Don’t get us wrong — Cheesman, City Park and Wash Park are great, but did you know Denver has more than 200 other parks all within city limits? If the area surrounding your pick-up game or picnic blanket seems a bit crowded, take the time to explore some of the other green spaces the Mile High City has to offer — some of which are probably in your own backyard. 303 Magazine traveled around the city for this one, so here’s a list on the secret parks of Denver and the surrounding areas you must check out. Your hidden oasis awaits you.
Editor’s note: For 2020 readers, make sure to follow Denver’s stay-at-home rules and practice social distancing. Also under this order, playgrounds, picnics and organized games and sports are not allowed.
1. Observatory Park
Where: 2100 S. Fillmore St., Denver
The Lowdown: Denver University students have probably heard of this one, but if you live or work near this gorgeous campus, you must check out Observatory Park. This little oasis hidden in a nice woodsy neighborhood offers some great reading spots underneath the trees. The park is named for the Chamberlin Observatory, DU’s very own astronomy tower that’s located in it. You can watch the stars or a full moon here and you don’t have to be an astronomy student. Check the Observatory’s schedule here to see available times.
2. Belleview Park
Where: 5001 S. Inca Dr., Englewood
The Lowdown: If you don’t spend a lot of time in Englewood, maybe you should because Belleview Park has everything. More like a small amusement park than simple city green space, Belleview’s got a miniature train you can ride at $2 per person (children two and under are free), a farm where you can pet animals and a water park called Pirates Cove. If that sounds all sounds like it’s for kids, then you might just prefer the bike paths and the creek. And if it doesn’t, well you better catch that train. For more info on attractions, please click here.
3. Olympic Park
Where: 15501 E. Yale Ave., Aurora
The Lowdown: If you love sports, this park in Aurora has all the amenities. Featuring volleyball courts, baseball diamonds and soccer fields, Olympic Park is for athletes to train or anyone looking for a pick-up game. Inside the park, you can also find another park called Wheel Park, a facility that includes a skateboarding bowl, roller-hockey rink and BMX bike track. This park is like its own recreation center.
4. Zuni and 51st Park
Where: 5050 Zuni St., Denver
The Lowdown: North of the Sunnyside neighborhood nearby Regis University, you’ll find Zuni and 51st park — the park we know you definitely haven’t been to. Google Maps doesn’t even have a description or real address for it. If you want to appreciate Denver from a distance, the hill in this quiet neighborhood park has the perfect bench to sit on and look at the skyline. Better hurry before someone else steals the spot.
5. George M. Wallace Park
Where: 4700 DTC Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: In terms of landscaping, the George M. Wallace Park near the Denver Tech Center might be the most lovely on our list. Named in memoriam of the Tech Center’s founder, Wallace Park is picturesque rolling hills, trees and sidewalks that stretch alongside the tall business buildings. The park also has constructed obstacles and hurdles that runners can use to make sure they’re toning those muscles. You must make the drive south for this one.
6. Alamo Placita Park
Where: 300 N. Emerson St., Denver
The Lowdown: It used to be called “Little Place of the Cottonwoods” for the trees that grew naturally here, but now the small garden sanctuary — now named for the Alamo Placita neighborhood — is home to even more plants and flowers. If you drive on Speer, you most often miss it, but this little piece of heaven is the ideal place to catch your breath and drown out the traffic when you need a break.
7. Ruby Hill Park
Where: 1505 W. Jewell Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: This hilly park south of downtown is so fun locals use it for skiing and snowboarding. During the winter, the park features obstacles to practice all your shredding tricks and in the warmer months, visitors can play on the playgrounds or use the baseball diamonds and mountain bike park. There are even sweet views of the skyline.
8. Babi Yar Memorial Park
Where: 10451 E. Yale Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: This 27-acre park in the shape of the Star of David is actually a living Holocaust memorial. With an amphitheater, grove, ravine and two inscribed black granite monoliths that pave the entrance, this park was designed to commemorate those who lost their lives at the 1941 through 1943 Nazi massacre of Jewish peojhple and others in Kiev, Ukraine. As a place for reflection and remembrance, the Babi Yar Memorial Park is a great spot to find peace and quiet.
