If Kuta is the center of the resort area in Bali, then Denpasar is the center of local business. Home to almost 800,000 people, Denpasar is a bustling and energetic hive of activity. Streams of cars and bikes can cause traffic delays, but on a good day you should be able to travel to Denpasar from Kuta or Seminyak in around 20 to 30 minutes.
Streets are lined with local warungs, mobile phone shops and large department stores, while the local markets offer an insight into traditional way of life. There's not much reason to actually stay in Denpasar given the other resort areas in Bali, but it's a great day trip to get to know the real Bali.
Denpasar is where most of the local people go to shop and you can do the same at one of the many large department stores. Shopping here however isn't of the trendy and sophisticated kind; you'd best head to Seminyak or Kuta if that's what you're after. What Denpasar lacks in style it makes up for in tradition and it's here where you'll find some of the best batik and fabric shops on the island.
Pasar Badung is Bali's largest food market, where locals come to buy fresh produce and all important temple offerings. Fruits, spices, fish and flowers - it's all for sale at negotiable prices. For hand crafts, art and wooden statues, take a walk over to Pasar Kumbasari, opposite Pasar Badung. This is a great local market to buy souvenirs and gifts to take back home, as well as to hone your bargaining skills. The best shops for fabrics are along either side of Jl. Sulaweisi, within walking distance from the other two markets.
If you're looking for electronic goods such as cameras and laptops head to Remo, a tech mall containing 50 or 60 stalls selling mobile phones, computers, printers and spare PC parts. This is also the best place to buy camera and laptop batteries and chargers if you happen to leave yours at home.
Denpasar is located far from any type of beach activity; it's a thriving city with a growing number of businesses and government offices.
There may not be enough to keep you interested for a full day (unless you enjoy browsing local markets for hours), so a half-day trip or a stopover on the way back from Ubud could be a good option.
You can learn more about Balinese culture at the Bali Museum, shop with the local kids at one of the large department stores and try all types of Indonesian food at Renon Square.
Denpasar offers few bars or nightclubs for tourists, but the cafés and warungs that line the boulevards are usually open until very late and it's here where most of the local people come to hang out at night. Taxis are infrequent in many areas so it's recommended to go by car or bike (or else charter a driver) to avoid being stuck in Denpasar late at night.
Spas for tourists in Denpasar are nothing special compared to the spas available in the resort areas of Bali. Locals may use smaller salons and spas however security and hygiene is not always of a great standard.
It is unlikely that visiting tourists will stay Denpasar given the ridiculous choice of accommodation offered in other areas located closer to the beach. There are a number of budget hotels that cater for domestic tourists from Jakarta, but don't expect too much in the way of resort-style services and facilities.