Though Denver is known as the “Mile High City,” you don't need to literally be high to savor its benefits – but if that's your thing, Colorado was among the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. People also flock to the city, which was named one of U.S. News & World Report's top places to live in America, for its bustling restaurant and craft brewery scene (it's the place to find the annual Great American Beer Festival), proximity to world-class ski resorts, and also the buzzy arts district. Plus, you would be surprised to discover it's one of the sunniest cities in the U.S. with about 300 times of blue skies all year round and since it's 5,280 feet above sea level, it basically has no humidity. Good stuff to do and good hair days? Count us in.
Where to Stay
The Source Hotel ($$)
Denver's River North Art District (a.k.a. “RiNo” – pronounced “rhino”) may be the city's liveliest neighborhood as it's the epicenter of culture, street art, breweries, and cool food halls. The 100-room Source Hotel sits amidst all the action as one of the only high rises in the region. Guests checking in feel right at home having a complimentary four-ounce sample of locally brewed beer, which gives you a preview of what is offered at the top-floor restaurant, Woods. The rooms are inspired by minimalist Scandinavian design (think: concrete floors, Baltic Woodward, high ceilings, and enormous windows). But despite the industrial aesthetic, it does not forgo the comfortable luxuries just like a free-standing Japanese tub, crisp linens, and panoramic views. Along with Woods, the adjacent market hall is really a go-to destination with 25 artisans from bakeries to pizzerias to barbecue. There's also the stunning Safta restaurant on site from James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya who brings his Israeli background towards the restaurant's mixture of small and large plates meant for sharing. When you want to chill, visit one of the hotel's two rooftop plunge pools with gorgeous mountain views.
The Curtis ($$)
From the outside, it might look like a typical Hilton, but the inside doesn't feel so much like a hotel as it is an experience. After playing a few games within the lobby, head to the front desk and challenge employees to a bet on rock-paper-scissors for any potential free room upgrade. You'll find a different theme on each of the floors that reference pop culture with funky knick-knacks and nostalgic tchotchkes to complement – even the lobby and elevators are decorated. The “Mad About Music Floor,” for example, includes a Jimmy Buffett-inspired room with blue flooring and a huge Margaritaville mural. Guests who stay on the “Fun and Games Floor” will walk-through a Pacman-themed hallway to get to their room. The 13th floor is perfect for the brave of heart, as it’s inspired by horror films. Located right in the center of downtown Denver, you will not require a car to get around to see tons of sites, plus the 16th Street Mall, Coors Field, and Denver Art Museum really are a free 10-minute shuttle away. While there's no pool around the premises, you can use the one at the sister Hilton property, the Embassy Suites Downtown Convention Center, only a block away.
The Ramble Hotel ($$$)
The Ramble Hotel takes inspiration from aristocratic hostess Madame Rambouillet's French salons from the 17th century (Ramble may be the hotel's shortened version of her name). The lobby with a variety of seating areas for chilling out and lingering captures the spirit of the salons, that have been a platform for creating a community through meaningful conversations. It really isn't much of your typical hotel lobby – when you walk in, rather than a typical front desk, you step inside the scene-y Death & Co bar (the first location beyond NYC). Each one of the 50 rooms is decorated with a vintage feel and a stylish color palette of navy and brass accents. The windows actually open and also the minibar is tastefully curated with prosciutto and cheese. It's these small touches which make mtss is a hotel ideal for individuals who normally hate staying in hotels.
Where to Eat and Drink
Sustainability isn't just a buzzword with this eatery, it is a lifestyle. Several ways they prove their dedication to providing ethically sourced, healthy food choices? All the animal proteins they serve are human, pasture-raised, and use vegetarian feed. All of the seafood is certified through the Marine Stewardship Council, meaning it's ethically sourced. Plus, 20% of their seasonal herbs and veggies originate from their particular 6,000 sq . ft . garden. While you can't fail with the dinner items, the brunch may be worth the wait – almond pancakes, zucchini bread French toast, and the fried chicken with goat cheese biscuit are among favorites. Open from Tuesday to Saturday for supper service and weekday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Mercantile Dining & Provision
Thanks to the location in Union Station, this restaurant allures local businessmen and tourists alike for convenient, casual lunches throughout the day and more intimate dinners during the night. James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Seidel brings his eclectic resume as a restaurateur, farmer, bakery owner, and more towards the modern menu. The burger, seared scallops, and carbonara really should be in your radar. Mercantile also boasts one of the most comprehensive wine lists around. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 pm.
Moods. Beats. Potions.
Be among the first to welcome this new Black-owned eatery in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. Here, chef Corey Smith (who comes from sister restaurant Mimosas) serves a Creole- and French-inspired menu. Think: crispy jerk chicken with basmati rice, charcuterie boards, and house-made jalapeno cornbread. After your meal, you'll likely wish to linger – there's a cocktail lounge in addition to a patio. Open for supper service Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Forget Me Not
This new, floral-inspired lounge (it really used to be a florist) has a simple mission: Be considered a place to make memories. Beverage director Nicole Lebedevitch desired to create a destination that was comfortable and sophisticated with accessible drinks (that vary from $12-$14 per cocktail). The 40-person front patio is really a major perk during our pandemic era to enjoy unique seasonal drinks with creative presentation. Open from Wednesday to Sunday from three p.m. to as late as 2 p.m., with respect to the night.
What to Do
Denver Graffiti Tour
Your Instagram grid is going to obtain a lot more colorful in this two-hour walking tour. You'll discover the stories behind the ever-changing street art, murals, and graffiti all over the RiNo neighborhood. The tour guides take you through plenty of examples of the cultural and political need for certain pieces and just how art affects everyday routine. Be sure to book ahead as the tours are just on weekends at 10 a.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens
This 24-acre oasis is great year-round – featuring diverse flowers and plants throughout the planet in its 50 gardens. The ability has hosted popular touring exhibits like Dale Chihuly, Salvador Dali, and Yoshitomo Saito. There's also a children's garden, live concerts throughout the summer, a Christmas festival, along with other events all year round. Open 9 a.m. to 5 or 8 p.m. (with respect to the season) daily.
Denver Art Museum
With a lot more than 70,000 featured pieces from world-famous artists like Vincent Van Gogh, the Denver Art Museum has something for everybody. It's popular for its assortment of Western American art as well as American Indian art and recently went through a huge renovation project to include new exhibition spaces, two new dining options, and a welcome center. To create art more accessible to kids and youth, admission is free for anybody under 18. There are also several free admission days to the public all year round. Open every single day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
About half an hour west of downtown Denver, you'll find Red Rocks, the only naturally-occurring acoustically perfect amphitheater on the planet, according to Afar. On either side of the stage, you will see two 300-foot orange sandstone formations that seat 69 rows. During the day, get a workout by accumulating and down the stairs – Rocky Balboa style – or on weekends have a pro-led early morning yoga session around the rocks. During the night, you can enjoy a musical performance underneath the stars. Whether you're into opera or rock, you will find the knowledge magical. Admission and parking have the freedom and you can make a full day out of it by hitting one of the nearby hiking trails. Open 1 hour before sunrise and something hour after sunset on non-event days.