Unique Things to Do in Denver

Denver is a city brimming with vibrant culture, but beyond its well-known attractions lies a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. We wanted to take you beyond the well-known hiking trails, foodie haunts, and downtown boutiques and introduce you to lesser-known but worthy-of-visit hidden gems in Denver.

Denver’s lesser-known spots offer rich surprises, from eclectic urban wineries and charming local boutiques to secret gardens and underground art scenes. Whether you’re a local looking to uncover new haunts or eager to explore off-the-beaten paths, these hidden gems will captivate and inspire. Join us as we delve into the best-kept secrets of the Mile-High City.

Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery

Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery is where grape dreams come true in the heart of Denver! This woman-owned hidden urban gem boasts a chic tasting and gathering room perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re in the mood to sip wine while learning calligraphy or laughing your way through a comedy night, this winery has you covered. And here’s the twist—your favorite wines come bottled, kegged, or canned! It’s not just a winery; it’s a full-fledged community experience. Cheers to wine, creativity, and a whole lot of fun!

The Coolest Place on Earth: The NSF Ice Core Facility

Ever wondered where some of the coldest stuff on the planet hangs out? Welcome to the NSF Ice Core Facility (NSF-ICF) located at the Denver Federal Center, where ice cores from the coldest corners of the Earth come to chill. Literally.

Imagine a gigantic freezer, and then imagine it way bigger—like, 55,000 cubic feet bigger. That’s the size of the main archive freezer at NSF-ICF, and it’s kept at a bone-chilling -36°C. This frozen fortress is where over 22,000 meters of ice core are safely stored. Think of it as the ultimate ice box, but instead of ice cream and frozen pizzas, it’s packed with ancient ice cores collected from Antarctica, Greenland, and North America. 

So, what’s the big deal about these ice cores? They’re like time capsules, holding clues about our planet’s past climate, atmospheric composition, etc. By studying them, scientists can unlock thousands of years old secrets. With over 22,000 meters of ice core stored, NSF-ICF is like the ultimate library of Earth’s frozen history.

Tours are available but must be requested months in advance.

The Denver Zine Library

The Denver Zine Library is like a time machine for the quirky and creative, minus the flux capacitor. Founded in 2003, this non-profit is on a mission to preserve, protect, and promote the wild world of zines and self-published original works.

With over 20,000 independent and alternative zines tucked away, it’s one of the largest collections in North America. And guess what? It’s entirely run by a band of dedicated volunteers who keep the zine dream alive. Pop in during open hours, and you can dive into a sea of punk rock poetry, DIY comics, and manifestos on everything from knitting to intergalactic travel. It’s a bibliophile’s wonderland with a dash of whimsy and a whole lot of heart.

Fifty-Two 80’s

Dive into the era of big hair, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Pac-Man. This shop will bring back the memories and allow those who grew up in the 80s to relive their Saturday mornings watching cartoons. You can find paraphernalia, from pinball machines and Care Bear stuffies to Halloween masks and cassette tapes. You never know what you will unearth on a visit back in time at  Fifty-Two 80s.  

H.R. Meininger Co.

Denver is home to one of the oldest art stores in the United States, H.R. Meininger Co. Since 1881, artists have patronized this iconic art supply store. Today, it sells art supplies and is filled with artwork, history, and cases full of antique and unique art supplies. 

Riverside Cemetery

For history enthusiasts, Riverside Cemetery is a must-visit gem in Denver. As the city’s oldest cemetery, it is the final resting place of over 1,200 Civil War veterans and many of Colorado’s most notable citizens. Wander through its serene grounds and marvel at the impressive headstones and unique sculptures, including a rare zinc soldier monument, part of North America’s largest known collection of zinc monuments. Each visit promises a fascinating journey through the past, offering a glimpse into the lives and stories of those who shaped Colorado’s history.

Buckthorn Exchange

Established in 1893, the Buckhorn Exchange is Denver’s oldest restaurant and a true treasure trove of history and eccentricity. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by bright red walls adorned with a mesmerizing array of taxidermied animal heads. Among the notable diners who have enjoyed the Buckhorn’s unique charm are four U.S. presidents—Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Hollywood legends such as Bob Hope, James Cagney, and Charlton Heston have also graced its tables. 

The Buckhorn Exchange has even hosted notable people who reached for the stars, like astronauts Scott Carpenter and Jack Swigert, Roy Rogers, Will Rogers, and Great Britain’s Princess Anne. The walls tell the story of its 105-year history with an astonishing 500-piece game collection, including deer, moose, giant buffalo, mountain sheep, dozens of indigenous fowl, and even curiosities like a two-headed calf and a jackalope.

The Buckhorn’s impressive 125-piece gun collection features historic firearms like Colt .45s, Winchesters, Derringers, a Sharps sporting rifle from 1889, and a rare palm pistol from 1891 by the Minneapolis Firearms Co. Dining at the Buckhorn Exchange is more than just a meal—it’s a step back in time and an unforgettable experience steeped in history and legend.

Free Things to Do In Denver

Some of the best things in life are FREE and we have compiled a list of them in and around the Denver area for you.

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

US Air Force Academy Visitor Center and Chapel

Colorado State Capitol Tour

CU Museum of Natural History

Peterson Air & Space Museum

The Hudson Gardens

Whether you’re a local seeking a fresh adventure for the weekend or a visitor eager to explore beyond the usual tourist spots, we hope we’ve unveiled some hidden gems for you to discover. Dive into our city’s unique, quirky, and fascinating corners that promise unforgettable experiences and new stories to tell!