Whether people only have a few days in Denver or a lot more time to spare, they should add one thing to their itineraries for sure — a delightful walk in the park. There are plenty to choose from, and each offers a unique perspective of the Mile High City, as well as respite from urbanization and the hustle and bustle that comes with it. With creative playgrounds, abundant recreation, havens for wildlife, and so much more, these are the best parks Denver has to offer that provide a lovely break in between visiting this incredible city's attractions.
10 Cheesman Park
Green, grassy, and great for peace and quiet, Cheesman Park is the perfect paradise to retreat to, especially on a warm summer's day. The park's pavilion constructed in 1910 is one of the many highlights and is just as photogenic as it is historical. Behind the park is also the Denver Botanic Gardens, which features stunning indoor and outdoor plant exhibits.
What people may not know about Cheesman, however, is that it was built atop a former cemetery, meaning it is full of history, and consequently, reports of ghastly ghost sightings. But visitors that put the park's hauntings aside will be enchanted by its sprawling lawns prime for picnicking, walking, and frisbee games. Plus, park-goers may even be treated to a free movie, which is often screened on warm, balmy summer evenings.
9 Ruby Hill Bike Park
Ruby Hill Park is a top contender for little ones and people seeking fun and action. There's an outdoor pool, swings, playgrounds, and lots of things for active little monkeys to climb on, all against an attractive mountain backdrop. Visitors in need of a bit more thrill however will love the Ruby Hill Mountain Bike Park, which hosts a small and large pump track, a skills course, a slopestyle course, and plenty of dirt jumps. And when winter arrives, the area is transformed into a completely different adventure zone, becoming a terrain park for skiers and snowboarders at which to try their hand at slipping and sliding.
8 Paco Sánchez Park
Home to hundreds of trees, this unique park is inspired by music and is named after its namesake Paco Sánchez, who launched Denver's very first Spanish-language radio station. A tribute to Mr. Sánchez, the innovative park’s inventive design was created to inspire young minds and people from all backgrounds to enjoy music and physical activity. The entire area is full of music-themed structures and engaging attractions, including the Mic Tower - an extraordinary climbing structure standing 33 feet tall.
Kids and adults alike can enjoy a musical journey as they venture through the park, and be mesmerized by fun activities and features along the way - particularly the impressive concrete gramophone-shaped slide, and the awesome skate park. Not to be missed, this is one of Denver's most fun, one-of-a-kind parks offering a unique day outdoors like no other, especially for children.
7 Central Park In Stapleton
Central Park, aside from its inviting water's edge and lawns, is worthy of a visit for one tempting reason: it delivers the best Front Range views out of any other park in Denver. Denver is famously flat, but Central Park’s mild hills still manage to conjure scenic vistas of the three fourteeners; Longs Peak, Pikes Peak, and Mount Evans. So, when bored of playing games on the grass, strolling along the waterfront, or cycling around the park, why not lay out a blanket and soak up some of the city's most beautiful mountain views?
6 Golden History Park
An intense treat for American history fanatics and anyone in Denver seeking Colorado's most scenic spots, Golden History Park (previously Clear Creek History Park) boasts many of the original buildings from the Pearce Ranch in Golden Gate Canyon. The park, with its permanent and temporary fixtures, is a re-creation of the traditional 1800's mountain ranch lifestyle, allowing curious visitors to get a true sense of what life was like for the people who lived this way here back in the day.
In addition to lovely green lands and striking hills, people can discover this living history museum's beautiful 1800's-style cabins, a two-seater outhouse, a chicken coop complete with live chickens, a schoolhouse, and many more historical displays and features. On the other hand, the indoor portion of the park involves a fantastic History Museum home to even more permanent and temporary exhibits and events.
5 Lookout Mountain Park
A foothill of the Rocky Mountains, the mighty 7,377-foot Lookout Mountain is the show-stopping spectacle of Lookout Mountain Park, which is situated around one and a half miles west of downtown Golden. Even if the mountain wasn't there to take one's breath away, Lookout Mountain Park itself really does have it all: vast acres of wooded foothills, mountain meadows, a stone shelter, a twisting, and twining mountain road, access to the Beaver Brook Trail, and the museum and grave of western legend Buffalo Bill, where visitors can discover fascinating exhibits that chronicle the life of one of the American West's greatest figures.
Popular with bikers, hikers and photographers alike, the park also sits within the tremendous Deadman Gulch Potential Conservation Area - home to the Jefferson County Open Space’s Nature Center - which is of high biodiversity importance, and hosts several incredibly rare butterfly species.
4 Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
It may come as a surprise that the United States is among the top destinations for wildlife tourism, and just outside Denver people can observe animals freely roaming against a horizon that's part city skyline, part natural scenery. Centuries ago, wild bison roamed in this shortgrass prairie set in the shadow of the Front Range, but even after the park's interesting yet questionable history that saw it serve as a WWII chemical weapons testing site, as well as a post-war agricultural chemicals production zone, bison have since returned and are now thriving, particularly in the park's established refuge.
It stands that one of the best ways to explore the park is by opting for an amazing wildlife tour, which gives intrigued visitors the chance to spot bison, raptors, mule, coyotes, white-tailed deer, and a variety of pretty songbirds. Fishing is also a popular sport here thanks to a serene backdrop while on the water, and a good catch rate that keeps anglers entertained all day.
3 City Park
City Park is a delightful blend of woods and vast lawns, and is situated next to Uptown and flanked by the ever-popular Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. On most summer evenings, there are rec leaguers playing all kinds of sports, from soccer and kickball to flag football and softball. But if that's a little too energetic, then laying a picnic blanket by any of the two ponds in the park is sure to offer some much-needed tranquillity. The summer season also sees several festivals take place in City Park as well, including the exciting City Park Jazz - a Sunday concert series that occurs from June to August.
2 Washington Park
Washington Park is the cherry atop one of Denver’s most popular neighborhoods and is renowned for its huge grass field and flat landscape perfect for playing every game imaginable. In summer, the park attracts plenty of people who come to play volleyball and soccer or enjoy a balmy stroll, notably after school and on weekends.
It's also a great spot for jogging too with its two-and-a-half-mile outer loop that couples with several park roads where biking is permitted. Aside from walking, cycling, jogging, and playing, relaxation can also be had - the park features two ponds that open up picturesque views, fishing opportunities, and offers paddle boats for rent.
1 Confluence Park
Confluence combines with numerous other parks nearby, including Crescent, Commons, and the City of Cuernavaca, to offer an abundance of sweeping green lands ripe for both relaxing and invigorating pastimes. Also, Cherry Creek and South Platte River merge right in the center of the park, which forms part of the Riverfront Park trail system and serves as a wonderful backdrop.
One of the best ways to follow Cherry Creek is said to be on a bicycle; there's a separate bike lane for cyclists who need not worry about colliding with pedestrians. On the other hand, it's also possible to rent a kayak and explore the South Platte on the water for a different but just as thrilling experience. Visitors who follow the river will also find a number of urban parks alongside the city, providing ample opportunity for all kinds of fun; there are baseball fields; soccer fields; and even dog parks are available for use.