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Ok, Mom does not need a kitchen appliance, a coffee mug that says “World’s Greatest Mom” or an apron. Make her feel as special as she is this Mother’s Day with a thoughtful and inventive date idea (partnered with your lovely gift) that comes straight from the heart. Mother’s Day in Denver is a bit different from other places. Why? Because there is SO much to do and see, and you have the entire Rocky Mountain foothills and their gorgeous lakes and streams to explore or use as a backdrop! In fact, you have many options for fun dates with Mom and the rest of the fam in Denver this year. From the botanical garden to the hundreds of natural parks and hiking trails, from brunches and dinners to spa dates, you have your options cut out for you this year for the big Day of Mom. Keep reading for some great Mothers Day ideas in Denver. And whatever one you pick, or even if you do something not on this list, don’t forget the Mothers Day flowers!

1. Denver Botanic Garden

Denver Botanic Gardens is a non-profit organization that strives to delight members and visitors, and entertain, too! Over 50 years after inception, it is one of the most stunning sites in America, partnered by a backdrop that includes the beautiful Rocky Mountains, clear flowing streams and brooks, blue skies, and bright sunshine on over 300 days a year. There are revolutionary education programs, legendary nature tours, innovative conservation and research programs, and a massive amount of amazing gardening resources for you, including information on high-altitude gardening (which is similar to high-altitude cooking and baking!). They even offer a Rocky Mountain Gardening Certification program – wow! Mom would love to stroll through here, learning and observing and snapping photos! Bring the whole family to the gardens for a day you won’t soon forget. Call ahead to see if there are admission specials or discount meals like brunches or teas: (720) 865-3500.

2. Mothers Day Brunch

Your mom spent many years flipping flapjacks for you – or at least, pouring cereal and milk in a bowl. Return the favor by taking mom out to brunch for Mother’s Day. From French fare at Le Central to nouveau Mexican at Lola, Denver’s diverse restaurants offer many choices to make mom happy. Check out those and The Washington Park Grille, Dazzle and The Tavern Lowry.

3. Shopping for Mom

Treat Mom to a full-fledged shopping spree. Think of it as payback for all that shopping she did for you back when you were a tyke. In Denver, your shopping options are near-endless – but a good place to start might be the sprawling Cherry Creek Shopping District. Mom can take her pick from familiar brand-name stores like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Coach at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, or the hundreds of unique, locally-owned boutiques, spas and galleries across the street at Cherry Creek North. You might also want to browse the shops in the Highlands neighborhood, where there are a number of great ones – not to mention several restaurants and cafes that will do nicely for a Mother’s Day lunch.

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4. Afternoon Tea at Browne Palace

Why not let Mom relax in style at the Brown Palace’s Traditional Afternoon Tea? While you sit in this historic hotel’s legendary atrium lobby, you’ll be served scones, tea pastries and tea sandwiches, all artfully prepared by the hotel’s culinary staff each day. You’ll enjoy the soothing sounds of a harp or pianist playing classical, jazz and pop standards. Take note – this is a popular Mother’s Day pastime, and space is limited, so call ahead beforehand. And if you’re in the mood for an early cocktail, stop in at the Brown’s lively pub, the Ship Tavern. Call 303.297.3111.

5. Museums for Mom

Head to one of Denver’s many world-class museums – there’s one to suit every mom’s taste. For art-lovers, you can’t go wrong with the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver or the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. History buffs love the Colorado History Museum, where the story of the Centennial State is told, and the Black American West Museum, which features fascinating exhibits on African Americans who helped develop the American West. Other museums to consider include the Museo de Las Américas, which boasts an unparalleled collection of Latin American art and the Molly Brown House Museum, which pays tribute to its “unsinkable” namesake.

6. A Day at Estes Park, Nature Hike & More!

Head to Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Just a shot north of Denver, you can hike around the famous area with the family. Enjoy the fresh air and fine surroundings, like the thousands of trees, beautiful streams, clear lakes, and rocky expanses. After your hike through the foothills, wander over to the world famous Stanley Hotel and have an afternoon tea! Or take a drive into town for some trinket shopping and refreshments! The Town of Estes Park is in a high mountain valley, 7,522 feet above sea level, readily accessible by good roads year round and surrounded by snowcapped peaks ranging from 8,500 to more than 14,000 feet high. This delightful mountain village welcomes visitors of all ages with downtown gardens and grassy picnic parks, playgrounds, aspen groves, beds of wildflowers and riverwalks. Victorian lights and sidewalk benches add an old-fashioned note to the array of charming shops and restaurants.

7. Mothers Day Dinner in Denver

If you are looking for something a little fancier than every day dinning, it is not too early to make reservations for a Mother’s Day dinner out. In fact if you don’t do so soon, you’ll be waiting in line for a walk-in table (if they even have any) – which isn’t pretty on Mother’s Day! Call ahead for reservations at one of these famous Denver haunts, perfect for a Mothers Day dinner with the family: The Inverness Hotel (special activities for Mothers Day included for the tykes), Denver Chophouse, Ya Ya’s, and The Fort.