So you’ve decided to take your next trip to Denver and need some reliable information on what to see and where to go. You’ve heard of Red Rocks, Pearl Street, and 16th Street Mall but what about all those rare and unique places only the natives know about?
If you’re reading this, you’re the kind of person who wants to step off the beaten path and truly experience Denver at its finest. This comprehensive guide was written by locals, for tourists and will give you a sneak peek into some carefully selected Denver destinations you might not have heard of before.
Get ready and take notes because we are about to give you an insiders’ perspective on 19 of Denver’s best hidden gems. Created by Denver Party Ride in no particular order.
#1 The Wizard’s Chest
Address: 230 Fillmore Street, Denver, Colorado 80206
For a very unique shopping experience while here in Denver, make sure to check out The Wizards Chest located in the ritzy shopping area of Cherry Creek. When driving down Fillmore Street, this establishment is almost impossible to miss. After all, it’s the only “Castle” located in the area! It contains just about every sort of game and costume for any event you can possibly think of. Be prepared to spend some time here though because there is so much to look at. We spent hours browsing and shopping and didn’t even see it all!
Once you walk across the mote via the drawbridge and enter the store, a wonderment of curiosities will immediately spark your interest. The store is divided up into two floors. Going up the stairs, customers will find a countless variety of high end costumes, masks, wigs, and accessories for any event imaginable. The selection is amazing and caters to the young and old alike. For example, if you are looking for a hat, there are 20-30 to choose from on any given day. The best part is The Wizards Chest won’t break the bank either while you’re there. You get more costume for your money than anywhere else in the Denver area. If you choose to go down the stairs to the lower level, you are greeted by just about any card game, magic trick, or puzzle you can think of. From Magic Cards to Monopoly, they have it all. If you are into card games, and have some time to spend here in Denver, they do weekly gaming events you sign up for in advance. Call for details.
The Wizards Chest got its start as an 850 square foot toy store in 1983. It was designed under inspiration from J. R. R. Tolkien’s book, Middle Earth. Since that time, and many happy customers later, the store has grown from a small toy business to an 8,000 square foot castle of fun. Just inside the front door, customers are greeted by a wizard who goes by the name of Winchester Slatebeard. This is the same wizard that has been greeting customers since the stores inception! The castle is big enough so it usually isn’t jam packed. There is also ample parking behind it for free (most parking is metered in this area) as well as street parking in the front.
If you are like most tourists and you need to find something special for your loved ones back home, The Wizards Chest should be your first stop. The place was designed for all age groups. Can’t find what you want at the physical store? Go online to their website and you will find even more of a selection that can be shipped to you worldwide.
Everyone loves to either be someone else for a day or connect with others who share their similar interests. We highly recommend stopping into The Wizards Chest for at least an hour or so if at all possible. Bring the kids, your friends, or just yourself. Wander around and remember what it was like to be a child all over again. Get lost in the fantasy land that is The Wizards Chest.
#2 The Buckhorn Exchange
Address: 1000 Osage Street, Denver, Colorado 80204
Website: http://www. buckhorn.com/
Denver is located in the heart of the Wild West. Founded by gold miners in 1858, there is definitely a lot of old history to see and experience while here. After all, not too long ago, it was run by Cowboys who always had a taste for delicious food and strong liquor. There is no better place to understand and experience that history than a visit to The Buckhorn Exchange. Not only was it established over 100 years ago, it’s the first official bar to be issued a liquor license in Colorado!
Opened in 1893 by Henry “Shorty” Zeitz, The Buckhorn Exchange is one of the first businesses to be erected in Denver that still exists today. In fact, in 1972, it was even designated as one of Colorado’s historic landmarks. Located just minutes from downtown Denver in one of the oldest neighborhoods, The Buckhorn Exchange has become a cherished museum of sorts. The walls are adorned with over 500 stuffed game animals from all over the world. Glass enclosures are everywhere containing a large collection of antique pistols and rifles, and celebrity memorabilia encompasses almost every square inch of the place. It seems like everyone who is anyone has eaten or drank here over the years. For those who want to spend some extra time here, a second floor conveniently contains The Roof Garden, a special heated area that accommodates about 60 people who come for private parties and events.
The Buckhorn Exchange gives customers a huge selection of outstanding food. Many of the dishes are still being prepared as they were back in 1893 and taste just as good. The place calls itself a steak house but that is only part of what they offer. They have also made a name for themselves with their wild game dishes. One can choose platters containing elk, quail, duck, alligator, Cornish game hen and even rattlesnake. For those not into wild game dishes, the ribs, sandwiches, and sausage are to die for. After all, The Buckhorn Exchange has had 122 years to perfect the menu and it shows. Every dish is carefully prepared as if you were a visitor from the late 19th century. For those so inclined, the rocky mountain oyster appetizer is a must try, but be aware they are not really oysters but the part of the bull that makes it a bull.
