Exploring Denver’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood
What to do around Capitol Hill: According to others, as told by me. This post was created in collaboration with Ember Hostel Denver.
The super trendy Ember Hostel is situated right in the heart of Capitol Hill, and as the densest neighborhood in Denver, there’s just about always something to do.
I had the opportunity to stay at Ember last month to check out some of the must-see spots around Capitol Hill - all of which are within walking distance of the hostel! So whether you’re into food, art, or are just looking to explore the area, we’ve got you covered.
For the Artsy Type:
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Ave - 15 min walk
Gorgeous both inside and out, the Denver Art Museum is one of the largest art museums between the west coast and Chicago. It’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts visiting the Denver area, and with a cool $10 admission for students ($13 otherwise), you can’t go wrong.
Capitol Hill Books
300 E Colfax Ave - 10-15 min walk
Capitol Hill Books is the cutest local business with the most random assortment of books you’ll probably ever find under one roof. And that’s the beauty of it. Stop in to browse their hodgepodge of genres and pick up a postcard or two to send to your family back home.
Pro tip: Walk all the way to the back left corner of the shop to find their clearance section of $1 books! You might just discover your new favorite book. You never know!
Public Murals & Street Art Around the City
While the RiNo Art District is the most widely known spot for public art in Denver, the entire city is filled with colorful murals and graffiti at what seems like just about every corner. Checking out the public art scene in the Capitol Hill neighborhood is a fun (and free!) way to explore the city and snap some cute pictures that are sure to get you ALL the likes on Instagram.
Not that I don’t recommend also checking out the RiNo Art District - they have awesome murals, too. I’d honestly just be careful going there if you’re a solo traveler. Maybe it was just the time that I went, but it honestly was a bit sketchy of a neighborhood for my taste.
For the History Buff:
Colorado State Capitol Building
200 E Colfax Ave - 15 min walk
If you don’t do anything else in the Capitol Hill neighborhood during your time in the city, definitely visit the Colorado State Capitol Building to check out the famous “Mile High Steps.” The 15th step up from the ground is exactly one mile above sea level (hence Denver’s nickname “The Mile High City”), and if you walk up the steps facing the Lincoln Street entrance of the building, you’ll be able to see an engraving marking the official altitude once you get there. As long as it’s not too snowy.
History Colorado Center
1200 N Broadway - 15 min walk
With rotating exhibits and special events of all kinds, there’s always something going on at the Colorado History Center. Kick around for a few hours or spend the entire day learning about some of the history and culture that shaped the state of Colorado into what it is today. It’s also only $10 for students ($14 regularly)!
For the Foodie
(or literally anyone that’s tryna eat)
601 E Colfax Ave - 15 min walk
Tom’s Diner is a super chill, hole in the wall type of diner that gives off major retro-y vibes. They’re cheap (we’re talking an entire breakfast spread for $8), and they’re open 24 hours a day for all of your early morning breakfast or late night drunk food needs. Be sure to try the “crunchy” french toast that’s coated in a mixture of cornflakes and a hint of cinnamon!
523 E 17th Ave - 20 min walk or 5 min drive
Featured on Food Network’s popular show Diners, Drive In’s & Dives, Steuban’s serves up local favorites in a converted auto garage, including delicious sandwiches, lobster rolls and boozy milkshakes.
For the Tourist:
Mile High Green Cross Dispensary
852 N Broadway - 5 min walk (or less!)
If you visited Colorado but didn’t go to a dispensary, did you really go to Colorado? Especially if you’re not from the area, be sure to take full advantage of the 420-friendly laws here. Just be sure to enjoy responsibly!
16th Street Mall
Free Mall Ride from Civic Center Station
While the 16th Street Mall isn’t technically in the capitol hill neighborhood, it’s very easily accessible via the Free Mall Ride that runs every few minutes from Civic Center Station, which is just across the street from the Capitol building (and a 15-ish minute walk from the hostel). Hop on and off as you please while you cruise down 16th street and enjoy all of the touristy shopping, restaurants, bars, and attractions.
After you’re done exploring all that Capitol Hill has to offer, head back to the hostel to hang out in their 12-person hot tub, roast s’mores by the fire, and meet some awesome fellow travelers.