It’s no secret that Brian and I absolutely love it here in Denver, and I’ve been wanting to compile a list of my favorite spots in this wonderful city for quite some time.
Denver is an awesome city because there is something to do for almost any interest. It’s a highly walkable city (and I think it’s pretty bikeable too!), and Brian and I have survived the past 2 and a half years with only one car. If you are visiting Denver, I recommend taking the A-line train from DIA to Union Station. At Union Station, you can then walk, take an uber, or hop on a B-Cycle to get to where you wan to go.
If you plan on heading to the mountains (which I recommend that you do!), I suggest renting a car or finding a friend with a car to get there 🙂
There are tons of different neighborhoods in Denver, all with a unique personality. Within each neighborhood, there are various eateries, cafes, ice cream shops and things to do and new places are constantly popping up.
Restaurants and Places to Eat/Drink
Most restaurants are highly accommodating of any food allergies, intolerances, preferences, etc. Don’t be afraid to let your server know if you need any special requests, just do it in a polite manner.
- Snooze There is always a long wait (30 minutes to an hour), but I think it is worth it! Brian always gets one of there eggs benedicts concoctions – pro tip: you can order half and half so you get two flavors!) and I usually keep things simple with scrambled eggs, fruit and hashbrowns. The bloody mary’s are delish. There are several locations around Denver and in Boulder.
- Jelly Cafe Located just blocks from our apartment in the Cap Hill neighborhood. Delicious breakfast and brunch with a fun vibe inside and usually a wait.
- Humboldt They also serve lunch, dinner and drinks at this restaurant, but we always go for brunch. If you are looking for brunch without the long wait, this place is it. The food is wonderful, the service is friendly and accomodating.
- Thump I wasn’t much of a coffee snob prior to living in Denver, but Thump has made me into one. Hands down the most delicious almond milk latte in the city. Brian enjoys their pourovers, drip coffee, and the vanilla latte (with housemade syrup) is like dessert in a cup. They also have tasty housemade baked goods (paleo muffins for those interested!) Not only is the coffee great, but the staff is all very friendly.
- Aviano Located in Cherry Creek North, the vibe is relaxed and the coffee is really tasty (but I still prefer Thump!). They have delicious pastries brought in from a local bakery each morning. My one complaint is that they never remotely remember who Brian and I are. I’m not asking for them to know my name and order, but they should at least act like they recognize me after 2 1/2 years of almond milk latte ordering.
Lunch or Dinner
- Biju’s Little Curry Shop Located in the RiNo neighborhood, this eatery is a quick in and out type of place. They have a few curry bowls on the menu, and then you get to customize the toppings and mix-ins (kind of like Chipotle). The servings are absolutely huge, so Brian and I typically share a bowl.
- True Food Kitchen The folks at this restaurant are VERY accomodating when it comes to any special dietary preference (it’s kind of their thing). My favorite is their Ancient Grains Bowl, but we have enjoyed everything we have eaten here.
- Avanti F&B An adult food court/cafeteria with delicious cocktails and stunning views of the city. My favorite are always the arepas or the curry bowl. We take all of our out-of-town guests here.
- Sushi Den Absolutely delicious sushi. I don’t think they take reservations, so plan on grabbing a drink at the bar to kill time. It’s worth the wait.
- Shells and Sauce An adorable, small authentic Italian restaurant with delicious everything.
- Work & Class Another restaurant with a long wait time, but again it’s so worth it. They recommend ordering family style and sharing dishes. I highly suggest getting the plantains every time.
- Crepes ‘n Crepes Brian and I ate a late lunch at this adorable French restaurant while Brian’s mom was visiting last year. Champagne and savory crepes are the perfect pair.
- Vine Street It’s a pub with a surprisingly wide variety of food options (some fried, some not).
- Root Down Wonderful for a date night or special occasion. Lot’s of unique menu items with local ingredients.
- The Irish Snug They have wonderful happy hour specials (drinks and food), so we frequently end up hanging out here on a Friday or Saturday night.
- City O City Vegetarian/vegan comfort food. It’s so decadent and delish.