The restaurant is normally pretty busy during the day and night. There is ample parking and plenty of tables to choose from but it’s a good idea to make a reservation if you plan on visiting. So put on your boots and grab your hat because The Buckhorn Exchange is waiting to take you back a hundred years into a nostalgic time that will be memorable for everyone.
#3 Crystal Soul Path: Lee Mitchell
Address: 4385 South Balsam Street Building 11-204, Littleton, Colorado 80123
Are you stuck in a life rut and can’t seem to find out why? Are you just curious about your past and interested in delving into what has made you into the person you are today? Well, maybe you’ve never heard of it before but there is a new revolutionary type of therapy called Past Life Regression or PLR sweeping its way across Denver. Colorado folk have always been known for being very open minded and alternative thinkers. This type of mindset has been a perfect breeding ground for PLR offices in the area. One of the upper class establishments is Crystal Soul Path, owned and operated by Lee Mitchell out of Littleton. For years she has been helping literally thousands of people leave behind devastating issues that traditional doctors have been completely unable to fix.
Lee Mitchell is a Certified Past Life Regression Therapist as well as a Certified Hypnotherapist. She has been facilitating PLR sessions for 7 years now and knows the ins and outs of her craft. One of the most important parts of a session is feeling comfortable with your therapist. If you are going to visit your subconscious mind and deal with personal problems, you want someone you feel good around. Meeting with Lee is like meeting with an old friend. There is no awkward silence or unpleasant feelings. She makes everyone feel special and wanted. She is always in a great mood and is really at the forefront of her industry.
After a brief get to know you moment, Lee invites you to lay on a comfortable couch with a warm blanket and pillow. She then gradually relaxes you with her carefully selected words until your brain and body are completely at peace. At this time she asks a number of questions to help access your past life experiences. She doesn’t direct the session though. The session is run by you and your subconscious. Your mind already knows what you are looking for and reveals to you what you need to see. All Lee does is ask questions and probe to help stir up memories from that life that need to be reworked. The session can be intense or emotional but you are always in control the entire time. In fact, at any time the session can be ended by simply opening your eyes.
During the time with Lee, you will receive impressions from the unconscious and even see images or scenes from your prior lives. You could have been a farmer, a commoner, royalty, or anything in between. After all, you have been around for a long time and have lived as many different types of people. You could have even been a woman for some lives and a man in others. Just let Lee guide you to the scenes you are looking for to gain a better understanding for your present life. For example, maybe you are looking for help with claustrophobia. Perhaps in a past life you experienced some trauma related to being enclosed or trapped. Lee will guide you through this trauma so that it isn’t such a big issue to your subconscious anymore. You will have reprocessed that memory into a more manageable one for your brain to comprehend thus resulting in peace. It is very common for people to leave a session with no fear of what they had been fearing before, feeling like a new person with a fresh outlook on life.
So if you are looking for something really unique and rare in the Denver area, give Lee a call. Leave Colorado feeling better than when you came here. It’s not necessary to have more than one session in most cases. Lee has been doing this long enough that she is efficient. You will also be provided with a CD of the entire session to further study and hold as proof that you did something pretty unusual on your visit to Denver!
#4 Beatrice and Woodsley
Address: 38 S Broadway Street, Denver, Colorado 80209
Of all the nicer places to eat in downtown Denver, the one that should definitely be experienced on your vacation here is Beatrice and Woodsley. From the over the top decorations to the super friendly staff and excellent food, this restaurant is truly in a class by itself. You can even come back every year and enjoy a different menu as they change it up every season. The atmosphere is very private and cozy with faux aspen trees seemingly growing from floor to ceiling, lamps placed strategically around so there is just enough lighting, and amazing restrooms. Normally nobody pays much attention to the restrooms in a restaurant but the facilities at Beatrice and Woodsley are some of the most unique we have ever experienced. After using the facilities and exiting the restroom, customers are greeted with their own sink to wash their hands with. Upon pulling a lever to their right, the water flows from the ceiling down to the sink via thousands of metal beads, enabling you to wash your hands in the most luxurious way.
Beatrice and Woodsley also features a downstairs not many people get to experience. It is mainly for overflow and private events but is also decorated incredibly well. It’s called the cellar and features moss on the walls, a huge wine rack, and paintings that complement the décor along with the usual aspen tree theme.
As stated earlier, Beatrice and Woodsley change up their menu seasonally. They put an extraordinary amount of thought into this and it shows. The cuisine pays homage to the melting-pot of recipes that helped form the American culinary culture. There is always delicious rustic American fare to enjoy for a moderate price.
