Denver. The Mile-High City. The Queen City of the West. Broncoville. D-Town.
I just got back from a long weekend in Denver. I have heard over and over again how awesome the city is, so my friends and I decided to check it out to see what all the hype is about. It did not at all disappoint.
We did some sightseeing, beer tasting, exploring, and hiking. It was the perfect mix of vacation activities. We pretty much followed all of these healthy vacation tips without really even trying.
I wanted to share all the highlights with you! Here they are:
City Running Tours
Since I now manage Minneapolis City Running Tours (PS- did I tell you I manage CRT in Minneapolis now?! Check out my bio here and the Minneapolis group runs here! Then sign up for one!) I wanted to check it out in Denver. Luckily my friends, who aren’t runners, were willing to do it with me (they are so great). We did the Downtown Denver Highlights group tour, which was led by Lee, the Denver CRT Manager.
We met at the REI flagship store on Friday and 9:00am. It was a perfect morning for a run: 50 degrees and sunny. Lee led us around Denver showing us Confluence Park, the Cherry Creek Greenway, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Civic Center Park, the State Capitol Building, 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, Daniels & Fisher Tower, Larimer Square, Union Station, and many more!
During the run we learned all about the history of Denver, like how it started as three separate towns that eventually formed into one. Lee also added in some other interesting facts, like how the artist who created the mustang statue at the airport (known to some as “Bluecifer” or “Devil Horse”) was killed when a portion of the statue fell on him. Who knew?!
We took some pictures at sights along the 4-mile run and ended back at REI where we started. I am so happy that we did the running tour! My non-runner friends even enjoyed it and were happy they signed up. City Running Tours is such a great way to see a city and learn about its history and culture, all while fitting in some exercise. It was super fun to experience a tour from a participant perspective, rather than a guide perspective. If you ever travel to Denver, Minneapolis, or any of the 14 other CRT locations I would definitely recommend checking it out!
Brunch at Snooze
After our morning run we decided to treat ourselves to a bomb brunch. The friends that we were staying with recommended a place called Snooze, which was just a few blocks away from their apartment.
This place. Delicious. The line was out the door when we got there on Friday at 10:30 (what do all these people do?! They can’t all be tourists?). The 45-minute wait gave us just enough time to go back to my friends’ place to shower and get ready for the day. We were back at the restaurant just in time for our table to be ready. Perfect.
Our waitress, who was awesome and oddly enough had some ties to Minnesota, greeted us with a sweet potato pancake to start (on the house!). It was phenomenal. The sweet potato, the spices, the homemade caramel, the pecans, the ginger butter – all amazing. We devoured it in about 2.5 seconds and I am surprised it even lasted that long.
After our brunch appetizer we ordered a round of mimosas and different varieties of eggs benedict. I had the Late Harvest Benny, which was “sweet potato polenta cake topped with griddled sweet potato, fennel, and kale hash and served with poached cage-free eggs, cream cheese hollandaise, and toasted bread crumbs.” Oh so good. I have never seen such perfectly poached eggs.
Everything was ridiculously delicious and we were all definitely satisfied. The only unfortunate part is that I forgot to take pictures.
A Trip to Boulder
On Friday afternoon after our fantastic brunch we decided to go check out Boulder, which is about a 45-minute drive from Denver toward the mountains. Oh my goodness, this city is gorgeous. All of us were ooh-ing and ahh-ing out the window as we were driving into it.
We started at Chautauqua Park and walked along one of the Flatiron trails. We weren’t properly dressed (skinny jeans, sweaters, and flats are not ideal for hiking), so we didn’t go for very long. However, we definitely walked long enough to drink in a lot of beautiful views (and a lot of very thin air – elevation, yikes).
From Chautauqua Park we went and strolled around Pearl Street. Loved it. Pearl Street is a pedestrian mall with many adorable shops and restaurants. There were tons of people out and about, checking out the stores and the many different street performers.
We stopped at West End Tavern to sit, chat, and enjoy a beer outside then mosied over to Tahona Tequila Bistro for some margaritas and appetizers. We jokingly researched some houses for sale/rent. Definitely out of our price range…
Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Lookout Mountain
On Saturday afternoon we wandered out to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to do some more hiking and exploring. I added “see a concert at Red Rocks” to my bucket list. The theater is just so beautiful and the views are absolutely gorgeous.
There were a bunch of exercise groups running up and down the steps, which I’ve heard is awesome to do when the sun is rising. My friends and I weren’t really in the mood for that type of activity and instead we went on Trading Post Trail. It was a 1.4-mile walking path that looped around the rock formations. The majority of the trail was flat, but had some inclines/declines/steps along the way. It wasn’t anything too strenuous, but we were glad that we were all wearing tennis shoes this time. There was also a 6-mile hike option, but I guess I’ll save that one for next time.
We planned on checking out the Coors Brewery Tour (recommended to us by one of our Uber drivers), but didn’t realize that they closed at 4:00, which is the exact time we pulled up to the entrance. Oops. I guess I’ll save this one for next time too.
We then drove up to Lookout Mountain and took in some more beautiful scenery. We also took a pretty epic panoramic picture (that we took ourselves, thank you very much).
Other Fun Things
- Getting manicures at Aveda Institute and then running into a friend from high school in the lobby as we were about to leave. Hutchinson people are everywhere. It is unreal.
- Sitting outside at CRU in Larimer Square while enjoying a half-priced bottle of bubbly. FYI, a bottle of bubbly is the most perfect way to start a vacation.
- Enjoying the most delicious breakfast sandwich at Salt & Grinder in the Highland area.
- Watching the Gopher’s Homecoming football game with other University of Minnesota alumni. Side note: It was my 5-year college reunion. Where has time gone?!
- Checking out local breweries, like Wynkoop and River North.
- Seeing and hanging out with so many friends (old and new) from different areas of my life.
I absolutely loved the city of Denver and had such a blast there. It felt surprisingly similar to Minneapolis, but with mountains and better weather. I will definitely be going back!
Have you ever been to Denver? What did you see and do there? I’ll need some more tips for next time!