Travel Lemming https://travellemming.com A travel guide to what to do and where to stay in Mexico, Canada, the USA, Europe, and the World. Wed, 03 Nov 2021 02:21:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GN Publisher v1.3 https://wordpress.org/plugins/gn-publisher/ 19 Best Things to Do in Rincon (Fun Activities & Top Sites) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-rincon/ Sun, 31 Oct 2021 17:28:43 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31536

Rincon is famous for having the best beaches to surf in Puerto Rico and the entire Caribbean, but even if you’re not a surfer, there are other great things you can do in this city located on the west coast. 

Whether you want to spend the day surfing, swimming, or hiking, Rincon definitely offers endless entertainment for your vacation.

To help you have the time of your life like a local, I’ve summed up the best things to do in Rincon, so you don’t miss a bit of the fun.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

19 Best Things to Do in Rincon

Go Scuba Diving at Desecheo Island

📍 Map It: Desecheo Island | 👉 Browse Viator’s Top Scuba Diving Tours

Desecheo Island is a small uninhabited island you can see from Rincon. This island is a popular destination for scuba diving because of its crystal clear waters and virgin coral reefs. Currently only the company Taino Divers offers scuba diving tours to Isla Desecheo.

👉 Looking for more great things to do? Check out my guide to the top activities in Puerto Rico.

Go Deep Sea Fishing

The union of the Caribbean sea with the Atlantic Ocean makes the waters of the west ideal for fishing. Multiple companies offer boat trips for fishing enthusiasts with the option to do deep-sea fishing, live bait fishing, and kite fishing, making Rincon the perfect day trip for fish lovers.

Go Snorkeling

👉 Book a Rincon Snorkeling Tour

One of the best things to do in Rincon is to go snorkeling on one of its beautiful beaches. While not all the beaches are suitable for snorkeling, especially during the winter, snorkel enthusiasts can’t miss the chance to practice the water sport in Steps Beach. If you don’t feel confident doing it alone, you can book this guided snorkeling tour to enjoy a safe experience.

Go Horseback Riding

There are multiple ways you can enjoy the beaches of Rincon, one of them is while riding a horse! Riding a horse on a beach during the sunset is one of the things you can scratch from your bucket list while visiting this city. There are different guided horseback riding tours you can take, so you’ll surely find one that fits your needs.

Visit Punta Higüera Lighthouse

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677  | Entrance: free 

There are more than a dozen lighthouses left behind by the Spaniards around Puerto Rico. Punta Higüera Lighthouse in Rincon is one of them, and it sports a height of 70 feet. This lighthouse started its service in 1922 and although it’s automated, it works up to today.

👉 Short on time? Take this amazing tour through the west of Puerto Rico so you get to visit Domes Beach and Punta Higüera Lighthouse along with other destinations on the west coast of the island.

Catch Rincon’s Art Walk Every Thursday

📍 Map It: Pueblo, Rincón | Entrance: free 

One of the things Puerto Ricans are best known for is for always finding an occasion to get together and celebrate with good music and food. That’s the experience you can enjoy every Thursday evening in Rincon’s Art Walk, where you’ll find local crafts, food, and music all while enjoying a tropical vibe atmosphere.

Reach the Steps in Steps Beach

📍 Map It: PR-413 Rincon Puerto Rico 00677, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Steps Beach is one of the most beautiful and iconic beaches of Rincon and its name comes from the concrete steps on the shore. Besides its famous steps, this beach is home to natural pools and beautiful scenery. During the winter, waves can reach over 20 feet, which makes it ideal for surfing too.

👉 Local Tip: Steps Beach is perfect for sunbathing, and snorkeling in Tres Palmas Reserve. Check out the Aqua Marina Beach Club to stay a few steps away from this beach.

Surf in Domes Beach

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00602 | Entrance: free 

Domes Beach is one of Rincon’s top beaches for surfing. Located a few minutes away from the lighthouse, this beach gets its name from the dome that was once a nuclear facility right behind it. The beach sports great waves for surfing, areas for camping, and a swing. This beach is also home to multiple surfing festivals during the winter.

🛎️ Local Tip: Rincon is the best place to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re a beach lover. You can read my complete guide to where to stay on the island to see what other places are great for staying on this tropical paradise.

See the Sunset

📍 Map It: PR-413, Rincon, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Rincon is famous for its colorful and breathtaking sunsets and it’s something you can’t miss if you’re in the city. There are multiple spots from where you can enjoy the sunset, but one of the best is the viewpoint in front of The Beach House in Rincon. 

📚 Related Reading: Rincon is one of the top places you need to visit during your vacation in Puerto Rico. Read the complete guide to find out about the other places you can’t miss.

Walk Above the Sea

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00677 | Entrance: free

Right in front of La Cueva del Burro in Rincon, you’ll find a wooden stair that descends to the below waters and rock formations. While you travel down the road, you should keep your eyes open or you might miss it. Make a stop not only to take a picture but to enjoy the view as if you’re walking on top of the water.

Go Whale Watching

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you love whales, then you’ll be glad to know you can see them from Rincon. Every winter season, from January to March, humpback whales frequent the southwest coasts and locals gather along different viewpoints to take a peek of them. Punta Higüera Lighthouse serves as a whale-watching park.

🚗 How to Get There: If you’re arriving at San Juan airport, you should rent a car if you’re planning to tour around the island. You can use Discover Cars to find the best price for your rental car and if you have any worries about driving by yourself in Puerto Rico, read my guide to driving on the island.

Enjoy Local Coffee at Cafe 413

📍 Map It: 157B Cll Progreso, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Phone: (939) 697-8188 | Hours: 8 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Wednesdays 

If you haven’t tasted a good Puerto Rican coffee yet, then I recommend you stop at cafe 413 in Rincon’s Town Center. This casual restaurant sports both a bar and a coffee shop, and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or brunch. The coffee here is to die for, or if you’re more of a tea person, don’t miss the Chai Latte.

Take a Surfing Class

If you’re a surfing enthusiast, but you don’t know how to surf yet, then you can start by taking your first class in Rincon. Since the city is the capital for surfing on the island, you will find multiple surfing schools that provide guided lessons regardless of your age, weight, or gender.

Shop in the Town Center

Rincon sports a colorful town center with souvenir shops, art galleries, bakeries, bars, and small boutiques. Set your shopaholic free and go store hopping around the plaza. You can also grab a quick lunch at the area, or enjoy a nice coffee while sitting on the benches.

🛎️ Need a hotel? Villa Cofresi is a great hotel to stay close to the town center and have top bars, restaurants, and festivities within walking distance.

Hunt for Sea Glass in Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Rincon, both for its waters and the beach bars around it, but craft makers and souvenirs lovers will find it perfect for hunting Sea Glass or small “frosted” crystals on the shore. 

Visit a Local Gallery

Besides its wonderful beaches, Rincon also sports different galleries visitors can enjoy like the Secret Garden Art Gallery, Galeria Exodo, and Playa Oeste. Besides admiring the local art, you can also buy local crafts and paintings.

Swim in Rincon Public Beach

📍 Map It: 8PRV+6Q8, Rincon, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you´re looking for a beach with facilities where you can spend your day swimming, then head over to Rincon’s Public Beach. This beach with turquoise waters is where the locals go to relax, snorkel and kayak. It sports free parking, showers, bathrooms, and even gazebos you can rent for any type of activity. 

👉 Are you a beach lover? Don’t miss the guide to the top beaches in Puerto Rico.

Hike to Spanish Wall Beach

📍 Map It: Cam. las Trinitarias, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Spanish Wall Beach is one of the secret beaches from Rincon even when it’s reachable from Domes Beach. The beach gets its name after the historic Spanish wall ruins that used to be the railroad. You can access the trail from Domes Beach, you can also reach Pools Beach and Sandy Beach along the coast.

Enjoy Dinner at Gastropark@115

📍 Map It: Stella, Rincón 00677 | Hours: 12 – 10 pm Thurs to Sun, Closed from Mon to Wed 

Foodies will not lack options in Rincon, especially in Rincon’s Gastropark@115. This food truck park sports food for all different tastes and it’s open until late so you can visit when you’re hungry for a night snack. They also host live music during some days of the month. 

FAQ’s About Rincon

Is Rincon worth visiting?

Rincon is one of the top destinations to visit in Puerto Rico and visitors should spend part of their vacation there. Rincon sports top notch beaches, great local cuisine, historical buildings, and local festivals travelers can enjoy.

What is there to do in Rincon Puerto Rico today?

Travelers that visit Rincon can take surfing lessons, surf in Playa Domes or Maria’s Beach, enjoy food on the kiosks in Sandy Beach, go shopping, horseback riding, snorkeling, and scuba diving too.

What is Rincon known for?

Rincon is best known as the Caribbean’s surfing capital for its world class surfing beaches, and its beautiful sunsets. Rincon is also known as one of the best spots in Puerto Rico to see humpback whales during the winter.

Is Rincon Puerto Rico safe for tourists?

The city of Rincon is probably the safest city for tourists after San Juan and Carolina. The city is home to dozens of expats and it’s also one of the top tourist destinations in Puerto Rico. See our full guide to Puerto Rico safety for more information.

***

That’s it for the best things to do in Rincon! This beautiful city is one of the top destinations in Puerto Rico and even if you’re not a surfer, you will love your stay in Rincon.

👉 If you’re looking for more great places in Puerto Rico, check out the 33 best places to see around the island!

Rincon is famous for having the best beaches to surf in Puerto Rico and the entire Caribbean, but even if you’re not a surfer, there are other great things you can do in this city located on the west coast. 

Whether you want to spend the day surfing, swimming, or hiking, Rincon definitely offers endless entertainment for your vacation.

To help you have the time of your life like a local, I’ve summed up the best things to do in Rincon, so you don’t miss a bit of the fun.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

19 Best Things to Do in Rincon

Go Scuba Diving at Desecheo Island

The blue green water from Desecheo Island in Rincon
Desecheo Island from Rincon

📍 Map It: Desecheo Island | 👉 Browse Viator’s Top Scuba Diving Tours

Desecheo Island is a small uninhabited island you can see from Rincon. This island is a popular destination for scuba diving because of its crystal clear waters and virgin coral reefs. Currently only the company Taino Divers offers scuba diving tours to Isla Desecheo.

👉 Looking for more great things to do? Check out my guide to the top activities in Puerto Rico.

Go Deep Sea Fishing

View of a man holding a big fish

The union of the Caribbean sea with the Atlantic Ocean makes the waters of the west ideal for fishing. Multiple companies offer boat trips for fishing enthusiasts with the option to do deep-sea fishing, live bait fishing, and kite fishing, making Rincon the perfect day trip for fish lovers.

Go Snorkeling

A sea sponge and coral reefs under the sea

👉 Book a Rincon Snorkeling Tour

One of the best things to do in Rincon is to go snorkeling on one of its beautiful beaches. While not all the beaches are suitable for snorkeling, especially during the winter, snorkel enthusiasts can’t miss the chance to practice the water sport in Steps Beach. If you don’t feel confident doing it alone, you can book this guided snorkeling tour to enjoy a safe experience.

Go Horseback Riding

View of a woman riding a horse in a beach

There are multiple ways you can enjoy the beaches of Rincon, one of them is while riding a horse! Riding a horse on a beach during the sunset is one of the things you can scratch from your bucket list while visiting this city. There are different guided horseback riding tours you can take, so you’ll surely find one that fits your needs.

Visit Punta Higüera Lighthouse

The Punta Higüera Lighthouse and the clear blue sky

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677  | Entrance: free 

There are more than a dozen lighthouses left behind by the Spaniards around Puerto Rico. Punta Higüera Lighthouse in Rincon is one of them, and it sports a height of 70 feet. This lighthouse started its service in 1922 and although it’s automated, it works up to today.

👉 Short on time? Take this amazing tour through the west of Puerto Rico so you get to visit Domes Beach and Punta Higüera Lighthouse along with other destinations on the west coast of the island.

Catch Rincon’s Art Walk Every Thursday

📍 Map It: Pueblo, Rincón | Entrance: free 

One of the things Puerto Ricans are best known for is for always finding an occasion to get together and celebrate with good music and food. That’s the experience you can enjoy every Thursday evening in Rincon’s Art Walk, where you’ll find local crafts, food, and music all while enjoying a tropical vibe atmosphere.

Reach the Steps in Steps Beach

The author sitting on a steps in the shore of Steps Beach

📍 Map It: PR-413 Rincon Puerto Rico 00677, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Steps Beach is one of the most beautiful and iconic beaches of Rincon and its name comes from the concrete steps on the shore. Besides its famous steps, this beach is home to natural pools and beautiful scenery. During the winter, waves can reach over 20 feet, which makes it ideal for surfing too.

👉 Local Tip: Steps Beach is perfect for sunbathing, and snorkeling in Tres Palmas Reserve. Check out the Aqua Marina Beach Club to stay a few steps away from this beach.

Surf in Domes Beach

The clear blue sky in Domes Beach in Rincon

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00602 | Entrance: free 

Domes Beach is one of Rincon’s top beaches for surfing. Located a few minutes away from the lighthouse, this beach gets its name from the dome that was once a nuclear facility right behind it. The beach sports great waves for surfing, areas for camping, and a swing. This beach is also home to multiple surfing festivals during the winter.

🛎️ Local Tip: Rincon is the best place to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re a beach lover. You can read my complete guide to where to stay on the island to see what other places are great for staying on this tropical paradise.

See the Sunset

Scenic view of the colorful sky during sunset in Rincon

📍 Map It: PR-413, Rincon, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Rincon is famous for its colorful and breathtaking sunsets and it’s something you can’t miss if you’re in the city. There are multiple spots from where you can enjoy the sunset, but one of the best is the viewpoint in front of The Beach House in Rincon. 

📚 Related Reading: Rincon is one of the top places you need to visit during your vacation in Puerto Rico. Read the complete guide to find out about the other places you can’t miss.

Walk Above the Sea

The author posing for a picture on a staircase

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00677 | Entrance: free

Right in front of La Cueva del Burro in Rincon, you’ll find a wooden stair that descends to the below waters and rock formations. While you travel down the road, you should keep your eyes open or you might miss it. Make a stop not only to take a picture but to enjoy the view as if you’re walking on top of the water.

Go Whale Watching

View of the tail of a humpback whale

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you love whales, then you’ll be glad to know you can see them from Rincon. Every winter season, from January to March, humpback whales frequent the southwest coasts and locals gather along different viewpoints to take a peek of them. Punta Higüera Lighthouse serves as a whale-watching park.

🚗 How to Get There: If you’re arriving at San Juan airport, you should rent a car if you’re planning to tour around the island. You can use Discover Cars to find the best price for your rental car and if you have any worries about driving by yourself in Puerto Rico, read my guide to driving on the island.

Enjoy Local Coffee at Cafe 413

The Cafe 413 shop in Rincon

📍 Map It: 157B Cll Progreso, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Phone: (939) 697-8188 | Hours: 8 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Wednesdays 

If you haven’t tasted a good Puerto Rican coffee yet, then I recommend you stop at cafe 413 in Rincon’s Town Center. This casual restaurant sports both a bar and a coffee shop, and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or brunch. The coffee here is to die for, or if you’re more of a tea person, don’t miss the Chai Latte.

Take a Surfing Class

View of a man holding a surfboard while walking by the beach

If you’re a surfing enthusiast, but you don’t know how to surf yet, then you can start by taking your first class in Rincon. Since the city is the capital for surfing on the island, you will find multiple surfing schools that provide guided lessons regardless of your age, weight, or gender.

Shop in the Town Center

View of an entrance to a shop in Rincon Town Center

Rincon sports a colorful town center with souvenir shops, art galleries, bakeries, bars, and small boutiques. Set your shopaholic free and go store hopping around the plaza. You can also grab a quick lunch at the area, or enjoy a nice coffee while sitting on the benches.

🛎️ Need a hotel? Villa Cofresi is a great hotel to stay close to the town center and have top bars, restaurants, and festivities within walking distance.

Hunt for Sea Glass in Sandy Beach

Sea glasses on the sand in Sandy Beach in Rincon

Sandy Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Rincon, both for its waters and the beach bars around it, but craft makers and souvenirs lovers will find it perfect for hunting Sea Glass or small “frosted” crystals on the shore. 

Visit a Local Gallery

View of the exterior of Local Galleries in Rincon

Besides its wonderful beaches, Rincon also sports different galleries visitors can enjoy like the Secret Garden Art Gallery, Galeria Exodo, and Playa Oeste. Besides admiring the local art, you can also buy local crafts and paintings.

Swim in Rincon Public Beach

View of people having fun in Rincon Public Beach

📍 Map It: 8PRV+6Q8, Rincon, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you´re looking for a beach with facilities where you can spend your day swimming, then head over to Rincon’s Public Beach. This beach with turquoise waters is where the locals go to relax, snorkel and kayak. It sports free parking, showers, bathrooms, and even gazebos you can rent for any type of activity. 

👉 Are you a beach lover? Don’t miss the guide to the top beaches in Puerto Rico.

Hike to Spanish Wall Beach

Small waves from Spanish Wall Beach

📍 Map It: Cam. las Trinitarias, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Spanish Wall Beach is one of the secret beaches from Rincon even when it’s reachable from Domes Beach. The beach gets its name after the historic Spanish wall ruins that used to be the railroad. You can access the trail from Domes Beach, you can also reach Pools Beach and Sandy Beach along the coast.

Enjoy Dinner at Gastropark@115

Car parked outside the Gastropark@115 in Rincon

📍 Map It: Stella, Rincón 00677 | Hours: 12 – 10 pm Thurs to Sun, Closed from Mon to Wed 

Foodies will not lack options in Rincon, especially in Rincon’s Gastropark@115. This food truck park sports food for all different tastes and it’s open until late so you can visit when you’re hungry for a night snack. They also host live music during some days of the month. 

FAQ’s About Rincon

Is Rincon worth visiting?

Rincon is one of the top destinations to visit in Puerto Rico and visitors should spend part of their vacation there. Rincon sports top notch beaches, great local cuisine, historical buildings, and local festivals travelers can enjoy.

What is there to do in Rincon Puerto Rico today?

Travelers that visit Rincon can take surfing lessons, surf in Playa Domes or Maria’s Beach, enjoy food on the kiosks in Sandy Beach, go shopping, horseback riding, snorkeling, and scuba diving too.

What is Rincon known for?

Rincon is best known as the Caribbean’s surfing capital for its world class surfing beaches, and its beautiful sunsets. Rincon is also known as one of the best spots in Puerto Rico to see humpback whales during the winter.

Is Rincon Puerto Rico safe for tourists?

The city of Rincon is probably the safest city for tourists after San Juan and Carolina. The city is home to dozens of expats and it’s also one of the top tourist destinations in Puerto Rico. See our full guide to Puerto Rico safety for more information.

***

That’s it for the best things to do in Rincon! This beautiful city is one of the top destinations in Puerto Rico and even if you’re not a surfer, you will love your stay in Rincon.

👉 If you’re looking for more great places in Puerto Rico, check out the 33 best places to see around the island!

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27 Best Colorado Ski Resorts (‘21-’22 Season) https://travellemming.com/colorado-ski-resorts/ Thu, 28 Oct 2021 18:03:01 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31730

If you’re planning a ski trip to Colorado, your only problem may be deciding which of the many amazing Colorado ski resorts you want to settle on. 

I happen to think Colorado is gorgeous in every single season, but I have a soft spot for the ski towns and resorts in winter. Spending a day on the slopes, unwinding with a little après-ski cocktail or craft beer, and flopping in front of a fire with a fluffy blanket, exhausted from the day…well, there’s no feeling quite like it. It’s even worth wrangling four children in huge snowsuits who keep losing their gloves!

Whether you’re a serious powderhound or a family trying out skiing or snowboarding for the first time, Colorado has a ski resort that’s perfect for you! I’ve rounded up the best ski resorts in Colorado here, with tips on pricing, amenities, local favorites, gorgeous tourist destinations, and more. 

Happy shredding!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

Vail Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best varied terrain for all types of skiers

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Vail is one of the biggest resorts in the world, and one of the top places to go in Colorado for winter sports. Just the word “Vail” is basically synonymous with skiing, so it’s no wonder they have terrain for every level of skier. Lionshead Village is at the base of the mountain and has shops, restaurants, ice skating, and other activities if you have non-skiers in your party.  

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12th
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 189 inches / 480 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,120 feet / 2,475 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,570 feet / 3,527 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Skiing and boarding in Colorado can get cold! Bring along some hand and toe warmers to keep those extremities toasty warm. 

Breckenridge

⛷️ Ski in, ski out lodgings

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Breck’s popular Peak 8 has terrain parks, bowls, and plenty of intermediate and advanced ski runs. It also offers lessons for beginners, or anyone looking to improve. If you want a break from skiing, dog-sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities are available. Downtown has great restaurants, bars, and shops. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 366 inches / 930 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,998 feet / 3,962 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Aspen Mountain Ski Resort

⛷️Best for expert runs

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

There are four ski resorts in Aspen, and this one is the closest to downtown. There aren’t many beginners runs here, but there are plenty of black diamonds and a few blues. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches / 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,945 feet / 2,422 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,212 feet/ 3,417 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort

⛷️Best intermediate resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

One lift ticket allows you to access all four ski resorts in Aspen. Snowmass is the largest and most popular. It’s in-between the expert runs of Aspen Mountain and Highlands, and the easy runs at Buttermilk. It also offers plenty of non-ski activities like ziplines, an alpine coaster, and ice skating. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,104 feet / 2,470 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,510 feet/ 3,813 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Highlands 

⛷️  Best for Aspen locals

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Aspen Highlands isn’t as popular as the other Aspen resorts, which could be why it’s a hangout for locals. More than two-thirds of the resort is expert skiing, and the views of the Maroon Bells are unrivaled. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,040 feet / 2,451 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,392 feet/ 3,777 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$ 

Buttermilk Mountain

⛷️  Best Aspen resort for beginners

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Buttermilk is the best of the four Aspen resorts for learning to ski, and for kids wanting to take to the mountain. There’s also a popular terrain park. Buttermilk’s visibility as home to the X Games also makes it popular with freestyle skiers and riders. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,870 feet / 2,399 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,900 feet/ 3,018 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Keystone Resort

⛷️Best for beginners

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Keystone is a family-friendly resort that’s not far from Denver. It has plenty of free gear wagons to cart kids and stuff around, deals on gear and lessons, and a Kidtopia play area. Keystone’s night skiing goes until 8 pm on weekends and holidays. The resort also has beginner and intermediate runs scattered throughout so beginners have plenty of choices. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October (as soon as weather permits)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  225 inches/ 571 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,280 feet / 2,829 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

🏔️ Pro Tip: I-70, the main thoroughfare for many resorts in Colorado, is notorious for its ski traffic. To improve your chances, ski during the week, leave really early in the morning or very late the night before, and always check the weather.

Telluride Ski Resort

⛷️ World-class resort with every amenity

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Telluride is hard to reach (it’s a 6+ hour drive from Denver!), but once you’re there it has everything you’ll need for a winter vacation. The mountain views are legendary, and the resort has a variety of beginner-advanced runs. There’s a free gondola in town, and an adventure park, and other winter fun.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  280 inches/ 711 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,750 feet / 2,667 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,150 feet/ 4,008 meters 

Steamboat Resort

⛷️Best  “Champagne Powder”

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Steamboat Resort trademarked their snow. 

It’s the only place in the world where you can ski on official “Champagne Powder,” and the pillowy, fluffy snow is a whole lot of fun. The mountain is lower than most others, so if you struggle with altitude sickness, this could be a good option. Steamboat also has great runs for tree skiing. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  336 inches/ 853 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,900 feet / 2,103 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,568 feet/ 3,221 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Winter Park

⛷️ Great for families

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Winter Park is another popular place for Denver-area locals, as it makes for an easy winter day trip. Winter Park is just 90 minutes from Denver, and there is a wide variety of trails for beginners to expert skiers and boarders. There’s plenty of lodging nearby, along with shops and restaurants, plus tubing and other activities for kids. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  327 inches/ 831 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,000 feet / 2,743 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,060 feet/ 3,676 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Ski helmets can (literally) be a lifesaver, even if you’ve been skiing a long time. REI has some great options

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

⛷️Local skiing for intermediates and beyond

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Thanks to its close proximity and the fact that there’s no on-site lodging, A-Basin is popular with locals and less so with tourists. The slopes are more challenging here, and there aren’t a ton of options for beginning skiers. For more fun, picnic at “The Beach” – a section of the parking lot where people tailgate. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,780 feet / 3,286 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Copper Mountain

⛷️Popular overnight resort for locals

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

When locals want to get away for a weekend of skiing, many of them head to Copper Mountain. It has the amenities of upscale resorts like Vail, plus quick freeway access makes for an easy drive. It’s family-friendly with plenty of runs for every level, plus tubing, ice skating, and other activities. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  305 inches/ 774 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,712 feet / 2,946 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,441 feet/ 3,792 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: You’ll want heavy, waterproof gloves for skiing and snowboarding, but these cable-knit gloves are great for wearing around town after the slopes (and you can text with them on!).

Loveland Ski Area

⛷️ Best for a quick day trip

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Loveland and A-Basin are two of the most popular local ski areas, but Loveland Valley is much easier for less-experienced skiers. Loveland Basin has more challenging runs. Loveland also offers free snowcat skiing for a unique experience.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 31 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  422 inches/ 1,072 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,800 feet / 3,292 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,010 feet/ 3,965 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

📚 Related Reading: Hanging out in Denver for a while? Check out this complete list of things to do in Denver!

Beaver Creek Resort

⛷️Less crowded upscale resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Beaver Creek is in the same general area as Vail, but doesn’t have an entire town built around it so it attracts fewer crowds. It does have a famous World Cup run, plus plenty of beginner through advanced runs. When I skied there, helpful guides at the top of the lifts suggested runs based on my ability.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  325 inches/ 826 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,100 feet / 2,469 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,440 feet/ 3,488 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Purgatory Resort

⛷️Jaw-dropping scenery, budget price

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Purgatory is a great southwestern Colorado resort for families. It’s mostly visited by locals and while there are plenty of beginning and intermediate runs, advanced skiers will find stuff for them, too. The price is low, too. Durango is the closest town, about a 20 minute drive away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 23 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,793 feet / 2,680 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,822 feet/ 3,299 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Silverton Mountain

⛷️ Expert backcountry skiing

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Silverton is unique in that there’s one double chairlift that drops you off at a spot where you then have plenty of options to hike to ski. If that’s not your style…you can also heli-ski. Every skier on the mountain is required to carry avalanche gear, and nothing is groomed – it’s all untouched snow. Guides are available, or you can go your own way.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  400 inches/ 1,016 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,400 feet / 3,170 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,487 feet/ 4,111 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$-$$$$

Wolf Creek Ski Area

⛷️ Best for early skiing

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Wolf Creek brags they’re the resort with the most snow in Colorado. There’s a good range of beginner and intermediate runs, and almost half the runs are advanced. There’s no town or lodgings at the resort, but Pagosa Springs is just over half an hour away – and a good hot spring to soak after a day on the slopes! 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 16
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  430 inches/ 1,092 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,300 feet / 3,139 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,904 feet/ 3,628 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Crested Butte

⛷️ Best real Colorado ski town

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Crested Butte prides itself on being a “real Colorado ski town” with no high rises, or even traffic lights. The mountain has a terrain park and plenty of runs for all levels. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  234 inches/ 594 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,375 feet / 2,856 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,162 feet/ 3,707 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Eldora Mountain

⛷️ Best for Boulder locals

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Eldora Mountain is less than an hour from Boulder and has plenty of skiing for all levels. It’s laid back and the children’s center makes it family-friendly. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 19
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,200 feet / 2,804 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,600 feet/ 3,231 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

📚 Related Reading: Staying in Boulder for a while? Be sure to check out my extensive list of things to do in Boulder!

Ski Cooper 

⛷️ Best family budget ski area

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

As evidenced above, Ski Cooper is one of our family favorites. Here’s why: it’s not crowded. It’s cheap. It’s small enough that older kids who want to ski on their own aren’t going to get lost. It’s not built up or fancy. 

One drawback: the drive is close to two hours, although you can stay in Leadville about half an hour away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 8 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,500 feet / 3,200 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,700 feet/ 3,566 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Powderhorn Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best Western Slope skiing

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Powderhorn is known for their awesome tree skiing, but they also have great options for beginners. If you don’t want to downhill ski, they have cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,200 feet / 2,499 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,850 feet/ 3,002 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Sunlight Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best uncrowded ski area

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Sunlight is off the beaten path, and is a budget-friendly, family-friendly resort without a lot of fancy amenities. There’s skiing and boarding for all abilities, along with snowmobile tours. You can also soak in Glenwood’s famous hot springs after a day of hard work on the mountain!

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 10
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,880 feet / 2,402 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,895 feet/ 3,016 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

Monarch Mountain 

⛷️ Best hidden gem

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Monarch is west of Salida, and is a lesser-known resort with amazing views. If you want to branch out from the 64 trails, you can also go snowcat skiing.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,790 feet / 3,289 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,952 feet/ 3,643 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$ 

Granby Ranch 

⛷️ Best place to learn to ski

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Granby is a family-friendly resort that’s one of the best places in the state to learn to ski. It also offers night skiing and boarding. It’s about an hour and a half from Denver, so you can make it a long day or stay nearby.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 11
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  120 inches/ 305 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,202 feet / 2,500 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,202 feet/ 2,805 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Echo Mountain 

⛷️  Closest to Denver

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Echo Mountain is one of Colorado’s newest resorts, and the closest to Denver. It has night skiing and boarding, and a terrain park, although if you’re a beginning skier you may find there aren’t many runs for you here. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: TBD
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  275 inches/ 699 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,050 feet / 3,063 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,650 feet/ 3,246 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

📚 Related Reading: If you’re staying in Denver, be sure to check out some of our favorite hotels!

Howelsen Hill

⛷️  Best long jumps 

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs is the oldest ski resort in Colorado. It has also produced the most Olympic skiers. Howelsen has great night skiing and is cheaper than Steamboat Ski Resort. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 27
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  170 inches/ 432 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,696 feet / 2,041 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 7,136 feet/ 2,175 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Kendall Mountain Ski Area

⛷️  Best tiny community ski spot

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Kendall Mountain was a resort that closed in the 80s. The city of Silverton then bought and opened it for the community. It isn’t fancy, it has one lift, a terrain park, and four trails. But it’s a great spot for families who want to do a little skiing for barely more than it costs to go to the movies.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,313 feet / 2,839 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,596 feet/ 2,925 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

FAQ

How many ski resorts are in Colorado?

There are 32 ski resorts in the state of Colorado. 

What months are best to ski in Colorado?

January and February are the best months to ski in Colorado. All resorts – even the late-starting ones – are open by then, and there has been time for snow to accumulate. Just remember that these months can be very cold, and also get busy on weekends.

What are the major ski areas in Colorado?

Colorado has several major ski areas. Many resorts are along I-70 as it winds through the mountains, including Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Vail, and Beaver Creek. There are several resorts in southwestern Colorado as well, like Telluride, Purgatory, and Silverton. Aspen has four resorts. Finally, there are some smaller resorts near Denver like Echo Mountain and Eldora.

What is the oldest ski area in Colorado?

Howelsen Hill is the oldest ski area in Colorado. It opened in 1914 and has been in operation for more than 100 years. It has also produced more Olympians than any other ski area in the U.S.

What is the prettiest ski resort in Colorado?

Telluride is considered the prettiest ski resort in Colorado by many. The remote location means fewer people crowd the slopes and streets of Telluride, and the jaw-dropping scenery is one-of-a-kind.

Which Colorado ski resorts stay open the longest?

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is known for staying open the longest – usually into June each year. Loveland and Winter Park both tend to stay open until May.

Which is the biggest ski resort in Colorado?

Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado, based on skiable acreage. It has 5,317 skiable (or boardable) acres – 2,000 acres more than the next resort on the list.

Is skiing better in Utah or Colorado?

The consensus seems to be that skiing is better in Utah than Colorado. Utah resorts get more snow overall, and it’s easier to predict when that snow will land. However, Colorado does have more – and higher – resorts than Utah. The altitude can produce fluffier, lighter snow but Colorado just doesn’t have as much of it. 

***

👉 Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Colorado

Thanks to Colorado’s variety of smaller, family-friendly resorts, it’s still topsin my book, however!

Hopefully, you found a resort (or several!) to suit your plans here. Colorado in winter and snowy spring is truly a magical place. 

If you’re planning a ski trip to Colorado, your only problem may be deciding which of the many amazing Colorado ski resorts you want to settle on. 

I happen to think Colorado is gorgeous in every single season, but I have a soft spot for the ski towns and resorts in winter. Spending a day on the slopes, unwinding with a little après-ski cocktail or craft beer, and flopping in front of a fire with a fluffy blanket, exhausted from the day…well, there’s no feeling quite like it. It’s even worth wrangling four children in huge snowsuits who keep losing their gloves!

Whether you’re a serious powderhound or a family trying out skiing or snowboarding for the first time, Colorado has a ski resort that’s perfect for you! I’ve rounded up the best ski resorts in Colorado here, with tips on pricing, amenities, local favorites, gorgeous tourist destinations, and more. 

Happy shredding!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

Vail Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best varied terrain for all types of skiers

View of the Vail ski slopes and a snowy mountain

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Vail is one of the biggest resorts in the world, and one of the top places to go in Colorado for winter sports. Just the word “Vail” is basically synonymous with skiing, so it’s no wonder they have terrain for every level of skier. Lionshead Village is at the base of the mountain and has shops, restaurants, ice skating, and other activities if you have non-skiers in your party.  

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12th
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 189 inches / 480 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,120 feet / 2,475 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,570 feet / 3,527 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Skiing and boarding in Colorado can get cold! Bring along some hand and toe warmers to keep those extremities toasty warm. 

Breckenridge

⛷️ Ski in, ski out lodgings

View of skiers in Breckenridge Colorado
(photo: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Breck’s popular Peak 8 has terrain parks, bowls, and plenty of intermediate and advanced ski runs. It also offers lessons for beginners, or anyone looking to improve. If you want a break from skiing, dog-sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities are available. Downtown has great restaurants, bars, and shops. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 366 inches / 930 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,998 feet / 3,962 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Aspen Mountain Ski Resort

⛷️Best for expert runs

The Aspen Mountain covered with snow during winter season

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

There are four ski resorts in Aspen, and this one is the closest to downtown. There aren’t many beginners runs here, but there are plenty of black diamonds and a few blues. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches / 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,945 feet / 2,422 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,212 feet/ 3,417 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort

⛷️Best intermediate resort

View of skiers and snowboarders riding a lift in Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort
(photo: David A Litman / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

One lift ticket allows you to access all four ski resorts in Aspen. Snowmass is the largest and most popular. It’s in-between the expert runs of Aspen Mountain and Highlands, and the easy runs at Buttermilk. It also offers plenty of non-ski activities like ziplines, an alpine coaster, and ice skating. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,104 feet / 2,470 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,510 feet/ 3,813 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Highlands 

⛷️  Best for Aspen locals

The Aspen Highland Bowl in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Aspen Highlands isn’t as popular as the other Aspen resorts, which could be why it’s a hangout for locals. More than two-thirds of the resort is expert skiing, and the views of the Maroon Bells are unrivaled. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,040 feet / 2,451 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,392 feet/ 3,777 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$ 

Buttermilk Mountain

⛷️  Best Aspen resort for beginners

View of the Aspen Colorado Buttermilk Mountain covered in snow

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Buttermilk is the best of the four Aspen resorts for learning to ski, and for kids wanting to take to the mountain. There’s also a popular terrain park. Buttermilk’s visibility as home to the X Games also makes it popular with freestyle skiers and riders. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,870 feet / 2,399 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,900 feet/ 3,018 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Keystone Resort

⛷️Best for beginners

Little kids being prepared by adults to try snowboarding
(photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Keystone is a family-friendly resort that’s not far from Denver. It has plenty of free gear wagons to cart kids and stuff around, deals on gear and lessons, and a Kidtopia play area. Keystone’s night skiing goes until 8 pm on weekends and holidays. The resort also has beginner and intermediate runs scattered throughout so beginners have plenty of choices. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October (as soon as weather permits)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  225 inches/ 571 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,280 feet / 2,829 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

🏔️ Pro Tip: I-70, the main thoroughfare for many resorts in Colorado, is notorious for its ski traffic. To improve your chances, ski during the week, leave really early in the morning or very late the night before, and always check the weather.

Telluride Ski Resort

⛷️ World-class resort with every amenity

The Alpine skiing in Telluride, Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Telluride is hard to reach (it’s a 6+ hour drive from Denver!), but once you’re there it has everything you’ll need for a winter vacation. The mountain views are legendary, and the resort has a variety of beginner-advanced runs. There’s a free gondola in town, and an adventure park, and other winter fun.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  280 inches/ 711 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,750 feet / 2,667 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,150 feet/ 4,008 meters 

Steamboat Resort

⛷️Best  “Champagne Powder”

The Gondola building can be seen from afar in Steamboat Resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Steamboat Resort trademarked their snow. 

It’s the only place in the world where you can ski on official “Champagne Powder,” and the pillowy, fluffy snow is a whole lot of fun. The mountain is lower than most others, so if you struggle with altitude sickness, this could be a good option. Steamboat also has great runs for tree skiing. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  336 inches/ 853 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,900 feet / 2,103 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,568 feet/ 3,221 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Winter Park

⛷️ Great for families

View of skiers and snowboarders in Winter Park in Colorado
(photo: LanaG / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Winter Park is another popular place for Denver-area locals, as it makes for an easy winter day trip. Winter Park is just 90 minutes from Denver, and there is a wide variety of trails for beginners to expert skiers and boarders. There’s plenty of lodging nearby, along with shops and restaurants, plus tubing and other activities for kids. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  327 inches/ 831 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,000 feet / 2,743 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,060 feet/ 3,676 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Ski helmets can (literally) be a lifesaver, even if you’ve been skiing a long time. REI has some great options

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

⛷️Local skiing for intermediates and beyond

View of skiers riding a lift in Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
(photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Thanks to its close proximity and the fact that there’s no on-site lodging, A-Basin is popular with locals and less so with tourists. The slopes are more challenging here, and there aren’t a ton of options for beginning skiers. For more fun, picnic at “The Beach” – a section of the parking lot where people tailgate. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,780 feet / 3,286 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Copper Mountain

⛷️Popular overnight resort for locals

View of people waiting in line for a ski lift in Copper Mountain
(photo: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

When locals want to get away for a weekend of skiing, many of them head to Copper Mountain. It has the amenities of upscale resorts like Vail, plus quick freeway access makes for an easy drive. It’s family-friendly with plenty of runs for every level, plus tubing, ice skating, and other activities. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  305 inches/ 774 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,712 feet / 2,946 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,441 feet/ 3,792 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: You’ll want heavy, waterproof gloves for skiing and snowboarding, but these cable-knit gloves are great for wearing around town after the slopes (and you can text with them on!).

Loveland Ski Area

⛷️ Best for a quick day trip

The ski area in Loveland Pass in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Loveland and A-Basin are two of the most popular local ski areas, but Loveland Valley is much easier for less-experienced skiers. Loveland Basin has more challenging runs. Loveland also offers free snowcat skiing for a unique experience.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 31 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  422 inches/ 1,072 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,800 feet / 3,292 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,010 feet/ 3,965 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

📚 Related Reading: Hanging out in Denver for a while? Check out this complete list of things to do in Denver!

Beaver Creek Resort

⛷️Less crowded upscale resort

Skiers posing for a picture in Beaver Creek Resort
(photo:  jweller / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Beaver Creek is in the same general area as Vail, but doesn’t have an entire town built around it so it attracts fewer crowds. It does have a famous World Cup run, plus plenty of beginner through advanced runs. When I skied there, helpful guides at the top of the lifts suggested runs based on my ability.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  325 inches/ 826 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,100 feet / 2,469 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,440 feet/ 3,488 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Purgatory Resort

⛷️Jaw-dropping scenery, budget price

View of a snowy mountain in Purgatory Resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Purgatory is a great southwestern Colorado resort for families. It’s mostly visited by locals and while there are plenty of beginning and intermediate runs, advanced skiers will find stuff for them, too. The price is low, too. Durango is the closest town, about a 20 minute drive away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 23 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,793 feet / 2,680 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,822 feet/ 3,299 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Silverton Mountain

⛷️ Expert backcountry skiing

View from a skier in Silverton Mountain

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Silverton is unique in that there’s one double chairlift that drops you off at a spot where you then have plenty of options to hike to ski. If that’s not your style…you can also heli-ski. Every skier on the mountain is required to carry avalanche gear, and nothing is groomed – it’s all untouched snow. Guides are available, or you can go your own way.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  400 inches/ 1,016 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,400 feet / 3,170 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,487 feet/ 4,111 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$-$$$$

Wolf Creek Ski Area

⛷️ Best for early skiing

View of snowy mountains in Wolf Creek

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Wolf Creek brags they’re the resort with the most snow in Colorado. There’s a good range of beginner and intermediate runs, and almost half the runs are advanced. There’s no town or lodgings at the resort, but Pagosa Springs is just over half an hour away – and a good hot spring to soak after a day on the slopes! 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 16
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  430 inches/ 1,092 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,300 feet / 3,139 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,904 feet/ 3,628 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Crested Butte

⛷️ Best real Colorado ski town

View of Crested Butte in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Crested Butte prides itself on being a “real Colorado ski town” with no high rises, or even traffic lights. The mountain has a terrain park and plenty of runs for all levels. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  234 inches/ 594 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,375 feet / 2,856 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,162 feet/ 3,707 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Eldora Mountain

⛷️ Best for Boulder locals

View of the Eldora Mountain and Ski Resort from afar

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Eldora Mountain is less than an hour from Boulder and has plenty of skiing for all levels. It’s laid back and the children’s center makes it family-friendly. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 19
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,200 feet / 2,804 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,600 feet/ 3,231 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

📚 Related Reading: Staying in Boulder for a while? Be sure to check out my extensive list of things to do in Boulder!

Ski Cooper 

⛷️ Best family budget ski area

The author's kids having fun skiing in Ski Cooper

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

As evidenced above, Ski Cooper is one of our family favorites. Here’s why: it’s not crowded. It’s cheap. It’s small enough that older kids who want to ski on their own aren’t going to get lost. It’s not built up or fancy. 

One drawback: the drive is close to two hours, although you can stay in Leadville about half an hour away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 8 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,500 feet / 3,200 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,700 feet/ 3,566 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Powderhorn Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best Western Slope skiing

View of ski lift and runs in Powderhorn Mountain Resort
(photo: Linda Armstrong / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Powderhorn is known for their awesome tree skiing, but they also have great options for beginners. If you don’t want to downhill ski, they have cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,200 feet / 2,499 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,850 feet/ 3,002 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Sunlight Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best uncrowded ski area

The view of Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort from top

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Sunlight is off the beaten path, and is a budget-friendly, family-friendly resort without a lot of fancy amenities. There’s skiing and boarding for all abilities, along with snowmobile tours. You can also soak in Glenwood’s famous hot springs after a day of hard work on the mountain!

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 10
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,880 feet / 2,402 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,895 feet/ 3,016 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

Monarch Mountain 

⛷️ Best hidden gem

The Monarch Mountain sign in Colorado
(photo: Cascade Creatives / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Monarch is west of Salida, and is a lesser-known resort with amazing views. If you want to branch out from the 64 trails, you can also go snowcat skiing.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,790 feet / 3,289 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,952 feet/ 3,643 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$ 

Granby Ranch 

⛷️ Best place to learn to ski

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Granby is a family-friendly resort that’s one of the best places in the state to learn to ski. It also offers night skiing and boarding. It’s about an hour and a half from Denver, so you can make it a long day or stay nearby.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 11
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  120 inches/ 305 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,202 feet / 2,500 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,202 feet/ 2,805 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Echo Mountain 

⛷️  Closest to Denver

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Echo Mountain is one of Colorado’s newest resorts, and the closest to Denver. It has night skiing and boarding, and a terrain park, although if you’re a beginning skier you may find there aren’t many runs for you here. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: TBD
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  275 inches/ 699 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,050 feet / 3,063 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,650 feet/ 3,246 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

📚 Related Reading: If you’re staying in Denver, be sure to check out some of our favorite hotels!

Howelsen Hill

⛷️  Best long jumps 

View of a little girl learning how to ski
(photo: arinahabich / 123RF)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs is the oldest ski resort in Colorado. It has also produced the most Olympic skiers. Howelsen has great night skiing and is cheaper than Steamboat Ski Resort. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 27
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  170 inches/ 432 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,696 feet / 2,041 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 7,136 feet/ 2,175 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Kendall Mountain Ski Area

⛷️  Best tiny community ski spot

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Kendall Mountain was a resort that closed in the 80s. The city of Silverton then bought and opened it for the community. It isn’t fancy, it has one lift, a terrain park, and four trails. But it’s a great spot for families who want to do a little skiing for barely more than it costs to go to the movies.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,313 feet / 2,839 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,596 feet/ 2,925 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

FAQ

How many ski resorts are in Colorado?

There are 32 ski resorts in the state of Colorado. 

What months are best to ski in Colorado?

January and February are the best months to ski in Colorado. All resorts – even the late-starting ones – are open by then, and there has been time for snow to accumulate. Just remember that these months can be very cold, and also get busy on weekends.

What are the major ski areas in Colorado?

Colorado has several major ski areas. Many resorts are along I-70 as it winds through the mountains, including Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Vail, and Beaver Creek. There are several resorts in southwestern Colorado as well, like Telluride, Purgatory, and Silverton. Aspen has four resorts. Finally, there are some smaller resorts near Denver like Echo Mountain and Eldora.

What is the oldest ski area in Colorado?

Howelsen Hill is the oldest ski area in Colorado. It opened in 1914 and has been in operation for more than 100 years. It has also produced more Olympians than any other ski area in the U.S.

What is the prettiest ski resort in Colorado?

Telluride is considered the prettiest ski resort in Colorado by many. The remote location means fewer people crowd the slopes and streets of Telluride, and the jaw-dropping scenery is one-of-a-kind.

Which Colorado ski resorts stay open the longest?

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is known for staying open the longest – usually into June each year. Loveland and Winter Park both tend to stay open until May.

Which is the biggest ski resort in Colorado?

Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado, based on skiable acreage. It has 5,317 skiable (or boardable) acres – 2,000 acres more than the next resort on the list.

Is skiing better in Utah or Colorado?

The consensus seems to be that skiing is better in Utah than Colorado. Utah resorts get more snow overall, and it’s easier to predict when that snow will land. However, Colorado does have more – and higher – resorts than Utah. The altitude can produce fluffier, lighter snow but Colorado just doesn’t have as much of it. 

***

👉 Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Colorado

Thanks to Colorado’s variety of smaller, family-friendly resorts, it’s still topsin my book, however!

Hopefully, you found a resort (or several!) to suit your plans here. Colorado in winter and snowy spring is truly a magical place. 

]]>
Is Puerto Rico Safe for Travel? (Honest Local Advice) https://travellemming.com/is-puerto-rico-safe/ Sun, 10 Oct 2021 15:19:11 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=29260

As many international destinations are facing the fourth wave of COVID or are still keeping their borders closed, many people are wondering if Puerto Rico is safe for travel right now.

And while you’ll find a lot of information saying otherwise, as a local, I can tell you Puerto Rico is generally very safe for travel.

Since I know travelers can have different concerns about safety in Puerto Rico, I’ve put together some tips and advice about safety in Puerto Rico. I hope it helps you to comfortably explore all the many beautiful places to visit in Puerto Rico.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Is Puerto Rico Safe?

Puerto Rico is generally safe for travelers that take appropriate measures regarding the ongoing pandemic. Travelers should take note of the hurricane season when they’re planning their trip and take normal precautions to avoid pickpocketing and robbery, the most common crimes affecting visitors in Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Rico is relatively safe for visitors, sporting a lower crime rate than other cities in the United States and being one of the safest Caribbean islands. Much of the violent gun crime in Puerto Rico relates to drug trafficking and gang activity, which doesn’t usually affect travelers. 

The most common crimes in Puerto Rico are pickpocketing and robbery, which you can prevent by not leaving valuables visible in a car, keeping important documents at your hotel safe, not wearing expensive jewelry, and visiting beaches and attractions during the day.

When you visit Puerto Rico, you should be more worried about the weather than the criminality. The island sports a yearly hurricane season from June to November, with September as the most active month. 

There isn’t any way to predict when hurricanes are going to impact Puerto Rico or how strong they’re going to be with months of anticipation, which is why you should protect your trip with travel insurance if you’re visiting during the high-risk season. 

A reputable insurer like World Nomads may be able to help you secure your trip in case your flight or tours get canceled due to a storm or a hurricane.

Things to Know About Safety in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Travel Advisories 

Though Puerto Rico is generally safe, different governments such as the UK Government and the Canada Government have issued travel advisories for the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides the health travel advisory, there is an advisory about the risk of terrorism in the United States. This risk is relatively low in Puerto Rico, which isn’t a state but a non-incorporated territory. You might encounter demonstrations and protests occasionally in Puerto Rico. In that case, travelers should monitor local media and avoid demonstrations.

As for crime, petty crime and robbery is the most common type of crime and tourists should take the common precautions to protect their belongings.

Safe Neighborhoods and Areas in Puerto Rico 

Puerto Rico is relatively safe for tourists and travelers as long as they stay out of dangerous areas. Common tourist-friendly areas in San Juan include Old San Juan, Isla Verde, Condado, Ocean Park, Hato Rey, and Miramar. Visitors should avoid areas like Puerta de Tierra, El Parque de las Palomas, Piñones and La Perla at night.

Other great areas for tourists are Rio Grande, Fajardo, Ponce, Cabo Rojo, Vieques, Culebra, and Rincon. But, that doesn’t mean tourists should limit themselves to those parts of the island. Both the locals and the government encourage travelers to step out of Old San Juan to visit other parts of the island.

👉 Looking for a safe place to stay? Check out my guides to where to stay in Puerto Rico and, more specifically, the best areas in San Juan to find the best and safest neighborhoods to stay in for visitors.

Covid-19 Safety in Puerto Rico

Like most global destinations, Puerto Rico continues to grapple with the effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Puerto Rican government has led a widely lauded effort to increase the vaccination rate to one of the highest in the United States as of fall 2021

Travelers can enter Puerto Rico either by providing proof of vaccination or by presenting a negative COVID antigen test or PCR test not older than 72 hours. 

Masks are mandatory indoors, inside public transportation, and outdoors when you can’t keep a safe distance, regardless of your vaccination status. 

You’ll have to present proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, concert halls, and theaters. I recommend following the Health Department of Puerto Rico Website and the CDC to keep up to date with the evolving situation of the country.

Crime in Puerto Rico

The crime rate in Puerto Rico is relatively low in comparison with other states of the United States but both locals and tourists alike could be victims of petty theft like robbery and pickpocketing. 

Violent crimes in Puerto Rico are often related to caserios, Puerto Rico’s public housing buildings, and dangerous neighborhoods where gangs operate. Both American tourists and international travelers should avoid these areas as a general safety rule. As long as you stick to the popular places to go in Puerto Rico, you are likely to be just fine.

Common Scams in Puerto Rico

There are few to little scams in Puerto Rico, but you should always keep your eyes open for the following common scams:

🚕 Taxi scam – Taxis scams take place when the drivers don’t turn on the meter, take longer routes to charge more, or claim they don’t have change when you pay in cash. Research the route using GPS systems, know the local taxi tarrifs, and always ask the driver to turn the meter on.

