It’s a dangerous business, visiting Denver, Colorado—because even one weekend in this hip and modern city might convince you to stay.
Denver’s Downtown area offers a plethora of brewpubs, rooftop bars, organic restaurants, and world-class galleries and museums to delight everyone from trendsetter to outdoorsy type.
The name of the game here is progressivism—with its trademark bike-sharing programs, farmers’ markets, and inconspicuous marijuana dispensaries. As a mere 3-4 hours’ flight away from practically anywhere in the country, Denver makes the perfect weekend getaway.
Here is my ultimate guide to Denver in a weekend!
See a Concert at Red Rocks
The iconic poster-child of Denver, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a natural rock structure just 10 miles west of the city.
All year round, musicians and singers perform in the open air, surrounded by several large, angled boulders that together make up the ideal acoustic venue. Plus, the seating area can fit more than 9,000 guests!
First utilized by local artists in the 1900s, the rock formation has hosted artists as diverse as renowned opera singer Mary Garden, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, and Depeche Mode.
Be sure to schedule your trip around a live concert here—you won’t regret it, and during the day, check out the nearby Visitor’s Center for some scientific info on the formation. The area is full of hiking, walking and biking trails.
Enjoy Snooze for Breakfast
Snooze is an A.M. Eatery, and it is the go-to place for a mouth-watering brunch.
Casual Sunday eaters and hungover college kids mingle at this favorite spot, and no wonder, with breakfast choices like Huevos Rancheros, pot pie, sweet potato pancakes, gooey sandwiches and Eggs Benedict.
That being said, they don’t neglect the lighter side of things—health-conscious patrons can satisfy their hunger with house-made granola, quinoa porridge, and lox and goat cheese. Top it all off with a Mimosa or Bloody Mary (can you say bacon, bourbon, or bloody?) and you’re good to go!
Shop in Larimer Square
Finished indulging your palate? Walk it off in Larimer Square in the downtown area for some sightseeing and window shopping. Here you’ll find a charming, vibrant district of Victorian buildings that have been converted to hip boutiques and restaurants.
You’ll find familiar chains like Blush and Timbuk2, as well as local, one-of-a-kind shops. If you fancy yourself a fashionista, head down to Larimer, and go crazy!
Have Lunch at The Source
After an indulgent breakfast, go easy on your stomach (but not your taste buds) at The Source, a health-conscious foodie’s heaven on earth.
An artisanal food market located in the River North District, you’re sure to find a few delicious picnic ingredients and snacks from the merchants there. Vendors offer everything from seasonal produce to wood-fired pizzas to sour beers.
Take a Brewery Tour
Colorado ranks third nationwide in craft breweries per capita, so it’s no surprise that a brewery tour is a must for Denver visitors.
You could go mainstream and check out the samples at Coors Brewery, the largest single-site brewery in the world. For something a bit more local, try the craft brews at Breckenridge, Great Divide Brewing Co., or Wynkoop Brewing Co. for delicious beer flights and mouth-watering grub.
Do Dinner at Root Down
Specializing in creative small plates, Root Down is a fantastic restaurant to go a-sampling. All the food is locally sourced and organic, or as they call it “Field to Fork.”
Tapas-style dining encourages guests to go wild, and with unusual dishes like horseradish gnocchi, lamb sliders with harissa aioli and seafood cioppino- why wouldn’t you?
LoDo, or Lower Downtown, is the historic district, a 28-square block that erupts at night with excellent restaurants, live music, and livelier brewpubs.
The neighborhood is where you’ll find Snooze, Larimer Square and Great Divide. Bibliophiles will find a home at the Tattered Cover’s World of Books, and lovers of architecture are sure to marvel at the elegant Oxford Hotel and Union Station.
LoDo is a great place to walk midday, afternoon, or night!
Have an Ice Cream at Little Man
Top off your food-crazed day with ice cream from Little Man. This fun and vintage-inspired ice cream shop is instantly recognized by its home on 16th street—in the shape of a 28-ft tall cream jug.
With homemade flavors that include peach cobbler, s’mores, oatmeal cookie, salted Oreo and creme fraiche, it’s no wonder that on most nights you’ll have to wait in a line around the block.
They also serve ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, malts, and an assortment of vegan and sorbet choices. Playing host to live music, slam poetry and movie nights, Little Man is the late-night hangout you’ve never had before.
Do you have any tips for visiting Denver? Let me know in the comments below!