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The place to Eat, Keep, and Play

At 5,280 ft above sea degree, the Mile Excessive Metropolis provides tradition, historical past, galleries, nice eating places, and brewpubs. A weekend in Denver is the proper solution to pattern what town has to supply. Denver is called the Napa Valley of craft beer, the place consuming and consuming 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 many years in the past, and I’ve known as it house ever since. It’s enjoyable for me to brag in regards to the Mile-Excessive Metropolis and its eateries, brewpubs, neighborhoods, and practically every-day sunshine. I need guests to like my metropolis as a lot as I do.

So, order an IPA and prepare to smile.

weekend in denver

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 also can enhance the results of alcohol. One Wynkoop Railyard Ale can equal two at sea degree. Denver eating apparel is informal, and denims are acceptable in any respect however the best eating places. Neighborhoods like RiNo, Cherry Creek, and Lowry are simple 10-15 minute drives or Uber from downtown.

Go to Denver is the perfect useful resource for extra info.

Map of My Beneficial 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 all the pieces is downtown. As an alternative, I prefer 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 prepare station might not sound rousing, however Denver’s “lounge” is an exception. The open-air, historic centerpiece of Denver provides the perfect in people-watching, eating, consuming, and lodging. Union Station underwent a significant transformation and renovation in 2012 and opened to tremendous critiques in 2014.

Examine into Union Station’s Crawford Lodge with rooms which might be small however well-appointed. Then discover the station, with outlets to browse together with a small model of Denver’s well-known Tattered Cowl Guide Retailer, the place they sometimes provide pleased hour and encourage buyers to deliver 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 common 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 really like to sit down in a big wood sales space with a traditional bacon burger and a craft beer on the Terminal Bar. You’ll additionally discover one other favourite, Stoic and Real. Chances are you’ll not even discover the octopus graphic on the partitions, since you’ll be digging into the Thai inexperienced curry mussels or lobster roll. Curious in regards to the identify? The 2 homeowners described their personalities in a phrase, and Stoic and Real had 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 pal Donna and I joined this husband/spouse firm on a tour of a few of Denver’s most fascinating eateries in 2019.

At the same time as 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 individual. He initially owned a scorching 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 checklist of kudos for Biker Jim’s contains being voted the perfect Colorado scorching canine, by Individuals journal.

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

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

Uncover the place to seek out the perfect patios in Denver – go to Arvada

Afternoon tradition – Books and Artwork

Photo of Free Shuttle Ride in downtown Denver
RTD’s free mall journey 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 via Civic Middle Park to 14th Avenue. Denver Artwork Museum is on Bannock. The newly reworked 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 reworked Kids’s Library and famend Western Historical past & Family tree Division that draws 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 providers are nonetheless obtainable. The museum and library anchor the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

Night – RiNo and Rhino Artwork

Your weekend in Denver simply acquired 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 avenue and little parking. In addition to, you will have had an alcoholic beverage this afternoon, and you’ll get pleasure from 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 prime ten neighborhoods to go to within the U.S. Or try this Denver strolling tour that features each avenue artwork AND beer stops!

Dine at Safta, positioned within the Supply Lodge 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 constructed from 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 – Try the Close by Neighborhoods

Most Denver itineraries don’t transcend the downtown and RiNo space, however as a neighborhood, I wish 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 Inexpensive 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 trendy design and prime location is a neighborhood favourite

Sign that reads Cherry Cricket
The signal on the Cricket might 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 Buying Center, certainly one of Denver’s prime vacationer locations, which brings in some sixteen million guests a yr. With Neiman Marcus, Luis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue, and dozens upon dozens of retailers and eating places, you’ll discover no drawback spending time-–and cash—right here.

Afternoon – Pedal 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 gentle day. Guides take riders on the wonderful bike path system in Denver. Wheel Enjoyable Leases has nice cruisers to hire for the complete household in the event you choose to do a tour by yourself. They provide info for a superb self-guided tour that takes you from their location at Metropolis Park via 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 certainly one of my favourite locations, Copper Door Espresso Roasters. Proprietor Hanna Ulbrich, grasp espresso roaster, is aware of her caffeine and is keen 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 pal Donna and I began going to the Officers Membership mid-pandemic. It turned habit-forming, and now, yow will discover us on the “membership” about as soon as every week. Right here, you may get the perfect gin and tonic of your life. Merely known 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 Medication,” (rum, pineapple, and orange juice served in a tiki glass). The “O Membership” additionally makes a superb Previous Usual and has a year-round, flower-filled patio. The Common’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. As we speak, 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, traditional 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 traditional burger. For the reason that pandemic, the road is blocked to automotive visitors, so you possibly can watch the parade of individuals strolling by carrying all the pieces from night robes and stilettos to denims and cowboy boots.

Bistro Vendόme is like your individual 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 right down to pie heaven. Right here, you possibly can order a slice of home made 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. Happily, you possibly can enjoyment of a chunk 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 extraordinary manner. You simply must go to see for your self.

Denver Middle for Performing Arts (DCPA) brings Broadway to Denver. Except you wish to see Hamilton or The Lion King, tickets are simple to come back by. The DCPA additionally provides smaller, however wonderful exhibits akin to “Rattlesnake Kate.” 

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

For those who’re on the town in January, the Nationwide Western Inventory Present, billed as the perfect 16 days in January, is the place to see rodeo at its best. The Grand Champion steer takes middle stage within the foyer of the Brown Palace, the identical place the place friends collect for prime tea.

The place to Keep in your Weekend in Denver

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

If you wish to spend the evening in Cherry Creek North, Lodge Clio is the place. A part of the posh assortment of Marriott, Lodge Clio is within the location previously occupied by JW Marriott. Even the air smells beautiful within the lodge, and the service is impeccable. Company might take part a cheerful hour day-after-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 allure. Ship Tavern serves their well-known prime rib, or you possibly can “take tea” within the lodge’s beautiful atrium foyer the place friends sip correctly steeped Earl Gray in a Bone China teacup and nibble dainty sandwiches and scones with Devonshire cream.

Denver Brown Palace
Brown Palace

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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 keen about their craft and what they do. This husband-and-wife crew excels at not solely the product however making friends really feel welcome. Deviation doesn’t serve meals, however friends can deliver their very own.  Pizza, a charcuterie tray, or a burger and bag of chips are all high quality.

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 traditional pub grub, together with burgers, fish and chips, and shepherd’s pie.

Try the Ottsworld favourite Distinctive Issues to Do in Denver – this isn’t the conventional checklist you see in every single place else!

Denver RINO street art

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 checklist! 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 instances every week in the summertime months. When temps are scorching, the road stretches out the door.

Servers dish out big scoops of home made deliciousness. For a nostalgic really feel, sit in one of many cubicles. Magill’s celebrated 40 years of enterprise in 2021, and it appears like they haven’t finished a lot if any, reworking since they opened. The plenty 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. An excellent pal and I consider Cuba Cuba as our place and meet right here a number of instances 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 will 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 journey 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—mentioned it was the perfect 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 Examine Out

The Greatest Time to Go to Denver for a Weekend Getaway

Denver Capital Building
State Capitol

Regardless that winter sports activities entice throngs of holiday makers to Colorado, my favourite months in Denver are the hotter months, when eating exterior is wonderful and evenings are lengthy. Temperatures are usually gentle between April and October, though we will most undoubtedly get chilly and snow. If there may be snowfall, it normally disappears by the next day.

Learn 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 the easiest way to get the texture of a spot anyway. When you should Uber or Lyft to a vacation spot, you received’t have any points, except it’s a day when the Denver Broncos play. Then, you might need some competitors. Attending to Union Station from Denver Worldwide Airport acquired simpler as soon as the Denver Airport Rail opened in 2016. The A-Line connects vacationers from DIA to its ultimate cease at Union Station in about 40 minutes. An Uber or Lyft takes about the identical period of time, however the prepare is cheaper and extra enjoyable.

Denver Guidebooks for Even Extra Info

Try 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 e-book will steer you in the correct path. 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. Writer Sink is just not solely a neighborhood however an knowledgeable hiker and author. This e-book will lead you to scenic overlooks, well-loved hikes, and unknown trails.

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

The place to Go Past Denver

In fact, you wish to get out and discover these lovely Rocky Mountains surrounding Denver! Remember to 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 barely 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 might shock at present’s guests. Nature supplies most of the enticements that lured explorers way back and captivate guests at present.

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

Uncover 8 the reason why you should get to know West Arvada, Colorado

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

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

Summer time in Vail

Vail village
Vail Village

June via August are wonderful months to go to Vail Village, which appears like a copy of a captivating 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.

Examine 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, massive home windows, and better of all, an expert driver.

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

piney lake vail canoe rental
Piney River Ranch

Go to Vail Summer time for extra details about Vail.

Sherry Spitsnaugle writer

Meet the Writer: Sherry Spitsnaugle has lived in Denver for 3 many years and is the creator of 4 editions of Fast Escapes Denver, 25 Weekend Getaways in and across the Mile-Excessive Metropolis. Sherry is a guidebook creator, 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. As we speak, she continues to satisfy her journey bug tendencies, exploring and writing about her experiences.
Instagram: sherryspitsnaugle



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