Looking for the best parks in Denver? The city of Denver is home to many amazing parks. From parks with beautiful ponds and small rivers to Denver parks with amazing playgrounds. To help you pick out the best parks in Denver for a leisurely stroll, a picnic or your kid’s playdate – here are the best parks in Denver Colorado!
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Best Parks in Denver: Confluence Park Denver
Confluence Park is located where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River meet. At the border of Lower Downtown, it’s one among Denver’s most urban parks. It is one of the best parks in Denver for those who want to sit in the water or in the shade.
Confluence Park is one of the best parks for those who want to sit by the river. It is also great for those who want to do some water sports such as kayaking. Older kids can choose to go tubing at Confluence Park Denver.
Confluence Park Denver is also accessible through a cycle lane, and it is a great park for runners. In summer you can take your 10-year-olds here to play in the water. You can ask friends to meet you at Confluence Park Denver for a nice cocktail, glass of wine, or a picnic by the water.
Confluence Park is also known for its amazing street art in the area and is often included in Denver art tours.
Best Denver Parks: Sloan’s Park ( with Sloan's Leak)
This 290-acre park, located just west of downtown Denver, is the city’s second largest park. Despite the fact that the lake this park was named after takes up 177 acres of the land there is lots to do in Sloan’s Park.
The area was little more than native prairie and a dirt road connecting Denver and Golden in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1866, homesteader Thomas Sloan purchased the land and began preparing it for cultivation.
Sloan built a well for irrigation and tapped into an aquifer accidently. Within days, his farm had been flooded by a massive lake known as “Sloan’s Leak.”
After Sloan’s death in 1874, the region was developed for entertainment. Here you could visit the Manhattan Beach amusement park on the northwest shore. The park was a popular destination with a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, and a theater. The park sadly burned down in 1908.
The new Luna Park was operational until 1914. After 1914 it was forced to close due to competition from the nearby Lakeside Amusement Park.
Now Sloan’s Park is a popular destination for picnickers, families and kids looking for respite from the hot Denver summer sun. It is also a romantic destination for couples looking at the gorgeous rocky mountains and Denver skyline. Sloan Park is one of the best parks in Denver for a romantic walk.
Sloan’s park is great for walks, water sports and bird watching.
Paco Sanchez Park – Best Playgrounds in Denver
Paco Sanchez Park has amazing sports facilities. The park boasts one of the best playgrounds in Denver.
The play area is a massive microphone-inspired tower. The playground is dedicated to local radio DJ Paco Sanchez. Aside from the vibrant colors and bold presence, it’s the inventive usage of musical references that does the heavy lifting in terms of generating dynamic play. Footholds consist of notes and scales. Netted climbing activities are sound waves. As the children run across the bridge, chimes will ring.
The park also houses an amazing basketball court and a skate park for kids that are a bit older.
Paco Sanchez Park is one of the best parks to go with kids.
Best Parks in Denver: Washington Park Denver
Take a respite from the bustling downtown of Denver in Washington Park. Locals refer to Washington Park in Denver as Wash Park.
Washington Park in Denver has a beautiful landscape. Washington Park is very family-friendly and has a Rockwellian atmosphere.
This Denver Park has two lakes and two flower gardens. You can find tree-line paths and fields of verdant grass in this Denver Park. It is also a favourite fitness spot for locals. Here, people from Denver walk their dog or go running or biking. In de lake you can go paddle boarding or boating. Sometimes in summer and spring you can even take Yoga classes in this Denver Park.
It’s no surprise that it’s voted Denver’s favorite park on a regular basis. South Pearl Street is nearby. This street is home to galleries, wine and cocktail bars. Here you will find specialty shops, boutique and high-end retail stores. From Washington Park you can walk to some of Denver’s best local restaurants. Visit Old South Gaylord for a taste of the local cuisine, art, and boutiques.
This is one of the best parks in Denver for a nice and calm walk.
Best Parks in Denver – Berkeley Lake Park
This 83-acre rectangular park in lies in northwest Denver. The park surrounds the 34-acre Berkeley Lake. It offers spectacular vistas of the Rocky Mountains.
John Walker settled the area in 1879. He used the lake to irrigate alfalfa fields. Later he created a race track encircling the lake, as well as a resort and dance hall.
The site was purchased by the city in 1906. This Denver park was included in George Kessler’s plan for the Denver Park and Parkway System a year later.
On the north shore of the lake, Denver’s first public golf course was established by 1910. On the south shore you will find a boat dock, pavilion, lawns, and tree groves.
The following year they decided to add two cobblestone comfort stations. By 1918 they completed a Moorish-style bathhouse, an Italianate Pumphouse and a branch of the Denver Public Library.
Landscape architect John McCrary designed the park’s north section between the lake and the golf course in the 1920s. S.R. DeBoer renovated the park’s roads in 1927. This was to cut commuter traffic, as well to add a lily pond and more flowers.
