Where to Stay in Denver: TOP 9 Best Areas

Where to stay in Denver? It’s a question that many people ask themselves when they are planning their trip. Lucky for you, I have compiled a list of the best areas to stay in Denver for you to choose. Read on and find out!

Denver is the capital and largest city in the state of Colorado. It is nicknamed “Mile High City”, as Denver sits exactly one mile above sea level, nestled in the picturesque Rocky Mountains. It is a fabulous destination whether you prefer the bright lights of the city or a relaxing break in nature.

See more about the USA: Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco

Tips for choosing the best areas to stay in Denver

Before we get started, I want to give you some tips and info. These will be things you need to think about in order to ensure you pick the best place to stay in Denver for your own personal needs.

For example, the Central Business District is the perfect place to stay for those travelling on business,  as you’ll be surrounded by corporations and amenities. As the heart of Downtown Denver, it also features a number of attractions to entertain tourists who want to stay in the city centre.

That said, the other districts of Downtown will probably be a better fit for your average tourist. LoDo is full of historic attractions, sports teams and events to give you a new thrill every day, while RiNo is brimming with culture and fabulous cuisine for you to experience.

Capitol Hill contains one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, the Colorado State Capitol Building, so is perfect for anyone largely coming to visit that. However, Golden Triangle – Baker also offers convenient access, while having a number of additional attractions and more affordable hotels too.

Then you have the areas that offer more in the way of nature. If you want to visit Rocky Mountains National Park, Highland will be the most convenient. Central Park is ideal for those going to Rocky Mountains Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and is also great if you want to stay near the airport.

Cherry Creek is a great choice for anyone who wants to combine shopping with a hike along the Cherry Creek Trail, while City Park is the home of the largest park in the city, where you can spend days strolling and sailing around the lakes.

If you keep these and other similar issues in mind while reading, it will make deciding where to stay in Denver as quick and easy as possible.

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Where To Stay In Denver, Colorado: 9 Best Areas to Stay in Denver

So, now you know exactly what you are looking for, I am going to show you the 9 best areas to stay in Denver. This should give you all you need to know about where to stay in Denver to have an absolutely perfect trip.

Best areas to stay in Denver map

1. Central Business District, where to stay in Denver for nightlife

CBD , the best area to stay in Denver for nightlife

We begin our search in the Central Business District of Downtown Denver. Located at the heart of the Downtown area, the Central Business District is filled with many corporations and facilities, making it the ideal choice for business travellers.

Great restaurants and some of the best hotels in Denver are located throughout the Central Business District. This is ideal for workers from out of town who need to unwind after a long, hard day.

The Colorado Convention Center is one of the highlights of the Central Business District. Opened in 1990, it features meeting rooms, ballrooms and even an indoor amphitheatre, making it the perfect place for conferences and conventions, of which it holds more than 400 each year.

The Central Business District isn’t just for business travellers though. For starters, the convention center holds events like the Great American Beer Festival, Denver Comic Con, and the Denver Auto and Boat shows, making it a destination well suited for tourists as well.

You then have a number of other attractions in the Central Business District specifically designed for tourists as well.  There is the American Museum Of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection, where you can enjoy one of the largest collections of art depicting the American west. 

You have the Denver Performing Arts Complex, one of the largest performing arts centres in the United States, where you can enjoy performances of things such as ballet, dance, opera, orchestras and more.

The Central Business District is even home to the 16th Street Mall. The largest outdoor mall in Denver, it contains more than 40 outdoor cafes and stores, laid out in the design of a rattlesnake.

So, while the Central Business District may sound like a destination only for those visiting Denver on business, its central location and collection of amenities make it a fabulous choice for tourists too.

Stay in Central Business District if:

  • You are attending an event at the Colorado Convention Center
  • You want to stay at the heart of Downtown Denver
  • You want a day out at one of the most popular malls in central Denver
  • You are interested in western art or the performing arts
  • You are travelling on business
  • You’re in Denver for a short time, one night or for a weekend
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2. LoDo (Lower Downtown) & Larimer Square, stay near train station

Denver Union Station

Lower Downtown & Larimer Square is another of the subdistricts of Downtown Denver, located immediately to the north of the Central Business District. The boundaries of Lower Downtown & Larimer Square are incredibly similar to those of Union Station however they aren’t identical.

