12 Hidden Gems in Denver: Top Underrated Spots in Denver

by Flora
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Are you looking for the best hidden gems in Denver? Here’s your ultimate guide to the most underrated places in Denver. Get ready to discover Denver, Colorado off the beaten path.

Denver is a city where the great outdoors meets urban sophistication, offering everything from world-class cultural attractions to stunning natural landscapes. But beyond the popular tourist spots and well-known attractions lies a different side of Denver, filled with hidden gems that even some locals haven’t discovered. This guide is designed to take you off the beaten path and into the heart of Denver’s lesser-known treasures.

We’re diving into 12 of Denver’s hidden gems, showcasing a mix of outdoor beauty spots, underrated towns, and unique dining experiences that capture the city’s diverse appeal. Whether you’re a Denver resident looking for new places to explore or a visitor wanting to experience the city like a local, this list has something for everyone.

These hidden spots are perfect for travelers seeking experiences beyond the typical tourist itinerary, providing a deeper understanding of what makes Denver such a vibrant and dynamic place to visit.

The best hidden gems in Denver right now

Hidden Gems in Denver: 12 Secret Places to Visit

Eager to unearth the best hidden gems in Denver? As highlighted before, this city is teeming with destinations away from the usual tourist trails, catering to every type of traveler. Dive deeper to reveal some of the most underrated places in Denver.

Are you looking for tranquil parks to unwind? Or would you prefer urban adventures that get your heart racing? Whatever you’re planning, Denver can accommodate your needs. Dive into this guide to discover the best hidden gems in Denver, which is one of my favorite destinations in the US.

1. The Wizard’s Chest

If you’re planning your next adventure and looking for unique places to visit in Denver, don’t skip The Wizard’s Chest in Cherry Creek. This place is perfect for anyone who loves a bit of whimsy mixed with their travel. Imagine stepping into a castle filled with games, costumes, and magic tricks—this shop is every bit as enchanting as it sounds.

Located just a short drive from downtown, it’s the perfect spot to find something truly different. Whether you’re into board games, looking for a unique costume, or want to pick up a new magic trick, this shop has got you covered.

For those seeking unconventional Denver activities, kick off your adventure with the enchanting experience at The Wizard’s Chest!
For those seeking unconventional Denver activities, kick off your adventure with the enchanting experience at The Wizard’s Chest!

What makes The Wizard’s Chest a must-visit isn’t just its vast selection; it’s the vibe. The staff are as passionate about play as the customers, making it a great place to get recommendations or learn about the latest game night must-haves. If you’re traveling with kids or just a big kid at heart, this spot is a delightful break from the usual tourist spots.

For those exploring what to do in Denver that’s a bit out of the ordinary, The Wizard’s Chest is a magical start!

2. The Buckhorn Exchange

Seeking a unique dining experience, make sure to visit The Buckhorn Exchange. Holding the title of Denver’s oldest restaurant, this eatery isn’t just about food; it’s a journey back in time. Located just minutes from downtown, it offers a glimpse into the Wild West with its walls adorned with hunting trophies and historic memorabilia.

For an extraordinary dining adventure, don't miss out on The Buckhorn Exchange—a must-visit destination for a one-of-a-kind experience.
For an extraordinary dining adventure, don’t miss out on The Buckhorn Exchange—a must-visit destination for a one-of-a-kind experience.

The Buckhorn Exchange is renowned for its exotic menu, featuring game meats that are hard to find elsewhere. From buffalo to alligator, and even rattlesnake, it’s a culinary adventure in Denver for the bold. Yet, it’s not just the food that makes this place a hidden gem in Denver; it’s the atmosphere. Dining here feels like stepping onto the set of a Western movie, complete with a saloon vibe and tales of Colorado’s yesteryears.

Visitors looking for unique places to visit in Denver will appreciate the restaurant’s rich history, dating back to 1893. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply in search of cool places to go in Denver, The Buckhorn Exchange checks all the boxes.

3. ART Hotel’s FIRE Terrace

The ART Hotel’s FIRE Terrace is a great find for travelers looking for unique places to visit in Denver. Tucked away deep in the city, this rooftop spot offers stunning views of Denver’s skyline and the Rockies. It’s a cozy place to hang out, especially with the fire pits that keep things warm when the temperature drops. This makes it one of the best places in Denver for young adults.

What sets FIRE Terrace apart is not only its stunning view but also its unique and captivating atmosphere.
What sets FIRE Terrace apart is not only its stunning view but also its unique and captivating atmosphere.

