for free spirits who aren’t satisfied with the mainstream and prefer the edginess of exploring the margins.

Just like our in-house artists, these creatives aren’t afraid to defy convention and break boundaries to connect with and inspire fans. We love them for it.

At the Dikeou Collection, you’re privy to the raw interpretation of each artist's vision, free from the confines of themes or the gallery’s influence. It really is a must-see for any art-lover seeking to immerse themselves in a Denver-native creative’s world.

3. RiNo Art District

Formed by Denver artists Tracy Weil and Jill Hadley-Cooper in 2003, River North Art District — AKA RiNo — is a truly modern art scene, beyond traditional conventions. Even the art galleries here are covered in graffiti, and no form of creativity is seen as superior or scoffed at.

It takes the pretentiousness out of trendy, leaving only the color, coolness, and diversity behind. There's also a ton of Denver restaurants, breweries, venues, studios, stores, and lifestyle services for you to browse.

Some walls change weekly, so there’s always a fresh and eye-opening piece to see. Yet another example of RiNo’s commitment to delivering empowering community initiatives.

Photographer: nick Kaufman

4. Wax Trax Records

Wax Trax Records’ story is the stuff of local legend. Opened on Ogden Avenue in 1975 by Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, the store was sold to Dave Stidman and Duane Davis in 1978. The duo embarked on a new journey — starting a record label.

While Nash and Flesher moved to Chicago to sign the likes of KMFDM, Ministry, Divine, and Thrill Kill Kult, Stidman and Davis nurtured the record store into a Denver institution. Their ongoing dedication to discovering upcoming artists is one of Denver’s best-kept secrets — and we’re letting you in on it — and we’re letting you in on it. You’re welcome!

5. Mustang

All hail "Blucifer," Denver’s regal vivid-blue sculpture of a possessed Mustang (not that type of Mustang) that lives on Peña Boulevard. Luis Jiménez, the piece’s creator, tragically died for his craft while fashioning the 32-foot-tall fiberglass Mustang. He left it to his sons, plus Richard LaVato, Camillo Nuñez, and friends, to complete.

You’ll find Mustang near Denver International Airport. So, whether you’re coming or going from The Mile High City, Blucifer has your back.

Natural Hidden Gems

Denver’s natural beauty is endless and impossible to conceal. There are some secret Denver gardens, parks, and refuges that only those in-the-know know about.

6. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Mosey down to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife RefugeRocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, a 15,000-acre sweeping expanse of prairie, wetland, and woodland. This land has seen things. First, it was a home for Native Americans and the area's bison, then a chemical weapon manufacturing facility, and finally, a nature refuge.

Born from an unlikely alliance between Shell, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it’s an example of the power we have to fix mistakes and restore ecological balance.

Only 11 miles northeast from Denver, the spot is beloved by local photographers, anglers, hikers, and nature-lovers. You’ll find over 330 animals, including bison, mule deer, burrowing owls, eagles, songbirds, and coyotes — plus 280 native plant species.

7. Confluence Park

Confluence Park is a picturesque urban landscape, where locals go to escape the thronging crowd and partake in their favorite activity — being outdoors. It’s the point where the South Platte River meets Cherry Creek. Kayakers, rafters, and anglers adore the park and its glorious mix of natural beauty and manmade civilization.

You don’t have to be as daring as a Denver native and ride the rapids to enjoy it here. A tranquil riverside picnic or stroll through the park are just as rewarding as a watersports adventure.

8. Dream Lake Hike

Yes, a hike to Denver hidden gem Dream Lake is every bit as whimsical as it sounds. At 2.2 miles, it’s a relatively easy hike — especially in the warmer months. It takes you on a winding path from Bear Lake Trailhead near Estes Park through the Rockies and past Nymph Lake. During winter, it’s a little more challenging.

The trail offers breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime views of snow-tipped Hallet Peak that aren’t to be missed. The crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding peaks, making for an unmissable photo opportunity of Dream Lake and the surrounding meadows and forests.

We recommend heading down as early as possible to see the water glow a radiant pink as the sun rises over the mountains. Let the moment captivate and enchant you — just like the on-stage sorcery at one of our otherworldly shows.

Photographer: Roger Lipera

Culinary Hidden Gems

Whether Denver is an unfamiliar place awaiting your exploration or you’re a local who’s exhausted all the obvious options, we can help you find the most delectable edible, hidden gems.

9. The Source Food Market

Sample treats from a European-style artisan food market in the heart of Denver at the Michelin Guide-mentioned Source Hotel, a modern industrial guest house in RiNo. Open to everyone, it offers up a wide selection of shops, including a bakery, taquería, coffee roaster, butcher, cheese spot, and cocktail bar.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to dine out or cook up a storm from your Airbnb, the Source Food Market has you covered. The off-the-beaten-track location means it’s mainly frequented by locals and doesn’t get too crowded, even during peak times.

10. Avanti Food & Beverage

Head down to Lower Highland — AKA LoHi — for Avanti Food & Beverage. Expect to be spoiled for choice thanks to its contemporary approach to dining. One space (made from a shipping container) houses seven restaurants and food trucks, two bars, and an outdoor rooftop patio. Set over two floors, the space's upper deck boasts exquisite views over the Rockies. Avanti is known for its tempting combination of high-quality food at affordable prices. Come here for pies, pizzas, roast chicken, pork buns, arepas, or chicken and waffles and stick around for the good vibes.

