Although suburban sprawl pushes the metro area’s boundaries ever further, Central Denver has grown into an impressively efficient use of limited space, exemplified by the proximity of hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs to the city’s most engaging dining, cultural attractions, and nightlife. Denver’s most desirable lodging options are quintessential to the urban Colorado experience, overlaying big city ambiance on top of classic mountain town hospitality. Here are some of the best accommodation options for visitors looking to fully interact with everything the Mile High City has to offer.

Hotels

Photo: ART hotel

The ART — Built as an architectural anchor to Capitol Hill’s arts and museum district, the ART towers over the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum. It is one of the most unique hotels in the city, housing modern art galleries and individual works of art on each floor. From here you can walk to the South Broadway nightlife and commercial district and a number of restaurants and museums. When you’re ready to relax, you can soak in the views of the Rocky Mountains and downtown Denver from your elevated room.

Warwick Hotel — The Warwick Hotel is right in the heart of Uptown, one of Denver’s trendiest neighborhoods, and within walking distance from downtown. It’s also a quick cab or Uber ride from the restaurants and pubs of Colfax Avenue and LoDo, landing you right in the heart of the action. The hotel is the perfect escape from the bustling area with a rooftop pool and quiet rooms.

Photo: The Crawford Hotel/Facebook

The Crawford Hotel — You won’t need to carry your bags far to stay at The Crawford Hotel. The hotel is upstairs at Union Station, the bustling transportation hub in the center of the city, and serviced directly by the A-Line train from Denver International Airport. In the station – which also serves as the hotel’s lobby – you can sip a cocktail or local craft beer over shuffleboard. Also on site, enjoy one of Denver’s best seafood menus at Stoic & Genuine, the new-American flare at Mercantile Dining and Provision, and several markets and cafes.

Luxury Hotels


The Brown Palace — The Brown Palace is what comes to mind when US presidents, movie stars, and others of famous persuasions think of Denver. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has stayed here. The place has been a staple of downtown’s upscale lodging and dining since 1892. The hotel’s Champagne Brunch is an experience in itself, complete with a buffet that puts Vegas hotels to shame, and its Ship Tavern is perhaps the finest place in Colorado to enjoy happy hour. There isn’t a more presidential experience to be had anywhere in the city.

Hotel Teatro — Hotel Teatro is located just off the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and welcomes the stars of the stage and their fans with unparalleled cultural luxury. It claims to be Denver’s original boutique hotel and back this up through one-of-a-kind curated experiences, anchored by fine dining (and excellent cocktails) at The Nickel, specialty coffee at The Study, and direct access to shopping and dining at Larimer Square just around the corner. The light rail is right outside and will get you anywhere in the area, though there’s no better place to be than right here on downtown’s west end.

Hotel Monaco — Hotel Monaco occupies a 1917 Railway Exchange building one block removed from the 16th St. Mall in the thick of downtown, an easy walk or cab ride to the breweries of LoDo, fine dining on Larimer Square, and cozy pubs on Colfax Ave. Onsite is Panzano, a Northern Italian restaurant which stands among Denver’s most celebrated destination dining experiences. The eye-popping rooms are color coordinated to the extent of a Wes Anderson film – think drapes matching light fixtures and wall art reflecting the plant atop the corner table – with views overlooking the city center below.

Hostels

Hostel Fish — This is Denver’s “premium” hipster hostel, built by backpackers and home to a laid-back, anything-goes vibe. Hostel Fish has an onsite bar but keeps the rooms – both dorms and private – separate for quiet’s sake. It might be pricey as far as hostels go, but you’re right in the heart of the LoDo neighborhood and have dozens of breweries within a short walk. Bright works of art line the walls, and the place has an undeniably well-put-together vibe. If you prefer a night in, open mic happens on Saturday nights, and with a building full of travelers, you’re bound to find someone willing to loan you a guitar.

Mile High Guest House — For straight-up budget lodging, you won’t find a better option than Mile High Guest House. Expect shared accommodations and basic but clean amenities in a big, old, converted house. If you want privacy, there are private rooms for a bit more per night. Be prepared to mingle, and if you’re keen to hit the town, the staff organizes pub crawls and outings and hosts regular BBQs and dinners in the common area and backyard. If you’re a single traveler or new to town, it’s a great place to meet people and get help navigating the city.

Photo: 11th Avenue Hostel/Facebook

11th Ave Hostel — For a slight upgrade, head to the 11th Ave Hotel and Hostel. Here you’ll find shared lodging and private rooms fashioned in a more modern manner. The staff also hosts events and makes it easy for you to get out and see the sights of Denver, many of which are within eyesight. The beds are decent and bathrooms are shared but kept clean, but the real kicker is the location. The hostel is located just off Broadway south of downtown, within walking distance of nightlife, all kinds of dining, public transit, and just up the block from the Denver Art Museum.

Airbnbs

If having a kitchen and sprawling out on the couch is your thing, Airbnb might be the best option for you in Denver. Stay in or near LoDo, RiNo, or Capitol Hill if dining, craft beer, and nightlife are your priority. Further south, the Washington Park and Baker neighborhoods put you close to cultural attractions and offer a more homey vibe. These listings are Airbnb-plus verified and are comfortable enough that you might find yourself tempted to just chill out and relax.

Photo: Airbnb

Historic Carriage House in Denver’s Oldest Neighborhood — Denver is a city defined by a culturally diverse collection of neighborhoods, and this entire home puts you smack in the center of the historic Five Points neighborhood. The interior is both intentionally rustic and charming, and the place can hold three guests and has one private bedroom, dining area, and a nice living room. The real perk, though, is the immaculate kitchen complete with stainless steel appliances and ample prep room. You might just have to swing by a nearby farmer’s market and enjoy one of those true rarities of urban travel: a home-cooked meal.

Photo: Airbnb

Rococo Romance — Capitol Hill is Denver’s liveliest and most centrally located neighborhood. You’ll be right in the thick of it in this remodeled apartment that sleeps five in an old mansion. This home is ideal for satisfying your foodie urges as the restaurant scene in the area is strong. You’ll often find many of the city’s best food trucks lined up across from the state capitol building at Civic Center Park.

Photo: Airbnb

The Whittier Wonder — Denver’s downtown core is just outside your door at this private three bedroom home in Whittier, just outside of RiNo and LoDo. City Park, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science are a quick bike ride, walk, or cab away, and the backyard is ideal for relaxing over a drink while taking in the sunset over the mountains.