9. Great Lawn Park
Where: 101 Yosemite St., Denver
The Lowdown: In the Lowry neighborhood bordering Aurora, the Great Lawn Park is only a short drive east of the city and definitely worth checking out. Public green space is everywhere you look and you will even see mountains without any trees to block your view. With baseball diamonds, a creek, playgrounds, and a cool sundial monument, Great Lawn Park might be your new favorite spot.
10. Huston Lake Park
Where: 850 S. Bryant St., Denver
The Lowdown: With lots of shady places to relax and a lake to fish in, Huston Lake is the tranquil oasis you won’t find in the downtown hustle and bustle. Featuring a paved trail and beautiful views of the Front Range, this secret park is definitely worth escaping to.
11. Grant Frontier Park
Where: 2300 S. Platte River Dr., Denver
The Lowdown: Bicyclists rejoice. There is a park just for you along the South Platte River Trail. This hidden park just south of Evans Avenue and South Huron Street offers the calming sounds of the rushing South Platte River, a scenic walking bridge, playgrounds and beautiful paths for walking or riding. Grant Frontier Park is a favorite on our list.
12. Ketring Park
Where: 6000 S. Gallup St., Littleton
The Lowdown: If you enjoy running around the lake in Wash Park but are tired of crowds, Ketring Park has you covered. Featuring a small lake with a 0.92-mile loop path, this scenic park hidden within quiet neighborhoods of Littleton is ready for your workout or relaxation. Ketring might be the most tranquil on our list.
13. Belmar Park
Where: 801 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood
The Lowdown: If you love trees, Belmar Park has places to hide. With hiking and biking paths, stone sculptures and playgrounds, Belmar Park offers the same picturesque scenery as Cheesman or City Park, but is more nature-centric. A trip to this crown jewel in Lakewood promises views of wildlife and some much-deserved peace and quiet.
14. Inspiration Point Park
Where: 4901 Sheridan Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: This secret park definitely earns its name. Not all parks in the city offer views of the Rockies, but Inspiration Point Park near Arvada does. The park features a gorgeous bluff lookout that oversees the Clear Creek Valley and makes for a nice walk and refuge from your daily stress. This one should be at the top of your list (it’s on ours for one of best places to see the sunset).
15. Centennial Center Park
Where: 13050 E. Peakview Ave., Centennial
The Lowdown: This park is fun for the whole family. As playground heaven for the little ones and the young at heart, Centennial Center Park always has something exciting going on. With its very own water playground, nature area and amphitheater that hosts concerts and shows, this secret park is the ideal weekend afternoon retreat.
16. Central Park
Where: 8801 MLK Jr. Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: With a Dr. Seuss-inspired playground, this family-fun park in Stapleton is the secret park parents should know about. Bouncy purple mounds, whimsical trees and tubes to climb through are fun for all ages. As the third largest park in Denver, Central Park is an astounding 80 acres — and has everything — picnic/grill areas, a pond, sport fields and drop-dead gorgeous scenery of the Front Range.
17. James A. Bible Park
Where: 6802 E. Yale Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: This large green space near Cherry Creek State Park often goes unnoticed, but is a great place to play or relax. Jogging trails, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and a playground with a sandbox are some of the many highlights of James A. Bible Park, but the best part is really the space all to yourself.
18. Redstone Park
Where: 3280 Redstone Park Circle, Littleton
The Lowdown: Catch a fish or play a pick-up game at Redstone Park, Highland Ranch’s favorite park. With baseball diamonds, a skate park, an amphitheater, a playground with a wooden castle and moat, a fishing pond and much more, Redstone has everything and then some. Our favorite spot in the gazebo, the highest point in the park where you can score mountain views.
19. Ralston-Central Park
Where: 5850 Garrison St., Arvada
The Lowdown: If you don’t want to drive to Centennial Center Park and live in the north, check out Ralston-Central Park — the year-old park that has playgrounds galore. With a splash pad (water playground) and picnic pavilion, this secret park is fun for the whole family and makes for an exciting day when you want to enjoy the sunnier weather.