In honor of the Denver Broncos playing in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, I thought I would sing the city’s praises and tell you why Denver should be on your list of top places to visit with young children. Actually, there is something for every age, but if you are looking for a place that is friendly, relatively inexpensive (just wait till you see what I’ve listed!), and memorable, Denver is your destination. Here are the reasons you should consider Denver this summer.
Amazing Summer Weather: Truly, there is no better summer than a Denver summer. Because Denver is 5280 ft (hence the name, Mile High City) the average summertime temperature is 86 degrees. Throughout the year there are over 300 days of sun! And, if you are coming from the East or the South: No humidity. You are actually actually comfortable doing activities outside.
Bike Trails: Denver has over 850 miles of off-road trails throughout the city. These trails are perfect for family riding or rollerblading.
My favorite ride is the Cherry Creek Trail that goes through downtown and Confluence Park. You can easily ride your bike to the Children’s Museum!
Light Rail: This is a MUST for the children EVERY.TIME.WE.VISIT. And, really, what a cheap thrill: children under five ride FREE; you can take the route that passes through the train yard; and, it is impeccably clean. We usually ride the light rail to downtown Denver, get off and board one of the free shuttles on the 16th Street Mall, walk around, grab lunch and head back to where we are staying.
Or, you can stop for a bite to eat and a cool drink at Wynkoop Brewery. A bonus: free pool and in the afternoons Monday-Thursday. (Never too early to nurture those pool shark skills.)
Great parks and playgrounds: You can take your young children to expensive amusements parks. . .or you can take them to some great playgrounds. Denver has both. Elitch Gardens is a 70 acre amusement and water park located downtown and it great for your older children. But, my recommendation for the younger set is the amazing playgrounds that populate Denver. Nothing offers a child the benefits of outdoors, exercise, creativity and a little risk taking like a well-designed playground. Hats off to the Denver Parks and Recreation Planning Department for their expertise in this area See the first point in this post about the Denver weather and you’ll appreciate even more these wonderful parks and playgrounds!
Tattered Cover Bookstore: Located in lower downtown, this is a MUST for you and your budding bibliophile!
Close to the Mountains: Usually when we visit Denver, we stay in the city visiting family. This year, though, we decided to venture a little out of the city bounds to enjoy the mountains which are just an hour away. These are easy day trips. But, don’t be fooled by the Denver weather, make sure you pack a nylon jacket and fleece–you might find that even in July you need a little extra protection and warmth.
This year we headed south to Pikes Peak.
It is not unusual to see a few over-achievers climbing the mountains as well.
The kids enjoyed a little mining for gold. (I like to encourage them to work now toward that college tuition bill!)
And then northwest to Mount Evans which I wrote about in this post.
Besides the light rail, going to the Denver Children’s Museum is also on that list of HAVE-TOs. We usually spend a majority of our time just 20 yards from the front door: a REAL FIRE TRUCK! If you have a 3 year old who is already telling everyone that he is a firefighter, you may as well find a comfortable spot to sit while he “drives” the pumper truck.
In the summer the fun of the Children’s Museum spills outside. This is definitely an attraction that your children will have trouble leaving. The Aquarium is also located just a parking lot away from the Children’s Museum as well.
If you’ve been to Denver, what would you add to the list of places to visit with young children?