🚗 Rental car scams – Since the rental car industry is big in Puerto Rico, it’s not uncommon to see scams related to car rentals. If you’re renting a car, you need to watch out for excessive toll pass fees, inflated deposits, and hidden charges for things like cleaning the sand from your car. Discover Cars is a great search engine for reputable agencies, since it allows you to easily see and compare customer reviews for each operator.

🗺️ False guides – A local may approach you claiming to be a guide that can take you to special places. He’ll then proceed to take you somewhere where he gets a commission for bringing clients. You will never know about the commission but you will pay a higher price for what you buy to cover that commission fee. 

💰 Pickpockets – Pickpocketing occurs in many countries of the world and Puerto Rico is no exception. Pickpocketers could snatch your items away while distracting you or by bumping into you. Always be aware of your belongings and pay attention to your surroundings.

Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters

People who travel to Puerto Rico can experience hazardous weather and natural disasters depending on what season they visit Puerto Rico. 

Here are a  few things to know about Puerto Rico’s weather:

⛈️ Hurricanes – Puerto Rico sports a hurricane season from June to November. During this period, the country is more likely to get affected by tropical storms and hurricanes, but the season doesn’t mean a hurricane will hit Puerto Rico. The last hurricane that landed on Puerto Rico was Hurricane Maria in 2017. Hurricanes usually take a week to reach the island, which means you have to make the necessary adjustments to your trip according to the weather warnings.

⛰️ Earthquakes – Visitors can also experience earthquakes and small tremors in Puerto Rico. Since the Earthquakes of January 2020, telluric movements are more frequent on the island, but they are mostly unnoticeable.

🌡️ Temperature – Puerto Rico sports high temperatures almost all year, with an average temperature of 87°F(30°C), which combined with the humidity, increases the sensation of heat. You should always stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.

☁️ Air pollution – The air quality changes frequently in Puerto Rico for environmental factors. Sometimes there is a high concentration of spores or a cloud of dust coming from the Sahara desert. If you have respiratory conditions, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the local weather forecast and keep your medications with you.

☁️ Rip tides and swimming conditions – Many famous beaches in Puerto Rico are dangerous to swim in for their rip tides. Beaches like Playa Peña in Old San Juan and Playa Jobos in Isabela are home to numerous drowning incidents every year. If you’re visiting a beach with rip tides, ask the locals about the safest beach areas and if you get caught in one, swim parallel to the beach until you get out of the current.

👉 Local Tip: Puerto Rico, like other Caribbean islands, sports popular destinations with beaches for the family, beaches for couples, and beaches for solo travelers. If you want to find the best for your taste, check out my guide to the 19 top beaches in Puerto Rico

Female Travel Safety

San Juan and Puerto Rico in general are safe for women traveling in groups or solo female travelers. Although they might face some catcalling, men usually won’t make any physical or approach. Women visiting Puerto Rico should follow the general safety tips that apply when visiting any other country.  

Some common travel safety tips include not walking alone at night in solitary areas, supervising their drinks when in a public place, not telling just anybody about where they’re staying, and not accepting any stranger’s invitation to accompany them to unknown places. San Juan is particularly a safe city for women traveling solo.

For women who travel alone frequently, safety is always a priority. The Self-Defense Keychain Set for Women and Kids is a great way to have some peace of mind and feel safer while visiting a foreign country.

Other Health Precautions

Besides taking precautions against COVID, you should take measures against Dengue fever and Zika. For its location and weather, Puerto Rico has a large population of mosquitoes, especially on the beach and areas with a lot of vegetation like El Yunque National Forest. 

If you’re planning to visit the island nation, you should pack a mosquito repellent. Ranger Ready is a great mosquito repellent that is non-DEET, non-smelly, and comes in convenient travel-sized kits. 

Puerto Rico Drinking Water Safety

While there might be other destinations in the Caribbean where tourists can’t drink water safely, it isn’t the case with Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and follows the drinking water safety standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1974. If you still feel insecure, you can always buy bottled water instead.

5 Safety Tips for Puerto Rico

Tip #1 – Learn Some Basic Spanish

Although most Puerto Ricans in San Juan and other touristic areas understand and speak some English, if you visit any rural area it might be hard to communicate with the locals. To prevent any misunderstanding, I recommend you learn some basic Spanish phrases and words.

Tip #2 – Prepare for Some Crazy Traffic

American travelers will feel familiarized with the style of driving in Puerto Rico, but international travelers should know that it’s hard to follow signs around the island’s roads, and there will be occasions when you won’t find any. Some traffic lights still don’t work after Hurricane Maria and roads around both urban areas and rural areas are home to countless potholes. 

Don’t get scared if Puerto Ricans honk at you. Honking is very common among locals, and it’s usually a way of indicating to the front car the traffic light has changed. 

Tip #3 – Lock Your Car Doors

Either out of habit or because of distraction, sometimes tourists leave belongings in their car rental. As a safety rule, whenever you visit an attraction or park in Puerto Rico, make sure to empty your car of valuables or if it’s inevitable, lock temp up in the trunk and always lock your car doors so you won’t come back from your day trip to a broken window.

Tip #4 – Take Care of Your Belongings

One mistake people make when traveling is taking their important documents in a backpack while they make a walking tour. Leave your important documents locked up in your hotel safe. If you feel uncomfortable, then consider wearing a money belt and distribute your documents between your different pockets. And if you have a bag never leave it unattended, not even at the beach.

Tip #5 – Don’t Wander at Night Alone

In Puerto Rico, most crimes committed happen during the night. Although there are areas where there is active nightlife, like Condado, the nearby deserted streets and areas like Condado Beach can be dangerous if you’re walking alone. You should always stay in well-lit areas. If you’re alone, avoid transiting dark zones at night or into places you don’t know.

👉 For more things to know before you go, be sure to read my full list of tips for traveling Puerto Rico!

Puerto Rico Safety FAQs

What should you avoid in Puerto Rico?

In Puerto Rico visitors should avoid wandering mindlessly, staying in sketchy places, leaving their belongings unattended in beaches or restaurants, and going outside tourist areas without a guide if they aren’t familiar with the area they’re visiting. 

Can you drink tap water in Puerto Rico?

Tap water is safe to drink in Puerto Rico. The water sanitization company in Puerto Rico uses the Safe Drinking Water Act established by the EPA as a guide for water sanitation. Visitors can also buy bottled water if they feel uneasy about drinking tap water.

Is San Juan dangerous for tourists?

San Juan is generally safe for tourists. Top safety tips for travelers include avoiding transiting in La  Perla, El Parque de las Paloma, and Puerta de Tierra at night, and staying away from the caserio Louis Lloren Torres or stay in any area they feel uncomfortable in. 

What is the most dangerous place in Puerto Rico?

Dangerous places in Puerto Rico include cities  like Carolina, Bayamon, Vega Baja and some San Juan areas like Santurce, La Perla, Parque de la Palomas, and Puerta de Tierra. These places are usually safe to visit during daylight hours.

***

🛑 WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO TO PUERTO RICO – If you’re going to Puerto Rico, you definitely don’t want to miss my local’s list of the best activities and things to do in Puerto Rico. It’s packed with top tourist spots, fun points of attraction, and hidden spots only locals know about.

You’ve reached the end of the safety guide to Puerto Rico. I hope I’ve answered your biggest concerns about “Is Puerto Rico safe?”. 

Don’t forget you can get travel insurance with World Nomads, so you only have to worry about anything else but to enjoy your trip.

If you still have any fear or doubts, feel free to write them in the comments and I’ll help to clear them out!

As many international destinations are facing the fourth wave of COVID or are still keeping their borders closed, many people are wondering if Puerto Rico is safe for travel right now.

And while you’ll find a lot of information saying otherwise, as a local, I can tell you Puerto Rico is generally very safe for travel.

Since I know travelers can have different concerns about safety in Puerto Rico, I’ve put together some tips and advice about safety in Puerto Rico. I hope it helps you to comfortably explore all the many beautiful places to visit in Puerto Rico.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Is Puerto Rico Safe?

Puerto Rico is generally safe for travelers that take appropriate measures regarding the ongoing pandemic. Travelers should take note of the hurricane season when they’re planning their trip and take normal precautions to avoid pickpocketing and robbery, the most common crimes affecting visitors in Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Rico is relatively safe for visitors, sporting a lower crime rate than other cities in the United States and being one of the safest Caribbean islands. Much of the violent gun crime in Puerto Rico relates to drug trafficking and gang activity, which doesn’t usually affect travelers. 

The most common crimes in Puerto Rico are pickpocketing and robbery, which you can prevent by not leaving valuables visible in a car, keeping important documents at your hotel safe, not wearing expensive jewelry, and visiting beaches and attractions during the day.

When you visit Puerto Rico, you should be more worried about the weather than the criminality. The island sports a yearly hurricane season from June to November, with September as the most active month. 

There isn’t any way to predict when hurricanes are going to impact Puerto Rico or how strong they’re going to be with months of anticipation, which is why you should protect your trip with travel insurance if you’re visiting during the high-risk season. 

A reputable insurer like World Nomads may be able to help you secure your trip in case your flight or tours get canceled due to a storm or a hurricane.

Things to Know About Safety in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Travel Advisories 

Though Puerto Rico is generally safe, different governments such as the UK Government and the Canada Government have issued travel advisories for the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides the health travel advisory, there is an advisory about the risk of terrorism in the United States. This risk is relatively low in Puerto Rico, which isn’t a state but a non-incorporated territory. You might encounter demonstrations and protests occasionally in Puerto Rico. In that case, travelers should monitor local media and avoid demonstrations.

As for crime, petty crime and robbery is the most common type of crime and tourists should take the common precautions to protect their belongings.

Safe Neighborhoods and Areas in Puerto Rico 

View of a bike in an alleyway

Puerto Rico is relatively safe for tourists and travelers as long as they stay out of dangerous areas. Common tourist-friendly areas in San Juan include Old San Juan, Isla Verde, Condado, Ocean Park, Hato Rey, and Miramar. Visitors should avoid areas like Puerta de Tierra, El Parque de las Palomas, Piñones and La Perla at night.

Other great areas for tourists are Rio Grande, Fajardo, Ponce, Cabo Rojo, Vieques, Culebra, and Rincon. But, that doesn’t mean tourists should limit themselves to those parts of the island. Both the locals and the government encourage travelers to step out of Old San Juan to visit other parts of the island.

👉 Looking for a safe place to stay? Check out my guides to where to stay in Puerto Rico and, more specifically, the best areas in San Juan to find the best and safest neighborhoods to stay in for visitors.

Covid-19 Safety in Puerto Rico

Like most global destinations, Puerto Rico continues to grapple with the effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Puerto Rican government has led a widely lauded effort to increase the vaccination rate to one of the highest in the United States as of fall 2021

Travelers can enter Puerto Rico either by providing proof of vaccination or by presenting a negative COVID antigen test or PCR test not older than 72 hours. 

Masks are mandatory indoors, inside public transportation, and outdoors when you can’t keep a safe distance, regardless of your vaccination status. 

You’ll have to present proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, concert halls, and theaters. I recommend following the Health Department of Puerto Rico Website and the CDC to keep up to date with the evolving situation of the country.

Crime in Puerto Rico

The author in an old abandoned house

The crime rate in Puerto Rico is relatively low in comparison with other states of the United States but both locals and tourists alike could be victims of petty theft like robbery and pickpocketing. 

Violent crimes in Puerto Rico are often related to caserios, Puerto Rico’s public housing buildings, and dangerous neighborhoods where gangs operate. Both American tourists and international travelers should avoid these areas as a general safety rule. As long as you stick to the popular places to go in Puerto Rico, you are likely to be just fine.

Common Scams in Puerto Rico

View of cars parked in an alley with colorful houses

There are few to little scams in Puerto Rico, but you should always keep your eyes open for the following common scams:

🚕 Taxi scam – Taxis scams take place when the drivers don’t turn on the meter, take longer routes to charge more, or claim they don’t have change when you pay in cash. Research the route using GPS systems, know the local taxi tarrifs, and always ask the driver to turn the meter on.

🚗 Rental car scams – Since the rental car industry is big in Puerto Rico, it’s not uncommon to see scams related to car rentals. If you’re renting a car, you need to watch out for excessive toll pass fees, inflated deposits, and hidden charges for things like cleaning the sand from your car. Discover Cars is a great search engine for reputable agencies, since it allows you to easily see and compare customer reviews for each operator.

🗺️ False guides – A local may approach you claiming to be a guide that can take you to special places. He’ll then proceed to take you somewhere where he gets a commission for bringing clients. You will never know about the commission but you will pay a higher price for what you buy to cover that commission fee. 

💰 Pickpockets – Pickpocketing occurs in many countries of the world and Puerto Rico is no exception. Pickpocketers could snatch your items away while distracting you or by bumping into you. Always be aware of your belongings and pay attention to your surroundings.

Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters

The author balancing her self on a pine tree
Me walking along a pine tree forest in Cayey after Hurricane Maria

People who travel to Puerto Rico can experience hazardous weather and natural disasters depending on what season they visit Puerto Rico. 

Here are a  few things to know about Puerto Rico’s weather:

⛈️ Hurricanes – Puerto Rico sports a hurricane season from June to November. During this period, the country is more likely to get affected by tropical storms and hurricanes, but the season doesn’t mean a hurricane will hit Puerto Rico. The last hurricane that landed on Puerto Rico was Hurricane Maria in 2017. Hurricanes usually take a week to reach the island, which means you have to make the necessary adjustments to your trip according to the weather warnings.

⛰️ Earthquakes – Visitors can also experience earthquakes and small tremors in Puerto Rico. Since the Earthquakes of January 2020, telluric movements are more frequent on the island, but they are mostly unnoticeable.

🌡️ Temperature – Puerto Rico sports high temperatures almost all year, with an average temperature of 87°F(30°C), which combined with the humidity, increases the sensation of heat. You should always stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.

☁️ Air pollution – The air quality changes frequently in Puerto Rico for environmental factors. Sometimes there is a high concentration of spores or a cloud of dust coming from the Sahara desert. If you have respiratory conditions, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the local weather forecast and keep your medications with you.

☁️ Rip tides and swimming conditions – Many famous beaches in Puerto Rico are dangerous to swim in for their rip tides. Beaches like Playa Peña in Old San Juan and Playa Jobos in Isabela are home to numerous drowning incidents every year. If you’re visiting a beach with rip tides, ask the locals about the safest beach areas and if you get caught in one, swim parallel to the beach until you get out of the current.

👉 Local Tip: Puerto Rico, like other Caribbean islands, sports popular destinations with beaches for the family, beaches for couples, and beaches for solo travelers. If you want to find the best for your taste, check out my guide to the 19 top beaches in Puerto Rico

Female Travel Safety

View of the author in the middle of a wilderness in Puerto Rico

San Juan and Puerto Rico in general are safe for women traveling in groups or solo female travelers. Although they might face some catcalling, men usually won’t make any physical or approach. Women visiting Puerto Rico should follow the general safety tips that apply when visiting any other country.  

Some common travel safety tips include not walking alone at night in solitary areas, supervising their drinks when in a public place, not telling just anybody about where they’re staying, and not accepting any stranger’s invitation to accompany them to unknown places. San Juan is particularly a safe city for women traveling solo.

For women who travel alone frequently, safety is always a priority. The Self-Defense Keychain Set for Women and Kids is a great way to have some peace of mind and feel safer while visiting a foreign country.

Other Health Precautions

Besides taking precautions against COVID, you should take measures against Dengue fever and Zika. For its location and weather, Puerto Rico has a large population of mosquitoes, especially on the beach and areas with a lot of vegetation like El Yunque National Forest. 

If you’re planning to visit the island nation, you should pack a mosquito repellent. Ranger Ready is a great mosquito repellent that is non-DEET, non-smelly, and comes in convenient travel-sized kits. 

Puerto Rico Drinking Water Safety

While there might be other destinations in the Caribbean where tourists can’t drink water safely, it isn’t the case with Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and follows the drinking water safety standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1974. If you still feel insecure, you can always buy bottled water instead.

5 Safety Tips for Puerto Rico

Tip #1 – Learn Some Basic Spanish

View of locals raising the Puerto Rico flags

Although most Puerto Ricans in San Juan and other touristic areas understand and speak some English, if you visit any rural area it might be hard to communicate with the locals. To prevent any misunderstanding, I recommend you learn some basic Spanish phrases and words.

Tip #2 – Prepare for Some Crazy Traffic

View of cars and a street mural in Puerto Rico

American travelers will feel familiarized with the style of driving in Puerto Rico, but international travelers should know that it’s hard to follow signs around the island’s roads, and there will be occasions when you won’t find any. Some traffic lights still don’t work after Hurricane Maria and roads around both urban areas and rural areas are home to countless potholes. 

Don’t get scared if Puerto Ricans honk at you. Honking is very common among locals, and it’s usually a way of indicating to the front car the traffic light has changed. 

Tip #3 – Lock Your Car Doors

View of cars parked in an open area

Either out of habit or because of distraction, sometimes tourists leave belongings in their car rental. As a safety rule, whenever you visit an attraction or park in Puerto Rico, make sure to empty your car of valuables or if it’s inevitable, lock temp up in the trunk and always lock your car doors so you won’t come back from your day trip to a broken window.

Tip #4 – Take Care of Your Belongings

The author in the wilderness

One mistake people make when traveling is taking their important documents in a backpack while they make a walking tour. Leave your important documents locked up in your hotel safe. If you feel uncomfortable, then consider wearing a money belt and distribute your documents between your different pockets. And if you have a bag never leave it unattended, not even at the beach.

Tip #5 – Don’t Wander at Night Alone

The author a colorful water fountain on her background

In Puerto Rico, most crimes committed happen during the night. Although there are areas where there is active nightlife, like Condado, the nearby deserted streets and areas like Condado Beach can be dangerous if you’re walking alone. You should always stay in well-lit areas. If you’re alone, avoid transiting dark zones at night or into places you don’t know.

👉 For more things to know before you go, be sure to read my full list of tips for traveling Puerto Rico!

Puerto Rico Safety FAQs

What should you avoid in Puerto Rico?

In Puerto Rico visitors should avoid wandering mindlessly, staying in sketchy places, leaving their belongings unattended in beaches or restaurants, and going outside tourist areas without a guide if they aren’t familiar with the area they’re visiting. 

Can you drink tap water in Puerto Rico?

Tap water is safe to drink in Puerto Rico. The water sanitization company in Puerto Rico uses the Safe Drinking Water Act established by the EPA as a guide for water sanitation. Visitors can also buy bottled water if they feel uneasy about drinking tap water.

Is San Juan dangerous for tourists?

San Juan is generally safe for tourists. Top safety tips for travelers include avoiding transiting in La  Perla, El Parque de las Paloma, and Puerta de Tierra at night, and staying away from the caserio Louis Lloren Torres or stay in any area they feel uncomfortable in. 

What is the most dangerous place in Puerto Rico?

Dangerous places in Puerto Rico include cities  like Carolina, Bayamon, Vega Baja and some San Juan areas like Santurce, La Perla, Parque de la Palomas, and Puerta de Tierra. These places are usually safe to visit during daylight hours.

***

🛑 WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO TO PUERTO RICO – If you’re going to Puerto Rico, you definitely don’t want to miss my local’s list of the best activities and things to do in Puerto Rico. It’s packed with top tourist spots, fun points of attraction, and hidden spots only locals know about.

You’ve reached the end of the safety guide to Puerto Rico. I hope I’ve answered your biggest concerns about “Is Puerto Rico safe?”. 

Don’t forget you can get travel insurance with World Nomads, so you only have to worry about anything else but to enjoy your trip.

If you still have any fear or doubts, feel free to write them in the comments and I’ll help to clear them out!

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33 Best Things to Do in San Juan, PR (By a Local) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-san-juan-pr/ Fri, 01 Oct 2021 17:28:48 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=28941

Looking for things to do in San Juan? Fortunately, the city offers some truly epic attractions for every type of visitor. And, as a San Juan local, I know them all well!

From picturesque beaches to a UNESCO world heritage site, San Juan is a paradise where modernity clashes with history and nature. 

Most tourists find the top attractions within Old San Juan, but as an island local I know there is a LOT more to discover in other areas like Santurce, Condado, Ocean Park, and Hato Rey.

San Juan is home to many of my favorite things to do in Puerto Rico, so I know how hard it is to choose from all the amazing attractions in San Juan. To help you out, I compiled this local’s list of the 33 absolute best activities to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico – so you don’t miss out on any of this city’s fun!

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Walk the Streets of Old San Juan

📍 Map It: Old San Juan | 👉 Browse Old San Juan Walking Tours on Viator 

Old San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico, and one of the most popular places to visit on the island. The city sports multiple historical buildings in San Juan’s historic site that date back to the 16th century, when Puerto Rico was under the Spanish Empire’s control. 

Old San Juan is home to beautiful colorful Spanish-style houses and national landmarks like El Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. Don’t forget to visit main streets like Calle Fortaleza, Calle del Cristo, and Calle San Sebastian.

🛎️ Need a hotel? If you’re wondering about the best hotels and areas in Old San Juan, check out my guide to where to stay in San Juan to find the place that best suits your needs.

Explore Castillo San Felipe del Morro

📍 Map It: 501 Bulevar del Valle, San Juan, 00901 | Phone: (787) 729-6970 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily | Entrance: $10, adults, Free under 15 | 👉 Book El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal Tour on Viator

Castillo San Felipe del Morro is easily the most famous landmark in Puerto Rico. The fort built by the Spaniards in the 16th century protected the north coast of the island from any sea attacks. 

El Morro, as it’s popularly known, features multiple floors with barracks, kitchens, storages, an inner courtyard, and fantastic views of the city walls. The lowest level of El Morro gives a great view of the sea.

Stand on Top of Castillo San Cristobal

📍 Map It: 501 Bulevar del Valle, San Juan, 00901 | Phone: (787) 449-4049 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily | Entrance: $10 | 👉 Book El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal Tour in Viator

Castillo San Cristóbal is another historical landmark a history buff can’t miss in Old San Juan. Like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the castle is within the Unesco World Heritage Site. Built in 1634, the Castillo San Cristobal is the largest Spanish fort in the American continent and its purpose was to protect the old city from land attacks.

Take a San Juan Food Tour

Puerto Rican cuisine is something you can’t miss in Puerto Rico. San Juan is home to some of the best restaurants on the island with both local and international flavors. A visit to Puerto Rico isn’t complete without trying the traditional mofongo, and arroz con habichuelas. Some popular eating spots in San Juan include Old San Juan, Condado, Miramar, Santurce, Calle Loíza, and Piñones.

👉Are you a foodie? If you would love to try everything there is to Puerto Rican food, book this Old San Juan food tour to enjoy the best of the local cuisine.

Sail Through San Juan Bay

📍 Map It: San Juan Bay | 👉 Browse Top San Juan Bay Cruises on Viator

Instead of walking, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of San Juan while navigating through San Juan Bay on a boat. While many commercial ships and cruises enter and exit the bay, small boats also take tourists around the San Juan bay while listening to lively music and eating good food.

Sunbath at San Juan’s Beaches

Beach lovers don’t have to go outside of San Juan to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico. San Juan’s beaches are some of the best on the island. Condado Beach, Ocean Park, and Escambron Beach are great options to spend the day with family. 

Playa Peña is a private beach right in front of El Capitolio and is ideal for a romantic San Juan sunset walk. Isla Verde, although a bit farther, is another great beach option close to San Juan.

👉 Local Tip: The beaches in San Juan are mostly urban beaches and, honestly, can get crowded during the high season. Check out my guide to the best beaches in Puerto Rico to learn about other beaches on the island you can visit, many of which are less crowded!

Take a Salsa Class

👉 Browse San Juan Salsa Classes on Viator

When you think of salsa, you probably think of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico! That’s why one of the best things to do in San Juan is to take a salsa class with your partner. Not only will you be learning to dance, but you’ll know more about the local culture and you’ll make new friends. 

Hop Between San Juan’s Iconic Plazas

San Juan is home to multiple public plazas filled with the city’s history and culture. Plaza de Armas is one of the most popular plazas in San Juan and is home to frequent activities with local food and Bomba and Plena music ideal for the people that want to blend in with the locals. 

👉 Love History?  Check out this great San Juan walking tour to visit the most important plazas in Old San Juan, learn about their fascinating history, and finish the day by watching the sunset in El Morro, one of the must see attractions in Old San Juan.

Catch a Local Festival

Old San Juan is home to multiple free festivals, concerts, and exhibitions that highlight the best of San Juan and Puerto Rico. The most famous festival is Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, also called “San Se”, which is a four-day festival with local artists, music, dancing, and food that party lovers can’t miss.

Sites & Attractions

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San Juan Cathedral

📍 Map It: 151 C. del Cristo, San Juan, 00902 | Phone: (787) 722-0861 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Mon-Fri, 8 am 1 pm Sun, Closed on Saturday 

History lovers shouldn’t miss the San Juan Cathedral. The beautiful structure, built in 1521, forms part of the San Juan National Historic Site. Besides its historic value, the Cathedral keeps the remains of Juan Ponce de León, the first governor of Puerto Rico. 

Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis

📍 Address: C. Cementerio, San Juan, 00926 | Phone: (787) 480-4617 | Hours: 7 am – 3 pm daily 

Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis is more a piece of art than a cemetery. You can see the dozens of beautiful sculptures depicting Christian scenes while listening to waves down splashing outside the cemetery. You can also find the tombs of various famous Puerto Rican figures.

Stroll down Paseo de La Princesa and Paseo del Morro

📍 Map It: San Juan, 00901 

If you take a stroll down Paseo de La Princesa, not only will you be able to appreciate the Old San Juan city walls better, but you’ll reach the Puerta de San Juan or San Juan Gate. This iconic door is the only entrance that stands today from the four doors that originally gave path to the city. If you continue down El Paseo del Morro, you will reach El Morro too.

👉 Love History? If you want to learn about the history behind Paseo de La Princesa, Paseo del Morro, and the famous San Juan Gate, book this awesome walking tour to know how Old San Juan came to be.

Museums & Culture

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Museum of Contemporary Art

📍 Map It: Av. Juan Ponce de León, esquina Ave. Roberto H. Todd, Parada 18, San Juan, 00910 | Phone: (787) 977-4030 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Fri-Sun, Closed from Monday to Thursday | Entrance: $5, free for seniors

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico is a great stop for people that enjoy contemporary and abstract art. The museum organizes family events and movie nights almost every weekend, and you can find the activity calendar on their social media.

Find the Street Art in Santurce

📍 Map It: 809 Calle Cerra, San Juan, 00907

Every year Santurce hosts a festival called Santurce es Ley and receives dozens of international muralists that create art in different corners of San Juan. Art lovers can’t miss the astonishing murals that stand between common buildings and businesses. While you’re in Santurce, you can also enjoy something to eat at some of the local restaurants.

👉 Local Tip: Although Santurce is safe for visitors, some tourists might feel intimidated walking around the area. If you would rather have a guide take you to see the murals, book this street art in Santurce tour to visit Santurce worry-free. 

Museo Las Americas

📍 Map it: C. Beneficencia, San Juan, 00926 | Phone: (787) 724-5052 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Wed-Fri, 11 am – 4 pm Sat-Sun, Closed Monday and Tuesday | Entrance: $6, adults, $4 under 12

El Museo Las Americas is a museum with history itself. The structure was once the military barracks of the Spanish military and later it was a hospital during the Second World War. Today the museum hosts collections about the history and mixed culture of the American continent.

Find the Hidden Tokens in El Velorio

📍 Map It: Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de, San Juan, 00931 | Phone: (787) 763-3939 | Website | Hours: Sun, M, Th, Fr 9 am – 4:30 pm, W 9:00 am – 8:35 pm, Closed Saturdays

El Velorio is a painting by Puerto Rican painter Francisco Oller. The huge painting is famous for its hidden tokens and meanings. El Velorio translates as The Funeral and it depicts how people celebrated a child’s funeral in the countryside during the XIX century.

Family-Friendly Things

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Refresh Yourself in San Juan’s chorritos

📍 Map It: C. del Cristo, San Juan, 00926

In Plaza del Centenario in San Juan, you will find a water fountain, locally called chorritos, where you can refresh yourself after a hot day of sightseeing. Locals take their children there frequently too. Just remember to bring an extra change of clothes.

Rent a Bike

📍 Map It: 999 Ashford Ave, San Juan, 00907 | Phone: (787) 554-2453 | Website | Hours: Sun, M, Th, Fr 7 am – 6 pm Closed Sundays 

If you´re looking to explore San Juan and Condado with your family in a different way, you can rent a bike or a scooter to ride through the streets with your family. Condado even sports a bicycle lane so you can ride safely with your loved ones.

👉 Is Puerto Rico Safe for Travel Right Now? It’s a good question. See my full Puerto Rico safety guide to find out!

Relax at the Botanical Garden 

📍 Map It: Street Address on Google Maps | Phone: (787) 474-0402 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 4 pm daily 

The Botanical Garden of the University of Puerto Rico is one of the hidden gems of San Juan. This Garden sports a Japanese garden, a sculpture garden, and an artificial waterfall. The Botanical Garden is the ideal place for people who want to step out of the crowds of San Juan and want to connect with nature instead. Due to the pandemic, you have to make a reservation to enter.

Go Shopping in San Juan

The capital city is a paradise for shopaholics. You will find numerous independent shops, art galleries, souvenir shops, and brand stores within walking distance in Old San Juan. If you’re looking for bigger malls, then head over to Plaza Las Americas or The Mall of San Juan. 

Food & Drink

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Tour the Bacardi Factory

📍 Map it: PR-165, Cataño, 00949 | Phone: (787) 788-8400 | Website | Hours: 10:30 am – 4:30 pm Thu-Sun, Closed from Monday to Wednesday 

Although not exactly in San Juan, the Bacardi Factory is only 25 minutes away from San Juan and it’s worth your time if you’re into tastings. The Bacardi factory offers visitors rum tasting tours, mixology classes, and facility tours so you learn about Bacardi rum history and the process behind making it.

Taste a Cup of Good Coffee

If you’re a coffee lover you will love Puerto Rico’s strong and pure coffee. You will find multiple shops within Old San Juan, Santurce, Condado, and Miramar. Try out Cuatro Sombras, Café Colao, and Barista Squared.

Go Bar Hopping

You won’t have to search too much to notice there are a lot of bars and taverns in Old San Juan. Bars in Puerto Rico are a mix of drinks, loud music, and a lot of dancing. You can start bar-hopping in Calle San Sebastian in Old San Juan, where you’ll find different themed bars.

👉 Love a Good Shot? If you’re into bar hopping, but you rather go with someone, book this cocktail walk tour in San Juan to enjoy the best bars in San Juan while in good company.

Eat at a Food Truck Park

You don’t necessarily have to take a food tour to enjoy a sample of the different options San Juan offers. You can choose to visit one of San Juan’s food truck parks. Lote 23 in Santurce stays open until late and Miramar Food Truck Park sports foods from different nationalities. 

Outdoor Activities

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Take a Surfing Class

👉 Browse Top Surfing Lessons in San Juan on Viator

Puerto Rico is the top destination for surfing in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for fun things to do in San Juan, and you’re an enthusiast that wants to learn how to surf, then book a class with one of the many surfing schools in San Juan. 

Go Snorkeling

While Flamenco Beach in Vieques and Icacos are top destinations to snorkel in Puerto Rico, San Juan also sports great beaches for snorkeling. Escambron Beach in the entrance of Old San Juan is both a beach for swimmers and for water sports lovers who want to do scuba diving or snorkeling.

👉Afraid to snorkel alone? Try this San Juan snorkeling guided tour to have professionals teach you how to snorkel and guide you through the best coast views of San Juan.

Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding 

📍 Map It: San Juan, 00910 | 👉 Browse Top Tours to Condado Lagoon Kayak on Viator

Only a ten-minute ride from Old San Juan, visitors can encounter the Condado Lagoon. If you’re looking for something more active than beach bumming, but you still want to enjoy the sun and the saltwater, you should try paddle boarding or kayaking in the Condado Lagoon. You’ll enjoy the Condado and Miramar skyline and you might even see manatees.

Kiteboard in Ocean Park Beach

📍 Map It: 1 C. Sta. Ana, San Juan, 00911 | Phone: (787) 644-1239 | Website 

If you’re an adventure-seeker then you’ll love to know you can go kiteboarding in Ocean Park in San Juan. This urban beach sports strong winds and good conditions to do the sport. You can also learn other water sports like wing boarding or book an e-foil hydrofoil experience.

Cheap & Free Things to Do in San Juan

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Chill at T-Mobile District

📍 Map It: 250 Convention Blvd, San Juan, 00907 | Phone: (787) 936-2142 | Website | Hours: 12:00 pm – 11 pm Sun-Wed, 12:00pm – 12:00 am Tue-Sat 

The T-Mobile District is one of the newest attractions in San Juan and it’s a great option to meet local people. The modern plaza seeks to bring people together with a variety of free concerts, activities, and restaurants. 

Adventure lovers who want to zipline but can’t visit El Yunque National Forest or The Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, can experience urban ziplining in the T-Mobile District.

Watch the Sunset at San Juan

 👉 Book a San Juan’s Sunset Walking Tour on Viator

Either if you’re traveling alone or with a partner, you can’t miss the sunsets in San Juan. When the time of the golden hour arrives, the historic city and the cobblestone streets acquire a beautiful orange glow perfect to take pictures. The best spot to see the sunset is El Morro’s esplanade.

Dance All Night in La Placita

📍 Map It: 111 C. dos Hermanos, San Juan, 00907 | Phone: (787) 307-1364 | Website | Hours: 24 hours daily 

If you’re looking to experience the lively Puerto Rican culture and hang out with locals, you can’t leave San Juan without visiting La Placita in Santurce. This is both a local market during the day and a nightlife reunion spot at night with live music, dancing, and food kiosks.

Discover La Fortaleza

📍 Map It: 63 C. de la Fortaleza, San Juan, 00901 | Phone: (787) 721-7000 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm Mon- Fri, Closed Sat-Sun

La Fortaleza is the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico and is another structure that belongs to San Juan National Historic Site, but not everyone knows that you can take a tour to see it inside. Besides its medieval-looking appearance, La Fortaleza sports a breathtaking interior decoration and a surrounding garden.

***

That was all to the 33 best things to do in San Juan for history buffs, foodies, families, and adventure travelers.

🛑 WAIT, before you go … be sure to bookmark my mega list of the 49 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico. It’s filled with even more secrets and hidden gems to help you explore this island like a local!

Looking for things to do in San Juan? Fortunately, the city offers some truly epic attractions for every type of visitor. And, as a San Juan local, I know them all well!

From picturesque beaches to a UNESCO world heritage site, San Juan is a paradise where modernity clashes with history and nature. 

Most tourists find the top attractions within Old San Juan, but as an island local I know there is a LOT more to discover in other areas like Santurce, Condado, Ocean Park, and Hato Rey.

San Juan is home to many of my favorite things to do in Puerto Rico, so I know how hard it is to choose from all the amazing attractions in San Juan. To help you out, I compiled this local’s list of the 33 absolute best activities to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico – so you don’t miss out on any of this city’s fun!

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Walk the Streets of Old San Juan

The author walking along the colorful streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico

📍 Map It: Old San Juan | 👉 Browse Old San Juan Walking Tours on Viator 

Old San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico, and one of the most popular places to visit on the island. The city sports multiple historical buildings in San Juan’s historic site that date back to the 16th century, when Puerto Rico was under the Spanish Empire’s control. 

Old San Juan is home to beautiful colorful Spanish-style houses and national landmarks like El Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. Don’t forget to visit main streets like Calle Fortaleza, Calle del Cristo, and Calle San Sebastian.

🛎️ Need a hotel? If you’re wondering about the best hotels and areas in Old San Juan, check out my guide to where to stay in San Juan to find the place that best suits your needs.

Explore Castillo San Felipe del Morro

View of the entrance to Castillo San Felipe del Morro

📍 Map It: 501 Bulevar del Valle, San Juan, 00901 | Phone: (787) 729-6970 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily | Entrance: $10, adults, Free under 15 | 👉 Book El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal Tour on Viator

Castillo San Felipe del Morro is easily the most famous landmark in Puerto Rico. The fort built by the Spaniards in the 16th century protected the north coast of the island from any sea attacks. 

El Morro, as it’s popularly known, features multiple floors with barracks, kitchens, storages, an inner courtyard, and fantastic views of the city walls. The lowest level of El Morro gives a great view of the sea.

Stand on Top of Castillo San Cristobal

View from the top of Castillo San Cristobal

📍 Map It: 501 Bulevar del Valle, San Juan, 00901 | Phone: (787) 449-4049 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily | Entrance: $10 | 👉 Book El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal Tour in Viator

Castillo San Cristóbal is another historical landmark a history buff can’t miss in Old San Juan. Like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the castle is within the Unesco World Heritage Site. Built in 1634, the Castillo San Cristobal is the largest Spanish fort in the American continent and its purpose was to protect the old city from land attacks.

Take a San Juan Food Tour

View of a traditional mofongo in a bowl
The traditional mofongo

Puerto Rican cuisine is something you can’t miss in Puerto Rico. San Juan is home to some of the best restaurants on the island with both local and international flavors. A visit to Puerto Rico isn’t complete without trying the traditional mofongo, and arroz con habichuelas. Some popular eating spots in San Juan include Old San Juan, Condado, Miramar, Santurce, Calle Loíza, and Piñones.

👉Are you a foodie? If you would love to try everything there is to Puerto Rican food, book this Old San Juan food tour to enjoy the best of the local cuisine.

Sail Through San Juan Bay

View of the scenery in San Juan Bay

📍 Map It: San Juan Bay | 👉 Browse Top San Juan Bay Cruises on Viator

Instead of walking, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of San Juan while navigating through San Juan Bay on a boat. While many commercial ships and cruises enter and exit the bay, small boats also take tourists around the San Juan bay while listening to lively music and eating good food.

Sunbath at San Juan’s Beaches

View of the Condado Beach in a sunny day

Beach lovers don’t have to go outside of San Juan to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico. San Juan’s beaches are some of the best on the island. Condado Beach, Ocean Park, and Escambron Beach are great options to spend the day with family. 

Playa Peña is a private beach right in front of El Capitolio and is ideal for a romantic San Juan sunset walk. Isla Verde, although a bit farther, is another great beach option close to San Juan.

👉 Local Tip: The beaches in San Juan are mostly urban beaches and, honestly, can get crowded during the high season. Check out my guide to the best beaches in Puerto Rico to learn about other beaches on the island you can visit, many of which are less crowded!

Take a Salsa Class

View of people's silhouette dancing during sunset

👉 Browse San Juan Salsa Classes on Viator

When you think of salsa, you probably think of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico! That’s why one of the best things to do in San Juan is to take a salsa class with your partner. Not only will you be learning to dance, but you’ll know more about the local culture and you’ll make new friends. 

Hop Between San Juan’s Iconic Plazas

View of on e of the iconic plaza in San Juan

San Juan is home to multiple public plazas filled with the city’s history and culture. Plaza de Armas is one of the most popular plazas in San Juan and is home to frequent activities with local food and Bomba and Plena music ideal for the people that want to blend in with the locals. 

👉 Love History?  Check out this great San Juan walking tour to visit the most important plazas in Old San Juan, learn about their fascinating history, and finish the day by watching the sunset in El Morro, one of the must see attractions in Old San Juan.

Catch a Local Festival

View of the author joining a local festival in San Juan
Me participating in a festival in San Juan

Old San Juan is home to multiple free festivals, concerts, and exhibitions that highlight the best of San Juan and Puerto Rico. The most famous festival is Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, also called “San Se”, which is a four-day festival with local artists, music, dancing, and food that party lovers can’t miss.

Sites & Attractions

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

San Juan Cathedral

View of the San Juan Cathedral from the outside

📍 Map It: 151 C. del Cristo, San Juan, 00902 | Phone: (787) 722-0861 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Mon-Fri, 8 am 1 pm Sun, Closed on Saturday 

History lovers shouldn’t miss the San Juan Cathedral. The beautiful structure, built in 1521, forms part of the San Juan National Historic Site. Besides its historic value, the Cathedral keeps the remains of Juan Ponce de León, the first governor of Puerto Rico. 

Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis

View of Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis and a couple of sculptures

📍 Address: C. Cementerio, San Juan, 00926 | Phone: (787) 480-4617 | Hours: 7 am – 3 pm daily 

Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis is more a piece of art than a cemetery. You can see the dozens of beautiful sculptures depicting Christian scenes while listening to waves down splashing outside the cemetery. You can also find the tombs of various famous Puerto Rican figures.

Stroll down Paseo de La Princesa and Paseo del Morro

View of San Juan gate in Paseo de La Princesa
San Juan Gate at the end of Paseo de La Princesa.

📍 Map It: San Juan, 00901 

If you take a stroll down Paseo de La Princesa, not only will you be able to appreciate the Old San Juan city walls better, but you’ll reach the Puerta de San Juan or San Juan Gate. This iconic door is the only entrance that stands today from the four doors that originally gave path to the city. If you continue down El Paseo del Morro, you will reach El Morro too.

👉 Love History? If you want to learn about the history behind Paseo de La Princesa, Paseo del Morro, and the famous San Juan Gate, book this awesome walking tour to know how Old San Juan came to be.

Museums & Culture

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Museum of Contemporary Art

View of the Museum of Contemporary Art and some palm trees on it

📍 Map It: Av. Juan Ponce de León, esquina Ave. Roberto H. Todd, Parada 18, San Juan, 00910 | Phone: (787) 977-4030 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Fri-Sun, Closed from Monday to Thursday | Entrance: $5, free for seniors

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico is a great stop for people that enjoy contemporary and abstract art. The museum organizes family events and movie nights almost every weekend, and you can find the activity calendar on their social media.

Find the Street Art in Santurce

View of an eagle and skull art wall in Santurce

📍 Map It: 809 Calle Cerra, San Juan, 00907

Every year Santurce hosts a festival called Santurce es Ley and receives dozens of international muralists that create art in different corners of San Juan. Art lovers can’t miss the astonishing murals that stand between common buildings and businesses. While you’re in Santurce, you can also enjoy something to eat at some of the local restaurants.

👉 Local Tip: Although Santurce is safe for visitors, some tourists might feel intimidated walking around the area. If you would rather have a guide take you to see the murals, book this street art in Santurce tour to visit Santurce worry-free. 

Museo Las Americas

View of the historic El Museo Las Americas

📍 Map it: C. Beneficencia, San Juan, 00926 | Phone: (787) 724-5052 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Wed-Fri, 11 am – 4 pm Sat-Sun, Closed Monday and Tuesday | Entrance: $6, adults, $4 under 12

El Museo Las Americas is a museum with history itself. The structure was once the military barracks of the Spanish military and later it was a hospital during the Second World War. Today the museum hosts collections about the history and mixed culture of the American continent.

Find the Hidden Tokens in El Velorio

View of the clocktower in University of Puerto Rico
Find El Velorio in the University of Puerto Rico

📍 Map It: Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de, San Juan, 00931 | Phone: (787) 763-3939 | Website | Hours: Sun, M, Th, Fr 9 am – 4:30 pm, W 9:00 am – 8:35 pm, Closed Saturdays

El Velorio is a painting by Puerto Rican painter Francisco Oller. The huge painting is famous for its hidden tokens and meanings. El Velorio translates as The Funeral and it depicts how people celebrated a child’s funeral in the countryside during the XIX century.

Family-Friendly Things

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Refresh Yourself in San Juan’s chorritos

View of people playing in the water fountain in Plaza del Centenario

📍 Map It: C. del Cristo, San Juan, 00926

In Plaza del Centenario in San Juan, you will find a water fountain, locally called chorritos, where you can refresh yourself after a hot day of sightseeing. Locals take their children there frequently too. Just remember to bring an extra change of clothes.

Rent a Bike

View of a bike track sign in San Juan

📍 Map It: 999 Ashford Ave, San Juan, 00907 | Phone: (787) 554-2453 | Website | Hours: Sun, M, Th, Fr 7 am – 6 pm Closed Sundays 

If you´re looking to explore San Juan and Condado with your family in a different way, you can rent a bike or a scooter to ride through the streets with your family. Condado even sports a bicycle lane so you can ride safely with your loved ones.

👉 Is Puerto Rico Safe for Travel Right Now? It’s a good question. See my full Puerto Rico safety guide to find out!

Relax at the Botanical Garden 

View of a butterfly on a plant

📍 Map It: Street Address on Google Maps | Phone: (787) 474-0402 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 4 pm daily 

The Botanical Garden of the University of Puerto Rico is one of the hidden gems of San Juan. This Garden sports a Japanese garden, a sculpture garden, and an artificial waterfall. The Botanical Garden is the ideal place for people who want to step out of the crowds of San Juan and want to connect with nature instead. Due to the pandemic, you have to make a reservation to enter.

Go Shopping in San Juan

View of cars parked outside a mall in San Juan

The capital city is a paradise for shopaholics. You will find numerous independent shops, art galleries, souvenir shops, and brand stores within walking distance in Old San Juan. If you’re looking for bigger malls, then head over to Plaza Las Americas or The Mall of San Juan. 

Food & Drink

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Tour the Bacardi Factory

View of the entrance to the Bacardi Factory

📍 Map it: PR-165, Cataño, 00949 | Phone: (787) 788-8400 | Website | Hours: 10:30 am – 4:30 pm Thu-Sun, Closed from Monday to Wednesday 

Although not exactly in San Juan, the Bacardi Factory is only 25 minutes away from San Juan and it’s worth your time if you’re into tastings. The Bacardi factory offers visitors rum tasting tours, mixology classes, and facility tours so you learn about Bacardi rum history and the process behind making it.

Taste a Cup of Good Coffee

View of two cup of coffee on a table

If you’re a coffee lover you will love Puerto Rico’s strong and pure coffee. You will find multiple shops within Old San Juan, Santurce, Condado, and Miramar. Try out Cuatro Sombras, Café Colao, and Barista Squared.

Go Bar Hopping

View of a hall in a bar in San Juan

You won’t have to search too much to notice there are a lot of bars and taverns in Old San Juan. Bars in Puerto Rico are a mix of drinks, loud music, and a lot of dancing. You can start bar-hopping in Calle San Sebastian in Old San Juan, where you’ll find different themed bars.

👉 Love a Good Shot? If you’re into bar hopping, but you rather go with someone, book this cocktail walk tour in San Juan to enjoy the best bars in San Juan while in good company.

Eat at a Food Truck Park

View of the Lote 23 signage  in Santurce

You don’t necessarily have to take a food tour to enjoy a sample of the different options San Juan offers. You can choose to visit one of San Juan’s food truck parks. Lote 23 in Santurce stays open until late and Miramar Food Truck Park sports foods from different nationalities. 

Outdoor Activities

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Take a Surfing Class

View of man surfing in the Caribbean

👉 Browse Top Surfing Lessons in San Juan on Viator

Puerto Rico is the top destination for surfing in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for fun things to do in San Juan, and you’re an enthusiast that wants to learn how to surf, then book a class with one of the many surfing schools in San Juan. 

Go Snorkeling

View of fishes under the Escambron Beach

While Flamenco Beach in Vieques and Icacos are top destinations to snorkel in Puerto Rico, San Juan also sports great beaches for snorkeling. Escambron Beach in the entrance of Old San Juan is both a beach for swimmers and for water sports lovers who want to do scuba diving or snorkeling.

👉Afraid to snorkel alone? Try this San Juan snorkeling guided tour to have professionals teach you how to snorkel and guide you through the best coast views of San Juan.

Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding 

View of the skyline while kayaking in San Juan

📍 Map It: San Juan, 00910 | 👉 Browse Top Tours to Condado Lagoon Kayak on Viator

Only a ten-minute ride from Old San Juan, visitors can encounter the Condado Lagoon. If you’re looking for something more active than beach bumming, but you still want to enjoy the sun and the saltwater, you should try paddle boarding or kayaking in the Condado Lagoon. You’ll enjoy the Condado and Miramar skyline and you might even see manatees.

Kiteboard in Ocean Park Beach

Aerial view of people kiteboarding in Ocean Park Beach

📍 Map It: 1 C. Sta. Ana, San Juan, 00911 | Phone: (787) 644-1239 | Website 

If you’re an adventure-seeker then you’ll love to know you can go kiteboarding in Ocean Park in San Juan. This urban beach sports strong winds and good conditions to do the sport. You can also learn other water sports like wing boarding or book an e-foil hydrofoil experience.

Cheap & Free Things to Do in San Juan

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | For Families | Food & Drink | Outdoors | Free & Cheap 

Chill at T-Mobile District

View of the Coca Cola Music Hall entrance and people sitting outside it

📍 Map It: 250 Convention Blvd, San Juan, 00907 | Phone: (787) 936-2142 | Website | Hours: 12:00 pm – 11 pm Sun-Wed, 12:00pm – 12:00 am Tue-Sat 

The T-Mobile District is one of the newest attractions in San Juan and it’s a great option to meet local people. The modern plaza seeks to bring people together with a variety of free concerts, activities, and restaurants. 

Adventure lovers who want to zipline but can’t visit El Yunque National Forest or The Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, can experience urban ziplining in the T-Mobile District.

Watch the Sunset at San Juan

Scenic view of a sunset from El Morro
Sunset from El Morro

 👉 Book a San Juan’s Sunset Walking Tour on Viator

Either if you’re traveling alone or with a partner, you can’t miss the sunsets in San Juan. When the time of the golden hour arrives, the historic city and the cobblestone streets acquire a beautiful orange glow perfect to take pictures. The best spot to see the sunset is El Morro’s esplanade.

Dance All Night in La Placita

View of the Santurce Market entrance and some vendors sitting to take a rest
(photo: Mark Zhu / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 111 C. dos Hermanos, San Juan, 00907 | Phone: (787) 307-1364 | Website | Hours: 24 hours daily 

If you’re looking to experience the lively Puerto Rican culture and hang out with locals, you can’t leave San Juan without visiting La Placita in Santurce. This is both a local market during the day and a nightlife reunion spot at night with live music, dancing, and food kiosks.

Discover La Fortaleza

View of the La Fortaleza from afar

📍 Map It: 63 C. de la Fortaleza, San Juan, 00901 | Phone: (787) 721-7000 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm Mon- Fri, Closed Sat-Sun

La Fortaleza is the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico and is another structure that belongs to San Juan National Historic Site, but not everyone knows that you can take a tour to see it inside. Besides its medieval-looking appearance, La Fortaleza sports a breathtaking interior decoration and a surrounding garden.

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That was all to the 33 best things to do in San Juan for history buffs, foodies, families, and adventure travelers.

🛑 WAIT, before you go … be sure to bookmark my mega list of the 49 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico. It’s filled with even more secrets and hidden gems to help you explore this island like a local!

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21 Fun Things to Do in Jupiter, FL (in 2021) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-jupiter/ Sat, 25 Sep 2021 15:15:22 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=27873

The Town of Jupiter, Florida is an enchanting beachfront village evoking feelings of nostalgia from an era I wasn’t even alive for. 

It’s an odd thing. But yet, the 19th century lighthouse, the wildlife trails, the crystal blue water flowing through the town, and the sightings of untouched nature make it hard not to feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you arrive. And the best part? There’s plenty of things to do in Jupiter to soak it all in.

After living in nearby Fort Lauderdale for the past four years, I made plenty of day trips up to Jupiter. Days spent hiking, scuba diving, kayaking, beaching, exploring history, and indulging in some food and drink. 

