What I ate, drank & saw during my visit to Denver, Colorado
Denver was a city that had been on my list of places to visit for a very long time. It seemed like the perfect place to vacation with it’s mix of eclectic eats, booming nature, and bustling nightlife. With that said, my list of things to do consisted of eating, spending time outdoors & hitting the bars. From the moment we landed at Denver International Airport I knew this was a special city. I’m from Los Angeles which is important to know to understand the gravity of this next sentence. The air was SO FRESH. Stepping out of the airport & breathing in the beautiful Colorado air was something else. I was worried about the altitude being an issue since it’s so much higher than I’m used to, but the air was so fresh & easy to breathe, I never even noticed the altitude!
We landed in Denver early enough in the day that we wanted to hit the ground running. The first thing we did after dropping our bags at our Air BnB? Sought out some easy eats so we could refuel & keep going. I’m a sandwich lover through & through so naturally I had to find a sandwich joint. I took to yelp & found a place not too far from where we were staying. When I travel, I like to plan a few things each day as anchors to make sure I see & do the things I really want to, but then I leave the rest of the day open to exploring. Between landing & hitting the Rockies game that evening, our day was open.
Zeps, located in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, stood out immediately for it’s expansive menu packed with delicious sandwiches & local brews. We ordered the Breckenridge Bourbon Dip & the Telluride. We also shared a Blue Mesa which was a local beer & it was delicious. Cold, crisp & fruity which is my favorite type of beer. The sandwiches were thoughtfully created, piled high with quality ingredients. What more can you expect from a great sandwich? This meal was the perfect start to our trip.
With bellies full of yummy sandwiches we headed to our next stop. The phrase “when in Rome” should come to mind when I tell you we headed to a dispensary next. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuanna so we thought it would be fun to check out what a real dispensary looked like. If you don’t already know, dispensaries are not the place to take pictures so you’ll have to take my word for it, it was pretty cool. It’s probably what you’re picturing, a room with display cases filled with weed & other goodies like vapes, accessories & more!
After leaving the dispensary we figured we’d start walking & see where we ended up. We ended up at a really cool food hall, located between Golden Triangle & Capitol Hill, called Broadway Market. Inside you can find food from some of Denver’s most well known chefs, a self-serve beer wall (it’s as cool as it sounds), games & so much more! We opted for the self serve beer wall obviously. Beer in hand we did a lap of the market to check out some local shops, cool art, and grabbed a snack from Maria Empanada. You should know something about me, if there is an empanada on the menu, I will order it. Spoiler alert, I’m pretty sure I consumed at least 6 empanadas throughout my stay in Denver. Broadway Market is definitely somewhere I recommend checking out if you’re in Denver! I could have spent all day there.
Exploring Downtown Denver
After leaving Broadway Market we spent the remainder of the afternoon walking the streets of Denver & doing some serious sight seeing. I also love to take the first day of traveling to get a lay of the land to make it easier to get around the rest of the trip! We checked out some beautiful parks, Denver Public Library & Coors Field where we ended the night watching the Rockies play! If you find yourself in Denver during baseball season I highly recommend checking out a Rockies game! The stadium was gorgeous, centrally located & easy to get to, with delicious drinks & friendly people. It was the perfect ending to our first day in Denver!
Day 2 & we really wanted to get a jump on the day so we could do & see as much as possible! Our first stop was to a coffee shop in the neighborhood of Chessmen Park, so we could caffeinate ourselves before heading to what was probably the most anticipated outing we were going to have on this trip. Today we were finally going to the Denver Biscuit Company, a place that had been recommended to me by almost every single person who had been to Denver. We started the day by grabbing a cup of joe from Thump Coffee. The coffee was delicious, the place was very cute & everyone working was delightful. It was a great local spot to grab some coffee before a big day!
This was probably the most anticipated meal we had the entire trip. I had asked people what spots they recommended when visiting Denver & an overwhelming amount of people said to check out Denver Biscuit Company, located in City Park & I now know why.
