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Where to Eat, Stay, and Play

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At 5,280 ft above sea stage, the Mile Excessive Metropolis provides tradition, historical past, galleries, nice eating places, and brewpubs. A weekend in Denver is the right method to pattern what the town has to supply. Denver is called the Napa Valley of craft beer, the place consuming and ingesting rank up there with biking and mountain climbing.

With a backdrop of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Denver labored its magic on me greater than three a long time in the past, and I’ve referred to as it house ever since. It’s enjoyable for me to brag concerning the Mile-Excessive Metropolis and its eateries, brewpubs, neighborhoods, and almost every-day sunshine. I need guests to like my metropolis as a lot as I do.

So, order an IPA and prepare to smile.

Where to Eat, Stay, and Play 68

Nuts and Bolts for Your Weekend in Denver

The skinny air within the Mile Excessive Metropolis could make guests really feel light-headed. Bear in mind to hydrate. The altitude may improve the results of alcohol. One Wynkoop Railyard Ale can equal two at sea stage. Denver eating apparel is informal, and denims are acceptable in any respect however the most interesting eating places. Neighborhoods like RiNo, Cherry Creek, and Lowry are straightforward 10-15 minute drives or Uber from downtown.

Go to Denver is the most effective useful resource for extra data.

Map of My Really useful Weekend in Denver Spots

To make your time in Denver simpler, right here’s a map you should use to get round with my favourite spots listed. You’ll see that not every thing is downtown. As a substitute, I wish to encourage guests to department out and transcend the conventional stops in downtown Denver. In any case, that’s how the locals do it!

Day One In Denver – Downtown is The place it’s At

Morning – Location, location, location

Begin your weekend in Denver at Union Station, at 17th and Wynkoop Streets. Exploring a practice station could not sound rousing, however Denver’s “front room” is an exception. The open-air, historic centerpiece of Denver provides the most effective in people-watching, eating, ingesting, and lodging. Union Station underwent a significant transformation and renovation in 2012 and opened to tremendous critiques in 2014.

Test into Union Station’s Crawford Resort with rooms which might be small however well-appointed. Then discover the station, with retailers to browse together with a small model of Denver’s well-known Tattered Cowl Ebook Retailer, the place they often supply pleased hour and encourage buyers to convey a cocktail into the shop and get a reduction on books. In the course of the holidays, a 40-foot tree with some 7,000 lights fills the atrium of Union Station.

Start your day at both Mercantile or Snooze an A.M. Eatery, each wildly in style in Denver. Snooze has a number of areas in Denver, and there’s a line across the nook for every.

Eating places in Union Station vary from primary to dear. My husband and I like to take a seat in a big wood sales space with a basic bacon burger and a craft beer on the Terminal Bar. You’ll additionally discover one other favourite, Stoic and Real. You might not even discover the octopus graphic on the partitions, since you’ll be digging into the Thai inexperienced curry mussels or lobster roll. Curious concerning the title? The 2 house owners described their personalities in a phrase, and Stoic and Real have been born.

Afternoon – Calling all Foodies

Meals excursions are among the finest methods to get to know and meet different vacationers. Scrumptious Denver Meals Excursions is my favourite. My buddy Donna and I joined this husband/spouse firm on a tour of a few of Denver’s most fascinating eateries in 2019.

Whilst a neighborhood I realized about eating places I hadn’t been to, like Biker Jim’s.

As we walked into Biker Jim’s, onions sizzled in a big skillet within the open-air kitchen, and the place buzzed with individuals laughing, consuming, and speaking motorbikes. And, sure, Jim is an actual particular person. He initially owned a sizzling canine stand on Denver’s sixteenth Road mall and located fame after Anthony Bourdain (RIP) stopped on the stand and devoured a canine on his present No Reservations. The record of kudos for Biker Jim’s consists of being voted the most effective Colorado sizzling canine, by Folks journal.

Our group had a lot enjoyable on the tour that half-hour after the tour ended, we have been nonetheless hanging out and exchanging e mail addresses.

In 2021, Denver Scrumptious Meals Excursions served over 7,000 company, and since 2017, they’ve spent $500,000 at native eating places and bars. Costs run between $69-$100 per particular person and the assembly level is walkable from Union Station. Excursions final three hours. Additionally they have a night cocktails tour, RiNo meals tour, and a Saturday wine stroll. Donna cherished the tour a lot that she purchased present certificates for her household.

Afternoon tradition – Books and Artwork

Photo of Free Shuttle Ride in downtown Denver
RTD’s free mall experience on Denver’s sixteenth Road Mall (Photograph by Sherry Spitsnaugle)

After the meals tour, catch the free 16th Road Mall shuttle to Broadway and stroll two blocks south by Civic Middle Park to 14th Avenue. Denver Artwork Museum is on Bannock. The newly transformed museum opened to the general public in June 2020. With $175 million in renovations, the museum dazzles.

DAM is positioned subsequent to Denver Central Library with its personal newly transformed Youngsters’s Library and famend Western Historical past & Family tree Division that pulls students and historical past buffs from around the globe. The Central Library is present process its personal main renovation so some flooring are closed to the general public; nevertheless, many companies are nonetheless obtainable. The museum and library anchor the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

Night – RiNo and Rhino Artwork

Your weekend in Denver simply received even higher. RiNo (River North) is the vacation spot this night. The very first thing to learn about River North is that to get there, it’s best to bike, Uber, or Lyft. There’s building on seemingly each road and little parking. Moreover, you will have had an alcoholic beverage this afternoon, and you’ll take pleasure in one other with out getting behind the wheel.

River North is Denver’s latest and trendiest group and has all of it: galleries, meals courts, jazz golf equipment, breweries, espresso roasters, wine-makers…and rhinos.

Search for rhino artwork and murals as you stroll the streets of this group that Lonely Planet named one of many high ten neighborhoods to go to within the U.S. Or try this Denver strolling tour that features each road artwork AND beer stops!

Dine at Safta, positioned within the Supply Resort and Market Corridor. Safta serves a mix of Israeli and Mediterranean delicacies. Opened in 2018, Safta’s hummus is a world away from what you will have eaten from a plastic container. Pita bread is comprised of flour bought from a farm in Kansas (you’ll odor the beautiful aroma of wood-fired pita earlier than you arrive). Safta is the phrase for grandmother in Hebrew, and Chef Alon Shaya named the restaurant for his beloved NaNa. There’s even a NaNa martini.

Day two in Denver – Take a look at the Close by Neighborhoods

Most Denver itineraries don’t transcend the downtown and RiNo space, however as a neighborhood, I need to take you additional and discover a few of the hidden gems that solely the locals learn about!

Morning – North Cherry Creek for Excessive-end Retail and an Reasonably priced Burger

You could possibly spend hours or weeks exploring the boutiques, galleries, and high-end shops in Cherry Creek North. Start your day at Aviano with an espresso or chilly brew, pastry, and people-watching. This woman-owned store with its fashionable design and prime location is a neighborhood favourite

Sign that reads Cherry Cricket
The signal on the Cricket could have seen higher days, however this place brims with character. And good beer and burgers (Photograph by Sherry Spitsnaugle)

Lunch is at Cherry Cricket, a vigorous native bar with 20 selections of beer together with Guinness on faucet. The cricket burger and rooster wings are crowd-pleasers. The always-packed Cricket is within the coronary heart of the motion in Cherry Creek North and was voted Greatest Burger in 2021 by 5280 journal readers. If you wish to take it up a notch, there’s additionally North or True Meals, which each have patios subsequent to the sidewalk.

Cross the road from Cherry Creek North to First Avenue and enter Cherry Creek Purchasing Middle, considered one of Denver’s high vacationer locations, which brings in some sixteen million guests a yr. With Neiman Marcus, Luis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue, and dozens upon dozens of outlets and eating places, you’ll discover no drawback spending time-–and cash—right here.

Afternoon – Peddle the Metropolis

Mile Excessive Bike Excursions leads riders on excursions round Denver’s neighborhoods on three-speed cruisers. Teams are ten individuals or fewer and also you’ll bike about 9 miles, so it’s a reasonably delicate day. Guides take riders on the wonderful bike path system in Denver. Wheel Enjoyable Leases has nice cruisers to lease for your entire household in the event you favor to do a tour by yourself. They provide data for a superb self-guided tour that takes you from their location at Metropolis Park by city by way of the Cherry Creek Bike Path.

If bicycling doesn’t sound good, go to REI, an out of doors recreation retailer that’s a vacationer attraction all by itself. The flagship retailer is positioned on the Platte River at Confluence Park, west of downtown. REI has an indoor climbing route designed to resemble Boulder’s Flatirons.

Afternoon – Salute a Gin & Tonic in Former Lowry Airforce Base (simply following orders)

Lowry, a neighborhood a 15-minute drive from downtown Denver, has eating places, a beer backyard, and considered one of my favourite locations, Copper Door Espresso Roasters. Proprietor Hanna Ulbrich, grasp espresso roaster, is aware of her caffeine and is enthusiastic about her product. She even chairs the U.S. Espresso Roasting Committee.

Previously Lowry Airforce Base, the Lowry neighborhood celebrates the historical past of the bottom with locations just like the Officers Membership. My buddy Donna and I began going to the Officers Membership mid-pandemic. It turned habit-forming, and now, you could find us on the “membership” about as soon as per week. Right here, you will get the most effective gin and tonic of your life. Merely referred to as “The Gin,” the efficiency of this sensible concoction is within the ice cubes. Made with top-shelf gin with a contact of lavender, you’ll salute this cocktail.

Officers Club in Lowry
Have a drink on the patio on the Officers Membership within the Lowry neighborhood as a part of your weekend in Denver (Photograph by Sherry Spitsnaugle)

Different cocktails embody the “Flyboy,” (gin, lemon juice, lavender) or “Main’s Drugs,” (rum, pineapple, and orange juice served in a tiki glass). The “O Membership” additionally makes a superb Outdated Customary and has a year-round, flower-filled patio. The Normal’s bacon burger additionally instructions a salute.

Night – Larimer Sq.

Larimer Sq., positioned between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets on Larimer, was as soon as a disreputable and derelict space. Immediately, refurbished brick Victorian buildings, flower baskets, and stylish cafés fill the oldest block in Denver.

Table covered with white linens and holding two cocktails with view of Larimer Street
Capital Grille serves wonderful gin and tonics when you watch individuals stroll by on Larimer Road (Photograph by Sherry Spitsnaugle)

It’s onerous to determine between my two favourite eating places in Larimer Sq.: The Capital Grille and Bistro Vendome.

With wealthy, basic décor and impeccable service, Capital Grille exudes a clubby vibe. Enterprise lunchers energy up on steak or lobster bisque, however my favourite factor to do is sit on the patio on a heat (or chilly, doesn’t matter) night and feast on their basic burger. Because the pandemic, the road is blocked to automotive site visitors, so you possibly can watch the parade of individuals strolling by carrying every thing from night robes and stilettos to denims and cowboy boots.

Bistro Vendόme is like your personal little nook of Paris. Tucked in a nook simply off Larimer Road, the bistro serves quiche with black truffles for brunch, steak tartare, escargot, and salmon grilled with artichokes, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Search for the pink awning. Oui.

For dessert, Wednesday’s Pie is a hidden treasure in Larimer Sq.. Search for stairs that lead all the way down to pie heaven. Right here, you possibly can order a slice of do-it-yourself pie, identical to Grandma made, and savor it on the spot on this little place with a classic really feel and checkered flooring. Why Wednesdays? Initially, the pie place was open solely Wednesdays. Luckily, you possibly can enjoyment of a bit of chocolate peanut butter pie any–or each–day of the week.

Extra Sights on your Denver weekend

Meow Wolf, the four-story immersion artwork exhibition, opened in Denver in September 2021 and has created a enjoyable stir, in its strange approach. You simply must go to see for your self.

Denver Middle for Performing Arts (DCPA) brings Broadway to Denver. Except you need to see Hamilton or The Lion King, tickets are straightforward to return by. The DCPA additionally provides smaller, however wonderful reveals akin to “Rattlesnake Kate.” 

Stanley Market is a former aviation manufacturing unit turned collective with greater than 50 retailers and eating places below one roof. You’ll discover every thing from a cooking faculty to the Denver Biscuit Co. to Candy Cow Ice Cream. Technically, Stanley Market is positioned in Aurora, however it’s only a stone’s throw from Denver.

When you’re on the town in January, the Nationwide Western Inventory Present, billed as the most effective 16 days in January, is the place to see rodeo at its most interesting. The Grand Champion steer takes heart stage within the foyer of the Brown Palace, the identical place the place company collect for prime tea.

The place to Keep in your Weekend in Denver

Lobby of Hotel Clio in Cherry Creek
The foyer of Resort Clio in Cherry Creek North (Photograph by Sherry Spitsnaugle)

If you wish to spend the evening in Cherry Creek North, Resort Clio is the place. A part of the posh assortment of Marriott, Resort Clio is within the location previously occupied by JW Marriott. Even the air smells beautiful within the lodge, and the service is impeccable. Company could take part a cheerful hour each day at 4 p.m., with epicurean themes akin to nice guac with the Chef or Latin wine-tasting.

The historic Brown Palace and Spa, Autograph Assortment, downtown Denver, embraces guests with appeal. Ship Tavern serves their well-known prime rib, or you possibly can “take tea” within the lodge’s beautiful atrium foyer the place company sip correctly steeped Earl Gray in a Bone China teacup and nibble dainty sandwiches and scones with Devonshire cream.

Denver Brown Palace
Brown Palace

Extra Denver Ingesting and Eating Choices

Deviation Distilling is positioned within the non-public alley of Dairy Block. (Enter the alley off of 18th or nineteenth Streets) House owners Cindi and Bob Wiley are enthusiastic about their craft and what they do. This husband-and-wife workforce excels at not solely the product however making company really feel welcome. Deviation doesn’t serve meals, however company can convey their very own.  Pizza, a charcuterie tray, or a burger and bag of chips are all advantageous.

Wynkoop Brewing Firm. This place hops. Former Denver Mayor (and Governor, now Senator) John Hickenlooper based this brewpub in 1988. The Wynkoop brews wonderful beer and serves basic pub grub, together with burgers, fish and chips, and shepherd’s pie.

Take a look at the Ottsworld favourite Distinctive Issues to Do in Denver – this isn’t the conventional record you see in all places else!

Denver RINO street art
Where to Eat, Stay, and Play 85

And now for an actual native hidden gem – Magill’s World of Ice Cream, positioned in a small strip mall in Lakewood, is a 15-minute drive from downtown Denver. You received’t discover this on every other Denver Weekend record! To expertise a store that feels prefer it’s proper out of the Nineteen Fifties, that is it. My sister, niece, and 13-year-old great-niece go to Magill’s about as soon as a month throughout winter and some occasions per week in the summertime months. When temps are sizzling, the road stretches out the door.

Servers dish out big scoops of do-it-yourself deliciousness. For a nostalgic really feel, sit in one of many cubicles. Magill’s celebrated 40 years of enterprise in 2021, and it appears to be like like they haven’t executed a lot if any, reworking since they opened. The lots approve. That features my 13-year-old great-niece who likes to order a scoop of double darkish chocolate fudge crunch and a scoop of rocky highway. My private favourite is 2 scoops: mango sorbet and vanilla bean.

Cuba Cuba Cafe & Bar is a little bit of Havana in Denver and is located in two Caribbean-style houses painted in crayon colours with a steel palm tree close to the doorway. A superb buddy and I consider Cuba Cuba as our place and meet right here a number of occasions a yr to catch up. One sip of the signature mojito, the cocktail that originated in Cuba with rum, lime, sugar, and mint leaves, and I really feel higher already. Cuba Cuba serves plantains and scrumptious black beans and rice. (I don’t understand how a easy dish like black beans and rice could be extraordinary, however it’s.) Add a killer mojito and stir.

photo of restaurant named Cuba Cuba with sign in front for dining option for weekend in Denver
Cuba Cuba serves wonderful rice and beans. And mojitos! (Photograph by Sherry Spitsnaugle)

Shanahan’s Steakhouse in Denver’s Tech Middle is a few 15 to 20-minute drive or experience from downtown Denver however the service and steaks are definitely worth the time and $$. My rancher cousin and his spouse from western Kansas and my husband and I dined at Shanahan’s in January. My cousin—who is aware of a scrumptious, succulent steak—stated it was the most effective he’d ever eaten. Shanahan’s entertains Denver’s movers and shakers, and Mike Shanahan makes the occasional go to.

Extra Denver Day Excursions To Test Out

The Greatest Time to Go to Denver for a Weekend Getaway

Denver Capital Building
State Capitol

Although winter sports activities appeal to throngs of holiday makers to Colorado, my favourite months in Denver are the hotter months, when eating outdoors is superb and evenings are lengthy. Temperatures are typically delicate between April and October, though we are able to most positively get chilly and snow. If there’s snowfall, it often disappears by the next day.

Find out how to Get Round Throughout Your Weekend in Denver

Denver union station
Denver Union Station RTD

Denver is a walkable, bike-friendly metropolis. That’s one of the simplest ways to get the texture of a spot anyway. When you’ll want to Uber or Lyft to a vacation spot, you received’t have any points, until it’s a day when the Denver Broncos play. Then, you might need some competitors. Attending to Union Station from Denver Worldwide Airport received simpler as soon as the Denver Airport Rail opened in 2016. The A-Line connects vacationers from DIA to its remaining cease at Union Station in about 40 minutes. An Uber or Lyft takes about the identical period of time, however the practice is cheaper and extra enjoyable.

Denver Guidebooks for Even Extra Data

Take a look at the next guidebooks for extra details about Denver and the Rocky Mountains. I personally know every of those authors, who’re locals and love Denver like I do. They’ve stellar reputations in addition to good style in IPA. That’s you, Wealthy Grant. Along with his guidebook he co-authors with Irene Rawlings, Grant writes the weblog Strolling and Ingesting Beer. Depend me in.

 100 Issues to Do in Denver Earlier than You Die, by Wealthy Grant and Irene Rawlings. Now in its second version, this ebook will steer you in the proper route. Grant, former director of communications for Go to Denver, is aware of his beer and his metropolis. Rawlings’ credentials embody writing for publications that embody Hemispheres and Nationwide Geographic Traveler and internet hosting an award-winning present on iHeartMedia radio.

60 Hikes inside 60 Miles: Denver and Boulder, together with Fort Collins and Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, by Mindy Sink. Creator Sink isn’t solely a neighborhood however an professional hiker and author. This ebook will lead you to scenic overlooks, well-loved hikes, and unknown trails.

Distinctive Eats and Eateries of Denver, by Chad Chisholm, provides attractive images (Chisholm is a industrial photographer) and enjoyable descriptions. The headline for Saucy Noodle reads, “When you don’t like garlic, go house!”

The place to Go Past Denver

In fact, you need to get out and discover these stunning Rocky Mountains surrounding Denver! You should definitely try the Ottsworld 7 Day Journeys from Denver – these will take you deep into the mountains and again!

Denver Blue Bear

Pikes Peak Grandeur

Colorado Springs is simply an hour’s drive south of Denver on I-25 and isn’t your grandfather’s Colorado Springs. Brewpubs, eating places, and a powerful panorama could shock at this time’s guests. Nature supplies most of the enticements that lured explorers way back and captivate guests at this time.

Zipline over Seven Falls with Broadmoor Outfitters, experience horseback or Segway by Backyard of the Gods or discover caves at Cave of the Winds with Adventures Out West. As a child, I skilled all these sights after I traveled with my mother and father and siblings from our house in western Kansas to “the Springs,” however by no means by way of horse, zipline or Segway.

Test into the elegant, AAA 5-diamond Broadmoor or the centrally positioned Wyndham property (with a spa!) Mining Trade. One other enjoyable choice is Kinship Touchdown, which has a custom-made discovery desk with maps to plan your journey weekend in addition to stunning hand-crafted wooden furnishings. The Broadmoor’s Fly-Fishing Camp blends world-class fly-fishing with luxurious and wilderness. Right here, company fish for rainbow trout with an professional information.

Go to Pikes Peak Area for extra details about Colorado Springs.

Summer season in Vail

Vail village
Vail Village

June by August are superb months to go to Vail Village, which appears like a replica of an enthralling ski city in Bavaria. Mountainside chalets and enormous wood clock spires, with the occasional glitterati sighting, make up this city 100 miles west of Denver.

Test into the JW Marriott, positioned within the coronary heart of Vail Village, and discover the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, or attend the Vail Worldwide Dance Pageant or Bravo! Vail Music Pageant, within the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre, positioned subsequent to Gore Creek. Attending to Vail from Denver is simple on Bustang, a roomy coach with restrooms, giant home windows, and better of all, knowledgeable driver.

Be sure you spend a day in Vail’s hidden secret – Piney River Ranch!

piney lake vail canoe rental
Piney River Ranch

Go to Vail Summer season for extra details about Vail.

Sherry Spitsnaugle writer

Meet the Creator: Sherry Spitsnaugle has lived in Denver for 3 a long time and is the writer of 4 editions of Fast Escapes Denver, 25 Weekend Getaways in and across the Mile-Excessive Metropolis. Sherry is a guidebook writer, journey author, spouse and canine mother, first expressed her urge to discover at age 4 when she packed up her little pink wagon and took off for an journey— across the block. Immediately, she continues to satisfy her journey bug tendencies, exploring and writing about her experiences.
Instagram: sherryspitsnaugle

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