They say nothing is free and it seems nowadays that nothing is cheap either. Cities especially get a bad rap for being over-priced and Denver has more than enough to keep you busy. But next time you leave the house take a deep breath because there’s plenty to do around the city that won’t break the bank. Here’s our guide to a day in Denver that will run you less than $25.
For starters, if you don’t already have one, get an RTD pass. A day pass costs just over $5.00 but is well worth the investment.
Running Total: $5.20
8 a.m. – Sam’s No. 3
Where: 1500 Curtis St., Denver
The Lowdown: Originally started in the 1920s by Sam Armatas, Sam’s No. 3 is now a local favorite — voted best in Denver — run by Sam’s three grandsons. There are three locations throughout the Denver area but head to the spot where Sam’s first opened 90 years ago on Curtis Street. The diner is busiest mid-morning — around 10 a.m. Get there early so you don’t have to wait and so you can order off the early bird menu. The #4 comes with two eggs, homefries and toast for only $3.33.
Running Total: $8.53
10 a.m. – Art District on Santa Fe
Where: 910 Santa Fe Dr. #6, Denver
The Lowdown: From Sam’s take a stroll south along the Cherry Creek Trail. Walk through Sunken Gardens Park to 9th street and head toward Santa Fe Drive. The blocks between 10th and 6th make up the Art District on Santa Fe. There are plenty of shops to window-shop, but first, coffee. It’s hard to find a coffee for under $2 anymore. It can be done though and mmm…COFFEE! has you covered with drip coffees starting at just $1.50. Now that you have your coffee you can sip while meandering through the shops in the district.
Running Total: $10.03
12 p.m. – Torchy’s Tacos
Where: 1085 N. Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: It’s a 20-minute walk from the Art District to Torchy’s Tacos on Broadway. What started as a dream and a food truck grew into a “Damn Good” taco empire. With names like “Alabama Shakes,” “Tipsy Chick” and “The Democrat” these tacos are almost guaranteed to start a party in your mouth. The real treat though are prices that start at $2.25.
Running Total: $12.28
1 p.m. – Dikeou Collection
Where: 1615 California St. #515, Denver
The Lowdown: It’s a 10-minute RTD ride on the 52 or the 0 or a 20-minute walk from Torchy’s to the 16th Street Mall. Continue your appreciation of the arts with a walk through the free Dikeou Collection on California. The contemporary gallery has exhibited the work of Japanese artist Momoyo Torimitsu and Brooklyn-based Lizzie Bougatsos among many others. If contemporary art isn’t for you find a spot to people watch on the busy street.
Running Total: $12.28
Pro tip: If you are out and about on the first Saturday of the month, the MCA Denver has penny admission for Colorado residents whereas the Denver Art Museum is completely free.
2:30 p.m. – Little Man Ice Cream
Where: 2620 16th St., Denver
The Lowdown: Take a bus from 16th Street to Little Man Ice Cream. Bus 28B, 32 and 44 all pick up at 15th and Stout. Ride to either 15th and Central or 15th and Boulder depending on the bus. Little Man Ice Cream is all about creating an experience for their customers and it all starts with the 14,000 pound, 28-foot tall cream can the shop is located in. There are over 40 flavors on offer plus seasonal flavors, including pumpkin chai and chocolate candy cane. Best of all, cones start at just $1.35.
Running Total: $13.63
3 p.m. – Rockies Game
Where: 2001 Blake St., Denver
The Lowdown: Everyone loves to root for their local team, especially when they’re having a good year. Did you know you can catch a game from the Rockpile for as little as $4? After making the difficult decision of which ice cream flavor to choose hop on the RTD — take the 44 from 16th and Boulder or the 52 from Osage and 20th — and take your cone over to Coors Field for an afternoon with the Rockies.
Running Total: $17.63
6 p.m. – GB Fish and Chips
Where: 5325 E. Colfax, Denver
The Lowdown: After the game hop back on the RTD. From 17th and Market ride the 15 east to Colfax and Glencoe. It’s a two-minute walk to GB Fish and Chips – a gateway to British pub life. Here you’ll find bangers and mash, pork pies, pasties and of course fish and chips. There are excellent specials nearly every day of the week. On Tilapia Tuesdays pay only $1 per piece of the fish. If you go during happy hour drink a PBR for an unheard of $0.75.
Running Total: $19.38
7 p.m. – City Park
Where: 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver
The Lowdown: It’s a 20-minute walk — perfect to walk off dinner — from GB to City Park. On Sundays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the park hosts free jazz concerts. Take a seat on the grass while the sweet sounds of jazz sooth your ears and the sunsets below the horizon. This isn’t a stop you’ll want to miss as the sunset from City Park is among the best views the city has to offer.
Check some more of the best sunrise and sunset views the city has to offer!
Running Total: $19.38
9 p.m. – Elvis Cinemas
Where: 7400 E Hampden Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: You’ve watched the sunset. You’ve eaten ice cream and chippies. You’ve seen the sights and toured the city. Ride the RTD one last time to Elvis Cinemas. At Colorado and 17th take the 40 toward Southmoor via Colorado. At the Southmoor Station Gate D ride the 105 toward Central Park to the 7600 block of Hampden Avenue. Most of the films to choose from are no longer new but it’s ok when tickets are only $4. If you sign up for the newsletter beforehand you can also get a free popcorn with your movie. What better way to wind down the day than a cheap movie?
Final Total: $23.38