When we arrived there was a pretty long wait which seemed unusual for a Thursday morning but after trying the food, I understand why. This place is partnered with a pizza joint so there were a lot of options when it came to ordering. Sitting at the table & watching these incredible biscuit sandwiches go by, I knew what I needed to order. This place is called Denver Biscuit Company after all. After perusing the menu I landed on The Franklin. It was a biscuit topped with friend chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, sausage gravy & a fried egg. Yeah, I know. HEAVEN. We also ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza, you know, for research.
The food arrived & I was in shock. It looked & smelled incredible. I have eaten a lot of biscuits in my life, including the coveted Cracker Barrel biscuit so take what I’m about to say very seriously. This was the best biscuit I have ever eaten. It was warm, flaky, pillowy, hot, buttery & all around perfection. The chicken was cooked perfectly & tied beautifully with the savory sausage gravy. The cheese was the perfect blanket to go over all this goodness & the egg was the crown of this incredible dish. The yolk ran down the sandwich, combined with the delicious gravy it created this delectable sauce to dunk all the biscuit & chicken-ey goodness. The pizza was also delicious. Crispy crust & melty cheese, you really can’t go wrong. This place was highly recommended & now I can recommenced it to you. If you’re ever in Denver, this place better be on your list!
Denver City Park
After an insanely heavy, but equally delicious meal, it was time for some walking. We headed for the Denver Zoo which was just a few miles away from the restaurant. We walked through Denver City Park which was large & so beautiful. It had so much green, I was blown away. There were walking trails, grassy areas perfect for relaxing & it was all surrounding a beautiful lake where you could rent a paddle boat & go for a ride. I easily could have spent the whole afternoon there just enjoying the fresh air & gorgeous nature. If you’re looking for a nice spot to have a picnic or just enjoy the outdoors, Denver City Park is your spot.
I’m the type of person who loves to check out the local zoo anywhere I visit so I knew Denver would be no exception. We got really lucky that it was pretty much empty so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves! The zoo was fabulous. It was clean & easy to navigate. We got to see so many cool animals & all the folks working there were so knowledgeable. It definitely is a spot I recommend checking out when you’re in Denver! Bonus: their snack bar has Dole Whip!
Cuba Cuba was one of the best meals we had the entire trip. Cuban food is one of my favorite cuisines so I was really excited to check them out. This is a great spot for date night, or celebrating a friends birthday, or even just a solo dinner. The restaurant itself is located in between Golden Triangle & Lincoln Park & was insanely gorgeous with a really fun vibe. It’s located in a residential area in an old house that was remodeled to be a restaurant, so it’s very quaint & comfortable. Just from looking at the outside of the restaurant we knew we were in for a treat! We opted to sit on the outside patio since it’s summer & the weather was beautiful. The menu had all the cuban classics so deciding what to order was difficult.
I noticed empanadas on the appetizer menu so, of course, I had to get them. They were delicious! Crispy on the outside, hot & savory on the inside. We ordered the Picadillo Empanada because that’s always my go to! It was filled with ground beef, sofrito, peppers, potatoes & raisins. For the main course we ordered the Churrasco con Chimichurri which is classically an Argentinian dish that they put a cuban twist on. My mom was born in Argentina so my love for Argentinian food runs very deep.
Churrasco is a grilled skirt steak that was served with French fries & slaw. The meat was cooked to perfection & insanely tender. It was served with a house made chimichurri which was to die for. We also ordered the Lechon Asado, another go to when dining in a cuban joint. Lechon Asado is a slow roasted pork that they served up with garlic mojo, yucca fries & morro rice & beans. The pork was so tender & juicy with so much flavor from the mojo. Everything was incredible, Cuba Cuba is very high on my list of Denver restaurant recommendations!
We finished off the night on the patio at Denver Beer Co. with some delicious beers, fun board games & lots of cute dogs to look at! Located in the Highland neighborhood, this place was a fun, casual & dog friendly spot perfect for grabbing some beers with friends!