Now, you can have the most amazing restaurant in the world but if the service is sub-par, it ruins the experience. The staff at Beatrice and Woodsley were extremely kind and helpful all throughout our dinner. Some of the best service we have had in the Denver area from a sit down establishment.
Beatrice and Woodsley is amazing in every respect. If you must choose one restaurant from this list of hidden gems in Denver to eat at, this one should be a priority for sure. It is not only extremely unique in décor, it is located in the Design District of Denver so it is usually packed. Plan ahead and make a reservation. They are also open to all types of parties and catering events if that is something you might need as well. Be sure to take some pictures, as this place can’t be found anywhere other than Denver! Enjoy!
#5 Forest Room 5
Address: 2532 15th Street, Denver, Colorado 80211
One of the hidden gems in Denver that is perhaps the least well known is Forest Room 5. A family friendly restaurant located in the Platte River Valley of Denver proper. It is nestled within walking distance of a number of other delicious restaurants and bars in the area so bar hopping is very possible. Don’t spend too much time at the other places though. Forest Room 5 will most likely be the highlight of your night.
The restaurant and bar was designed to be a friendly place where you can sit on a tree trunk stool, enjoy the woodsy atmosphere and sip on strong cocktails or craft beers all night. The entire place has a lumber jack type of feel to it. There are also various glass enclosures containing a wide assortment of random forest scenes to look at. Forest Room 5 is very well decorated and you can tell that whoever designed it spent a lot of time making it comfortable for all to enjoy, children and adults alike.
The expansive menu is amazing too! Time should be spent here enjoying the appetizers as well as the main course dishes. Have a desire for a delicious breakfast? Forest Room 5 serves up morning entrees as well from open to close. To make it family friendly, a children’s menu is also available with a rather impressive selection. Need some fresh air? Don’t forget to visit the patio area out back when you get done with your food and drink. Raining? No problem. There is a giant teepee and fire pit to keep you warm on those cold Denver nights.
We highly recommend Forest Room 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. There are many different choices for food and drink in Denver and the ones that made this list have gone above and beyond what is typically considered normal. Forest Room 5 is no exception. So call and reserve a table today because they go quickly!
#6 Casa Bonita
Address: 6715 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood, Colorado 80214
One of the true classic establishments in the Denver area is without a doubt, Casa Bonita. Located in the up and coming Lakewood area, Casa Bonita is truly one of the most interesting places by far to make our list. It’s almost exclusively for kids and families so be sure to bring the little ones with you when you visit. It’s located in a cute strip mall and is by far the anchor store there. By looking at the pictures, you can see that no expense was spared to make this restaurant into a Spanish paradise.
Of all the places that made our list of 19 gems, Casa Bonita is the only one to have been featured on the hit show, South Park. An entire episode was made around the main characters of the show visiting and causing hilarity there. If you are interested, it’s episode 76 from 2004. The reason it was featured on the show was because the makers of South Park had frequented Casa Bonita as kids. Literally generations of families have dined here and enjoyed the entertainment and great food.
As stated earlier, Casa Bonita is the kind of place where you can bring the family, in fact, we strongly recommend it. The layout of the restaurant allows for your children to mingle with the other kids and explore over 10,000 square feet of arcades and different themed rooms designed and made for younger ones to enjoy.
The family can feast on delicious all you can eat food and enjoy a number of live shows for entertainment. The shows vary from day to day but could be a Casa Bonita team member diving more than 30 feet high into a 14 foot pool, an intense gunfight between the local sheriff and a criminal, or a wild gorilla running down the aisles causing havoc. The staff at Casa Bonita have been entertaining customers since 1970 with their unique and wildly entertaining shows.
The food is all you can eat beef or chicken and is divine for less than $15 a person. If you are coming to the Denver area and don’t want to bring your group to some lavish dinner where everyone including the wife is bored, then swing on by and give Casa Bonita a try. Someday your kids will bring their kids here as well. At least that’s been what’s happening since 1970!
#7 Boulder Tea House
Address: 1770 13th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302
Although the next gem on the list isn’t in Denver proper, it is definitely cool enough, rare enough, and close enough to Denver to make the list. Only about 30 minutes from downtown Denver, the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House is one of the true gems in the northern Colorado area. It’s also not only a restaurant, bar, and tea house, it’s an official museum!
This tea house is the absolute best place in the area to have a lunch date, business meeting, or just to enjoy great food and beverage. Not very many people know this but the tea house was actually a gift to Boulder from Tajikstan in 1980. Being that at the time, Tajikstan was part of Russia, The Boulder Tea House is actually the most expensive and luxurious gift from Russia to the United States ever!