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Une publication partagée par Avanti Food & Beverage (@avantifandb)

11. City O' City

City O' City is an iconic Capitol Hill eatery and a world of delights for vegan and vegetarian diners to escape to. Boasting an innovative menu inspired by a farm-to-table ethos, the restaurant offers a range of treats from breakfast, lunch, and kid’s meals to coffee, pastries, and indulgent plant-based desserts.

This restaurant lives and breathes sustainable values. It works to make the world a better place, going above and beyond for a plant-based lifestyle with charitable local initiatives.

12. Potager

Bounce into Uptown for a day or night of gastronomic delight at Potager, where the bounty of Colorado’s seasonal harvest awaits. This intimate eatery, named after the French word for ‘kitchen garden,’ was opened by a father and daughter duo in 1997 with a simple ethos to bring food direct from the farm to the table.

In their own words, “We think, basically, the unifying theme is that of being immensely satisfying, locally sourced and seasonally driven.” With a spot in the Michelin Guide and a place in the heart of many locals, Potager is a must-try for foodies seeking hidden gems in Denver.

13. Buckhorn Exchange

Buckhorn Exchange is steeped in history, with a heritage dating back to 1893 and a charm that speaks to Colorado’s Wild West heritage. As Denver’s oldest restaurant, its rustic decor and intriguing menu transport you back to the Old West as you feast on the same offerings as cattlemen, miners, Native American chiefs, gamblers, and silver barons from the days of yore.

Unique Entertainment

Each hidden gem in Denver offers a unique experience to immerse yourself in.

14. City Park Jazz

Every year for around 40 years, City Park has morphed into a wonderland of jazz, swing, soul, brass, and much more besides for City Park Jazz. Taking place each Sunday over three months in the height of summer, the festival brings the local community together to celebrate musicians from far and wide as well as local favorites.

15. Oriental Theater

The Oriental Theater is a cultural hotspot for locals and tourists alike, where the likes of the Dead Poet Society, Black Flag, and Killing Joke have played to raucous Denver crowds. Choose the type of seating you prefer when booking, whether it’s a booth set to the side of the room, the pit at the front, or the balcony up top.

Films and comedy shows also play in this dynamic space in the Tennyson Street Cultural District.

16. Larimer Square

Lower Downtown's Larimer Square blends old-world glamour with modern entertainment, resulting in a spot you can spend an entire day exploring. Its cobblestone streets and Victorian architecture pave the way for upscale shops, art galleries, and tempting eateries in a vibrant cultural destination that never feels too crowded or touristy.

Photographer: islandworks

17. Meow Wolf

Welcome to Meow Wolf, where you can see, touch, smell, and feel performance art meld with storytelling in a far-flung fantasy world. This Santa Fe collective crafts permanent art installations like the one at Convergence Station, inviting you into alternative realities filled with boundless creativity and optimism. We know, it sounds familiar, right?

Just like us, these guys showcase enough color, optimism, and downright weirdness to jolt you out of your daily life and take you on a journey of awe and amazement.

Historic Hidden Gems

Hidden Denver has something for everyone. Here are some ideas for the voracious information gatherers and historical buffs.

18. The Cruise Room

Saunter into the splendid Oxford Hotel and lose yourself in art-deco-inspired ambience reminiscent of the 1930s at the Cruise Room. This windowless watering hole harkens back to the Prohibition Era, where it served as a local speakeasy — although it was officially opened 24 hours after prohibition ended.

With small plates and divine cocktails, it’s a lesser-known gem in Denver where you can feel the city’s history and heritage first-hand.

19. Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown was nicknamed Unsinkable Molly Brown for her bravery and fortitude during the tragic Titanic disaster. Visit her home, the Molly Brown House Museum, and discover her fascinating rags-to-riches story and unshakable commitment to making the world a better place.

Molly Brown was nicknamed Unsinkable Molly Brown for her bravery and fortitude during the tragic Titanic disaster. Visit her home, the Molly Brown House Museum, and discover her fascinating rags-to-riches story and unshakable commitment to making the world a better place.

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Une publication partagée par Historical Homes Of America (@historicalhomesofamerica)

20. Poet’s Row

Pop into Poet's Row, a collection of historic buildings along Sherman Street, each named after a famous literary figure. Rich in intrigue and each with a unique character, visiting these structures offers a unique insight into Denver’s architectural evolution.

Your Adventure in Denver’s Secret Corners

Denver’s hidden gems are a hoard of unconventional marvels and wonders, ranging from resplendently natural to authentically handmade.

Now, let’s shine a spotlight on the captivating artistry of our shows in Denver. Next time you come into town, join us as reality melds with limitless imagination and the ordinary bows to the unthinkable. Our shows fuse artistry, design, dance, acrobatics, and song into spellbinding narratives that paint a vivid picture of thrills and emotion.

For Denver’s hidden treasure aficionados, we represent an unparalleled dreamscape, where the laws of nature are mere suggestions and the very nature of entertainment is redefined.

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