Denver is full of well-known attractions, but the city is also home to several hidden gems you won’t want to miss. If you’re looking for unique things to do in the Mile High City, check out this list of 30 cool places to go in Denver that are off the beaten path!
Adams Mystery Playhouse
Adams Mystery Playhouse in Jefferson Park combines live comedy, mystery dinner theatre, and scavenger hunts all in one unique Denver attraction! One of the city’s best-kept secrets, this quirky Mile-High City venue puts on thrilling, hilarious, audience-involved shows every Friday and Saturday night year-round. From The Curse of Devil’s Island, a pirate-themed romp, to the darkly funny Murder at the Mortuary, and so many more, Adams Mystery Playhouse puts on a variety of shows, so there’s always something new to see. Whether you’re looking for the best things to do in Denver during a vacation, or you’re a local trying to find somewhere to host a work event, birthday party, or holiday get-together, Adams Mystery Playhouse is a true hidden gem.
Adrift Tiki Bar & Grill
Adrift Tiki Bar is a fun, Polynesian-inspired bar and one of the coolest places to visit in Denver. People love this must-see spot in the Mile High City for its tropical cocktails, delectable fare, friendly staff, and South Pacific decor. Grab a Mai Thai or El Diablo during Happy Hour—Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm to 7pm—or stick around for dinner and try the Ahi Tuna Poke or Jamaican Jerk Cheeseburger! Of all the many bars and restaurants to try in Denver, Adrift definitely stands out.
The Buckhorn Exchange
Searching for unique places to eat in Denver? The Buckhorn Exchange in Lincoln Park is the oldest restaurant in the Mile High City and is well known for its thick, juicy T-Bone Steaks and Rocky Mountain oysters. Although, what really separates it from other Denver steakhouses is its impressive taxidermy collection. With 575 pieces consisting of giant buffalo, mountain goats, big-horned sheep, elk, moose, and more hanging on the walls, The Buckhorn Exchange is a dining experience in Denver you won’t want to miss!
Cask and Craft
Cask and Craft in Highland is a high-quality Denver spirit shop committed to helping you find the perfect wine, craft beer, or spirit for your budget and taste. In fact, owner Mark Westmoreland takes such pride in the store’s selection that he’s happy to show guests around and help them discover something new! He even stocks beers, so be sure to mix and match your favorites! Ride your bike to the store for 10% off your purchase. This hidden gem is a real one-stop-shop for all your wine and spirits needs.
Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom
In the old Casino Cabaret in Five Points, you’ll find Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom. This live music venue is one of the top things to do in Downtown Denver and has hosted thousands of shows featuring artists from all kinds of genres, including funk, bluegrass, hip-hop, and EDM. What makes the venue unconventional among other spots in the Denver music scene, though, is that it has two rooms offering simultaneous entertainment: Cervantes’ (holds 900) and The Other Side (holds 500). Patrons can even go back and forth between these rooms, making the venue one of the coolest places to see live music in Denver!
Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys
The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, & Toys is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. The museum is dedicated to showcasing the world of miniatures through beautiful antique and Japanese dolls, mini planes and trains, fully-furnished dollhouses, and more. The miniature scenes and rotating displays at this unique Denver attraction are incredibly detailed, so take your time checking them out! You’re bound to find something new every time you visit.
Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery
If you’ve never been to Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery in Wash Park, you’re missing out. A bakery and coffee shop most known for brunch fare and pastries by locals. This retro-style Denver restaurant serves everything from donuts for breakfast to savory dinner entrees. The Chicken & Waffles and Stuffed French Toast are to die for! As for desserts, the Almond Croissant and Red Velvet Cake Balls keep Denver locals coming back to this hidden gem day after day.
Felt is home to a working jukebox, delicious bar food, inexpensive drinks, and pool tables. This pool room, bar, and restaurant is a great place to catch a game with friends, meet up for Happy Hour after work, or become a sharp-shooter in one of Felt’s 8-ball or 9-ball leagues! Felt also hosts Texas Hold’em matches and tournaments regularly. For fans of pool, card games, and spirits, this is one of the coolest places off the beaten path in Denver!