Throughout the park you can see mature cedar, pine, oak, and birch trees. There are also open lawns and meadows. A row of elm trees flanks the park’s south boundary. Cottonwood trees can be found along the lakefront to provide shade.
In the 1970s, a recreational complex was erected on the park’s southwest corner. Interstate 70 was built directly north of the lake, cutting the park in half.
Now the park is home to many birds and squirrels. It is a very pleasant park to run or to have a little picnic on one of the many picnic benches next to the water. Berkeley park is dog-friendly. In the weekends there are many sports clubs for kids that come here to train or exercise!
This is one of the best parks in Denver to have a walk with your dog.
Observatory Park Denver
The Chamberlin Observatory is a beautiful 19th century observatory in the city of Denver. It is one of the best City Parks in Denver due to its gorgeous tall trees and the observatory. The observatory is to this day still in use. The observatory itself features a 1894 Alvan Clark-Saegmuller 20-inch refracting telescope. It is still used for events by the University of Denver.
The park itself is lush with greenery and offers locals and tourists alike some respite from the hot summer sun in Denver.
Observatory park lies in one of the more affluent parts of town, close to the University of Denver. This is not only one of the best parks in Denver, but also the perfect place for a picnic!
Best Parks in Denver: Denver Central Park
Simply said, Central Park is a fun-filled 80 acres. Sledding, RC boats, team sports, and a fantastic Dr. Seuss-inspired playground draw visitors from all over Denver. If Denver’s 80238 has a hallmark park, it is Central Park. This park inspired the community’s new name. It embodies the broad array of experiences accessible here. It’s only the beginning of what you’ll discover while visiting the several Denver parks in the area.
In winter you can take your kids to Denver Central Park as there is a large sledging hill. As one of the best playgrounds in Denver you can expect a large playground with climbing boulders and in summer even a play fountain.
The older kids might be a bit too old for playgrounds in Denver and so they will have fun at the small lake for RC boating or the Bocce ball courts.
For the adults there are athletic fields and jogging or biking paths. There is also an amphitheatre and covered picnic and party areas. Adults can also use the barbecue areas or reserve one of the many indoor facilities.
Denver Central Park is one of the best parks in Denver for locals as they can use the barbecues and there are lots of great things to do with kids.
Best Parks in Denver: Denver city park
City Park is Denver’s largest city park, covering 330 acres. Water recreation is available at Ferril and Duck Lakes. You can find paddleboat rentals at the boathouse. There are many flat grassy fields, making it an ideal location for almost any activity.
The Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science are both located in Denver City Park. The park hosts a free weekly concert series as well as various events during the summer. On most nights, the area is also used by recreational leagues. Dog owners can visit Josephine Gardens Dog Park. This Denver Dog Park is located close to City Park at 16th and Josephine.
Denver Parks: Alamo Placita Park
The historic Alamo Placita Park is located in the center of the Alamo Placita neighborhood. It is often referred to as Denver’s most floral and gorgeous park. The name pays homage to the many cottonwood trees that once thrived in this area. Alamo Placita literally means Little Place of the Cottonwoods. In Alamo Placita Park and the surrounding area, a few of the old trees can still be found.
The park’s original gardens, planned by DeBoer – one of the most famous city planners in Denver in the early 20th century, are still in place today. Each spring, colorful flowers are planted in beautiful patterns. A basketball court, playground, open space, and picnic spaces are all available at the park. Many APNA events, such as the Cottonwood Festival and the APNA Annual Park Spruce Up Event, take place at the park.
This is one of the best parks in Denver for those who like flowers.
Baba Yar Park Denver
Lawrence Halprin and Satoru Nishita built this 27-acre memorial park in 1982. The park was built to honor the victims of the 1941-1943 Nazi slaughter of Ukrainian Jews and others in Kiev.
The memorial is designed around a central Star of David-shaped pathway. There are three unique architectural features: an amphitheater, a grove, and a ravine.
The park is accessed by a short passageway between two rough-hewn black granite monoliths with etched carvings.
A route ascends a cottonwood and willow-lined berm before dropping into People’s Place. This is a bowl-shaped amphitheater with a circular platform in the center.
The Grove of Remembrance is made up of 100 linden trees placed in a grid to commemorate the 200,000 people who died at Babi Yar. Water pours from an unevenly formed black granite disc in the grove’s middle.
A ravine stretches along the western side of the property. It evokes the place where victims were buried in Kiev. It is bridged by a narrow bridge with towering, black wooden walls reminiscent of the Nazi train cars used to carry prisoners. Granite monoliths, polished to extremely reflective surfaces, flank each end of the bridge. Native grasses, yucca, and prickly pear are planted along the site’s margins to create a prairie.
Mundus Bishop refurbished the park in 2011, adding prairie restoration, new walls, gravel paving, and curbs. Stone terraces were built to People’s Place and the Grove of Remembrance at this time, and a sculptural element was erected in the pavillion’s northern corner.
This is one of the best parks in Denver for those who want to remember the Holocaust.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!