Live the high life in Denver, Colorado’s Mile-High city. For a city on the smaller side, Denver has a lot of personality. Each neighborhood has a different atmosphere that completely changes the feel of your vacation.
Whether you are looking for great nightlife, shopping, history, or art – Denver has a district that will suit your tastes, with fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains.
To help you to decide where to stay in Denver, Colorado, I will draw on my experience staying in six different neighborhoods and let you know what they offer travelers.
Best Places to Stay in Denver
Just need to figure out where to stay in Denver for accommodations. Here are our quick picks for the best places to stay.
Now that you have a home base for exploration let’s dig in a bit deeper and look at where to stay in Denver by checking out the best areas and what they offer.
6 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Denver
1. Lower Downtown (LoDo)
Great For First-Timers
Battling it out with the arts district, RiNo, for the title of Denver’s coolest neighborhood is Lower Downtown, or LoDo, as locals affectionately know it.
LoDo takes a little of everything that is great about Denver’s other neighborhoods and condenses it into one. The historic architecture of Capitol Hill, the nightlife of the Central Business District, the artsy vibe of RiNo, and the boutiques of Cherry Creek; it’s all here in LoDo.
Historically, LoDo was one of Denver’s most affluent neighborhoods – you can still see evidence of this in the elegant Victorian architecture of the district.
The heart of LoDo is Larimer Square, the city’s first designated historic district. Go for a romantic stroll past the specialty boutiques and award-winning restaurants – the square is lit up with thousands of glittering fairy lights, making it particularly atmospheric in the evening.
The abundance of bars, restaurants, and cafes in LoDo is staggering. LoDo has everything if you want to admire the city from a rooftop bar, relax in a speakeasy, or sip Italian coffee in a cozy cafe. There’s even a bar – and award-winning restaurants – in the iconic restored Union Station.
If you’re a sports fan, you should catch a baseball game at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.
Lower Downtown (LoDo) Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in For First-Time Visitors.
- Best Hotels – The Crawford Hotel at Union Station• The Oxford Hotel Downtown Denver • Hotel Indigo Denver Downtown
- Best Hostel – 11th Avenue Hostel
- Apartments – Platform at Union Station • The Quincy
- Where to Eat – Fogo de Chao $$, Tavernetta $$$, Tupelo Honey $$$
- Where to Drink – Terminal Bar, Cruise Room Bar, Wynkoop Brewing
Top Attractions – Union Station, The Beer Spa, Coors Field, Larimer Square
2. Capitol Hill
For Budget Travelers and History
The historic Capitol Hill is classic Denver, with stately old mansions, tree-lined streets, and a number of parks, both big and small. Capitol Hill is a great location for travelers on a budget. Despite its central location and numerous attractions, the neighborhood is more affordable than the other popular districts in Denver.
The gold-domed Colorado State Capitol building is most recognizable to Capitol Hill, which towers over the beautiful Civic Center Park. The 13th step leading up to the Capitol marks the exact point Denver reaches a mile above sea level.
Capitol Hill hasn’t got quite the same variety of restaurants, bars, and trendy cafes as LoDo or the Central Business District, but this doesn’t mean it is completely lacking.
The neighborhood might be quieter, but it still has its fair share of fantastic restaurants, bars, and clubs – and because the area isn’t as tourism-focused, you can find some lovely authentic spots run by locals for locals.
Surprisingly, the historic district has a thriving punk scene, with several punk-aesthetic bars dotted around the area. It is also one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhoods in Denver.
While in Capitol Hill, you must visit the home of the ‘unsinkable’ Molly Brown. The famous Titanic survivor’s former residence is now a museum dedicated to detailing her eventful life. The Denver Art Museum, as is the History Colorado Center, is worth stopping by with its interactive exhibits.
Capitol Hill Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in For Sightseeing.
