Framed by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, Denver, Colorado is a gateway to the great outdoors. Before you set out to hike, bike, ski, or kayak, make sure to spend a few days soaking up the history and culture in one of the West's greatest cities. Between LoDo's (Lower Downtown) 90 plus microbreweries, pubs and rooftop bars, organic farm to table restaurants, unique museums, and world class art galleries, miles of bike paths make it super easy to explore on foot or two wheels. It's no wonder everyone there is so fit.
8AM DENVER BISCUIT CO.
Voted Denver’s Best Breakfast by the Food Network, The Cooking Channel and CNN, it's hard to go wrong with big, buttery biscuits, especially when they're topped with heaps of fried chicken, BBQ pork, and other meaty goodness. In the words of Guy Fieri, "Holy biscuit mania."
10AM MOUNT EVANS SCENIC BYWAY
Colorado and the mountains are virtually simultaneous, and as the highest paved road in North America, Mount Evans is just 60 miles west of Denver. Called "the road to the sky," on this cliff-hugging drive, you will pass though three climate zones, ancient trees, lakes, and forests to be greeted by Bighorn Sheep and Moutain Goats at the peak.
1PM ILLEGAL PETE'S
1530 16TH ST. MALL #101 DENVER, CO 80202
A staple food group in Colorado, Mexican and green chile, in particular, is where it's at. As the home of Chipotle, Illegal Pete's is another fast-casual local chain that kills it with hearty bowls, tacos and burritos perfect for a quick lunch on the go. The salsa is roasted with dry Thai chili pods to bring out the oils and enhance the flavor, and you can definitely taste the difference. It's not fancy by any means, but holy good grub.
3PM DENVER BOTANICAL GARDENS
Burn off some of those calories by walking around the Denver Botanical Gardens. Besides being a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city, the Gardens hosts a number of events throughout the year including a pumpkin patch at Halloween, a Dia de Los Muertos festival, holiday lights in December, and concerts in the summer months. You could easily spend an entire afternoon exploring the flora and fauna.
One of the weirdest restaurants you will probably ever come across in your life, Linger perfectly embodies Denver's quirky innovativeness. Located in the ulta-hip Highlands neighborhood, Linger, formerly a mortuary, now serves international small plates on tables where the bodies used to lay. The food is nothing to laugh at, though, and offers one of the best views of the skyline. Always packed, Linger is a great spot just to grab a drink on their "killer" rooftop from a bar that's actually a displaced hippie van.
8PM LITTLE MAN ICE CREAM
Stumbling distance from Linger, I hope you saved some room for dessert because is there anything better than homemade ice cream, especially salted Oreo? It's hard to miss the life-sized milk bottle and line around the block, and good thing, because you don't want to miss this. Inspired by vintage Coney Island hot dog-shaped stands, it's a twenty-eight foot tall, 14,000 lb. cream can of pure joy.
9PM WILLIAMS & GRAHAM
Just a few blocks down from Linger and Little Man, Williams & Graham is a great place to close out the night. The speakeasy to end all speakeasies, it's Denver's first libation spot to be inducted into the list of Top 50 bars in the World, and for good reason. After walking through an actual bookcase to enter, you'll feel a bit like Alice falling down the Rabbit Hole. Let the master mixologists make you something special based on your mood because anything they dream up is magical.
Even if you wake up early to dine at Snooze, there will probably still be an hour wait. One of the city's staple brunch spots with outposts all over town, with irresistable pancake flights, mix and match bennys and an entire menu of bloodies, it's no surprise why.
11AM RED ROCKS
18300 W. ALAMEDA PARKWAY MORRISON, CO 80465
A naturally formed, open air amphitheatre 20 minutes south of Denver, Red Rocks has one of the best line-ups of summer concerts and events anywhere along with yoga Sunday mornings and throwback movie nights. If you're there off-season or just want to explore the outdoors, there is a 1.5-mile hike suitable for all ages that is a good intro into the breathtaking Colorado landscape.
3PM DENVER MICROBREW TOUR
2401 BLAKE STREET DENVER, COLORADO 80205
Often called the "Napa of Beer," you can't come to Denver and not try one (or ten) of their amazing microbrews. With over 200+ spots to grab a coldie, deciding where to go is often the hardest part. If you prefer a guided tour, the Denver Microbrew Tour is a 1.5 mile, two hour walk around downtown that takes you through the history of brewing in Colorado along with visits to several favorites for tastings and trivia. For a more formal beer experience, there's also the Coors factory in Golden, about 20 minutes away.
Billed as "continental social food," Troy Guard is one of Denver's star chefs, and Tag is one of his the gems. Combining Hawaiian roots, Pan-Asian inspirations, and fresh, local ingredients, it's a diverse menu that somehow just works. From hamachi topped with pop rocks to succulent kobe sliders, every bite will leave you wondering how he dreamt up those flavor profiles.
8PM LARIMER SQUARE
Larimer Square, where Tag is located, is a scenic area lit up year round. The Mile High's oldest and most historic block, its buildings vividly tell the story of the early years in Denver through their unique architecture. There are plenty of places to grab a nightcap or wander around, including Green Russell, another speakeasy, or Red Square, a vodka bar, in neighboring Writer's Square.
WHERE TO STAY: HOTEL MONACO
1717 CHAMPA ST. DENVER, CO 80202
A stay at this boutique hotel in Downtown Denver will make you feel like royalty. The chic décor, luxurious bed and the close proximity to all our favorite Denver spots make this place the best hotel to rest your head after a long day of sightseeing.