updated 6/12/2006 12:04:17 PM ET 2006-06-12T16:04:17

The anchor of Denver's performing arts scene, an important part of this increasingly sophisticated city, is the 4-square-block Denver Performing Arts Complex, located downtown just a few blocks from major hotels. The complex houses nine theaters, a concert hall, and what may be the nation's first symphony hall in the round. It is home to the Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet, Opera Colorado, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (an umbrella organization for resident and touring theater companies).

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Denver has some 30 theaters, more than 100 cinemas, and dozens of concert halls, nightclubs, discos, and bars. Clubs offer country-and-western music, jazz, rock, and comedy.

Current entertainment listings appear in special Friday-morning sections of the two daily newspapers, the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. Westword, a weekly newspaper distributed free throughout the city every Wednesday, has perhaps the best listings: It focuses on the arts, entertainment, and local politics.

You can get tickets for nearly all major entertainment and sporting events from Ticketville USA, 101 W. 84th Ave., Denver, CO 80260 (tel. 303/430-1100; www.ticketvilleusa.com), which offers delivery to hotels. Also try Ticketmaster (tel. 303/830-TIXS), which has several outlets in the Denver area.

The Bar Scene--The first permanent structure on the site of modern Denver was supposedly a saloon, and the city has built on that tradition ever since. Today, there are sports bars, dance bars, lots of brewpubs, outdoor cafe bars, English pubs, Old West saloons, city-overlook bars, Art Deco bars, gay bars, and a few bars we don't want to discuss here.

Appropriately, the newest Denver "in" spot for barhopping is also the oldest part of the city -- LoDo -- which has been renovated and upgraded, and now attracts all the smart Generation-Xers and other young professionals. Its trendy nightspots are often noisy and crowded, but if you're looking for action, this is where you'll find it.

Glendale, an enclave surrounded by southeastern Denver where Colorado Boulevard crosses Cherry Creek, is another well-established hangout for Denver's party set. In recent years, however, as Glendale has become the Denver area's nexus for topless bars, the other bars have suffered.

Other popular "strips" are along North and South Broadway, and along East and West Colfax Avenue. For those who prefer caffeine to alcohol, there are also a number of good coffee bars throughout downtown Denver, as well as the Capitol Hill and uptown neighborhoods.

Whether or not you drink beer, it can be fun to look behind the scenes and see how beer is made. Denver's first modern microbrewery, the Wynkoop Brewing Co., 1634 18th St., at Wynkoop Street (tel. 303/297-2700), offers tours every Saturday between 1 and 5pm. Housed in the renovated 1898 J. S. Brown Mercantile Building across from Union Station, the Wynkoop is also a popular restaurant. At least 10 beers are always on tap, including a few exotic recipes -- the spicy chile beer is our favorite. If you can't decide which one to try, the "taster set" provides a nice sampling: nine 4-ounce glasses of different brews. For non-beer drinkers, the Wynkoop offers some of the best root beer in town. On the second floor is a top-notch pool hall with billiards, snooker, and darts.

Since it opened in 1991, Rock Bottom Brewery, 1001 16th St. (tel. 303/534-7616), has been one of the leading brewpubs in the area. Tours, which are given upon request, offer great views of the brewing process, plus a sampling of the product. The Rock Bottom also has eight billiard tables and a good menu, starting at $8.

Breckenridge Brewery, 471 Kalamath St. (tel. 303/623-BREW), a mile south of downtown, also lets you see the brewing process. Free brewery tours are given by appointment. In addition to its award-winning ales, the brewery serves traditional pub fare. Breckenridge also has a downtown tasting room at 2220 Blake St., across from Coors Field (tel. 303/297-3644).

In Cherry Creek, Bull & Bush Pub & Brewery, 4700 Cherry Creek Dr. S. (tel. 303/759-0333), produces about ten handcrafted ales and will give tours of its facilities upon request. Northwest of Denver, the Cheshire Cat, 7803 Ralston Rd., Arvada (tel. 303/431-9000), is an authentic English pub in a historic building (1891) that offers tours on request.

Those who are really serious about visiting Colorado's microbreweries should consider an organized tour with Actually Quite Nice Brew Tours (tel. 303/431-1440). Participants sample the beers at Denver- and Boulder-area microbreweries on lunch and dinner tours that last 4 to 5 hours. Full-day excursions visit breweries in Breckenridge and other mountain towns, or the Front Range cities of Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. Prices range from $50 to $75, and include beer samples and lunch or dinner. Custom tours are also available.

For a look at the other side of the coin, take a trip to nearby Golden for a look at Coors, the world's largest single-site brewery.

For a complete listing of what to see and do in Denver, visit the online attractions index at Frommers.com.

Frommer’s is America’s bestselling travel guide series. Visit Frommers.com to find great deals, get information on over 3,500 destinations, and book your trip. © 2006 Wiley Publishing, Inc. Republication or redistribution of Frommer's content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Wiley.

Photos: High times in Denver

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  1. Fronting the Front Range

    Denver lies at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is a commercial hub for the Mountain States. Its elevation is officially 5,280 feet. (Stan Obert / Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A full Platte

    Park goers watch from the banks of the Platte River at Denver's Confluence Park as a couple of kayakers make their way through the white water. Denver has more than 200 parks, rivers and trail areas, public golf courses and recreation centers. (Ed Andrieski / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Cleaning up town

    Phoebe and Joel Mackler are dwarfed by the size of a sculpture of a broom and dustpan at the Denver Art Museum in downtown Denver. Admission to the art musem is free on the first Saturday of every month. (Ed Andrieski / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Peak-a-boo!

    The sun breaks through the clouds to highlight the summit of Pikes Peak as seen from the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Ed Andrieski / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Dome of the Rockies

    The Colorado State Capitol Building is located downtown at the east end of Civic Center Park. The 15th step on the west side of the building is exactly 1 mile above sea level. (Stan Obert / Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Red Rocks and rock concerts

    Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a 9,000-seat arena that has been carved out of the local sandstone rock formations. Located 12 miles west of Denver, the venue has hosted everyone from the Beatles to top symphony orchestras. (Ron Ruhoff / Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Downtown shopping

    Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall has nearly 50 shops and restaurants. Located downtown near the Colorado Convention Center, the lively shopping center hosts a number of concerts and festivals. (Stan Obert / Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. High ball

    Coors Field, the home of Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies, has 50,000 seats, most with great views of Denver and the mountains. (Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Belles of the mountains

    The Maroon Bells, a range of snowcapped peaks near Aspen, is one of the most photographed spots in Colorado. (Stan Obert / Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The cowboy way

    Paul Stewart founded the Black American West Museum, which tells the story of African-American cowboys. (David Falconer / Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. It's the water

    The Downtown Aquarium immerses visitors on two journeys, one from the Continental Divide in Colorado to Mexico's Sea of Cortez, the other from an Indonesian rain forest to the Pacific Ocean. (Randy Brown / Denver Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
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