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With the easy layout of its streets and smooth transitions between neighborhoods, Denver is among the most walkable cities in the U.S.
You’ll find plenty to discover in historic downtown, where a 19th-century train station and hotel are both in operation today. If you’re a night owl, you’ll love the upbeat spirit of RiNo, whose concentration of craft breweries, street art murals, and karaoke bars has captivated hipster foodies.
For a city so obsessed with the great outdoors, Denver has a remarkably sophisticated stock of high-end hotels, many of which reflect the unique history and culture of their surroundings. Here are the best places to stay in Denver.
Where to Stay in Denver for families: LoDo
Despite its funky sounding name, LoDo is just an abbreviation for Lower Downtown. As such, it’s a convenient place for families to get a feel for Denver’s main attractions, like historic Larimer Square, Elitch Gardens Water Park and the Children’s Museum. For baseball fans, the proximity to Coors Field only adds to LoDo’s broad appeal.
Want a place with style? The Magnolia just wrapped up renovating its rooms this spring, and the results are fantastic—the sleek, neutral rooms are reminiscent of an airy studio apartment (some of the suites even have fireplaces). Be sure to grab a free cookie before bed: the hotel bakes them fresh from 8-10 p.m. each night.
Opened last year, the Maven’s signature bunk beds offer a neat perk for families. Unusual rooming options here aren’t the only featured amenity, though. There’s also an airstream trailer where you can eat breakfast, and an adjoining food hall with over 20 different vendors.
You can expect top-tier service at this venerated chain, whose concierge desk is well-experienced in helping families plan out their itineraries. You won’t go amiss if the weather’s bad, either: A library with DVDs, boardgames, and Nintendo Wii ensures the little ones won’t get bored.
Where to Stay in Denver for Nightlife: RiNo
Within the past five years, this industrial wedge along the Avon River has become an unlikely magnet for edgy restaurants, bars, and late-night breweries. It all started in 2013 with The Source, an eclectic market hall with food and design vendors; further up, on Hanover St, the bars spill onto charming patios and stay buzzing well into the night.
Don’t bother making plans to go out if you stay at this stylish newcomer, which has a vague Parisian feel. Below the 50 rooms, there is a booming lobby scene with leather studded couches and huge beaded chandeliers. Death & Co. operates a bar and late-night restaurant here, and there’s also a posh dining room by CHEF.
Building on the success of the market hall next door, the Source recently expanded its footprint with a 100-room concept hotel. Mini Japanese soaking tubs in the rooms, plus a 10-barrel on-site brewery and the neighborhood’s first rooftop bar, make this one a must.
Where to Stay in Denver for History Buffs: Union Station
Practically every building in this tiny district neighboring LoDo deserves close inspection—especially Union Station, a Beaux Arts train terminal that miraculously looks as stunning today as it did on opening day, in 1884. When you’re not poking around the old ticket kiosks, you can head across the street to try on Rockmount’s signature cowboy shirts, or dine in one of the nearby Denver institutions like Rioja and Sam’s No. 3.
For a modern take on an old ‘hood, this Kimpton dwelling recently opened directly behind Union Station. Chilled-out but classy, the hotel features an upscale steakhouse, with reasonably priced entrees from $34.
If these walls could talk — they’d be full of rowdy, drunken banter. The lavish Oxford has been open since 1891, and even retains its original bar, the Art Deco-inspired Cruise Room, the first bar in Denver to reopen after Prohibition.
Where to Stay in Denver for Culture Lovers: Golden Triangle Creative District
Set just below Civic Center Park, adjacent to the Colorado State Capitol, this small section of downtown is perfect for museum hopping. In a 3-block radius, you can hit the Denver Art Museum, Kirkland Museum, and a separate museum devoted exclusively to the work of Clyfford Still, an abstract painter and contemporary of Jackson Pollock. Nearby, you can also browse through the former possessions of Molly Brown, a survivor from the Titanic.
Curators and collectors will pay more attention to what’s hanging on the walls here than what’s in the minibar. Armed with an expansive private art collection, the hotel is also a blast after-hours: The restaurant, Fire, serves cocktails named after specific artists. (Try the Frida Kahlo, a riff on smoked mezcal.)
Where to Stay in Denver for Shopping: Cherry Creek
If you want to shop, you’d better book a night (or three) here. Cherry Creek, an upscale enclave 15 minutes east of downtown, is a hotbed of retail therapy. Make your way up East 3rd Avenue’s cluster of trendy boutiques, and wander in and out of luxury outlets in Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Either way, you and your credit card will be kept plenty busy.
From the intimate arrival, to the record players strategically placed in the rooms (guests can even choose which records they want waiting for them), this discreet hotel will make you think you’ve ended up at an old friend’s apartment—albeit one with a rooftop pool and a “Top Chef” winner in the kitchen.