It all started when the ambassador from Tajikstan came to Boulder and was so impressed with the culture and community there that he wanted to send a gift. We’re guessing he was pretty impressed as he sent over an entire 10,000 square foot tea house to be erected right in the center of the city for all to enjoy. It was originally constructed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in 1979 using the ancient Persian method of construction. They did not use power tools and everything was painstakingly done by hand. After its construction, it was then deemed worthy to be offered as a gift to Boulder. It had to be taken down, piece by piece, and shipped straight to Boulder for erection there. Amazing huh?
All one has to do is walk into the tea house and stare at the ceiling to see that no expense was spared when it was built. There are beautifully hand painted Russian designs over every square inch of it. We could go on and on about the history of this place and its design but you truly need to experience it in person to really understand its beauty.
The Boulder Tea House boasts over 100 different types of teas, many craft beers, and an absolutely breathtaking interior with fountains, a room with no corners, and tables known as popshans. For those not familiar with popshans, they are simply tables where you can sit Indian style on mats. Don’t forget about the outdoor patio if the weather permits while you are there. There is even a lazy stream that makes its way around the museum that you can sit next to and sip on your Chai tea. There is plenty of parking near the museum and even a beautiful green park in front of it to be explored when done dining.
Even if you don’t like tea, The Boulder Tea House is a must see and experience while in the Denver/Boulder area. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea, this place rocks! It’s also very centrally located and within walking distance of many other popular attractions in the Boulder area such as Pearl Street and the Colorado University campus.
#8 Biker Jims
Address: 2148 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado 80205
Anthony Bourdain was once quoted as saying Denver is the culinary wasteland of the west…until he visited Biker Jims that is. That food experience changed his mind and with good reason.
Biker Jims is a hot dog joint located in the heart of Denver on Larimer Street and is an absolutely must see and experience on your next vacation here. Bring the family, bring the friends, or just bring yourself. You will be treated with a culinary treat unlike any place in all of Denver or the world for that matter. The hot dogs are to die for and the sides are just as good! Now, we aren’t talking about any ordinary hot dogs you can find in virtually every city in the USA, we are talking about exotic hot dogs of all different varieties. Pheasant, rattlesnake, kangaroo, duck, veil, wild boar, elk, buffalo, and yak, are some that are offered today but it seems like every year Biker Jim adds more and more varieties. The sides are also just as delicious as the dogs. The one that we deemed the most delicious and seems to be the most popular is the fried mac and cheese. This side comes out completely fried on the outside but contains creamy delicious mac and cheese on the inside! If that doesn’t get your mouth watering then maybe the fried pickles, or the biker baked beans will do it for you!
Biker Jim is rather famous around the Denver area. His real name is Jim Pittenger and he is a self-described former drug addict and motorcycle fanatic. He used to repossess cars all around Denver until 2005. In fact, he says he has repossessed close to 12,000 cars during his time behind a tow truck. That is until one day he met up with a friend who happened to have a connection to getting great tasting sausage. This accidental discovery led to a stainless steel hot dog stand on the 16th street mall which almost instantaneously became the main attraction for food at the popular local mall. This turn of events led to multiple hot dog stands and most recently, two brick and mortar stores in the Denver area.
Biker Jims is the nicest, cleanest biker bar you will ever set foot into. Colorful pictures of motorcycles adorn the walls and classic rock music plays through the speakers to make the atmosphere all the more appealing. It’s got an urban grunge feel to it for sure. Lots of seating and even an outdoor area makes it less crowded than it should be with Coloradans flooding through the doors at all hours. We’ve never been there when it was slow but the food is magically in your hands within 10 minutes. Once you choose what type of dog you want, the decision making isn’t over just quite yet. There are seven hot dog toppings to choose from as well. From Biker Jim’s Classic to el Diablo. Don’t worry though, you can’t go wrong with any choice as the super friendly staff will help you choose the perfect sauce for your dog. After all, they do this all day long and have plenty of experience. They even stock the shelves with rare and unusual sodas. Sure, you can be boring and just order a coke, or you can get a Boylan’s soda, a handmade shake, or a cold beer. Biker Jim’s has you covered with multiple varieties of only the best beers. The experience at Biker Jim’s wouldn’t be complete without some of their pie for dessert. It’s so delicious that you might consider taking a piece home with you.
Biker Jims is #8 on the list of 19 hidden gems in Denver but this is the number one place you must eat at in Denver to really complete your trip. 9 times out of 10, you will be back for more! It’s seriously that delicious!
#9 Dankest Corner in Denver
Address: Corner of Kalamath Street and 6th Street, Denver, Colorado 80602
As you have probably figured out by now, the consumption of Marijuana became legal in Colorado in 2013 thanks to Amendment 64. Colorado was the first state to legally pass the law and implement it for the state’s population. Nobody could have guessed that the demand would far exceed the supply of marijuana in Denver to the degree that it has. As a result of said demand, grow houses have popped up all over and the resulting smell can be pleasant but strong in certain areas of the city.