- Best Hotels – The Art Hotel Denver • Sonder The Essex • Warwick Denver
- Best Hostel – Ember Hostel
- Best Apartments – 970 Penn • Aspire 7th & Grant
- Where to Eat – 9th Door Capitol Hill $$, Angelo’s Taverna $$, Mizuna $$$
- Where to Drink – Prohibition, Hudson Hill bar, The Fainting Goat
- Top Attractions – Denver Art Museum, Colorado State Capitol building, United States Mint
3. Central Business District
For Great Nightlife
If you are looking for the best nightlife in Denver, look no further than the Central Business District.
The name might not sound like the calling card of a place with wild and exciting nightlife, but don’t be fooled – the Central Business District is the liveliest neighborhood in Denver after dark.
There is a ridiculous amount of choice. You can visit jazz bars like Dazzle Denver or Jazz at Jack’s, or maybe the popular Union Lodge No. 1, a speakeasy from the prohibition-era serving up cocktails 1800s style is more your thing.
From cabaret nightclubs like The Clocktower Cabaret to regular old nightclubs and bars, there are plenty of options in the Central Business District for great nightlife.
The famous 16th Street Mall runs through the neighborhood and into LoDo. The street has over 300 shops – a mix of familiar chains and local boutiques – and dozens of restaurants. Book for afternoon tea at the historic Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, an iconic Denver establishment.
Most of Denver’s theaters are in the Central Business District and neighboring LoDo. The Denver Center for Performing Arts complex encompasses several different theater companies, while the Paramount Theater is a 90-year-old historic Art Deco venue.
There are a few museums to visit, including the Denver Firefighters Museum and the American Museum of Western Art. Don’t forget to visit the late Lawrence Argent sculpture on 14th St – though, as it’s a giant 40-foot Big Blue Bear, it would be pretty hard to miss.
Central Business District Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in on a Budget
- Best Hotels – Four Seasons Hotel Denver • Le Meridien Denver Downtown • Staybridge Suites Denver Downtown
- Best Hostel – Hostel Fish • Ember Hostel
- Best Apartments – Solera Apartments • The Casey Apartments
- Where to Eat – Buckhorn Exchange $$$, Sam’s No. 3 $, Corinne Restaurant $$$
- Where to Drink – Churchill Bar, Union Lodge No.1, 54 thirty Rooftop
- Top Attractions – Denver Performing Arts, Colorado Convention Center, 16th Street Mall
4. Cherry Creek
For Luxury Travelers And Shopping
Love shopping? Head to the elegant sophistication of Cherry Creek, Denver’s go-to neighborhood for shopping.
With an indoor shopping mall on one side of the street and an outdoor row of boutiques and designers on the other, it is hard to deny Cherry Creek’s status as the city’s best shopping district. The area has an upmarket and luxurious feel, with leafy boulevards lined with immaculate designer stores.
Brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry are dotted between local boutiques in an easily walkable district with a quieter and laid-back vibe. Thanks to this more relaxed and residential setting, Cherry Creek is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in for families.
Cherry Creek is a little further away from Denver’s main attractions than some other neighborhoods, but they are still only a short drive away. The Denver Botanic Gardens are close enough to walk if you don’t mind stretching your legs a little!
Being slightly away from the bustle of Denver’s tourist attractions has helped Cherry Creek cultivate a reputation for authenticity – especially regarding food. The big chains of fast-food restaurants are few and far between here; the bistros, cafes, and restaurants are all independent and locally owned.
It is also easy to find spots to lay back and relax in this district; Pulaski Park and (a little further out), Cherry Creek Reservoir are both excellent choices.
Hire a bike and ride the Cherry Creek Trail up to the Highlands district for a fun day out. It is a picturesque trail that takes you over bridges and alongside the river – all while avoiding the roads.
