Denver: A Mile-High Marvel
Denver is a choice destination for food lovers, craft beer drinkers, sports fans and museum-goers alike, making it the perfect city for a summer weekend getaway.
First and foremost, Denver is known for its outdoor activities. There are plenty of hikes easily accessible. A $9 regional bus ticket covers a round trip to Boulder, where the Flagstaff Trail begins just a half-hour walk from the bus station. The trail is moderately challenging – especially with the altitude. But the effort pays off, with a view of Boulder from above and snow-capped mountains in the distance.
For an introduction to the history and layout of Denver, take a free walking tour. No advance registration is required. Tours begin each day at 10 a.m. right across the street from the Capitol. A knowledgeable guide leads a two-hour excursion through the city, passing landmarks such as “I See What You Mean.” This well-known piece of public art outside the Convention Center is better known as the Blue Bear.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood has delicious options for brunch before the tour. City O’City, an all-vegetarian restaurant and bar., is especially popular Try the waffle of the week – when I visited, it was a savory waffle served with chicken-fried cauliflower, vegetables and curry sauce. Jelly Cafe, just a few blocks away, has comfort food like sliders, biscuits and mini donuts.
The tour’s final stops are Union Station and Coors Field. That neighborhood that also has plenty of dining options. Wynkoop Brewing Company, Colorado’s oldest brewpub, offers a range of snacks and main courses, some vegetarian-friendly. Beers on tap range from IPAs to stouts. Patty’s chile beer, a golden ale aged with a variety of peppers, is just one distinctive offering.
Great Divide Brewing is also located within walking distance. The taproom doesn’t serve food, but stop by for a refreshing strawberry rhubarb sour ale or a crisp Samurai rice ale. Another nearby attraction is the 16th Street Mall. This pedestrian-only thoroughfare has dozens of stores, coffee shops and restaurants. A convenient free shuttle runs along the Mall continuously throughout the day.
Other outstanding museums in the area include the Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Mint. The former is located in scenic City Park. Its exhibits on gems and minerals and on fossils feature some that were found within the state.
The Mint is one of only two sites in the U.S. where coins are made. Tickets are not sold ahead of time. Visitors line up at 7 a.m. and all tickets for the day are typically distributed within the hour. If you visit, note that no bags are allowed and there is no storage available. Phones are permitted inside but must be turned off.
Weather permitting, Denver’s Botanic Gardens are also a popular attraction. In addition to gardens that represent cultures around the world, there are large-scale sculptures by well-known artist Alexander Calder. Even in inclement weather, there are indoor greenhouses with collections of exotic plants.
Colorado may be a paradise for winter sports, but a summer weekend in the Mile-High City has plenty to offer for any visitor.
If you go:
1449 Lincoln St.
Daily at 10 a.m.
206 E. 13th Ave.
Hours: Daily 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
600 E. 13th Ave.
Hours: Daily 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1940 Blake St.
Hours: closed Sunday and Monday, noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
2201 Arapahoe St.
Hours: Sunday through Tuesday noon to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday noon to 10 p.m.
2001 Colorado Ave.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
West Colfax Avenue and Delaware Street
Tours available Monday through Thursday, five times daily