This trip was actually to celebrate my birthday so on the third day my two best friends joined us in Denver, so the beginning of our day was killing time until the rest of the gang arrived. We started out day 3 just like day 2, with a trip to a cute coffee shop!
Port Side was a delightful coffee shop in the Five Points neighborhood, serving up tasty coffee, unique treats & so much more! We popped in to grab some drinks but the shop was so pretty, I could have stayed all day! My coffee was delicious & so was the chocolate chip cookie I impulse bought at the register (we’ve all been there okay!). If you’re in the Five Points neighborhood it’s definitely worth the stop!
Coffees in hand, we headed down the street to check out Denver Central Market. It was a short walk but there was no shortage of incredible street art to ohh & awe over. Denver is a very eclectic city & this really showed through when looking at this amazing street art. Most of this was located in the alley way behind the market where you can also find shops & offices. This neighborhood also has a lot of really unique sticker walls to look at so you know I had to leave my mark!
We finally headed into the market & I swear it was like walking into heaven. This place had it all! There was a wide variety of restaurants, shops, dessert spots & more. The smell in that place was phenomenal from all the incredible cuisine they offered restaurant to restaurant. There were so many places I wanted to check out but my belly could only handle so much! There was a cheese shop serving up sandwiches & cheese boards next to a case of specialty cheeses & charcuterie, a salad joint building custom salads, a fish stand offering tacos, sandwiches & more. Don’t even get me started on dessert! Weather you wanted ice cream, pastries, chocolate truffles, it was all yours for the choosing!
I made the responsible decision & had a salad from Green Seed to hopefully offset the gnarly biscuit sandwich I inhaled the day before. The salad was delicious & fresh! Just what my body needed. But don’t worry, I managed to snag a glorious looking chocolate croissant from Izzio Bakery on my way out. This croissant was true heaven. Easily the best chocolate croissant I have ever eaten. It was ferociously flaky on the outside & rich as can be on the inside. It was the definition of chocolate wasted.
The Gang’s All Here!
My friends had finally arrived in Denver so after pulling ourselves out of Denver Central Market we headed downtown to meet our friends at their hotel! We spent the rest of the evening wandering around the city, eating yummy food & hitting Prost Brewing in the Highland neighborhood. They enjoyed some delicious local brews & I opted for a Kombucha on draft in another attempt to save my body from all the decadent food. This brewery was super fun with a large outdoor patio looking over the Denver skyline. They had plenty of games & a large beer selection. It was the perfect spot to enjoy some beers & catch up with friends!
When I plan to go visit a city, there is usually one main reason that city is on my list. Today was the day I got to experience the reason I wanted to come to Denver. Today was the day I got to see the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater! Red Rocks is very well know for it’s natural beauty & for the big names that roll though & perform there.
One of my dreams is to see a show at Red Rocks, but unfortunately there were not any shows I wanted to see while we were in town. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from seeing this beauty in person! It’s a little ways out of the city so we hopped in an Uber & headed to Morrison where the amphitheater is located. The drive was so beautiful. It was green & so mountainous. Something you don’t get much of anymore in California because of the wildfires & never ending drought, so it was really a treat!
No description I can give you will do justice to the beauty that is Red Rocks National Park, but I’ll try! You can hike at Red Rocks, but being the unathletic bunch we are, we opted for the normal walk up to the amphitheater which, unbeknownst to us, was basically a hike. This was the only time the altitude was a factor for me but it was also an incredibly steep & long set of stairs you had to trek up to get to he amphitheater, so being totally out of shape was more-so the issue.
We finally reached the amphitheater & we were all speechless & not just because we were all horribly out of breath. It was difficult to make it up there, but so incredibly worth it. I basically planned this entire trip around seeing Red Rocks & once I got there, I knew I made the right decision. This landmark is something you NEED to see in your lifetime! I couldn’t recommend it more! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves 😉
After leaving Red Rocks we headed down the road to the city of Golden to check out New Terrain Brewing. This place is gorgeous! It’s right on a mountain with a large patio & open concept with views of rolling hills of green going for miles & miles. They have a large selection of craft beer & food trucks serving up some delicious grub. We each got a flight of their beers so we could try them all. The beers were so refreshing & crisp, with different flavors making them all unique.