- Mercantile You can just pop in for a coffee (it’s delicious) grab a quick lunch at their high top tables, drink at the bar, or go for a fancy sit down dinner. It’s all wonderful.
- Sweet Action Ice Cream wonderfully creative vegan and some gluten free options. Lots of mix-ins!
- Liks Ice Cream There are a TON of different flavors that vary from day to day. Sometimes they have non-dairy options, but not usually.
- Little Man Ice Cream This is the ice cream spot with the iconic GIANT milk jug located in the Highlands neighborhood. Creative flavors, and non-dairy/vegan options.
- Bonnie Brae Ice Cream While I love all the ice cream spots listed, this one may be my favorite because of their vegan chocolate soft serv. Yum!
- Voodoo Doughnut The line is almost always out the door, and it’s a cash only joint but I think it’s worth it for the novelty of their crazy flavored doughnuts.
Other/Places to Grab a Drink
- The 1 Up A fun arcade bar. Totally a throwback.
- Stem Ciders They only do cider and it’s absolutely refreshing and delicious. They have fun summer events, weekly cider pairing events, and live music.
- Infinite Monkey Theorem An urban winery that has the vibe of a bar. Dogs are allowed on the patio.
Things to Do
- The Mayan Theater Originally opened in 1930 and is one of very few theaters left in the country in art deco revival style. It’s gorgeous! Sometimes they play the new movies (we saw La La Land there), but they also play older or more indie films.
- First Friday The first Friday of each month, the Santa Fe Arts District hosts an event showcasing all of the local artists. It’s fun to walk around the different galleries to see the variety of art in Denver.
- Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret Typically, I think the shows can get a little racey, but my 1940s style singing group has performed here a couple of times and our show is very family friendly 🙂
- Jazz in the Park During the summer months, head to City Park with a blanket and a picnic to enjoy the wonderful outdoors and local jazz music. There are also a ton of food trucks if that’s more your style.
- Red Rocks There are tons of summer concerts, yoga, workout classesand other things going on at Red Rocks. There are also trails around this area that are good for trail running, hiking, or mountain biking. Even if you just drive to see the rocks and walk around for a bit, it’s a great view.
- Denver Performing Arts Center This is where a lots of the touring Broadway shows play. There are some cute coffee shops and places to grab a drink before or after the show close by.
- Rockies Game There are almost always inexpensive tickets available, and the sunset over the field is gorgeous.
If you are looking for somewhere to stroll in and out of shops, I recommend South Broadway or Cherry Creek North. Both have wonderful places for food (some on the list above) and shops galore.
- The Artisan Center The perfect place to pick up a unique gift.
- Hazel & Dewey Adorable kitchen and housewares.
- Ironwood A neat shop on Broadway with plants, crystals, jewelry, etc. It’s got a cool feel.
- Denver Central Market This is more like a place to eat/hang out, but it IS a market where you can purchase fresh bread, fish, etc.
- Tattered Cover Book Store There are two locations, and my favorite is the one downtown.
- Molly Brown House and Museum Molly Brown (from the Titanic) lived in Denver, and her house has been restored and turned into a museum. It’s really fascinating to learn about her life and how different Denver was when it was first being founded.
- The Source Home to Acorn (a place to go for a nice dinner!), Comida (a Mexican restaurant), a coffee place, and a few other shops. I love going to Crooked Stave for sour beer.
- Grays and Torreys Two of the “easier” 14ers. If you are staying for a longer period of time and want to do a 14er, this one let’s you summit 2 in one day. Make sure to leave early from Denver (like 5am) to beat the crowds, and to have enough time to make it down the mountain before afternoon storms roll in.
- Chautauqua Park in Boulder This is where you can hike the Flat Irons. The views are really pretty, and it’s a good hike for people who may not be acclimated to the altitude. Boulder is fun to explore after too.
- Rocky Mountain National Park We didn’t do as much hiking here as we would have liked because these trails aren’t dog friendly, but you really can’t go wrong with a hike here.
- Colorado Sand Dunes We made a weekend out of this trip. The dunes are absolutely huge and so unreal. Warning – you will get sand EVERYWHERE so bring clothes and shoes to change into.
Let me know if you’re visiting Denver, OR if I missed anything!