The Union Station section of Lower Downtown is centred around Denver Union Station itself. The largest transport hub in Downtown Denver, as well as the city’s busiest train station, it is an ideal place to stay if trains are your chosen mode of transport.

The Larimer Square part of the neighbourhood is located at the southernmost point of the district. The first designated historic district in Denver, it was the former business hub of the city and makes a fabulous destination for any history buffs.

Throughout the rest of Lower Downtown, you will find an incredible selection of attractions to keep all manner of tourist happy. 

For starters, it is an ideal place to stay for sports fans while visiting the city, as both Coors Field and the Pepsi Center are located here. Coors Field is home to the Colorado Rockies Baseball Team, while the Pepsi Center features the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL and the Denver Nuggets of the NBA.

This makes Lower Downtown incredibly convenient for those attending a game or any other event taking place at the venues. If sport isn’t your thing, perhaps you would prefer some of the historical attractions Lower Downtown has to offer.

For example, you have the Museum Of Contemporary Art Denver. Opened in 1996, it features a rotating collection of art that is changed 3-4 times per year. This makes it great even for returning visitors, as they will still see something different to last time.

You could even go all out and treat yourself to a stay in the historic Oxford Hotel. Opened in 1891 and listed on the National Register Of Historic Places since 1979, it is one of the best luxury hotels in the city. This allows you to combine both history and class throughout the duration of your stay.

Even those who want something a little more relaxing will have options in this part of Downtown Denver. Confluence Park, where the South Platte River and Cherry Creek meet, is a fabulous outdoor location, where you can enjoy the regions beautiful landscapes, without having to leave the city.

When you combine everything it offers with its great location, Lower Downtown may well be the best, most well-rounded neighbourhood in all of Denver.

Stay in  LoDo (Lower Downtown) & Larimer Square if:

  • You are travelling to or from the city by train
  • You want to explore the Larimer Square Historic District 
  • You are attending a game or event at Coors Field or the Pepsi Center
  • You want to visit the Museum Of Contemporary Art Denver
  • You want to stay at one of the best hotels in Denver
  • You want to spend some time at one of the best urban parks in Denver
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3. Five Points – River North Arts District (RiNo), the best area for foodie

Five Points – River North Arts District (RiNo), the best place for foodie

The Final subdistrict of Downtown Denver, Five Points and the River North Arts District is located just to the Northeast of Lower Downtown. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, first settled in the 1850’s, it is a great place to come for anyone interested in the history of Denver. 

In recent years, it has become one of the fastest developing neighbourhoods in the entire city, massively increasing its appeal to tourists. Soul food eateries, cafes, bars, and pubs intertwine with historic theatres and ballrooms.

While not featuring many attractions specifically designed for tourists, the Denver Central market is well worth a visit. An open-air Food hall and market selling meat, fish, pizzas, baked goods and fresh produce, it is a great way to get a feel for the traditional cuisine and culture of this part of Denver.

The festivals held throughout the year in Five Points then enhance this experience even further, for those lucky enough to be visiting when they take place.

The Five Points Jazz Festival takes place each May, with performances in both the streets and historic venues, celebrating the history of Jazz music in the city. Meanwhile, the Juneteenth Festival draws thousands of visitors to the city to celebrate the history of African Americans, with parades, performers and street vendors.

The nearby Black American West Museum can give an even deeper insight for those interested, detailing the role of African Americans in the pioneer era.

For anyone wanting to turn their vacation into a cultural experience, Five Points is a great location to stay in Denver. Staying in a local boutique hotel, taking in the area’s history and relaxing in the pools, parks and playgrounds on offer is a sure-fire way to guarantee your trip is a success.

Stay in  Five Points – River North Arts District (RiNo) if:

  • You want to attend one of the festivals that takes place here
  • You are interested in history and culture
  • You consider yourself a foodie
  • You want to learn about African Americans or Jazz music
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4. Golden Triangle – Baker, great area for a fan of art galleries or history

Located immediately south of Downtown Denver, the Golden Triangle, or Civic Center, as it is also known, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. Victorian houses and bungalows, dating back to the 19th century, give it a distinctly different feel to other parts of Denver.

Important locations like the United States Mint, Central Library, and History Colorado Center make it a fabulous destination to learn more about the foundations of the area.

