In my head, Colorado has always been the perfect winter wonderland—fluffy snow, skiers galore, cuddling up next to a warm fireplace…you get the picture! But what about the rest of the year? Well, after spending a week cruising around the state, we found out that there’s JUST as much fun stuff to do in Colorado during the summertime! In fact, there’s so much to do that I’m splitting this post into two parts…I mean, really, this place is an outdoorsman’s paradise!
Denver City Life
Our first stop of the trip was Denver. And might I just say, I love this city! The summer weather hangs around a beautiful 75°F, the people are laid back, and it seems that there is always something fun to do in the Mile High City.
Plus, if you’re planning on exploring the rest of Colorado and partaking in some activities that require you to be active, it is a really good idea to spend at least a day at Denver’s modest altitude of 5,000-6,000 ft to let your body adjust. Coming from someone who has spent the majority of my life at and around sea level, altitude is NO JOKE, people! If I had to describe it, I’d say it feels like there’s an elephant sitting on your lungs whenever you put in any sort of physical activity. I mean, I don’t think I’m that out of shape (Joe would disagree, but that’s a story for another day!), but there were times when just walking would make it hard to breathe! Anyway, drink lots of water and take some time to acclimate in Denver!
Where to Stay
Downtown Denver has a safe feel and puts you within walking distance of all of the action. We stayed at The Curtis Hotel and loved it. Their claim to fame is that they have a handful of “hyper themed” rooms—Star Trek, Barbie, old school arcade games…the works! Each floor has it’s own creative theme too. You can imagine how excited I was when the elevator stopped at our floor and announced that we had arrived at “The Chick Flick Floor”. It made me giggle every time! Decor included shots of Charlie’s Angels, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a cute pink rotary phone with Jerry Maguire‘s famous “you had me at hello” inscribed above it. And my favorite part of the hotel? The elevator sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” every time you reached the lobby. It’s impossible not to be in a good mood when you’re greeted like that!
Eat & Drink
We spent most of our time exploring two neighborhoods in particular: The Ballpark Neighborhood and Larimer Square. What we found? Denver has a penchant for rooftop bars and that could not make me happier! Here are some of our fave spots we stopped at:
- Biker Jims – They have all kinds of gourmet hot dogs like reindeer (what?!), elk, buffalo, and of course the originals, beef and pork. Top your choice of dog with any of the wide range of toppings they have and you’re good to begin your food coma!
- Ignite – Rooftop bar (!) with great cocktails
- View House – Yet another rooftop bar! This one has views of Coors Field and the Downtown skyline, and is excellent for people watching! View House tends to be pretty hoppin’ with the late night crowd.
- Union Lodge No 1 – Our favorite bar we visited! Union Lodge No 1 specializes in classy cocktails. On the surface, it has the vibe of a speakeasy, but really their niche is in drinks that were around before 1919 and prohibition. Pretty fun twist and a cute little cocktail history lesson all in one!
- Green Russell – This is one of those mysterious cocktail joints….like something you’d see on Mad Men, and I am all for it! Fun if you’re going for a relaxed vibe.
- Superfruit Republic – Acai bowls are somewhat of an obsession of ours. Seriously, we usually end up in search of their smoothie bowl goodness most places we go! This place did not let us down. Build your own bowls always work for me!
What to Do
- Coors Field – Home of the Colorado Rockies, this ballpark has stunning views of the mountains way off in the distance. And as an added bonus, the area surrounding the park is crawling with fun bars and restaurants.
- Bike along the Cherry Creek Trail – Kind of like an outdoor oasis on the edge of Downtown. If you want a feel for the active life that Colorado boasts while still keeping a toe in the Downtown area, take a cruise down the Cherry Creek Trail. There are tons of fun bridges to gawk at, plus great people watching at the people swimming in the river during the summer. We witnessed a couple doing some kind of slow motion water dance. I can’t even begin to explain it, but it was entertainment at its finest!
- Red Rocks Amphitheater – Jaw. Dropping. Beauty. It’s hard to believe that these giant rocks actually created a natural amphitheater, but, wow is this place stunning! Located about 20 minutes from Downtown Denver, Red Rocks hosts all kinds of musical acts, films, events, yoga…yes, even yoga! We saw the Avett Brothers play and it was exactly the kind of toe-tapping, folksy music that feels right at home in a venue like this.
Tune in next week for Part 2 of our Colorado adventures. Spoiler alert: expect lots of outdoorsy things and Katy frequently complaining about being out of shape 😛
See you then!