What makes FIRE Terrace stand out is not just its view, but also its vibe. It feels like a mix between an art gallery and a chic lounge, thanks to The ART Hotel’s focus on contemporary art and design. The food and drinks menu are also worth noting, with some creative options that go beyond your typical bar fare.

If you’re planning a visit, try to go at sunset for the best experience. It’s a solid choice for a relaxed evening, whether you’re looking to unwind after a day of sightseeing or kick off a night out in Denver.

4. Sloan’s Lake Park

For those seeking beautiful destinations in Denver away from the city’s hustle, Sloan’s Lake Park offers a quiet escape. This expansive park, the largest in Denver with a body of water, is a favorite among locals. Here you can enjoy walking and biking trails, picturesque sunsets, and ample space for picnics and gatherings.

As one of the top hidden gems in the US, Sloan’s Lake Park is also great for water sports. With the city skyline as your backdrop, you can enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, or sailing in the heart of Denver. It’s a unique experience that combines the thrill of water sports with urban convenience.

For those in search of tranquil Denver destinations away from the city bustle, Sloan's Lake Park provides a serene escape.
For those in search of tranquil Denver destinations away from the city bustle, Sloan’s Lake Park provides a serene escape.

The park’s annual events, like the Dragon Boat Festival, bring a vibrant community spirit to the area, showcasing Denver’s diverse culture and community.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a fitness enthusiast, or someone looking for a peaceful spot to unwind, Sloan’s Lake Park is a hidden gem in Denver that offers something for everyone.

5. Green Russell

If you’re venturing into Denver’s hidden gems, the Green Russell is a must-visit spot for a unique nightlife experience in Denver. This speakeasy is a tribute to the city’s prohibition past, creating an intimate vibe where the craft of cocktail-making shines.

Walking in, you’re immediately whisked back in time thanks to its dimly lit, classic setting. But the Green Russell is more than a throwback bar; it’s a hub of Denver’s cocktail culture. The menu is a rotating showcase of inventive drinks made from scratch with top-notch ingredients and house-made concoctions.

For Denver's secret seekers, Green Russell harkens back to a glamorous era, standing out in the city's vibrant nightlife scene.
For Denver’s secret seekers, Green Russell harkens back to a glamorous era, standing out in the city’s vibrant nightlife scene.

This place is ideal for night owls looking for a unique Denver experience. Here, it’s all about the journey of taste, with bartenders blending ingredients like culinary maestros. Each cocktail is a flavor-packed adventure.

For those digging for Denver’s secret spots, the Green Russell is a nod to a more glamorous time and a standout in the city’s nightlife. Whether you’re deep into the cocktail scene or just curious, this speakeasy delivers an evening you won’t forget, marking it as a must-visit for an authentic taste of Denver after dark.

6. Bluff Lake Nature Center

For those seeking serene spots in Denver that fly under the radar , Bluff Lake Nature Center offers unmatched tranquility. It stands apart from the city’s bustle, beloved by locals and a hidden gem for visitors desiring beautiful places.

Bluff Lake isn’t merely a park; it’s a diverse ecosystem ranging from wetlands to bluffs, brimming with life. It becomes a sanctuary for birdwatchers or those keen on observing wildlife in their habitat. It’s ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a rich experience in exploration.

Bluff Lake, nestled among Denver's scenic spots, offers a harmonious blend of tranquility and enriching educational experiences.
Bluff Lake, nestled among Denver’s scenic spots, offers a harmonious blend of tranquility and enriching educational experiences.

The unique aspect of Bluff Lake, among Denver’s scenic spots, is its blend of serenity and educational opportunities. Its trails not only provide beautiful vistas but also enlighten visitors about conservation and the importance of wildlife refuges.

Bluff Lake Nature Center invites you to explore Denver off the beaten path. It is the perfect place for those looking to uncover the city’s untamed aspects, merging adventure with peaceful moments.

7. Little Man Ice Cream

Located in Denver’s lively Highlands neighborhood, Little Man Ice Cream is easily one of the coolest places to go in Denver. The first thing you’ll notice is its unique 28-foot milk can structure, a nod to Denver’s quirky side. But it’s the innovative ice cream that truly makes this spot shine.

At Little Man, the menu is a rollercoaster of flavors. Flavors range from the comfort of classic vanilla bean to bold experiments like lavender caramel. Every scoop tells a story of their commitment to quality, with ingredients sourced right from the local community.

Experience Denver's playful spirit with a visit to Little Man Ice Cream, where every scoop is a taste of joy.
Experience Denver’s playful spirit with a visit to Little Man Ice Cream, where every scoop is a taste of joy.

What makes Little Man Ice Cream one of Denver’s hidden gems isn’t just the food. It’s the whole vibe. The outdoor area buzzes with energy on sunny days. They host live music and events that turn a simple ice cream outing into a lively social gathering.