It also contains the western half of Civic Center Park. When not exploring its Greek Ampitheatre, Voorhies Memorial, or McNichols Civic Center Building, you can enjoy strolling around the ponds and grassy plazas. During the summer there are even open-air festivals held here for you to enjoy.

Perhaps the most popular draw of the Golden Triangle though is its collection of art galleries. Institutions such as the Denver Art Museum and the Kirkland Museum Of Fine & Decorative Art give art fans plenty of styles and exhibits to be left in awe by.

Its important position in the city also gives you a great chance of finding a luxury hotel to spend your time in, enjoying views of the area from the comfort of your room.

While the Baker side of the area is a little more detached from central Denver, it is a historic district in its own right. This gives you the opportunity to explore the past with less crowds and cheap hotels in a more residential part of the city.

Stay in Golden Triangle – Baker if:

  • You want to explore Civic Center Park or attend an open-air festival
  • You are a fan of art galleries or history
  • You want to stay in a luxury hotel
  • You want to visit the United States Mint, Central Library, or History Colorado Center
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5. Capitol Hill, where to stay in Denver on a budget & for first time visitors

Capitol Hill denver on a budget

The Capitol Hill area is located immediately to the east of Golden Triangle, at the other end of Civic Center Park. As the name suggests, the most prominent attraction in Capitol Hill is the Colorado State Capitol Building.

Built in the late 19th century, it is built to resemble the United States Capitol building. Each year visitors come to Capitol Hill from far and wide to see its beautiful architecture and learn about the history of the state of Colorado.

Beyond the State Capitol itself, Capitol Hill is an area filled with historic attractions throughout.

One of the most popular attractions in Capitol Hill is the Molly Brown House Museum. The former home of socialite Molly Brown, who was a survivor of the Titanic disaster, the museum is listed on the National Register Of Historic Places and shows exhibits relating to her life and Victorian Denver.

Elsewhere in Capitol Hill, another popular site is Saint John’s Cathedral. Built in the early 1900’s, it features some of the most beautiful architecture in not just Capitol Hill but Denver as a whole. It is a great way to view beautiful craftsmanship and learn about the religious history of the city.

Due to Capitol Hill being located near the city center and containing prestigious attractions, it is best suited to those with a bigger budget, looking to stay in a luxury hotel. However, there are a few budget Capitol Hill vacation rentals available if you look hard enough.

Stay in Capitol Hill if:

  • You want to visit the Colorado State Capitol Building or the Molly Brown House Museum
  • You want to be near the heart of the city
  • You are interested in Victorian architecture or the religious history of the city
  • You’re first time visitors and on a budget
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6. Cherry Creek, where to stay in Denver for hiking

Cherry Creek is a unique district, located to the south-east of Capitol Hill, along the banks of Cherry Creek itself. It is an area that is equally well known for both nature and shopping, two incredibly contrasting pastimes.

In its south, Cherry Creek Shopping Centre is one of the largest malls in Denver. Upwards of 160 stores are spread out over more than 1,000,000 square feet, intertwined with dining options, a movie theatre, a children’s playground and seasonal farmers markets.

In Cherry Creek North, you’ll find more locally owned businesses, with everything from shops and restaurants to salons and spas. The combination of these two locations makes Cherry Creek a perfect choice for shopaholics, no matter their style or taste.

A short way from Cherry Creek North you will also find the Denver Botanic Gardens. Containing gardens, a conservatory, and a sunken amphitheatre, you can learn about plants from around the world, as well as maybe even catch a concert in the summer if you’re lucky.

On the natural side of things, Cherry Creek Trail follows Cherry Creek around the outside of the neighbourhood. Travelling for 40 miles from The Pinery, on the outskirts of the Denver metropolitan area, to Confluence Park in LoDo, it provides a fabulous river walk for anyone who wants to explore more of Colorado’s famous landscape, without needing a car to do so.

Stay in Cherry Creek if:

  • You want to visit the Denver Botanic Gardens
  • You want to spend a day out in Cherry Creek Shopping Centre
  • You want to walk the Cherry Creek Trail
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7. City Park – Uptown, where to stay in Denver with families

Located to the north of  Cherry Creek, City Park is an area dominated by the park itself and surrounded by a small residential neighbourhood. As the largest park in Denver, it is a great option for anyone who loves spending time outdoors enjoying nature. 

