Starting in 1868 with Cheesman Park, Denver has established close to 20,000 acres of parks, open spaces, mountain parkland, and recreation areas. Over 5,000 of those acres reside within the City and County of Denver. From historic parks with a rich cultural history to open spaces featuring modern sculpture collections and outdoor recreation, these scattered gems are waiting for you to explore.
Surrounded by private residences on three sides, Cheesman Park is one of the oldest in Denver. The original land area, with the northwestern corner near 13th Avenue and Humboldt Street, included where the Denver Botanical Gardens and Congress Park are located today. Besides enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings and walking paths, the park also boasts a recently restored pavilion and water fountains known as a photo shoot hot spot.
To the north, off of 17th Avenue between York Street and Colorado Boulevard, lay the largest and also one of the older parks in Denver, City Park. Within its limits resides not only the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, but also two lakes, Ferril and Duck. While strollers, bikers, and joggers enjoy the trails, pelicans, ducks, and geese are regular visitors as well. Paths throughout the park lead to features such as the Martin Luther King Memorial, a boathouse pavilion, the City Statue, a large playground, and picnic tables. Paddle boating on Ferril Lake, free summer concerts and enjoying the newly renovated LED-lit Prismatic Fountain round out this family-friendly space.
Heading south to Virginia Avenue and Downing Street is where Washington Park can be found. This neighborhood park, popular with tourists and locals alike, includes Grasmere Lake, Lily Pond, and Smith Lake, which has a bathing beach. Well-maintained flower gardens and natural open spaces flow throughout the area. Known for its community-centric outdoor culture, the Washington Park Recreation Center, ten tennis courts, and a lawn bowling green all can be found here. Teaming with activity, volleyball and soccer are also played often in the large meadow between the two lakes.
Ruby Hill and Overland Pond Parks
Heading southwest from Washington Park at Santa Fe Drive and Florida Avenue lay these two parks divided by the South Platte River and Overland Gulf Course. South Platte River Trail, excellent for biking, walking, and jogging, follows the length of the river well past the boundaries of the parks. While Overland Pond Park has an abundance of water, trails, mini golf, and a picnic area, Ruby Hill Park’s larger size provides quite a bit of outdoor recreational area as well. During the warmer months, areas such as the community garden, Levitt Pavilion amphitheater, and the hilltop bike park come alive. In winter, the numerous hills have their turn providing a great place to sled.
Something for Everyone
With over 250 parks and open spaces in Denver, these are just a few of the more well-known parks in Denver. Numerous neighborhood and urban open spaces dot the city such as outdoor culture parks like Sculpture Park, which features inspirational works of art and Babi Yar Memorial Park’s Holocaust commemorative Grove of Remembrance.
For those looking for a workout, Melvin F. Silverman Park features splash pads, basketball courts, and a fitness zone, while family-friendly Mestizo-Curtis Park offers a public pool, courts, paths, and playground. Denver’s parks and open spaces offer something for everyone