It’s one of my favorite places in Florida, and after doing the things on my list of favorite activities, I hope you’ll feel the same!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

21 Best Things to Do in Jupiter, FL

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Visit Sea Turtles at Loggerhead Marinelife Center

📍 Address: 14200 US-1, Juno Beach, FL 33408 | Phone: 561-627-8280 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: Suggested $5 donation per visitor

One of the most family friendly attractions in Jupiter, Florida is visiting the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Kids and adults alike will find fun things to do as they meet sea turtles currently rehabbing from injury and illness, discover Florida’s coastal ecology, and explore the interactive aquarium. 

After spending an hour or two in the center, head to the picnic tables out back for a BBQ while the kids play on the playground before spending the rest of your day on the beautiful stretches of Jupiter Beach.

🐢 Jupiter Beach and Sea Turtles: The beaches surrounding Jupiter happen to be the busiest loggerhead sea turtle nesting sites in the world. As such, Palm Beach County makes a concerted effort to protect the endangered species as they visit the town to lay their eggs.

Climb the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

📍 Address: 500 Captain Armours Way, Jupiter, FL 33469 | Phone: 561-747-8380 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Wed – Fri, 10 am – 3 pm Sat – Sun, Closed Mon and Tues | Entrance: $12 adults, $6 under 12 – 6, free 5 and under

History buffs will find solace with the wide array of historic sites in Jupiter, Florida. The most gleaming of them is the famous Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. 

Built in 1860, the Jupiter lighthouse has been guiding sailors home for over a century while still shining bright today. Down below, visitors will find attractions in the museum highlighting indigenous history, Spanish exploration, and natural Jupiter.

🌴 Looking for more nature? The 120 acres surrounding the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was designated in 2008 as an Outstanding Natural Area. Visitors can trek along the mangroves near the Loxahatchee River as it meets the open ocean.

Catch a Ball Game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium

📍 Map It: 4751 Main St, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-775-1818 | Website | Entrance: Tickets vary by game

The MLB’s spring training season comes around once a year with baseball fans from all over the country flocking to the Sunshine State. 

Jupiter’s ballpark, Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, is home to the Miami Marlins and St Louis Cardinals during the spring season. Whether you’re a fan of the team or not, catching a game at Roger Dean Stadium is a perfect way to spend time on your spring break vacation!

Want More Baseball? Check the schedule at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches just down the road. The park is equally as gorgeous and more centrally located in Palm Beach County.

Dive or Snorkel With Sharks

📍 Map It: 1095 Florida A1A, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 305-395-9140 | Website | Hours: Trips depart at 7:30 or 8 AM depending on time of year | Tour Price: $195 per person

This one is for the truly adventurous but I HAD to include it on my list as it’s one of my favorite things to do in Jupiter, FL. The best part? Anyone can take the plunge! 

Sharks tend to stop in the waters off the Jupiter coast as they pass by in the Gulf Stream, a major ocean current. It’s one of the few places in the world where they arrive in such numbers and swimming with them is one of the most adrenaline-inducing activities to do. 

Florida Shark Diving has a boat leaving three times a day and is the perfect tour for snorkelers. For advanced scuba divers and thrill seekers, Emerald Charters runs the most intense boat charter in Florida.

🦈 Is it safe to dive with sharks? I blame Steven Spielberg and Jaws for the misconception about sharks. Contrary to popular belief, they are not man eating killers. My favorite stat? You’re more likely to be bitten by a human in NYC than a shark in the entire world.

Visit the Animals at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

📍 Map It: 2500 Jupiter Park Dr, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-575-3399 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4:30 pm daily | Entrance: Donations appreciated

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary has a mission to “Rescue, Rehab, Release, Educate” animals brought into their care. Essentially, the place is a hospital for sick, wild animals and a great spot for kids to explore and learn about different creatures found in the nearby wild.

🏰 Seeking more family fun? Check out our list of best things to do in Orlando for more family-oriented activities in Florida (Disney World included)! 

Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf Stream

👉 Browse the Best Fishing Charters in Jupiter

The Gulf Stream is the major ocean current running directly past Jupiter, Florida bringing sharks, sea turtles, and plenty of pelagic fish. Mahi, tuna, and kingfish, just to name a few, are often caught during deep sea fishing excursions in Jupiter. Book a private boat or hop aboard a group fishing charter for a chance to reel in the big one!

⛵ Have your own boat? You can launch near the inlet at Burt Reynolds Park located right off the A1A and US1. The park is named in honor of Jupiter native, Burt Reynolds. 

Outdoor Activities

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Admire the Nature Conservancy’s Blowing Rocks Preserve

📍 Map It: 574 S Beach Rd, Hobe Sound, FL 33455 | Phone: 561-744-6668 | Website | Hours: 9 am to 4 pm daily| Entrance: Cost of metered parking

Jetting from the sandy shores of Jupiter Island is a feature known as anastasia limestone. It’s the only of its kind and it creates a pretty neat feature: blow holes. 

As waves crash along the shore, the porous limestone funnels the wave’s energy through a small opening, thus “blowing” the water upwards from the rocks. It’s an awesome place to visit, hike, and spend a few hours learning about Florida’s natural history.

Paddle the Loxahatchee River in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

📍 Map It: 16450 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound, FL 33455 | Phone: 772-546-2771 | Website | Hours: Sunrise – Sunset | Entrance: Florida State Park fees, $2 – $8 (depending on party size and vehicle)

The largest State Park in Southeast Florida is the best place to do some paddling in Jupiter. Winding through the park is the mighty Loxahatchee River where you’ll spot everything from alligators, river otters, and manatees. Look out above where ospreys and bald eagles swoop into the water to grasp their prey before nesting into the surrounding cypress trees.

🛶 Get a local guide: Paddling with a guide is the best way to enjoy your day along the Loxahatchee River. This highly rated tour pairs you with a local naturalist to make you feel at ease during your outdoor adventure!

Surf a Wave at Jupiter Beach Park

📍 Map It: 1375 Jupiter Beach Rd, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: Sunrise – sunset | Entrance: Cost of metered parking

When the weather’s just right, near Jupiter Inlet, you’ll witness a rare sight in South Florida: surfing. Typically, you need to go to beaches in North Florida for that, but not if you’re visiting Jupiter. Most of the surf action occurs at Jupiter Beach Park where locals and visitors alike gather to ride the next swell rolling in!

Hike the Trails Around Hobe Sound

📍 Map It: Hobe Sound, Florida 33455 | Jonathan Dickinson State Park | Seabranch Preserve State Park | Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park

The best hiking trails found in South Florida are in Hobe Sound, just north of Jupiter. The natural scenery is the last of its kind along Florida’s southeastern coast and each trail you hike represents a lost ecosystem. 

At the very least, you’ll want to visit one of the three state parks, each with their own style of hiking trail: Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Seabranch Preserve State Park, and Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park.

Hit the Links at a World Class Golf Course

📍 Map It: 105 Barbados Dr, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-622-0036 | Website 

There’s a reason pro golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler call Jupiter, FL home – the golfing here is world class. 

In total, you can find 16 golf courses in and around Jupiter (and even more if you travel slightly south towards Palm Beach). The best of the bunch include Abacoa Golf Club and Admiral’s Cove but extend to almost any in the area.

Food & Drink

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Taste the Tropics at Guanabanas Restaurant

📍 Map It: 960 N Hwy A1A, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-747-8878 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 9 pm Sun – Thurs; open until 10 pm Sat – Sun

It’s hard to distinguish whether you’re dining on a Caribbean Island or in Jupiter, Florida at Guanabanas Restaurant. With island-inspired cuisine, fresh seafood, and delectable rum drinks surrounded by thick tropical canopy, few places can compare in atmosphere and deliciousness.

Pull up a Chair at the Center Street Nook

📍 Map It: 223 Center St, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-745-7477 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 2 pm daily

For a home-cooked menu, consider pulling up a chair at this all-American diner right in the heart of Jupiter, Florida. The friendly, neighborhood vibe will make you feel at home as you scarf down their delicious breakfast before setting out on a fun beach day.

Grab an Ale at Civil Society Brewing Co.

📍 Map It: 1200 Town Center Dr #101, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-855-6680 | Website | Hours: Opens 12 pm daily, Closes 8 pm Mon, 9 pm Tues, 10 pm Wed, 11 pm Thurs – Sat, 9 pm Sun

With two locations, West Palm Beach and Jupiter, Civil Society Brewing Co. is conjuring up Palm Beach County’s best beer. The laid back taphouse specializes in a variety of IPAs but has a wide selection of tastes for everyone’s liking.

Beaches in Jupiter, Florida

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Coral Cove Park

📍 Map It: 19450 County Hwy 707, Tequesta, FL 33469 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: Sunrise – Sunset | Entrance: Free!

Coral Cove Park on Jupiter Island is the perfect hideaway from the busy crowds at the more popular Florida beaches further south. The park is a continuation of Blowing Rocks Preserve (mentioned earlier) with limestone formations splaying out into the ocean. 

Near the parking lot are picnic areas, playgrounds, and bathroom facilities. Overall, the park is excellent for sunbathing, shell collecting, fishing, snorkeling, and swimming.

Dubois Park

📍 Map It: ​​19075 Dubois Rd, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 8 pm daily | Entrance: Metered parking

Resting in the shadow of Jupiter Lighthouse is Dubois Park, one of the most popular parks on Jupiter Beach. Dubois Park is essentially an enclosed lagoon, providing the best swim and snorkel site for kids. 

The whole family will enjoy their time splashing around before sitting down for a picnic at one of the many BBQ spots covered by the natural palm tree shade.

Jupiter, FL Dog Beach

📍 Map It: 2188 Marcinski Rd, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: Free!

If you’re looking for a beach spot to bring your furry best friend, Jupiter Dog Beach is it. Parking is free within Ocean Cay Park where you’ll wander towards the shore for an off-leash experience your good boy/girl will surely enjoy.

Carlin Park

📍 Map It: 400 Florida A1A, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-624-0065 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 7:30 pm daily | Entrance: free!

Carlin Park is the center of beach activity in Jupiter, Florida with fun things for everyone in the family. Basketball and volleyball courts, gazebos and grills for picnics, a cafe for delicious food, and even an outdoor amphitheater for large events are all located within Carlin Park.

☀️ Looking for more beaches? Consider making the trip south to Fort Lauderdale for the day.  The beaches are completely different, yet equally as beautiful. Plus, there’s plenty of things to do in Fort Lauderdale that might pique your interest!

Near West Palm Beach

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Snorkel at Blue Heron Bridge

📍 Map It: 900 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, FL 33404 | Pura Vida Divers Phone: 561-840-8750

You can’t come to South Florida and not snorkel Blue Heron Bridge. At this point, it’s almost a right of passage for visitors. The snorkeling here is incredible with the most biodiversity of any snorkel site I’ve witnessed. Manta rays, nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, seahorses, lionfish, and most Caribbean reef fish all make an appearance along the clearly defined snorkel trail. If you’re looking for a guided tour, contact Pura Vida Divers – they’re the most reputable dive shop near Blue Heron Bridge!

🤿 Or take a self-guided snorkel tour: All you need is your own snorkel gear! I always recommend Cressi’s Palau snorkel set for travelers and beginners – it’s lightweight and works great.

Norton Museum of Art

📍 Map It: 1450 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 | Phone: 561-832-5196 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $18, adults, free under 12

If you’ve had enough nature and beach visits, the Norton Museum of Art provides a change of pace. Located just down the road in Palm Beach, the gallery features artists hailing from America, China, and Europe with historically relevant and contemporary pieces. Additionally, exhibitions are continually rotating so check their website to find out what’s currently on display!

Downtown West Palm Beach

📍 Map It | 👉 Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour

For a little more hustle and bustle than Jupiter, you can head into downtown West Palm Beach for the evening. The restaurants, boutiques, bars, and clubs are seemingly endless while emitting a completely different vibe than Jupiter. Oh, and the food is incredible with the menu consisting of treats from across the globe.

👉 Read Next: Don’t miss my EPIC list of what to do in South Florida for more fun activity ideas!

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Which of these things to do in Jupiter, FL are you most excited about? What have you done that we didn’t include on our list? What was your favorite thing to do on our list? The nature? Lighthouse? How about a museum?  

Scroll down and leave me a comment below!

The Town of Jupiter, Florida is an enchanting beachfront village evoking feelings of nostalgia from an era I wasn’t even alive for. 

It’s an odd thing. But yet, the 19th century lighthouse, the wildlife trails, the crystal blue water flowing through the town, and the sightings of untouched nature make it hard not to feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you arrive. And the best part? There’s plenty of things to do in Jupiter to soak it all in.

After living in nearby Fort Lauderdale for the past four years, I made plenty of day trips up to Jupiter. Days spent hiking, scuba diving, kayaking, beaching, exploring history, and indulging in some food and drink. 

It’s one of my favorite places in Florida, and after doing the things on my list of favorite activities, I hope you’ll feel the same!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

21 Best Things to Do in Jupiter, FL

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Visit Sea Turtles at Loggerhead Marinelife Center

View of the author's nephew watching the sea turtle
My nephew saying hi to a sea turtle!

📍 Address: 14200 US-1, Juno Beach, FL 33408 | Phone: 561-627-8280 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: Suggested $5 donation per visitor

One of the most family friendly attractions in Jupiter, Florida is visiting the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Kids and adults alike will find fun things to do as they meet sea turtles currently rehabbing from injury and illness, discover Florida’s coastal ecology, and explore the interactive aquarium. 

After spending an hour or two in the center, head to the picnic tables out back for a BBQ while the kids play on the playground before spending the rest of your day on the beautiful stretches of Jupiter Beach.

🐢 Jupiter Beach and Sea Turtles: The beaches surrounding Jupiter happen to be the busiest loggerhead sea turtle nesting sites in the world. As such, Palm Beach County makes a concerted effort to protect the endangered species as they visit the town to lay their eggs.

Climb the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

View of the author and her wife on a boat
Passing by the Jupiter Lighthouse on a boat 

📍 Address: 500 Captain Armours Way, Jupiter, FL 33469 | Phone: 561-747-8380 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Wed – Fri, 10 am – 3 pm Sat – Sun, Closed Mon and Tues | Entrance: $12 adults, $6 under 12 – 6, free 5 and under

History buffs will find solace with the wide array of historic sites in Jupiter, Florida. The most gleaming of them is the famous Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. 

Built in 1860, the Jupiter lighthouse has been guiding sailors home for over a century while still shining bright today. Down below, visitors will find attractions in the museum highlighting indigenous history, Spanish exploration, and natural Jupiter.

🌴 Looking for more nature? The 120 acres surrounding the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was designated in 2008 as an Outstanding Natural Area. Visitors can trek along the mangroves near the Loxahatchee River as it meets the open ocean.

Catch a Ball Game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium

View of the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium entrance
(photo: Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 4751 Main St, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-775-1818 | Website | Entrance: Tickets vary by game

The MLB’s spring training season comes around once a year with baseball fans from all over the country flocking to the Sunshine State. 

Jupiter’s ballpark, Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, is home to the Miami Marlins and St Louis Cardinals during the spring season. Whether you’re a fan of the team or not, catching a game at Roger Dean Stadium is a perfect way to spend time on your spring break vacation!

Want More Baseball? Check the schedule at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches just down the road. The park is equally as gorgeous and more centrally located in Palm Beach County.

Dive or Snorkel With Sharks

View of the author with a shark under the sea

📍 Map It: 1095 Florida A1A, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 305-395-9140 | Website | Hours: Trips depart at 7:30 or 8 AM depending on time of year | Tour Price: $195 per person

This one is for the truly adventurous but I HAD to include it on my list as it’s one of my favorite things to do in Jupiter, FL. The best part? Anyone can take the plunge! 

Sharks tend to stop in the waters off the Jupiter coast as they pass by in the Gulf Stream, a major ocean current. It’s one of the few places in the world where they arrive in such numbers and swimming with them is one of the most adrenaline-inducing activities to do. 

Florida Shark Diving has a boat leaving three times a day and is the perfect tour for snorkelers. For advanced scuba divers and thrill seekers, Emerald Charters runs the most intense boat charter in Florida.

🦈 Is it safe to dive with sharks? I blame Steven Spielberg and Jaws for the misconception about sharks. Contrary to popular belief, they are not man eating killers. My favorite stat? You’re more likely to be bitten by a human in NYC than a shark in the entire world.

Visit the Animals at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

View of a turtle in a grassland

📍 Map It: 2500 Jupiter Park Dr, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-575-3399 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4:30 pm daily | Entrance: Donations appreciated

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary has a mission to “Rescue, Rehab, Release, Educate” animals brought into their care. Essentially, the place is a hospital for sick, wild animals and a great spot for kids to explore and learn about different creatures found in the nearby wild.

🏰 Seeking more family fun? Check out our list of best things to do in Orlando for more family-oriented activities in Florida (Disney World included)! 

Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf Stream

View of fishing rods attached to a boat

👉 Browse the Best Fishing Charters in Jupiter

The Gulf Stream is the major ocean current running directly past Jupiter, Florida bringing sharks, sea turtles, and plenty of pelagic fish. Mahi, tuna, and kingfish, just to name a few, are often caught during deep sea fishing excursions in Jupiter. Book a private boat or hop aboard a group fishing charter for a chance to reel in the big one!

⛵ Have your own boat? You can launch near the inlet at Burt Reynolds Park located right off the A1A and US1. The park is named in honor of Jupiter native, Burt Reynolds. 

Outdoor Activities

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Admire the Nature Conservancy’s Blowing Rocks Preserve

View of huge rocks at the beach

📍 Map It: 574 S Beach Rd, Hobe Sound, FL 33455 | Phone: 561-744-6668 | Website | Hours: 9 am to 4 pm daily| Entrance: Cost of metered parking

Jetting from the sandy shores of Jupiter Island is a feature known as anastasia limestone. It’s the only of its kind and it creates a pretty neat feature: blow holes. 

As waves crash along the shore, the porous limestone funnels the wave’s energy through a small opening, thus “blowing” the water upwards from the rocks. It’s an awesome place to visit, hike, and spend a few hours learning about Florida’s natural history.

Paddle the Loxahatchee River in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

View of the Loxahatchee River

📍 Map It: 16450 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound, FL 33455 | Phone: 772-546-2771 | Website | Hours: Sunrise – Sunset | Entrance: Florida State Park fees, $2 – $8 (depending on party size and vehicle)

The largest State Park in Southeast Florida is the best place to do some paddling in Jupiter. Winding through the park is the mighty Loxahatchee River where you’ll spot everything from alligators, river otters, and manatees. Look out above where ospreys and bald eagles swoop into the water to grasp their prey before nesting into the surrounding cypress trees.

🛶 Get a local guide: Paddling with a guide is the best way to enjoy your day along the Loxahatchee River. This highly rated tour pairs you with a local naturalist to make you feel at ease during your outdoor adventure!

Surf a Wave at Jupiter Beach Park

View of a female surfer in Jupiter Beach Park

📍 Map It: 1375 Jupiter Beach Rd, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: Sunrise – sunset | Entrance: Cost of metered parking

When the weather’s just right, near Jupiter Inlet, you’ll witness a rare sight in South Florida: surfing. Typically, you need to go to beaches in North Florida for that, but not if you’re visiting Jupiter. Most of the surf action occurs at Jupiter Beach Park where locals and visitors alike gather to ride the next swell rolling in!

Hike the Trails Around Hobe Sound

View of a signage in a wilderness

📍 Map It: Hobe Sound, Florida 33455 | Jonathan Dickinson State Park | Seabranch Preserve State Park | Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park

The best hiking trails found in South Florida are in Hobe Sound, just north of Jupiter. The natural scenery is the last of its kind along Florida’s southeastern coast and each trail you hike represents a lost ecosystem. 

At the very least, you’ll want to visit one of the three state parks, each with their own style of hiking trail: Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Seabranch Preserve State Park, and Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park.

Hit the Links at a World Class Golf Course

View of a golf course landscape and a clear blue sky

📍 Map It: 105 Barbados Dr, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-622-0036 | Website 

There’s a reason pro golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler call Jupiter, FL home – the golfing here is world class. 

In total, you can find 16 golf courses in and around Jupiter (and even more if you travel slightly south towards Palm Beach). The best of the bunch include Abacoa Golf Club and Admiral’s Cove but extend to almost any in the area.

Food & Drink

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Taste the Tropics at Guanabanas Restaurant

View of a boat docked in Guanabanas Restaurant

📍 Map It: 960 N Hwy A1A, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-747-8878 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 9 pm Sun – Thurs; open until 10 pm Sat – Sun

It’s hard to distinguish whether you’re dining on a Caribbean Island or in Jupiter, Florida at Guanabanas Restaurant. With island-inspired cuisine, fresh seafood, and delectable rum drinks surrounded by thick tropical canopy, few places can compare in atmosphere and deliciousness.

Pull up a Chair at the Center Street Nook

View of foods to eat for breakfast

📍 Map It: 223 Center St, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-745-7477 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 2 pm daily

For a home-cooked menu, consider pulling up a chair at this all-American diner right in the heart of Jupiter, Florida. The friendly, neighborhood vibe will make you feel at home as you scarf down their delicious breakfast before setting out on a fun beach day.

Grab an Ale at Civil Society Brewing Co.

View of pouring a cold beer on a glass

📍 Map It: 1200 Town Center Dr #101, Jupiter, FL 33458 | Phone: 561-855-6680 | Website | Hours: Opens 12 pm daily, Closes 8 pm Mon, 9 pm Tues, 10 pm Wed, 11 pm Thurs – Sat, 9 pm Sun

With two locations, West Palm Beach and Jupiter, Civil Society Brewing Co. is conjuring up Palm Beach County’s best beer. The laid back taphouse specializes in a variety of IPAs but has a wide selection of tastes for everyone’s liking.

Beaches in Jupiter, Florida

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Coral Cove Park

View of the beach at Coral Cove Park

📍 Map It: 19450 County Hwy 707, Tequesta, FL 33469 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: Sunrise – Sunset | Entrance: Free!

Coral Cove Park on Jupiter Island is the perfect hideaway from the busy crowds at the more popular Florida beaches further south. The park is a continuation of Blowing Rocks Preserve (mentioned earlier) with limestone formations splaying out into the ocean. 

Near the parking lot are picnic areas, playgrounds, and bathroom facilities. Overall, the park is excellent for sunbathing, shell collecting, fishing, snorkeling, and swimming.

Dubois Park

Aerial view of Jupiter Dubois Park

📍 Map It: ​​19075 Dubois Rd, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 8 pm daily | Entrance: Metered parking

Resting in the shadow of Jupiter Lighthouse is Dubois Park, one of the most popular parks on Jupiter Beach. Dubois Park is essentially an enclosed lagoon, providing the best swim and snorkel site for kids. 

The whole family will enjoy their time splashing around before sitting down for a picnic at one of the many BBQ spots covered by the natural palm tree shade.

Jupiter, FL Dog Beach

View of a Labrador Retriever walking by the beach

📍 Map It: 2188 Marcinski Rd, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-966-6600 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: Free!

If you’re looking for a beach spot to bring your furry best friend, Jupiter Dog Beach is it. Parking is free within Ocean Cay Park where you’ll wander towards the shore for an off-leash experience your good boy/girl will surely enjoy.

Carlin Park

View of a life guard booth in Carlin Park

📍 Map It: 400 Florida A1A, Jupiter, FL 33477 | Phone: 561-624-0065 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 7:30 pm daily | Entrance: free!

Carlin Park is the center of beach activity in Jupiter, Florida with fun things for everyone in the family. Basketball and volleyball courts, gazebos and grills for picnics, a cafe for delicious food, and even an outdoor amphitheater for large events are all located within Carlin Park.

☀️ Looking for more beaches? Consider making the trip south to Fort Lauderdale for the day.  The beaches are completely different, yet equally as beautiful. Plus, there’s plenty of things to do in Fort Lauderdale that might pique your interest!

Near West Palm Beach

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Outdoors | Food & Drink | Beaches | Near West Palm Beach

Snorkel at Blue Heron Bridge

View of fishes under the sea in Blue Heron Bridge
A piece of the snorkel trail at Blue Heron Bridge

📍 Map It: 900 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, FL 33404 | Pura Vida Divers Phone: 561-840-8750

You can’t come to South Florida and not snorkel Blue Heron Bridge. At this point, it’s almost a right of passage for visitors. The snorkeling here is incredible with the most biodiversity of any snorkel site I’ve witnessed. Manta rays, nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, seahorses, lionfish, and most Caribbean reef fish all make an appearance along the clearly defined snorkel trail. If you’re looking for a guided tour, contact Pura Vida Divers – they’re the most reputable dive shop near Blue Heron Bridge!

🤿 Or take a self-guided snorkel tour: All you need is your own snorkel gear! I always recommend Cressi’s Palau snorkel set for travelers and beginners – it’s lightweight and works great.

Norton Museum of Art

View of the Norton Museum of Art from the outside
(photo: zhukovsky /  Depositphotos)

📍 Map It: 1450 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 | Phone: 561-832-5196 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $18, adults, free under 12

If you’ve had enough nature and beach visits, the Norton Museum of Art provides a change of pace. Located just down the road in Palm Beach, the gallery features artists hailing from America, China, and Europe with historically relevant and contemporary pieces. Additionally, exhibitions are continually rotating so check their website to find out what’s currently on display!

Downtown West Palm Beach

View of Downtown West Palm Beach at night

📍 Map It | 👉 Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour

For a little more hustle and bustle than Jupiter, you can head into downtown West Palm Beach for the evening. The restaurants, boutiques, bars, and clubs are seemingly endless while emitting a completely different vibe than Jupiter. Oh, and the food is incredible with the menu consisting of treats from across the globe.

👉 Read Next: Don’t miss my EPIC list of what to do in South Florida for more fun activity ideas!

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Which of these things to do in Jupiter, FL are you most excited about? What have you done that we didn’t include on our list? What was your favorite thing to do on our list? The nature? Lighthouse? How about a museum?  

Scroll down and leave me a comment below!

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19 Best Puerto Rico Beaches for 2021 (By a Local!) https://travellemming.com/puerto-rico-beaches/ Sun, 19 Sep 2021 16:30:53 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=27421

Puerto Rico has hundreds of beaches, so it’s understandable if you are finding it hard to decide which ones to visit.

As a Puerto Rico local and a huge beach lover, I know there is a beach for the family, the nature lover, and the businessman. But it’s hard to tell which is which just by looking at the pictures. 

To help you out, I’ve put together a list of the 19 best beaches in Puerto Rico so you can find the perfect beach for you!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

19 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Condado Beach

San Juan

Google Maps | Parking: free parking on nearby streets or private parking, $8-$10 | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

Condado Beach is a great beach for first-time visitors in Puerto Rico. Located in a popular resort area of San Juan, this beach offers watersports, beach chairs, umbrellas rentals, and beachfront restaurants to enjoy the morning on the beach and the afternoon walking around the city.

👉 Headed to San Juan? Be sure to bookmark my list of the top things to do in the city!

Jobos Beach

Isabela

Google Maps | Parking: free on the street | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Parador Villas del Mar Hau

Jobos beach is popular among local surfers. The currents are strong though, so swimming at this beach isn’t recommended for inexperienced swimmers or kids. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your beach day, though. 

You can choose to stay in the shallow part or eat local street food from the nearby food kiosks. Keep in mind that there aren’t any facilities on the beach and that it gets crowded during the weekends.

Sun Bay Beach

Vieques

Google Maps | Website | Parking: $4, free Mon-Tue during low season | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: El Blok

Sun Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico for nature lovers. Sun Bay Beach sports white sand, blue waters, a relaxing landscape, and beautiful wild horses along with facilities like showers, bathrooms, lifeguards, and a cafeteria. You can also camp on the beach for $10 a night. 

👉 Want to Explore Puerto Rico like a Local? Check my rundown of my 49 favorite things to do and see in Puerto Rico! It covers popular activities but also some things to do that only locals know about!

Playa Pelicano

Caja de Muerto, Ponce

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort

Puerto Rico’s southern coast offers one of the top beaches on the island, Playa Pelicano in Caja de Muerto. This is ideal to reconnect with nature and to enjoy with your family. You’ll find bathroom facilities and gazebos where you can enjoy your lunch, but you’ll have to bring everything else needed for a day trip to the beach.

⛴️ How to Get There: Since the 2020 earthquakes the ferry to Caja de Muerto leaves from Marina Salinas. You need to make a reservation on their site.

Luquillo Beach

Luquillo 

Google Maps | Parking: $4 cars, $8 buses | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort

Luquillo beach is one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Rico for a few reasons. Located next to El Yunque, it sports warm and shallow waters along with hundreds of palm trees that are ideal for family beach time. But, what makes Luquillo Beach so popular are the beachfront kiosks with traditional Puerto Rican cuisine and fresh seafood.

Combate Beach

Cabo Rojo

Google Maps | Parking: free in nearby areas | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Combate Beach Resort

If you’re looking for a Puerto Rico beach that offers both fun and great sunsets then head straight to Combate Beach. It’s close to restaurants, snack bars, and other popular spots among locals. Even if there aren’t any facilities, it’s a preferred beach by young people, which means there’s always a lively atmosphere during the weekends. 

Mar Chiquita

Manatí

Google Maps | Parking: free in front of the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Hyatt Place Manati

Mar Chiquita is a hidden gem in Puerto Rico and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Mar Chiquita is a natural pool in the form of a half-moon, formed by two giant limestone rock formations. It doesn’t have many palm trees for shade so you should take umbrellas, chairs, and sunblock with you.

Playa Peña 

Old San Juan

Google Maps | Parking: Around the streets of Old San Juan | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel:  352 Guest House

Old San Juan is our top choice for the best area to stay in San Juan, so there is a good chance you’ll be based there. If you’re looking for a secluded beach just a short walk away from Old San Juan’s historical attractions, then Playa Peña is for you. Playa Peña, also known as La Ocho Beach, is located across the Capitol and you get there through the stairs next to the statue. There aren’t any lifeguards or facilities on the beach, so you need to swim with precaution.

👉Local Tip: Playa Peña beach is not recommended for children for its strong rip currents. But, during the summer, a natural pool emerges on the west side of Playa Peña safe for the whole family.

Playa Crash Boat 

Aguadilla

Google Maps | Parking: Free parking in nearby areas and streets or paid parking across the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Parador El Faro

Playa Crash Boat is definitely one of Aguadilla’s top things to do. This beach is a favorite among the locals for its colorful landscape, its pier, and the availability of watersports like jet skiing. 

This Puerto Rico beach actually splits into two parts. One sports a paying parking lot and facilities like bathrooms and showers. The other free side doesn’t have facilities, but you’ll find kiosks and watersports equipment rentals. Once at the beach, you can cross from one side to the other.

Tortuga Beach

Culebrita Island

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Club Seabourne Hotel

Tortuga Beach is the perfect destination to disconnect yourself from the world. You can only get there by water taxi or a private boat. If you’re into hiking, historical ruins, and snorkeling, you will love Tortuga Beach. You’ll find all kinds of marine life in the water including sea turtles and a beautiful old lighthouse on land.

Flamenco Beach

Culebra Island

Google Maps | Parking: $5 parking plus $2 per person admission | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Aleli Cottages

Once rated among the top ten beaches in the world, Flamenco Beach offers visitors the opportunity of a getaway in the Caribbean with crystal clear waters and a low tide safe for the whole family. Besides sporting great landscapes with coconut palms for shade, picnic areas to rest, and an iconic military tank to photograph, the crystal clear waters off Flamenco Beach offer great snorkeling.

👉Local Tip: If you want to explore other beaches of Culebra, check out Playa Carlos Rosario just a 20-minute hike away from Flamenco’s Beach parking lot. Even if it doesn’t offer any facilities this beautiful beach is home to great coral reefs to explore. 

Icacos

Fajardo

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: El Conquistador Resort

Icacos is one of the many cays of Puerto Rico and is located on the east coast. This small cay offers one of the most beautiful shores in Puerto Rico, with shallow clear waters and fine sand perfect for beach bumming or snorkeling close to coral reefs. You can get there by water taxi or a private tour but go prepared as there aren’t any facilities on the island.

👉 Pro Tip: Icacos makes for a great day trip if you are based in San Juan. If you’re looking for more excursions to take from there, be sure to check out my full article on the best San Juan day trips!

Playa Sucia

Cabo Rojo

Google Maps | Parking: free at designated areas | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Combate Beach Resort

Don’t get confused by the name, which means “Dirty Beach” in Spanish. Playa Sucia is actually one of Puerto Rico’s most breathtaking beaches!

Located on Puerto Rico’s southwestern coast, Playa Sucia offers visitors a natural landscape without any resorts and a picture-perfect beach to lie on all day.

👉 Did you Know? Playa Sucia is just minutes away from Los Morrillos Lighthouse, one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico. Check my complete local guide of the best spots to go in Puerto Rico to learn more about this amazing place.

Cayo Aurora

Guanica

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa

Cayo Aurora, also known as Gilligan’s island, sports another one of the top seashores in Puerto Rico. You can reach Gilligan’s island by renting a kayak or by private boat. This cay is famous for its shallow and clear waters ideal for kayaking and snorkeling.

Isla Verde

Carolina

Google Maps | Parking: free on nearby streets in Isla Verde, $4 in Carolina Beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Isla Verde Beach is accessible and convenient for every traveler. It’s perfect area to stay in Puerto Rico if you want to enjoy the blue waters of the north coast of Puerto Rico without leaving the metro area. Isla Verde splits into Pine Grove, Alambique, and Balneario de Carolina and it sports bathrooms, showers, and beachfront restaurants with Puerto Rican cuisine.

Ocean Park Beach

San Juan

Google Maps | Parking: free parking across the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Numero Uno Beach House

If you’re looking for a beach in San Juan that is less crowded than Isla Verde, drive a little farther to Ocean Park Beach. Even if Ocean Park Beach is small and doesn’t have any facilities, this public beach sports a Miami Beach-style vibe and it offers adventurers sports like kite surfing and beach volleyball.

🚗 Is Driving in Puerto Rico Safe? Yes, but check out my full guide to how to drive in Puerto Rico if it’s your first time!

Poza del Obispo

Arecibo

Google Maps | Parking: free parking across the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Arecibo Inn

Another hidden gem beach lovers can’t miss is Poza del Obispo on the north coast in Arecibo. This public beach is a natural shallow pool formed by rock formations and it’s home to brilliant turquoise waters and golden sand. There aren’t any facilities on the beach, so you need to come prepared.

Escambrón Beach

San Juan

Google Maps | Parking: from 8:30 to 5:00 pm, $5 cash | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Caribe Hilton

If you want a warm beach with golden sand and clear blue waters without having to go to the west coast, visit Escambrón Beach in San Juan. This family friendly-beach sports a Blue Flag award, and it offers swimmers the opportunity to snorkel or go scuba diving. You will also find bathrooms, showers and food stands.

Punta Icacos

Yabucoa

Google Maps | Parking: Free |  👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Rustica Beach Hotel

Don’t get confused by the name: Punta Icacos isn’t the same as Icacos cay. This beach is a hidden treasure in Yabucoa that you will not see in any travel guide! 

Punta Icacos sports blue crystalline waters, among huge white rock formations and it offers visitors a thrilling hike and a  paradisiacal landscape. Please note that there are months when the tide is high and it’s considered dangerous, so consider this when deciding when to visit this part of Puerto Rico.

👉 Local Tip: To get to Punta Icacos you need to hike 15 minutes from the parking spot and then descend the cliff to get to the water. There aren’t any facilities so you’ll need shoes with a good grip and a fully equipped backpack. I recommend this amazing mesh backpack you can fold neatly into your luggage while traveling and use later to take with you clothes, snacks and, snorkeling equipment during your excursions to the beach. 

FAQs About the Beaches in Puerto Rico

What is the prettiest beach in Puerto Rico?

The prettiest beaches in Puerto Rico include Playa Flamenco in Culebra, Mar Chiquita in Manatí, La Poza del Obispo in Arecibo, Playa Tortuga in Culebrita Island and Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo. These top beaches in Puerto Rico are away from resorts and city buildings, and highlight the natural beauty of Puerto Rico.

What side of Puerto Rico has the best beaches?

The north of Puerto Rico offers the best urban beaches like Isla Verde, Condado Beach, and Ocean Park Beach. Aguadilla, Rincón, and Cabo Rojo on the west coast and southwest coast offer the best beaches for surfing, whale watching, and sightseeing. Vieques Island, Culebra, and Culebrita all sport secluded and clear water beaches.

Where is the clearest water in Puerto Rico?

The beaches with the clearest waters in Puerto Rico include Tortuga Beach in Culebrita, Playa Pelícano in Caja de Muerto, Playa Caracas in Vieques, Cayo Aurora, Icacos Beach, Tortuga Beach in Culebra, and Desecheo. 

What is the most beautiful part of Puerto Rico?

The most beautiful destinations in Puerto Rico include Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Old San Juan in the capital city, Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo, El Yunque in Rio Grande, Rincon, Manatí and La Parguera in Lajas, among other destinations.

Is Puerto Rico Safe Right Now?

Puerto Rico is generally safe for travel, although tourists should take reasonable precautions to protect against petty theft. Tourists should also monitor the ongoing public health situation and follow all local safety recommendations.

***

👉 Want More Local Tips? Check out my full article with tips for traveling Puerto Rico like a local!

And those are the 19 best beaches you need to know about before visiting Puerto Rico!

What beach caught your eye? Drop the name in the comments below!

Oh, and if you’re still thinking about what else to do in Puerto Rico, make sure to check out my complete guide of the 49 best things to do in Puerto Rico so you can fill the rest of your travel itinerary!

Puerto Rico has hundreds of beaches, so it’s understandable if you are finding it hard to decide which ones to visit.

As a Puerto Rico local and a huge beach lover, I know there is a beach for the family, the nature lover, and the businessman. But it’s hard to tell which is which just by looking at the pictures. 

To help you out, I’ve put together a list of the 19 best beaches in Puerto Rico so you can find the perfect beach for you!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

19 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Condado Beach

San Juan

View of a person swimming in Condado Beach in San Juan

Google Maps | Parking: free parking on nearby streets or private parking, $8-$10 | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

Condado Beach is a great beach for first-time visitors in Puerto Rico. Located in a popular resort area of San Juan, this beach offers watersports, beach chairs, umbrellas rentals, and beachfront restaurants to enjoy the morning on the beach and the afternoon walking around the city.

👉 Headed to San Juan? Be sure to bookmark my list of the top things to do in the city!

Jobos Beach

Isabela

View of Jobos Beach in Isabela
Jobos is a popular surfing spot on the north coast

Google Maps | Parking: free on the street | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Parador Villas del Mar Hau

Jobos beach is popular among local surfers. The currents are strong though, so swimming at this beach isn’t recommended for inexperienced swimmers or kids. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your beach day, though. 

You can choose to stay in the shallow part or eat local street food from the nearby food kiosks. Keep in mind that there aren’t any facilities on the beach and that it gets crowded during the weekends.

Sun Bay Beach

Vieques

View of the Sun Bay Beach in Vieques and some palm tree by the beach

Google Maps | Website | Parking: $4, free Mon-Tue during low season | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: El Blok

Sun Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico for nature lovers. Sun Bay Beach sports white sand, blue waters, a relaxing landscape, and beautiful wild horses along with facilities like showers, bathrooms, lifeguards, and a cafeteria. You can also camp on the beach for $10 a night. 

👉 Want to Explore Puerto Rico like a Local? Check my rundown of my 49 favorite things to do and see in Puerto Rico! It covers popular activities but also some things to do that only locals know about!

Playa Pelicano

Caja de Muerto, Ponce

View of Playa Pelicano and a rugged hill in Caja de Muerto

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort

Puerto Rico’s southern coast offers one of the top beaches on the island, Playa Pelicano in Caja de Muerto. This is ideal to reconnect with nature and to enjoy with your family. You’ll find bathroom facilities and gazebos where you can enjoy your lunch, but you’ll have to bring everything else needed for a day trip to the beach.

⛴️ How to Get There: Since the 2020 earthquakes the ferry to Caja de Muerto leaves from Marina Salinas. You need to make a reservation on their site.

Luquillo Beach

Luquillo 

View of the Luquillo Beach and some palm tree in it

Google Maps | Parking: $4 cars, $8 buses | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort

Luquillo beach is one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Rico for a few reasons. Located next to El Yunque, it sports warm and shallow waters along with hundreds of palm trees that are ideal for family beach time. But, what makes Luquillo Beach so popular are the beachfront kiosks with traditional Puerto Rican cuisine and fresh seafood.

Combate Beach

Cabo Rojo

View of Combate Beach in Puerto Rico at sunset

Google Maps | Parking: free in nearby areas | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Combate Beach Resort

If you’re looking for a Puerto Rico beach that offers both fun and great sunsets then head straight to Combate Beach. It’s close to restaurants, snack bars, and other popular spots among locals. Even if there aren’t any facilities, it’s a preferred beach by young people, which means there’s always a lively atmosphere during the weekends. 

Mar Chiquita

Manatí

View of the author having fun in Mar Chiquita
Watch your step, the rocks at the shore are slippery

Google Maps | Parking: free in front of the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Hyatt Place Manati

Mar Chiquita is a hidden gem in Puerto Rico and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Mar Chiquita is a natural pool in the form of a half-moon, formed by two giant limestone rock formations. It doesn’t have many palm trees for shade so you should take umbrellas, chairs, and sunblock with you.

Playa Peña 

Old San Juan

View of some small waves from the blue water of Playa Pena
Playa Peña can be seen from Castillo San Cristobal

Google Maps | Parking: Around the streets of Old San Juan | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel:  352 Guest House

Old San Juan is our top choice for the best area to stay in San Juan, so there is a good chance you’ll be based there. If you’re looking for a secluded beach just a short walk away from Old San Juan’s historical attractions, then Playa Peña is for you. Playa Peña, also known as La Ocho Beach, is located across the Capitol and you get there through the stairs next to the statue. There aren’t any lifeguards or facilities on the beach, so you need to swim with precaution.

👉Local Tip: Playa Peña beach is not recommended for children for its strong rip currents. But, during the summer, a natural pool emerges on the west side of Playa Peña safe for the whole family.

Playa Crash Boat 

Aguadilla

View of the colorful landscape in Crash Boat and its pier
You can jump from the pier at Crash Boat

Google Maps | Parking: Free parking in nearby areas and streets or paid parking across the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Parador El Faro

Playa Crash Boat is definitely one of Aguadilla’s top things to do. This beach is a favorite among the locals for its colorful landscape, its pier, and the availability of watersports like jet skiing. 

This Puerto Rico beach actually splits into two parts. One sports a paying parking lot and facilities like bathrooms and showers. The other free side doesn’t have facilities, but you’ll find kiosks and watersports equipment rentals. Once at the beach, you can cross from one side to the other.

Tortuga Beach

Culebrita Island

View of a small boat on Tortuga Beach

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Club Seabourne Hotel

Tortuga Beach is the perfect destination to disconnect yourself from the world. You can only get there by water taxi or a private boat. If you’re into hiking, historical ruins, and snorkeling, you will love Tortuga Beach. You’ll find all kinds of marine life in the water including sea turtles and a beautiful old lighthouse on land.

Flamenco Beach

Culebra Island

View of an old rusty tank by the beach in Flamenco Beach

Google Maps | Parking: $5 parking plus $2 per person admission | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Aleli Cottages

Once rated among the top ten beaches in the world, Flamenco Beach offers visitors the opportunity of a getaway in the Caribbean with crystal clear waters and a low tide safe for the whole family. Besides sporting great landscapes with coconut palms for shade, picnic areas to rest, and an iconic military tank to photograph, the crystal clear waters off Flamenco Beach offer great snorkeling.

👉Local Tip: If you want to explore other beaches of Culebra, check out Playa Carlos Rosario just a 20-minute hike away from Flamenco’s Beach parking lot. Even if it doesn’t offer any facilities this beautiful beach is home to great coral reefs to explore. 

Icacos

Fajardo

Aerial view of Icacos Beach and some yacht and small boat on it
You can visit Icacos on a Day Trip from San Juan

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: El Conquistador Resort

Icacos is one of the many cays of Puerto Rico and is located on the east coast. This small cay offers one of the most beautiful shores in Puerto Rico, with shallow clear waters and fine sand perfect for beach bumming or snorkeling close to coral reefs. You can get there by water taxi or a private tour but go prepared as there aren’t any facilities on the island.

👉 Pro Tip: Icacos makes for a great day trip if you are based in San Juan. If you’re looking for more excursions to take from there, be sure to check out my full article on the best San Juan day trips!

Playa Sucia

Cabo Rojo

View of Playa Sucia on a sunny day

Google Maps | Parking: free at designated areas | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Combate Beach Resort

Don’t get confused by the name, which means “Dirty Beach” in Spanish. Playa Sucia is actually one of Puerto Rico’s most breathtaking beaches!

Located on Puerto Rico’s southwestern coast, Playa Sucia offers visitors a natural landscape without any resorts and a picture-perfect beach to lie on all day.

👉 Did you Know? Playa Sucia is just minutes away from Los Morrillos Lighthouse, one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico. Check my complete local guide of the best spots to go in Puerto Rico to learn more about this amazing place.

Cayo Aurora

Guanica

View of the clear water in Cayo Aurora and a wooden pathway

Google Maps | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa

Cayo Aurora, also known as Gilligan’s island, sports another one of the top seashores in Puerto Rico. You can reach Gilligan’s island by renting a kayak or by private boat. This cay is famous for its shallow and clear waters ideal for kayaking and snorkeling.

Isla Verde

Carolina

View of people having fun in Carolina Beach
Carolina Beach in Isla Verde is perfect for kids 

Google Maps | Parking: free on nearby streets in Isla Verde, $4 in Carolina Beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Isla Verde Beach is accessible and convenient for every traveler. It’s perfect area to stay in Puerto Rico if you want to enjoy the blue waters of the north coast of Puerto Rico without leaving the metro area. Isla Verde splits into Pine Grove, Alambique, and Balneario de Carolina and it sports bathrooms, showers, and beachfront restaurants with Puerto Rican cuisine.

Ocean Park Beach

San Juan

View of a beautiful sunset in Ocean Park Beach

Google Maps | Parking: free parking across the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Numero Uno Beach House

If you’re looking for a beach in San Juan that is less crowded than Isla Verde, drive a little farther to Ocean Park Beach. Even if Ocean Park Beach is small and doesn’t have any facilities, this public beach sports a Miami Beach-style vibe and it offers adventurers sports like kite surfing and beach volleyball.

🚗 Is Driving in Puerto Rico Safe? Yes, but check out my full guide to how to drive in Puerto Rico if it’s your first time!

Poza del Obispo

Arecibo

View of the Poza del Obispo from the top

Google Maps | Parking: free parking across the beach | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Arecibo Inn

Another hidden gem beach lovers can’t miss is Poza del Obispo on the north coast in Arecibo. This public beach is a natural shallow pool formed by rock formations and it’s home to brilliant turquoise waters and golden sand. There aren’t any facilities on the beach, so you need to come prepared.

Escambrón Beach

San Juan

Aerial view of Escambron Beach

Google Maps | Parking: from 8:30 to 5:00 pm, $5 cash | 👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Caribe Hilton

If you want a warm beach with golden sand and clear blue waters without having to go to the west coast, visit Escambrón Beach in San Juan. This family friendly-beach sports a Blue Flag award, and it offers swimmers the opportunity to snorkel or go scuba diving. You will also find bathrooms, showers and food stands.

Punta Icacos

Yabucoa

View of a rocky shore in Punta Icacos

Google Maps | Parking: Free |  👉 Best Nearby Hotel: Rustica Beach Hotel

Don’t get confused by the name: Punta Icacos isn’t the same as Icacos cay. This beach is a hidden treasure in Yabucoa that you will not see in any travel guide! 

Punta Icacos sports blue crystalline waters, among huge white rock formations and it offers visitors a thrilling hike and a  paradisiacal landscape. Please note that there are months when the tide is high and it’s considered dangerous, so consider this when deciding when to visit this part of Puerto Rico.

👉 Local Tip: To get to Punta Icacos you need to hike 15 minutes from the parking spot and then descend the cliff to get to the water. There aren’t any facilities so you’ll need shoes with a good grip and a fully equipped backpack. I recommend this amazing mesh backpack you can fold neatly into your luggage while traveling and use later to take with you clothes, snacks and, snorkeling equipment during your excursions to the beach. 

FAQs About the Beaches in Puerto Rico

What is the prettiest beach in Puerto Rico?

The prettiest beaches in Puerto Rico include Playa Flamenco in Culebra, Mar Chiquita in Manatí, La Poza del Obispo in Arecibo, Playa Tortuga in Culebrita Island and Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo. These top beaches in Puerto Rico are away from resorts and city buildings, and highlight the natural beauty of Puerto Rico.

What side of Puerto Rico has the best beaches?

The north of Puerto Rico offers the best urban beaches like Isla Verde, Condado Beach, and Ocean Park Beach. Aguadilla, Rincón, and Cabo Rojo on the west coast and southwest coast offer the best beaches for surfing, whale watching, and sightseeing. Vieques Island, Culebra, and Culebrita all sport secluded and clear water beaches.

Where is the clearest water in Puerto Rico?

The beaches with the clearest waters in Puerto Rico include Tortuga Beach in Culebrita, Playa Pelícano in Caja de Muerto, Playa Caracas in Vieques, Cayo Aurora, Icacos Beach, Tortuga Beach in Culebra, and Desecheo. 

What is the most beautiful part of Puerto Rico?

The most beautiful destinations in Puerto Rico include Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Old San Juan in the capital city, Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo, El Yunque in Rio Grande, Rincon, Manatí and La Parguera in Lajas, among other destinations.

Is Puerto Rico Safe Right Now?

Puerto Rico is generally safe for travel, although tourists should take reasonable precautions to protect against petty theft. Tourists should also monitor the ongoing public health situation and follow all local safety recommendations.

***

👉 Want More Local Tips? Check out my full article with tips for traveling Puerto Rico like a local!

And those are the 19 best beaches you need to know about before visiting Puerto Rico!

What beach caught your eye? Drop the name in the comments below!

Oh, and if you’re still thinking about what else to do in Puerto Rico, make sure to check out my complete guide of the 49 best things to do in Puerto Rico so you can fill the rest of your travel itinerary!

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33 Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale in 2021 (By a Local!) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-fort-lauderdale/ Thu, 26 Aug 2021 15:39:14 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=25447

Fort Lauderdale often gets overlooked for the glamorous city to its south. And, although Miami is certainly worth exploring, don’t sleep on all the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale! 

After calling the city home for the last four years, I’d argue that Fort Lauderdale is even more worthy of exploring actually. 

That’s why I’ve compiled this epic list of 33 fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale – 33 incredible activities unique to Fort Lauderdale. We’ll go over the best activities, historical sites, beaches, boat rides, and world-class food in the area. 

I’ve worked hard to pack this list with loads of value for visitors and locals alike. Just see for yourself and be sure to let me know what you think in a comment afterward!

🔖 Bookmark This: If you’re wondering where to stay in Fort Lauderdale, bookmark my epic guide to the best places, hotels, and areas. Plus, for more fun ideas for excursions around the area, definitely check out my list of the best day trips around Fort Lauderdale. It even includes a day trip to another country!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Address: Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308, USA | Website | 🤿 Book a snorkel and seabob tour the nearby reef

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a quaint, family-friendly beach town on the outskirts of the main city. The beach is gorgeous and serves as one of the busiest sea turtle nesting sites in the world. Additionally, about 300 feet from shore, visitors can swim to discover a dazzling coral reef below – one of the few in the world you can access directly from the beach.

🤿 SEA TURTLE SIGHTINGS: It’s commonplace to spot a sea turtle or two while snorkeling the nearby reef. If a 300-foot swim sounds like a hike for you, consider booking a Seabob / snorkel tour. The Seabob is a little machine that does the work for you to get to the reef!