Cherry Creek Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in for Shopping
- Best Hotels – The Jacquard • MOXY Denver Cherry Creek • DoubleTree
- Best Apartments – St Paul Collection • Willow Creek Apartments
- Where to Eat – Cherry Cricket $$, Olive & Finch $$, Cherry Creek Grill $$$
- Where to Drink – Derecho, Forget Me Not, B&GC
- Top Attractions – Cherry Creek North, Denver Botanic Gardens, Cherry Creek Shopping Mall
5. Lower Highlands (LoHi)
Ideal For Families
As the name suggests, LoHi is the lower – and cooler – section of the wider district of ‘The Highlands’.
Like Cherry Creek, LoHi is quieter than many other neighborhoods, making it a great place to stay for families. It is also home to several family-friendly activities, like the Downtown Aquarium. For couples, LoHi is one of the most romantic neighborhoods in Denver.
With its fantastic location across the Platte River, the district has unrivaled views of the Denver skyline. Restaurants like Linger and El Five offer spectacular views of downtown and unique dining experiences – a perfect opportunity to try amazing food on a romantic date.
Despite the elegance of its largely Victorian architecture and lush parks, LoHi isn’t a neighborhood that takes itself too seriously – it’s full of fun little eccentricities and modern innovation. Nowhere exemplifies this more than Little Man Ice Cream, where delicious homemade ice cream are served out of a giant milk jug.
The 1912 Bug Theater is another exciting spot – the historic movie theater is now a venue catering to indie and alternative acts.
For people more interested in the art of food than theater, head to the Avanti Food and Beverage Hall. The food hall, housed in a collection of repurposed shipping containers, is a revolving door of vendors.
Many companies use the space to test a new concept before opening a full restaurant. You can try so many different cuisines here – new stalls are often opening, so each visit is a surprise.
It is also only a short walk from LoHi to the Empower Field at Mile High, home of two-time Super Bowl winners the Denver Broncos.
Lower Highlands Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in Denver for Families.
- Best Hotels – Life House, Lower Highlands • Fairfield by Marriott • Hampton Inn & Suites Denver-Speer Boulevard
- Best Apartments – LoHi House • Line28 at LoHi Apartments
- Where to Eat – Postino LoHi $$, Linger $$$, Root Down $$
- Where to Drink – The Nearby Bar, The Comma LoHi, Forest Room 5
- Top Attractions – Little Man Ice Cream, Commons Park, The Family Jones Spirit House
6. River North Arts District (RiNo)
For Artsy, Bohemian Types
No cosmopolitan city is complete without an arts district. The River North Arts District, nicknamed RiNo by locals, is a former industrial zone transformed into a colorful and trendy neighborhood by Denver’s art community.
What RiNo lacks in historic architecture it makes up for in personality. Every street is a burst of color – the majority of Denver’s street art is in RiNo. With trendy cafes, hip bars, and over a dozen microbreweries, RiNo is one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city.
As RiNo is filled with young creatives, the nightlife is some of the best in Denver. From swish cocktail bars like Death & Co to music venues such as Larimer Lounge – RiNo has an amazing variety of innovative bars and cool clubs to visit.
It is also a haven for craft beers. To name just a selection of the microbreweries in RiNo: the Mile High Brewery, Blue Moon Brewing Company, Mockery Brewing, Odell Brewing, and Ratio Beerworks. Trying to visit them all in one trip – or one night – is a challenge many have already accepted.
If you prefer wine to beer, try Infinite Monkey Theorem, a winery that harvests its grapes from vineyards around Colorado.
RiNo is no slouch when it comes to food. There is an excellent choice in restaurants – whether you fancy ramen or Southern BBQ.
The shopping in RiNo is fantastic for those who love independent boutiques and unique stores. Modern Nomad is a famous warehouse filled with various shops, selling everything from crafts to vintage furniture.
There are also several art galleries to visit in the art district, particularly if you like contemporary art!
River North Arts District (RiNo) Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in for Nightlife
- Best Hotels – The Ramble Hotel • The Source Hotel
- Best Hostels – Hostel Fish
- Best Apartments – Drivetrain RiNo Apartments • Waterford RiNo
- Where to Eat – Park Burger $$, Dio Mio $$$, Temaki Den $$$$
- Where to Drink – Infinite Monkey Theorem, Blue Moon Brewing Company, First Draft Taproom & Kitchen
- Top Attractions – Denver Central Market, The Source, Denver Microbrew Tour
FAQs About Where to Stay in Denver
What are the best places to stay in Denver for first-time visitors?