The Gothic Theatre
A former 1920s movie theater that was the first to show “talkies”(movies with audible dialogue), The Gothic Theatre is now one of the best places to go for live music in Denver. With a beautiful Art Deco style, an intimate ambiance, reasonably priced drinks, and amazing acoustics, it’s a great place to catch rising stars, indie bands, and well-known artists like Todrick Hall and Silverstein. Snag a spot in the wrap-around balcony, or join the crowd below in front of the stage!
Looking for a chill bar in the Mile-High City? Check out Green Russell in Larimer Square! This Denver hidden gem isn’t impossible to find if you make your way to Russell’s Smokehouse, but it’s well worth the discovery. Their cocktails, like the Clover Club or a Black Manhattan, are handcrafted to perfection. As for food, the menu changes seasonally based on what ingredients are available, so you can be sure your meal is always fresh!
The Infinite Monkey Theorem
Urban winery The Infinite Monkey Theorem, located in the RiNo Art District, grows grapes at an elevation of 4,500 ft and makes its wines in a warehouse in an alley. Not only can you purchase canned wine from this unpretentious, must-see Denver winery, but you can also try new wines during a tasting. The Infinite Monkey Theorem is the perfect place to visit for an outing with friends, a get-together with coworkers, or just a night out on the town.
Jose O’Shea’s in Lakewood has been dishing up delicious Mexican food in Denver since 1978. When you visit this locally beloved Denver secret, be sure to try Jose O’Shea’s Famous Garbage Burrito. Or take advantage of the free taco bar during Happy Hour! Best of all, all the entrees, as well as the restaurant’s ten different sauces, are made from scratch with fresh ingredients, including farm-raised, never-frozen meat.
Kilgore Books & Comics
Want a cool bookstore in Denver that’s a little off the beaten path? Kilgore Books & Comics has been serving the Capitol Hill area since 2008 and is a favorite among literature lovers! This eclectic shop doesn’t just sell used books. There’s also a great selection of alt-lit, local, and indie comics, sci-fi, philosophy, art, and more! At this hidden Denver gems where you’ll always walk out with a unique find. Don’t forget to stop by during one of the bookstore’s meet-and-greets or book signing events with local authors and artists!
Lakeside Amusement Park
If you’re looking for cool things to do with your family in Denver, head to Lakeside Amusement Park! This small park has been operating at the same location since 1908 and is beloved by locals! Ride the Drop Tower or Bumper Cars, or check out Kiddies’ Playland with your little ones. Enjoy your own picnic with views of Lake Rhoda and the mountains. To top it all off, general admission and ride prices at Lakeside Amusement Park are extremely affordable!
Mario’s Double Daughter’s Salotto
Mario’s Double Daughter’s Salotto is an unusual little bar in LoDo. Its décor will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a carnival funhouse, and its drinks have wacky names like Pirate Socks & Dead Parrots! If you’re really bold, try the drink called Succo Vaffanculo di Mario. It’s made with 17 different liquors, but the exact ingredients are a secret. Out-there aesthetic and wild drinks aside, this Denver hidden gem offers a low-key, intimate setting.
Next time you want to go to the movies, get tickets to Mayan Theatre in Speer! This quirky Art Deco theater is housed in the historic Mayan building, an old opera house built in 1930 and renovated in 1986. It has three screens, a cafe, and a bar, making it one of the coolest places in Denver for cinema fans. Not to mention, this hidden gem is known for being one of the few movie theaters in the Mile-High City that shows small, independent films and uses real butter on their popcorn!
Mutiny Information Café
Mutiny Information Café offers its customers a place to shop for gently-used books and enjoy coffee at a reasonable price. With a diverse selection of secondhand books, a coffee bar, a welcoming staff, and the occasional live music or slam poetry night, this café is one of Denver’s best-kept secrets. Try the on-tap kombucha!
Satisfy Cajun cuisine cravings with breakfast, lunch, or dinner at NoNo’s Café! This homey Denver restaurant has a menu full of southern fare like Grits, Biscuits and Gravy, and Jambalaya. They also have a gluten-free menu! You’ll love the sweet tea, comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff, and reasonable prices. It’s Denver’s own little taste of New Orleans!
Overstreet Dance Center
Put on your dancing shoes for date night, solo lessons, or a good time with friends at Overstreet Dance Center, a fun and unique Denver attraction! Not only does this dance center offer ballroom dance lessons and fitness classes, but it also doubles as a social ballroom on Friday and Saturday nights, where locals can show off their West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Rumba, and more! Arrive for an introductory lesson at 7 p.m., then stick around for the 8 p.m. dance party with music from a local DJ.