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Address: Riverwalk North, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, USA | ​​🛴 Book a Segway along the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Whenever my family visits town, I always bring them to the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale. And honestly, visitors aside, it’s one of my favorite things to do in Fort Lauderdale on a regular day, period.  

The scenic stroll along the New River is sprinkled with sailboats, megayachts, public parks, historical museums, swanky restaurants and classic dive bars shadowed by newly constructed skyscrapers.

👉 Local Tip: Park at Cooley’s Landing and head east to see the entire extent of the Riverwalk. Cross the river aboard the free Water Taxi river hopper or at Andrews Ave Bridge to grab an appetizer at the iconic Downtowner. On your way back, stop at The Wharf, a massive open-air bar, for a cocktail.

Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

Address: 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Not many people know, but Fort Lauderdale offers world-class diving and snorkeling. Three tiers of coral reef run parallel to shore just a few hundred feet from the beach. In fact, the reef off of Fort Lauderdale is some of the only coral you can find in the continental United States. Additionally, the city has 76 shipwrecks and counting giving it the nickname “Shipwreck Capital of the US”. 

If you’re able, we highly recommend trying to scuba dive. Sea Experience is a local shop conducting Discover Scuba programs for beginners. If that’s not your thing, Sea Experience also offers daily snorkel trips to a nearby shallow reef for explorers of all ages.

🐟 DID YOU KNOW? Florida is home to the world’s THIRD longest barrier reef system. It’s called the Florida Reef Tract and it runs 360 linear miles from Key West to Port St Lucie. Can you name the two reefs that are longer?

Las Olas Boulevard

Address: E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Las Olas Boulevard is the epicenter of things to do in Fort Lauderdale and the primary entertainment district. The decorative and eclectic street is filled with boutiques, luxury restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops. The area can get busy, particularly at night, but during the day it’s perfect for a stroll, bike ride, or happy hour special.

Rent a Bicycle

Website | 🚴 Book a cycle tour with an experienced guide

Speaking of bike rides, one of my favorite things to do in Fort Lauderdale is to cycle around. And honestly, it may be the best way to see the city – most of the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale on this list can be done during your bike ride!

Fort Lauderdale has done a nice job paving bike lanes and providing bike rentals for visitors. Broward BCycle, a county initiative, is the most convenient bike rental. You simply unlock the bike via an app and drop it off at one of the many stations peppered throughout town! The rental costs are $5 an hour and max out at $25 for the day.

👉 Pro Tip: I recommend booking a guide to maximize your time on a bike. Your tour guide will show you the historical sites, Riverwalk arts, and other attractions in Fort Lauderdale!

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Address: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Phone: (954) 564-4521| Website | Hours: 8 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: $6 per vehicle (2 – 8 people); $4 single occupant vehicle; $2 per pedestrian

Fort Lauderdale’s very own central park – Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is an escape to nature amidst the urban landscape. Whenever I needed a reprieve from the fast pace of South Florida, I’d come here for a respite.

You can go on a hike or cycle the two-mile loop through thick tropical hammock. Relax in a chair along the Intracoastal Waterway as the megayachts roll on by. Enjoy the playground, a BBQ, or go for a paddle. Don’t forget to end your day with a cold brew at Park & Ocean, the park’s very own restaurant, overlooking the glimmering Atlantic Ocean.

Paddle the Venice of America

👉 Browse All Paddle Tours in the Venice of America

Fort Lauderdale has more than 300 miles of navigable waterway giving it yet another nickname, the “Venice of America”. And as such, many locals and tour companies provide kayaking or paddleboarding tours through the canals of Las Olas Isles, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Middle River, and the New River.

👉 Read Next: The Top Things to Do in the State of Florida

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

Address: 900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Phone: (954) 563-5393 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 3 pm Tues-Fri; 11 am – 4 pm Sat & Sun; Closed Mon | Entrance: $20, adults, $8, children 6 – 17, free for under 5

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a historic building in the midst of the developing Fort Lauderdale Beach. The house was built by two artists, Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett, and served as their vacation home in the Florida wild. Amazingly, it wasn’t too long ago that the home was one of few buildings standing in the area.  

Today, the house is an enriching cultural experience filled with original art, peculiar carousel figurines, unique architecture, and a beautiful flora courtyard surrounded by natural South Florida jungle.

Flamingo Gardens

Address: 3750 S Flamingo Rd, Davie, FL 33330 | Phone: +1 954-473-2955 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | 🦩 Skip the line at Flamingo Gardens

Just west of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Flamingo Gardens brings visitors back to what natural Florida would have looked like in 1933. Today, this 60-acre wildlife sanctuary features thousands of tropical and subtropical plants and trees, bald eagles, bobcats, alligators, the elusive Florida panther, and yes, flamingos!

The gardens are really a must-visit, so much so that they also make my list of the best things to do in the South Florida region.

Everglades Holiday Park

Address: 21940 Griffin Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33332 | Phone: +1 954-434-8111| Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | 🐊 Book an Everglades Airboat Tour

Your list of fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale isn’t complete without a Florida Everglades airboat tour! Everglades Holiday Park is the best of the bunch with easy transit from town out to the National Park. Spend the day learning the ecology of alligators, the Everglades and South Florida before hopping aboard for your thrilling airboat ride!

👉 Want to see more of the Everglades? Our article, Best Day Trips from Fort Lauderdale, details TWO distinct days within the famous National Park!

Best Boat Tours in Fort Lauderdale

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Water Taxi

Phone: +1 954-467-6677 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 8 pm Mon-Wed; 10 am – 10 pm Thurs-Sun | 🚕 Buy your All-Day hop on hop off pass

The Water Taxi is the ultimate way to see ALL of Fort Lauderdale’s waterways. The company offers an all-day pass where you can hop on and hop off wherever you choose. Want to stop downtown? How about Fort Lauderdale Beach? A waterfront restaurant? Water Taxi will make it happen!

The Captains are entertaining, the city is a sight to see, the mansions are jaw-dropping and the yachts are even more incredible. And the best part? The ticket is super cheap compared to other boat tours in the area.

👉 Pro Tip: The Water Taxi now REQUIRES tickets to be pre-purchased. So be sure to get yours here BEFORE you try to hop aboard!

Bluefoot Pirate Adventures

Address: 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Phone: (954) 530-8302 | Website | 🏴‍☠️ Set sail on the pirate adventure

The most kid and family-friendly activity in Fort Lauderdale is aboard Bluefoot Pirate Adventures. This hour-long interactive tour, complete with face paint and costumes, will take you through the canals of Fort Lauderdale as you embark on an epic pirate adventure. After the scenic ride, the culminating event of a pirate battle will commence before docking. The water cannons, live-action play, and props make it the best activity for children in Fort Lauderdale!

Las Olas Gondola

Address: NE 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: +1 800-277-1390 | Website

A romantic cruise aboard a one-of-a-kind boat – Las Olas Gondola is the only TRUE gondola in town. Couples will drift down the New River as the sun sets over the city skyline. The Captain is entertaining, witty, and knowledgeable of the area to make for a memorable date night.

Jungle Queen Riverboat Tour

Address: 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Phone: +1 954-462-5596 | Website | ⛴️ Ride the Jungle Queen Riverboat

The Jungle Queen Riverboat is a Fort Lauderdale classic. Docked on Fort Lauderdale Beach, you can take the Jungle Queen all the way up the New River where you’ll unload for a comedy show, fire dancing, and an all-you-can-eat BBQ. The excursion is perfect for a date night or fun for the whole family.

PaddlePub Cycle Boat

Phone: (954) 372-2900 | Website 

I brought my family on the PaddlePub Cycle Boat while they were visiting for one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever had on the water in Fort Lauderdale. At only $40 per person and BYOB & food, we were able to enjoy 2 hours of relaxing, affordable, fun as we cruised through the Fort Lauderdale area. Oh, and don’t worry, the boat DOES have engines so you won’t be required to cycle the entire time!

Sailing Charter

Sail away aboard a private charter

With favorable winds, plenty of dockage, and the open ocean nearby, Fort Lauderdale is a sailing Mecca. And as a sailor myself, I can tell you it’s one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things to do in Fort Lauderdale.

⛵ NO EXPERIENCE? NO PROBLEM! Use Sailo to charter a private sailboat with Captain included.  No experience necessary. Just show up for a great son the water!

Food & Drink

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Louie Bossi’s

Address: 1032 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: (954) 356-6699 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 12 am Monday – Friday, 10 am – 12 am Saturday & Sunday

Louie Bossis is an Italian restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard. However, our favorite time to come here is for weekend brunch! Starting at 10 AM, you can choose from a variety of delectable breakfast foods before indulging in bottomless mimosa and bellinis!

925 Nuevo’s Cubanos

Address: 925 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311 | Phone: +1 954-806-8375 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 5 pm Mon – Wed, 7 am – 8 pm Thurs- Sat, 9 am – 5 pm Sun

925 Nuevo’s Cubanos provides one of the most fun atmospheres of any restaurant in town while also dishing up the BEST Cuban food north of Miami. Head here for lunch on the weekends and you’ll even be treated to live salsa music!  

LOCAL TIP: Ask for a complimentary Colada after your meal for a TRUE Cuban coffee!

Funky Buddha Brewery

Address: 1201 NE 38th St, Oakland Park, FL 33334 | Phone: +1 954-440-0046 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 10 pm Monday – Thursday, 11:30 am – 12 am Friday & Saturday, 11:30 am – 9 pm Sunday

Just north of town is Funky Buddha, one of Florida’s largest breweries and taprooms. Beer aficionados will enjoy the wide variety of craft brews including Hop Gun IPA and the famous Floridian.

Elbo Room

Address: 241 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Phone: (954) 463-4615 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 2 am Sun – Thurs, 8 am – 3 am Fri & Sat

For decades, Fort Lauderdale was synonymous with dive bars.  Although the city has moved on, The Elbo Room is a prime example of the few relics from the days of old that still exist. This cash-only beach bar sits right on the busy corner of Las Olas Blvd and Ocean Drive overlooking the turquoise waters of the Gulf Stream.  

Tacos El Papi

Address: 3591 N Andrews Ave, Oakland Park, FL 33309 | Phone: (954) 440-0258 | Hours: 8 am – 9 pm Mon – Thurs, 8 am – 12 am Fri – Sun

I was reluctant to add my favorite taco shop to the list because this might be Fort Lauderdale’s best-kept secret – but it’s too good to not share. Hands down, these are the best tacos I’ve had NOT in Mexico. And even then, it gives those in Mexico City a run for their money.  

I recommend coming here on a weekend evening when the owner sets up a street stand outside and blasts Latin music. It’s quite the atmosphere as you sit on some fold-up chairs in the parking lot and chow down on the most authentic Mexican cuisine in South Florida.

Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar

Address: 1001 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: (954) 761-3334 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm Mon – Sat, Closed Sun

Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar is a Fort Lauderdale staple in the heart of Las Olas Blvd. The aroma of fresh flowers blended with freshly ground coffee will leave an impression that’ll last long after you’ve left. Although, it’s the wide selection of delectable pastries that’ll bring you back next time you’re in town.

Invasive Species Brewing

Address: 726 NE 2nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Website | Hours: 5 pm – 11 pm Mon – Thurs, 2 pm – 12 am Fri & Sat, 2 pm – 10 pm Sun

Invasive Species Brewing is nestled in the art district of Flagler Village, an up and coming neighborhood just north of town. The brewery is an eclectic little bar serving tasty microbrews while offering a line of food trucks outside the front door. It’s a great spot for locals and visitors to mingle while everyone enjoys a laid-back evening out.

Museums & Culture

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Historic Stranahan House Museum

Address: 335 SE 6th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: (954) 524-4736 | Website | Tours start at 1, 2, and 3 pm | Entrance: $12 for adults

The birth of Fort Lauderdale began with Frank Stranahan, an Ohio native, back in the 1890s.  He originally built what is now known as the Historic Stranahan House Museum as a trading post for business dealings with the nearby Seminole tribe. Decades later, it is now the oldest surviving structure in the city and a great place to visit for a taste of history.

NSU Art Museum

Address: 1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: +1 954-525-5500 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Tues – Sat, 12 pm – 5 pm Sun, Closed Mon | Entrance: $12 adults, free for kids under 12

The Modernist design of the building alone will get you excited to explore the halls within the NSU Art Museum. Exhibits are always changing, but you’ll find works by European Cobra artists and American painter William Glackens are always on display.  Additionally, many of the galleries have a heavy Latino influence highlighting Fort Lauderdale’s connection with Latin America.

Museum of Discovery and Science

Address: 401 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 | Phone: +1 954-467-6637 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, 12 pm – 5 pm Sunday | Entrance: $24 adults, $19 ages 2 – 12

Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science is a sure bet to keep your kids entertained for an entire day. They’ll get lost in the wonder on display as they learn about Florida ecology, prehistoric animals, the Florida Everglades, and the scientific method in interactive labs.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Address: 201 SW 5th Ave, Fort Lauderdale FL 33312 | Phone: (954) 462-0222 | Website 

Just across the street from the Museum of Discovery and Science is the Performing Arts Broward Center. This picturesque hall is one of Florida’s premier theatres for a play, dance performance, concert, and other family-friendly events.

Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum

Address: 1022 W Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale FL 33312 | Phone: (954) 763-1005 | Website 

Built in 1927, the Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum is a unique exploration of the challenges first responders encountered 100 years ago. On display are uniforms, artifacts, and tales of major fires and emergencies throughout Fort Lauderdale’s history.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Address: 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL 33314 | Phone: (866) 502-7529 | Website | 👉 Book a night stay in the Guitar Hotel

Just on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale is the famous Guitar Hotel. And let’s be honest, you can’t say you’ve ever seen any other building in the world quite like this one. It’s literally shaped like a guitar with a beam of light as its axel!

The guitar’s inside is equally as impressive as the outside, resembling a city more than a hotel.  Shops, nightclubs, restaurants, concert halls, and a casino line the inside. On the outside is an impressive lagoon featuring its very own island bungalows. 

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Fort Lauderdale, this is definitely a memorable choice!

🎸 STAY IN THE GUITAR: Book a night stay in the Guitar for the full experience!

Beaches

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Loggerhead and Vista Park

Address: 2851 N Atlantic Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 | Hours: 8 am – 8 pm daily

Two of the best beaches in Florida, just a block away from each other, are a local secret spot. Nestled in a residential neighborhood, Loggerhead and Vista Parks is a refreshing getaway from the crowds often found along Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Not to mention, there’s an epic beach dive a stone’s throw away from shore. Parking is extremely limited with about 20 paid spots between the two parks – so get there early!

🐢 SEA TURTLE TIPS: It’s not uncommon to spot a nesting Loggerhead turtle at night (hence the name). Just remember: keep a safe distance, don’t shine a flashlight towards the turtle (including camera flashes) and never hinder their path!

Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

Address: 1100 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Website | Hours: 5 am – 2 am daily

With basketball courts, playgrounds, picnic tables, BBQ grills and jet ski rentals, it’s hard not to find something for everyone at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. Of all the public beaches in Fort Lauderdale, this is the largest and the most lively. As such, the parking lot does get extremely busy on the weekends so if you’re planning an all-day event, I recommend arriving early.

Las Olas Beach

Address: 240 Las Olas Circle, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Las Olas Beach is the epicenter of activity and the ideal spot for those seeking a party crowd in Fort Lauderdale. The beach is filled with partygoers and vacationers looking for a good time.  Just across the sandy street is the esplanade – a strip of bars, restaurants, clubs, surf shops and beach outfitters. It’s a great area for young singles and groups, but not entirely ideal for the family.

Beach at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Address: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Phone: (954) 564-4521| Website | Hours: 8 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: $6 per vehicle (2 – 8 people); $4 single occupant vehicle

For the last four years, this has been my beach spot. Quiet, relaxing, and beautiful. The best part? It’s also the cheapest!  You pay a one-time fee to park in the State Park and you’re good for the entire day. If you are seeking a calmer beach day while saving a buck on parking, I highly recommend spending your day here.

***

What’s the most exciting thing to do in Fort Lauderdale on this list? Would you prefer a trip to the art museum or the discovery and science museum? Boat ride or a beach day? I may be biased but a sightseeing cruise aboard a boat is my top choice! What’s yours? Scroll down and leave me a comment!

Don’t forget, after thoroughly exploring all the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale, head out of town on one of our top day trips from Fort Lauderdale! Better yet, why not check out Orlando next?

Fort Lauderdale often gets overlooked for the glamorous city to its south. And, although Miami is certainly worth exploring, don’t sleep on all the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale! 

After calling the city home for the last four years, I’d argue that Fort Lauderdale is even more worthy of exploring actually. 

That’s why I’ve compiled this epic list of 33 fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale – 33 incredible activities unique to Fort Lauderdale. We’ll go over the best activities, historical sites, beaches, boat rides, and world-class food in the area. 

I’ve worked hard to pack this list with loads of value for visitors and locals alike. Just see for yourself and be sure to let me know what you think in a comment afterward!

🔖 Bookmark This: If you’re wondering where to stay in Fort Lauderdale, bookmark my epic guide to the best places, hotels, and areas. Plus, for more fun ideas for excursions around the area, definitely check out my list of the best day trips around Fort Lauderdale. It even includes a day trip to another country!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

View of a sea turtle under the sea of Fort Lauderdale
Spotting a sea turtle isn’t out of the realm of possibility in Fort Lauderdale.

Address: Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308, USA | Website | 🤿 Book a snorkel and seabob tour the nearby reef

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a quaint, family-friendly beach town on the outskirts of the main city. The beach is gorgeous and serves as one of the busiest sea turtle nesting sites in the world. Additionally, about 300 feet from shore, visitors can swim to discover a dazzling coral reef below – one of the few in the world you can access directly from the beach.

🤿 SEA TURTLE SIGHTINGS: It’s commonplace to spot a sea turtle or two while snorkeling the nearby reef. If a 300-foot swim sounds like a hike for you, consider booking a Seabob / snorkel tour. The Seabob is a little machine that does the work for you to get to the reef!

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

View of the author and his wife in Riverwalk
My wife and I along the Riverwalk

Address: Riverwalk North, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, USA | ​​🛴 Book a Segway along the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Whenever my family visits town, I always bring them to the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale. And honestly, visitors aside, it’s one of my favorite things to do in Fort Lauderdale on a regular day, period.  

The scenic stroll along the New River is sprinkled with sailboats, megayachts, public parks, historical museums, swanky restaurants and classic dive bars shadowed by newly constructed skyscrapers.

👉 Local Tip: Park at Cooley’s Landing and head east to see the entire extent of the Riverwalk. Cross the river aboard the free Water Taxi river hopper or at Andrews Ave Bridge to grab an appetizer at the iconic Downtowner. On your way back, stop at The Wharf, a massive open-air bar, for a cocktail.

Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

View of a scuba diver and the underwater view of Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale has some amazing underwater views. 

Address: 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Not many people know, but Fort Lauderdale offers world-class diving and snorkeling. Three tiers of coral reef run parallel to shore just a few hundred feet from the beach. In fact, the reef off of Fort Lauderdale is some of the only coral you can find in the continental United States. Additionally, the city has 76 shipwrecks and counting giving it the nickname “Shipwreck Capital of the US”. 

If you’re able, we highly recommend trying to scuba dive. Sea Experience is a local shop conducting Discover Scuba programs for beginners. If that’s not your thing, Sea Experience also offers daily snorkel trips to a nearby shallow reef for explorers of all ages.

🐟 DID YOU KNOW? Florida is home to the world’s THIRD longest barrier reef system. It’s called the Florida Reef Tract and it runs 360 linear miles from Key West to Port St Lucie. Can you name the two reefs that are longer?

Las Olas Boulevard

View of the Las Olas Blvd signage
Las Olas Boulevard is the main strip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Address: E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Las Olas Boulevard is the epicenter of things to do in Fort Lauderdale and the primary entertainment district. The decorative and eclectic street is filled with boutiques, luxury restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops. The area can get busy, particularly at night, but during the day it’s perfect for a stroll, bike ride, or happy hour special.

Rent a Bicycle

View of a bike along the Fort Lauderdale street
Renting a bike is the best way to see all of Fort Lauderdale. 

Website | 🚴 Book a cycle tour with an experienced guide

Speaking of bike rides, one of my favorite things to do in Fort Lauderdale is to cycle around. And honestly, it may be the best way to see the city – most of the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale on this list can be done during your bike ride!

Fort Lauderdale has done a nice job paving bike lanes and providing bike rentals for visitors. Broward BCycle, a county initiative, is the most convenient bike rental. You simply unlock the bike via an app and drop it off at one of the many stations peppered throughout town! The rental costs are $5 an hour and max out at $25 for the day.

👉 Pro Tip: I recommend booking a guide to maximize your time on a bike. Your tour guide will show you the historical sites, Riverwalk arts, and other attractions in Fort Lauderdale!

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

View of nature in Fort Lauderdale’s very own central park
A slice of nature right in the middle of Fort Lauderdale! 

Address: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Phone: (954) 564-4521| Website | Hours: 8 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: $6 per vehicle (2 – 8 people); $4 single occupant vehicle; $2 per pedestrian

Fort Lauderdale’s very own central park – Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is an escape to nature amidst the urban landscape. Whenever I needed a reprieve from the fast pace of South Florida, I’d come here for a respite.

You can go on a hike or cycle the two-mile loop through thick tropical hammock. Relax in a chair along the Intracoastal Waterway as the megayachts roll on by. Enjoy the playground, a BBQ, or go for a paddle. Don’t forget to end your day with a cold brew at Park & Ocean, the park’s very own restaurant, overlooking the glimmering Atlantic Ocean.

Paddle the Venice of America

View of the author's wife having fun in paddle boarding
One of my favorite Fort Lauderdale attractions is paddling the canals! 

👉 Browse All Paddle Tours in the Venice of America

Fort Lauderdale has more than 300 miles of navigable waterway giving it yet another nickname, the “Venice of America”. And as such, many locals and tour companies provide kayaking or paddleboarding tours through the canals of Las Olas Isles, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Middle River, and the New River.

👉 Read Next: The Top Things to Do in the State of Florida

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

View of exotic plants in a garden
The greenhouse of exotic plants in the gardens, Bonnet House Museum. 

Address: 900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Phone: (954) 563-5393 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 3 pm Tues-Fri; 11 am – 4 pm Sat & Sun; Closed Mon | Entrance: $20, adults, $8, children 6 – 17, free for under 5

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a historic building in the midst of the developing Fort Lauderdale Beach. The house was built by two artists, Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett, and served as their vacation home in the Florida wild. Amazingly, it wasn’t too long ago that the home was one of few buildings standing in the area.  

Today, the house is an enriching cultural experience filled with original art, peculiar carousel figurines, unique architecture, and a beautiful flora courtyard surrounded by natural South Florida jungle.

Flamingo Gardens

View of flamboyance of flamingos in the water
Flamingos used to be endemic to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Address: 3750 S Flamingo Rd, Davie, FL 33330 | Phone: +1 954-473-2955 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | 🦩 Skip the line at Flamingo Gardens

Just west of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Flamingo Gardens brings visitors back to what natural Florida would have looked like in 1933. Today, this 60-acre wildlife sanctuary features thousands of tropical and subtropical plants and trees, bald eagles, bobcats, alligators, the elusive Florida panther, and yes, flamingos!

The gardens are really a must-visit, so much so that they also make my list of the best things to do in the South Florida region.

Everglades Holiday Park

View of the author holding a small alligator
Would you hold an alligator?

Address: 21940 Griffin Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33332 | Phone: +1 954-434-8111| Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | 🐊 Book an Everglades Airboat Tour

Your list of fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale isn’t complete without a Florida Everglades airboat tour! Everglades Holiday Park is the best of the bunch with easy transit from town out to the National Park. Spend the day learning the ecology of alligators, the Everglades and South Florida before hopping aboard for your thrilling airboat ride!

👉 Want to see more of the Everglades? Our article, Best Day Trips from Fort Lauderdale, details TWO distinct days within the famous National Park!

Best Boat Tours in Fort Lauderdale

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Water Taxi

View of people having a tour while riding a water taxi
(khairil77 / Depositphotos)

Phone: +1 954-467-6677 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 8 pm Mon-Wed; 10 am – 10 pm Thurs-Sun | 🚕 Buy your All-Day hop on hop off pass

The Water Taxi is the ultimate way to see ALL of Fort Lauderdale’s waterways. The company offers an all-day pass where you can hop on and hop off wherever you choose. Want to stop downtown? How about Fort Lauderdale Beach? A waterfront restaurant? Water Taxi will make it happen!

The Captains are entertaining, the city is a sight to see, the mansions are jaw-dropping and the yachts are even more incredible. And the best part? The ticket is super cheap compared to other boat tours in the area.

👉 Pro Tip: The Water Taxi now REQUIRES tickets to be pre-purchased. So be sure to get yours here BEFORE you try to hop aboard!

Bluefoot Pirate Adventures

View of pirate boat tour in Fort Lauderdale and a city on the background
Bluefoot Pirate Adventures consistently ranks as one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (felixtm / Depositphotos)

Address: 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Phone: (954) 530-8302 | Website | 🏴‍☠️ Set sail on the pirate adventure

The most kid and family-friendly activity in Fort Lauderdale is aboard Bluefoot Pirate Adventures. This hour-long interactive tour, complete with face paint and costumes, will take you through the canals of Fort Lauderdale as you embark on an epic pirate adventure. After the scenic ride, the culminating event of a pirate battle will commence before docking. The water cannons, live-action play, and props make it the best activity for children in Fort Lauderdale!

Las Olas Gondola

View of Las Olas Gondola owner riding a gondola
Photo: Martha Lenoir Beachem, Owner of Las Olas Gondola

Address: NE 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: +1 800-277-1390 | Website

A romantic cruise aboard a one-of-a-kind boat – Las Olas Gondola is the only TRUE gondola in town. Couples will drift down the New River as the sun sets over the city skyline. The Captain is entertaining, witty, and knowledgeable of the area to make for a memorable date night.

Jungle Queen Riverboat Tour

View of the famous jungle queen riverboat
The iconic Jungle Queen heads up the river. (fotoluminate / Depositphotos)

Address: 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Phone: +1 954-462-5596 | Website | ⛴️ Ride the Jungle Queen Riverboat

The Jungle Queen Riverboat is a Fort Lauderdale classic. Docked on Fort Lauderdale Beach, you can take the Jungle Queen all the way up the New River where you’ll unload for a comedy show, fire dancing, and an all-you-can-eat BBQ. The excursion is perfect for a date night or fun for the whole family.

PaddlePub Cycle Boat

View of the author relaxing on the  PaddlePub Cycle Boat

Phone: (954) 372-2900 | Website 

I brought my family on the PaddlePub Cycle Boat while they were visiting for one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever had on the water in Fort Lauderdale. At only $40 per person and BYOB & food, we were able to enjoy 2 hours of relaxing, affordable, fun as we cruised through the Fort Lauderdale area. Oh, and don’t worry, the boat DOES have engines so you won’t be required to cycle the entire time!

Sailing Charter

View of the blue-green ocean from the sailboat
Sailing in Fort Lauderdale provides all sorts of sights to see. 

Sail away aboard a private charter

With favorable winds, plenty of dockage, and the open ocean nearby, Fort Lauderdale is a sailing Mecca. And as a sailor myself, I can tell you it’s one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things to do in Fort Lauderdale.

⛵ NO EXPERIENCE? NO PROBLEM! Use Sailo to charter a private sailboat with Captain included.  No experience necessary. Just show up for a great son the water!

Food & Drink

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Louie Bossi’s

View of the courtyard in Louie Bossi's
The courtyard at Louie Bossi’s for brunch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

Address: 1032 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: (954) 356-6699 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 12 am Monday – Friday, 10 am – 12 am Saturday & Sunday

Louie Bossis is an Italian restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard. However, our favorite time to come here is for weekend brunch! Starting at 10 AM, you can choose from a variety of delectable breakfast foods before indulging in bottomless mimosa and bellinis!

925 Nuevo’s Cubanos

View of a cup and the wall in 925 Nuevo's Cubanos
The most authentic Cuban food in Fort Lauderdale. 

Address: 925 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311 | Phone: +1 954-806-8375 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 5 pm Mon – Wed, 7 am – 8 pm Thurs- Sat, 9 am – 5 pm Sun

925 Nuevo’s Cubanos provides one of the most fun atmospheres of any restaurant in town while also dishing up the BEST Cuban food north of Miami. Head here for lunch on the weekends and you’ll even be treated to live salsa music!  

LOCAL TIP: Ask for a complimentary Colada after your meal for a TRUE Cuban coffee!

Funky Buddha Brewery

View of assorted beers in a flight ready for tasting

Address: 1201 NE 38th St, Oakland Park, FL 33334 | Phone: +1 954-440-0046 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 10 pm Monday – Thursday, 11:30 am – 12 am Friday & Saturday, 11:30 am – 9 pm Sunday

Just north of town is Funky Buddha, one of Florida’s largest breweries and taprooms. Beer aficionados will enjoy the wide variety of craft brews including Hop Gun IPA and the famous Floridian.

Elbo Room

View of a beach bar Elbo Room in a busy corner of Las Olas Blvd and Ocean Drive
(felixtm / Depositphotos)

Address: 241 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Phone: (954) 463-4615 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 2 am Sun – Thurs, 8 am – 3 am Fri & Sat

For decades, Fort Lauderdale was synonymous with dive bars.  Although the city has moved on, The Elbo Room is a prime example of the few relics from the days of old that still exist. This cash-only beach bar sits right on the busy corner of Las Olas Blvd and Ocean Drive overlooking the turquoise waters of the Gulf Stream.  

Tacos El Papi

View of a mouthful tacos from Tacos El Papi
Head to Tacos El Papi for the best tacos in Fort Lauderdale. 

Address: 3591 N Andrews Ave, Oakland Park, FL 33309 | Phone: (954) 440-0258 | Hours: 8 am – 9 pm Mon – Thurs, 8 am – 12 am Fri – Sun

I was reluctant to add my favorite taco shop to the list because this might be Fort Lauderdale’s best-kept secret – but it’s too good to not share. Hands down, these are the best tacos I’ve had NOT in Mexico. And even then, it gives those in Mexico City a run for their money.  

I recommend coming here on a weekend evening when the owner sets up a street stand outside and blasts Latin music. It’s quite the atmosphere as you sit on some fold-up chairs in the parking lot and chow down on the most authentic Mexican cuisine in South Florida.

Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar

View of coffee, macarons, and a colorful flower on a table
Flowers, coffee, and pastries make for an unforgettable experience. 

Address: 1001 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: (954) 761-3334 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm Mon – Sat, Closed Sun

Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar is a Fort Lauderdale staple in the heart of Las Olas Blvd. The aroma of fresh flowers blended with freshly ground coffee will leave an impression that’ll last long after you’ve left. Although, it’s the wide selection of delectable pastries that’ll bring you back next time you’re in town.

Invasive Species Brewing

View of different beers reading for tasting

Address: 726 NE 2nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Website | Hours: 5 pm – 11 pm Mon – Thurs, 2 pm – 12 am Fri & Sat, 2 pm – 10 pm Sun

Invasive Species Brewing is nestled in the art district of Flagler Village, an up and coming neighborhood just north of town. The brewery is an eclectic little bar serving tasty microbrews while offering a line of food trucks outside the front door. It’s a great spot for locals and visitors to mingle while everyone enjoys a laid-back evening out.

Museums & Culture

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Historic Stranahan House Museum

View of the old fort lauderdale rock signage
The old town, including the Stranahan House, is one of many popular Fort Lauderdale attractions.

Address: 335 SE 6th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: (954) 524-4736 | Website | Tours start at 1, 2, and 3 pm | Entrance: $12 for adults

The birth of Fort Lauderdale began with Frank Stranahan, an Ohio native, back in the 1890s.  He originally built what is now known as the Historic Stranahan House Museum as a trading post for business dealings with the nearby Seminole tribe. Decades later, it is now the oldest surviving structure in the city and a great place to visit for a taste of history.

NSU Art Museum

View of the author's wife and a pink and white wall art on her background
The NSU Art Museum is one of the largest art galleries in Florida and a must-see Fort Lauderdale museum.

Address: 1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: +1 954-525-5500 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Tues – Sat, 12 pm – 5 pm Sun, Closed Mon | Entrance: $12 adults, free for kids under 12

The Modernist design of the building alone will get you excited to explore the halls within the NSU Art Museum. Exhibits are always changing, but you’ll find works by European Cobra artists and American painter William Glackens are always on display.  Additionally, many of the galleries have a heavy Latino influence highlighting Fort Lauderdale’s connection with Latin America.

Museum of Discovery and Science

View of the entrance in science museum if discovery
Fort Lauderdale’s Science Museum of Discovery is fun for the entire family. (Marina113 / Depositphotos)

Address: 401 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 | Phone: +1 954-467-6637 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, 12 pm – 5 pm Sunday | Entrance: $24 adults, $19 ages 2 – 12

Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science is a sure bet to keep your kids entertained for an entire day. They’ll get lost in the wonder on display as they learn about Florida ecology, prehistoric animals, the Florida Everglades, and the scientific method in interactive labs.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

View inside the iconic theatre in Florida
Broward Center for the Performing Arts is an iconic theatre in Florida.

Address: 201 SW 5th Ave, Fort Lauderdale FL 33312 | Phone: (954) 462-0222 | Website 

Just across the street from the Museum of Discovery and Science is the Performing Arts Broward Center. This picturesque hall is one of Florida’s premier theatres for a play, dance performance, concert, and other family-friendly events.

Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum

View of a ford fire engine bomber command
This Fort Lauderdale museum displays all sorts of neat history about brave firefighters. (klevit.shaw.ca / Depositphotos)

Address: 1022 W Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale FL 33312 | Phone: (954) 763-1005 | Website 

Built in 1927, the Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum is a unique exploration of the challenges first responders encountered 100 years ago. On display are uniforms, artifacts, and tales of major fires and emergencies throughout Fort Lauderdale’s history.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

View of the guitar hotel and the city at night
(felixtm / Depositphotos)

Address: 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL 33314 | Phone: (866) 502-7529 | Website | 👉 Book a night stay in the Guitar Hotel

Just on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale is the famous Guitar Hotel. And let’s be honest, you can’t say you’ve ever seen any other building in the world quite like this one. It’s literally shaped like a guitar with a beam of light as its axel!

The guitar’s inside is equally as impressive as the outside, resembling a city more than a hotel.  Shops, nightclubs, restaurants, concert halls, and a casino line the inside. On the outside is an impressive lagoon featuring its very own island bungalows. 

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Fort Lauderdale, this is definitely a memorable choice!

🎸 STAY IN THE GUITAR: Book a night stay in the Guitar for the full experience!

Beaches

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Boat Tours | Food & Drink | Museums & Culture | Beaches

Loggerhead and Vista Park

View of a lady, ready for some diving experience in the beach
Loggerhead and Vista Park in Fort Lauderdale, FL are a quiet reprieve from the typical beach crowds in Fort Lauderdale.

Address: 2851 N Atlantic Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 | Hours: 8 am – 8 pm daily

Two of the best beaches in Florida, just a block away from each other, are a local secret spot. Nestled in a residential neighborhood, Loggerhead and Vista Parks is a refreshing getaway from the crowds often found along Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Not to mention, there’s an epic beach dive a stone’s throw away from shore. Parking is extremely limited with about 20 paid spots between the two parks – so get there early!

🐢 SEA TURTLE TIPS: It’s not uncommon to spot a nesting Loggerhead turtle at night (hence the name). Just remember: keep a safe distance, don’t shine a flashlight towards the turtle (including camera flashes) and never hinder their path!

Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

View of the author and his wife having fun by the beach
Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is the most popular spot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for activities!

Address: 1100 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 | Website | Hours: 5 am – 2 am daily

With basketball courts, playgrounds, picnic tables, BBQ grills and jet ski rentals, it’s hard not to find something for everyone at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. Of all the public beaches in Fort Lauderdale, this is the largest and the most lively. As such, the parking lot does get extremely busy on the weekends so if you’re planning an all-day event, I recommend arriving early.

Las Olas Beach

View of the Las Olas Beach and the sunrise
Fort Lauderdale is known for its epic sunrises.

Address: 240 Las Olas Circle, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Las Olas Beach is the epicenter of activity and the ideal spot for those seeking a party crowd in Fort Lauderdale. The beach is filled with partygoers and vacationers looking for a good time.  Just across the sandy street is the esplanade – a strip of bars, restaurants, clubs, surf shops and beach outfitters. It’s a great area for young singles and groups, but not entirely ideal for the family.

Beach at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

View of the beach in hugh taylor birch state park
The beach at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Fort Lauderdale is a local’s favorite.

Address: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 | Phone: (954) 564-4521| Website | Hours: 8 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: $6 per vehicle (2 – 8 people); $4 single occupant vehicle

For the last four years, this has been my beach spot. Quiet, relaxing, and beautiful. The best part? It’s also the cheapest!  You pay a one-time fee to park in the State Park and you’re good for the entire day. If you are seeking a calmer beach day while saving a buck on parking, I highly recommend spending your day here.

***

What’s the most exciting thing to do in Fort Lauderdale on this list? Would you prefer a trip to the art museum or the discovery and science museum? Boat ride or a beach day? I may be biased but a sightseeing cruise aboard a boat is my top choice! What’s yours? Scroll down and leave me a comment!

Don’t forget, after thoroughly exploring all the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale, head out of town on one of our top day trips from Fort Lauderdale! Better yet, why not check out Orlando next?

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41 Best Places to Visit in Colorado in 2021 (By a Local!) https://travellemming.com/places-to-visit-in-colorado/ Tue, 24 Aug 2021 22:38:09 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=25273

If you’re planning a trip to Colorado, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many amazing places to visit in Colorado! 

Most people think of Colorado as one of the best places to visit for skiing and snowboarding, and they aren’t wrong. The Centennial State sports awesome resorts and great powder. 

But there is so much more to see in Colorado besides ski resorts. In summer, Colorado has just about any outdoor activity you can imagine, on land or in the water. In the fall, our autumn foliage is some of the best in the country. Along with the world-class snow sports, we also have ice fishing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, and so much more. 

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Colorado, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve lived in Colorado for years, and Travel Lemming’s founder Nate is from Denver.

I hope you are excited about our insider list of the top travel destinations in Colorado. For more inspiration, be sure to bookmark my guide to the best things to do in Colorado – it’s filled with many more awesome Colorado activities!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

41 Best Destinations to Visit in Colorado

Pikes Peak

Google Maps | Pikes Peak Website | 👉 Browse Colorado Springs Hotels on Booking

Pikes Peak towers 14,115 above the sea and you can get to the top several ways – by hiking (which is definitely a lot of work!), biking, driving, or booking a spot on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. There are also guided Jeep tours that take you to the top and give you a lot of info about the history and area also. 

Denver

Google Maps | Top Denver Things to Do | 👉 Browse Denver Hotels on Booking

The Mile High City is a great place to start your visit in Colorado, and likely your point of entry. Denver features several fantastic art museums and galleries (those mountains inspire a lot of creativity!), a science museum with amazing displays of gems and minerals found here, and lots of outdoor activities. There’s even a river for kayaking and tubing that runs right through several of Denver’s downtown neighborhoods.

If you’re a sports fan, Denver is home to six pro teams. After a day of exploring, grab a bite while admiring the historic buildings in Larimer Square.

👉 Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a place to stay in Denver, check out our ranking of the best Denver area hotels

Rocky Mountain National Park 

Google Maps | Rocky Mountain Website | 👉 Browse Hotels Near Estes Park on Booking

Rocky Mountain National Park is about a two-hour drive from Denver, but the drive and the destination both offer spectacular views! Just about every spot at the park gives you a scenic view of the Rocky Mountains, and you may spot moose, elk, marmots, and adorable pikas roaming the park. 

Trail Ridge Road is a breathtaking road through the park that climbs to more than 12,000 feet above sea level. In fact, Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuously paved highway in the U.S. RMNP is definitely one of the best places to visit in Colorado! 

👉 Pro Tip: Rocky Mountain National Park currently has a timed entry system and is requiring reservations to get into the park. Be sure to plan ahead for this visit in Colorado!

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Google Maps | Royal Gorge Website | 👉 Browse Royal Gorge Hotels on Booking

Royal Gorge’s suspension bridge crosses high above the Arkansas River, giving you amazing views of the canyon if you’re brave enough to cross. There’s also an adventure park at the gorge, featuring the highest zipline in the country, a rollercoaster, and aerial gondolas that carry you over the canyon. It’s a one-of-a-kind place to visit in Colorado and a great option for families. 

👉 If You Loved: The view from the Royal Gorge Bridge, this Jeep tour will give you another perspective…and take you over the highest suspension bridge in the whole country! 

Maroon Bells

Google Maps | Maroon Bells Website | 👉 Browse Aspen Hotels on Booking

There’s a good chance you’ve actually seen the Maroon Bells before. They’re a popular stock shot of Colorado because they’re just that awe-inspiring. They definitely rank high on the list of best places to visit in Colorado! 

👉 Pro Tip: Maroon Bells has a reservation system during the summer. You can either reserve a parking spot or a seat on the shuttle from nearby Aspen. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Google Maps | Black Canyon of the Gunnison Website | 👉 Browse Nearby Hotels on Booking

Visit the canyon of the Gunnison for hiking, fishing, or admiring the views carved out by the Gunnison River. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of the four national parks in Colorado and is in a less-developed area of the state, with the small town of Crawford about half an hour away. If you’re looking for quiet and a chance to appreciate nature, Gunnison National Park is one of the best destinations in Colorado! 

Durango

Google Maps | Durango Website | 👉 Browse Durango Hotels on Booking

Durango is in southwestern Colorado, about a six-hour drive from Denver, but with a Colorado feel all its own! There are hiking and mountain biking trails, river rafting opportunities, and scenic drives nearby. You’re also not far from Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners Monument. 

One unique Colorado experience is to hop aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train for a beautiful ride through the mountains. You can also take the San Juan Skyway and Million Dollar Highway drive, beginning in Durango. 

Silverton

Google Maps | Silverton Website | 👉 Browse Silverton Hotels on Booking

If you take the narrow-gauge train from Durango, you’ll end up in the former mining town of Silverton. The town is a National Historic Landmark, and along with being the destination of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train, it’s a stop on the San Juan Skyway as well. You can shop for souvenirs, grab a bite to eat, or head out hiking, go on a Jeep tour, or try an ATV ride. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Google Maps | Great Sand Dunes Website | 👉 Browse Great Sand Dunes Hotels on Booking

Colorado’s national parks make some of the best places to visit in Colorado! Each one will give you a quick history and science lesson about various regions, and Great Sand Dunes National Park is no exception. 

The sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park are actually the tallest dunes in North America, and visitors can hike, splash in the river (in certain seasons), and even sled down the dunes. All the while, you’re surrounded by amazing views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains just beyond the dunes. 

Boulder

Google Maps | Boulder Website | 👉 Browse Boulder Hotels on Booking

You’ll find lots of fun things to do in Boulder, a funky college town just a 45-minute drive from Denver. The area has plenty of nearby hiking trails and mountain biking paths to explore the nearby Flatirons – the flat rocks that give Boulder a striking backdrop. Pearl Street is a popular street mall, with shops, restaurants, and breweries where you can unwind after a day of outdoor activities. 

👉 Love hiking and beer? Who doesn’t? This Boulder Hike & Brews tour takes you to hike the Flatirons with an expert, then to a taproom near Pearl Street to sample a local, award-winning beer. 

Snowmass Village

Google Maps | Snowmass Website | 👉 Browse Snowmass Hotels on Booking

Lots of people only think of Colorado ski towns in winter, but they offer plenty to do year-round! Snowmass is a popular Colorado ski resort, sure, but in summer you can also hit the biking trails, or hiking or fishing. Kids will also love the activities at The Lost Forest, including an alpine coaster, a treetop challenge course, and a climbing wall.  

Colorado Springs

Google Maps | Colorado Springs Website | 👉 Browse Colorado Springs Hotels on Booking

Colorado Springs is about an hour’s drive south of Denver, and offers a great base camp for more Colorado adventures! Visit Garden of the Gods or The Broadmoor Seven Falls, or take a scenic drive up nearby Pikes Peak.

📚 Related Reading: Staying a few days in the area? Check out my list of the best day trips around Colorado Springs for more ideas!

Glenwood Springs

Google Maps | Glenwood Springs Website | 👉 Browse Glenwood Springs Hotels on Booking

Glenwood Springs sits perched in the mountains, just off I-70, and about a six-hour drive east of Denver. The town is best known for its large swimming pools that are fed by the hot springs in the area. The spring-fed pools are open year-round, and many people enjoy sitting in the warm pool during a peaceful snowfall. Glenwood Springs is popular year-round (it is one of the top hot springs in Colorado, after all).

You can also take an ATV tour or hit the nearby adventure park for a fun day in the mountains! Glenwood is also a short drive from Hanging Lake, so you can hit that hiking trail while you’re there. 

🚗 Getting There: If you’re headed to Glenwood from the Denver area, be aware that the status of I-70 could make or break your trip. Be sure to check traffic reports before you start the drive! 

Telluride

Google Maps | Telluride Website | 👉 Browse Telluride Hotels on Booking

The city of Telluride should be at the top of anyone’s list of places to visit in Colorado! It’s a long drive from Colorado’s major metro areas, but the untouched beauty of the Telluride area makes it a big draw year-round. Whether you enjoy warm or cold weather outdoor activities, you’re sure to find something to do in this gorgeous Colorado mountain town.

Grand Junction

Google Maps | Grand Junction Website | 👉 Browse Grand Junction Hotels on Booking

Grand Junction is a great spot to visit in Colorado, especially if you’re coming into the state from nearby Utah. The town of Grand Junction has its own vibe, different from Denver but very Colorado-feeling all the same! There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, along with rafting, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities. You’ll soon realize why exploring the Grand Junction area is one of the activities that also makes our list of the best stuff to do in Colorado.

Pagosa Springs

Google Maps | Pagosa Springs Website | 👉 Browse Pagosa Springs Hotels on Booking

The hot springs in Pagosa Springs make it one of the best places to visit in Colorado! Three resorts in town are fed by the Mother Spring aquifer, which is more than 1,002 feet deep – certified the world’s deepest geothermal spring. Besides the springs, Pagosa also has several impressive waterfalls you can visit, and quaint downtown shopping and dining. 

Palisade

Google Maps | Palisade Website | 👉 Browse Palisade Hotels on Booking

Palisade is near Grand Junction, but off the beaten path which makes it one of the great places to visit in Colorado! Palisade is in the heart of Colorado’s Wine Country, and you can spend a day touring wineries and vineyards. Palisade is also renowned for its delicious peaches and produce and you can schedule a farm tour as well. 

Garden of the Gods

Google Maps | Garden of the Gods Website | 👉 Browse Colorado Springs Hotels on Booking

Garden of the Gods park is one of the best places to visit in the area. The red rocks, with the Rocky Mountains behind, make a beautiful scenic picture. The hiking trails are mostly paved, so strollers and wheelchairs can be easily pushed. Look for fun formations like the Sleeping Giant and the Kissing Camels on your walk through the park.

Golden

Google Maps | Golden Website | 👉 Browse Golden Hotels on Booking

The town of Golden is about a twenty-minute drive from Denver, and one of the fun places to visit in Colorado that makes the state so unique. Most people associate Golden with the famous Coors Brewery tour, but there are also many other breweries and some distilleries in town also. You can also tube on Clear Creek, browse the quaint shops on Washington Avenue, or go hiking or mountain biking in a nearby park. 

Vail

Google Maps | Vail Website | 👉 Browse Vail Hotels on Booking

A lot of people know of Vail as one of the most popular places to visit in Colorado, thanks to its world-famous ski resorts. Don’t get me wrong, skiing is definitely a great reason to visit Vail! 

But Vail also offers great outdoor activities year-round. In summer, the ski gondolas convert for mountain biking. Vail also has gorgeous hiking trails, and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are free and a beautiful spot to wander and relax. Don’t forget about the world-class shopping and dining in the village, too!

Dinosaur National Monument

Google Maps | Dinosaur National Monument Website | 👉 Browse Dinosaur National Monument Hotels on Booking

Dinosaur National Monument is on the western edge of Colorado and actually extends into Utah as well. You will of course learn about the dinosaurs that lived here, but you’ll also be able to view petroglyphs from early people, and you can read about the settlers and outlaws who ended up in this rocky, barren region for lots of different reasons. Like the rocks, their stories are definitely colorful! 

Colorado National Monument

Google Maps | Colorado National Monument Website | 👉 Browse Grand Junction Hotels on Booking

Colorado National Monument is in Fruita, just next to Grand Junction near the western edge of Colorado. It preserves a very Western-looking landscape, and you could easily picture John Wayne riding through the canyons here! 

Take the historic Rim Rock Drive for the full view of the land, or go hiking or mountain biking in the park. Be sure to watch for bighorn sheep and eagles flying high above the park. 

Estes Park

Google Maps | Estes Park Website | 👉 Browse Estes Park Hotels on Booking

Estes Park is just outside the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park so it’s a great place to stop after visiting the park. There’s also plenty to do in the town itself! There are hiking and biking trails, or you could try horseback riding in summer, and skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and more in winter. Estes Park is nestled in the Rockies, so whatever you do, you’ll be surrounded by amazing views of the mountains. 

Breckenridge

Google Maps | Breckenridge Website | 👉 Browse Breckenridge Hotels on Booking

Breckenridge is another one of those places to visit in Colorado that usually inspires thoughts of winter ski resorts. Don’t get us wrong – there are plenty of those, and they are fantastic! But Breckenridge also features many incredible outdoor activities year-round. Summer is great for hiking and there are plenty of mountain biking trails, and winter offers great skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and sleigh rides. 

If you get a chance to visit in the fall, the colorful foliage in the mountains near Breckenridge is fleeting but unforgettable!

Mesa Verde National Park

Google Maps | Mesa Verde Website | 👉 Browse Durango Hotels on Booking

The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park are a reminder of the ingenuity of the ancient native civilizations that lived in Colorado long ago. The cliff dwellings were built with great care so that the Ancestral Pueblo people stayed warm in winter, cool in summer, and had places to preserve food and to worship and mingle. 

If you need a town nearby to base yourself out of, Mancos is less than a ten-minute drive. Durango is a bigger town with more options for lodging and is a little over half an hour away.

Ouray

Google Maps | Ouray Website | 👉 Browse Ouray Hotels on Booking

Ouray bills itself as the Switzerland of America, and the charming town tucked into the San Juan Mountains is one of the best places to see in Colorado. Try horseback riding, go rock climbing, or try your skills at Ouray’s ice park. The town also hosts an international film festival every June.

Hanging Lake

Google Maps | Hanging Lake Website | 👉 Browse Glenwood Springs Hotels on Booking

Hanging Lake is just a short drive from Glenwood Springs. The hike, too, is pretty short but pretty steep! You’re rewarded at the end with views of a beautiful lake that’s an unusual bluish-green shade. The color is due to minerals that dissolve in the lake, and to keep its pristine beauty, you’re not allowed to wade or swim in the lake.  

👉 Pro Tip: Hanging Lake now operates on a reservation system so be sure to plan ahead!

Buena Vista

The only kind of surfing you can do in landlocked Colorado!

Google Maps | Buena Vista Website | 👉 Browse Buena Vista Hotels on Booking

Buena Vista sits along the Arkansas River, making it a great place to visit in Colorado for rafting. There are several springs for relaxing in Buena Vista as well – Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa is in town, and Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort is just a short drive away. There’s also lots of fishing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and more outdoor activities!