Some unknown pot head took it upon himself to find out where the smell of growing marijuana is strongest in Denver and after narrowing it down to a few corners, decided that the most potent corner is located at Kalamath Street and 6th Street. The entire street corner is surrounded by thousands of plants being grown for the multitude of dispensaries in the area.
This hidden gem isn’t necessarily a gem but is a really cool bit of information for someone visiting Denver. Don’t go out of your way, but if you happen to be in the area, check it out. Stand on the corner, take a big whiff and reflect on the fact that you are standing on the dankest, and most overwhelmingly powerful marijuana corner in the entire country, if not world! Now that’s something to write home about for sure!
#10 Williams and Graham
Address: 3160 Tejon Street, Denver, Colorado 80211
When you think of prohibition and Colorado in the 21st century, you probably think of the legalization of marijuana. This is normally the case unless you have frequented Williams and Graham, a pre-prohibition (alcohol) bar located in the heart of Denver.
No expense was spared with the construction of Williams and Graham on the corner of West 32nd and 16th Street. This is so much the case that customers actually walk into a book store and are greeted by a waitress who takes your ID and then escorts you, just like in 1920, thru a hidden door in a bookshelf. Very unique and fun! Once inside, you are met with a menu of delicious food and drink straight from the pre-prohibition era! Multiple varieties of beers and cocktails are offered that will make you feel like you’re back in the 1920s. The pictures on the wall, the wood used to make the bar, and even the seating has the appearance of being a pre-prohibition artifact. The waitresses and waiters are also decked out in proper pre-prohibition regalia!
What most people don’t realize though is that Williams and Graham is not just a bar. There is a whole upstairs section that features a game called “Decipher The Code.” It is essentially an interactive puzzle game that once won, allows you access to the key to leave the room which is locked upon the start of the game. The fastest to solve the puzzle are then entered into a drawing to play the game among other champions at a pre-determined date. The game has become so popular among patrons that some don’t even drink at the bar, they just come to play!
Williams and Graham is a very unique experience to be had on your vacation here in Denver. Make sure to make a reservation or risk being left out though. The place only seats 55 people so act fast! Private parties are also encouraged but call for details.
#11 Adrift Tiki Bar
Address: 218 S Broadway Street, Denver, Colorado 80209
One of the must see and taste restaurants on the list of 19 gems in Denver is the Adrift Tiki Bar located in the Denver Design District right off Broadway street. This place looks like a normal enough bar on the outside but once you get in, it’s a completely different story. This place is like eating and drinking on the beach. It’s complete with floor to ceiling sugar cane walls, Hawaiian décor, and amazing cultural food from Thai to Cuban. It literally feels like your sitting in one of those straw huts on the beach in Playa Del Carmen sipping on your pina colada while an attentive staff caters to your every need. It’s a very comfortable place to come and eat or drink. They even have a projector screen that continuously shows great old cartoons like Tom and Jerry and Gumby from open to close. It seems like it gets a lot of repeat customers because of the cool culture and atmosphere. The food is surprisingly good for the Denver area and should be tried if you can make it out to the restaurant on your next visit here.
What makes the Adrift Tiki Bar a gem is the decorations though. We tried to focus on places that are unique and rare in this guide and this place warrants a spot on the list. Everything around you lets you pretend that you are on the beach. They even have large puffer fish lamps hanging everywhere from the ceiling to light your tables. No expense was spared here. It also seems like there are a million mixed drinks and cocktails to choose from. Many of them are tropical drinks that even come complete with fruit and umbrellas!
So if you happen to be near the restaurant, it’s worth at least stopping in. Get yourself a fruity cocktail and put yourself on the beach for a moment while you spend some time in landlocked Denver! You won’t regret it!
#12 Mario’s Double Daughter Salotto
Address: 1632 Market Street, Denver, Colorado 80202
At the corner of Market and 16th Street in downtown Denver you will find our hidden gem #12. It’s called Mario’s Double Daughter Salotto and was actually built and designed by the same owner of Beatrice and Woodsley, which is also featured in this article as gem #4. If you’ve been to Beatrice and Woodsley then you should already have an idea of what is in store for you at Mario’s Double Daughter Salotto! The bar is awesome! It’s conveniently located around many other restaurants and bars in downtown Denver and needs to be seen to be understood. Don’t miss it though, it’s somewhat hard to find as it’s up some stairs and tucked into the strip where it’s located. There is normally enough parking on the street and if you come later on in the evening, the meter parking doesn’t apply so it’s free as well.
As you walk into Mario’s you are greeted by a small space, jam packed with over the top decorations and crazily named drinks that will knock you on your butt! Some of the names of the drinks that stuck out to us are Teddy Bear Orgy and Severed Goats Head. Immediately on the right hand side upon entering the bar are 6-7 huge seating areas, each with super high walls and lots of privacy. If you don’t need privacy then on the left hand side is a long bar with super friendly bartenders who are always looking for their next customer.