Lakes contain ducks and numerous other species of birds, fish and amphibians for the avid wildlife spotters out there. Meanwhile, boathouses hold vessels to take you out on the water, to make the most of the tranquil setting.

Nature lovers will even enjoy the incredible selection of species on offer in Denver Zoo, which is located within the park. Containing more than 3,500 animals, spread out across 550 species, more than 2.2 million visitors travel here each year to explore the wonders it has to offer.

There are even attractions that don’t relate to nature too, such as the Denver Museum Of Nature & Science. Opened in 1900, it is a non-profit organisation that contains exhibits to teach you about Colorado, as well as the rest of our planet and universe.

Stay in City Park – Uptown if:

  • You want to visit Denver Zoo or the Denver Museum Of Nature & Science
  • You prefer a more remote, natural destination
  • You’re traveling with families
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8. Highland, where to stay in Denver near mountains

Highland is located on the opposite side of the South Platte River from Downtown Denver, giving you a fabulous view of the Downtown skyline. Being somewhat cut off from the rest of the city, there aren’t a huge number of tourist attractions to be found here.

One of the most popular is the Downtown Aquarium, located on the outskirts of the district. Containing more than 5000 animals of over 500 species, spread out across 107,000 square feet, it is a fabulous place to see and learn about a wide range of marine life.

However, the primary reason to stay in Highland when you visit Denver is for the easy access it provides to Rocky Mountains National Park.

Located some 60 miles away, even further above sea level, it is one of the most famous National Park’s in the world. While Denver is a great city in its own right, it would be a shame to come this close and not explore the landscapes and wildlife that Colorado is so famous for.

Stay in Highland if:

  • You want to visit the Downtown Aquarium
  • You want to explore Rocky Mountains National Park
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9. Central Park – Stapleton, where to stay in Denver near the airport

Our final destination of Central Park and Stapleton is located in the very north-eastern section of Denver. Detached from much of the city, it isn’t a place that will be right for the majority of people. That said, it does have a few selling points for the right type of traveller.

For starters, it is incredibly close to Denver International Airport. This makes it ideal for anyone worried about missing their flight, or who doesn’t want to drag their baggage all over town.

As is often the case in this sort of area, you will also find some of the most affordable hotels in Denver located here. This makes it ideal for anyone travelling on a budget.

The other reason people stay in Central Park is to visit Rocky Mountains Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Covering almost 16,000 acres, it gives you the chance to spot some of the 330 species of wildlife that live there, including birds, bison, coyotes, deer, prairie dogs, racoons, and ferrets. 

Stay in Central Park – Stapleton if:

  • You are travelling on a budget
  • You want to stay near Denver International Airport
  • You want to visit Rocky Mountains Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
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So, there you have it, our list of the 9 best areas to stay in Denver. Hopefully, most of you will have now decided where to stay in Denver based on your own wants and needs. 

However, for those who are still undecided, I am going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions people have about Denver, in order to help you choose a neighbourhood as well.

What Are The Best Areas To Stay In Denver? 

Denver’s “best area” will vary based on the purpose of your trip. For business travelers it is the Central Business District***. For your average tourist, it will be LoDo*** or RiNo***. Highland offers the best access to the Rocky Mountains, while Capitol Hill and Golden Triangle are full of history.

Where Should I Stay In Denver For Vacation?

For most people, I would recommend staying in Downtown Denver*** when on vacation. It is connected to all of the best neighborhoods, is filled with attractions, and has many of the best hotels in Denver. This makes it a great choice for travelers of all different types.

Where Should I Not Stay In Denver?

When comparing Denver to most major American cities, it is an incredibly safe destination, with the highest crime areas found near the centre of the city. Provided you keep your wits about you and are sensible, there aren’t really any areas I would recommend you don’t stay in Denver.

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Final thoughts on where to stay in Denver

The Mile High City is a fabulous destination. Its amazing climate changes with the seasons, and it is filled with attractions, amenities, luxury hotels, and sports bars and teams. This ensures everyone will have a great time, no matter when or why you choose to visit Denver.

This article should have given you everything you need, to ensure your own stay in Denver is absolutely perfect from start to finish. All that’s left is to go and start getting things booked, so you can experience it all for yourself, as soon as possible.

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