Hands down, the best part of Denver for first-time visitors is the LoDo section of downtown. This bustling area has an amazing restaurant scene, plenty of things to do, and some great hotels.
What hotels in Denver are best for families?
For families that are traveling to Denver for the great attractions that are family friendly, we recommend the LoHi neighborhood. This neighborhood is closely situated to attractions like the Denver Aquarium, the Children’s Museum, and Elitches Gardens.
Family friendly hotels in the LoHi neighborhood include the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Speer Boulevard and the Life House Hotel. LoHi also has plenty of AirBNB and VRBO rentals. When you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss the Little Man Ice Cream parlor. It has become an icon for the city and LoHi neighborhood.
Where is the best area to stay in Denver for foodies?
We send you back to the LoDo area of Denver if you are coming to check out the food scene. LoDo has amazing restaurants on every corner, and some pretty amazing spots to get a drink.
Near Union Station, check out Tavernetta, a James Beard Award winning restaurant. Denver and particularly LoDo is quietly becoming one of the most interesting places to catch a meal as there is no lack of great options and inventive chefs.
What are the best luxury hotels in Denver?
The Cherry Creek neighborhood in Denver is the spot for luxury food and lodging. The Halcyon is by far the most luxurious hotel in Denver. However, Cherry Creek is a bit out of the Downtown area.
Where to stay in Denver for nightlife?
One of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Denver is the RiNo district. RiNo is short for River North. The RiNo district is full of great bars, restaurants, and breweries. If you are looking to stay in the heart of the RiNo district, book your room at The Catbird Hotel. This is one of Denver’s newest hotels and offers a unique experience to visitors to the RiNo district.
What is the best area in Denver for couples?
It is hard to beat the Cherry Creek neighborhood for a romantic getaway. Cherry Creek has numerous luxury hotels that offer all the amenities for couples looking to rekindle a romantic flame. Cherry Creek also is very walkable, and has some of the best restaurants in Colorado, so it is perfect for exploring and romantic evening walks.
What is the best area to stay in Denver on a budget?
If you are traveling to Denver, you may quickly find that hotels can be pricey. However, if you want to be close to the great Denver food, nightlife, and attractions, the Central Business District is home to many of the more affordable hotels in Denver.
This part of Denver’s downtown has affordable but comfortable chain hotels like the Courtyard by Marriott and the Hyatt Garden Place. The nice thing about this part of town is that it is just a short Uber or rickshaw ride to LoDo, LoHi, and the RiNo areas.
So, Where Should You Stay in Denver?
- Lower Downtown (LoDo) — LoDo is ideal for first-time visitors, thanks to its abundance of award-winning restaurants, shops, and attractions.
- Capitol Hill — This area of Denver is excellent for those on a budget. It also has a thriving punk and LGBTQ+ scene for youthful travelers looking to find a sense of community on their travels.
- Central Business District — If you want nightlife, the Central Business District has great bars and music venues. Those looking to party in Denver will want to stay here.
- Cherry Creek — A more upscale area, Cherry Creek offers up lots of shopping and restaurants. In addition, the area contains some of the most prominent and well-maintained green spaces.
- Lower Highlands (LoHi) — If you are traveling with kids, LoHi is the area you will want to stay, thanks to its family-friendly attractions. At the same time, the site has sports and an arts scene that will also appeal to adults.
- River North Arts District (RiNo) — Though many areas cater to the local art scene, RiNo is the most established among artists, young and old. Making it one of the trendiest and coolest areas to stay in Denver.
Denver is a hip and trendy city that is ideal for young travelers. At the same time, the city has excellent attractions for traveling families and couples. Regardless of where you stay, you will find a great time suited to you!