To reach Denver we drove north from New Mexico spending a night en route in Colorado Springs. We didn’t have any time to explore as we arrived late in the evening but I did manage to enjoy my first local Colorado brew at Red Leg Brewing Company.
In addition to my first beer, I may also have had my
Here was our route driving north from Taos…
(This was October 2015 for those that have lost track!)
Not knowing much about the city of Denver we decided to split our time between two different neighborhoods.
Noelle and Drew hosted us in for the first 3 nights in this leafy suburb…
Mike and Allison hosted us for the next 5 nights in this other leafy suburb…
Along with Leo who insisted on a traditional Inuit greeting…
What to do
Colorado is a great destination for outdoor activities and there are lots of places in and around the Denver area for hiking, climbing, eating, biking etc. We made a few day trips especially for that purpose. More about that later.
We generally like to orientate ourselves in a new city by taking a walking tour and this time was no different. We booked the Denver Free Walking Tour and while it did not hit the same heights as Boston or Washington, it was still worthwhile to learn local history and meet some fellow travelers.
This guy left his keys and badge at home and his computer was about to go into hibernation. How embearrassing!
Many of historical buildings have been turned into restaurants and bars…
The Union Station is one of Denver’s most historic landmarks. While it is still an active transit station (Amtrak stops here en route to Chicago from SF), the majority of the site hosts the Crawford Hotel and various boutique shops and restaurants. It’s the nicest (and cleanest) train station I’ve ever seen. Sorry Bolivia!
It is also located just a few blocks from Coors Field…
Turns out it was his co-star (Idina Menzel) performing the lead role instead. Major disappointment on my part to say the least!
Where to Eat
Root Down is a popular brunch spot housed inside a renovated repair shop and we were lucky to squeeze in here on a Saturday morning without a reservation. We were also lucky to ‘squeeze out’ after all the tasty food we had…
Avanti Food & Beverage
This Avanti has great views of downtown especially from the outdoor patio. It’s located in a very cool building that is a collective space for seven different restaurants housed in modified shipping containers.
Mad Greens is a salad bar chain found in many states across the South West and is a reasonable option when you want to convince yourself that you are eating healthy.
Stella’s Gourmet Coffee & Such
While exploring another one of the leafy suburban neighborhoods we came across an arts festival and ended up at a packed Stella’s to rehydrate and dare I say watch Liverpool FC on WiFi.
High Point Creamery
A High Point of our mission to find good desserts. The ice-cream was so good that we made two visits…
Lots of deliberation…
Quick change of clothes…
Day Trip: Manitou Springs
Manitou Springs is a 75 minute drive from Denver and very close to Colorado Springs. We spent most of our time hiking at the nearby Garden of the Gods and then stopped for a late lunch at the Sahara Cafe.
The Penny Arcade has lots of video games including old electronic and mechanical slots where you can play for as little as a nickel. Brought me back to my childhood days playing Atari, Commodore, Amiga, Nintendo, GameBoy, Sega Mega Drive and Playstation…obviously a very spoiled child!
Garden of the Gods
Admission to both the Garden of the Gods park and visitor center (museum) is free thanks to the stipulation of the original landowner who conveyed the land to the city in 1909 on the basis that “it shall remain free to the public”. Not to be missed – check out the 10,000+ five star reviews.
The Visitor Center rocks!
Day Trip: Boulder City
The drive to Boulder takes less than 45 minutes so long as you avoid the morning and evening commute hours. We made a couple of trips here for hikes in Chautauqua Park and to explore downtown.
The Chautauqua Park is located on the edge of town and has many hiking trails leading to the Flatirons rising above Boulder. It’s a very popular hiking and climbing destination with locals all year round.
Alpine Modern Cafe
The Alpine Modern Cafe is located just down the street from the Chautauqua Park parking lot and is a good spot to grab a bite post hike or do some ‘working from home’ as seemed to be the case with almost every customer.
There’s quite a large pedestrian area downtown and the streets are lined with trees which makes for a pleasant walk.
Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery
There are so many eateries to choose from but we were happy to find the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery to unwind after a day of hiking in the mountains.
Fior di Latte
“We promise to never serve you gelato that wasn’t made today”. I had no idea that was a ‘thing’…
With Utah being our next stop before Las Vegas we headed west, stopping for a light refreshment at the Four Seasons resort in Vail.
Later that evening we settled in for the night at the Four Seasons’ sister property in Grand Junction…