👉 Pro Tip: Buena Vista has awesome whitewater rafting opportunities

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

Google Maps | Red Rocks Website

Red Rocks is just a twenty-minute drive from downtown Denver, but one of the best places to visit in Colorado if you’re a rock fan – both the geologic and the musical kind! The park has hiking trails where you can look for dinosaur fossils, but in the visitor center, you’ll learn about all the musical acts that have performed at Red Rocks since it was built. 

📚 Related Reading: If you’re staying in Denver, be sure to check our list of the best things to do in Denver for more ideas!

Aspen

Google Maps | Aspen Website | 👉 Browse Aspen Hotels on Booking

Aspen has a reputation of being a playground for the rich and famous, but there’s plenty to do even if you’re not a multimillionaire! You’re close to Maroon Bells and other outdoor areas. Aspen also has lots of music venues, a film festival, spas and yoga classes, horseback riding opportunities and so much more!

👉 Pro Tip: If you want to hike in the area, but don’t want to venture out on your own, this Aspen East End Light Hike takes you along hidden river trails and less traveled paths. 

Red Feather Lakes Area

Google Maps | Red Feather Lakes Website | 👉 Browse Red Feather Lakes Hotels on Booking

The Red Feather Lakes area of northern Colorado is a less-explored area of the state, which makes it an attractive option if you don’t want crowds! The Cache La Poudre River has plenty of rafting, fishing, kayaking and more water activities and the Shambhala Mountain Center is a unique Buddhist retreat where you can meditate in the midst of all this beauty.

Grand Lake

Google Maps | Grand Lake Website | 👉 Browse Grand Lake Hotels on Booking

Grand Lake is just before the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, which makes it one of the best towns to visit while you spend some time in the park. There’s also plenty to do in Grand Lake itself including boating, fishing, and hiking in summer and cross country skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing in winter.

Steamboat Springs

Google Maps | Steamboat Springs Website | 👉 Browse Steamboat Springs Hotels on Booking

Steamboat Springs is another of the best places to visit in Colorado if you want to do some skiing or snowboarding! There’s a ski resort at Steamboat, and in summer you can hike, paddleboard on the lake, swim, fish, and more.

Fort Collins

Google Maps | Fort Collins Website | 👉 Browse Fort Collins Hotels on Booking

Fort Collins is a college town that’s also known for its breweries like New Belgium Brewing Company. Their popular beer, Fat Tire, pays tribute to another popular activity – mountain biking. 

There are also trails to hike, and there’s plenty of shopping and great dining. In fact, Disneyland’s Main Street was modeled after Fort Collins’ downtown area. 

Crested Butte

Google Maps | Crested Butte Website | 👉 Browse Crested Butte Hotels on Booking

Crested Butte is one of the best places to visit in Colorado if you want to do some fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, golfing and so much more! Of course, winter in Crested Butte means skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or one-of-a-kind sleigh rides through the cold winter air. 

Leadville

Google Maps | Leadville Website | 👉 Browse Leadville Hotels on Booking

Leadville is an old mining town that’s the highest incorporated city in the U.S. Leadville is located less than half an hour from the Copper Mountain ski resort. But, for a real Colorado hidden gem, check out the even closer (and much cheaper!) Ski Cooper. Ski Cooper offers lift-accessed downhill skiing and snowboarding and is the perfect place for a kid’s first ski experience. The next-door Tennessee Pass Nordic Center also offers groomed cross-country ski trails if you want a slower pace. In summer, the area is one of the best places to visit in Colorado for fly fishing, hiking, and biking. 

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Google Maps | Visit Arkansas Headwaters Website | 👉 Browse Salida Hotels on Booking

The Arkansas Headwaters is one of the country’s most popular places for whitewater rafting and kayaking. The river also has excellent fishing, especially for rainbow trout. There are lots of other outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and watching for native Colorado wildlife in the area. The recreation area is in the town of Salida, which is a historic mountain town that’s also fun to explore.

👉 Pro Tip: Want to raft the river? This half-day Salida Canyon Rafting Tour is a great way to get your feet wet – literally!

San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway

Google Maps | San Juan Skyway Website | 👉 Browse Durango Hotels on Booking

The San Juan Skyway is a 235-mile loop through many southwestern Colorado towns. You can start in Durango, but you have the option to stay and visit, or spend the night, in towns including Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, or Cortez as well. One part of this scenic byway is known as the “Million Dollar Highway,” either because there’s still plenty of gold in them thar hills, or because the views themselves are worth a million bucks. 

Georgetown

Google Maps | Georgetown Website | 👉 Browse Georgetown Hotels on Booking

Georgetown is tucked into the mountains along I-70, just under an hour’s drive from Denver. The town has historic buildings with quaint shops and restaurants, and the drive up Guanella Pass in summer and early fall is breathtaking. You can also ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad, where you can stop for a silver mine tour or pan for gold.

📚 Read Next: If you love to travel, be sure not to miss all our guides to the best places to visit, spots to go, and destinations all around the United States. Check out our Washington state list for more inspiration on another one of the best states for outdoor lovers!

Mt. Evans Scenic Byway

Google Maps | Mt. Evans Scenic Byway Website | 👉 Browse Denver Hotels on Booking

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is about a ninety-minute drive from Denver, but well worth it! You’ll be driving on the highest paved road in North America, and as you might expect, you’ll get some amazing views. The drive ends at the top of Mt. Evans, one of Colorado’s 54 “fourteeners” – mountains that tower over 14,000 feet above sea level. Along the way, be sure to keep an eye out for mountain goats!

Oh, and be aware that Mt. Evans now requires timed entry reservations, so be sure to plan ahead. It’s not only one of the best places to visit in Colorado, but it’s one of the best attractions in the Denver area, so it fills up!

👉 Don’t miss: Our guide to the best day trips from Denver for more ideas to explore Denver and the surrounding area. 

Castle Rock

Google Maps | Castle Rock Website | 👉 Browse Castle Rock Hotels on Booking

Nestled between Denver and Colorado, Castle Rock is an often overlooked place to visit in Colorado. You’ll find more things to do in Castle Rock than you might expect: from shopping the massive outlet malls to climbing the rock that gives the city its name, to brewery hopping, and even ziplining.

Nederland

Google Maps | Nederland Website | 👉 Browse Nederland Hotels on Booking

Nederland is one of the best places to visit in Colorado during the fall. Autumn is when the leaves on the aspens are turning gorgeous shades of bright yellow all around Nederland. It’s fun the rest of the year, too, with hikes in the Indian Peaks wilderness, or skiing at the nearby Eldora Mountain Resort. Nederland is also along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, so you can take a drive for even more views.

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That’s it for some of the best places to visit in Colorado! Scroll down and leave a comment telling us your favorite Colorado destination!

If you’re staying in Denver for a while, be sure to check out our list of the best things to do in Denver. It has ideas for the whole family!

If you’re planning a trip to Colorado, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many amazing places to visit in Colorado! 

Most people think of Colorado as one of the best places to visit for skiing and snowboarding, and they aren’t wrong. The Centennial State sports awesome resorts and great powder. 

But there is so much more to see in Colorado besides ski resorts. In summer, Colorado has just about any outdoor activity you can imagine, on land or in the water. In the fall, our autumn foliage is some of the best in the country. Along with the world-class snow sports, we also have ice fishing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, and so much more. 

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Colorado, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve lived in Colorado for years, and Travel Lemming’s founder Nate is from Denver.

I hope you are excited about our insider list of the top travel destinations in Colorado. For more inspiration, be sure to bookmark my guide to the best things to do in Colorado – it’s filled with many more awesome Colorado activities!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

41 Best Destinations to Visit in Colorado

Pikes Peak

View of author and the Pikes Peak on the background
Me on the road up to Pikes Peak – it can get chilly!

Google Maps | Pikes Peak Website | 👉 Browse Colorado Springs Hotels on Booking

Pikes Peak towers 14,115 above the sea and you can get to the top several ways – by hiking (which is definitely a lot of work!), biking, driving, or booking a spot on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. There are also guided Jeep tours that take you to the top and give you a lot of info about the history and area also. 

Denver

View of TravelLemming's founder in front of the Colorado Capitol in Denver
Travel Lemming’s founder Nate in front of the Colorado Capitol in Denver

Google Maps | Top Denver Things to Do | 👉 Browse Denver Hotels on Booking

The Mile High City is a great place to start your visit in Colorado, and likely your point of entry. Denver features several fantastic art museums and galleries (those mountains inspire a lot of creativity!), a science museum with amazing displays of gems and minerals found here, and lots of outdoor activities. There’s even a river for kayaking and tubing that runs right through several of Denver’s downtown neighborhoods.

If you’re a sports fan, Denver is home to six pro teams. After a day of exploring, grab a bite while admiring the historic buildings in Larimer Square.

👉 Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a place to stay in Denver, check out our ranking of the best Denver area hotels

Rocky Mountain National Park 

Scenic View of the Rocky Mountains
There are towering peaks everywhere you look at Rocky Mountain National Park!

Google Maps | Rocky Mountain Website | 👉 Browse Hotels Near Estes Park on Booking

Rocky Mountain National Park is about a two-hour drive from Denver, but the drive and the destination both offer spectacular views! Just about every spot at the park gives you a scenic view of the Rocky Mountains, and you may spot moose, elk, marmots, and adorable pikas roaming the park. 

Trail Ridge Road is a breathtaking road through the park that climbs to more than 12,000 feet above sea level. In fact, Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuously paved highway in the U.S. RMNP is definitely one of the best places to visit in Colorado! 

👉 Pro Tip: Rocky Mountain National Park currently has a timed entry system and is requiring reservations to get into the park. Be sure to plan ahead for this visit in Colorado!

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

View of aerial gondola ride in Colorado
Take a gondola ride high above the canyon…if you dare!

Google Maps | Royal Gorge Website | 👉 Browse Royal Gorge Hotels on Booking

Royal Gorge’s suspension bridge crosses high above the Arkansas River, giving you amazing views of the canyon if you’re brave enough to cross. There’s also an adventure park at the gorge, featuring the highest zipline in the country, a rollercoaster, and aerial gondolas that carry you over the canyon. It’s a one-of-a-kind place to visit in Colorado and a great option for families. 

👉 If You Loved: The view from the Royal Gorge Bridge, this Jeep tour will give you another perspective…and take you over the highest suspension bridge in the whole country! 

Maroon Bells

View of a scenic area in Maroon Bells
You’re barely out of the parking lot before you’re hit with amazing views of Maroon Bells!

Google Maps | Maroon Bells Website | 👉 Browse Aspen Hotels on Booking

There’s a good chance you’ve actually seen the Maroon Bells before. They’re a popular stock shot of Colorado because they’re just that awe-inspiring. They definitely rank high on the list of best places to visit in Colorado! 

👉 Pro Tip: Maroon Bells has a reservation system during the summer. You can either reserve a parking spot or a seat on the shuttle from nearby Aspen. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

View of the sunset in Black Canyon

Google Maps | Black Canyon of the Gunnison Website | 👉 Browse Nearby Hotels on Booking

Visit the canyon of the Gunnison for hiking, fishing, or admiring the views carved out by the Gunnison River. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of the four national parks in Colorado and is in a less-developed area of the state, with the small town of Crawford about half an hour away. If you’re looking for quiet and a chance to appreciate nature, Gunnison National Park is one of the best destinations in Colorado! 

Durango

View of a Silverton narrow gauge train
The narrow-gauge train from Durango to Silverton is an only-in-Colorado experience!

Google Maps | Durango Website | 👉 Browse Durango Hotels on Booking

Durango is in southwestern Colorado, about a six-hour drive from Denver, but with a Colorado feel all its own! There are hiking and mountain biking trails, river rafting opportunities, and scenic drives nearby. You’re also not far from Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners Monument. 

One unique Colorado experience is to hop aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train for a beautiful ride through the mountains. You can also take the San Juan Skyway and Million Dollar Highway drive, beginning in Durango. 

Silverton

View of the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton
The views along the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Silverton

Google Maps | Silverton Website | 👉 Browse Silverton Hotels on Booking

If you take the narrow-gauge train from Durango, you’ll end up in the former mining town of Silverton. The town is a National Historic Landmark, and along with being the destination of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train, it’s a stop on the San Juan Skyway as well. You can shop for souvenirs, grab a bite to eat, or head out hiking, go on a Jeep tour, or try an ATV ride. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

View of the tallest sand dunes in North America and he Sangre De Cristo Mountains  on the background

Google Maps | Great Sand Dunes Website | 👉 Browse Great Sand Dunes Hotels on Booking

Colorado’s national parks make some of the best places to visit in Colorado! Each one will give you a quick history and science lesson about various regions, and Great Sand Dunes National Park is no exception. 

The sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park are actually the tallest dunes in North America, and visitors can hike, splash in the river (in certain seasons), and even sled down the dunes. All the while, you’re surrounded by amazing views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains just beyond the dunes. 

Boulder

View of the flatirons in Boulder Colorado
You can see how the dramatic Flatirons got their name!

Google Maps | Boulder Website | 👉 Browse Boulder Hotels on Booking

You’ll find lots of fun things to do in Boulder, a funky college town just a 45-minute drive from Denver. The area has plenty of nearby hiking trails and mountain biking paths to explore the nearby Flatirons – the flat rocks that give Boulder a striking backdrop. Pearl Street is a popular street mall, with shops, restaurants, and breweries where you can unwind after a day of outdoor activities. 

👉 Love hiking and beer? Who doesn’t? This Boulder Hike & Brews tour takes you to hike the Flatirons with an expert, then to a taproom near Pearl Street to sample a local, award-winning beer. 

Snowmass Village

View of the snowmass wilderness

Google Maps | Snowmass Website | 👉 Browse Snowmass Hotels on Booking

Lots of people only think of Colorado ski towns in winter, but they offer plenty to do year-round! Snowmass is a popular Colorado ski resort, sure, but in summer you can also hit the biking trails, or hiking or fishing. Kids will also love the activities at The Lost Forest, including an alpine coaster, a treetop challenge course, and a climbing wall.  

Colorado Springs

Panoramic view of the Garden of Gods in Colorado Spring

Google Maps | Colorado Springs Website | 👉 Browse Colorado Springs Hotels on Booking

Colorado Springs is about an hour’s drive south of Denver, and offers a great base camp for more Colorado adventures! Visit Garden of the Gods or The Broadmoor Seven Falls, or take a scenic drive up nearby Pikes Peak.

📚 Related Reading: Staying a few days in the area? Check out my list of the best day trips around Colorado Springs for more ideas!

Glenwood Springs

View of the Colorado river in Glenwood Springs

Google Maps | Glenwood Springs Website | 👉 Browse Glenwood Springs Hotels on Booking

Glenwood Springs sits perched in the mountains, just off I-70, and about a six-hour drive east of Denver. The town is best known for its large swimming pools that are fed by the hot springs in the area. The spring-fed pools are open year-round, and many people enjoy sitting in the warm pool during a peaceful snowfall. Glenwood Springs is popular year-round (it is one of the top hot springs in Colorado, after all).

You can also take an ATV tour or hit the nearby adventure park for a fun day in the mountains! Glenwood is also a short drive from Hanging Lake, so you can hit that hiking trail while you’re there. 

🚗 Getting There: If you’re headed to Glenwood from the Denver area, be aware that the status of I-70 could make or break your trip. Be sure to check traffic reports before you start the drive! 

Telluride

Scenic view of Pandora Mine Ponds in Telluride

Google Maps | Telluride Website | 👉 Browse Telluride Hotels on Booking

The city of Telluride should be at the top of anyone’s list of places to visit in Colorado! It’s a long drive from Colorado’s major metro areas, but the untouched beauty of the Telluride area makes it a big draw year-round. Whether you enjoy warm or cold weather outdoor activities, you’re sure to find something to do in this gorgeous Colorado mountain town.

Grand Junction

Overlooking view of Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction

Google Maps | Grand Junction Website | 👉 Browse Grand Junction Hotels on Booking

Grand Junction is a great spot to visit in Colorado, especially if you’re coming into the state from nearby Utah. The town of Grand Junction has its own vibe, different from Denver but very Colorado-feeling all the same! There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, along with rafting, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities. You’ll soon realize why exploring the Grand Junction area is one of the activities that also makes our list of the best stuff to do in Colorado.

Pagosa Springs

View of springs and spa in Pagosa Springs
(neilld / Depositphotos)

Google Maps | Pagosa Springs Website | 👉 Browse Pagosa Springs Hotels on Booking

The hot springs in Pagosa Springs make it one of the best places to visit in Colorado! Three resorts in town are fed by the Mother Spring aquifer, which is more than 1,002 feet deep – certified the world’s deepest geothermal spring. Besides the springs, Pagosa also has several impressive waterfalls you can visit, and quaint downtown shopping and dining. 

Palisade

View of vineyard in Palisade Wine Country

Google Maps | Palisade Website | 👉 Browse Palisade Hotels on Booking

Palisade is near Grand Junction, but off the beaten path which makes it one of the great places to visit in Colorado! Palisade is in the heart of Colorado’s Wine Country, and you can spend a day touring wineries and vineyards. Palisade is also renowned for its delicious peaches and produce and you can schedule a farm tour as well. 

Garden of the Gods

View of Garden of the Gods Park

Google Maps | Garden of the Gods Website | 👉 Browse Colorado Springs Hotels on Booking

Garden of the Gods park is one of the best places to visit in the area. The red rocks, with the Rocky Mountains behind, make a beautiful scenic picture. The hiking trails are mostly paved, so strollers and wheelchairs can be easily pushed. Look for fun formations like the Sleeping Giant and the Kissing Camels on your walk through the park.

Golden

View of the main street in Golden Colorado and its welcoming sign
Golden offers everyone a friendly welcome! (photo: mikle15 / 123rf)

Google Maps | Golden Website | 👉 Browse Golden Hotels on Booking

The town of Golden is about a twenty-minute drive from Denver, and one of the fun places to visit in Colorado that makes the state so unique. Most people associate Golden with the famous Coors Brewery tour, but there are also many other breweries and some distilleries in town also. You can also tube on Clear Creek, browse the quaint shops on Washington Avenue, or go hiking or mountain biking in a nearby park. 

Vail

View of a village in the town of Vail
(CaptureLight / Depositphotos)

Google Maps | Vail Website | 👉 Browse Vail Hotels on Booking

A lot of people know of Vail as one of the most popular places to visit in Colorado, thanks to its world-famous ski resorts. Don’t get me wrong, skiing is definitely a great reason to visit Vail! 

But Vail also offers great outdoor activities year-round. In summer, the ski gondolas convert for mountain biking. Vail also has gorgeous hiking trails, and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are free and a beautiful spot to wander and relax. Don’t forget about the world-class shopping and dining in the village, too!

Dinosaur National Monument

View of a tall red rock in Dinosaur National Monument

Google Maps | Dinosaur National Monument Website | 👉 Browse Dinosaur National Monument Hotels on Booking

Dinosaur National Monument is on the western edge of Colorado and actually extends into Utah as well. You will of course learn about the dinosaurs that lived here, but you’ll also be able to view petroglyphs from early people, and you can read about the settlers and outlaws who ended up in this rocky, barren region for lots of different reasons. Like the rocks, their stories are definitely colorful! 

Colorado National Monument

Scenic view of rocky mountains in Colorado National Monument at sunset

Google Maps | Colorado National Monument Website | 👉 Browse Grand Junction Hotels on Booking

Colorado National Monument is in Fruita, just next to Grand Junction near the western edge of Colorado. It preserves a very Western-looking landscape, and you could easily picture John Wayne riding through the canyons here! 

Take the historic Rim Rock Drive for the full view of the land, or go hiking or mountain biking in the park. Be sure to watch for bighorn sheep and eagles flying high above the park. 

Estes Park

View of Este Park in a winter night

Google Maps | Estes Park Website | 👉 Browse Estes Park Hotels on Booking

Estes Park is just outside the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park so it’s a great place to stop after visiting the park. There’s also plenty to do in the town itself! There are hiking and biking trails, or you could try horseback riding in summer, and skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and more in winter. Estes Park is nestled in the Rockies, so whatever you do, you’ll be surrounded by amazing views of the mountains. 

Breckenridge

View of Travel Lemming's founder beside Breckinridge troll
Travel Lemming’s founder Nate with the Breckenridge troll

Google Maps | Breckenridge Website | 👉 Browse Breckenridge Hotels on Booking

Breckenridge is another one of those places to visit in Colorado that usually inspires thoughts of winter ski resorts. Don’t get us wrong – there are plenty of those, and they are fantastic! But Breckenridge also features many incredible outdoor activities year-round. Summer is great for hiking and there are plenty of mountain biking trails, and winter offers great skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and sleigh rides. 

If you get a chance to visit in the fall, the colorful foliage in the mountains near Breckenridge is fleeting but unforgettable!

Mesa Verde National Park

View of a cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park
Amazing cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.

Google Maps | Mesa Verde Website | 👉 Browse Durango Hotels on Booking

The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park are a reminder of the ingenuity of the ancient native civilizations that lived in Colorado long ago. The cliff dwellings were built with great care so that the Ancestral Pueblo people stayed warm in winter, cool in summer, and had places to preserve food and to worship and mingle. 

If you need a town nearby to base yourself out of, Mancos is less than a ten-minute drive. Durango is a bigger town with more options for lodging and is a little over half an hour away.

Ouray

View of Ouray Town and the rocky mountains around it

Google Maps | Ouray Website | 👉 Browse Ouray Hotels on Booking

Ouray bills itself as the Switzerland of America, and the charming town tucked into the San Juan Mountains is one of the best places to see in Colorado. Try horseback riding, go rock climbing, or try your skills at Ouray’s ice park. The town also hosts an international film festival every June.

Hanging Lake

View of a bluish-green shade lake in Hanging Lake

Google Maps | Hanging Lake Website | 👉 Browse Glenwood Springs Hotels on Booking

Hanging Lake is just a short drive from Glenwood Springs. The hike, too, is pretty short but pretty steep! You’re rewarded at the end with views of a beautiful lake that’s an unusual bluish-green shade. The color is due to minerals that dissolve in the lake, and to keep its pristine beauty, you’re not allowed to wade or swim in the lake.  

👉 Pro Tip: Hanging Lake now operates on a reservation system so be sure to plan ahead!

Buena Vista

View of people trying river surfing in Arkansas River

The only kind of surfing you can do in landlocked Colorado!

Google Maps | Buena Vista Website | 👉 Browse Buena Vista Hotels on Booking

Buena Vista sits along the Arkansas River, making it a great place to visit in Colorado for rafting. There are several springs for relaxing in Buena Vista as well – Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa is in town, and Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort is just a short drive away. There’s also lots of fishing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and more outdoor activities!

👉 Pro Tip: Buena Vista has awesome whitewater rafting opportunities

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

View of the famous Red Rocks amphitheater

Google Maps | Red Rocks Website

Red Rocks is just a twenty-minute drive from downtown Denver, but one of the best places to visit in Colorado if you’re a rock fan – both the geologic and the musical kind! The park has hiking trails where you can look for dinosaur fossils, but in the visitor center, you’ll learn about all the musical acts that have performed at Red Rocks since it was built. 

📚 Related Reading: If you’re staying in Denver, be sure to check our list of the best things to do in Denver for more ideas!

Aspen

View of Aspen Town before night time

Google Maps | Aspen Website | 👉 Browse Aspen Hotels on Booking

Aspen has a reputation of being a playground for the rich and famous, but there’s plenty to do even if you’re not a multimillionaire! You’re close to Maroon Bells and other outdoor areas. Aspen also has lots of music venues, a film festival, spas and yoga classes, horseback riding opportunities and so much more!

👉 Pro Tip: If you want to hike in the area, but don’t want to venture out on your own, this Aspen East End Light Hike takes you along hidden river trails and less traveled paths. 

Red Feather Lakes Area

View of Cache La Poudre River

Google Maps | Red Feather Lakes Website | 👉 Browse Red Feather Lakes Hotels on Booking

The Red Feather Lakes area of northern Colorado is a less-explored area of the state, which makes it an attractive option if you don’t want crowds! The Cache La Poudre River has plenty of rafting, fishing, kayaking and more water activities and the Shambhala Mountain Center is a unique Buddhist retreat where you can meditate in the midst of all this beauty.

Grand Lake

Panoramic view of the shadow mountain lake

Google Maps | Grand Lake Website | 👉 Browse Grand Lake Hotels on Booking

Grand Lake is just before the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, which makes it one of the best towns to visit while you spend some time in the park. There’s also plenty to do in Grand Lake itself including boating, fishing, and hiking in summer and cross country skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing in winter.

Steamboat Springs

View of steamboat springs during fall season

Google Maps | Steamboat Springs Website | 👉 Browse Steamboat Springs Hotels on Booking

Steamboat Springs is another of the best places to visit in Colorado if you want to do some skiing or snowboarding! There’s a ski resort at Steamboat, and in summer you can hike, paddleboard on the lake, swim, fish, and more.

Fort Collins

View of main street in Fort Collins at night
(photo: pixelsaway / 123rf)

Google Maps | Fort Collins Website | 👉 Browse Fort Collins Hotels on Booking

Fort Collins is a college town that’s also known for its breweries like New Belgium Brewing Company. Their popular beer, Fat Tire, pays tribute to another popular activity – mountain biking. 

There are also trails to hike, and there’s plenty of shopping and great dining. In fact, Disneyland’s Main Street was modeled after Fort Collins’ downtown area. 

Crested Butte

View of flower fields along the way to Crested Butte
Gorgeous mountain flowers near Crested Butte

Google Maps | Crested Butte Website | 👉 Browse Crested Butte Hotels on Booking

Crested Butte is one of the best places to visit in Colorado if you want to do some fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, golfing and so much more! Of course, winter in Crested Butte means skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or one-of-a-kind sleigh rides through the cold winter air. 

Leadville

View of an old church in Leadville Town

Google Maps | Leadville Website | 👉 Browse Leadville Hotels on Booking

Leadville is an old mining town that’s the highest incorporated city in the U.S. Leadville is located less than half an hour from the Copper Mountain ski resort. But, for a real Colorado hidden gem, check out the even closer (and much cheaper!) Ski Cooper. Ski Cooper offers lift-accessed downhill skiing and snowboarding and is the perfect place for a kid’s first ski experience. The next-door Tennessee Pass Nordic Center also offers groomed cross-country ski trails if you want a slower pace. In summer, the area is one of the best places to visit in Colorado for fly fishing, hiking, and biking. 

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Close up view of the Arkansas River
The Arkansas River, up close and personal!

Google Maps | Visit Arkansas Headwaters Website | 👉 Browse Salida Hotels on Booking

The Arkansas Headwaters is one of the country’s most popular places for whitewater rafting and kayaking. The river also has excellent fishing, especially for rainbow trout. There are lots of other outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and watching for native Colorado wildlife in the area. The recreation area is in the town of Salida, which is a historic mountain town that’s also fun to explore.

👉 Pro Tip: Want to raft the river? This half-day Salida Canyon Rafting Tour is a great way to get your feet wet – literally!

San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway

View of San Juan skyway hairpin bend

Google Maps | San Juan Skyway Website | 👉 Browse Durango Hotels on Booking

The San Juan Skyway is a 235-mile loop through many southwestern Colorado towns. You can start in Durango, but you have the option to stay and visit, or spend the night, in towns including Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, or Cortez as well. One part of this scenic byway is known as the “Million Dollar Highway,” either because there’s still plenty of gold in them thar hills, or because the views themselves are worth a million bucks. 

Georgetown

View of the 6th street in Georgetown
(photo: pixelsaway / 123rf)

Google Maps | Georgetown Website | 👉 Browse Georgetown Hotels on Booking

Georgetown is tucked into the mountains along I-70, just under an hour’s drive from Denver. The town has historic buildings with quaint shops and restaurants, and the drive up Guanella Pass in summer and early fall is breathtaking. You can also ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad, where you can stop for a silver mine tour or pan for gold.

📚 Read Next: If you love to travel, be sure not to miss all our guides to the best places to visit, spots to go, and destinations all around the United States. Check out our Washington state list for more inspiration on another one of the best states for outdoor lovers!

Mt. Evans Scenic Byway

View of wild mountain goats living in Mount Evans
Keep an eye out for mountain goats at Mt. Evans!

Google Maps | Mt. Evans Scenic Byway Website | 👉 Browse Denver Hotels on Booking

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is about a ninety-minute drive from Denver, but well worth it! You’ll be driving on the highest paved road in North America, and as you might expect, you’ll get some amazing views. The drive ends at the top of Mt. Evans, one of Colorado’s 54 “fourteeners” – mountains that tower over 14,000 feet above sea level. Along the way, be sure to keep an eye out for mountain goats!

Oh, and be aware that Mt. Evans now requires timed entry reservations, so be sure to plan ahead. It’s not only one of the best places to visit in Colorado, but it’s one of the best attractions in the Denver area, so it fills up!

👉 Don’t miss: Our guide to the best day trips from Denver for more ideas to explore Denver and the surrounding area. 

Castle Rock

Aerial view of Castle Rock Downtown during Christmas season

Google Maps | Castle Rock Website | 👉 Browse Castle Rock Hotels on Booking

Nestled between Denver and Colorado, Castle Rock is an often overlooked place to visit in Colorado. You’ll find more things to do in Castle Rock than you might expect: from shopping the massive outlet malls to climbing the rock that gives the city its name, to brewery hopping, and even ziplining.

Nederland

View of sunrise on lost lake in Nederland

Google Maps | Nederland Website | 👉 Browse Nederland Hotels on Booking

Nederland is one of the best places to visit in Colorado during the fall. Autumn is when the leaves on the aspens are turning gorgeous shades of bright yellow all around Nederland. It’s fun the rest of the year, too, with hikes in the Indian Peaks wilderness, or skiing at the nearby Eldora Mountain Resort. Nederland is also along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, so you can take a drive for even more views.

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That’s it for some of the best places to visit in Colorado! Scroll down and leave a comment telling us your favorite Colorado destination!

If you’re staying in Denver for a while, be sure to check out our list of the best things to do in Denver. It has ideas for the whole family!

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Where to Stay in Denver, By an Area Local [2021] https://travellemming.com/where-to-stay-in-denver/ Tue, 03 Aug 2021 19:03:06 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=22682

Denver is quickly becoming one of the hottest cities in America for tourism, which leaves many people wondering where to stay in Denver.

I am a Colorado local who has spent years living in many different areas in Denver. These days I travel the world full time and write about it on this blog, but every time I come home I take a moment to take stock of how the different parts of Denver are changing.

And I can assure you of one thing: where you choose to stay in Denver will have a big impact on how much you enjoy your trip to the Mile High City. So to help you out, I created this local’s guide to staying in Denver, as well as a separate post where I rank the best hotels in Denver.

Oh, and before you dive in, be sure to bookmark my list of the best day trips from Denver, which is filled with awesome excursions from the Mile High City, and my epic list of the top Denver activities.

Best Places to Stay

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Denver? Here are my top picks:

If you want to deep-dive further, go check out my mega post on the best hotels in Denver. Otherwise, let’s dive into the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Denver.

9 Best Areas to Stay in Denver

Denver is composed of dozens of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. See this map to get a sense of how the city is broken down. There are technically 78 Denver neighborhoods, far too many to cover fairly in this guide. Instead, I’ll cover the 9 Denver neighborhoods that are most popular with visitors and tourists. If you’re looking to move to Denver, I’d suggest you instead see my guide to the best Denver neighborhoods to buy, rent, or live in 2021.

1. Union Station / Lower Downtown (“LoDo”)

👉 Best Area For First Timers and Tourists | ✨ Best LoDo Hotels: The MavenThe CrawfordThe Oxford

Since 2014, when the historic train station re-opened to the public after a major renovation project, Union Station has quickly established itself as the cultural heart of Lower Downtown (“LoDo”) Denver. If you are figuring out where to stay in Denver, and want to be in the center of it all, Lower Downtown is the area for you.

The surrounding neighborhood consists largely older warehouse-style buildings to the east of the station and newer construction to the west, all filled with some of Denver’s best restaurants, boutique shops, bars, hotels, and Coors Field (home to the Colorado Rockies baseball team). 

If you can afford it, my top recommendation for first-time visitors is that the Lower Downtown area is the best neighborhood to stay in Denver! You’ll be in the middle of it, all with easy access to transportation options, fine dining, sports and performances, nightlife, and the most vibrant parts of the city.

Pros of Staying in LoDo / Union Station Neighborhood:

  • Located in the center of the action
  • Tons of restaurants and bars
  • Easy to walk to much of the city, a short Uber or scooter ride to the rest

Cons of Staying in LoDo / Union Station Neighborhood :

  • Hotels are relatively expensive

📚 Union Station Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for First Timers
Google Map

2. Five Points / RiNo

👉 Best Area For Nightlife and Art | ✨ Best RiNo Hotels: The Ramble The Source Hotel

Just north of Union Station lies Five Points, one of Denver’s most historic neighborhoods and probably the best neighborhood to stay in Denver for nightlife. At one point it was known as the “Harlem of the West,” with discriminatory housing laws in the rest of the city resulting in this neighborhood becoming the focal point of the city’s African American community. In recent years, Five Points has been the target of heavy development and gentrification, with the areas along Larimer and Lawrence streets, in particular, seeing a boom in construction projects over the past five years.

Today, Five Points (aka River North or RiNo) is home to a growing number of hot clubs, cool breweries, and fun and innovative dining options like Denver Central Market, where restaurants, a deli, a cafe, and an ice cream shop all share a single roof, with colorful art in the back alley. RiNo is a great place to spend your evenings while traveling to Denver and this could be your best area to stay in Denver if nightlife and dining are on the top of your list of things to do while in Denver.

Pros of Staying in RiNo Neighborhood:

  • Best nightlife area in town
  • Solid restaurants, great street art
  • A fun and lively area

Cons of Staying in RiNo Neighborhood :

  • Nightlife means it can get loud on weekends
  • Things are spread out, so walking to downtown is a bit of a hike

📚 Five Points / River North Mini Guide 📚
Best for Nightlife and Art
Google Map

3. Cherry Creek

👉 Best Area For Luxury Travel and Shopping | ✨ Best Cheery Creek Hotels: Halycon HotelThe Jacquard Autograph Collection

The Denver Cherry Creek neighborhood is best known for its high-end residential units, as well as it’s enormous shopping complex by the same name. There are also a number of dining options here, though quite a few of them fall into the chain variety. Denver’s Cherry Creek is the best area to stay in Denver if you’re intent on doing a lot of shopping or if you want a high-end hotel outside of downtown Denver. Otherwise, I’d candidly recommend giving it a pass as it can feel a bit sterile to visitors.

Pros of Staying in the Cherry Creek Neighborhood:

  • Large, clean, expansive streets that are great for walking
  • TONS of shopping options
  • The most high-end/luxury part of town

Cons of Staying in the Cherry Creek Neighborhood :

  • It’s far from everything – you’ll definitely need a car or frequent Ubers

📚 Cherry Creek Mini Guide 📚
Best for Luxury Travelers, Shopers
Google Map

4. Central Business District (CBD)

👉 Best Area For Business Travel & Conventions | ✨ Best CBD Hotels: Le Meridien HotelThe Brown Palace Hotel

Sporting soaring office skyscrapers and a long pedestrian mall along 16th street (complete with a free shuttle service that runs the entire length of downtown Denver from the Capitol to Union Station), the Central Business District is the center of Denver’s growing business community. It’s also home to the Denver Convention Center, a huge multipurpose space that plays host to a wide variety of conferences and events (including the annual Great American Beer Festival), and the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

If you are traveling to Denver on business or for a convention, the many hotels in Denver’s Central Business District neighborhood make for a convenient option. But, in my opinion, the area can be a little dull at night (because almost nobody actually lives here). This is really only the best area to stay in Denver for business travelers, those loyal to a particular hotel chain, or those who plan to spend all of their time at the Colorado Convention Center.

Pros of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood:

  • Great for attending conventions
  • Close to downtown office buildings
  • Lots of Denver attractions within walking distance

Cons of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood :

  • Not a residential area, so can feel a little dead at night (especially on weekdays)

📚 Central Business District Mini Guide 📚
Best for Business Travelers, Convention Attendees
Google Map

5. Capitol Hill

👉 Best Area For Budget Travelers | ✨ Best Capitol Hill Hotels: The Art Hotel Denver

Home to the Colorado State Capitol and the Molly Brown House Museum, Capitol Hill is a blend of residential housing (largely townhomes and low-rise apartment buildings) and gritty but more affordable nightlife and dining options.

Denver’s Capitol Hill is also home to some of the more interesting stretches of Colfax Avenue, which Playboy once called “the longest, wickedest street in America,” and where you can find tattoo parlors, marijuana dispensaries, and run-down liquor stores nestled between trendy breweries and value dining options.

If you’re the kind of traveler who likes Williamsburg or Silverlake, or if you’re just looking for an affordable but central alternative to the city’s more expensive neighborhoods, you’ll love Capitol Hill. Despite its grit, Capitol Hill is the best place to stay in Denver on a budget.

Pros of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood:

  • Great for attending conventions
  • Close to downtown office buildings
  • Lots of Denver attractions within walking distance

Cons of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood :

  • Not a residential area, so can feel a little dead at night (especially on weekdays)

📚 Capitol Hill Mini Guide 📚
Best for Budget Travelers
Google Map

  • Best HotelThe Art Hotel Denver
  • 🍽️ Where to EatCity O’ City ($$), Jelly ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Hudson Hill
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Colorado State Capitol, Molly Brown House, Colfax Avenue

6. Lower Highlands / LoHi

👉 Best Area For Families | ✨ Best LoHi Hotels: Life HouseFairfield Inn & Suites

LoHi was my home for many years and is still one of the hottest residential locations in Denver. Highlands — as the name suggests — is located up a bit of a hill that gives many spots stunning vistas of the downtown Denver skyline. The southern part of the neighborhood, often called “LoHi,” is home to some of the most expensive restaurants and bars in the city, including the ever-trendy Linger, which is set in a former mortuary. There is also a stretch of cool bars, restaurants, and shops further north in Highlands along Tennyson Avenue.

The neighborhood is a great base for those looking for a quieter scene, as LoHi tends to calm down a bit after sunset. There are a number of larger Airbnbs on offer here, as well as mid-market hotels fronting Speer Avenue that may offer value given their proximity to downtown Denver, such as the solid Fairfield Inn & Suites. Don’t miss ice cream at the iconic Little Man, where servers scoop up the good stuff from a building shaped like a milk can. 

Pros of Staying in the LoHi Neighborhood:

  • Amazing restaurants
  • Reasonably close to downtown
  • Lively but still quiet at night
  • Has a great residential ambiance, with lots of greenery, parks, and fewer cars

Cons of Staying in the LoHi Neighborhood :

  • The hill makes the walk back from downtown a bit of a chore

📚 LoHi Mini Guide 📚
Best for Families
Google Map

7. Uptown / North Capitol Hill

👉 Best Area For Longer Term Stays | ✨ Best Uptown Hotels: The Warwick

The smaller Uptown residential neighborhood is a quick walk away from Denver’s CBD, and a good value option for those visiting on business or looking to move to Denver (I lived here for years, and in fact still own a home there). Though not as lively as the surrounding neighborhoods, there is a mini-stretch of dining and nightlife along 17th Avenue that can still “Uptown funk you up.”

If you want to hang out on Colfax without having to actually stay on Colfax, or if you need to be downtown but want a little more character in your neighborhood, Uptown is a good area to stay in Denver for you. Don’t miss Ace, where modern Asian food, stylish but affordable cocktails, and ping pong (yes, ping pong!) all combine in an unexpected mix that works much better than it sounds.

Pros of Staying in the Uptown Neighborhood:

  • A very residential area with lots of locals
  • Pretty centrally located

Cons of Staying in the Uptown Neighborhood :

  • Fewer hotels to choose from

📚 Uptown Mini Guide 📚
Best for Longer Term Stays in Denver
Google Map

  • Best HotelWarwick Denver
  • 🍽️ Where to EatStueben’s Uptown ($$), Watercourse ($$, plant-based)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Ace, Park & Co
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Ogden Theatre

8. Baker / South Broadway

👉 Best Area For Young Professionals | ✨ Best Uptown Hotels: Towne Place Suites by Marriott

In recent years, the area along South Broadway has become the hip spot for Denver’s younger professional set. The anchor attraction here is Punch Bowl Social, a huge complex that includes a restaurant, several bars, a bowling alley, shuffleboard, and an upstairs game room. But you’ll also want to check out the rest of the many smaller, hip joints that dot South Broadway from 1st Street down to Alameda Avenue.

From swank restaurants to cheap eats, there are plenty of places to grab a bite. And if you’re in a shopping mood, skip the chain stores and check out the many incredible boutiques that line South Broadway. If you want a fun area to stay in Denver outside of downtown, this is it (along with RiNo). Note that most of the accommodation in the area is Airbnbs, are there aren’t a ton of hotel options. The one exception is the Towne Place Suites by Marriott which is a decent budget option if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in Denver.

Pros of Staying in the Baker / South Broadway Neighborhood:

  • South Broadway is filled with lots of fun bars, restaurants, and shops
  • Still pretty quiet once you are a block away from South Broadway
  • Always a pretty lively area

Cons of Staying in the Baker / South Broadway Neighborhood :

  • Fewer hotels to choose from
  • Far from much of the rest of Denver

📚 South Broadway Mini Guide 📚
Best for Millennials, Young Professionals
Google Map

9. Washington Park

👉 Best Area For Families and Outdoors (But no hotels!)

Home to many students and younger families, the Washington Park (“Wash Park”) neighborhood is a residential area set around the expansive park by the same name, which is worth a visit while traveling to Denver — especially during good weather, when the park comes alive with bikers, runners, skaters, basketball players, and more.

Although it is a wonderful Denver neighborhood, it’s a little far out from the rest of the city, so I wouldn’t recommend staying in Washington Park unless you have a car or willing to spend some time taking Denver public transportation. The other problem is that there are no hotels in Washington Park, so you’d need to get an apartment rental to stay in this neighborhood in Denver.

Pros of Staying in the Washington Park Neighborhood:

  • The park is huge and a great place to get outdoors in the city
  • Very pet friendly

Cons of Staying in the Washington Park Neighborhood :

  • Zero hotels to choose from, so you’ll need an apartment rental
  • Very far from the rest of Denver (you’ll definitely need a car or bike)

📚 Washington Park Mini Guide 📚
Best for Families, Outdoors Types
Google Map

  • 🍽️ Where to EatSushi Den ($$$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Washington Park Grille
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Washington Park, the nearby South Pearl Street dining area

4 Tips for Where to Stay in Denver

Tip 1 – Don’t Stay at Denver International Airport

If you are new to Denver and searching for hotels on many booking sites, you may be tempted by relatively good deals for hotels near Denver International Airport (DIA). Unless you are specifically coming for a conference that takes place in one of those hotels, or unless you are just transiting through DIA, do NOT stay at or near DIA. The airport in Denver is ridiculously far from the city, owing to the location of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, so staying at the airport means being isolated from pretty much anything else in town.

Tip 2 – No, It’s Not Just You, Denver Hotels Are Really Expensive

A lot of people come to Denver thinking the town will make for a great budget vacation destination. That may have been true a decade ago, but these days Denver is one of the most popular business and travel locations in the United States. Prices for Denver accommodation reflect the city’s popularity, so it’s pretty much impossible to find any true “budget” hotels in Denver. A “good deal” in Denver these days is pretty much any hotel under $250/night. In fact, there really isn’t even a single neighborhood in Denver where you can find truly budget hotel stays, although the Capitol Hill area comes closest.

Denver is the most expensive part of the state by far. If you’re on a budget and have the flexibility to check out other destinations in Colorado, consider visiting one of the many other places to visit in Colorado instead. There are a lot of activities to do in Colorado beyond just Denver!

Tip 3 – And You May Save Money by Paying More

A lot of travelers are penny wise, pound foolish when it comes to booking accommodation. Don’t get a hotel that is really from downtown just because it cost $20 less per night. You will easily end up spending more than that on transportation costs to get around. Instead, you can actually end up saving money by staying in one of my recommended areas in Denver, even if it means paying a bit more for your hotel, becuase it will put you in walking or public transit proximity to the many things to do in Denver (most of which are centered around the core of the city).

Tip 4 – Denver’s Neighborhoods Use Many Different Names

Note that one confusing thing about Denver’s neighborhoods is that the “official” terms for some of the more popular neighborhoods don’t necessarily align with the terms that locals will throw around. For example, in recent years the slang “RiNo” (standing for “River North”) has come to be used to describe large portions of the historic neighborhood Five Point (astute travelers will observe that the newer slang terms often correspond to gentrifying areas).

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best area to stay in Denver?

The best overall area to stay in Denver is the Lower Downtown neighborhood, also known as “LoDo” or Union Station. Other top areas to stay include Five Points and the Central Business District.

Where should I stay in Denver for vacation?

If you are coming to Denver for tourism, great areas to stay include Lower Downtown, Capitol Hill, or the Five Points neighborhood.

Is Denver a walkable city?

Denver is a somewhat walkable city, with an overall Walk Score of 61 according to WalkScore.com. For tourists to Denver, many attractions are within walking distance, although it greatly helps to have a rental car if you can.

Where should I not stay in Denver?

Areas to avoid staying in Denver as a tourist include anywhere that is too far from downtown Denver, as well as the northern parts of the city between City Park and Five Points (which have some of the higher crime rates in the city). It is also generally inconvenient to stay at Denver International Airport as the airport is located far from the city.

***

That’s it for this guide to where to stay in Denver. If you have any questions or any need personalized advice, feel free to scroll down and leave a comment. You’ll just want to bookmark this page and check back for my response (I try to respond within a day).

Enjoy the Mile High City!

Denver is quickly becoming one of the hottest cities in America for tourism, which leaves many people wondering where to stay in Denver.

I am a Colorado local who has spent years living in many different areas in Denver. These days I travel the world full time and write about it on this blog, but every time I come home I take a moment to take stock of how the different parts of Denver are changing.

And I can assure you of one thing: where you choose to stay in Denver will have a big impact on how much you enjoy your trip to the Mile High City. So to help you out, I created this local’s guide to staying in Denver, as well as a separate post where I rank the best hotels in Denver.

Oh, and before you dive in, be sure to bookmark my list of the best day trips from Denver, which is filled with awesome excursions from the Mile High City, and my epic list of the top Denver activities.

Best Places to Stay

The author at one of the top places to stay in Denver
You can’t go wrong staying at the incredible historic The Oxford Hotel!

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Denver? Here are my top picks:

If you want to deep-dive further, go check out my mega post on the best hotels in Denver. Otherwise, let’s dive into the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Denver.

9 Best Areas to Stay in Denver

Denver is composed of dozens of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. See this map to get a sense of how the city is broken down. There are technically 78 Denver neighborhoods, far too many to cover fairly in this guide. Instead, I’ll cover the 9 Denver neighborhoods that are most popular with visitors and tourists. If you’re looking to move to Denver, I’d suggest you instead see my guide to the best Denver neighborhoods to buy, rent, or live in 2021.

1. Union Station / Lower Downtown (“LoDo”)

View of the lobby of The Maven in the LoDo area of Denver
Downstairs from The Maven Hotel you’ll find Dairy Block, one of the coolest “micro-districts” in Denver

👉 Best Area For First Timers and Tourists | ✨ Best LoDo Hotels: The MavenThe CrawfordThe Oxford

Since 2014, when the historic train station re-opened to the public after a major renovation project, Union Station has quickly established itself as the cultural heart of Lower Downtown (“LoDo”) Denver. If you are figuring out where to stay in Denver, and want to be in the center of it all, Lower Downtown is the area for you.

The surrounding neighborhood consists largely older warehouse-style buildings to the east of the station and newer construction to the west, all filled with some of Denver’s best restaurants, boutique shops, bars, hotels, and Coors Field (home to the Colorado Rockies baseball team). 

If you can afford it, my top recommendation for first-time visitors is that the Lower Downtown area is the best neighborhood to stay in Denver! You’ll be in the middle of it, all with easy access to transportation options, fine dining, sports and performances, nightlife, and the most vibrant parts of the city.

Pros of Staying in LoDo / Union Station Neighborhood:

  • Located in the center of the action
  • Tons of restaurants and bars
  • Easy to walk to much of the city, a short Uber or scooter ride to the rest

Cons of Staying in LoDo / Union Station Neighborhood :

  • Hotels are relatively expensive

📚 Union Station Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for First Timers
Google Map

2. Five Points / RiNo

Colorful street art in RiNo district Denver
The alley behind Denver Central Market

👉 Best Area For Nightlife and Art | ✨ Best RiNo Hotels: The Ramble The Source Hotel

Just north of Union Station lies Five Points, one of Denver’s most historic neighborhoods and probably the best neighborhood to stay in Denver for nightlife. At one point it was known as the “Harlem of the West,” with discriminatory housing laws in the rest of the city resulting in this neighborhood becoming the focal point of the city’s African American community. In recent years, Five Points has been the target of heavy development and gentrification, with the areas along Larimer and Lawrence streets, in particular, seeing a boom in construction projects over the past five years.

Today, Five Points (aka River North or RiNo) is home to a growing number of hot clubs, cool breweries, and fun and innovative dining options like Denver Central Market, where restaurants, a deli, a cafe, and an ice cream shop all share a single roof, with colorful art in the back alley. RiNo is a great place to spend your evenings while traveling to Denver and this could be your best area to stay in Denver if nightlife and dining are on the top of your list of things to do while in Denver.

Pros of Staying in RiNo Neighborhood:

  • Best nightlife area in town
  • Solid restaurants, great street art
  • A fun and lively area

Cons of Staying in RiNo Neighborhood :

  • Nightlife means it can get loud on weekends
  • Things are spread out, so walking to downtown is a bit of a hike

📚 Five Points / River North Mini Guide 📚
Best for Nightlife and Art
Google Map

3. Cherry Creek

View of the author at the Halcyon in Cherry Creek Denver
The apartment-style rooms at the Halcyon are amazing!

👉 Best Area For Luxury Travel and Shopping | ✨ Best Cheery Creek Hotels: Halycon HotelThe Jacquard Autograph Collection

The Denver Cherry Creek neighborhood is best known for its high-end residential units, as well as it’s enormous shopping complex by the same name. There are also a number of dining options here, though quite a few of them fall into the chain variety. Denver’s Cherry Creek is the best area to stay in Denver if you’re intent on doing a lot of shopping or if you want a high-end hotel outside of downtown Denver. Otherwise, I’d candidly recommend giving it a pass as it can feel a bit sterile to visitors.

Pros of Staying in the Cherry Creek Neighborhood:

  • Large, clean, expansive streets that are great for walking
  • TONS of shopping options
  • The most high-end/luxury part of town

Cons of Staying in the Cherry Creek Neighborhood :

  • It’s far from everything – you’ll definitely need a car or frequent Ubers

📚 Cherry Creek Mini Guide 📚
Best for Luxury Travelers, Shopers
Google Map

4. Central Business District (CBD)

View of Denver Convention Center and Blue Bear
The Blue Bear outside the Denver Convention Center in Denver’s CBD

👉 Best Area For Business Travel & Conventions | ✨ Best CBD Hotels: Le Meridien HotelThe Brown Palace Hotel

Sporting soaring office skyscrapers and a long pedestrian mall along 16th street (complete with a free shuttle service that runs the entire length of downtown Denver from the Capitol to Union Station), the Central Business District is the center of Denver’s growing business community. It’s also home to the Denver Convention Center, a huge multipurpose space that plays host to a wide variety of conferences and events (including the annual Great American Beer Festival), and the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

If you are traveling to Denver on business or for a convention, the many hotels in Denver’s Central Business District neighborhood make for a convenient option. But, in my opinion, the area can be a little dull at night (because almost nobody actually lives here). This is really only the best area to stay in Denver for business travelers, those loyal to a particular hotel chain, or those who plan to spend all of their time at the Colorado Convention Center.

Pros of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood:

  • Great for attending conventions
  • Close to downtown office buildings
  • Lots of Denver attractions within walking distance

Cons of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood :

  • Not a residential area, so can feel a little dead at night (especially on weekdays)

📚 Central Business District Mini Guide 📚
Best for Business Travelers, Convention Attendees
Google Map

5. Capitol Hill

View of the author in front of the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver

👉 Best Area For Budget Travelers | ✨ Best Capitol Hill Hotels: The Art Hotel Denver

Home to the Colorado State Capitol and the Molly Brown House Museum, Capitol Hill is a blend of residential housing (largely townhomes and low-rise apartment buildings) and gritty but more affordable nightlife and dining options.

Denver’s Capitol Hill is also home to some of the more interesting stretches of Colfax Avenue, which Playboy once called “the longest, wickedest street in America,” and where you can find tattoo parlors, marijuana dispensaries, and run-down liquor stores nestled between trendy breweries and value dining options.

If you’re the kind of traveler who likes Williamsburg or Silverlake, or if you’re just looking for an affordable but central alternative to the city’s more expensive neighborhoods, you’ll love Capitol Hill. Despite its grit, Capitol Hill is the best place to stay in Denver on a budget.

Pros of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood:

  • Great for attending conventions
  • Close to downtown office buildings
  • Lots of Denver attractions within walking distance

Cons of Staying in the CBD Neighborhood :

  • Not a residential area, so can feel a little dead at night (especially on weekdays)

📚 Capitol Hill Mini Guide 📚
Best for Budget Travelers
Google Map

  • Best HotelThe Art Hotel Denver
  • 🍽️ Where to EatCity O’ City ($$), Jelly ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Hudson Hill
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Colorado State Capitol, Molly Brown House, Colfax Avenue

6. Lower Highlands / LoHi

Exterior view of Senor Bear restaurant in Lower Highlands neighborhood
Senor Bear, one of many superb restaurants and bars in LoHi

👉 Best Area For Families | ✨ Best LoHi Hotels: Life HouseFairfield Inn & Suites

LoHi was my home for many years and is still one of the hottest residential locations in Denver. Highlands — as the name suggests — is located up a bit of a hill that gives many spots stunning vistas of the downtown Denver skyline. The southern part of the neighborhood, often called “LoHi,” is home to some of the most expensive restaurants and bars in the city, including the ever-trendy Linger, which is set in a former mortuary. There is also a stretch of cool bars, restaurants, and shops further north in Highlands along Tennyson Avenue.

The neighborhood is a great base for those looking for a quieter scene, as LoHi tends to calm down a bit after sunset. There are a number of larger Airbnbs on offer here, as well as mid-market hotels fronting Speer Avenue that may offer value given their proximity to downtown Denver, such as the solid Fairfield Inn & Suites. Don’t miss ice cream at the iconic Little Man, where servers scoop up the good stuff from a building shaped like a milk can. 

Pros of Staying in the LoHi Neighborhood:

  • Amazing restaurants
  • Reasonably close to downtown
  • Lively but still quiet at night
  • Has a great residential ambiance, with lots of greenery, parks, and fewer cars

Cons of Staying in the LoHi Neighborhood :

  • The hill makes the walk back from downtown a bit of a chore

📚 LoHi Mini Guide 📚
Best for Families
Google Map

7. Uptown / North Capitol Hill

👉 Best Area For Longer Term Stays | ✨ Best Uptown Hotels: The Warwick

The smaller Uptown residential neighborhood is a quick walk away from Denver’s CBD, and a good value option for those visiting on business or looking to move to Denver (I lived here for years, and in fact still own a home there). Though not as lively as the surrounding neighborhoods, there is a mini-stretch of dining and nightlife along 17th Avenue that can still “Uptown funk you up.”

If you want to hang out on Colfax without having to actually stay on Colfax, or if you need to be downtown but want a little more character in your neighborhood, Uptown is a good area to stay in Denver for you. Don’t miss Ace, where modern Asian food, stylish but affordable cocktails, and ping pong (yes, ping pong!) all combine in an unexpected mix that works much better than it sounds.

Pros of Staying in the Uptown Neighborhood:

  • A very residential area with lots of locals
  • Pretty centrally located

Cons of Staying in the Uptown Neighborhood :

  • Fewer hotels to choose from

📚 Uptown Mini Guide 📚
Best for Longer Term Stays in Denver
Google Map

  • Best HotelWarwick Denver
  • 🍽️ Where to EatStueben’s Uptown ($$), Watercourse ($$, plant-based)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Ace, Park & Co
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Ogden Theatre

8. Baker / South Broadway

The author standing in front of Denver's The Mayan Theatre
Me in front of the historic Mayan theatre, my favorite place on South Broadway

👉 Best Area For Young Professionals | ✨ Best Uptown Hotels: Towne Place Suites by Marriott

In recent years, the area along South Broadway has become the hip spot for Denver’s younger professional set. The anchor attraction here is Punch Bowl Social, a huge complex that includes a restaurant, several bars, a bowling alley, shuffleboard, and an upstairs game room. But you’ll also want to check out the rest of the many smaller, hip joints that dot South Broadway from 1st Street down to Alameda Avenue.

From swank restaurants to cheap eats, there are plenty of places to grab a bite. And if you’re in a shopping mood, skip the chain stores and check out the many incredible boutiques that line South Broadway. If you want a fun area to stay in Denver outside of downtown, this is it (along with RiNo). Note that most of the accommodation in the area is Airbnbs, are there aren’t a ton of hotel options. The one exception is the Towne Place Suites by Marriott which is a decent budget option if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in Denver.

Pros of Staying in the Baker / South Broadway Neighborhood:

  • South Broadway is filled with lots of fun bars, restaurants, and shops
  • Still pretty quiet once you are a block away from South Broadway
  • Always a pretty lively area

Cons of Staying in the Baker / South Broadway Neighborhood :

  • Fewer hotels to choose from
  • Far from much of the rest of Denver

📚 South Broadway Mini Guide 📚
Best for Millennials, Young Professionals
Google Map

9. Washington Park

The author looking out over Washington Park in Denver
Me in Washington Park

👉 Best Area For Families and Outdoors (But no hotels!)

Home to many students and younger families, the Washington Park (“Wash Park”) neighborhood is a residential area set around the expansive park by the same name, which is worth a visit while traveling to Denver — especially during good weather, when the park comes alive with bikers, runners, skaters, basketball players, and more.

Although it is a wonderful Denver neighborhood, it’s a little far out from the rest of the city, so I wouldn’t recommend staying in Washington Park unless you have a car or willing to spend some time taking Denver public transportation. The other problem is that there are no hotels in Washington Park, so you’d need to get an apartment rental to stay in this neighborhood in Denver.

Pros of Staying in the Washington Park Neighborhood:

  • The park is huge and a great place to get outdoors in the city
  • Very pet friendly

Cons of Staying in the Washington Park Neighborhood :

  • Zero hotels to choose from, so you’ll need an apartment rental
  • Very far from the rest of Denver (you’ll definitely need a car or bike)

📚 Washington Park Mini Guide 📚
Best for Families, Outdoors Types
Google Map

  • 🍽️ Where to EatSushi Den ($$$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Washington Park Grille
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Washington Park, the nearby South Pearl Street dining area

4 Tips for Where to Stay in Denver

Tip 1 – Don’t Stay at Denver International Airport

If you are new to Denver and searching for hotels on many booking sites, you may be tempted by relatively good deals for hotels near Denver International Airport (DIA). Unless you are specifically coming for a conference that takes place in one of those hotels, or unless you are just transiting through DIA, do NOT stay at or near DIA. The airport in Denver is ridiculously far from the city, owing to the location of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, so staying at the airport means being isolated from pretty much anything else in town.

Tip 2 – No, It’s Not Just You, Denver Hotels Are Really Expensive

A lot of people come to Denver thinking the town will make for a great budget vacation destination. That may have been true a decade ago, but these days Denver is one of the most popular business and travel locations in the United States. Prices for Denver accommodation reflect the city’s popularity, so it’s pretty much impossible to find any true “budget” hotels in Denver. A “good deal” in Denver these days is pretty much any hotel under $250/night. In fact, there really isn’t even a single neighborhood in Denver where you can find truly budget hotel stays, although the Capitol Hill area comes closest.

Denver is the most expensive part of the state by far. If you’re on a budget and have the flexibility to check out other destinations in Colorado, consider visiting one of the many other places to visit in Colorado instead. There are a lot of activities to do in Colorado beyond just Denver!

Tip 3 – And You May Save Money by Paying More

A lot of travelers are penny wise, pound foolish when it comes to booking accommodation. Don’t get a hotel that is really from downtown just because it cost $20 less per night. You will easily end up spending more than that on transportation costs to get around. Instead, you can actually end up saving money by staying in one of my recommended areas in Denver, even if it means paying a bit more for your hotel, becuase it will put you in walking or public transit proximity to the many things to do in Denver (most of which are centered around the core of the city).

Tip 4 – Denver’s Neighborhoods Use Many Different Names

Note that one confusing thing about Denver’s neighborhoods is that the “official” terms for some of the more popular neighborhoods don’t necessarily align with the terms that locals will throw around. For example, in recent years the slang “RiNo” (standing for “River North”) has come to be used to describe large portions of the historic neighborhood Five Point (astute travelers will observe that the newer slang terms often correspond to gentrifying areas).

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best area to stay in Denver?

The best overall area to stay in Denver is the Lower Downtown neighborhood, also known as “LoDo” or Union Station. Other top areas to stay include Five Points and the Central Business District.

Where should I stay in Denver for vacation?

If you are coming to Denver for tourism, great areas to stay include Lower Downtown, Capitol Hill, or the Five Points neighborhood.

Is Denver a walkable city?

Denver is a somewhat walkable city, with an overall Walk Score of 61 according to WalkScore.com. For tourists to Denver, many attractions are within walking distance, although it greatly helps to have a rental car if you can.

Where should I not stay in Denver?

Areas to avoid staying in Denver as a tourist include anywhere that is too far from downtown Denver, as well as the northern parts of the city between City Park and Five Points (which have some of the higher crime rates in the city). It is also generally inconvenient to stay at Denver International Airport as the airport is located far from the city.

***

That’s it for this guide to where to stay in Denver. If you have any questions or any need personalized advice, feel free to scroll down and leave a comment. You’ll just want to bookmark this page and check back for my response (I try to respond within a day).

Enjoy the Mile High City!

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Spain Travel Insurance | What You Need to Know [in 2021] https://travellemming.com/spain-travel-insurance/ Fri, 23 Jul 2021 22:55:01 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=21888

Spain is a relatively safe travel destination, but when I visit I still choose to get travel insurance for Spain. After five years of traveling full time, I’ve just had too many things go wrong in places where I didn’t even expect it. I was burglarized in Belize, contracted dengue in Thailand, and got trapped inside Argentina at the start of the pandemic.

Luckily I have never been hurt or had a medical emergency in Spain. But, if I ever did, I’d feel a lot more confident knowing I had Spain travel insurance coverage.

If you’re headed to Spain and debating whether and where to buy trip insurance, this guide is for you. I’ll cover all the things you need to know about travel insurance for Spain, including:

Scroll down to read the full guide or, if you’re just looking for a quick solution, here’s a quick summary of the top sites I currently use:

My Top Choice
World Nomads
4.5

I personally use World Nomads (here's proof) and have for more than 50 countries.

Pros: Simple and flexible, balances price and quality, upfront transparency about covid

Cons: Not available to seniors 70+ in USA (65+ elsewhere)

Get Quote
Best Comparison Site
Travel Insurance.com
4.0

A search engine that fetches quotes from hundreds of companies. Great for comparison shoppers!

Pros: Compare hundreds of insurers, see customer reviews

Cons: Not as simple as World Nomads (detail gets overwhelming)

Get Quotes
Best for Seniors 70+
Insure My Trip
4.0

A good site for finding coverage if you can't get a quote elsewhere due to age or pre-existing conditions.

Pros: Usually finds quotes for seniors

Cons: No clearly displayed info about Covid coverages

Get Quote

Disclosure: I am not a licensed broker and cannot choose insurance for you. Be sure to read policy terms and conditions closely before making a purchase. Also please note that this is a reader-supported travel blog, so by purchasing through my affiliate links you help support our site.

Do I Need Travel Insurance for Spain?

Is travel insurance required for Spain? Most visitors do not need travel insurance to enter Spain. It is not mandatory to buy travel insurance for your trip to Spain, but the US Embassy in Spain still recommends getting medical insurance covering your trip. According to their website, “if you plan to spend any time in Spain, you should consider purchasing a policy that specifically covers expenses incurred overseas.”

With that said, there are a lot of good reasons to get insurance, and many travelers nonetheless choose to buy travel insurance for Spain. Personally, one of the things I always remind myself to do before my trip is to buy international travel insurance. Let me explain why:

Why Should I Get Spain Travel Insurance?

While you may not need to purchase travel insurance for Spain to enter the country, doing so may nonetheless be a smart idea. I always choose to buy a policy no matter which country I’m traveling to. As someone who travels full time to write this blog, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on travel insurance over the years. But I honestly think it’s well worth the investment.

Here are the main reasons why I personally purchased Spain travel insurance for my last visit:

COVID-19

Although many Americans already have the vaccine, that doesn’t mean your travel plans won’t be impacted by Covid-19. The Washington Post article highlights some of the impacts of traveling during Covid-19, and all the many ways that the ongoing pandemic can interfere with a trip.

One thing that may help provide peace of mind about travel during Covid-19 is Spain travel insurance coverage. Just be sure to check the terms and conditions carefully to see what is and isn’t a covered loss. There are many different ways that the coronavirus pandemic could impact your trip, and no travel insurance provider I know of provides coverage for every single one of them. Therefore, it’s best to consider which coverages are most important to you when comparison shopping policies.

Travel Insurance and Accidents, Illness, and Crime

Though you should always read the terms and conditions carefully, Spanish travel insurance plans often offer the following types of benefits:

😷 Emergency Medical Coverage

  • What It Is: If you get injured or sick during your trip, emergency medical coverage may cover medical costs provided you purchased a plan that covers the activities you were doing. Travel medical insurance often includes coverage for things like emergency hospital visits for accidents and illness.
  • Why It Matters: A medical emergency or accident could occur at any time. An out-of-pocket medical cost can become costly very quickly, but with emergency health insurance, I know I won’t have to worry about paying thousands for help due to a covered loss.

✈️ Trip Cancellation Protection

  • What It Is: Trip cancellation protection is a benefit that reimburses you for the cost of part of your non-refundable deposits if your trip is cancelled for a covered reason.
  • Why It Matters: Non-medical emergencies can happen too, so I always found it smart to get a plan with more than just health insurance. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a family emergency, having the ability to get a refund is always a smart decision. 

🚑 Emergency Medical Evacuation

  • What It Is: Emergency medical evacuation refers to the costs of transporting you if you’re unable to travel by yourself. If you’re doing any adventure activities, such as hiking in Spain, you might pay extra special attention to the terms and conditions around this benefit.
  • Why It Matters: Having an evacuation is among the scariest results for a traveler. If you don’t have health insurance coverage that includes evacuation, the medical expenses of evacuation to your home country can easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

🚙 Car Rental Protection

  • What It Is: Spain, like any developed nation, requires you to have car insurance when you drive a car, including when you rent a vehicle. Often times coverage from home won’t apply abroad, so this can come in handy if you are road tripping through Spain.
  • Why It Matters: Driving around Spain can give your trip a whole new traveling experience. Why put that in jeopardy and drive without car insurance for Spain when it’s required by law?

💻 Lost or Stolen Luggage Protection

  • What It Is: Protection against covered airline losses or stolen goods. I try to make sure my insurance coverage policy limit is above the dollar amount of the items I bring so that I can get a full reimbursement.
  • Why It Matters: By having lost luggage protection, you’ll be able to pay for new items if your airline loses them. Spain, like almost all European countries, is extremely safe, although petty crime and pickpocketing exists in cities.

Other Spain travel insurance plans have different services. Some include emergency assistance while others cover stolen identification. Some are just for health insurance. When searching for travel insurance, always pick the coverage best suited for your specific travel needs and be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.

Where to Compare the Best Travel Insurance for Spain

Now that we’ve covered the basics of travel insurance for Spain, let’s quickly cover the online travel insurance websites I prefer to use. Here are my personal favorites:

World Nomads (My Choice)

On my trips to Spain, I personally used World Nomads for my travel insurance. They aren’t the cheapest travel insurance for Spain usually, but here’s why I use and love World Nomads:

  • 🌍 Founded by Travelers: The founders of World Nomads were Australian traveling enthusiasts who wanted to improve the insurance experience for travelers. I have used World Nomads off and on for nearly half a decade without incident.
  • 🤙 Flexible Coverage: Have you ever wanted to extend a trip by a week or two? With World Nomads, you won’t have to pay an expensive penalty or fee to extend coverage. Having a flexible insurance company has helped me in a few traveling situations, especially when it comes to health insurance in Europe.
  • 📞 24/7 Emergency Assistance: World Nomads has agents always ready to accept calls from their customers, whether you’re in the USA, Europe, or any other destinations else with coverage.

As a young traveler from the USA, World Nomads appeals to me because of their flexible coverage and emergency assistance. But World Nomads doesn’t insure anyone over the age of 70 in the U.S. (or 65 abroad) which means it may not be the best option for seniors.

TravelInsurance.com (Best for Finding Cheap Spain Insurance)

TravelInsurance.com is the site to search when you want to compare the insurance policies of more than 100 different sources. It isn’t so much an insurance provider, as a search engine that aggregates quotes from many different insurers. It shows not only policies but reviews from travelers who used their services. From those reviews, you can weed out the plans that don’t suit your travel plans. I think it’s a solid site that makes searching for travel insurance to Spain cheap and easy.

Insure My Trip (Best for Insurance for Seniors)

This is another great search aggregator site, and that is especially useful for finding plans that provide coverage for seniors or those with pre-existing conditions. Insure My Trip works by aggregating hundreds of different policies so you can search for one that’s right for you.

Insure My Trip also has a special feature called the “Anytime Advocates” service. Anytime Advocates is a personal representative that works on your behalf to get your claims done faster. If your claim is denied for any reason, your Anytime Advocate will work with you to figure out another solution, whether or not that entails using your insurance. Pretty cool, right?

Spain Travel Safety and Tips

Before any travelers scare themselves about the potential dangers of traveling to Spain, let me make one thing clear—traveling to any of the Schengen area countries is extremely safe. The crime rate, for both petty and violent crime, is lower in Spain than in any major U.S. city. Still, traveling anywhere that is unfamiliar always comes with risks. Let’s break down some of the travel safety tips for Spain:

Crime in Spain

Overall, crime is much lower in Spain than it is in the USA or many other countries for that matter. World Nomads ranked Spain as the 38th safest country in the world for a tourist to visit. Violent crime is almost non-existent for tourists and in general, Spanish citizens treat tourists with respect.

If you do happen to experience crime, it will most likely occur in the form of cheap theft or pickpocketing. These problems are especially noticeable in destinations in Spain like Madrid, Barcelona, and Santiago de Compostela. When traveling to Spain, I always remember to:

  • 👀  Keep an eye on your belongings. Petty theft occurs in Barcelona and the capital Madrid more than any other major city in Spain. Make sure you keep a keen eye on your stuff.
  • 💼 Only keep a few key items on you at a time, like your phone and wallet. Don’t bring all of your money and cards with you because if they do get stolen, you’ll be left with nothing in a foreign country.
  • 🙏 As a tourist, always keep your insurance documents on you at all times. If you need to use your travel medical insurance, you’ll want to have easy access so you avoid medical expenses.

Healthcare in Spain

Healthcare in Spain is universal, but it’s through a dual public / private healthcare system. The Spanish government backs a state-sponsored healthcare system, but there is also a parallels private system. About 90% of locals use the public system.

European visitors may be entitled to free or reduced care at the public system by presenting a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). For tourists to Spain from the United States or other non-European countries, however, you’ll have to pay – so it is wise to bring travel insurance to Spain.

Overall, the standard of care in Spain is quite high, with the Spanish healthcare system having consistently been ranked as among the best of in the world by multiple third-party organizations.

Spain Travel Tips

  • 🗺️  Top Destinations in Spain: Barcelona, the capital of the semi-autonomous Catalan region, is the most popular destination for tourists visiting Spain, though personally I prefer the energy of Madrid. If you want to see amazing cathedrals you won’t be able to see in the USA, visiting Seville or Santiago de Compostela might be for you. If you’re looking for an underrated seaside city, check out Mojacar.
  • 📆  Best Time to Travel to Spain: Spain is a country that fills up with tourists and non-residents in the summer. Since it gets so full in the summer, not to mention the heat, I prefer to visit Spain in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. The crowds are lighter, mostly just Spanish citizens, and the heat isn’t unbearable.
  • 💶  Currency: The currency in Spain is the Euro. Before Spain adopted the Euro in 2002, they used the Spanish peseta.
  • 🗨️  Language: Spanish is the official language, although minority languages exist in the regions of Catalan, Galicia, and the Basque Country for their residents. Around a fifth of all Spanish residents speak English, so getting around with English while on my visit to Spain was a breeze.
  • 🛂 Schengen Visa: Spain is a part of the Schengen area, so if you are traveling outside of Spain before or after your trip, be aware that your days in other countries in the Schengen area may count against the time you are allowed for visiting Spain.

FAQs About Travel to Spain and Insurance

Does Spain have free healthcare for tourists?

Spain does not have a general policy of free healthcare for tourists, although European visitors may be able to access free or reduced medical care by presenting an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Tourists from the United States or other non-European destinations need to bring travel medical insurance to Spain or else risk covering their own cost of care.

Can you still get travel insurance for Spain?

Many insurers will provide Spain travel insurance options to consumers looking for it. At one point earlier in the pandemic, some insurers stopped selling travel insurance entirely, but now most have begun issuing policies again. Travelers are advised to closely read the terms and conditions of any policy before purchasing.

Why is Spain excluded from travel insurance?

Some European travel insurance companies have been known to exclude coverage for destinations like Spain, Malta, and Cyprus, citing concerns over the cost of medical care. Many other insurance providers will cover Spain, however, so travelers are advised to check with their insurer or review our list of the best sites to compare Spain travel insurance quotes.

***

That’s it for this guide to the best travel insurance for Spain. Be sure to check out all our Europe and Spain travel guides, as well as our other guides to choosing the best travel insurance:

Have fun visiting Spain!

Spain is a relatively safe travel destination, but when I visit I still choose to get travel insurance for Spain. After five years of traveling full time, I’ve just had too many things go wrong in places where I didn’t even expect it. I was burglarized in Belize, contracted dengue in Thailand, and got trapped inside Argentina at the start of the pandemic.

Luckily I have never been hurt or had a medical emergency in Spain. But, if I ever did, I’d feel a lot more confident knowing I had Spain travel insurance coverage.

If you’re headed to Spain and debating whether and where to buy trip insurance, this guide is for you. I’ll cover all the things you need to know about travel insurance for Spain, including:

Scroll down to read the full guide or, if you’re just looking for a quick solution, here’s a quick summary of the top sites I currently use:

My Top Choice
World Nomads
4.5

I personally use World Nomads (here's proof) and have for more than 50 countries.

Pros: Simple and flexible, balances price and quality, upfront transparency about covid

Cons: Not available to seniors 70+ in USA (65+ elsewhere)

Get Quote
Best Comparison Site
Travel Insurance.com
4.0

A search engine that fetches quotes from hundreds of companies. Great for comparison shoppers!

Pros: Compare hundreds of insurers, see customer reviews

Cons: Not as simple as World Nomads (detail gets overwhelming)

Get Quotes
Best for Seniors 70+
Insure My Trip
4.0

A good site for finding coverage if you can't get a quote elsewhere due to age or pre-existing conditions.

Pros: Usually finds quotes for seniors

Cons: No clearly displayed info about Covid coverages

Get Quote

Disclosure: I am not a licensed broker and cannot choose insurance for you. Be sure to read policy terms and conditions closely before making a purchase. Also please note that this is a reader-supported travel blog, so by purchasing through my affiliate links you help support our site.

Do I Need Travel Insurance for Spain?

Is travel insurance required for Spain? Most visitors do not need travel insurance to enter Spain. It is not mandatory to buy travel insurance for your trip to Spain, but the US Embassy in Spain still recommends getting medical insurance covering your trip. According to their website, “if you plan to spend any time in Spain, you should consider purchasing a policy that specifically covers expenses incurred overseas.”

With that said, there are a lot of good reasons to get insurance, and many travelers nonetheless choose to buy travel insurance for Spain. Personally, one of the things I always remind myself to do before my trip is to buy international travel insurance. Let me explain why:

Why Should I Get Spain Travel Insurance?

Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain.
Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain.

While you may not need to purchase travel insurance for Spain to enter the country, doing so may nonetheless be a smart idea. I always choose to buy a policy no matter which country I’m traveling to. As someone who travels full time to write this blog, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on travel insurance over the years. But I honestly think it’s well worth the investment.

Here are the main reasons why I personally purchased Spain travel insurance for my last visit:

COVID-19

Although many Americans already have the vaccine, that doesn’t mean your travel plans won’t be impacted by Covid-19. The Washington Post article highlights some of the impacts of traveling during Covid-19, and all the many ways that the ongoing pandemic can interfere with a trip.

One thing that may help provide peace of mind about travel during Covid-19 is Spain travel insurance coverage. Just be sure to check the terms and conditions carefully to see what is and isn’t a covered loss. There are many different ways that the coronavirus pandemic could impact your trip, and no travel insurance provider I know of provides coverage for every single one of them. Therefore, it’s best to consider which coverages are most important to you when comparison shopping policies.

Travel Insurance and Accidents, Illness, and Crime

Though you should always read the terms and conditions carefully, Spanish travel insurance plans often offer the following types of benefits:

😷 Emergency Medical Coverage

  • What It Is: If you get injured or sick during your trip, emergency medical coverage may cover medical costs provided you purchased a plan that covers the activities you were doing. Travel medical insurance often includes coverage for things like emergency hospital visits for accidents and illness.
  • Why It Matters: A medical emergency or accident could occur at any time. An out-of-pocket medical cost can become costly very quickly, but with emergency health insurance, I know I won’t have to worry about paying thousands for help due to a covered loss.

✈️ Trip Cancellation Protection

  • What It Is: Trip cancellation protection is a benefit that reimburses you for the cost of part of your non-refundable deposits if your trip is cancelled for a covered reason.
  • Why It Matters: Non-medical emergencies can happen too, so I always found it smart to get a plan with more than just health insurance. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a family emergency, having the ability to get a refund is always a smart decision. 

🚑 Emergency Medical Evacuation

  • What It Is: Emergency medical evacuation refers to the costs of transporting you if you’re unable to travel by yourself. If you’re doing any adventure activities, such as hiking in Spain, you might pay extra special attention to the terms and conditions around this benefit.
  • Why It Matters: Having an evacuation is among the scariest results for a traveler. If you don’t have health insurance coverage that includes evacuation, the medical expenses of evacuation to your home country can easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

🚙 Car Rental Protection

  • What It Is: Spain, like any developed nation, requires you to have car insurance when you drive a car, including when you rent a vehicle. Often times coverage from home won’t apply abroad, so this can come in handy if you are road tripping through Spain.
  • Why It Matters: Driving around Spain can give your trip a whole new traveling experience. Why put that in jeopardy and drive without car insurance for Spain when it’s required by law?

💻 Lost or Stolen Luggage Protection

  • What It Is: Protection against covered airline losses or stolen goods. I try to make sure my insurance coverage policy limit is above the dollar amount of the items I bring so that I can get a full reimbursement.
  • Why It Matters: By having lost luggage protection, you’ll be able to pay for new items if your airline loses them. Spain, like almost all European countries, is extremely safe, although petty crime and pickpocketing exists in cities.

Other Spain travel insurance plans have different services. Some include emergency assistance while others cover stolen identification. Some are just for health insurance. When searching for travel insurance, always pick the coverage best suited for your specific travel needs and be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.

Where to Compare the Best Travel Insurance for Spain

Now that we’ve covered the basics of travel insurance for Spain, let’s quickly cover the online travel insurance websites I prefer to use. Here are my personal favorites:

World Nomads (My Choice)

On my trips to Spain, I personally used World Nomads for my travel insurance. They aren’t the cheapest travel insurance for Spain usually, but here’s why I use and love World Nomads:

  • 🌍 Founded by Travelers: The founders of World Nomads were Australian traveling enthusiasts who wanted to improve the insurance experience for travelers. I have used World Nomads off and on for nearly half a decade without incident.
  • 🤙 Flexible Coverage: Have you ever wanted to extend a trip by a week or two? With World Nomads, you won’t have to pay an expensive penalty or fee to extend coverage. Having a flexible insurance company has helped me in a few traveling situations, especially when it comes to health insurance in Europe.
  • 📞 24/7 Emergency Assistance: World Nomads has agents always ready to accept calls from their customers, whether you’re in the USA, Europe, or any other destinations else with coverage.

As a young traveler from the USA, World Nomads appeals to me because of their flexible coverage and emergency assistance. But World Nomads doesn’t insure anyone over the age of 70 in the U.S. (or 65 abroad) which means it may not be the best option for seniors.

TravelInsurance.com (Best for Finding Cheap Spain Insurance)

Screenshot of TravelInsurance portal
This is an example of what a search on this site looks like. Tons of information!

TravelInsurance.com is the site to search when you want to compare the insurance policies of more than 100 different sources. It isn’t so much an insurance provider, as a search engine that aggregates quotes from many different insurers. It shows not only policies but reviews from travelers who used their services. From those reviews, you can weed out the plans that don’t suit your travel plans. I think it’s a solid site that makes searching for travel insurance to Spain cheap and easy.

Insure My Trip (Best for Insurance for Seniors)

This is another great search aggregator site, and that is especially useful for finding plans that provide coverage for seniors or those with pre-existing conditions. Insure My Trip works by aggregating hundreds of different policies so you can search for one that’s right for you.

Insure My Trip also has a special feature called the “Anytime Advocates” service. Anytime Advocates is a personal representative that works on your behalf to get your claims done faster. If your claim is denied for any reason, your Anytime Advocate will work with you to figure out another solution, whether or not that entails using your insurance. Pretty cool, right?

Spain Travel Safety and Tips

Map of the regions of Spain
Spain has so many different regions!

Before any travelers scare themselves about the potential dangers of traveling to Spain, let me make one thing clear—traveling to any of the Schengen area countries is extremely safe. The crime rate, for both petty and violent crime, is lower in Spain than in any major U.S. city. Still, traveling anywhere that is unfamiliar always comes with risks. Let’s break down some of the travel safety tips for Spain:

Crime in Spain

Overall, crime is much lower in Spain than it is in the USA or many other countries for that matter. World Nomads ranked Spain as the 38th safest country in the world for a tourist to visit. Violent crime is almost non-existent for tourists and in general, Spanish citizens treat tourists with respect.

If you do happen to experience crime, it will most likely occur in the form of cheap theft or pickpocketing. These problems are especially noticeable in destinations in Spain like Madrid, Barcelona, and Santiago de Compostela. When traveling to Spain, I always remember to:

  • 👀  Keep an eye on your belongings. Petty theft occurs in Barcelona and the capital Madrid more than any other major city in Spain. Make sure you keep a keen eye on your stuff.
  • 💼 Only keep a few key items on you at a time, like your phone and wallet. Don’t bring all of your money and cards with you because if they do get stolen, you’ll be left with nothing in a foreign country.
  • 🙏 As a tourist, always keep your insurance documents on you at all times. If you need to use your travel medical insurance, you’ll want to have easy access so you avoid medical expenses.

Healthcare in Spain

Map of Spain with medicine

Healthcare in Spain is universal, but it’s through a dual public / private healthcare system. The Spanish government backs a state-sponsored healthcare system, but there is also a parallels private system. About 90% of locals use the public system.

European visitors may be entitled to free or reduced care at the public system by presenting a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). For tourists to Spain from the United States or other non-European countries, however, you’ll have to pay – so it is wise to bring travel insurance to Spain.

Overall, the standard of care in Spain is quite high, with the Spanish healthcare system having consistently been ranked as among the best of in the world by multiple third-party organizations.

Spain Travel Tips

Photo of a park in Madrid Spain
One of my favorite photos I took in Madrid
  • 🗺️  Top Destinations in Spain: Barcelona, the capital of the semi-autonomous Catalan region, is the most popular destination for tourists visiting Spain, though personally I prefer the energy of Madrid. If you want to see amazing cathedrals you won’t be able to see in the USA, visiting Seville or Santiago de Compostela might be for you. If you’re looking for an underrated seaside city, check out Mojacar.
  • 📆  Best Time to Travel to Spain: Spain is a country that fills up with tourists and non-residents in the summer. Since it gets so full in the summer, not to mention the heat, I prefer to visit Spain in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. The crowds are lighter, mostly just Spanish citizens, and the heat isn’t unbearable.
  • 💶  Currency: The currency in Spain is the Euro. Before Spain adopted the Euro in 2002, they used the Spanish peseta.
  • 🗨️  Language: Spanish is the official language, although minority languages exist in the regions of Catalan, Galicia, and the Basque Country for their residents. Around a fifth of all Spanish residents speak English, so getting around with English while on my visit to Spain was a breeze.
  • 🛂 Schengen Visa: Spain is a part of the Schengen area, so if you are traveling outside of Spain before or after your trip, be aware that your days in other countries in the Schengen area may count against the time you are allowed for visiting Spain.

FAQs About Travel to Spain and Insurance

Does Spain have free healthcare for tourists?

Spain does not have a general policy of free healthcare for tourists, although European visitors may be able to access free or reduced medical care by presenting an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Tourists from the United States or other non-European destinations need to bring travel medical insurance to Spain or else risk covering their own cost of care.

Can you still get travel insurance for Spain?

Many insurers will provide Spain travel insurance options to consumers looking for it. At one point earlier in the pandemic, some insurers stopped selling travel insurance entirely, but now most have begun issuing policies again. Travelers are advised to closely read the terms and conditions of any policy before purchasing.

Why is Spain excluded from travel insurance?

Some European travel insurance companies have been known to exclude coverage for destinations like Spain, Malta, and Cyprus, citing concerns over the cost of medical care. Many other insurance providers will cover Spain, however, so travelers are advised to check with their insurer or review our list of the best sites to compare Spain travel insurance quotes.

***

That’s it for this guide to the best travel insurance for Spain. Be sure to check out all our Europe and Spain travel guides, as well as our other guides to choosing the best travel insurance:

Have fun visiting Spain!

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33 Fun Things to Do in Mexico City (in 2021) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-mexico-city/ Sat, 17 Jul 2021 19:01:40 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=23674

Back when I started traveling to Mexico City frequently over a decade ago, some of my friends wondered why. What is there to do in Mexico City, anyway?, they said.

Well, as the travel media seems to finally be realizing, there are loads of interesting things to do in Mexico City! Ciudad de Mexico (or CDMX), as the locals call it, is one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world. I’ve been to over 70 countries, and most of the world’s major tourist attractions. I would put Mexico City up there with London, Paris, Tokyo, and New York in the category of the world’s most impressive mega cities.

With so much to do in Mexico City, it can be hard to sort through it all though. That’s why I’m here! I’ve visited a dozen times over the past decade, so after my latest trip to Mexico City I compiled this ultimate guide to the best of Mexico City. I hope you love CDMX, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, D.F. – or whichever of its many names you choose to use – as I much as I do!

Oh, and before we dive into all the things to do in Mexico City, be sure to bookmark our guide to what to pack for Mexico. I bet you’re forgetting something you’ll regret later!

Best Things to Do in Mexico City

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Tourist Attractions | Fun & Unique | Best Areas | Free & Cheap

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Address: Av. Juárez S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México | Phone: +52 528 647 6500 | Website | Open 11 am to 5 pm, Closed Mondays | Entrance 70 pesos, free Sundays

Few architectural structures in the Western Hemisphere can rival the grandeur of Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, or Palace of Fine Arts, which you can find next to the leafy green Alameda Park in the city center. Construction on the building started in 1904, with the aim of having an opulent National Theater of Mexico ready for inauguration during the 1910 centennial celebration of the Mexican Revolution against the Spanish. Well, as construction projects in Mexico tend to go, the project took three decades to complete in the end. Today the Palacio Bellas Artes plays host not just theatre, but opera, dance, and art exhibitions of nearly every type. The best thing to do, however, is to simply admire the fantastic exterior.

👉 Pro Tip: For the best views of the Palacio Bellas Artes, go up to the 8th floor of the Sears department store. You’ll find a terrace café where you can grab a cup of joe and drool-worthy Instagram shots. It’s definitely an insider travel tip for Mexico!

Teotihuacan

Google Maps | Open daily 9 am to 5 pm | Entrance fee 80 pesos adults, free for children under 13

If you only have time for one day trip from Mexico City, make it a trip to see the unbelievable ancient ruins at Teotihuacan. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Teotihuacan was one of the most important cities and cultural centers in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica. Dating back almost 2,000 years, the enormous ruins of the city are remarkably well preserved and today are one of the best things to do in Mexico. The highlight are the gigantic pyramids, such as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun (you can even climb several of them). Many tours will also take you to the the 16th century Basilica de Guadalupe, one of the most visited Catholic religious destinations in the world, along the way.

👉 How to Get There: You can visit Teotihuacan by hiring a driver in Mexico City, taking a public bus from the Autobuses del Norte station, or joining a group tour (here’s a list of popular tours, including some led by archaeologists!). If you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the best thing to do in Teotihuacan is to book a hot air balloon ride over the ruins.

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Address: Laguna del Toro, San Juan, Xochimilco, 16038 Mexico City | Open 8 am to 9:30 pm daily

If you love getting drunk on colorful boats, you’re sure to love this Mexico City activity. Located about 45 minutes outside of the city center, Xochimilco is a borough of Mexico City that is most famous with travelers for its so-called Floating Gardens, which were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Built over a water transport system used by the Aztecs, today the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco are basically a river where you can rent out colorful gondola-style boats to go on 2-3 hour cruises. It’s a popular thing to do in Mexico City, so there will be many other boats around you, including vendors selling street food, drinks, and all sorts of wares. The views are honestly nothing special, but it’s a unique experience and a fun social activity for tourists and locals alike.

👉 How to Get There: It’s best to go as the locals do, with a group of friends who rent a boat together. If that’s not an option for you, going via a tour, like these ones, is the next best thing.

Chapultepec Park

Address: Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, 11580 Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico | Open 8 am to 5 PM, CLOSED MONDAYS

If you thought New York’s Central Park was cool, just wait until you see Mexico City’s 686 hectare Chapultepec Park, or the Bosques de Chapultepec. Dating back to ancient Aztec times, when the park served as a royal retreat, the trees of the Chapultepec forest are often referred to as the city’s lungs. Inside the park you’ll find walking, running, and biking trails, the Chapultepec Zoo, and several museum like the Museum of Anthropology and the Rufino Tamayo Museum. You can also explore the Chapultepec Castle, which has its own entry below on this list of Mexico City things to do. On weekends the park fills with local families, vendors of all kind, and performers. Just don’t come on a Monday, when the park is closed (a mistake I’ve personally made several times over the years!).

Worried About Safety in Mexico City? It’s probably safer than you think from a crime perspective, but still be sure to insure your Mexico vacation. Personally, I use and love World Nomads, but do your own research.

National Anthropology Museum

Address: Av. Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi s/n Col. Chapultepec, Polanco. Del. Miguel Hidalgo, C.P. 11560, Ciudad de México, México | Phone: +52 55 5553 6266 | Website | Open 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Saturday | Entrance 80 pesos

On the north end of the the Bosques de Chapultepec you’ll find another important point of interest: the incredible Museo Nacional de Antropología, or National Anthropology Museum. It’s home to the most important ethnographic collections in Mexico, and a great place to go to learn about the history of the country you are visiting. The angular modern building itself is an architectural wonder too, and worth a visit just to see.

Plaza del Zócalo

Address: P.za de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06010 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

No visit to Mexico City is complete without a checking out the city’s main square, the Plaza del Zócalo. Today the square is a common gathering point for festivals, protests, and events, but the area has been a center of Mexican history for at least 700 years. The Zócalo is home to the country’s Supreme Court, the National Palace, and the famous Mexican City Metropolitan Cathedral, the latter of which is the focal point for some of the most iconic photos of Mexico City. Plus, just one block north of it you’ll find the Aztec ruins at Templo Mayo, another item on our list of Mexico City attractions.

👉 Pro Tip: For spectacular views of the Zócalo, and decent drinks to boot, head up the elevator to my favorite nearby secret spot: The Balcón de Zócalo (pictured above).

Museo Nacional De Arte (MUNAL)

Address: Calle de Tacuba 8, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 8647 5430 | Website | Open 11 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays

Of all the incredible museums in Mexico City, this one seems to fly under the radar with many tourists to Mexico City. It shouldn’t, as Mexico’s National Art Museum is a real treasure. You walk into this museum and are greeted by a grand staircase worthy of a royal, and the architecture and design in every room somehow feels more ornate than the last. Be sure to look up at the gorgeous murals, or simply find a quiet bench and relax and enjoy the tranquil courtyard. I’ve been to this museum several times, and somehow it always seems relatively empty compared to other local museums, so it makes a great thing to do for social distancing in Mexico City.

Take a Food Tour

👉 Book a Food Tour in Polanco | Or in the Historic Center

As the capital and largest city in Mexico, Mexico City is the best place to try food from different regions of Mexico – and regions all over the world. There are many reputable food tours to choose from in town, from street food to high end restaurants, but the best all around I’ve found is this highly rated Polanco tour. There is also a popular one in the historic center, if that’s more convenient. Just be sure to show up hungry!

Take a Free Walking Tour

This one is a great way to check off several Mexico City attractions in just a few hours:

Join one of the many various free walking tours offered by GuruWalk. The Mexico City’s historic district is very popular, as is the one in Coyocan. They also offer free walking tours of Chapultepec Park, a taco tour, and a street food tour!. These are really great “free” thing to do, but please note two things: 1) the guides work on tips, and 2) you must have an advance reservation.

Mexico City Tourist Attractions

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Tourist Attractions | Fun & Unique | Best Areas | Free & Cheap

Templo Mayor

Address: Seminario 8, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06060 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 4040 5600 | Website | Temporarily Closed as of Summer 2021 (you can still view the excavation site from outside)

The Aztecs believed that their Templo Mayor was the literal center of the universe, and the Spanish destroyed it to make way for their cathedral. That tells you a lot about the dark side of Mexico’s history, but you can learn even more by visiting the ruins of this important historical site in Mexico City, which is just a few steps from the Zócalo. In 1987 the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, and today the Templo Mayor has been converted into a museum that is one part indoor museum and one part outdoor excavation site. The museum is still closed due to the health crisis, but you can view the ancient Aztec ruins at the excavation site simply by walking by.

Chapultepec Castle

Address: Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11100 Mexico City, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 7601 9811 | Website | Open 9 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays | Entrance 80 pesos

A must see site in Mexico City is the Chapultepec Castle, which lords over the Bosques de Chapultepec from its perch on a hill in the middle of the park. It’s one of only two royal palaces in North America (the other, Palace of Iturbide, is also in Mexico City). It was built in 1785 upon the orders of the Spanish Viceroy, and has undergone significant changes over the years (at one point in the 19th century, it even served as an observatory). Today the palace’s vast grounds are open to the public, and you can explore the ornate interior inside and the gorgeous gardens outside. Wear good walking shoes for the walk up the hill!

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Address: P.za de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 4165 4052 | Website | Open 8 am to 8 pm daily

Remember that cathedral I said the Spanish built after they destroyed the center of the Aztec universe? Yeah, that’s Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest Catholic Church in the Western Hemisphere. Checkered history aside, there’s no denying the beauty of the structure, which took almost 250 years to build. You can take a shot of the outside from the Zocalo, but the intricate interior is worth a visit. Be sure to check out the two giants organs. Note that, while you can enter then, photography is not permitted during masses.

🌴 Headed to Puerto Vallarta after Mexico City? Be sure to check out our list of Puerto Vallarta’s best things to do!

The Angel of Independence

Address: Av. Paseo de la Reforma, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Website

Given that it’s located in the middle of a traffic circle, this is not exactly the most exciting thing to do in Mexico City. But the famous Independence Angel is definitely an important point of interest in the city, and well worth planning into your trip while passing along the Paseo de la Reforma street. Built in 1910, it’s an important symbol and one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City. If you’re a photographer, come at night to get some spectacular shots of the Independence Angel lit up.

Soumaya Museum

Address: Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 1103 9800 | Website | Open 10:30 am to 5 pm daily | Entrance free

Technically there are three Soumaya Museums in Mexico City, and they are all worth a visit. But the flagship location is the modern curving building located in Polanco. The collection is pretty expansive and varies from historic relics to modern art and sculpture. Plan at least a couple hours to be able to comfortably explore the many floors, and be sure not to miss The Gates of Hell, an important sculpture depicting a scene from Dante’s Inferno. Oh, and there is no entrance cost, so this is one of the best free things to do in Mexico City!

Frida Kahlo Museum

Address: Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5554 5999 | Website | Open 10 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays | Entrance 270 pesos for foreign tourists

You’re probably familiar with Frida Kahlo by this point and, if not, you’re likely to see paintings of her in destinations all around Mexico. But you may not know about her complicated personal history, including her behind-the-scenes battle with the crippling effects of polio. The Frida Kahlo Museum, nicknamed “Casa Azul” for blue exterior, is located in her former house and offers a shrine to her life. There are a handful of her pieces of art, but most of the rooms focus on artifacts from her home, her personal life, and her relationship with Diego Rivera. The section featuring her dresses, which had to be specially made to accommodate her fail figure, is especially interesting.

👉 Pro Tip: The museum is a popular attraction in Mexico City, so you need to buy your timed-entry tickets several days in advance (you can do that here).

Mirador Torre Latinoamerica

Address: Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 2, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5518 7423 | Website | Open 10 am to 9 pm daily | Entrance 90 pesos

Mexico City has a lot to take in, and one of the best places to get spectacular views of the city is from the observation area of the Torre Latinoamerica skyscraper, located just a few blocks from the Palacio de Bellas Artes. There are a few museum exhibits included in the cost of admission, but the star attraction is the breathtaking vistas over Mexico City. If you’re really on a budget and don’t want to spend the 90 peso entrance fee, there is a small café two floors below the observation deck which also sports the same incredible views.

Trotsky Museum

Address: Av. Río Churubusco 410, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5658 8732 | Website | 10 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays (Temporarily Closed Due to Health Crisis) | Entrance 40 pesos

Although at the time of this writing it is temporarily closed due to the health crisis, the Trotsky Museum is otherwise a popular thing to do in Mexico City for history lovers. The museum is located in the former home of its namesake, Leon Trotsky, the Marxist revolutionary and political theorist who was assassinated in Mexico City in 1940 by Soviet agents. Located in the Coyoacan neighborhood, but far less crowded than the Frida Kahlo museum, the Trotsky Museum is a good place to get a glimpse into the life of this communist figure.

Fun & Unique Things to Do in Mexico City

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Palacio Postal

Address: Calle de Tacuba 1, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5512 0091 | Open 8 am to 7:30 pm weekdays, 10 am to 4 pm Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm Sundays

Perhaps the best photo spot in Mexico City – if you can catch it at a time when there aren’t crowds – is the ornate staircases at the Palacio Postal. The building is very much still a functioning post office, so swing by if you have any packages to mail and then take a few minutes to admire the intricate artistry that adorns the interior of the Palacio Postal. It’s a great free thing to do in Mexico City!

Lucha Libre

If you’re a fan of wrestling, or just of spectacularly over-the-top shows, you’ll love attending a lucha libre wrestling match. The performers really go out of their way to make it a unique experience, and the crowds go absolutely wild. You can find matches in many venues around town, but one of the bigger locations is the Arena Mexico. You can buy your own tickets online, or you can go as part of this popular group tour for foreigners if you prefer the security of having someone else lead you through the fanatic crowd.

Licorería Limantour

Address: Av. Álvaro Obregón 106, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5264 4122

Mexico City has a booming cocktail scene. For some of the best cocktails in the city, head to the Roma Norte bar Licorería Limantour any night of the week. The bar tenders are some of the most skilled at their trade that I’ve seen in all my travels of Mexico, and this is one bar that is guaranteed to have a high energy vibe no matter the night of the week. If you’re staying in Polanco, Licorería Limantour has a smaller outpost there too. Advance reservations are recommended.

Travel in a Tesla with Beat

Website

Sure, you can use Uber to get around Mexico City pretty cheaply. But how about paying a few pesos extra and having your chariot be a Tesla instead? That’s what Beat Tesla offers in several areas of Mexico City. You can download the app on the App Store or Google Play and order a ride the same way you would with Uber.

Best Areas to Visit in Mexico City

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Roma Norte

Google Maps | Search Roma Norte Hotels on Booking

One of Mexico City’s most popular neighborhoods with visitors is the hip and cultural Roma Norte area. Centered around the expansive and green Avenida Álvaro Obregón, this neighborhood is home to everything from high end restaurants to taco stalls. It features some of the best bars in town, and on weekends is the place where Mexico City’s young professionals go to relax. If I had to pick one neighborhood to stay in Mexico City, I’d pick here as it’s probably the most centrally located neighborhood in Mexico City, plus it’s always busy even at night.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Roma Norte on Booking.com here.

Condesa

Google Maps | Search Condesa Hotels on Booking

If you’re a fan of New York City’s West Village, you’ll love meandering down the leafy tree-lined streets of the Condesa neighborhood. Even if you’re not staying here, it’s a great place to come for a walk (try the beautiful Parque Mexico) or to try the brunch offerings at one of Condesa’s many cafes (my personal favorite: Que Seria de Mi).

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Condesa on Booking.com here.

Polanco

Google Maps | Search Polanco Hotels on Booking

A popular upscale neighborhood just north of Chapultepec Park, Polanco was the neighborhood I stayed in on my most recent visit to Mexico City. I think it’s perfect to spend your nights if you’re coming for longer stays, as its definitely a quieter part of town. It’s also home to excellent restaurants, places to shop, and several museums like the Soumaya Museum.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Polanco on Booking.com here.

Coyoacán

Google Maps | Search Coyoacán hotels on Booking

Home to the famous Frida Kahlo and Trotsky Museums, Coyoacán is almost like a city within a city in Mexico City. It has its own historic center, whose cobble stone streets feature artisan markets, art galleries, restaurants, street food stalls, and cultural performances. It’s a bit far from the city center, but if you’ve been to Mexico City before and want to experience it from a different angle, consider basing yourself in Coyoacán.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Coyoacán on Booking.com here.

Zona Rosa

Google Maps | Search Zona Rosa hotels on Booking

Zona Rosa is a high energy neighborhood that is home to loads of LGBT bars and nightclubs, which keep the music pumping until the late hours on the weekends. During the day it’s home to a large shopping district, and is popular with travelers given its location next to the historic center.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Zona Rosa on Booking.com here.

Free and Cheap Things to Do in Mexico City

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Churrería El Moro

Various Locations (Google Maps) | Website | Cost: 4 churros start at 93 pesos

No visit to Mexico is complete without a taste of at least one churro, the fried doughy treat that is covered in sugar and dipped in various chocolate sauces. And the best place to grab a churro in Mexico City is at Churrería El Moro, a popular chain that has several locations around town.

