The Long Weekend: Denver

Often overlooked as little more than a stopover city on the way to mountain resorts like Vail, Beaver Creek and Aspen, Denver itself offers a rich array of attractions, including a dynamic culinary scene, a bounty of outdoor activities and a handful of interesting museums. Known for its friendly local population, Denver has a laid-back vibe and plenty of fascinating neighborhoods to explore. Plus, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Colorado town is a perfect destination no matter the season. Here, discover Indagare’s ideal itinerary for a weekend in Denver, with the option to add on an additional day to visit the charming nearby town of Boulder.

Day 1

Downtown, Lower Denver, or LoDo, is a blossoming cultural hub with a welcoming vibe and a theater, art museum and new Union Station. Those looking to stay in the midst of the downtown scene should check out the trendy Crawford Hotel, which has beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains (1701 Wynkoop St.). Visitors seeking a more local atmosphere can stay in the desirable Cherry Creek neighborhood at either the Four Seasons (fourseasons.com) or the more affordable Halcyon Hotel (halcyonhotelcherrycreek.com). The latter has a rooftop pool and a gear garage for all of your outdoor equipment needs.

After settling in, begin the day at the famous Tattered Cover Book Store (2526 E Colfax Ave.). Known for its café and indie vibe, the shop has plenty of comfortable couches. For kids and history buffs, a great next stop is the United States Mint: take a tour to see how billions of pennies, nickels and dimes are produced each year (West Colfax Ave. & Delaware St.). If you prefer to dive straight into shopping mode, this area is filled with plenty of boutiques and the unique Rockmount Ranch Wear (1626 Wazee St.). Open since 1946, it is one of the original western shirt companies and has styled celebrities from Elvis Presley to Bruce Springsteen.

Stop by The Source for lunch (3350 Brighton Blvd.). This artisan food market occupies a former brick foundry building from the 1880s. If it’s baseball season and the weather is nice, head to a Rockies Gamea favorite way to spend the afternoon among locals. The Rockies’ stadium, Coors Field (2001 Blake St.), boasts a mesmerizing view and is a gorgeous spot to watch the sun set over the varied landscapes that earned the state its nickname of Colorful Colorado.

After the game, stop into the renovated Union Station, a downtown landmark–turned–hotspot featuring multiple shops and eateries (1701 Wynkoop St.). Start with craft brews at Terminal Bar or cocktails at The Copper Lounge. Later, enjoy dinner at the acclaimed Mercantile, which showcases seasonally inspired dishes in a relaxed setting.

Day 2

On Saturdays, the best way to start the day is at the Cherry Creek Farmers Market, which proffers local produce and speciality coffee (E. 1st Ave. & University Blvd.). After touring the market, spend some time in the Cherry Creek neighborhood visiting the shops and art galleries like Cherry Creek Art Gallery (2830 E. 3rd Ave.), which specializes in Western art and local artists, and Max, a boutique filled with high-end designers like Haider Ackermen, Céline and Acne Studios (264 Detroit St.).

For lunch, try Cherry Creek Grill, where guests can sit outside under the umbrellas or cozy up in a leather booth indoors (184 Steele St.). Start with jalapeño corn bread and grilled artichokes before digging into entrées like burgers, fish and Colorado lamb chops.

If you’re traveling with kids, a fun stop is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (2001 Colorado Blvd.). The museum has many interactive exhibits, such as Expedition Health, as well as an IMAX theater showing National Geographic films. The nearby Highland neighborhood is home to Little Man Ice Cream, a sweet spot housed in a giant milk jug that serves up uniquely flavored, homemade ice creams (2620 16th St.). Afterwards, stroll through Denver’s trendiest neighborhood, which has been entirely transformed within the last decade.

End the night at Sushi Den, which serves fish that is flown in daily from Tokyo (1487 S. Pearl St.).

Day 3

This morning, drive 35 minutes to Boulder, an adorable town nestled in the valley beneath the Flatiron Mountains. Begin with a hike from Chautauqua Trailhead, which offers routes of varying difficulty and length ranging from 45 minutes to three hours.

Afterwards, fuel up at the pedestrian mall on Pearl Street. The outdoor shopping center has plenty of local stores and some of the city’s best restaurants. Grab a table at farm-to-table spot The Kitchen (1039 Pearl St.), or opt for shared plates at the perennially popular The Mediterranean Restaurant (1002 Walnut St.). If you’re seeking a more upscale meal, make a reservation (far in advance) at the nationally acclaimed Frasca (1738 Pearl St.).

After lunch, pop into shops including Weekends (1200 Pearl St.), Chelsea (1646 Pearl St.) and homeware store Peppercorn (1235 Pearl St.). If you’re heading straight to the airport from Boulder, budget for 45 to 60 minutes of travel time. But for those driving back to Denver, stop for a concert at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Pkwy) in Morrison (halfway between Boulder and Denver). The open-air venue is known for attracting great artists for its acoustic quality created by the giant red rocks framing the stadium.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a vacation to Denver. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan great meals and activities.

– Hannah Small on June 16, 2017

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