For me, denver was always a connecting flight but never a destination. I’ve been to that airport more times than I can count and know exactly where the Jamba Juice, Ben and Jerry’s and best cookies and salads are located. And then I met my friend Mallorie, who also had never been, so we found a cheap ticket, said #DoStuff and headed to Denver.
My soul was filled with fresh excitement and I filled my lungs with that crisp mountain air as I finally took my first step out of the airport. It was in that moment, I knew I was going to love this place.
Denver is so charming, picturesque and oozing with culture and good food. I was so impressed by how many unique eateries there are throughout the city; I already know I need to plan a trip to try more of the food.
After tons of research and 4 days galavanting through the streets, I’ve put together a guide full of my top tips for the mile high city.
Where to stay:
The Crawford Hotel
There aren’t enough words to describe how incredible and truly magical our stay at the Crawford Hotel was.
From the start of our Mountain View train ride taking us straight from the airport to Union Station where the hotel is, all the way to checkout, the Crawford went above and beyond to make us feel like royalty.
Not only is it conveniently located in the heart of downtown Denver, but as a guest of the Crawford you get a free coffee, free beer and free scoop of ice cream every day from the vendors inside the station.
The terminal is such a great place to sip some coffee, get some work done + staring at the giant Christmas tree isn’t terrible either.
What really sold me though was that one of my favorite breakfast spots, Snooze is located there and you can order it for ROOM SERVICE!!!! Yes, I’m serious, this is not a drill.
What to eat:
This place is as cute as it sounds. From their açaí bowls, adaptogenic drinks, juices, toasts and smoothies, it was hard not to order the whole menu!
See above. I’m obsessed with this place. The pancake of the day this day was a hot chocolate pancake with a homemade marshmallow on the top!
Denver Central Market
This indoor market is the ideal place for lunch or a snack, located in the middle of the RiNo district. I grabbed a smoothie and basil blackberry ice cream at high top creamery.
Conveniently located in Union Station, mercantile has a menu full of flavor and local ingredients. I was blown away by their meat and cheese board and their charming decor. Their open layout allows you to see into the kitchen and watch the chefs work their magic!
You guys. This is big. Rarely does a Mac and cheese enter into the prestigious placement of my top 5 Mac and cheeses in the world, but this restaurant did it.
You know how serious I am about Mac and cheese so you know I’m not messing around.
When the Mac arrived in a mini cast iron pot with a lump piece of lobster resting on the top, my taste buds starting doing a happy dance and when into a full dance off when I took my first bite.
Aside from their glorious Mac and cheese this restaurant prides itself of growing much of their produce on site!! They have honey bees on the roof, a mushroom wall, herbs growing down below and even the butchering is done on site. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
If you’re looking for a good sunset view of downtown Denver, THIS is your spot. Avanti is packed with a variety of food options from Venezuelan, Korean, pizza, and poke with a gorgeous rooftop overlooking the city.
My Greek flatbread was AMAZING.
If the line doesn’t give you any indication that this is one of the best restaurants in Denver then their pizza will for sure sell you. Everything from their meat and cheese board, wine and delectable desserts was extraordinary and I’m drooling just thinking about it. It’s located in the cutest part of Larimer street surrounded by tons of hanging string lights, so dress up and treat yourself to an amazing night out. You’ll want to make a reservation because this place gets full!
In addition to high top creamery, little man ice cream was my jam all weekend. It’s one of those places where you want to order 5 scoops because every flavor is so good.
Milk box: they sell little man ice cream but it’s located inside of union station so uber convenient if you’re staying at the Crawford.
What to do:
This lively street is adorned with the most magical string lights that light up the whole block and make for a perfect night out on the town. There are tons of cute shops and some DELICIOUS restaurants (see Osteria Marco above….) Would highly recommend walking around this street!
Denver has so many incredible museums, and if you stop by the tourist info center you can purchase a passport that lets your visit all of them!
Drive to Mt Evans scenic bypass
If you want to get out for the day and really get a feel for the beauty and nature of Colorado, I suggest renting a car and driving through Mt. Evans Scenic Bypass. At some point your cell service will cut out and you’ll have no choice but to soak in all the goodness around you. Snow capped trees and winding roads lead you to Echo Lake where you can sit on a log and overlook the lake in all its wonder.
Red Rock Amphitheater
Imagine looking at the most massive, beautiful red rock formations, like the ones in Arizona and Utah. Now imagine being in a concert in the middle of them. That’s what the red rock amphitheater is and I’m so glad we came here to climb the steps. Whether you come here for a show or a workout, it’s a must see!
Drive to Boulder
After visiting the red rock amphitheater and Echo Lake, driving to Boulder was the last stop on a loop we made for a nice day road trip. I’m so glad we stopped here to see this charming little town. We didn’t stay for long but there are tons of cute restaurants, shops and hikes!
Whether you’re a hiker, foodie or sports fan, Denver has something for everyone. It’s surrounded by some of the nation’s most beautiful landscapes and overflowing with lively culture and nice people. I was so impressed by this city, I already can’t wait to go back! Don’t be like me and only stop in the airport… get out and explore Denver, you’ll be so glad you did!!
xx Nicole #DoStuff