Advertisements

Denver for a Day: Hot Spots to Explore

Denver, Colorado is a wonderful place.

Despite living in Colorado, the capital city was a bit of a mystery to me. I grew up taking weekend trips to Denver (about a 4-hour drive from my hometown), but I didn’t really get to know the area until I went to college. Then, it all changed. Especially when I lived right-smack in the middle of downtown.

For my first year of official adulthood, I lived right off campus. Specifically, next to a light rail, train station, and Mile High Stadium. And then for the next three years, I lived in the Lakewood suburb, luckily getting to know many places and experiences that contribute to Denver’s greatness.

Now, my husband and I live about three hours away and make trips to Denver fairly often. My brother’s family lives there, as well as most of our friends and the best airport in the state. When we visit, though, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how much is available for us to do. It’s nice to have a plan of attack, and a list of ideas ready to go.

Places to Explore in Denver, CO

Union Station

Union-StationUnion Station is a grand summary of Denver: it’s fun, fast-paced, and full of quirks. Though the train/light rail/bus station operates outside, the main event takes place indoors with a slew of restaurants, an open-concept bar, and a hotel. It’s busy, with lots of eye-catching details. Be sure to explore the nearby food and drink options, and stop for ice cream.

Breweries

17992199_10212565215428247_8920707470517583798_nMaybe you’ve heard: Denver is packed to the brim with breweries. Seriously; there are so many to choose from. I highly suggest perusing Groupon for deals in Denver—my husband and I discovered several flights of beers for two for under $15, which is a heck of a deal.

Some of my favorite breweries are the Tivoli, Crooked Stave, Cerebral, and Barrels & Bottles.

And if you’re not so into beer, fear not. Other options, like cideries, wineries, and distilleries, also exist. There are lots of craft drink creators in Denver, and it just takes a little bit of searching to find one that’s perfect for you.

Tattered Cover Bookstore

Verve-Mar-30-imageAs far as Denver institutions go, the Tattered Cover is longstanding. This bookstore, which is one of the largest independently owned in the country, has a few locations and is a special reminder of the power of reading. It’s easy to get lost in the aisles, to cozy up in the seats, and to chat with the friendliest staff imaginable.

Also, keep in mind: there are always events and book signings if containing half a million books (combined between the different Denver locations) isn’t enough to bring you in.

Red Rocks

IMG_6538
Avett Brothers show at Red Rocks

Though a bit of a drive, Red Rocks Amphitheater is an amazing place to visit. The red-stone concert venue has a reputation for putting on incredible shows (rain or shine) with gorgeous views and intense acoustics.

Also, you can drive there yourself and explore the area, even if there aren’t any shows. Yoga classes, church, and movies are constant public activities throughout the warmer months. At the very least, it can be fun to jog up and down the steps on your own time or check out any surrounding hikes and hints of Red Rocks history.

Large Attractions

In addition to more subtle local gems, Denver also has several large attractions that top all the Google searches and Trip Adviser lists. These include:

  • Denver Botanic Garden. Lots of fun and beauty, all year round!
  • A professional sports game. You can go watch the Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche, or Rapids. All are super fun experiences.
  • Museums. There are many museums to choose between, from art to history.
  • Denver Zoo. The zoo is perfect for families, date days, and small children. They also do Zoo lights around the holidays, which is a fun Christmas-y outing.
  • The Aquarium. Similar to the zoo, the Denver Aquarium has lots of creatures and is ideal for families.

Restaurants/Coffee Shops/Bars

Thanks to ease of access and a ton of variety, I’ve eaten and drunk my way through much of Denver. Here’s a short list of some places to check out.

  • Pete’s University Cafe (breakfast diner)
  • Amethyst Coffee
  • Casa Bonita (for the experience, not necessarily for the food)
  • The Art Hotel rooftop bar
  • D Bar
  • OneUp
  • La Loma
  • Kaos Pizza

Thanks to its epic diversity and accessibility to wonderful attractions, the Mile High City is great for exploration and fun, around every corner.

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “Denver for a Day: Hot Spots to Explore

  1. I love this! I live on the east coast and have long had Denver on my domestic travel list, but somehow keep passing it up. In this day and age where bookstores are practically extinct, Tattered Cover itself sounds like a special treat. Reading your post has me inspired a Denver trip is worth prioritizing. I’ve pinned and save this one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hope that you are able to make it to Denver! I especially like that while you can easily spend days exploring the local gems (like Tattered Cover, or small shops and attractions), you can also dedicate a day to driving west and getting the mountain experience, even just an hour away. A lot of easily accessible diversity. Thank you so much for reading and sharing !

  2. I love this! I live on the east coast and have long had Denver on my domestic travel list, but somehow keep passing it up. In this day and age where bookstores are practically extinct, Tattered Cover itself sounds like a special treat. Reading your post has me inspired a Denver trip is worth prioritizing. I’ve pinned and save this one. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I loved the bookstore picture! I’ve been to Denver before, but haven’t seen everything you listed. Hoping to visit soon this year. Thank you for sharing 😊

  4. We are planning a trip there in a few months to visit friends. I’ll have to check out a couple of these places that I haven’t been to. I really love bookstores so I’m pretty excited to check out The Tattered Cover Bookstore. Thanks.

  5. I loved this, thank you! It painted a picture of Denver I didn’t expect and came kind of a mysterious time because I’ve been growing curious about the area it’s lifestyle and beauty. Thatnks for sharing your piece of it!

  6. I need to go to the Tattered bookstore. I’ve been to Denver only once but I was attending s conference and only had a few hours to explore. Reading this post makes me want to drag the hubby away for a long weekend!

  7. Oooh, I’ve been to Denver once and it was an interesting place. It is neat to see how different cities are structured. The bookstore looks really neat! I know my boyfriend would love that. Thanks for sharing some of these recommendations!! Glad you had fun!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    1. It’s a really fun city! It’s large enough that there’s lots to do, but not so big of a place that it’s overwhelming. Lots of hidden gems and locally owned goodies, like bookstores or really random coffee shops and bars. Thank you so much for reading!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: