Our first visit to Denver Colorado was very eventful. We tried to hit all the major spots during our trip and here is what we were able to fit in.
First we stayed in Downtown Denver in an area called LODO. Walking distance to Union Station and Larimer Square we were in prime location. Union Station is fun to walk around and has a breakfast place called Snooze that has decent breakfast options. For more of the nightlife we headed to Larimer Square. This is a street that has shopping and bars/restaurants. It is a cool street to walk down with Christmas lights lining the streets. We stopped to have dinner at Corridor 44. This is a Champagne bar and restaurant. Here we ordered the filet mignon and of course the chocolate molten lava cake for dessert. Yeah we came for the food not the champagne.
Somehow these days street art is the cool popular thing to go and take pictures in front of. Near Paramount Cafe on 16th street is a mural that says “Greetings From Denver”. It looks very alien futuristic. Its down an alley so it is hard to miss.
After staying in downtown we headed to Golden Colorado to get out of the city. We stayed here for the remainder of our trip. First outing we decided to hike Emerald Lake. I had looked it up online and it appeared to be a fairly easy 3 mile hike. 2 hour drive later we arrived. We knew it was going to be cold so we had packed appropriate jackets, but what we didn’t anticipate was the ice and snow that we would be hiking on. We decided it wouldn’t be too hard in our tennis shoes. We were wrong. Lots of slipping, sliding and a few falls but we were determined to make it there and back. Another aspect we did not think about was that the lakes would be frozen. This however allowed playing on the ice (see video). If you do decide to hike this please check the weather and find out if it has snowed. You may need show shoes or spikes to make this hike easier. Overall though it was a beautiful hike.
Next main stop was Garden of the gods. About an hour south of Denver this place is a sight. Beautiful red rocks jutting out of the ground. The park is very easy to walk around, is self guided and most have pathed paths to follow making it easy to see for all ages and skill level. This place is great for photos and hiking around. Fun fact, if you are a rock climber you can get a permit to climb some of the rocks.
Red rocks amphitheater is another spot that is a classic Denver sight. If you think far enough in advance see if any concerts are happening because this seems like an epic concert venue. We visited during the day near sunset. The amphitheater has awesome views and is fun to walk up and down and onto the stage. Not 10min away from the Red Rocks is Dinosaur Ridge. Here they offer a self guided tour (less than 1 mile walk) where you can see old dinosaur tracks and bones in the rocks. This is a very quick place to visit, takes less than an hour to walk around, see and read the facts.
Next it was time to hit up the Coors Brewery Tour. Guess what, this tour is free! The tour is self guided and takes about 30min and you get free beer samples after if you’re 21! Not a beer fan myself and my husband being hardcore into craft beer we still found the tour to be educational on Coors history and interesting to see the behind-the-scenes action.
While here we also decided to visit Voodoo Doughnut. Located on E Colfax Ave it is in an area called City Park West. It is one of those places you feel you have to try because of how popular it is. Well, we tried it, that is about it. Honestly, this was so disappointing. Being a huge donut fan, Voodoo fell very short. They looked cool, that was for sure, but the taste and quality was majorly lacking. I would take a plain mom and pop donut shop over one of these any day.
Our last day on any trip is always just a hodgepodge of trying to fit in random last min places we want to see and eat at. We went to the Denver Botanical Gardens and then had beer at the Great Divide Brewery and ended with some Little Man Ice Cream. The Botanical Gardens were fun to walk around. $12.50 for adults one day admission. They had great variety of plants to see and a Science pyramid that you can go learn about climates. It was fun to walk around and explore the different plants. Little Man ice cream is a cute spot. The ice cream was very good and they have a cute area to sit around while you eat.
Denver is a destination that is on our “must come back” list. While I feel we fit in a lot of the major sights, I know there is so much more to see and do here!