Today, Denver doesn’t look much like its former Wild-West-cowtown self, but it’s a beautiful mountain city nonetheless—which might be why it attracts so many laid-back, outdoorsy folks. With a growing foodie scene, top-notch scenery, and easygoing culture, it’s the perfect place to spend a weekend exploring. Don’t forget to pack your hiking boots and a sense of adventure!
6715 W Colfax | Edgewood | casabonitadenver.com
Between the all-you-can-eat buffet, cliff diving shows, fire-jugglers, and puppet shows, the concept of the destination restaurant Cosa Bonita is almost too ridiculous—almost. Here’s some of the long list of highlights that come with this unconventional Mexican eatery:
“Casa Bonita is a west Denver landmark. I can say I agree that you don't really go here for the food, aside from the sopapillas. But that's not what this place is all about. It's about this several story, warehouse-sized hotbed of nostalgia and kitsch.” - Yelp Review
18300 W Alameda Pkwy | Morrison | redrocksonline.com
The architect behind one of America’s most incredible concert venues? Mother Nature. The forces of nature combined just right to make the acoustically perfect arena of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, formed by massive, 300-foot sandstone monoliths. Red Rocks isn’t just a fan favorite—artists like Jimi Hendrix, Rush, and the Grateful Dead all reportedly listed the venue among their favorites. But you don’t have to go to Red Rocks to see a concert, you can also visit during the day and explore the park by hiking, grabbing lunch at the Ship Rock Grille, or doing some yoga.
Defiantly a musical experience everyone should enjoy at least once. The pictures don't do it justice you have to see this place in person especially during a concert.” - Yelp Review warehouse-sized hotbed of nostalgia and kitsch.” - Yelp Review
700 14th St | Downtown | denverconvention.com
Located outside of the Colorado Convention Center, this iconic art installation is actually called “I See What You Mean.” The 40-foot, 3-story tall bear, built by the late artist and University of Denver professor Lawrence Argent, makes for an awesome photo op to say the least. Big Blue has a place in the hearts of local residents—as well as visitors from all over—and is worthwhile stop in the downtown area.
1600 W 33rd Ave | Lower Highlands | rootdowndenver.com
Get brunch, dinner, or just stop by for Happy Hour. Whatever you do, you can’t go wrong with this wholesome dining experience. Image courtesy of Root Down on LinkedIn.
Generally speaking, Denver is a pretty fit, health-conscious city—which is part of the reason a restaurant like Root Down is so popular. Another reason? It’s also delicious! In addition to vegetarian, vegan, and raw dishes, you can also find seafood, short ribs, chicken, steak, and other meat-based options. This is one restaurant that you can feel good about eating at: Not does it fully accommodate all types of diets and restrictions, but it’s also powered by 100 percent wind energy and largely uses locally-sourced ingredients.
“Hands down the best food I've had in Denver so far. This is one of those places where I'm pretty sure you could order anything and it would be phenomenal.” - Yelp Review
1600 17th St | Lodo | theoxfordhotel.com
Having been in operation since 1891, the Oxford Hotel has retained the same swanky, old-school charm that it started with—with the addition of modern amenities, of course. The suites feature swoon-worthy clawfoot tubs and four-poster beds, and there’s an onsite spa, too. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can still experience it by getting a bite to eat at the Oxford’s restaurant, the Urban Farmer, or grabbing a drink at its bar, the Cruise Room.
“In a nutshell: a memorable stay in a beautiful historic building.” - Yelp Review
1020 S Gaylord St | Washington Park | devilsfooddenver.com
Stop by the bakery for baked goods, coffee, and tea, or hit the adjacent cookery for breakfast foods like French toast, chicken and waffles, avocado toast, breakfast burritos, and more. Image courtesy of @caprivangilder on Instagram.
You’ll find hipsters sitting alongside oldtimers at Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery—the food is just that good. Originally a single entity, the company recently split into two separate locations across the street from each other in the delightful neighborhood of Myrtle Hill. Whether you sip on a coffee at the Bakery or dive into a savory brunch at the Cookery, you won’t be disappointed.
“The store is quaint with table or bar seating. They also sell gifts or other home items and flowers for you to take home or give out to someone else. Just what I want at a neighborhood bakery!” - Yelp Review
2001 Colorado Blvd | City Park | dmns.org
With its distinguishable location in the majestic Rocky Mountains, Denver is a natural wonderland—and nothing will make you appreciate your surroundings more than a trip to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There’s something for everyone at this information-rich attraction: A solid docket of permanent and rotating exhibitions, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium, not to mention an unbeatable view of the city from the fourth floor mezzanine.
“Today was just to get myself introduced to the museum. Spent about five hours here and could not visit more than 33% of this place. Fantastic adventure today.” - Yelp Review
1007 York St | Southeast | botanicgardens.org
With 50 gardens to explore, the Denver Botanic Gardens is well-worth the $12.50 price of admission ($9 for kids!). See collections of plants native to Colorado as well as international greens, when you tour this multifaceted showcase of nature. You can also enjoy soups, salads, and sandwiches at the Offshoots Cafe or burgers, pizza, and ice cream at the Hive Gardens Bistro.
“Absolutely beautiful. My friend and I visited the Denver Botanic Gardens, not knowing what to expect. But it took my breath away. The Denver Botanic Gardens is a must visit.” - Yelp Review
1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203| | mollybrown.org
The Titanic may not have been unsinkable, but socialite and philanthropist Molly Brown—who survived the tragic crash—sure was. You can visit her preserved house and learn more about her fascinating life when you go to the Molly Brown House Museum.
Molly and her husband, J.J. Brown, were both born to poor Irish immigrants, but when J.J. struck it rich in the mining industry, the couple soon became one of the wealthiest in Denver. She was a first-class passenger on the Titanic, but unlike many, she spent time helping others get into lifeboats before boarding one herself.
She’s most famous for grabbing an oar to help row her boat to safety and for arguing against the ship’s Quartermaster, who was on the lifeboat, when he refused to go back to look for survivors after the Titanic went under.
“Absolutely wonderful tour. If you are ever visiting Denver or even live in Denver this tour is a must. The house is truly amazing…” - Yelp Review
1313 E 6th St | Alamo Placita | fruitionrestaurant.com
It doesn’t get any more farm-to-table than Fruition Restaurant. The owners have a farm just south of the city, where they grow a lot of their ingredients. The space may be rustic, but the dress is definitely not casual, and the menu will knock your socks off: Veal sweetbreads with bone marrow crema, carbonara with hand-cured pork belly, devil’s food cake with caramel popcorn ice cream, and more.
Wondering what the best time of year is to spend a weekend in Denver? Summer, spring and fall are popular times to visit this mostly-sunny city, but if you’re looking for better prices, aim for the transitional points of the seasons. It can get pretty snowy in the winter—but with the mountains comes an abundance of snow sports, so that can be an advantage for those looking to hit the slopes.
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