My friend & I split some dan dan noodles & dumplings from the J Street food truck & it was all very tasty. Their food is so flavorful & has a real authentic taste. It was the perfect pairing to the wide beer selection! New Terrain was bustling with people drinking & eating, hanging out with their friends & family. It was the perfect spot to spend a Saturday afternoon. I definitely recommend checking out New Terrain if you find yourself in the area!
We spent the rest of the day heading back into Denver to explore the city more & walk off all the delicious food & beer we just consumed! We checked out the crazy sale happening at REI, took a train ride then finished the afternoon with a long walk back into downtown Denver, where we got to see some really beautiful spots! Then it was back home to rest before we met back up for dinner! Dinner was at a pizza shop that I really couldn’t recommend, the food wasn’t great & the service was lacking but we finished the night with some drinks at the Maven Hotel in downtown Denver to cap off day 4!
It’s our last day in Denver & it’s a Sunday so if you know me, you should know what this means. It means I’m hitting a Farmer’s Market! We decided on the Old South Pearl Street Farmer’s Market because of it’s close location to our next stop, but I’ll get to that later! I have to admit, it was really hard being at such a great farmer’s market & not really being able to buy anything since I was traveling. I sampled my way through the entire thing & decided to grab a breakfast sandwich on our way out! It was a Brazilian cheese bread stuffed with eggs, bacon, tomatoes & onion. It was the perfect meal on the go! Whenever you’re traveling, it’s always really fun to check out the neighborhood Farmer’s Market to see what kinds of local goodies that city has to offer!
When researching things to do in Denver, the Church of Cannabis was one of the places that kept popping up, & immediately interested me. Judging by the name you’d think it was just a place full of hippies smoking weed, but it’s not at all what you’d think. There actually is not any smoking allowed inside, it is a church after all! We were all intrigued so naturally it had to be a stop on the list. We purchased tickets & headed inside. The ticket allows you entry into the church as well as access to their 30 minute guided meditative experience called “Beyond” which sounded very relaxing. We entered the church & it looked like one big bachelor pad. There were all kinds of cool games, couches & statues from all over, filling the room. There were arcade games, video games, ping pong & more.
It was easily a place you could spend your entire day! The walls were all painted with cool murals & everyone was so friendly. In another room you can find couches & a large projection screen that was playing Planet Earth. We took a seat & before we knew it, 20 minutes had gone by! We explored around a little more before we were called for the guided meditation. The guided meditation was in the actual church area & we were instructed to sit, or lie down & get comfortable. The next 30 minutes we spent in a guided meditation with an accompanying light show on the ceiling. It was really magnificent & so relaxing! Weather or not you are a cannabis user, this is a place you MUST experience!
Back to Denver Central Market
After an exciting morning it was time to regroup & decide on our last dinner in Denver. We were having a hard time deciding on where to go since everyone had different ideas of what they were craving so I suggested we head to Denver Central Market where everyone could have exactly what they wanted! I also selfishly wanted to check out the market one last time before heading back to California. This time, I was not getting the salad!
In the market lives an Italian spot by the name of Vero, serving up wood fired pizzas & fresh made pastas that caught my attention the first time around, so I knew what I was having for dinner! My friend ordered the Bucatini Diavola, I got the Orecchiette with Pork Ragu & my fiancé ordered the Buratta pizza, which was on special. They were all fantastic! So fantastic I’m glad I dragged everyone back to DCM for a second time! You can never go wrong with Italian. It was the most perfect last meal to share before the long trek back home!
This trip was so incredible I already can’t wait to go back! Denver is such an eclectic city with so much to offer! It’s a great place to travel with family friends, or even on a solo trip. They have quality food, sights, beers, people & activities sure to please everyone. If Denver isn’t on your list of places to visit, it needs to be!