CDMX Signs

Sure, this is one of those touristy things to do in Mexico City, but it’s a fun must see! There are signs scattered around Mexico City, including in popular locations like the Zocalo, that simply say “CDMX” – which stands for Ciudad de Mexico. If you see one, snap a photo because, otherwise, did you even really travel to Mexico City?

The House of Tiles (“Casa de los Azulejos”)

Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 4, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5512 1331 | Open 7 am to 1 am daily

Situated in the downtown historic district, the Casa de los Azulejos – or House of Tiles – is a 18th century Baroque palace that today is home to several restaurants and shops. The courtyard interior is worth a visit, but the real attraction are the Instagram-perfect blue and white tiles that adorn the exterior. The House of Tiles is located very close to the Palacio de Bellas Artes just off Avenida 5 de Mayo, so it’s easy to hit along with those other attractions in Mexico City.

Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela

Address: Balderas S/N, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06040 Cuauhtémoc, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5510 1828 | Website | Market open 10 am to 7 pm daily (closes 6 pm Sundays)

If you’re looking to shop for local handicrafts or folk art, or just a colorful souvenir to take home from Mexico, definitely check out the market at the Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela, close to the historic center. At this market, you’ll find stalls of artists and vendors lined up along the street and hawking their art and wares to locals and travelers alike. Many of the market vendors accept credit cards, but if you’re paying in cash pesos you may be able to haggle prices down a bit.

Plaza Garibaldi

Address: Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 43, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Open 24 hours

Plaza Garibaldi is the place to visit in Mexico City to see mariachi bands, check out a few bars, get in shopping, or just soak in the vibrancy of Mexico City. Come during the day to grab lunch and listen to the mariachi bands, or come around sunset for to spend some time sipping drinks and, you guessed it, listening to mariachi!

👉 Read Next: Tulum Beach – Ultimate Travel Guide

Avenida 5 de Mayo

Google Map

Avenida 5 de Mayo is just one of Mexico City’s pedestrian streets, but it’s perhaps the most important one. Along or near the streets you’ll find several of the museums, points of interest, and important things to do in Mexico City on this list. You’ll also find tons of shops, from giant retailers like H&M to smaller local vendors, hawking their wares to the passing visitors.

Central Library at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Address: Cto. Interior S/N, C.U., Coyoacán, 04510 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5622 1625 | Website | Open 8:30 am to 9:30 pm

The Central Library at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (“UNAM”) is one of the many underrated things to do in Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood. The main draw are the dramatic colorful murals adoring the outside of the library. The mosaic art murals are supposed to represent different periods in Mexico’s history. One represents the pre-Hispanic period, one the colonial period, one the modern era, and one the history of the university. The architecture is pretty interesting too, so this is definitely a fun thing to do in Mexico City on a budget!

Museo Sumaya-Casa Guillermo Tovar de Teresa

Address: Valladolid 52, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 1103 9800 | Website | Open 10:30 am to 5:30 pm daily | Entrance Free

This lesser known location of the Museo Sumaya family of museums, nestled between Condesa and Roma, is a small but beautiful house museum. Its owner, Guillermo Tovar de Teresa, lived a lavish lifestyle and strolling the ornate interior and admiring the art, furniture, and architecture is a quick but enjoyable free thing to do in Mexico City.

***

That’s it for this guide to the best of Mexico City – now you know what to do in Mexico City! Scroll down and leave me a comment with what you are most excited to do in Mexico City.

And be sure to check out all our Mexico guides to Mexican destinations Playa del Carmen, Valladolid, and Chichen Itza. Happy travels in Mexico!

Back when I started traveling to Mexico City frequently over a decade ago, some of my friends wondered why. What is there to do in Mexico City, anyway?, they said.

Well, as the travel media seems to finally be realizing, there are loads of interesting things to do in Mexico City! Ciudad de Mexico (or CDMX), as the locals call it, is one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world. I’ve been to over 70 countries, and most of the world’s major tourist attractions. I would put Mexico City up there with London, Paris, Tokyo, and New York in the category of the world’s most impressive mega cities.

With so much to do in Mexico City, it can be hard to sort through it all though. That’s why I’m here! I’ve visited a dozen times over the past decade, so after my latest trip to Mexico City I compiled this ultimate guide to the best of Mexico City. I hope you love CDMX, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, D.F. – or whichever of its many names you choose to use – as I much as I do!

Oh, and before we dive into all the things to do in Mexico City, be sure to bookmark our guide to what to pack for Mexico. I bet you’re forgetting something you’ll regret later!

Best Things to Do in Mexico City

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Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Palacio de Bellas Artes

View of Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes from the cafe at the Sears department store
You can only get this angle from the secret spot I mention below!

Address: Av. Juárez S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México | Phone: +52 528 647 6500 | Website | Open 11 am to 5 pm, Closed Mondays | Entrance 70 pesos, free Sundays

Few architectural structures in the Western Hemisphere can rival the grandeur of Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, or Palace of Fine Arts, which you can find next to the leafy green Alameda Park in the city center. Construction on the building started in 1904, with the aim of having an opulent National Theater of Mexico ready for inauguration during the 1910 centennial celebration of the Mexican Revolution against the Spanish. Well, as construction projects in Mexico tend to go, the project took three decades to complete in the end. Today the Palacio Bellas Artes plays host not just theatre, but opera, dance, and art exhibitions of nearly every type. The best thing to do, however, is to simply admire the fantastic exterior.

👉 Pro Tip: For the best views of the Palacio Bellas Artes, go up to the 8th floor of the Sears department store. You’ll find a terrace café where you can grab a cup of joe and drool-worthy Instagram shots. It’s definitely an insider travel tip for Mexico!

Teotihuacan

Hot air balloons over the ruins at Teotihuacan
Taking a hot air balloon over the ruins is definitely a unique experience!

Google Maps | Open daily 9 am to 5 pm | Entrance fee 80 pesos adults, free for children under 13

If you only have time for one day trip from Mexico City, make it a trip to see the unbelievable ancient ruins at Teotihuacan. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Teotihuacan was one of the most important cities and cultural centers in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica. Dating back almost 2,000 years, the enormous ruins of the city are remarkably well preserved and today are one of the best things to do in Mexico. The highlight are the gigantic pyramids, such as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun (you can even climb several of them). Many tours will also take you to the the 16th century Basilica de Guadalupe, one of the most visited Catholic religious destinations in the world, along the way.

👉 How to Get There: You can visit Teotihuacan by hiring a driver in Mexico City, taking a public bus from the Autobuses del Norte station, or joining a group tour (here’s a list of popular tours, including some led by archaeologists!). If you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the best thing to do in Teotihuacan is to book a hot air balloon ride over the ruins.

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

The author in front of colorful boats at Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
Ok, now can I have a beer?

Address: Laguna del Toro, San Juan, Xochimilco, 16038 Mexico City | Open 8 am to 9:30 pm daily

If you love getting drunk on colorful boats, you’re sure to love this Mexico City activity. Located about 45 minutes outside of the city center, Xochimilco is a borough of Mexico City that is most famous with travelers for its so-called Floating Gardens, which were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Built over a water transport system used by the Aztecs, today the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco are basically a river where you can rent out colorful gondola-style boats to go on 2-3 hour cruises. It’s a popular thing to do in Mexico City, so there will be many other boats around you, including vendors selling street food, drinks, and all sorts of wares. The views are honestly nothing special, but it’s a unique experience and a fun social activity for tourists and locals alike.

👉 How to Get There: It’s best to go as the locals do, with a group of friends who rent a boat together. If that’s not an option for you, going via a tour, like these ones, is the next best thing.

Chapultepec Park

A woman in Chapultepec Park, a top thing to do in Mexico City

Address: Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, 11580 Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico | Open 8 am to 5 PM, CLOSED MONDAYS

If you thought New York’s Central Park was cool, just wait until you see Mexico City’s 686 hectare Chapultepec Park, or the Bosques de Chapultepec. Dating back to ancient Aztec times, when the park served as a royal retreat, the trees of the Chapultepec forest are often referred to as the city’s lungs. Inside the park you’ll find walking, running, and biking trails, the Chapultepec Zoo, and several museum like the Museum of Anthropology and the Rufino Tamayo Museum. You can also explore the Chapultepec Castle, which has its own entry below on this list of Mexico City things to do. On weekends the park fills with local families, vendors of all kind, and performers. Just don’t come on a Monday, when the park is closed (a mistake I’ve personally made several times over the years!).

Worried About Safety in Mexico City? It’s probably safer than you think from a crime perspective, but still be sure to insure your Mexico vacation. Personally, I use and love World Nomads, but do your own research.

National Anthropology Museum

A few of the building at Mexico City's National Anthropology Museum
(photo: kmiragaya / Depostiphotos)

Address: Av. Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi s/n Col. Chapultepec, Polanco. Del. Miguel Hidalgo, C.P. 11560, Ciudad de México, México | Phone: +52 55 5553 6266 | Website | Open 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Saturday | Entrance 80 pesos

On the north end of the the Bosques de Chapultepec you’ll find another important point of interest: the incredible Museo Nacional de Antropología, or National Anthropology Museum. It’s home to the most important ethnographic collections in Mexico, and a great place to go to learn about the history of the country you are visiting. The angular modern building itself is an architectural wonder too, and worth a visit just to see.

Plaza del Zócalo

The author looking out over the Plaza del Zócalo, one of the Mexico City things to do
Check out my tip below to know where this secret terrace is!

Address: P.za de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06010 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

No visit to Mexico City is complete without a checking out the city’s main square, the Plaza del Zócalo. Today the square is a common gathering point for festivals, protests, and events, but the area has been a center of Mexican history for at least 700 years. The Zócalo is home to the country’s Supreme Court, the National Palace, and the famous Mexican City Metropolitan Cathedral, the latter of which is the focal point for some of the most iconic photos of Mexico City. Plus, just one block north of it you’ll find the Aztec ruins at Templo Mayo, another item on our list of Mexico City attractions.

👉 Pro Tip: For spectacular views of the Zócalo, and decent drinks to boot, head up the elevator to my favorite nearby secret spot: The Balcón de Zócalo (pictured above).

Museo Nacional De Arte (MUNAL)

An ornate room at the Museo Nacional De Arte (MUNAL)

Address: Calle de Tacuba 8, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 8647 5430 | Website | Open 11 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays

Of all the incredible museums in Mexico City, this one seems to fly under the radar with many tourists to Mexico City. It shouldn’t, as Mexico’s National Art Museum is a real treasure. You walk into this museum and are greeted by a grand staircase worthy of a royal, and the architecture and design in every room somehow feels more ornate than the last. Be sure to look up at the gorgeous murals, or simply find a quiet bench and relax and enjoy the tranquil courtyard. I’ve been to this museum several times, and somehow it always seems relatively empty compared to other local museums, so it makes a great thing to do for social distancing in Mexico City.

Take a Food Tour

Picture of plate of Mexican food
Hungry Yet

👉 Book a Food Tour in Polanco | Or in the Historic Center

As the capital and largest city in Mexico, Mexico City is the best place to try food from different regions of Mexico – and regions all over the world. There are many reputable food tours to choose from in town, from street food to high end restaurants, but the best all around I’ve found is this highly rated Polanco tour. There is also a popular one in the historic center, if that’s more convenient. Just be sure to show up hungry!

Take a Free Walking Tour

This one is a great way to check off several Mexico City attractions in just a few hours:

Join one of the many various free walking tours offered by GuruWalk. The Mexico City’s historic district is very popular, as is the one in Coyocan. They also offer free walking tours of Chapultepec Park, a taco tour, and a street food tour!. These are really great “free” thing to do, but please note two things: 1) the guides work on tips, and 2) you must have an advance reservation.

Mexico City Tourist Attractions

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Templo Mayor

View of the excavation site at Mexico City's Templo Mayor

Address: Seminario 8, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06060 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 4040 5600 | Website | Temporarily Closed as of Summer 2021 (you can still view the excavation site from outside)

The Aztecs believed that their Templo Mayor was the literal center of the universe, and the Spanish destroyed it to make way for their cathedral. That tells you a lot about the dark side of Mexico’s history, but you can learn even more by visiting the ruins of this important historical site in Mexico City, which is just a few steps from the Zócalo. In 1987 the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, and today the Templo Mayor has been converted into a museum that is one part indoor museum and one part outdoor excavation site. The museum is still closed due to the health crisis, but you can view the ancient Aztec ruins at the excavation site simply by walking by.

Chapultepec Castle

A hallway at Chapultepec Castle
(photo: prakich@ymail.com / Depositphotos)

Address: Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11100 Mexico City, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 7601 9811 | Website | Open 9 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays | Entrance 80 pesos

A must see site in Mexico City is the Chapultepec Castle, which lords over the Bosques de Chapultepec from its perch on a hill in the middle of the park. It’s one of only two royal palaces in North America (the other, Palace of Iturbide, is also in Mexico City). It was built in 1785 upon the orders of the Spanish Viceroy, and has undergone significant changes over the years (at one point in the 19th century, it even served as an observatory). Today the palace’s vast grounds are open to the public, and you can explore the ornate interior inside and the gorgeous gardens outside. Wear good walking shoes for the walk up the hill!

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

The author standing in front of the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, Mexico

Address: P.za de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 4165 4052 | Website | Open 8 am to 8 pm daily

Remember that cathedral I said the Spanish built after they destroyed the center of the Aztec universe? Yeah, that’s Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest Catholic Church in the Western Hemisphere. Checkered history aside, there’s no denying the beauty of the structure, which took almost 250 years to build. You can take a shot of the outside from the Zocalo, but the intricate interior is worth a visit. Be sure to check out the two giants organs. Note that, while you can enter then, photography is not permitted during masses.

🌴 Headed to Puerto Vallarta after Mexico City? Be sure to check out our list of Puerto Vallarta’s best things to do!

The Angel of Independence

Mexico City's Angel of Independence at night with light trails from vehicles
(photo: angelphoto / Depositphotos)

Address: Av. Paseo de la Reforma, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Website

Given that it’s located in the middle of a traffic circle, this is not exactly the most exciting thing to do in Mexico City. But the famous Independence Angel is definitely an important point of interest in the city, and well worth planning into your trip while passing along the Paseo de la Reforma street. Built in 1910, it’s an important symbol and one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City. If you’re a photographer, come at night to get some spectacular shots of the Independence Angel lit up.

Soumaya Museum

View of exterior of the Soumaya Museum
(photo: kmiragaya / Depositphotos)

Address: Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 1103 9800 | Website | Open 10:30 am to 5 pm daily | Entrance free

Technically there are three Soumaya Museums in Mexico City, and they are all worth a visit. But the flagship location is the modern curving building located in Polanco. The collection is pretty expansive and varies from historic relics to modern art and sculpture. Plan at least a couple hours to be able to comfortably explore the many floors, and be sure not to miss The Gates of Hell, an important sculpture depicting a scene from Dante’s Inferno. Oh, and there is no entrance cost, so this is one of the best free things to do in Mexico City!

Frida Kahlo Museum

Woman viewing paintings at the Frida Kahlo Museum
My partner Clara admiring Kahlo’s artwork

Address: Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5554 5999 | Website | Open 10 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays | Entrance 270 pesos for foreign tourists

You’re probably familiar with Frida Kahlo by this point and, if not, you’re likely to see paintings of her in destinations all around Mexico. But you may not know about her complicated personal history, including her behind-the-scenes battle with the crippling effects of polio. The Frida Kahlo Museum, nicknamed “Casa Azul” for blue exterior, is located in her former house and offers a shrine to her life. There are a handful of her pieces of art, but most of the rooms focus on artifacts from her home, her personal life, and her relationship with Diego Rivera. The section featuring her dresses, which had to be specially made to accommodate her fail figure, is especially interesting.

👉 Pro Tip: The museum is a popular attraction in Mexico City, so you need to buy your timed-entry tickets several days in advance (you can do that here).

Mirador Torre Latinoamerica

View of Mexico City from Torre Latinoamerica
You’ll have views for miles (err, kilometers!)

Address: Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 2, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5518 7423 | Website | Open 10 am to 9 pm daily | Entrance 90 pesos

Mexico City has a lot to take in, and one of the best places to get spectacular views of the city is from the observation area of the Torre Latinoamerica skyscraper, located just a few blocks from the Palacio de Bellas Artes. There are a few museum exhibits included in the cost of admission, but the star attraction is the breathtaking vistas over Mexico City. If you’re really on a budget and don’t want to spend the 90 peso entrance fee, there is a small café two floors below the observation deck which also sports the same incredible views.

Trotsky Museum

View of monument in interior courtyard at the Trotsky Museum in Mexico City
(photo: javarman / Depositphotos)

Address: Av. Río Churubusco 410, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5658 8732 | Website | 10 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays (Temporarily Closed Due to Health Crisis) | Entrance 40 pesos

Although at the time of this writing it is temporarily closed due to the health crisis, the Trotsky Museum is otherwise a popular thing to do in Mexico City for history lovers. The museum is located in the former home of its namesake, Leon Trotsky, the Marxist revolutionary and political theorist who was assassinated in Mexico City in 1940 by Soviet agents. Located in the Coyoacan neighborhood, but far less crowded than the Frida Kahlo museum, the Trotsky Museum is a good place to get a glimpse into the life of this communist figure.

Fun & Unique Things to Do in Mexico City

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Tourist Attractions | Fun & Unique | Best Areas | Free & Cheap

Palacio Postal

The author standing in the Palacio Postal in CDMX

Address: Calle de Tacuba 1, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5512 0091 | Open 8 am to 7:30 pm weekdays, 10 am to 4 pm Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm Sundays

Perhaps the best photo spot in Mexico City – if you can catch it at a time when there aren’t crowds – is the ornate staircases at the Palacio Postal. The building is very much still a functioning post office, so swing by if you have any packages to mail and then take a few minutes to admire the intricate artistry that adorns the interior of the Palacio Postal. It’s a great free thing to do in Mexico City!

Lucha Libre

Lucha libre masks
(photo: Wirestock / Depositphotos)

If you’re a fan of wrestling, or just of spectacularly over-the-top shows, you’ll love attending a lucha libre wrestling match. The performers really go out of their way to make it a unique experience, and the crowds go absolutely wild. You can find matches in many venues around town, but one of the bigger locations is the Arena Mexico. You can buy your own tickets online, or you can go as part of this popular group tour for foreigners if you prefer the security of having someone else lead you through the fanatic crowd.

Licorería Limantour

A hand holding a drink in front of a Mexico City bar
Not my best photo, but hey the drink was good!

Address: Av. Álvaro Obregón 106, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5264 4122

Mexico City has a booming cocktail scene. For some of the best cocktails in the city, head to the Roma Norte bar Licorería Limantour any night of the week. The bar tenders are some of the most skilled at their trade that I’ve seen in all my travels of Mexico, and this is one bar that is guaranteed to have a high energy vibe no matter the night of the week. If you’re staying in Polanco, Licorería Limantour has a smaller outpost there too. Advance reservations are recommended.

Travel in a Tesla with Beat

View of interior of a Tesla car in Mexico City, with the Palacio Bellas de Arte in the background
The view from my recent ride in a Beat Tesla

Website

Sure, you can use Uber to get around Mexico City pretty cheaply. But how about paying a few pesos extra and having your chariot be a Tesla instead? That’s what Beat Tesla offers in several areas of Mexico City. You can download the app on the App Store or Google Play and order a ride the same way you would with Uber.

Best Areas to Visit in Mexico City

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Tourist Attractions | Fun & Unique | Best Areas | Free & Cheap

Roma Norte

View of the statue at Rio de Janeiro Square in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City
Rio de Janeiro Square in Roma Norte. (photo: kmiragaya / Depositphotos)

Google Maps | Search Roma Norte Hotels on Booking

One of Mexico City’s most popular neighborhoods with visitors is the hip and cultural Roma Norte area. Centered around the expansive and green Avenida Álvaro Obregón, this neighborhood is home to everything from high end restaurants to taco stalls. It features some of the best bars in town, and on weekends is the place where Mexico City’s young professionals go to relax. If I had to pick one neighborhood to stay in Mexico City, I’d pick here as it’s probably the most centrally located neighborhood in Mexico City, plus it’s always busy even at night.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Roma Norte on Booking.com here.

Condesa

View of bench and trees at Parque Mexico in Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City
Condesa is filled with lush parks!

Google Maps | Search Condesa Hotels on Booking

If you’re a fan of New York City’s West Village, you’ll love meandering down the leafy tree-lined streets of the Condesa neighborhood. Even if you’re not staying here, it’s a great place to come for a walk (try the beautiful Parque Mexico) or to try the brunch offerings at one of Condesa’s many cafes (my personal favorite: Que Seria de Mi).

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Condesa on Booking.com here.

Polanco

Restaurants in the Polanco area of Mexico City

Google Maps | Search Polanco Hotels on Booking

A popular upscale neighborhood just north of Chapultepec Park, Polanco was the neighborhood I stayed in on my most recent visit to Mexico City. I think it’s perfect to spend your nights if you’re coming for longer stays, as its definitely a quieter part of town. It’s also home to excellent restaurants, places to shop, and several museums like the Soumaya Museum.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Polanco on Booking.com here.

Coyoacán

Tables on the street of the Coyoacán neighborhood

Google Maps | Search Coyoacán hotels on Booking

Home to the famous Frida Kahlo and Trotsky Museums, Coyoacán is almost like a city within a city in Mexico City. It has its own historic center, whose cobble stone streets feature artisan markets, art galleries, restaurants, street food stalls, and cultural performances. It’s a bit far from the city center, but if you’ve been to Mexico City before and want to experience it from a different angle, consider basing yourself in Coyoacán.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Coyoacán on Booking.com here.

Zona Rosa

View of visitors walking in the Zona Rosa area of Mexico City
(photo: kmiragaya / Depositphotos)

Google Maps | Search Zona Rosa hotels on Booking

Zona Rosa is a high energy neighborhood that is home to loads of LGBT bars and nightclubs, which keep the music pumping until the late hours on the weekends. During the day it’s home to a large shopping district, and is popular with travelers given its location next to the historic center.

👉 Need a place to stay? Search hotels in Zona Rosa on Booking.com here.

Free and Cheap Things to Do in Mexico City

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Tourist Attractions | Fun & Unique | Best Areas | Free & Cheap

Churrería El Moro

A hand holding a churro in front of Churrería El Moro

Various Locations (Google Maps) | Website | Cost: 4 churros start at 93 pesos

No visit to Mexico is complete without a taste of at least one churro, the fried doughy treat that is covered in sugar and dipped in various chocolate sauces. And the best place to grab a churro in Mexico City is at Churrería El Moro, a popular chain that has several locations around town.

CDMX Signs

The author standing against a CDMX sign

Sure, this is one of those touristy things to do in Mexico City, but it’s a fun must see! There are signs scattered around Mexico City, including in popular locations like the Zocalo, that simply say “CDMX” – which stands for Ciudad de Mexico. If you see one, snap a photo because, otherwise, did you even really travel to Mexico City?

The House of Tiles (“Casa de los Azulejos”)

The author standing in front of Mexico City's House of Tiles

Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 4, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5512 1331 | Open 7 am to 1 am daily

Situated in the downtown historic district, the Casa de los Azulejos – or House of Tiles – is a 18th century Baroque palace that today is home to several restaurants and shops. The courtyard interior is worth a visit, but the real attraction are the Instagram-perfect blue and white tiles that adorn the exterior. The House of Tiles is located very close to the Palacio de Bellas Artes just off Avenida 5 de Mayo, so it’s easy to hit along with those other attractions in Mexico City.

Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela

An artisan at the Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela
(photo: arturovereaphoto.gmail.com / Depositphotos)

Address: Balderas S/N, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06040 Cuauhtémoc, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5510 1828 | Website | Market open 10 am to 7 pm daily (closes 6 pm Sundays)

If you’re looking to shop for local handicrafts or folk art, or just a colorful souvenir to take home from Mexico, definitely check out the market at the Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela, close to the historic center. At this market, you’ll find stalls of artists and vendors lined up along the street and hawking their art and wares to locals and travelers alike. Many of the market vendors accept credit cards, but if you’re paying in cash pesos you may be able to haggle prices down a bit.

Plaza Garibaldi

Mariachi bands in Plaza Garibaldi
(photo: lucidwaters / Depositphotos)

Address: Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 43, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Open 24 hours

Plaza Garibaldi is the place to visit in Mexico City to see mariachi bands, check out a few bars, get in shopping, or just soak in the vibrancy of Mexico City. Come during the day to grab lunch and listen to the mariachi bands, or come around sunset for to spend some time sipping drinks and, you guessed it, listening to mariachi!

👉 Read Next: Tulum Beach – Ultimate Travel Guide

Avenida 5 de Mayo

People walking down Avenida 5 de Mayo in Ciudad de Mexico

Google Map

Avenida 5 de Mayo is just one of Mexico City’s pedestrian streets, but it’s perhaps the most important one. Along or near the streets you’ll find several of the museums, points of interest, and important things to do in Mexico City on this list. You’ll also find tons of shops, from giant retailers like H&M to smaller local vendors, hawking their wares to the passing visitors.

Central Library at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

The mosaic outside of the Central Library at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Address: Cto. Interior S/N, C.U., Coyoacán, 04510 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 5622 1625 | Website | Open 8:30 am to 9:30 pm

The Central Library at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (“UNAM”) is one of the many underrated things to do in Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood. The main draw are the dramatic colorful murals adoring the outside of the library. The mosaic art murals are supposed to represent different periods in Mexico’s history. One represents the pre-Hispanic period, one the colonial period, one the modern era, and one the history of the university. The architecture is pretty interesting too, so this is definitely a fun thing to do in Mexico City on a budget!

Museo Sumaya-Casa Guillermo Tovar de Teresa

Books and a desk at the Museo Sumaya-Casa Guillermo Tovar de Teresa

Address: Valladolid 52, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico | Phone: +52 55 1103 9800 | Website | Open 10:30 am to 5:30 pm daily | Entrance Free

This lesser known location of the Museo Sumaya family of museums, nestled between Condesa and Roma, is a small but beautiful house museum. Its owner, Guillermo Tovar de Teresa, lived a lavish lifestyle and strolling the ornate interior and admiring the art, furniture, and architecture is a quick but enjoyable free thing to do in Mexico City.

***

That’s it for this guide to the best of Mexico City – now you know what to do in Mexico City! Scroll down and leave me a comment with what you are most excited to do in Mexico City.

And be sure to check out all our Mexico guides to Mexican destinations Playa del Carmen, Valladolid, and Chichen Itza. Happy travels in Mexico!

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12 Best Things to Do in Georgia (Country) in 2021 https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-georgia-europe/ Fri, 16 Jul 2021 04:30:12 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=3441

Are you looking for incredible things to do in Georgia (the country in Europe – not the US state!)? Well, you’ve come to the right place because these 12 ideas for what to do in Georgia will leave you wanting to come back to this incredible country again and again.

I’ve traveled to over 65+ countries around the world. And, in my mind, none of them beats the incredible country of Georgia. Seriously, not one.

So get pumped for your Caucasian adventure by checking out these incredible things to do in Georgia (country). Oh, if you need more inspiration for what to do in Georgia, be sure to bookmark my list of the best places to visit in the country of Georgia and my complete Georgia travel itinerary.

Oh, and watch this video where I walk through my 10 personal favorite activities in Georgia:

12 Best Things to Do in Georgia (Europe)

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

1) Soak Up Tbilisi’s Old Town

Old Town Tbilisi, A top Thing to do in Georgia Country Europe
Old Town Tbilisi

📍 Address: Old Town Tbilisi

For most travelers, Georgia’s capital Tbilisi will be the first stop in the country. And with so many incredible things to do in Tbilisi, you could even spend your entire Georgian vacation in this awesome city.

The highlight of any visit to Tbilisi is a stroll through the Old Town. Ancient churches, monuments, and buildings are set against a dramatic hillside. You can climb to the top or zip up via a modern cable car. And if your bones ache from all that walking, you can literally soak in the city at the thermal springs located right in the middle of Tbilisi’s Old Town.

Cross a bridge and on the other side of the Kura river you’ll find incredible modern architecture, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition against Old Town. The best way to take in Tbilisi’s Old Town is to join a free walking tour.

👉 Pro Tip: Tbilisi traffic can be a pain. Make sure you book your hotel in Old Tbilisi or any of the surrounding neighborhoods (like Vake, Sololaki, or Rustaveli). Here’s a map of those areas courtesy of Booking.com. Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with the Rooms Hotel Tbilisi.

Booking.com

2) Attend a Traditional Supra

Georgian food
Georgian food is incredible

👉 Georgian Traditional Feast with Folk Show

A supra is basically a traditional Georgian feast. Picture plate after plate of delicious Georgian cuisine served up in a Georgian home, all while copious amounts of homemade wine is poured until late into the evening. It’s a can’t miss experience in Georgia.

When locals attend a supra, its through invites from friends. That’s hard if you don’t speak Georgian, especially given the ongoing health crisis. The easiest way around that is to snag a ticket to the highly-rated Georgian Folk Show and Supra, which is limited to just 10 tickets per show. Or you can still learn how to create the supra experience yourself in a small group cooking class at Nana’s Kitchen.

👉 Pro Tip: Georgia is pretty safe, but any travel during a pandemic is risky. Be sure to get travel insurance that covers Georgia. I use and love World Nomads for my own insurance, but do your own research!

3) Taste Georgian Wine

What to do in Georgia Country? Taste Wines in Kakheti!
Wines in Kakheti

👉 Local Wine Experience in Kakheti

The secret about Georgian wine, which many locals even make in their home, is officially out. Georgian wine is quickly becoming renowned as some of the highest quality vino in all of Europe. And with good reason: the temperate environmental conditions in Georgia’s province of Kakheti, combined with centuries of experience by the local vintners, make for seriously delicious stuff. The Kakheti wine region is basically “Georgia’s Napa Valley,” and going on a vineyard tour is a must-do in Georgia. You can easily do this via a day tour from Tbilisi to Kakheti (here’s Viator’s top rated tour, and here’s Get Your Guide’s).

4) Visit Svaneti, a Medieval Land

Watchtowers in Ushguli Georgia
Ushguli, my favorite place on the planet

📍 Address: Ushguli | 👉 Svaneti Private Tour

One of the most enchanting places on the planet is locked high in Georgia’s Caucasian mountains. The province of Svaenti is dotted with hundreds of ancient watchtowers, which for years helped the locals keep invaders at bay. Primarily accessible only through a single long and winding road, Svaneti has recently become one of the more popular things to do in Georgia thanks in part to a small Georgia airline that runs flights from Tbilisi. Flights are usually booked up months in advance, but if you can’t snag one you can still get there from Tbilisi via this private tour.

👉 Pro Tip: Be sure to check out my mega Svaneti, Georgia guide for insider tips on how to plan your trip to this top destination in Georgia.

5) Trek in the Caucasian Mountains

Me before hiking in Ushguli Georgia
Me on a hike in Svaneti, Georgia

📍 Address: Caucasian Mountains

You’ll feel a bit like Marco Polo crossing the famous Silk Road when you set out for your trek through the Georgian countryside. With soaring mountain peaks, expansive farmland, and lush forests broken up by tiny but welcoming villages, Georgia is probably one of the most underrated trekking destinations in the world. One of the more popular routes is the multi-day trek from Mestia to Ushguli, though there are dozens to choose from around the country of Georgia.

🚗 Planning to Rent a Car in Georgia? Check out Discover Cars, which will search dozens of rental agencies for the best deal. Pay attention to the agency’s reviews too, which is something Discover does well and I think is a super cool feature for travelers not familiar with local brands.

6) Eat Khachapuri

Khachapuri: eating it is one of the top things to do in Georgia Europe
Magical khachapuri

I’m not much of a foodie, so if a food captures my heart you know it must be truly magical. And Khachapuri is the stuff of legends.

This traditional Georgian cheese bread can be prepared a number of different ways, but by far my favorite is Acharuli. You’ll have to try it for yourself, but let’s just say that it involves an egg cracked over layers of doughy, cheesy goodness. Just trust me, trying khachapuri is a can’t-miss thing to do in Georgia (country)!

7) Hike to the Gergeti Trinity Church

The Trinity Church in Kazbegi, Georgia Europe
The Trinity Church

📍 Address: Kazbegi, Oni, Georgia | Phone: +995 598 97 89 98 | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | 👉 Day trip in Kazbegi

High in the mountains of the Kazbegi region of Georgia lies the Gergeti Trinity Church. If you’ve seen one photo of the country of Georgia, it’s probably of this iconic building set against the backdrop of majestic Mount Kazbegi. And, given the gorgeous scene, it’s no wonder why visiting the Trinity Church is one of the most popular things to do in Georgia.

While it is possible to visit the church as part of day trip from Tbilisi, an even better thing to do in Georgia is to spend a night in the nearby town of Stepantsminda, then wake up early for a steep climb that will reward you with peaceful time at the iconic church before the tour buses roll in.

👉 How to Get to Kazbegi: You could rent a car through Discover Car Hire and drive your self. Or you could just take a tour from Tbilisi and let others handle the logistics. This tour from Viator conveniently combines Kazbegi with a trip to our next attraction:

8) Marvel at Ananuri Castle

Places to visit in Georgia Europe Ananuri
The Ananuri Castle Complex

📍 Address: 5P73+G5H, Ananuri, GeorgiaWebsite | Hours: 9 am – 8 pm daily | 👉 Day trip in Kazbegi

Technically two castles joined by a wall, the Ananuri complex is an impressive work of ancient architecture made all the more fascinating by its stunning setting against the backdrop of the Aragvi river. Located a mere 90 minutes or so north of Tbilisi, a visit to Ananuri is an easy day trip.

👉 Pro Tip: you can combine Ananuri with a trip to Kazbegi via this Viator tour I mentioned above. It’s an awesome way to really take in the best of northern Georgia and knock out two of the best sites in Georgia on the same day!

9) Tour the Caves of Gareji

David Gareji Caves Georgia Things to Do (1)

📍 Address: C9WG+WHP, Udabno, Georgia | 👉 Gareji and Signagi Private Full Day Tour

In the southeast of the country of Georgia, near the boarder with Azerbaijan, lies the David Gareji monastery complex. This Georgian Orthodox complex is set against a rocky hillside, the complex includes hundreds of dwellings, churches, chapels and more. There is also a hill you can hike for incredible views. It’s possible to visit the David Gareji complex as part of a day trip from Tbilisi, taking in the gorgeous Georgian countryside along the way on this tour that won Viator’s “Badge of Excellence.”

10) Or the Remarkable Caves of Uplistsikhe

The Uplistsikhe caves, one of the top attractions in Georgia
The Ancient Uplistsikhe caves near Gori

📍 Address: Gori, GeorgiaWebsite | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily | 👉 Uplistsikhe Tour

Alternatively, you can visit another set of ancient cave homes at Uplistsike. These ones are much easier to reach, as they are located just outside of Gori and only a 1 to 1.5 hour trip away from Tbilisi. This 5,000 year old complex is seriously impressive. It’s set on a cliff-side overlooking a river, meaning you’ll get some incredible views of the Georgian countryside.

How to Get to Uplistsikhe: Drive yourself if you have a car, haggle to hire a driver for the day in Tbilisi, or just take this affordable tour from Tbilisi.

11) Relax on the Beach in Batumi

Batumi's boardwalk at sunset
Batumi’s boardwalk at sunset

📍 Address: 1/2 Gogebashvili St, Batumi, Georgia | Hours: 24 Hours daily |

There’s no sand to be found here, but don’t tell that to the hoards of Georgian and Russian sun-seekers who pack the pebble beaches of Batumi each year. The top thing to do in Georgia during the summer is clear: chill out (or get your party on) in Batumi.

Georgia’s Black Sea resort town Batumi feels like it belongs in a different country altogether, as the modern architecture reminds one more of Singapore or Dubai. But, for all its modern facade, Batumi remains a uniquely Georgian experience.

So if you need a break from all those stunning mountains, do what the locals do and head to Batumi for some summer fun. It’s definitely one of the most unique places in the country of Georgia.

12) Martivili Canyon

Rafts in Martivili Canyon
This was the best part of the tour to me!

📍 Address: Fur Bridge, Martvili 3100, Georgia | Phone: +995 579 80 28 42 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily | 👉 Waterfall and Canyons Private Tour

Located in the western part of Georgia, the Martivili Canyon is a gorgeous formation carved by the teal waters of the Okatse River. There are suspension bridges that make it easy to walk around and get different view points of the dramatic waterfalls. And you can also take a small trip on a raft, which I thought was fun when I did it a couple years ago.

For a special treat, combine a visit to Martivili Canyon with a trip to the nearby famous Prometheus Cave, which you can do taking this highly-rated tour from Tbilisi.

FAQs About Travel to Georgia

Is Georgia a safe country?

Georgia is generally a very safe country for travel. Despite having had an armed conflict in 2008, the majority of the country is perfectly safe for travel. Travelers to the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should exercise caution, however. It is still a good idea to purchase travel insurance for Georgia though.

What is the best time to visit Georgia?

The best time to visit Georgia is generally from May through August, when the mountains are warmer and the temperature is better for exploring all that the country has to offer. Tbilisi can technically be explored year round (although it may be a bit chilly), and winter tourism is slowly growing in Georgia as more Europeans discover the benefits of Georgia’s ski slopes.

How expensive is Georgia?

Georgia is an inexpensive country for travel. Your exact costs will depend upon your style of travel, but as a general matter costs are comparable or even more affordable than most destinations in Eastern Europe.

***

There are so many things to do in Georgia the country, that it’s really not possible to list them all here. So for further inspiration for your trip to the country of Georgia, be sure to check out:

Those posts are packed with more suggestions and information to help you figure out what to do in Georgia and to make the most of your trip.

And if you have any comments or want to share your experience traveling in Georgia, just scroll down and tell me about it in the comments!

Safe travels in Georgia!

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7 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe Ranked [2021] https://travellemming.com/best-backpacks-for-traveling-europe/ Sat, 10 Jul 2021 08:20:33 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=3159

Finding the best travel backpack for Europe can be a daunting task. A backpack might be the biggest investment you make in your Eurotrip beside plane tickets. Plus, you’ll use your travel backpack literally all the time (they don’t call it “backpacking Europe” for nothing)!

I am a travel blogger who has been backpacking the world non-stop since 2016 (see section below on why you can trust my recommendations – I know what I’m talking about). My team of travel reviewers and I have tested many backpacks over the years.

As of summer 2021, Travel Lemming’s overall top rated backpack is the Tortuga Setout Backpack.

While the Setout definitely is the one “all-around-can’t-miss” recommendation on this list, it’s also honestly not the only bag for Europe (in fact, it’s not even what I’m using anymore). Different bags are better for different people, and for different use cases. This post includes the 7 best travel backpacks we’ve tested to date, as well as the 3 best travel daypacks. They are all very different from each other, but that’s the beauty of it in my mind – I think everyone is likely to find their perfect bag somewhere among these 7 travel backpacks:

7 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe Compared

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

In a rush? Here’s a quick summary of the top 7 travel backpacks for Europe reviewed in this post below:

Best Overall
Tortuga Setout
From $179

You can definitely tell that the Setout was designed by travelers. Its perfect organization lets you can pack everything you need for Europe into one bag. Plus, the super durable construction and timeless style means this bag is built to last. If we could only choose one bag, this would be it.

My Current Bag
The Backpacker by Salkan
$250

I use Salkan now because it's THE most comfortable backpack I've ever found. The straps and weight distribution are unbelievable - it barely feels like I'm carrying it! Perfect for those long walks between hostels. I also love that it's BOTH front and top loading, the built in laundry bag, and the customizable colors. For a serious backpacker like me it's worth the investment. Note: You can get the main bag alone, or the "Backpacker" bundle with Salkan's stylish daypack.

Best Value Buy
Osprey Porter 46L

I've personally taken this bag to over 60 countries, and it's held up remarkably well! A timeless design and durable construction, backed by Osprey's famous "All Mighty Guarantee," is why this is the popular bag you will see in Europe's hostels. If on a budget but can't sacrifice quality, choose the Osprey Porter.

Best for Digital Nomads
Nomatic Travel Backpack
$269

The viral Nomatic bag is taking the digital nomad world by storm for good reason. The bag has dozens of innovative features designed for remote workers - or just obsessive organizers. It has thoughtful features for stashing away everything you need, and is still carry-on size.

Best for Carry-On Travelers
Tortuga Outbreaker
$269

Just want a single carry-on friendly bag? This is it! Durable construction and timeless style means this investment will last for many trips. Comfortable straps, sensible organization, and more. Tortuga thought of it all!

Best for Security
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Travel Backpack
$215.40

Worried about safety on your Euro backpacking trip? Pacsafe is made for worrywarts like you. This bag comes loaded with anti-theft and security features, plus it's pretty stylish and comfortable to boot.

11/03/2021 12:04 am GMT
Best Large Bag
Osprey Farpoint 55L
$119.94-$225.00

You've got plenty of space to add some extras to your pack! Though I prefer to travel light, for travelers who want more space, this is the best travel backpack for Europe. Men's and Women's versions available. Plus, it comes with Osprey's lifetime guarantee.

Ok, that’s the summary. But maybe you want a little more info to help decide which one of these awesome travel bags is best for you? Let’s deep dive into the best backpacks for traveling Europe, starting with our top ranked bag:

#1 – Tortuga Setout Backpack

Best Overall
Tortuga Setout
From $179

You can definitely tell that the Setout was designed by travelers. Its perfect organization lets you can pack everything you need for Europe into one bag. Plus, the super durable construction and timeless style means this bag is built to last. If we could only choose one bag, this would be it.

✔️ Pros

  • Carry-on compliant
  • Men’s and women’s fits
  • Thoughtful organization
  • Super durable construction
  • Extremely comfortable

Cons

  • Price means its an investment
  • Only available direct from Tortuga (but at least they have free shipping and returns!)

Video Review

Tortuga Setout Review

The folks at Tortuga seems to have thought everything with the Setout travel backpack. Heck, they even made a separate fit for men and women!

✔️ What We Love: The Tortuga Setout packs like a suitcase with the mobility of a backpack. It’s not a top loading bag, which means easy access even as you bounce from hostel to hostel (those top loading backpacks can become a real mess after awhile!). Plus, both the 35L and 45L sizes are carry-on compliant for most airlines, which means you’ll avoid checked bag fees to boot!

💲 Thoughts on the Price: Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than some other bags, but it’s built to last for years to come. So if you’re planning more than just one trip with this bag, it’s worth the investment.

🤗 Supporting Small Businesses: You can only buy this bag from directly from Tortuga. Tortuga isn’t a huge corporation – they’re a small but well-regarded business built by two travelers who wanted to bring quality travel backpacks to the world.

#2 – The Backpacker by Salkan

My Current Bag
The Backpacker by Salkan
$250

I use Salkan now because it's THE most comfortable backpack I've ever found. The straps and weight distribution are unbelievable - it barely feels like I'm carrying it! Perfect for those long walks between hostels. I also love that it's BOTH front and top loading, the built in laundry bag, and the customizable colors. For a serious backpacker like me it's worth the investment. Note: You can get the main bag alone, or the "Backpacker" bundle with Salkan's stylish daypack.

✔️ Pros

  • Front AND top loading
  • By far the most comfortable bag to carry I’ve ever tested (the harness system is awesome at distributing weight)
  • Thoughtful touches like a detachable laundry bag
  • Comes bundled with included day pack
  • Free shipping and returns

Cons

  • The size is technically just a couple inches longer than most carry-on limitations (with that said – I’ve now personally carried it on planes twice with zero problems).

Salkan Backpacker Review

The author modeling the Salkan Backpacker bag
Me with my bag – I love how easy it is to carry for long periods!

Having personally tested over a dozen bags, I personally choose to travel with Salkan’s The Backpacker these days. Here’s what I personally like about this bag (and why it might not be right for everyone):

✔️ Why I Chose This Bag: Salkan is a small company founded by serious travelers, and it shows in the design of their signature bag The Backpacker. The bag is loaded with features, like a built in rain cover and laundry sling, and has a sturdy weatherproof exterior that someone manages to stay fashionable while still being highly functional. I travel full time all around the world, and so chose this bag to carry with me as it is more versatile than any other I’ve tested.

🎒 Front AND Top Loading: One of the biggest debates in travel backpacks is whether to go with a front or top loader. Front loading is easier when you are trying to organize and pack your bag, but top loading can be much more convenient when actually using the bag in a crowded hostel dorm room or out in the wild. The Salkan Backpacker is the only I’ve ever seen that offers both options, so you don’t have to choose!

🎒 Perfect Daypack Combo: The Backpacker comes with a detachable daypack that is perfect for an “under the seat bag,” carrying a laptop, or throwing essentials in a pack for a day-to-day use around whatever European city you’re currently exploring.

💯 Lifetime Guarantee: Salkan bags are built to last, and you can literally feel it in the quality of the material. I’ve already put this backpack through a lot, and I’m guessing it can survive a lot more, but they offer a lifetime guarantee just to be sure.

📦 Free Returns and Shipping to USA: Salkan is a British outfitter but they ship free to the USA, though, and my bag arrived in just a couple days. Plus, if for whatever reason you don’t like the Backpacker, they offer free returns.

Read a my full review of the Salkan backpack for a more in-depth look at this bag’s many features.

#3 – Osprey 46 L Porter Backpack

Best Value Buy
Osprey Porter 46L

I've personally taken this bag to over 60 countries, and it's held up remarkably well! A timeless design and durable construction, backed by Osprey's famous "All Mighty Guarantee," is why this is the popular bag you will see in Europe's hostels. If on a budget but can't sacrifice quality, choose the Osprey Porter.

✔️ Pros

  • Converts to a duffel
  • Lightweight, simple design
    Single compartment great for stuffing in more clothes
  • Best value/quality combination
  • Carry on size
  • Backed by lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Shoulder straps have minimal padding (they need to be small to stowaway)
  • Very few pockets – just one big compartment

Osprey Porter 46L Review

The Osprey 46 L Porter is the most up to date version of the travel backpack I’ve used for the past several years.

✔️ What We Love: Travel backpacks have come and gone over the years, but the Osprey Porter 46L maintains its popularity becuase its relatively affordable and the perfect size for backpacking around Europe. The Porter has shoulder straps and waistband for easier carrying, but they can be tucked away to make this appear like a duffel bag.

🎒 Packs Like a Pro: The Osprey Porter has one large front-loading main compartment. This makes it super easy to pack on the go. It also has some nifty compression straps that help to keep your profile small (it can function as a carry-on backpack for most airlines if not overfilled).

🧳 Converts to a Duffel: One awesome feature is that this bag converts from a backpack into a duffel bag by folder the straps into the back. This means you can carry this backpack like a suitcase, though the price you pay for that is that the shoulder straps are a little thin.

Don’t Look Like a Dirty Backpacker: I happen to think it looks pretty stylish (I have the black version) compared to other backpacks that scream “I’m a scruffy backpacker who hasn’t showered in days” to everyone you meet.

💯 Lifetime Guarantee: I love Osprey because they have a lifetime guarantee – Osprey will repair any bag they’ve ever made for any reason!

#4 – The Nomatic Travel Backpack

Best for Digital Nomads
Nomatic Travel Backpack
$269

The viral Nomatic bag is taking the digital nomad world by storm for good reason. The bag has dozens of innovative features designed for remote workers - or just obsessive organizers. It has thoughtful features for stashing away everything you need, and is still carry-on size.

✔️ Pros

  • Built specifically for digital nomads and remote workers
  • The best organization features of any bag I’ve ever seen
  • Expandable size (20 L to 30 L)
  • Splits open in center, making packing easy
  • Simple but sleek design, quality construction

Cons

  • May be too small to serve as the sole bag for those who pack a lot

The Nomatic Travel Backpack Review

The Nomatic Backpack
Me trying out The Nomatic

I loved the organizing features of the Nomatic Travel Bag and, for my latest trip, very nearly chose it as my personal bag … except that it just doesn’t have quite enough space for me personally. If you’re a light packer, or looking to carry two bags though, it could be a great option. Here’s my thoughts on it:

💻 Made for Digital Nomads: the bag went viral in the digital nomad community for good reason. It is well designed for organizing tech gear, and the many pockets and sleeves make it easy to find and grab items on the go.

Expandable Carry-On Size: the Nomatic Travel Backpack expands from 20 L to 30 L, which means it is pretty versatile. Expand it out to carry on an airplane, then size it down for a day at the co-working space.

#5 – Pacsafe Venturesafe Carry-On Travel Backpack

Best for Security
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Travel Backpack
$215.40

Worried about safety on your Euro backpacking trip? Pacsafe is made for worrywarts like you. This bag comes loaded with anti-theft and security features, plus it's pretty stylish and comfortable to boot.

11/03/2021 12:04 am GMT

✔️ Pros

  • Anti-theft slash-proof design for security
  • Super comfortable
  • 45 and 65L carry on sizes
  • Easy access front compartments

Cons

  • Hideaway straps are a cool feature, but they can be tricky to finagle into the bag

Pacsafe Venturesafe Review

If you want a quality bag loaded with security features, the Pacsafe Venturesafe is a great travel carry on bag for Europe.

🔪 Slash-Proof – Bag slashing is one of the more common crimes targeting backpackers in Europe. Since slashers tend to target corners of bags, Pacsafe reinforced this bag with its eXomesh stainless steel mesh. Good luck cutting through that!

🤐 Lockable Zippers – While backpacking Europe, you’ll spend a lot of time leaving your bag in random places: hostel floors and common rooms, open shelves on trains and ferries, and in large stacks of other bags. These lockable zippers make it much harder for a pickpocket to snatch something while you aren’t looking.

🎒 Organized and Comfortable – The anti-theft features aren’t the only thing this backpack has going for it – it’s also pretty comfortable to carry and loaded with smart organization features.

#6 – Tortuga Outbreaker

Best for Carry-On Travelers
Tortuga Outbreaker
$269

Just want a single carry-on friendly bag? This is it! Durable construction and timeless style means this investment will last for many trips. Comfortable straps, sensible organization, and more. Tortuga thought of it all!

✔️ Pros

  • Perfect for the carry-on traveler who wants to deal with just one bag
  • Durable construction built to last
  • All around perfect organization
  • Raving reviews from users

Cons

  • Priciest bag we’ve ever reviewed (otherwise it might be our #1 pick)

Our Video Review

Tortuga Outbreaker Review

This bag is awesome! Honestly, the Tortuga Outbreaker might have been our pick as the overall best travel backpack for Europe … IF it wasn’t for the hefty price tag of $269. If you have the cash, though, this is the Rolls Royce option for Europe travel backpacks.

📈 Premium Price Point Means It’s an Investment: If you’re willing to invest in a high-quality bag for the long-term, and you want something that is carry-on friendly, you can’t find a better premium bag than the Tortgua Outbreaker.

✈️ Best Carry-On Backpack: This shockingly comfortable bag comes in both 35L and 45L sizes, and fits clothes for up to a week of travel, plus a 17 inch laptop in a special padded laptop compartment.

✔️Crazy-Good Organization: The Tortuga Outbreaker has plenty of space on the inside, plus an incredibly smart front pocket organizer with space for things like your passport, wallet, keys, and more. It even has a little zipper pocket on its hip belt that functions like a fanny-pack – great for easy access as you’re walking around European old towns!

#7 – Osprey Farpoint 55

Best Large Bag
Osprey Farpoint 55L
$119.94-$225.00

You've got plenty of space to add some extras to your pack! Though I prefer to travel light, for travelers who want more space, this is the best travel backpack for Europe. Men's and Women's versions available. Plus, it comes with Osprey's lifetime guarantee.

