LoDo and Ball Park are at the northern end of downtown, all converted from old factories and warehouses. Although it’s probably obvious just given the name, the gentleman would kill me if I didn’t tell you that this is where Coors Field, the home of the fabulous Rockies MLB team, lives. You can grab Rock Pile tickets for under $10, and there are great mountain views from the stadium.
And, of course, you must visit [the original] Snooze, one of my favorite breakfast places thanks to their incredible gourmet pancakes and ever-changing menu. If you can go during the week, I’d recommend it because that place gets packed out on the weekends. Or I always love a good bakery for breakfast or a light lunch–check out Hi-Rise (and get the chicken pesto panini!).
The south end of downtown is near and dear to my heart. I worked at the capitol for a couple of years and the gentleman and I loved our darling old apartment at 10th and Washington. In Capitol Hill, you can, of course, visit the capitol, along with the library and the Denver Art Museum. Head east up 13th to grab a coffee or vegan meal at City O’City, and then pop into Pandora and Buffalo Exchange for some shopping. You could also head south down Sherman for a stroll down Poet’s Row just because it’s fun to see all the historic apartment buildings.
Work your way up Colfax for a seedy tour via “the life blood” of Denver. Colfax is one of the longest city roads in the country, and you can see everything from there (the good, the bad, and the ugly, my friends). We particularly love City Grille, which probably has the best hamburger in the county; Pete’s Greek, a greasy dive that’s part of a collection of restaurants owned by Pete; and the Irish Snug, a casual pub with a great patio.
Just south of downtown is one of our favorite hangout spots. Head out of town on Broadway, and you’ll eventually stumble into a rough-looking shopping paradise. Check out some of my favorite stores like Fancy Tiger, Starlet, the Denver Book Fair, and Decade. We love grabbing ice cream at Sweet Action; gourmet Mexican food at El Diablo’s; and catching independent films at the Mayan theater. Also, the South Broadway Goodwill is my favorite. And if you keep heading south, you’ll eventually get to Antique Row for the broadest selection of for real antique stores and an Arc thrift store. And, for the ladies at least, you must, must, must see Beatrice and Woodsley for wine and tapas (but even more so for the fairyland atmosphere–read my One Magazine review here).
Wash(ington) Park/Platte Park
No one says Washington Park. This is the residential neighborhood for all those young, Range Rover driving yuppies. And also the most gorgeous park complete with cute four-seater bikes, volleyball, and a great recreation center. If you’re in the area, you’ll probably want to see Gaylord Street–check out Devil’s Food for a darling (and organic!) breakfast or Wash Park Grill for great happy hour specials. Our church, Denver Community Church, is just blocks from the park too.
Just south of Wash Park is Platte Park, a much smaller park though the neighborhood has the same feel. The most popular attraction in the area is Old South Pearl Street. Warm weekends feature a great farmer’s market; but you can always grab brunch at Gaia, shop 5 Green Boxes, or grab a buffalo burger at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery. We also hang out at Hanson’s occasionally (where Jeff and Sarah got engaged!) and I love the Village Cork, a cute wine bar. And for the BEST burger on the south side of town, don’t miss Park Burger.
These neighborhoods are not even remotely near each other. In fact, they are on complete opposite sides of town. I lump them together because, while they are popular places to hang out, I don’t spend much time in either, so you can’t really call me the resident expert.
Cherry Creek is the uppity side of town, but because of that, I feel it’s a bit generic. Denver is a true urban town with good “city grit,” as my friend Caroline likes to say. That said, if you’re in the mood for some mainstream kind of shopping, Cherry Creek has a nice large shopping mall as well several blocks of outdoor shopping (just be prepared to dish out the cash). Sadly, my favorite restaurant in the area closed; however, if you’re willing to wait an hour, you might grab a burger and frings at the Cherry Cricket, a dark and dingy dive that blasts all of the Cherry Creek stereotypes.
The Highlands are half commercial, half residential. Highlands Square offers some cute shops like the Perfect Petal, Real Baby Denver, and Wordshop. Swing through LoHi (lower Highlands) and Riverfront Park for unique Mexican and yummy brunch at Lola’s or dressed up comfort food at Vita (we had our engagement party on the rooftop patio!); grab smooth ice cream from a cool building at Little Man’s; and, just because, stop in Scribbles, the cutest stationary shop.
There are some misconceptions about Denver. For example, people think we’re in the mountains so it’s always cold. We’re not in the mountains even though we’re a mile high (Denver actually sits in a bowl below the mountains), and honestly, we have some of the most mild, incredible weather.
So if you’re headed here looking for some snow, mountain scenery, and extreme outdoor adventure, you’re going to need to plan on making a trip up into the mountains. I don’t live in the mountains, so I’m not an expert; however, I do quite a bit of skiing, so I can talk slopes with you. I can also make recommendations for white water rafting and some pretty drives.
I grew up going to Breckenridge every summer and winter, and my parents currently live there. So if you’re looking for a ski resort with more of a little town feel, I’d suggest heading to Breck. Aside from skiing, you’ll want to grab coffee at The Crown; bar food at Fatty’s; pizza from Eric’s; and then go shopping at Canary in a Clothes Mine.