Top Denver destinations for out-of-towners
Just because you came for PrideFest doesn't mean miss Red Rocks, LoDo, the Botanic Gardens and more!
June 12, 2012 | 1:00 pm
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 5:56 pm)
PrideFest might be the only reason you came to town, but there is so much more Colorado has to offer. If you have some down time during these crazy days, check out these attractions that will have you falling in love with the Mile High City and the Rocky Mountain State.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
Red Rocks is among Colorado’s most well-known venues, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s not only a natural auditorium for spectacular evening shows, but a wilderness park with open spaces and trails. This gorgeous place, only 15 miles west of Denver, is the perfect stop for anyone who wants to go hiking or biking along beautiful trails or watch a show in the natural sandstone amphitheater which is said to have some of the greatest acoustics in the world.
For more info about the park or what shows are going to be here during Pride, call (720) 865.2494 or visit http://redrocksonline.com
LoDo Historic District
Just northwest of Downtown, the neighborhood of Lower Denver, or LoDo, doubles as a historic district housing some of the best restaurants, bars and shops in town. Visit LoDo for some great times and party like it’s the 1800s.
For more info about LoDo call (303) 628.5428 or visit http://lodo.org
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum is the perfect place to nourish your mind and spirit before, during and after Pride. With high-profile exhibits like Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective – featuring the work of the world-reknown designer – and the fascinating Focus: Earth and Fire, the Denver Art Museum is an LGBT must-see. The museum is a hop and a skip from Civic Center Park – the buildings are less than a block from the core festivities at Pride.
For more info call (720) 865.5000 or visit http://denverartmuseum.org
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Pride is its own show, but there is more to see at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Whether you want to take a tour of their fabulous facilities or watch shows like The Addams Family and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, this venue is the perfect place to wind down after the party, and happens to be one of the most architecturally intriguing theatre complexes in the nation.
For info on tours or to buy tickets to the shows, visit http://denver center.org or call (303) 893.4100
Elitch Gardens Theme and
Elich Gardens has a long history in Colorado; years ago, the famous amusement stop moved to a prime location with a panoramic view of Downtown. It’s now a major tourist destination with a classic amusement park merged with a water park. Check out the rides, shows and delicious funnel cakes.
Call (303) 595.4FUN or go to
Cheesman Park is the heart of gay Denver and the starting point for Denver’s PrideFest parade every year. But for the rest of the week, it’s a neighborhood nook where the locals flock to fly kites or picnic on a sunny day. If you go, the locals will tell you to be sure you leave before it gets dark! (The gorgeous green park in the heart of the gayborhood was once a cemetery).
Everyone knows Colorado for Coors beer, but why not up the alcohol content at Stranahan’s Distillery to learn about good old Colorado whiskey. The distillery offers 30-45 minute tours and a taste of whiskey for any enthusiast, social drinker or lightweight.
To make a reservation or to get more information call (303) 296.7440 or go to http://stranahans.com
Denver Cruiser Ride
If you didn’t bring your bike to Denver, you can rent one for cheap at any of dozens of B-cycle stations in town – and plan on having a gay old time on wheels at the Denver Cruiser Ride. This organic gathering of cyclists and hipsters is the Mile High version of a flash mob – meeting every Wednesday for a carefree (and noisy) bicycle tour of Denver’s cozy urban neighborhoods and parks. Each Wednesday ride is themed – it’s bubble wrap, duct tape and cardboard on schedule for the Wednesday after Pride.
For info on where to meet and what to wear for the visit Cruiser Ride’s Facebook page and sign up for a cruiser alert at http://facebook.com/DenverCruiserRide
16th Street Mall/Pavilions
Denver’s prime urban space for dining, shopping and drinking is the 16th Street Mall – one of the greatest and longest all-pedestrian streets in the nation, cutting right through the core of Denver’s business and entertainment districts. Just down the street Civic Center Park – ground zero of the pride celebration – 16th Street comes with a free shuttle, 40 different restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, and the Pavilions, a true shopping mall with an urban twist, right in the middle of the street’s length.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Sometimes it helps to get back to nature, and Denver Botanic Gardens can be that escape. The central civic garden is home to an array of flowers from all over the world, along with native flora that grows abundantly on the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. The beautiful park that is well worth seeing – not to mention, it has Wifi!
Visit http://botanicgardens.org/ or call (720) 865.3585 ]