Food is also served here and is out of this world delicious but immediately next door one finds Two-Fisted Mario’s Pizza. Beer and pizza? What goes better? The pizza place is actually also part of the bar and one can access both via a door to your right upon entering.
Mario’s Double Daughter Salotto should be a must see and experience while visiting Denver. It’s the perfect little area to bar hop with your friends or family. It’s even close to a number of hotels so choose your place to stay wisely to take advantage of this outrageous bar and pizza joint.
#13 Gary’s Rec Room
Address: 2487 S Broadway Street, Denver, Colorado 80210
Website: https://www. facebook.com/pages/GSpot/1539327776288376
Gary’s Rec Room is an upscale marijuana lounge conveniently located in downtown Denver. What can we say about Gary’s? If you like or would like to smoke marijuana legally, Gary has you covered. If you’ve done any research into weed lounges in the Denver area then you undoubtedly know that they are expensive. One can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$100 for a one day pass to smoke your favorite ganja in peace. At Gary’s you pay $5 and get to smoke as much of your own personal marijuana as you can with friends, family, or just Gary. Don’t know if you will like Gary? You will, everyone does. He’s one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He even lets you smoke out of his personal supply of bongs, pipes, and vaporizers. He basically bought a duplex off of Broadway Street and uses one side for personal living quarters but has a completely separate section dedicated to the ganja.
The walls are fittingly decorated with various murals depicting Damian Marley and various beings smoking out of a bong. The cool part is that Gary didn’t even paint the murals, they were already there when he moved in. While at Gary’s make sure to put your pin on the map to mark where you came from. It’s amazing how many people have visited Gary’s as the map is absolutely full of pins at this point.
So if you need a place to smoke up while you’re here in Denver then give Gary a call or stop by during regular business hours. It’s a blast and a true story to tell when you get back home. “I got high with Gary!”
#14 Apex Movement
Address: 700 West Mississippi Ave, Building A, #5 Denver, Colorado 80223
Denver has always been known for its propensity for enjoying sports of all kinds. From sky diving to parkour, Coloradans do it all! Wait. Parkour? Yep you read that right. It’s the newest and greatest sport to come to the Denver area. It’s also literally sweeping the nation right now as a result of the hit show American Ninja Warrior. If you’ve seen the show then you know exactly what we are talking about. If not, then Parkour should be your exercise while here in Denver. Apex Movement is the name of the establishment and parkour is the name of the exercise or art. It’s basically a super intense workout that teaches you to better move through your environment. You will learn to train the body and mind to overcome obstacles in your way. The whole time, exercising your body and improving balance, stamina, and strength. You hop over walls, do flips on trampolines, hang upside down on rafters, devise ways to get through obstacles, and basically anything to test your body and mind. Apex Movement has 5 locations now and is owned by a young guy named Ryan Ford. You just might see him practicing at one of their facilities as he is an avid parkour participant as well.
When entering Apex Movement in Denver, you are entering an adult jungle gym of sorts. Everything was made with plywood, carpet, and iron railings that have been laid out for you to just experiment with. The goal when they designed this fake city was to as accurately represent a park, city structure, or urban environment as best as possible. So why do parkour? Well if you do it you will be sore the next day for sure. It’s intense because your body isn’t used to jumping and twisting like it does with parkour. It’s a workout like you’ve never seen before. People love it because it gives their bodies a non-traditional workout that has some practical value.
The staff is very cool as well and there are a lot of them to keep up with the high traffic that Apex Movement gets on a consistent basis.
Now you might be wondering if you need to sign up for classes or what not and the answer is no. They have open gym times that at the present moment cost only $10 for 2 hours of time in your new artificial environment. This was done to make it easy for tourists or even locals to not have to sign up for long term commitments or to just try it out.
We all need our exercise. Why not try out something new while here in the Denver area? Hit up Apex Movement and dress casual as you are going to get a workout!
#15 420 Tours
Website: www. denverpartyride.com
What could be more fun than a limo or party bus? Well, add marijuana and things just got a little more interesting! Imagine driving around the mountains in a stretch black limo while smoking a nice joint with your best friends or weed friendly family. It will definitely make your Denver experience unique! There are many local companies here in Denver that will take you around in the vehicle of your choice and let you legally smoke your own personal marijuana. Many of them will even stock the bar for you to enjoy a beer or two while doing so. Denverpartyride.com is the best company to go with but a simple google search will help you find others. You can prepare your own itinerary or you can let them schedule it for you. Typically they take you to a few dispensaries, a glass blowing shop, a grow house, and a weed lounge. The weed lounge of Denver Party Ride’s choice is of course Gary’s Rec Room, hidden gem # 13.
