When you stay in Denver’s vibrant city center at properties like The Westin Denver Downtown Hotel and Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, you’ll be in the heart of the action and within easy walking distance from many of Denver’s best sights, locals’ hangouts and cultural experiences.

The Sheraton offers amenities galore such as a posh rooftop deck pool, 16Mix bar with an open-air patio on the pedestrian 16th Street Mall and dining options like 15/Fifty and Yard House, serving 130 beers on tap with lunch, happy hour and dinner. For architecture fans, downtown is filled with historic structures and distinct designs such as the 22-story Sheraton, which received the 1961 American Institute of Architects’ National Honor Award for its I.M. Pei Tower. It represents a pioneering venture in precast concrete.

Not far from the Sheraton, The Westin is located in the Tabor Center, a three-level retail and restaurant center and home to the Colorado Athletic Club, and only five blocks from the recently renovated Denver Union Station. At The Westin, it’s easy to relax in the lobby or have a productive business meeting. There is a heated rooftop pool with sundeck, a fitness center with a half basketball court, and five dining options, including The Palm, a well-known and delicious Denver steakhouse.

While staying downtown at The Westin and Sheraton, knowledgeable and friendly concierges can provide insider advice about things to do and places to see, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Sheraton Hotel in downtown DenverLOCALS’ HANGOUTS

Don’t miss popular locals’ hangouts like Union Station. Sit outside on the patio or by the fountain. Inside, the swanky train station is home to 10 chef-owned restaurants and bars, boutique shops, including an outpost of the acclaimed Tattered Cover Book Store, with its main store and café just across the street.

BEER MANIA

A visit to Denver isn’t complete without checking out the city’s famous microbrewery scene. The Denver Beer Trail is a handy way to scope out some of the best, including several downtown locations. Suds hop at downtown breweries like Rock Bottom Brewery for a Chili Kolsch, Snake Split or Molly Titanic Brown and Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery for barrel-aged brews and Devil’s Abyss if you dare. Don’t miss Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver’s very first brewpub founded in 1988, and Great Divide Brewing Co., established a few years later in 1994. Make a reservation at the popular Denver ChopHouse & Brewery next to Coors Field for a great steak or chop to go with handcrafted beers made on site.

DINING BLISS

Foodies rejoice because exploring Denver is like striking culinary gold (it was originally a Gold Rush town by the way). A few of the must-try restaurants are TAG, ChoLon and The Kitchen. With all the things to do and see, fast-casual dining at Avanti Food & Beverage, Modern Market and MAD Greens offer fresh, creative foods served quickly. Coffee is the black gold of today, so make a stop at Ink! Coffee, Tuscany Coffee & Deli and Mercantile Dining & Provision for a great cup of joe and other treats. For those sporting a sweet tooth and looking for desserts after a show or nice evening out, head to Food Network celebrity chef Keegan Gerhard’s D Bar, which also serves drinks, brunch, lunch and dinner.

CAPTURE THE CULTURE

Located on the same street as the Colorado Convention Center, there are shows galore at Denver Performing Arts Complex, the largest facility of its kind under one roof. Connected by a visually distinct, 80-foot-tall glass roof, DPAC houses 10 performance spaces on its four-block site and is one of six stops where you can experience Denver’s best art attractions in one day. And you can do it on foot for less than $50.

SHOPPING ADVENTURES

One of Denver’s most stylish and vibrant blocks (and the oldest) is Larimer Square with a carefully curated mix of ultra-unique retailers, while Denver Pavilions features popular brands shoppers will recognize. Both Larimer Square and the Pavilions offer dining, nightlife and other entertainment to cap off shopping sprees.

FAMILY FUN

The Downtown Aquarium is a favorite for all ages near REI’s flagship store and Confluence Park. Enjoy a meal surrounded by a 50,000-gallon tank filled with 100-plus species of tropical fish and stop by the interactive Stingray Reef Touch Tank. There are many other kid-friendly attractions not far from downtown like the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Denver Zoo.

OUTDOOR RECREATION IN THE CITY

There’s no need to set a fitness routine aside when visiting Denver with B-cycle bike rental stations all over downtown and the city. If you want to dodge stoplights, head for the gorgeous 40-mile Cherry Creek Trail.

EXPLORING WITHOUT A CAR

Denver is committed to alternative forms of transportation, a bonus for locals and visitors alike. Getting around without a car is easy! Walk, rent a bike or hop on a pedi-cab. Or use public transportation like light rail, buses and the free MallRide, which runs up and down the 16th Street Mall. It’s also easy to get from downtown to Denver International Airport by using the airport rail service.

GET INTO THE MOUNTAINS

After admiring all the amazing mountain views from downtown Denver, extend your trip and experience the Rocky Mountains up close. There are great places to stay and play in world-renowned towns like Vail, Beaver Creek and Steamboat Springs, and the Roaring Fork Valley communities of Aspen, Snowmass and Basalt. For the ultimate in relaxation and mountain chic, check into properties like The Westin Snowmass Resort, The St. Regis Aspen Resort and The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain, all just steps from the slopes for skiing and other amazing mountain activities. Find out more about these hotels and other ideas of where to stay.