For Thanksgiving last year, my family took a trip to visit my brother in Denver, Colorado. Although it wasn’t the warm, sunny vacation that I always envision, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Seeing the mountains reminded me of how big the world is, and how small and insignificant my problems can be. This might sound depressing, but I mean it in a good way! A trip to the mountains cleared my mind of all negativity in my life, and gave me a chance to reconnect with mother nature (and my family).
Of course, we did some sight-seeing and boozing too….it wouldn’t be a family trip without the drinking part (let’s be honest). So, if you ever find yourself planning a trip out West, here are some of my favorite spots to visit in Denver.
Stay Alfred at The Station (Little Raven)
My mom booked a condo downtown Denver with Stay Alfred. It was reasonably priced, and fit all of us comfortably (5 people)! I would highly recommend these condos to anyone in the future, especially because the location was perfect. We were walking distance from a ton of restaurants, bars and shopping.
We love going to Estes Park. It’s about an hour and a half outside of Denver, but well worth the trip (not to mention, the drive to get there is absolutely breathtaking). It was a little cold when we were there, so we didn’t get to hike very long, but in the summertime it’s beautiful! We’re also not really the most experienced hikers, so this was perfect for us. We wanted something that wasn’t too difficult, but would still give us those scenic views, and some exercise. You could easily spend a whole day hiking the trails here, and then head down to the little town for dinner.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Although this is one of the most well-known concert venues in the country, we still considered it a hike. I mean, come on – look at all those stairs!!? It was a warm day so we were definitely sweating by the time we made it to the top (like I said, we’re not experienced hikers). The views are outrageous! Can you imagine going to a concert here?! It’s absolutely on my bucket list.
Eat & Drink
Avanti Food Court
We had a lot of people recommend Avanti to us because it had just opened downtown Denver. It’s a two-level food court with all kinds of cuisine options! This was a nice spot for lunch because we could all get what we wanted in one place. The views are also amazing from their rooftop patio!
Who knew a train station could be so beautiful?! I was in awe when we walked into Union Station downtown Denver. There were so many restaurants and little shops…we could have stayed all day! We loved it so much, we went the first time for a night cap at The Terminal Bar, and the other time for breakfast at the Snooze Eatery (everyone was so nice to us, we even got free pancakes). If we had more time, I would have loved to try Mercantile Dining & Provision for dinner. Next trip, for sure 🙂
The Coors Factory Tour
This was Andrew’s favorite part of the whole trip. He is the biggest Coors Light fan you’ll ever meet (no joke)! The Coors Factory is located in Golden, Colorado, which is only about twenty minutes outside of Denver (we did Red Rocks and this tour in the same day). The line for the tour starts to form pretty early on the weekends, so definitely get there in the morning to avoid the crowds! It’s free and they give you 3 drink tickets to try the different beers when you reach the end. Andrew claims it was the “freshest Coors Light” he’s ever tasted, and I tend to believe him 🙂
Denver Beer Co.
We had some time to kill one of the days, so we walked to Denver Beer Co. for a drink. This brewery is located on Platte street (between the LoHis and LoDo) and they have a ton of beers on tap! I had the Princess Yum Yum beer, which was super tasty. You’ll see they have a little food truck sitting outside (to the right) for their normal lunchtime crew.
Hogshead was the overall favorite brewery of the trip. It was recommended to us by a local, who said they had some of the best beer in town, and he wasn’t wrong. Located in Slo-Hi, it’s not far from downtown Denver, so we spent most of our last day here to kill some time before heading to the airport. We sat at the bar and taste-tested all the different beers on tap, and the boys bought casks to bring home and drink later. For Christmas, my mom asked my brother to bring home more casks and surprised everyone with one stuffed in their stocking! She really knows the way to our hearts. 🙂
If you’re looking to visit somewhere a little warmer, check out my trip to Scottsdale, AZ.