There are a lot of good pho restaurants in the Mile-High City, but Pho 96 is one of Denver’s best-kept secrets! This hidden gem serves delicious, affordable Vietnamese dishes like Shrimp Soup or Spring Rolls with Vegetables and Tofu, along with a selection of bubble teas. Locals love this casual eatery for its large menu, including vegan options, and chill vibe.
Piggin’ Out Smokehouse
What might look like a tiny red house on the side of Morrison Road in Lakewood is actually Piggin’ Out Smokehouse: a Denver secret and delicious local barbecue joint! On the menu, you’ll find classic dishes like Pulled Pork, Ribs, Brisket, and more. The restaurant dining room is small, so ordering To-Go or calling in ahead of time is a good idea.
Give your wardrobe some extra flair with a shopping trip to Regal Vintage off of Broadway in Platt Park. It’s filled to the brim with posh and retro vintage clothing and accessories! This vintage retailer, considered one of Denver’s hidden gems, selects their pieces based on their motto: “Fun, Fabulous, and Funky.” The high-quality vintage pieces there include items from the 1920s all the way through the 1990s, all for reasonable prices.
Revampt in Cherry Creek is a quirky, unique furniture spot in Denver that’s well worth a trip inside. The store is a treasure trove of amazing furniture, home décor, and gift. Every piece in Revampt is locally crafted and made of recycled materials. From credenzas and nightstands to coasters and burlap throw pillows, you’re bound to find something unique inside this Denver shop!
Society Sports & Spirits
Society Sports & Spirits—simply called “Whiskey” by some due to the large sign out front—is a laid-back sports bar in LoDo with a vast whiskey selection and friendly bartenders. Though it can get crowded during Nuggets, Avalanche, and Broncos games, this off-the-beaten-path Denver bar is fairly low-key. One major attraction at this bar is the projectors guests can use to play video games on!
Twist & Shout Records
Old-school record store Twist & Shout Records in Congress Park is the place to go for new and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs, and more! Twist & Shout also hosts live music performances in the store, drawing artists like Patti Smith, Fun., Elvis Costello, and Atmosphere! So whether you just want to jam out or find a rare vinyl album, Twist & Shout Records is the place to go in Denver!
Shop for one-of-a-kind items at Unlisted in Centennial! This unique Denver store sells everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to fine art and refurbished furniture. It supports more than 100 local artisan and boutique vendors. It’s beloved by all who visit for its incredible variety of goods under one roof. Also, the first Thursday of every month is Ladies’ Night, a promotion featuring discounts as well as wine and cheese samples!
With a cool, woodsy atmosphere and trendy, affordable clothing, it’s no wonder Velvet Wolf in Aurora is one of the coolest places in Denver for fashion lovers! Owner Molly Merrill is dedicated to finding one-of-a-kind closet staples for her customers. That’s why she handpicks every item. Also, nothing stays on the shelves past its prime, meaning there’s always new fashion at Velvet Wolf!
The Wizard’s Chest
The Wizard’s Chest off of Broadway in Baker is an all-ages game, costume, and toy store designed to look like a medieval castle. This hidden gem in Denver sells makeup, accessories, and costume sets for Halloween or cosplay events. Test out awesome science toys and board games. Or stop by on open-play nights for Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, and other tabletop games!
Find locally-made, personalized, eco-friendly stationery and gifts at Wordshop in West Highland! This quaint Denver store is dedicated to supporting local printers. You can get everything from custom letterpress wedding invitations and hilarious greeting cards to beautiful, leather-bound journals and colorful pens. Looking for a fun, unique thing to do in Denver? Take a calligraphy workshop at Wordshop and sharpen your penmanship skills!
Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Denver is known for craft beers and microbreweries, so it’s hard for locals to pick favorites, but Wynkoop Brewing Co. in LoDo has been a Denver institution since 1988. Not only does Wynkoop claim the bragging rights of being Denver’s original craft brewery, but this hidden gem also has some of the most innovative flavors in the city. They make 40 different brews, including crazy flavors like green chile, rosé, and ginger. Stop in for a tour of the brewery, or just grab some grub and beer at the bar!
Moving to Denver? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage facilities throughout the Mile-High City. Find a storage unit near you!