A visit to Little Man Ice Cream will transport you into the heart of Denver’s playful spirit. For anyone from families to solo wanderers looking for a laid-back spot in the city, Little Man delivers. It’s a sweet reminder of how Denver combines taste, community, and fun, making it a must-visit for an authentic local experience.

8. The International Church of Cannabis

If you’re exploring Denver off the beaten path, the International Church of Cannabis is worth checking out. This isn’t your average sightseeing spot; it’s a deep dive into the city’s heart of creativity. For those on the hunt for the most unique and visually striking places in Denver, this church is a must-see.

Contrasting its unassuming exterior, the inside of the church is a different world altogether. Here, art isn’t just decoration; it’s a vibrant celebration. The walls and ceilings are covered in mesmerizing murals and designs, courtesy of some incredibly talented artists. This place is all about immersing you in art that leaps out and grabs your attention, making it a prime spot for those looking for inspiration or a burst of creativity.

Explore Denver off the beaten path at the International Church of Cannabis, a unique and intriguing destination.
Explore Denver off the beaten path at the International Church of Cannabis, a unique and intriguing destination.

But the International Church of Cannabis goes beyond just being a feast for the eyes. It stands for ‘Elevationism’, a novel philosophy that preaches the uplifting power of creativity and love. The church opens its doors for meditation sessions, thought-provoking talks, and a chance to experience a unique, tranquil vibe amidst the city’s buzz. Entry might require a donation or a fee, especially during special exhibitions or events.

9. Confluence Park

Confluence Park is a scenic spot situated at the meeting point of the Platte River and Cherry Creek. This park also stands as a central hub for recreational activities that appeal to visitors and locals alike.

Easily accessible from downtown Denver, Confluence Park is a favorite for its convenient location. It’s an ideal starting point for biking or walking along the many trails that branch out from here. This includes the popular Cherry Creek Trail and the Platte River Trail. These paths offer miles of scenic routes perfect for cyclists, runners, and anyone looking to enjoy a leisurely stroll with views of the city and nature.

Confluence Park offers scenic views where the Platte River and Cherry Creek converge, creating a picturesque meeting point.
Confluence Park offers scenic views where the Platte River and Cherry Creek converge, creating a picturesque meeting point.

Water sports enthusiasts will find kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding opportunities in the park’s waterways. These activities provide a unique way to experience Denver from the water. Equipment rentals are available nearby, making it easy for travelers to join in on the fun without needing to bring their own gear.

Confluence Park stands out as a beautiful destination in Denver for its blend of natural beauty and urban accessibility. Visit during the weekday to avoid crowds or come early in the morning for a quiet experience.

Check the park’s event schedule before your visit. Confluence Park often hosts free concerts, outdoor movies, and other community events that visitors are welcome to enjoy.

10. Denver’s RiNo Art District

For those plotting their Denver itinerary and seeking underrated places to visit in Denver, the RiNo (River North) Art District is an essential stop. This vibrant area showcases Denver’s thriving arts scene, blending urban grit with creative flair. It’s a neighborhood where every alleyway and building façade tells a story through vivid murals and street art, making it one of the coolest places to go in Denver.

For travelers planning their Denver itinerary and searching for hidden gems, the RiNo Art District is a must-visit destination.
For travelers planning their Denver itinerary and searching for hidden gems, the RiNo Art District is a must-visit destination.

Visitors can spend a day exploring contemporary art spaces, tasting local brews, and enjoying farm-to-table meals. The district’s First Fridays are particularly noteworthy, offering a chance to mingle with local artists and artisans during gallery walks and pop-up events.

For an immersive experience, consider a guided tour that delves into the district’s artistic and culinary highlights. These tours provide deeper insights into RiNo’s transformation from an industrial area to a creative enclave. Showcasing why it’s a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience Denver off the beaten path.

11. The Denver Cat Company

The Denver Cat Company, a pioneer among U.S. cat cafés, offering a delightful mix of coffee culture and cat companionship. It’s a cozy nook for cat aficionados and those in need of a caffeine fix. Perfectly blending the charm of a café with the warmth of a furry friend’s presence.

As you step in, a variety of resident cats will welcome you, each bringing its own story and charm. The café collaborates with local animal shelters, providing these cats with a temporary, loving home and giving visitors the chance to connect with their next furry family member. It’s a beautiful blend of coffee enjoyment and animal love.

The Denver Cat Company, a leading cat café in the United States, combines coffee culture with delightful feline companionship.
The Denver Cat Company, a leading cat café in the United States, combines coffee culture with delightful feline companionship.

