Are you heading to Denver for your first time? I went to Denver for the first time this spring, and here is where I stayed, ate, and explored.

Denver travel guide - first time guide to Denver - What to Do in Denver -

Denver has been on my list of cities for a long time. I’m so glad I could visit the Mile High City this past spring. I spent 3 days in Denver and stayed in LoHi. There were plenty of aesthetically pleasing coffee shops, delicious places to eat, and iconic landmarks. I loved how relaxed the city felt. And I would go back and visit this city.

If you’re heading to Denver for the first time and need some recommendations, this blog post is for you.

Here is a First Time Guide to Denver:

Dairy Block - Denver CO -

Where to Stay:

Mod Moroccan Oasis Loft in Espadin LoHi (Airbnb)

I love staying in vacation rentals with style. When I look at vacation rentals, I look at the location, reviews, and the aesthetic. I decided to stay in Denver’s LoHi neighborhood. I found this vacation rental spacious, and the building felt safe and secure. It was ~10 min Uber/Lyft drive to Denver Union Station. LoHi had plenty of restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance.

I recommend checking out the Espadin LoHi listings if you’re heading to Denver.

Where to Eat:

Eat Breakfast at The Green Collective Eatery

Address: 2158 W 32nd Ave Unit 100, Denver, CO 80211

Green Collective Eatery - where to eat in Denver -

After I had booked my Airbnb, I clicked around Google Maps to see what local restaurants and cute coffee shops were around. I found the Green Collective Eatery a few blocks from the Airbnb (less than a 10-minute walk. Everything we ate was so fresh! I love finding healthy restaurants to indulge in while on vacation.

Grab a coffee at Dandy Lion Coffee Co.

Address: 5225 E 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80207

First time guide to Denver - Dandy Lion Coffee Co - Denver Coffee Shops -

If you love plants, swings, and aesthetics, I highly recommend going to Dandy Lion Coffee. Holly and I both got the iced matcha lattes and loved it!

I look for a unique coffee shop in every city I visit. Dandy Lion Coffee Co. has a beautiful interior aesthetic. It was so nice to check out all the plants and indoor greenhouse. Plus, it was a unique experience sitting on a swing indoors while sipping on our matcha lattes. I knew even before I visited that I would want to share Dandy Lion Coffee Co. on your first time guide to Denver blog post!

Grab lunch and tea at Babe’s Tea Room

Address: 2401 15th Street Suite 170 (Entrance on, Platte St, Denver, CO 80202)

Babe's Tea Room - Where to eat in Denver - First time guide to Denver -

One of my favorite experiences in Denver was sitting down for afternoon tea at Babe’s Tea Room. Pro Tip: Make reservations on OpenTable ahead of time.

If you’re looking for a lunch spot in Denver, I recommend adding a unique tea experience. There are plenty of lunch options at Babe’s Tea Room. But the highlight of this spot is the Afternoon Tea (served all day).

It’s $37 a person, and it’s a great experience being able to choose your own tea and eat the adorable tea sandwiches and desserts. For lunch, I also recommend ordering the sandwiches. You can check out the Babe’s Tea Room menu for more information.

If you’re heading to Denver with a group of girlfriends or are meeting up with friends, getting afternoon tea at Babe’s Tea Room is a great experience.

Eat dinner at Mercantile Dining and Provision in Denver Union Station:

Address: 1701 Wynkoop St #155, Denver, CO 80202

Mercantile Dining and Provision - Denver Union Station Restaurant -

Suppose you’re looking for a restaurant to eat at in Denver Union Station. In that case, I recommend checking out Mercantile Dining and Provision. I ordered the fusilli (pasta dish) and enjoyed it.

Grab lunch or dinner at Cart Driver LoHi

Address: 2239 W 30th Ave, Denver, CO 80211

On my first night in Denver, my friend Emily and I decided to grab pizza and salad at Cart Driver LoHi. The food was good, and I loved its indoor and outdoor seating. Plus, this restaurant was within walking distance from my Airbnb.

Where to Explore:

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

Address: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465

Red Rocks - Red Rocks in Denver -

If you haven’t heard of Red Rocks before, the Red Rocks is a world-famous concert venue. The natural formations of the red rocks created the acclaimed acoustics, making this a natural amphitheater. Even if there isn’t a concert going on, you can explore the Red Rocks.

One of my favorite spots was the rock formation tunnel entering the park. There is a parking lot you can pull off to the side to snap a photo. If you decide to snap a photo, be aware of all the cars passing in and out of the tunnel to access and exit the upper parking lot.

I’m so glad we stopped by this iconic venue and photo spot in Denver!

Red Rocks in Denver Colorado -

Tattered Cover Book Store (Colfax)

Address: 2526 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206

Tattered Cover Books in Denver - book store in Denver -

Another way I like to explore new cities is to check out local bookstores. And if you’re heading to Denver, I recommend checking out Tattered Cover Bookstore on Colfax. There are several locations all over Colorado, but Colfax is their biggest location.

Garage Sale Vintage

Address: 1460 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202

Garage Sale Vintage in Denver Colorado - things to do in Denver - First time guide to Denver -

I love thrifting during each city visit. I love how Garage Sale Vintage had spaces for you to hang out and enjoy the vibes. If you love thrifting and secondhand shops, I recommend checking out this spot!

If you haven’t heard of this place before, Garage Sale Vintage is a bar, shop, and a trade experience. You can find curated items from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, Y2K, as well as vintage records and vinyl. Holly and I had so much fun exploring and shopping at Garage Sale Vintage.


Address: 1218 34th St, Denver, CO 80205

ReRoot - RiNo district in Denver -

If you love plants, you must wander through ReRoot. This local plant shop is beautiful and filled with greenery from top to bottom. My friend Emily from @leisurelylayne met up with us at ReRoot, and we were in awe of all the plants!

 Whether you’re a Denver local or visiting Denver for the first time, I recommend checking out ReRoot.

Union Station

Address: Union Station, Denver, CO 80202

First time guide to Denver - things to do in Denver - Denver Union Station -

The Denver Union Station originally opened in 1881. The Union Station has a rich history in the city and today it’s a cultural hub filled with world-class dining and shopping. You can check out Tattered Cover Bookstore or stay at the Crawford Hotel above Denver Union’s Station Great Hall.

We decided to take a few photos at Denver Union Station and then grab dinner inside after exploring the building.

I hope you enjoyed reading this first time guide to Denver! What other restaurants, coffee shops, or things to do would you add to a first time guide to Denver?

For other travel guides, I recommend checking out:

Your First Time Guide to Amsterdam: Where to Stay, Explore, and Eat

Things to Do in Seattle: Visit Seattle Landmarks

4 Summer Flower Photo Shoot Locations Outside of Seattle

10 Eiffel Tower Photo Spots for Your First Time in Paris

Thank you for reading!



Photos by: Holly Phan