✔️ Pros

  • 55 L means LOTS of space
  • Popular because it gets the job done
  • Good price/quality balance
  • Backed by Osprey lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • A little heavy
  • Very few pockets – just one big compartment
  • Not carry on size

Osprey Farpoint Review

Not a light packer? Then I suggest upgrading to the Osprey Farpoint 55.

🎒 Space to Fit It All: The Osprey Farpoint has almost 10 liters of extra space to fit in those extra shoes, clothes, or whatever else it is that you need on your trip, plus a good hip and harness strap system to allow you to comfortably carry that extra weight.

👉 Need Even More Space? Check out Osprey’s 70 liter version.

🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Popular for a Reason: This is definitely one of the most popular backpacks for traveling Europe. So if you want a safe bet that many others seem to like, this is a good choice. I’ve seen this exact backpack MANY times in hostels all over the European continent! So obviously a lot of other people think it’s one of the best backpacks for traveling Europe. Just be sure to tag yours so it doesn’t get taken by the wrong person!

3 Best Travel Daypacks for Europe

Most backpackers in Europe carry a daypack or laptop bag in addition to their main backpack. This makes a lot of sense since a lot of times you’ll need something to carry your camera and other essential items while you are out exploring for the day. It also gives you extra space to pack things if you are trying to carry on a plane (since daypacks can fit under the seat in front of you, and usually count as a personal item).

Tortuga Outbreaker Laptop Bag

Tortuga has consistently produced the best “main” backpacks we’ve tested at Travel Lemming, so I was really excited when they announced that they were also going to put out the Tortuga Outbreaker laptop bag. My partner Clara is currently using this bag, and absolutely loves it:

👉 Great Organization: As you would expect from something with the Tortuga brand, this bag offers many different organization features, pockets, and places to stash away small items like keys, a passport, or a charger.

Super Cushy Straps: Laptop bags are usually the bag that spends the most time on your shoulders, and laptops tend to weigh a fair bit, so Clara loves that this bag has super comfortable padding.

👖 Usable as Your Only Bag: This is meant to be an under-the-seat “personal item,” but it honestly has the space not just for a laptop, but everything you’d want in a backpack for a shorter trip. If you were only taking a trip for a long weekend and wanted to just carry one bag, you could probably get by with just the Outbreaker laptop bag!

Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

Best Daypack
Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack
$70.00

I've carried this trust daypack to over 50 countries all over the world. For the price, you won't find a better value. Solid construction, lots of colors to choose from, and sensible compartments. All at a remarkably affordable price.

11/03/2021 08:32 am GMT

This is a classic daypack. I absolutely love The Osprey Daylite Daypack, and took it to over 50 countries. It’s a simple bag, but it really works. Here’s why:

✈️ Lightweight But Feature-Rich: 13 liters, it’s the perfect size for packing your camera and other items (I even fit my drone in there!). This daypack is lightweight so it doesn’t hurt my back, and it has a small hip strap that can be useful at times.

🔒 Osprey Locking System: Best of all, it straps into my main Osprey Porter 46 backpack through their proprietary locking system, meaning it’s possible to attach the two bags together and just carry them as one!

✔️ Lifetime Guarantee: In case you couldn’t tell that I love Osprey by now – the Daylite daypack also comes with Osprey’s incredible lifetime guarantee.

Salkan Daypack

Can’t decide between a laptop bag or a more traditional daypack? Consider the Salkan Daypack, which offers the best of both worlds. It comes bundled with the Salkan Backpacker, but can also be bought separately. I can confidentially say it makes for an excellent choice for a daypack for Europe because it’s what I’m personally using these days!

✔️ Great for Laptops AND Day trips: I use my daypacks for two similar but different purpose. First, to keep my laptop and day-of essentials close to me on flights. Second, when I am already in a destination, I like to have a bag I can grab to keep important things like towels, umbrellas, and other basics on hand while exploring a city or beach. The Salkan is the only bag I’ve found that is perfect for BOTH use cases.

Super Stylish: I don’t know about, but I think it just looks really cool right?

How to Research Travel Backpacks

Why Trust Our Recommendations

Best backpacks for traveling Europe: me and my backpack
With my trusty Osprey 46L – which I took to 60+ countries!

So who am I and why should you trust my travel backpack recommendations?

I’m Nate Hake, a full time traveler since 2016.

I quite literally live out of a backpack and a daypack.

Above you can see me and my 46L Osprey Porter in Amsterdam. Oh, and I’ve also traveled in Europe a LOT. I’ve been to nearly every country in Europe (I’m coming for you Albania!), and I backpack somewhere in Europe almost every summer. (Side note: if you’re getting wanderlust right now, check out my list of the best places to backpack in Europe and our huge guide to Backpacking Europe).

And guess what I’ve learned in all that travel? I’ve learned that a quality travel backpack can be your best friend while traveling through Europe.

First, I have a few tips for picking the best travel backpack for Europe properly …

4 Tips for Picking a Backpack for Traveling Europe

Let’s start by covering some of the basic things you should be looking for when shopping for a backpack for traveling in Europe.

Most of these things apply universally to shopping for any sort of travel backpack, but there are a handful of unique considerations when backpacking Europe that might matter:

#1 – Sort Out Your Desired Size First

Most importantly, you need to decide how much luggage space you need in your travel backpack. Personally, I suggest aiming to be as lean possible. You’ll be carrying this bag a lot on your trip, so the less weight you have on it, the better and more comfortable it will be.

Reasons why smaller = better include:

  • Carry-on sized bags help save money on checked bag fees (especially on European budget airlines like Ryan Air).
  • Smaller bags are easier to stuff into the overhead compartments on trains, or into the sometimes small lockers in hostels.
  • You don’t want to be that backpacker who has a huge bag hogging up the corner of the crowded dorm room!

And I know what you’re thinking: but what about laundry?

Well, fortunately, that’s easy and cheap to find when traveling Europe. Most hostels offer a laundry room or laundry service and, when they don’t, it’s usually just a few blocks away. Or you could always carry a Scruba laundry bag with you and just do it in the shower!

So leave the extra outfits at home and just plan to do a wash every now and then!

Best Backpack for Travel
Don’t pack too much in your bag or you’ll end up like this …

One thing to note about travel backpack size:

Size is typically expressed in liters or “L”. If you’re an American, like me, this might be hard to wrap your mind around so let me give you some context:

The travel pack in the photo of me above in Amsterdam above is a 46 liter bag, which I use as my main bag now and which is about the maximum size you can have before you start to have to check your bag.

Keep in mind when looking at that photo that I’m very tall, so it may look bigger on you.

#2 – Make Sure Your Travel Backpack is Comfortable

You’re going to be walking around with this bag on your shoulders a fair amount, so finding a bag that comfortably fits your frame is important.

One thing that REALLY helps distribute the weight of a heavy backpack is a hip-strap.

If you’ve not used a hip strap suspension system before, it can feel a bit funky the first time, but it works wonders by moving a lot of the weight from your shoulders to your hips. Trust me, your shoulders will thank you at the end of the day for using the waist-strap suspension system!

On the other hand, backpacking Europe isn’t the same as trekking through Nepal or Patagonia.

Honestly, you will seldom carry your travel backpack more than a kilometer or so at a time, so it’s not like you need to bother getting an expensive and bulky hiking backpack (which are usually top loading and often have way more features for comfort like padded hip belts and complex suspension systems).

#3 – Don’t Sacrifice Durability for Price

I’ve seen so many backpackers in hostels with tears in their bags, ripped straps, or just generally discolored and gross looking backpacks.

Backpacks take a beating and it’s important to buy a brand that gets good reviews over the long haul.

So even if you are trying to travel cheaply in Europe, you’ll save money by buying a backpack that lasts longer.

#4 – Consider What Features You Want: But Don’t Overthink It

Traditional hiking backpacks have a ton of pockets, as well as the main compartment that is usually accessible only from the top.

Some people like this because it helps them to organize – they designate a pocket or compartment for toiletries, other compartments for shirts and underwear, other compartments for pants, etc.

Personally, I think a lot of compartments and pockets are constraining, and I find that having fewer, larger pockets is more versatile and makes packing easier and quicker.

Also, note that some backpacks also are designed with an option for a built-in waterproof cover.

While a nice feature, I personally don’t think this is necessary if you just need a backpack for travel in Europe.

Sure, it rains, but you’ll be inside most of the time (again, this isn’t Patagonia) and it’s almost always possible to quickly find cover in Europe.

Whatever you do, don’t overthink small features like pockets. The truth is that you’ll find a way to pack your stuff in most bags, so it’s size, comfort, and durability you should be focusing on when picking your backpack.

What to Pack for Europe

One more thing before you travel to Europe:

Don’t forget these items that should be on every backpacker’s packing list …

Compression Bags

A great way to fit more items in your travel backpack is to use compression bags to squeeze the air out of your clothes.

I personally use these fabric compression bags, but these plastic bags are a high-rated option that give more compression.

European Travel Plug Adapter

If your electronic devices are from the USA/Canada/Australia/UK, you’re going to need an adapter to be able to charge them!

This is a solid one that also works in many different locations around the world.

A Retractable-Cable Lock

Why this specific type of lock?

Because the retractable cable comes in handy when you need to secure your travel backpack (for example in a dorm where the hostel doesn’t have a locker, or the locker won’t fit your bag).

Here is a highly-rated and affordable one to try.

Travel Neck Pillow

Photo of woman with travel neck pillow on airplane

Backpacking Europe = a LOT of time spent on trains, planes, and buses (not to mention hostels without adequate facilities).

I wouldn’t dare try it without a travel neck pillow in my backpack.

Because I’m obsessed with perfection, I had our writer Hedy test out 5 of the best travel neck pillows.

The winner of our test?

The TRTL Travel Neck Pillow … by a landslide. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and fits easily in a backpack.

Travel Umbrella

An umbrella is one of those things you don’t think to pack and then later realize you need it … but only when you REALLY need it.

So safe yourself some trouble and just pack one now.

And I’ll help you get the best one quickly, because another one of our writers (Lydia) actually tested out the best umbrellas for travel.

Her top choice?

The Rainmate Compact Travel Umbrella. It’s lightweight yet durable, packs down small, but gets the job done at an affordable price.

Travel Insurance for Europe

Are you covered in case of an accident during your backpacking trip through Europe? If not, you could be in for a real crisis if an emergency happens. That’s why I always add travel insurance to my packing list.

World Nomads is the most popular choice for backpacker insurance in Europe, and I’ve personally used them many times in Europe.

A House Sitting Membership

What’s house sitting?

Well, it’s where you watch someone’s home (and usually their pets) while you stay in it without paying.

It’s cheaper than a hostel (well, unless you happen to get one of those sweet hostel jobs through a service like World Packers). Plus, you don’t have to crash on a couch, and you get MUCH more space to unpack your travel backpack than you would anywhere else.

Read our post on How to Housesit to learn why many think it’s the ultimate hack to backpacking Europe.

Or check out Trusted Housesitters if you want to start browsing available properties now.

FAQs About Buying a Europe Backpack

Europe Travel Backpack in Venice
Grab some coffee and let’s chat while watching the scene in Venice ….

Is it safe to travel with a backpack in Europe?

Generally traveling with a backpack in Europe is very safe. You can protect yourself by exercising caution, never leaving your bag alone, and investing in a bag lock. You may also consider a anti-theft bag like the Pacsafe Venturesafe.

What is a good backpack for traveling Europe?

Our top 3 backpacks for Europe are the Osprey Porter 46 L, the Tortuga Outbreaker, and the Tortuga Setout. All three receive good reviews and are carry-on compliant.

Is it better to travel with a backpack or suitcase in Europe?

It depends on your personal preference. If you are staying in hostels, you’ll find that most travelers use backpacks for ease of portability. Though it’s a never-ending debate, the truth is you can travel Europe just fine with either.

How big of a backpack do I need to travel Europe?

The smaller the bag, the better. It’s easy to do laundry in Europe, and you’ll have more mobility if you have less to carry. A bag around 40-50 liters is plenty big.

Is a 40l backpack carry-on?

Usually a 40l backpack qualifies as a carry-on in the US and Europe, though restrictions vary by airline.

***

That’s it for this guide on the best travel backpacks for Europe!

Let’s get planning your Europe trip:

Do you have an opinion on the best backpack for traveling Europe? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

And if you have any questions or need further help to choose your best bag for travel in Europe, just let me know! I’m always here to help my readers. 

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59 Best Things to Do in Denver in 2021 (By a Local!) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-denver/ Tue, 29 Jun 2021 22:41:45 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=22303

As a child, I would talk my mom into going to Casa Bonita every chance I could because it was one of the most fun things to do in Denver I knew of at that point. She always complained about the food, but she sure seemed to like the margaritas!

Three decades later, that little Colorado boy is now a recovering Denver lawyer turned professional travel blogger. I’ve spent the past five years traveling the world while living out of a backpack. But, while I was off adventuring to over 70 countries, my city grew into one of the trendiest destinations in the USA.

So, when the pandemic sent me scrambling home to Denver from Argentina, I took it as an opportunity to explore and show off the city I know best: Denver, Colorado.

I’ve spent the summer re-connecting with my favorite attractions in Denver, and exploring new Denver hotels, activities, sites, and points of interest that have sprung up while I was abroad. I documented and photographed it all, so I could write up this epic list of the best things to do in Denver, Colorado.

I hope this list helps you enjoy the best of Denver. I hope you love Denver with the same passion I’ve put into curating it for you!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in Denver

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Museums & Culture | Sites & Points of Interest | Food & Drink | Nightlife | Fun & Family | Unique & Cool | Outdoors

Red Rocks

Address: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465 | Website | Visit on the Denver Foothills Explorer Tour

Arguably the most spectacular outdoor concert venue in the USA, the Red Rocks open-air amphitheater is situated among 300-million-year-old protruding angular red sandstone formations. With seating for 9,525 and fantastic views over the Front Range, Red Rocks is truly a can’t-miss destination for any visit to Denver, and even makes our list of the best things to do in the state of Colorado.

The venue draws A-list musical talent, plus hosts the Film on the Rocks movie night series and the weekend morning Yoga on the Rocks workout session. Check the official calendar of events. Even if you can’t snag a concert ticket, you should still visit just to see Red Rocks. If you don’t have a car, join the uber-popular Denver Foothills Explorer tour, which includes a stop to Red Rocks and other mountain viewpoints.

⛰️ Local Trivia: Though it’s the undisputed top thing to do in Denver, did you know Red Rocks isn’t even located in Denver? It’s actually 10 miles west of the city in Morrison. But, weirdly, it IS owned by the City of Denver.

Larimer Square

Address: 1430 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

Located on Larimer Street between 14th and 15th, Larimer Square is easily the coolest block in town and the place to be see and be seen for the Colorado glitterati. Window shop at any one of the boutique stores (care to try on a $800 hat?), dine at high end restaurants like Rioja or Osteria Marco, or grab a drink at my favorite Denver speakeasy, The Green Russel. Oh, and be sure to stop by for a macaroon at The Drunken Bakery, whose eclectic interior is arranged with the floor and ceiling flipped!

Union Station

Address: 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

A century ago, this historic train station served as an important stop for supply shipments coming out west. Since it’s refurbishing in 2014, Denver Union Station has become the cultural heart of the Mile High City — and the most popular points of interest in Denver. Dine at one of the excellent restaurants housed in the station, grab a cocktail at the Terminal Bar, or challenge your friends to a game of shuffleboard inside Union Station’s giant refinished lobby.

🛏️ Need a Hotel? The Crawford Hotel is a magnificently ornate property right inside Union Station. It’s a superb place to stay if you can afford it. If not, check out my article ranking all the best hotels in Denver for more options.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Address: 1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206 | Website | 👉 Save 40%+ on Entrance Fees with a Denver CityPASS

A serene escape from the city just east of Cheesman Park, the incredible 23-acre Denver Botanic Gardens includes various themed gardens, an enclosed conservatory, and a public amphitheater which hosts a popular summer concert series. Featuring flora from around the world, you can grab a beer by the Japanese tea garden or take your own picnic to enjoy on a sunny Denver day.

The gardens also have a second location in Littleton, Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, which features the historic Hildebrand Ranch, a butterfly farm, and a children’s play area. It’s a great thing to do in Denver with kids!

👉 Bookmark Now, Read Next: The best day trips from Denver.

Dairy Block

Address: 1800 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

This city block near Coors Field, previously home to Windsor’s Dairy, has recently been transformed into a cosmopolitan micro-district. The cornerstone establishment is the Denver Milk Market, an expansive space home to 16 scrumptious food and drink establishments (my favorite: Kachina Catina).

In the middle of Dairy Block you’ll find one of Denver’s most Insta-worthy alley, where wine bars, boutique shops, and art galleries blend together to create an atmosphere with a decidedly European feel.

🛎️ Need a hotel? The Maven Hotel, right in Dairy Block, is my pick for the best all-around hotel in Denver. It’s pretty reasonably priced considering the perfect location and gorgeous modern rooms.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Welcome Center Address: 16 Mount Evans Hwy, Idaho Springs, CO 80452 | Website | 👉 Browse Tours to Mount Evans from Denver

Up for a mountain day trip from Denver but don’t feel like hiking? Just 60 miles from the Mile High City, you can drive the highest paved road in North America to the top of one of Colorado’s 54 famous “fourteeners” (Rocky Mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation).

The 28-mile-long Mount Evans Scenic Byway winds its way up the 7,000 foot climb to the top of Mount Evans, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountain Front Range. But, seriously, you might actually have your breathe taken away – air is thin at these altitudes – so avoid this activity if you have respiratory issues. As of summer 2021, Mount Evans has a timed entry system which requires an advance reservation to be made here.

🚗 How to Get There: If you have a car, driving up Mt. Evans is the obvious way. If not, rent one through Discover Cars (my favorite rental car site). If you’d rather someone else drive you up the mountain, there are many popular group and private tours to choose from.

Denver Art Museum

Address: 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204 | Website | 👉 Save 40%+ With a Denver CityPASS

Sporting a futuristic angular exterior, the Denver Art Museum is an easy walk from downtown or Capitol Hill. Inside you’ll find several stories with rotating exhibits featuring modern and contemporary artists from around the world.

When I went recently, I was impressed by the display From Paris to Hollywood, featuring stunning fashion items from the wardrobes of Gregory and Veronique Peck. The Denver Art Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

🎟️ Admission: $10 for Colorado residents, $13 for non-resident, free to youth age 18 and under and during the Denver Art Museum’s periodic Free Days.

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour

Address: 200 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223 | Website

It’s hard to believe that Colorado only opened it’s first distillery in 2004, but Stranahan’s has done its best to make up for the lost time by leading the charge in the state’s recent distillation-boom. These days, taking a tour of Stranahan’s Denver facility is a must-do activity when visiting Denver.

The only problem with the hour-long informative tour of the distillery is that it ends with a whiskey tasting of samples so generous that is likely to lead you to forget everything you just learned. But, hey, it’s all in the name of fun right?

🎟️ Details: Tours starts at $20 per person, and tickets can be booked here. Note that the Sunday 5 PM tour is free for Colorado residents and their guests, as is the Monday 4:30 pm tour for first responders and healthcare professionals.

River North Art District (“RiNo”)

Google Map of RiNo | Website

For better or worse, Denver has changed dramatically over the past decade. And nowhere is the city’s evolution more on display than the River North Art District, known locally as “RiNo.” Today this former industrial hub’s warehouses and factories have been converted to a hip arts district sporting funky breweries, trendy restaurants, pumping bars, boutique shops, and colorful street art adorning nearly available patch of brick or concrete.

RiNo makes for a great self-guided walking tour, especially along the stretch of Larimer between 25th and 32nd streets. Be sure not to miss the vibrant alley behind the Denver Central Market.

👉 Local Tip: Need help figuring out which Denver neighborhood to base yourself in? Check out my mega guide to where to stay in Denver for a rundown of my top picks for the best areas.

Take a Craft Beer Tour

👉 Check out the Top 5 Denver Craft Beer Tours

With over 150 breweries, many located right downtown, Denver is nirvana for craft brew aficionados. The city even plays host to the annual Great American Beer Festival, which is a must if you are visiting Denver when the fall event returns. No matter the time of your visit, you can organize your own beer crawl by stringing together a few local favorites near Coors Field.

I’d suggest starting at Wynkoop Brewery (whose founder John Hickenlooper went on to become Mayor and later Governor), then working your way north to Jagged Mountain and Great Divide, before ending at my personal pick for the best brewery in Denver: Our Mutual Friend. Alternatively, consider joining one of many organized craft beer tours on offer in town, such as this one with over 300 positive reviews.

🍺⛰️ Want to drink beer in the mountains? Check out the “brews and views” tours from Viator, which combine beer with visits to Denver-area mountain destinations!

Museums and Culture

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👉 How to Save 40% on Admission Tickets – If visiting multiple attractions in a week, it pays to reserve a Denver CityPass online. My partner Clara and I saved 40% when we got the pass for a mini-tour to take the photos for this post (hope you like the photos by the way)!

History Colorado Center

Address: 1200 N Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 | Website

This is an incredibly important museum, whose several floors highlighting different eras in the state’s history are all remarkably well curated. I appreciate that the curators do not sugar coat the darker sides of Colorado’s history (the state was once a KKK hotbed), and that the exhibits really make efforts to place the stories of Colorado’s Native, Black, and Latino communities front and center.

Be sure not to miss the exhibit featuring 100 objects from Colorado’s history (one really stands out in my memory: an original ballot box from the 1893 elections, which was the year women were first granted the franchise in Colorado).

👉 I Wrote More Guides! Bookmark Them All: Best Day Trips from Denver | Best Hotels | Where to Stay | Complete Denver Travel Guide | Places to Visit in CO

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Address: 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205 | Website

I have many fond memories of childhood visits to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which is an excellent thing to do in Denver for families, kids, or anyone who acts like one. The expansive City Park museum is filled with dinosaurs, mummies, an IMAX theatre, a planetarium, and fascinating exhibits galore. Open 9 am – 5 pm daily.

🎟️ Admission: $19.95 adults, $14.95 youth (IMAX, planetarium, and special exhibits extra). The Denver CityPASS is a particularly good deal for this museum, since it’s half the cost of the pass.

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Address: 7711 E Academy Blvd, Denver, CO 80230 | Website

The Lowry neighborhood in Denver sits on top of what used to be Lowry Air Force Base and, at one point, the initial home of the Air Force Academy. After the base was decommissioned, one of the hangars was converted into the host space for the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

Inside you’ll find dozens of historical air and spacecraft, rotating exhibits, and a virtual flight simulator. It’s definitely a top thing to do in Denver with kids, veterans, history buffs, or anyone who loves aviation. After your visit, be sure to stop by for a bite or brew at the gigantic outdoor Lowry Beer Garden.

🎟️ Admission: $16.95 for adults, $9.95 for children. Save when visiting other attractions by grabbing a Denver CityPASS.

Denver Performing Arts Complex

Address: 1400 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80204 | Website

The Denver Performing Arts Complex is a large downtown campus hosting several different performance venues, the most prominent of which are the excellent Buelle Theatre and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. During non-pandemic times, programming included touring plays, concerts, performances, and art exhibits. The Lion King and Hamilton are currently slated to return in early 2022. Check the official website for the latest information.

Santa Fe Art District

Address: 525 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, CO 80204 | Website

This is the place to be if you want to check out cool art galleries, hipster hangouts, or unique museums like the Museo de las Americas. The monthly First Friday event brings out a crowd as patrons hop from gallery to gallery to watch performances and imbibe. If you’re in town for the first Friday of the month, it’s a can’t-miss thing to do in Denver!

Molly Brown House

Address: 1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203 | Website | 👉 Reserve Your Museum Tour Here

The Unsinkable Margaret Tobin Brown survived the Titanic, and her gorgeous Capitol Hill mansion survived thanks to a 1970s preservation effort that turned it into a fascinating house museum.

Entrance for a one hour self-guided tour starts at $14 per person for Colorado residents, and $16 for non-resident. You can reserve your spot online here. You’ll soon understand why the Molly Brown House is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Denver!

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Address: 1201 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204 | Website

Featuring more than 30,000 works of art across its three principal exhibits, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art gets its name from storied 20th century Colorado painter Vance Kirkland, whose work forms one of the three main exhibits at the museum. The museum spent the summer closed due to a water main burst, but will re-open August 27, 2021. Note that, due to the fragile nature of some of the art, admission is limited to visitors age 13 and up.

Forney Museum of Transportation

Address: 4303 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216 | Website

If you love vintage vehicles, you’ll be awed by the collection at Denver’s Forney Museum of Transportation. Among other items on display, the museum hosts Amelia Earhart’s Kissel Gold Bug Speedster, a Denver Cable Car dating to 1888, a “Big Boy” locomotive donated by Union Pacific, and an awesome collection of Ford Model Ts. The Forney Museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm (opens at noon Sundays).

Denver Museum of Contemporary Art

Address: 1485 Delgany St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

Situated just south of Union Station, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art is an underrated Denver museum offering thought-provoking, sometimes shocking, displays. Don’t miss the excellent rooftop cafe and bar, which somehow seems to never be crowded despite the pleasant views of downtown.

🎟️ Admission: $10 for adults, free for children 18 and under.

Clyfford Still Museum

Address: 1250 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204 | Website

Clyfford Still is widely considered one of the most influential artists in American history and, upon his death in 1980, his will stipulated that his body of work be forever housed in only a single location in a city willing to build a dedicated museum. Denver stepped up to the plate in 2004, and today this popular Denver museum is the only place to find 95% of the work of the trailblazing abstract impressionist.

🎟️ Admission: Tickets are $10 for adults, free for youth 17 and under.

National Ballpark Museum

Address: 1940 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

If you’re a baseball fan, then you MUST stop by this small but incredibly well-cared-for museum. Located just steps from Coors Field, every single inch of the National Ballpark Museum is crammed with remarkable memorabilia celebrating the nation’s pastime, including seats from all 14 of the original classic ballparks. The volunteers and staff who run the non-profit museum are passionate and eager to pass on their knowledge.

🎟️ Admission: Adults – $10, Seniors – $5, Children & active duty military – Free.

📚 Read Next: 41 Epic Places to Visit in Colorado

Sites and Points of Interest

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Colorado State Capitol

Address: 200 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203 | Website

Located right next to downtown, the golden dome of the Colorado State Capitol is one of the most iconic images of Colorado. Free tours were offered on weekdays before the pandemic, but as of summer 2021, they are still on pause. If you can’t make one, you can still snap great photos of the building’s famous golden dome. Look out for the marker on the 13th Capitol step for the exact location of the altitude of 5,280 feet above sea level — which gives Denver its moniker as the Mile High City.

Denver City and County Building

Address: 1437 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80202

Though it’s upstaged a bit by the Colorado Capitol, which is faces across Civic Center Park, the Denver City and County Building is an important Denver point of interest in its own right. It’s worth at least a quick walk by the exterior to see the Greek revival columns, which at night light up in spectacular fashion during holidays.

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Tattered Cover Independent Bookstore

Address (McGregor Square location): 1991 Wazee St Suite 100, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

An iconic independent Denver bookseller, Tattered Cover was saved from closing during the pandemic when it was purchased by a new investment group. The new owners recently moved the historic LoDo store into prime real estate in the newly opened McGregor Square, offering the perfect place to pop in for a bit of peace and quiet during a Rockies game. You can also check out Tattered Cover’s other locations around town, including a store located in the historic Bonfils-Lowenstein Theater at 2526 E. Colfax and a smaller outpost within Denver’s Union Station.

Daniels & Fisher Clocktower

Address: 1601 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

Once the tallest building in the Mountain West, this historic clocktower at 16th and Arapahoe remains a Denver icon a popular spot for local wedding ceremonies. At night, it lights up with a variety of date-specific colors (such as Rockies purple during baseball games). At the base of the clocktower you’ll find Skyline Park, which often plays hosts to seasonal events like ice skating rinks. In the basement is a modern cabaret show.

Denver Aquarium

Address: 700 Water St, Denver, CO 80211 | Website | 👉 Grab a Denver CityPASS to Save 40%+

The more than a million gallons of water at Denver Downtown Aquarium are home to over 500 species of marine and animal life, plus a (controversial) tiger habitat. It’s a kid friendly thing to do in Denver that also hosts a highly-reviewed restaurant where diners can enjoy a meal surrounded by a 150,000 gallon marine aquarium.

🎟️ Admission: adults (12-64 years) $23.50, seniors $22.50, children (3-11 years) $17.50. Definitely worth grabbing a Denver CityPASS beforehand, as just the aquarium pays back most of the cost.

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Address: 1530 Logan St, Denver, CO 80203 | Website

The main cathedral for Colorado Catholics is worth a quick visit even if you’re not an adherent for the beautiful soaring interior and stunning stained glass work. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is located in the downtown area near The Brown Palace, and is open to visitors for short periods most evenings (check the official website for hours coinciding with your visit).

16th Street Mall

Address: 16th Street Between Broadway and Wynkoop

The 16th Street Mall is a 1.25 mile outdoor pedestrian mall that forms Downtown Denver’s main artery. Here you’ll find hundreds of shops and restaurants, plus the Denver Pavilions (a more traditional “mall”, where you can also catch a movie or go bowling). Plans are underway to revitalize the 16th Street Mall and, even in the meantime, strolling the mall definitely remains one of the top things to do in Denver. If you get tired of walking, free shuttle buses run the length of the mall.

Read Next: More things to do & activities around the world: Orlando, Croatia, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta

Food and Drink

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Denver Central Market

Address: 2669 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 | Website

Denver Central Market is located right in the middle of the uber-hip RiNo art district. Inside a shared roof you’ll find 11 artisan vendors serving up everything from chocolates to pizza to ice cream. In true River North spirit, the building and the alley behind it are adorned in head to toe street art. It’s a great place to stop in for a break while touring the district by foot, or to start you’re evening before hitting the area’s lively nightlife.

🍽️ Are You a Foodie? Then definitely don’t miss Denver’s super popular small group foodie tour, which takes you sampling through the city’s top culinary spots.

Little Man

Address: 2620 16th St, Denver, CO 80211 | Website

I used to live a few blocks away from Little Man, Denver’s iconic ice cream spot which is housed inside a larger-than-life milk can. My gym was next door to the shop, which meant that every time I finished my workout I’d have to gather my will to avoid ruining all my gains with one of Little Man’s delicious scoops of the creamy stuff. The only thing that saved me is Little Man’s popularity, which means that there is pretty much always a line out front. On a hot day, be prepared to wait for a half hour or more. Totally worth it, though.

The Source

Address: 3330 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216 | Website

The Source is a RiNo-based community marketplace featuring 25 vendors slinging everything from flowers to haircuts to craft beer. The anchor tenants here are the celebrated restaurants Safta, which offers Middle Eastern fare, and bellota, a Mexican-inspired joint that spun-off from the now-closed Acorn. You’ll also find one of Denver’s trendiest hotels, The Source Hotel, which features a stylish rooftop pool and bar, plus an outpost of New Belgium brewery.

The Cruise Room

Address: 1600 17th St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

Get dressed up and grab a drink at Denver’s original Prohibition-era speakeasy. Located inside The Oxford historic hotel, the art deco windowless interior of The Cruise Room was inspired by the Queen Mary. Stepping inside will transport you back in time to the 1920s, when this bar illegally served up gimlets and martinis to Denver’s elite.

Voodoo Doughnut

Address: 1520 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80218 & 98 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209 | Website

I still remember the mania that swept over Denver’s hipsters when Voodoo Doughnuts opened their first location on Colfax in 2013. It took weeks for the lines outside to calm down enough for me to dare to finally brave waiting that long for a donut. But the Portland-based company has built a cult-like following for their sweet and sometimes curious creations, offering unique flavors like their Spicy Margarita Cannolo, the Bacon Maple Bar, or (my personal favorite) the Captain Crunch-topped Oh Captain My Captain.

In addition to their Colfax flagship, Voodoo has also recently opened a second location on South Broadway.

Stanley Marketplace

Address: 2501 Dallas St, Aurora, CO 80010 | Website

Just over the Denver-Aurora border, Stanley Marketplace is a single-roof community marketplace where you can find over 50 independent Colorado businesses, including restaurants, bars, shops, salons, and more. Grab some Mexican fare at Comida, a pint at Cheluna Brewing Company, an ice cream cone at Sweet Cow, an empanada at Maria Empanadas, or a bowl of ramen at Qi-Lin (seriously, their ramen is legit!). When you’re done, browse the many stalls and help support Colorado-owned local businesses!

Kachina Cantina

Address: 1890 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

If I had friends visiting town and could only send them to one Denver restaurant, it would be Kachina Cantina. Serving a modern take on Mexican fare inspired by the USA’s Four Corners region and Baja Mexico, Kachina offers an energetic, but not too loud, atmosphere and an epic location right in the middle of Dairy Block. There is a large and beautifully decorated dining room, several outdoor tables, and a huge fun bar that with seats both indoors and outdoors.

Executive chef Cesar Tamariz’s spin on Southwestern fare is sure to leave your mouth watering for me. Kachina is a great place to grab dinner after a Rockies game or before a night out in downtown Denver, or if you’re looking to impress clients (or a date!). Be sure to book reservations in advance, as they have been consistently busy every time I’ve walked past.

Linger

Address: 2030 W 30th Ave, Denver, CO 80211 | Website

Dinner to die for is on offer nightly at Linger, a gigantic former mortuary that once housed the remains of Buffalo Bill. Today the space has converted into one of Denver’s most stylish places to eat, but the new owners kept many touches from the building’s ghastlier days. Water is served from formaldehyde, for example, and the giant “O’Linger mortuaries” sign was converted to read “Linger eatauries.” Oh, and the food is delicious to boot (it’s one of my personal favorite restaurants in town!).

Tennyson Street

Address: Tennyson Street Between 38th and 46th Ave | Website

Tennyson Street is the main shopping and dining artery of Northwest Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood, and it’s fulfilled that role for over a century. If you have a shopping freak in your family, be sure to watch their credit card, because this is the best place to go window shopping in Denver. If all that retail therapy gets you hungry, stop by for a sandwich at The Grateful Gnome or high-end Mexican cuisine at El Chingon.

Fun and Family

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Coors Field

Address: 2001 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205 | Website

If you’re a baseball fan, it’ll be pretty easy to check off this thing to do in Denver. Though it’s one of the younger MLB parks, the Rockies’ home has made a name for itself as the “hitter’s park” becuase the Colorado altitude helps batted balls fly record distances.

One of the things I personally love about Coors Field is the affectionately named Rockpile, a section of bleachers behind centerfield where you can find Rockies tickets for as little as $7 per person. Sure, you’ll have to squint to see home base, but personally I think it’s a steal considering the epic views of Denver’s skyline you’ll get in the background.

Empower Field at Mile High

Address: 1701 Bryant St, Denver, CO 80204 | Website

I still remember how sad my family was when the Denver Broncos moved in 2000 from their prior home in the storied Mile High Stadium to what is now named Empower Field. But today I appreciate the new venue, as not one of the 76,125 seats at Empower Field offers a bad view.

In addition to hosting the Broncos, Empower Field also frequently hosts concerts from A-list performers (check the schedule here). Tours of the stadium are offered through the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (on pause due to covid, but slated to resume soon), with tickets costing $25 per person.

Elitch Gardens

Address: 2000 Elitch Cir, Denver, CO 80204 | Website | 👉 Save $20 Per Ticket By Reserving Online in Advance

As a kid, one of my favorite things to do in Denver was to spend a day at the Elitch Gardens theme park. Located just south of downtown Denver between Empower Field and the Pepsi Center, “Elitch’s” offers six roller coasters, dozens of other rides, and a water park. I am still traumatized by childhood memories of my cousins trying to force me onto the terrifyingly rickety Twister II wooden coaster. Definitely something to check out if you’re a thrill seeker! Note that Elitch’s is open from April to October.

🎟️ Admission: General admission to Elitch Gardens costs at $64.99 at the door, but you can save if you get an advance online ticket for only $44.99.

Top Golf

Address: 10601 E Easter Ave, Centennial, CO 80112 | Website

With outposts in Thorton and Centennial, and a third set to open in Colorado Springs, the Top Golf driving range and social hub is a fun thing to do in Denver for golf fans, families, or anyone who needs an excuse to drink. Much more than just a driving range, Top Golf offers all sorts of games that involve hitting targets, collecting points, and trying to one-up your friends.

Come in the morning for $15 unlimited gameplay, or on “Half Price Tuesdays.” And never worry if you have a non-golfer in the family: Top Golf’s patio is the perfect place for your party to hang out, eat, and drink.

Archery Games

Address: 5405 W 56th Ave, Arvada, CO 80002 | Website

Ever heard of archery dodgeball? It’s a new concept involving two teams battling it out from across an arena with bows and foam-tipped arrows. Archery Games is a small locally-owned business that has created something of a viral stir in Colorado, with guests absolutely raving in their reviews.

You can sign up for public matches on their website to dip your toes into the world of archery dodgeball. If you have kids, they offer family-specific hours. You can also book a private session for larger groups, birthday parties, bachelor(ette) weekends, or corporate team building events. It’s definitely one of the most unique and fun things to do in the Denver area!

Unique and Cool

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Casa Bonita

Address: 6715 W Colfax Ave, Lakewood, CO 80214 | Website

Few places to see in Denver are as storied – or as controversial – as Casa Bonita. Any Denver local will tell you that the food at Casa Bonita is not the reason you come (which is probably why they force every entrant to purchase a meal). Instead, children adore Casa Bonita becuase the interior is a magical adventure park, complete with cliff divers, an indoor waterfall, and costumed performers.

📺 Local Trivia: Casa Bonita is the main subject of The South Park episode bearing its name – and in fact the creators of South Park just agreed to buy the restaurant! The episode is 100% worth a watch to understand this Denver’s institution’s unique appeal. The way Cartman describes Casa Bonita in the start of the episode could have been words coming out of my mouth as a child.

The Beer Spa

Address: 3004 N Downing St, Denver, CO 80205 | (720) 810-1484 | Website

Colorado has long been known for its creative craft beer, but Denver’s recently opened The Beer Spa really takes that to the next level. You’ll find a unique suite of spa services, including a full spectrum infrared sauna, “Zero Gravity” massage chairs, and private bubbly baths filled with barley and hops. And, of course, there is a full rotation of craft beers, wines, and ciders to sip during your beer spa day. It’s a great way to relax and unwind on a rainy day, or the perfect treat to give the beer lover in your family. The Beer Spa is locally-owned and easy to walk to if you’re staying in RiNo or downtown Denver.

Visit a Dispensary

Colorado became synonymous with cannabis when it became one of the first places in the world to legalize sale for recreational purposes. This has led a boom of cannabis tourism and, even though other states have followed suit in the years since, many tourists still make a pilgrimage to Colorado just to check out one of the state’s licensed dispensaries.

You won’t have to walk far to find one – just look for the telltale green cross and you’re there. There are many to choose from, but I always recommend that Denver tourists visit the LoDo Wellness Center at 1617 Wazee Street because you can take a photo in front of their greenhouse of cannabis leaves. Post it on the ‘gram and I’m sure you’ll make your mom proud!

International Church of Cannabis

Address: 400 S Logan St, Denver, CO 80209 | Website | 👉 Reserve Tickets for the BEYOND Light Show

Speaking of cannabis, the Elevationists’ technicolor-themed place of worship bills itself as the “spiritual home for cannabis lovers.” Located near the stretch of bars on South Broadway, the church is open to the public for visits during the afternoon and evenings, and display the Beyond Laser Light Experience at 20 past the hour (purchase tickets ahead of time here). Beware that marijuana consumption on premises is prohibited during the show, but arriving after consuming most certainly is not.

🌿Mile High Trivia: Truly hardcore cannabis aficionados – or those engaged to them – can even get married inside the International Church of Cannabis!

Marijuana Mansion

Address: 1244 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 | Website

Yes, this is the third cannabis-themed thing to do in Denver in a row, but after all this is the Mile High City. Imagine what would happen if the Molly Brown House could take edibles, and you’ll have a pretty vivid picture of what to expect at this Capitol Hill mansion, which serves as an event space dedicated to the celebration of grass. You can also buy a ticket which lets you roam the mansion and take snapshots for 30 minutes. Anything for the ‘gram, right?

Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel

Address: 321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website | 👉 Book a Night at the Brown Palace Hotel

Feeling like having a fancy afternoon? Go for high tea at the Brown Palace, a historic Denver hotel serving up this unique experience in its ornate lobby Tuesday through Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm. Space is limited so reservations are suggested. The signature tea package starts at $36 per person, and is certainly one of the fanciest things to do in Denver.

👑 Or Stay a Night Like RoyaltyCheck Brown Palace prices on Booking now. Even just one night makes for a creative Denver staycation!

Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series

Address: 1380 W Florida Ave, Denver, CO 80223 | Website

This extraordinary outdoor amphitheater in the Ruby Hill neighborhood hosts a popular summer free concert series, which is run by a local non-profit. It’s a great thing to do in Denver for families, and makes for an awesome socially-distanced night out.

Nightlife

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Grizzly Rose

Address: 5450 North, S Valley Hwy, Denver, CO 80216 | Website

Throw on your boots, button up those pearl straps, and get ready for a honky tonk night on the town. Few live music venues are as unique – or as expansive – as Denver’s iconic country music hall Grizzly Rose. Be sure to try your hand at the mechanical bull, if you dare. And, of course, be sure you have a plan to get home safely without drinking and driving!

Punch Bowl Social

Address: 65 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 | Website

Punch Bowl Social is basically Elitch’s for adults. Inside you’ll find bowling, ping pong, arcade games, karaoke, Jenga, multiple bars, a restaurant, and more fun things to do than I can name in this post. It’s a great place to kick off a night out on South Broadway, or a fun thing to do on a rainy day in Denver.

Bluebird Theatre

Address: 3317 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206 | Website

The Bluebird Theatre has been a Colfax mainstay since its opening in 1913, when it initially served as a movie house. In the 1990s it was remodeled into a music venue, and today it is one of the best places in Denver to catch an indie music act. Note that the Bluebird is currently in the process of re-opening post-pandemic.

Colfax Avenue

Playboy magazine once famously dubbed Colfax the “longest, wickedest street in America.” Or maybe it didn’t. Either way, there’s no denying that the 50-mile long street hold a special kind of charm. In the stretch around Capitol Hill you’ll find dive bars, LGBT bars like X Bar, cheap eats, and historic theatres like The Fillmore, The Ogden, and The Bluebird. Strolling Colfax Avenue is still one of my favorite local activities, though do be aware that after dark parts of it can feel less secure at times.

Outdoors

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Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Address: 6550 Gateway Rd, Commerce City, CO 80022 | Website

Watch bison, and other wildlife, roam at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. Situated between downtown and DIA, this former chemicals weapons manufacturing center has made a stunning recovery and is now one of the country’s largest urban wildlife refuges. The arsenal offers more than 20 miles of trails with some of the best hiking near Denver, plus fishing during the summer.

The best thing to do here, however, is to take your car through the excellent 11 mile Wildlife Drive, a route which will give you the opportunity to spot bison, deer, hawks, waterfowl, and all sorts of other wildlife from the comfort of your car.

Cheesman Park

Google Maps

Denver has a truly impressive public park system, but my favorite park in Denver has to be Cheesman Park. Located next door to the Denver Botanic Gardens, Cheesman offers expansive views of the Rocky Mountains from the neo-classical pavilion located on its eastern edge. You’ll find miles of running trails and loads of space to spread out a picnic blanket and relax with friends.

📚 Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Boulder, CO

Washington Park

Address: 701 S Franklin St, Denver, CO 80209

Another one of Denver’s top parks, located in the neighborhood that bears its name, Washington Park is bustling on most days with runners, bicyclists, and picnickers. But the best thing to do here is to get your serve on at Washington Park’s volleyball nets. All summer long you’ll find organized and impromptu games throughout the park. Plan ahead by reserving a net or bringing your own, or just plan to make some new friends.

City Park

Address: Google Maps

The biggest park in Denver, City Park is home to the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and several lakes where you can find swan-like paddle boats for rent. In warmer months it also hosts City Park Jazz, a community event where thousands gather to hear local bands and gnash on fare from lines of food trucks.

Cherry Creek Trail

Address: Google Maps

Looking for a place to get in a run or a bike ride? The Cherry Creek Trail is the perfect place to workout for free in Denver. The 40 mile trail runs straight through the heart of downtown and ends at the spectacular Commons Park, which is a perfect place to watch the sunset in Denver.

Confluence & Commons Parks

Address: 2250 15th St, Denver, CO 80202

Right downtown you’ll find two of my favorite parks stacked back to back. These parks sit right where Cherry Creek spills into the South Platte River. Here you’ll find several bridges over the rushing water, expansive green space, and spectacular views. A personal favorite thing to do in Denver is to take a picnic blanket to the top of the hill and watch sunset over the Rocky Mountains. For additional things to do, check out the Denver Skate Park on the north end, or the giant REI outdoor equipment store on the south end.

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👉 Want More? Read Next: Best Things to Do in Colorado | Best Day Trips from Denver | Best Hotels | Where to Stay | Complete Denver Travel Guide | Places to Visit in CO

👉 Or, Missed Something? Jump Back Up To: Best Things | Museums & Culture | Sites & Points of Interest | Food & Drink | Nightlife | Fun & Family | Unique & Cool | Outdoors

Congrats for making it all the way to the end of this mega list of the best things to do in Denver! Be sure to check out all my Denver travel articles for tips on things like where to stay, the best day trips, and more.

What did you think? What were your favorite things? What did I miss? Scroll down and leave a comment!

Enjoy your visit to Denver!

Editor’s Note: Due to the ongoing health crisis, tours of the Denver Mint, which I would normally include high on this list of Denver activities, are not being offered to the public. I’ll endeavor to update this article once Denver Mint tours are offered again.

As a child, I would talk my mom into going to Casa Bonita every chance I could because it was one of the most fun things to do in Denver I knew of at that point. She always complained about the food, but she sure seemed to like the margaritas!

Three decades later, that little Colorado boy is now a recovering Denver lawyer turned professional travel blogger. I’ve spent the past five years traveling the world while living out of a backpack. But, while I was off adventuring to over 70 countries, my city grew into one of the trendiest destinations in the USA.

So, when the pandemic sent me scrambling home to Denver from Argentina, I took it as an opportunity to explore and show off the city I know best: Denver, Colorado.

I’ve spent the summer re-connecting with my favorite attractions in Denver, and exploring new Denver hotels, activities, sites, and points of interest that have sprung up while I was abroad. I documented and photographed it all, so I could write up this epic list of the best things to do in Denver, Colorado.

I hope this list helps you enjoy the best of Denver. I hope you love Denver with the same passion I’ve put into curating it for you!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in Denver

👉 Jump to: Best Things | Museums & Culture | Sites & Points of Interest | Food & Drink | Nightlife | Fun & Family | Unique & Cool | Outdoors

Red Rocks

The author looking out over Red Rocks amphitheater, one of the top things to do in Denver

Address: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465 | Website | Visit on the Denver Foothills Explorer Tour

Arguably the most spectacular outdoor concert venue in the USA, the Red Rocks open-air amphitheater is situated among 300-million-year-old protruding angular red sandstone formations. With seating for 9,525 and fantastic views over the Front Range, Red Rocks is truly a can’t-miss destination for any visit to Denver, and even makes our list of the best things to do in the state of Colorado.

The venue draws A-list musical talent, plus hosts the Film on the Rocks movie night series and the weekend morning Yoga on the Rocks workout session. Check the official calendar of events. Even if you can’t snag a concert ticket, you should still visit just to see Red Rocks. If you don’t have a car, join the uber-popular Denver Foothills Explorer tour, which includes a stop to Red Rocks and other mountain viewpoints.

⛰️ Local Trivia: Though it’s the undisputed top thing to do in Denver, did you know Red Rocks isn’t even located in Denver? It’s actually 10 miles west of the city in Morrison. But, weirdly, it IS owned by the City of Denver.

Larimer Square

Nate and his sister in Larimer Square
My sister recently got married, so of course I had to take her out to celebrate in Larimer Square

Address: 1430 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

Located on Larimer Street between 14th and 15th, Larimer Square is easily the coolest block in town and the place to be see and be seen for the Colorado glitterati. Window shop at any one of the boutique stores (care to try on a $800 hat?), dine at high end restaurants like Rioja or Osteria Marco, or grab a drink at my favorite Denver speakeasy, The Green Russel. Oh, and be sure to stop by for a macaroon at The Drunken Bakery, whose eclectic interior is arranged with the floor and ceiling flipped!

Union Station

View of Denver's Union Station
The iconic shot of Union Station is from the front, but I prefer this angle from the platform in the back

Address: 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

A century ago, this historic train station served as an important stop for supply shipments coming out west. Since it’s refurbishing in 2014, Denver Union Station has become the cultural heart of the Mile High City — and the most popular points of interest in Denver. Dine at one of the excellent restaurants housed in the station, grab a cocktail at the Terminal Bar, or challenge your friends to a game of shuffleboard inside Union Station’s giant refinished lobby.

🛏️ Need a Hotel? The Crawford Hotel is a magnificently ornate property right inside Union Station. It’s a superb place to stay if you can afford it. If not, check out my article ranking all the best hotels in Denver for more options.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Woman walking among the Denver Botanic Gardens
Clara walking in the Botanic Gardens

Address: 1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206 | Website | 👉 Save 40%+ on Entrance Fees with a Denver CityPASS

A serene escape from the city just east of Cheesman Park, the incredible 23-acre Denver Botanic Gardens includes various themed gardens, an enclosed conservatory, and a public amphitheater which hosts a popular summer concert series. Featuring flora from around the world, you can grab a beer by the Japanese tea garden or take your own picnic to enjoy on a sunny Denver day.

The gardens also have a second location in Littleton, Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, which features the historic Hildebrand Ranch, a butterfly farm, and a children’s play area. It’s a great thing to do in Denver with kids!

👉 Bookmark Now, Read Next: The best day trips from Denver.

Dairy Block

The author standing against a brick wall with the words Dairy Block
The alley in the middle of Dairy Block is packed with cool bars and shops

Address: 1800 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202 | Website

This city block near Coors Field, previously home to Windsor’s Dairy, has recently been transformed into a cosmopolitan micro-district. The cornerstone establishment is the Denver Milk Market, an expansive space home to 16 scrumptious food and drink establishments (my favorite: Kachina Catina).

In the middle of Dairy Block you’ll find one of Denver’s most Insta-worthy alley, where wine bars, boutique shops, and art galleries blend together to create an atmosphere with a decidedly European feel.

🛎️ Need a hotel? The Maven Hotel, right in Dairy Block, is my pick for the best all-around hotel in Denver. It’s pretty reasonably priced considering the perfect location and gorgeous modern rooms.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

View of Summit Lake along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Welcome Center Address: 16 Mount Evans Hwy, Idaho Springs, CO 80452 | Website | 👉 Browse Tours to Mount Evans from Denver

Up for a mountain day trip from Denver but don’t feel like hiking? Just 60 miles from the Mile High City, you can drive the highest paved road in North America to the top of one of Colorado’s 54 famous “fourteeners” (Rocky Mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation).

The 28-mile-long Mount Evans Scenic Byway winds its way up the 7,000 foot climb to the top of Mount Evans, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountain Front Range. But, seriously, you might actually have your breathe taken away – air is thin at these altitudes – so avoid this activity if you have respiratory issues. As of summer 2021, Mount Evans has a timed entry system which requires an advance reservation to be made here.

🚗 How to Get There: If you have a car, driving up Mt. Evans is the obvious way. If not, rent one through Discover Cars (my favorite rental car site). If you’d rather someone else drive you up the mountain, there are many popular group and private tours to choose from.

Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum

Address: