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Best Time to Visit Denver | When to Go & Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Denver | When to Go & Travel Tips

Thinking about visiting the Mile High City soon? See the best time to visit Denver for great weather, cheap prices, and smaller crowds in our quick travel guide. We’ll look at the ideal time of year to go to Denver no matter what your goals for the trip are.

If you want tons of family-friendly activities and attractions, tasty food and drinks, and endless shopping with historic museums and buildings to explore, Denver is the place to go.

With the majestic Rockies rising in the background wherever you look here, the experience will be that much more special. Find out the best time to visit Denver to plan the ideal Colorado vacation below! 

Why You Should Visit Denver

Historic Red Rocks ampitheater on a sunny day during the best time to go to Denver

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Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Denver Colorado is a favorite destination for nature lovers, urban explorers and foodies, culture vultures, and families with kids in tow.

Visiting Denver gives you lots of options for activities and adventures – what you’ll see and do in this Colorado city depends on where your interests lie. Here’s a look at what makes Denver special and why you should visit. 

At Denver Union Station, also known as Denver’s Living Room, you’ll be at the center of it all with historic hotels, bars and lounges, highly-rated restaurants all in one place.

This gathering place with more than 100 years of history as a hub in Denver hosts daily events like live music and fitness classes. If you start your Denver experience here, you’ll find tons of things to do and good food to eat.

Stay in the historic Crawford Hotel here to stay close to the action! Get properly outfitted for the city by stopping at the famous Rockmount Ranch Wear, the home of the original snap-button cowboy shirt and western fashion.

If modern fashion and shopping is more your speed, you’ll find hundreds of unique and well-known boutiques, shops, and stores within walking distance of downtown Denver.

At 16th St. Mall, Larimer Square, Antique Row, and Cherry Creek, you’ll find the most shopping options with everything from upscale fashion and accessories to unique trinkets and city souvenirs. Foodies and beer/cocktail enthusiasts will appreciate Denver’s focus on all things tasty.

Some of the nation’s most respected chefs and mixologists call Denver home, creating flavor fusions with old western favorites (like the Denver omelet) and modern combinations with global flavors.

You’ll find almost every type of cuisine within walking distance here, from Venezuelan and Italian to American steakhouses and organic eats. 

Arm in a black shirt pulling on a handle of a beer tap during the best time to visit Denver

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Craft breweries, bars, cannabis dispensaries, and cocktail lounges are scattered throughout the city, too. Whether you’re looking for a wild night out with cheap drinks and tokes or sophisticated sips in Denver’s hip neighborhoods, there’s something for every type of drink connoisseur here. 

Denver’s many attractions are another reason to come and visit. Check out the Denver Zoo with its menagerie of animals, the Botanic Gardens with native and rare plants throughout the sprawling grounds, and the Denver Art Museum with works and exhibits by famous artists.

Dino and history lovers will appreciate the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and every kid wants to visit Elitch Gardens Amusement Park with its roller coasters and water park!

There are fun things to do around every corner in the city. Many of Denver’s attractions are perfect for families and kids of all ages, so everyone will find something they love here! 

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is another draw for tourists and locals alike. Located 30 minutes west of the city, Red Rocks is a park by day with easy to moderate hiking and bike trails winding through the towering rock formations.

On summer and fall evenings from May to October, it transforms into an outdoor concert hall where you can catch some of your favorite musicians and bands in a one-of-a-kind setting.

Check out the Performers’ Hall of Fame while you’re here to learn about the history of this park and amphitheater, which has hosted music royalty like The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, U2, and Jimi Hendrix. 

With so much to do and see in Denver, you’ve got to make the trip at some point – why not make it your next vacation?

Check out the best time to visit Denver below, from the overall best time to the cheapest and least busy times of year to go. We’ll also look at the worst time to visit Denver and helpful travel tips to make the most of your stay. 

Overall Best Time to Visit Denver

Coors Field pictured from the air in the Summer, one of the best times to visit Denver

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  • March-May and June-August is the best time to visit Denver
  • Spring features cooler temps and lower prices
  • Summer features warmer temps and more activities

The overall best time to visit Denver is in spring and summer: March-May and June-August.

Spring is slightly less busy and a little cooler, while summer enjoys warmer temperatures and more outdoor activities. July is the busiest month in Denver, so avoid visiting during this time to steer clear of the warmest temperatures and the biggest crowds. 

If you visit in the spring, you’ll be greeted with cooler temperatures that can range widely from the upper 40s to the mid-70s. It’s somewhat rainy during the spring months, but there are tons of indoor activities and attractions here to keep you out of the rain.

Festivals around the city start picking up speed, the trails at Red Rocks are perfect for hiking and biking at this time of year, and prices on hotels and flights are not yet at their summertime peak. 

If you visit in the summer, you’ll enjoy warmer temperatures with highs in the 80s and 90s, and a few rainy days to cool things down. Festivals and events are at their peak during the summer months to give you plenty of options for things to do.

Denver’s water parks are a great way to keep cool in summertime, and you can take a short trip to Clear Creek in nearby Golden, Colorado for river rafting adventures and great swimming holes. Red Rocks Amphitheater is hosting its summer concert series at this time of year.

Prices on hotels and flights peak during the summer months because it’s such a popular time to go. Book your trip a few months in advance to score the best prices and availability for rooms near the action! 

Cheapest Time to Visit Denver

Larimer Square in downtown area pictured for a post on the best time to visit Denver

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  • September-February is the cheapest time to visit
  • Fewer tourists during this period mean lower prices
  • Find great deals on hotels, flights, and attractions

The best time to visit Denver on a budget is from September to February, which is the absolute cheapest time to visit. This period covers fall and winter, when tourism in Denver hits an annual low.

You’ll benefit from the lack of crowds by scoring great deals on hotel rooms, rental cars, flights, and attractions at this time of year. Plus, fewer crowds means less waiting in line to do the activities on your itinerary! 

If you visit before October, you’ll be able to catch some of the live music at Red Rocks Amphitheater from their summer concert series and check out fall festivals around the city. You’ll be there in time to watch Denver’s foliage transform into gorgeous autumnal color displays as well.

Prices in Denver hit rock bottom from September to November, when tourism reaches its lowest point and airlines, hotels, and attractions drop their rates to encourage people to come.

It’s the perfect time to walk the city and eat/drink your way through Denver’s amazing food and drink scene. Go in winter to access slightly higher (but still cheap) prices on hotels, flights, and attractions.

Plus, you’ll have the chance to see Denver decked out in snow and holiday decor! It’s awfully chilly at this time of year with highs ranging from the upper 30s to the mid-40s.

But indoor attractions are perfect at this time of year, from the zoo and aquarium to the many museums and galleries around the city. Brave the cold to go ice skating at Skyline Park or take a short trip to Evergreen Lake for ice skating in a more natural setting.

And if you’re into skiing or snowboarding, you’re less than 2 hours away from some of the best ski resorts and slopes around! 

Least Busy Time to Visit Denver

View of the downtown skyline with the sun blinding the camera pictured during the best time to visit Denver

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  • September-November is the least busy time to visit
  • Mildly cold to warm temperatures with little precipitation
  • Low season with fewest tourists and lowest prices

The best time to visit Denver sans crowds is from September to November, which is fall in The Mile High City.

You’ll be here in time for mild temperatures with highs that range from the 50s to the mid-80s, making walks around the city and its park trails very comfortable. Add to that the lack of huge crowds of tourists, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect Denver trip. 

Expect anywhere from 1-4 days of rain (or snow, if you visit in October or November) each month during Denver’s fall. This makes for relatively dry conditions that are perfect for getting out and enjoying all this city has to offer outdoors!

This is a great time of year to hike and bike park trails, sightsee around the city, and enjoy the fall foliage colors and outdoor festivals in Denver.

You’ll find that hotel rooms, rental cars, and attractions have the lowest prices at this time of year. You’ll be able to easily find cheap flights to Denver during the fall – we found one-way flights as low as $57 in Denver’s cheapest month, November! 

If you want a laid-back Denver experience without the crowds, hustle, and bustle of the busier spring and summertime, go sometime between September and November. It’s the ideal time for a less-busy stay. 

Worst Time to Visit Denver

Giant blue bear standing against the event center glass looking in during the Winter, the worst time to visit Denver

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Now that you know the best time to visit Denver for different trip goals, what’s the worst time to go? It really depends on what you’re hoping to do and see while you’re there. 

If you’re hoping for warm weather, the worst time to visit Denver is during the winter from December to February. This is when it gets coldest in The Mile High City with temperatures that can surge into the negatives (though the average low is around 20F).

It’s great if you’re planning to ice skate, ski, or snowboard nearby, but not ideal for outdoor exploration, walking the city, or enjoying al fresco dining. 

If you’re hoping for small crowds and cheap prices, the worst time to visit Denver is during the summer from June to August. This is the warmest period in the city with highs that can reach the upper 90s, and the ideal weather for outdoor activities brings tourists out in droves.

Prices shoot up in response to the increased demand, so you’ll pay more for everything from your room to tickets for attractions at this time of year. 

If you’re hoping for lots of activities and events around the city, the worst time to visit Denver is January to March.

This part of winter is missing the holiday events and decorations you’ll find throughout the city in November and December, and the cold temperatures mean few outdoor events and festivals are taking place.

It’s a low-energy time of year in Denver and may not have many things going on outside of the usual indoor attractions, restaurants, and shops available year-round. 

You can see why the time of year you plan your visit to Denver is so important. There are things to do and see anytime of year, but if you know the periods to avoid, you’ll enjoy a more satisfying visit that hits all your trip checkboxes! 

More Things to Consider

Orange and blue bronco sunset over DIA during the best time to visit Denver

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Going to Denver with a little expert knowledge in your toolkit never hurts. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss in the city and tips to make your Denver stay perfect:

  • Purchase a pass to score discounts on attractions. If you’ll be out and about exploring Denver’s attractions, it’s smart to grab a pass to access cheaper prices and freebies throughout the city. The Denver CityPASS is valid for 7 days and you can choose 3, 4, or 5 attractions at 42% off. The Mile High Culture Pass is a flat $37, valid for 3 days, and gives you free entry to many of Denver’s museums, the Botanical Gardens, and history centers.
  • Check out the murals and street art around town. Denver has tons of incredible murals and street art painted around the city – be on the lookout for some of the most famous while you’re here! You’ll find unexpected art pieces on the sides of buildings, in alleyways, under bridges, and in abandoned lots. Check out the River North Art District (RiNo), East Colfax, and the Art District on Santa Fe to see some of the most famous murals.
  • Acclimate to the altitude. Remember – Denver is The Mile High City and you’re exactly 5,280 feet above sea level when you arrive. The air is thinner and drier up here, so bring some lotion and chapstick to combat the dryness and drink plenty of water. Take it slow and easy on your first hikes to acclimate yourself to the higher elevation. Avoid alcohol when you first arrive as it can make altitude sickness and dehydration worse, and don’t fall for the bottled oxygen tourist traps. You won’t need it as long as you hike slowly and descend if altitude sickness symptoms strike. 
  • Cannabis is legal here. Whether you partake of the herb or not, remember that cannabis is 100% legal in Colorado, Denver included. You’re sure to run into people smoking and vaping cannabis or eating edibles while you’re here. Although it’s not legal to smoke cannabis in public, this rule is often disregarded, especially by excited tourists. If you’re not cool with a little pot smoke blowing in your face while you’re out and about, Denver may not be the place for you. 
  • Respect the great outdoors. Coloradans take their nature and scenery very seriously and locals won’t hesitate to call you out for littering trails or ignoring warning signs in the parks that are there for everyone’s safety. Follow the “leave no trace” rule when you’re enjoying the outdoors in Denver and surrounding areas – and really, all the time – and bring bags to store your garbage until you find a suitable spot to dispose of it or face a $1,000 littering fine. Obey trail and park signage, fire bans, and blocked-off areas to keep Denver beautiful. 

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Denver?

Empty square in a shopping center for a piece on the best time to visit Denver

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Overall, the best time to visit Denver is during the spring (March-May) and summer (June-August). These seasons have the most comfortable temperatures, with summer reaching highs in the 80s and 90s.

The Cheapest Time to Go

Spring is best for smaller crowds and lower prices, while summer offers more events and warmer temperatures for outdoor enjoyment. The best time to visit Denver for cheap prices is anytime between September and February.

This is the low season for Denver, and fewer tourists arriving means prices on flights, hotels, and attractions get slashed as a result.

The weather is better during the fall, and this is when prices hit rock bottom. Prices tick up slightly in the winter around the holidays, but are still cheaper than spring and summer. 

The Least Busy Time to Go

The best time to visit Denver without crowds is during September to November. This is the low point of the year for tourism, and you’ll be able to enjoy the city without throngs of tourists at this time of year.

The lower prices in the fall are an added bonus, and there are lots of fall festivities and foliage colors to enjoy from September to November. 

The Worst Time to Go

Pay attention to the worst times to visit Denver as well, which really depend on your goals for the trip. Steer clear during the winter if you’re hoping to spend time outdoors or walking the city, as it gets very cold in Denver from December to February.

Avoid going in the summer if you’re looking for cheap prices and small crowds. Don’t visit from January to March if you’re hoping to come across fun events and festivals, as there are fewer going on at this chilly time of year.

Final Thoughts

Denver may be a mile high (and some of the cannabis tourists will be, too), but it’ll feel like home while you’re there exploring the food, arts, and history that make this city special.

Keep the travel times and tips from this guide in mind to enjoy your Denver trip to the fullest, and don’t forget to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery with the Rocky Mountains looming in the background!