TBOT Denver Do's!
Arguably, some of the best hiking trails and ski slopes are in the Rocky Mountains. If you love the great outdoors, Denver is an idyllic place to vacation all year round. One of the pioneering cities of the Old West Era, Colorado’s capital was home to such historical figures as Buffalo Bill and the unsinkable Molly Brown who famously survived the Titanic. Given all the exciting activities the wedding party had pre-scheduled for their guests, my partner and I were limited in our ability to explore the full scope of Denver’s numerous attractions. However, with all the museums, city parks, local markets, breweries and gift shops scattered throughout, we kept ourselves pretty busy without ever climbing a mountain or jumping on a ski lift. The fact that we stayed at the centrally located Art Hotel in downtown Denver made it easy for us to make the most of our time. Besides the hotel, here are some TBOT Denver recommendations.
Union Station of Denver
Who doesn’t love a great farmer’s market? Fresh organic fruits and vegetables, bountiful bouquets of flowers, artisanal home goods, small batches of honey, chocolate, coffee, nuts and kombucha—it’s all there and all locally produced. On Saturday mornings Union Station hosts their own farmer’s market in their plaza with a plethora of vendor booths.
If you don’t find anything on the plaza that tickles your fancy, head inside to the newly renovated Great Hall. This breathtaking 100-year-old train station with its art-deco stained glass and bronze pendants and wall sconces epitomize historical elegance. People congregate in the center of the station to have drinks, eat food from the surrounding restaurants and read books from Denver’s preeminent bookseller Tattered Cover Book Store. One can even stay at the luxury boutique hotel located inside the station called The Crawford.
The Stanley Marketplace is located in a little neighboring town called Aurora just 20 minutes outside of Denver. This open-aired warehouse started as a beer hall and quickly became the most talked about food and retail destination in the city. They’ve got over 50 independently owned Colorado businesses in one spot and they also have an event space called The Hangar. You can spend all day shopping and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with drinks in between!
RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
Denver has a fantastic music scene and one of the most iconic places to enjoy listening to a concert is at their outdoor amphitheatre Red Rocks. Since 1906 this 9500-seat theater has hosted artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Carole King, The Carpenters, The Grateful Dead and U2. Approximately 10 miles outside of Denver proper in Morrison, the Red Rocks are part of the Denver Mountain Parks. In the mornings you’ll see joggers running up and down the built-in bleacher seats next to groups of people doing yoga with the jagged red mountains and blue sky as their backdrop. Gorgeous!
DENVER ART MUSEUEM
Located in the Civic Center of Denver (directly across the street from our hotel), the Denver Art Museum boasts one of the largest collections of indigenous art. In addition to the vast amount of Native American, African and Oceanic art, they also feature modern & contemporary art, Asian art, and architecture and design. With over 70,000 pieces to view, DAM is spread between a few large buildings and is not the type of museum you can do in one day.
One of the fun activities the bride and groom planned for their guests was a night out at one of Denver’s local happening spots called Wynkoop Brewery Company. This multi-story restaurant located in LoDo near Coors Field has wonderful salty soft pretzels with cheese dip and handcrafted beer on tap. We played pool and threw darts as we socialized with friends and family. Nothing like a nice cold beer to wash down the pride you once had before your partner annihilated you in a game of pool.
GEORGETOWN LOOP RAILROAD
If you’re a history buff looking for an authentic Colorado adventure just an hour west of Denver, why not go to historic Georgetown? Located in a beautiful part of the Rocky Mountains, where people go rafting, fishing, and enjoy the quaint charm of this Victorian mining town like early settlers. At the mining park one can mine for gold and silver, tour the inactive mines, and ride the Loop Railroad.
“The Georgetown Loop Railroad® was one of Colorado's first visitor attractions. Completed in 1884, this spectacular stretch of three-foot narrow gauge railroad was considered an engineering marvel for its time. In 1973, the Colorado Historical Society began restoring the railroad as its 978-acre Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park.” (Georgetown Loop Railroad)
Needless to say, we couldn’t do it all, but what we did do, we loved. Stay tuned for part three of my Denver adventure where I’ll share about all the 'food, glorious food,' we ate on our trip and those not-to-be-missed Denver restaurants!