Fun Denver Vacation Activities For Your Teenager
Your hard-to-please teenager will find plenty of cool things to occupy his or her time during your stay in Denver. From pulse-pounding thrill rides to hip shopping districts, and from cutting-edge art museums to all the pro sports a teen could dream of, the Mile High City is the perfect playground for even the choosiest of adolescents. Get the scoop below.
As you know, teenagers have plenty of energy. So get them out into Denver’s legendary fresh air and take advantage of the city’s outdoorsy options. If you’ve got a skateboarder in the family, head straight to the Denver SkatePark in LoDo (2205 19th St., Denver, www.denverskatepark.com). This expansive area – one of the most renowned skate parks in the country – is filled with bowls for all levels of skating skill. Admission is free. Helmets are required. Biking is also big in Denver. The city is home to a massive network of more than 850 miles of paved, off-road trails that crisscross throughout the seven county metro area, making it a two-wheeled paradise. Within the city, the Cherry Creek Bike Trail is one of the most popular, winding its way from Confluence Park to such attractions as the Cherry Creek Shopping Center (www.shopcherrycreek.com) and Four Mile Historic Park (www.fourmilehistoricpark.org). Bike rentals are available throughout the city, most notably at Confluence Kayaks (www.confluencekayaks.com) at 1615 Platte Street, near the South Platte River bike trail and at Cherry Creek Bike Rack (www.cherrycreekbikerack.com) at 171 Detroit in Cherry Creek North. Find out about Denver's awesome bikesharing program, B-cycle.
Teens love to shop – and Denver’s shopping scene delivers in a big way. Head to the 16th Street Mall (www.downtowndenver.com) in Downtown Denver first. Between Welton and Tremont, you’ll find the multileveled Denver Pavilions (www.denverpavilions.com), with such big name retailers as Hot Topic, Forever 21 and Banana Republic. The Pavilions are also home to Lucky Strike Lanes Bowling Alley, a United Artist movie theater and a number of dining options. Your teen could easily spend the whole day here.
But you’re also going to want to head down a few blocks to the oh-so-chic Larimer Square (www.larimersquare.com). Your budding fashion maven will love the one-of-a-kind boutiques, filled with the latest trends. More than 200 fashion lines from the runways of New York, London, Paris and Milan are on display. From handcrafted jewelry, to chic bags, to a wide array of shoes, you’ll find clothing and accessories from today's hottest designers. Definitely a good spot for mother-daughter retail bonding!
Your Denver shopping spree will continue at sprawling Cherry Creek Shopping District. Of course, to call the combination of Cherry Creek North (www.cherrycreeknorth.com) and Cherry Creek Shopping Center (www.shopcherrycreek.com) simply a “shopping district” doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s more of a shopping experience. Just a ten-minute drive from downtown, Cherry Creek North is a 16-block extravaganza features the region’s largest collection of independently owned shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants and spas. From the latest fashion trends, to home furnishings, jewelry and just about anything else on your list – you’ll find it here. As if that isn’t enough, adjacent to Cherry Creek North is Cherry Creek Shopping Center with no less than 160 of those brand-name stores that your teen simply cannot live without. Get more Denver shopping ideas here.
Denver Amusement Parks
If your teen is in the mood for something pulse-pounding, he or she is in luck. The Mile High City is filled with thrills – from gravity-defying roller coasters to challenging climbing walls to wet ‘n’ wild waterslides. Elitch Gardens (www.elitchgardens.com) is a can’t-miss, two-for-one attraction, with unique state-of-the-art rollercoasters, as well as a refreshingly fun water park. The family-owned Lakeside Amusement Park (www.lakesideamusementpark.com) is a long-standing Denver institution that features a number of classic wooden rail coasters. Every summer, thousands of Colorado residents flock to Water World (www.waterworldcolorado.com) looking to beat the heat, relax in the park’s beautifully landscaped 64 acres – and ride some serious waterslides.
Denver’s arts world is booming, and if you’ve got a teenager with a creative side, you’ll find plenty of stimulating artsy attractions for him or her. Don’t miss the stunning Denver Art Museum (www.denverartmuseum.org). The building itself is a work of art, thanks in part to the amazing, angular Hamilton Wing, designed by Daniel Libeskind. Inside, you’ll discover an incredible array of art ranging from masters like Cézanne and Picasso to the brightest new lights on the scene. If your teen’s tastes run a little more toward the latter, you definitely want to visit LoDo to see the Museum of Contemporary Art | Denver (www.mcadenver.org), with its revolving collection of the most avant-garde, cutting edge artists and installation pieces. Find out more about Denver arts here.
Denver Performing Arts
Kids these days are raised on the Internet, television and movies, but there’s nothing quite like the timeless thrill of seeing a musical, a ballet or a concert performed live. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (www.denvercenter.org), located downtown, offers all of these events and more on a regular basis. Expand your teen’s horizons by taking him or her to a performance by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (www.coloradosymphony.org). Go to New York City without the hassle and see a Broadway musical, like Jersey Boys, Phantom of the Opera or The Lion King. Catch a performance by the renowned Colorado Ballet (www.coloradoballet.org). You’ll find that all of these are accessible, engaging and exciting for teens. Get them excited about upcoming performances by steering them towards the Denver Center’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/denvercenter. There are clips from shows, peeks behind the curtain and interviews with cast members. Find out more about Denver performing arts here.
Denver is a professional sports paradise, with no less than eight professional sports teams that thrill sold-out crowds year-round. Basketball, baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, rugby – Denver’s got it all, with some of the world’s best athletes on the rosters. For baseball, head to Coors Field in LoDo for a Colorado Rockies game (www.coloradorockies.com). The season runs from April to September. The enormous Sports Authority Field at Mile High is the NFL’s Denver Broncos' (www.denverbroncos.com) home – with a season runs September to January. The Colorado Rapids (www.coloradorapids.com) play Major League Soccer at Dick's Sporting Goods Park from March to October. The NBA’s Denver Nuggets (www.nba.com/nuggets) rule the court at the Pepsi Center in Downtown Denver, October through June. The Pepsi Center is also the home of Denver’s beloved hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche (www.coloradoavalanche.com) – called the “Avs” by fans. Their season runs from September to June.