There’s a modest entrance fee that supports the cats’ well-being. To avoid disappointment, especially during busy times like weekends, booking ahead is wise. The café also hosts unique events, such as cat yoga and paint nights, adding an extra layer of fun to your visit.

The Denver Cat Company transcends the typical café visit, offering a space where community, animal welfare, and relaxation converge. It’s one of the most unique places to visit in Denver, offering an experience that’s out of the ordinary.

 12. The Hidden Bookshelf

If you’re wandering through Denver and have a soft spot for books, you’ll want to make a beeline for The Hidden Bookshelf. Hidden away in a cozy corner of one of Denver’s charming historic districts, this place is a goldmine for anyone who loves to curl up with a good book.

Imagine walking into a room where every wall is lined with books that seem to whisper stories of the past. That’s the vibe at The Hidden Bookshelf. It’s cozy, a bit nostalgic, and absolutely welcoming. Whether you’re into the classics, sci-fi from another era, or biographies that tell tales of yesteryears, this spot has got you covered.

For book enthusiasts exploring Denver, The Hidden Bookshelf is a must-visit destination worth seeking out.
For book enthusiasts exploring Denver, The Hidden Bookshelf is a must-visit destination worth seeking out.

In a city buzzing with activity, The Hidden Bookshelf is a quiet nook where you can press pause. It’s not just about buying a book; it’s about the experience of discovering it. The staff are super friendly and incredibly knowledgeable, ready to help you unearth a hidden gem or suggest something you didn’t even know you needed.

Don’t rush your visit. Give yourself the luxury of time to really dig into what’s on offer. Also, keep tabs on their events. Meeting an author or attending a book signing here feels like catching up with old friends.

So, if you’re seeking secret spots in Denver, pencil in some time for The Hidden Bookshelf!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Hidden Gems in Denver

Are you searching for more content about where to go in Denver? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about the most underrated places in Denver.

What are the safety considerations when visiting Denver’s hidden gems?

Safety is paramount when exploring Denver, especially in less frequented areas. Always check the latest local advisories, travel in groups if possible, and stay on marked trails or public spaces. For outdoor gems, be prepared for sudden weather changes by dressing in layers and carrying water.

Are there any fees associated with visiting these hidden gems in Denver?

Some locations, like certain museums or parks, may have entrance fees or suggested donations. It’s best to check their official websites or call ahead for the most current information. Many outdoor spots can be enjoyed for free, making them great options for budget-friendly adventures.

Venturing to Denver and seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations? These hidden gems are truly worth your exploration.
Venturing to Denver and seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations? These hidden gems are truly worth your exploration.

What’s the average travel time to reach these hidden gems?

Travel times can vary based on your starting point and mode of transportation. Most sites within the city are reachable within 20-30 minutes by car from downtown Denver. For locations on the outskirts or in neighboring areas, plan for a 30-60 minute journey.

Are Denver’s hidden gems suitable for families with children?

Absolutely! Places like Little Man Ice Cream and The Denver Cat Company are perfect spots in Denver for families. Always check if there are age restrictions or specific amenities for children at each location to ensure a fun and comfortable visit for everyone.

What’s the best time of year to explore these hidden gems in Denver?

Denver is a year-round destination, but the best time to explore outdoor gems is from late spring to early fall when the weather is mild, and most trails are accessible. Indoor locations can be enjoyed any time of the year, making them great options for colder months.

Can I bring my pet to any of these hidden gems in Denver?

Pet policies vary by location. Outdoor spaces like parks often welcome pets on leashes, but it’s important to verify in advance. For indoor spots, especially cafes or museums, it’s best to check their pet policy before visiting with your furry friend.

Final Thoughts on Denver’s Hidden Gems

Wrapping up our journey through Denver’s 12 hidden gems, we see these spots offer more than expected. They lead us into Denver’s heart, beyond mainstream sights. This guide suits adventurous locals and curious visitors. It urges a step off the familiar path, into overlooked quiet, intimate places.

These gems showcase Denver’s diversity and vitality. They also deepen appreciation for its culture, community, and natural beauty. From tranquil parks to charming neighborhoods and unique eateries, each discovery enriches the experience. They create lasting memories and a strong connection to the Mile High City.

As this guide concludes, the invitation remains open: to see Denver through a lens of curiosity and wonder. Go on a journey to uncover the unique stories and experiences that lie waiting in its hidden gems. This journey promises to deepen one’s understanding of Denver, revealing the depth and breadth of what this remarkable city has to offer.

Dive into this guide to discover the best hidden gems in Denver for all travelers
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