The best part about these 420 tours are that they are 100% legal! Can’t beat that! So if you are into that sort of thing, we highly recommend a 420 tour while here in the Denver area. Not many people are able to experience a 420 tour in their home state yet so it’s pretty unique. They are surprisingly affordable and safe as well!
#16 iFLY Colorado
Address: 9230 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, Colorado 80124
Are you the type of person that is coming to Colorado to seek an adrenaline rush? Maybe you’ve bungee jumped or rode in a glider before but never been skydiving. Now is your chance to soar through the air without the expensive cost and danger. Welcome to iFLY in Denver, the only establishment that we know of in the Denver area that will allow you to experience what it’s like to skydive in the safe confines of being indoors.
iFLY is pretty impressive from the outside and it’s hard to miss as it’s the super tall building located right at the corner of the 470 and the 87. The place sure does get busy but there is more than enough parking to fit everyone. You walk in the front door and are greeted by a very friendly staff that gets you signed in and takes your payment. At the time of this article, they offer a number of packages that allow you to experience the indoor skydiving either once or up to 10 times for varying price ranges. If you are a little nervous at first then just to your right are a set of stairs that lead up to the actual skydiving chamber so you can watch others and see what it’s all about.
What happens after you get signed in is that you go through a short and painless instructional class on technique and safety. You are then ready to experience one of the best adrenaline rushes in Denver. You put a suit and helmet on and walk into what looks like a giant fan with a metal screen high above it. You then proceed to lay on your stomach, almost exactly like you would when skydiving. The fan below you begins to force air up, slowly at first, and then it gets faster and faster until you are literally floating and soaring in the chamber. It reminded us of being in a zero gravity chamber, like in space, or at least what we envision what that would feel like. The sessions are only for a minute so enjoy your time as it passes quickly. There is always a guide in the chamber with you to grab hold of you in the event that you start to spin or otherwise get out of control. This makes the whole experience much safer and enjoyable.
iFLY Denver has been around for only 7 years and based on the amount of people flooding into their building, it is doing quite well. The best part about indoor skydiving is that you get the experience of skydiving without paying the hefty cost and there are very little dangers involved. Want proof of your experience? Every flight is filmed by cameras located almost everywhere in the iFLY chamber. Then there are these Youtube machines that allow you to immediately post it online with a few clicks of a button. It’s also a free service so don’t miss out on your chance at Youtube fame.
Again, if you are of the adventuresome type and enjoy living on the edge then iFLY Denver is the place for you. Bring the kids too, they seem to enjoy it more than the adults!
#17 Sun Spa Oxygen Bar
Address: 1057 S Wadsworth Blvd, Lakewood, Colorado 80226
As everyone knows, Denver’s nickname is the Mile High City because it is located just over a mile higher than sea level. This is dramatically different for most cities in the USA. One of the most common complaints for tourists as well as locals is the lack of oxygen in the air here. With that being said, imagine if you could come into a spa and for pennies a minute, get 92% pure flavored oxygen to breathe in. Kind of like all the sports teams do when they play in Denver. Well, that is all possible at Sun Spa Oxygen bar. It’s also a hair salon, tanning spa, and massage therapy shop as well but the focus in this article will be on the oxygen therapy.
Sun Spa Oxygen Bar is one of the only oxygen bars left in the Denver area and is well worth trying out. Not only if you are suffering from oxygen deprivation up here in the mountains but also if you suffer from depression, heart disease, anxiety, or want a better love life. Yes, pure oxygen has been touted as a cure for all these maladies.
You walk into sun spa and immediately in front of you is the friendly receptionist, back and to the left are rows and rows of rooms with tanning beds in them. To your right is a beautiful hair salon with 5-6 girls cutting and styling hair at any given time. If you look to your immediate left, there is a machine that kind of looks like a water filtration system but it’s actually the oxygen machine. You get to pick out your flavor of oxygen, put the mask on and just breathe. The experience reminded us of getting a slight buzz, very pleasant and soothing. The effects last for hours after and is quite enjoyable. Tourists walk in out of breath because of the altitude and leave feeling much better emotionally and physically.
Sun Spa has been around for 7 years now and is one of the last oxygen bars you will find in the Denver area. It caters to tourists coming from out of town having trouble with the altitude. Oxygen deprivation can cause all sorts of debilitating effects to different people including headaches, upset stomach, and sleepiness. A quick session has the potential to quickly eliminate these effects and even cure them for your duration here. You see, it’s not just regular oxygen you are inhaling, it’s 92% pure whereas the air normally contains only about 21% oxygen. It truly is an amazing experience!
This establishment should be a must see for any tourist that hasn’t been to the Rocky Mountains before. It should be visited the first day when the effects of altitude sickness are at their worst. It sets the stage for a great time here in Denver. Not much has been said about their other services but hey, get your nails done, get your hair done, go tanning, or get a great therapeutic massage too! What a place!
#18 Lakeside Amusement Park
Address: 4601 Sheridan Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80212
Lots of tourists come to Denver with their families. It happens every day and all day to be exact. What better place to bring the kids than an outdoor amusement park that’s very affordable, lots of fun, and with lots of Denver history? Lakeside Amusement Park should be one of your destinations for sure if you like adventurous rides, great amusement park food, and a family atmosphere. It’s very centrally located on the corner of the I-70 and Sheridan and is like a carnival in a time machine. It’s historic and strives to give you that atmosphere of being at a carnival in the 40’s or 50’s when you were just a little tyke. They even support local schools by having “Closed to the Public” days to help schools raise money for fundraisers and such. Lakeside is a class act.
The amusement park has been around before the majority of us were even born. Since 1908, the park has been a super popular destination for families from not only Denver but all over the world. It is one of the oldest in the entire country and definitely the oldest in Colorado. It has been featured in movies, T.V. shows, and even video games! They have a ton of fun rides with names from the Chipmunk to the Cyclone. The rides are still made with wood which adds to the excitement of the ride but don’t worry, they are all well maintained and pass modern tests for safety. You will find other activities to do here as well such as skeet ball and other fun prize winning games which are also less expensive than most amusement parks. No need to come to Lakeside and spend a fortune. That’s the number one reason visitors have been coming back for literally generations.
Any Coloradan will tell you never to pay full price when coming to Lakeside. The place advertises very heavily on Groupon and you can get steep discounts if you do a little searching for good deals on the internet. If you have to pay full price then expect to pay up to $22.50 to get into the park and enjoy unlimited rides. Go to six flags sometime and offer to pay that little for unlimited rides and they will laugh you off the property. Lakeside has always been affordable and family oriented. They even have a picnic area so you can bring your own food if you for some reason don’t like churros, cotton candy, and fried snickers bars. Another great aspect of the park is that it’s so old that the trees have grown tall and provide abundant shade during the hot summer days here in Denver. You can also just go late to avoid the heat as the park is open until 12 am!
Lakeside Amusement park is by far our amusement park of choice for Denver and is without much competition as far as amusement parks go. If you’re bringing the kids with you to Denver, they will absolutely love this quaint park. So enjoy a nice picnic while you’re there and let the kids see what it was like when you went to amusement parks when you were a kid. Fun!
#19 L&L Hawaiian BBQ
Address: 14221 East Cedar Avenue #C, Aurora, Colorado 80012
This quaint restaurant is an absolute must experience on your next trip to Denver. You will be greeted by huge portions of the absolute best Hawaiian food outside of Hawaii proper. Unlike many of the gems in this article, there isn’t any special seating or amazing art work to look at. People come here from around the country to experience just the food. It is delicious! We commonly get the BBQ platter but you can’t go wrong with any of their dishes. These entrees typically come with two portions of rice, a side of macaroni salad and then a hot meat choice. Come hungry because it’s a lot of food for one meal. You might even have to bring some home with you. They claim that their dishes are of Asian and Hawaiian cuisine and come straight from recipe books directly from Hawaii.
L&L Hawaiian BBQ got its start in Hawaii by two very smart entrepreneurs, Eddie Flores Jr. and Johnson Kam. These two began serving fresh Hawaiian lunches in gigantic portions all across Hawaii. In the 1990′s they realized that they had a nice little niche business going and headed to the mainland, opening up the L&L brand in as many states as possible. At the time of this article, there are 175 locations in over 10 states. There are a few in Colorado but only one L&L Hawaiian BBQ here in the Denver area which got its start in 2004.
L&L is located in an outdoor mall and is pretty busy most of the time. Lines out the door are not uncommon around lunch and dinner time. There is ample parking all around the restaurant and it’s conveniently located near lots of shopping for the family. L&L is not a formal sit down type of place though. It’s more of a come as you are restaurant which makes it more comfortable. If you are coming here during peak lunch or dinner hours it would be better to carry out. There isn’t a lot of seating at the place and as a result, it can get crowded.
Even if you’ve never had Hawaiian food or been to Hawaii for that matter, eating at the L&L Hawaiian BBQ is a must while here in Denver. Of all the gems listed in this article, the best food award would have to go to L&L. It’s just that good. Go and eat there and thank me later!
It has been a pleasure for the authors to compile this list of 19 hidden gems in the Mile High City. Great lengths were taken to accurately write reviews on the gems that would be both helpful and informative. Try to experience them all while on your next adventure to Denver and it’s guaranteed to be a good time for you. Thank you and happy traveling!