Craft breweries, boutique hotels, delicious food and a thriving arts scene – Denver, Colorado, is the perfect spot for travellers in search of an urban city break. Here’s how to maximise 48 hours in the Mile High City.
Head to Mercantile Dining & Provisions from James Beard Award-winner Alex Seidel, located inside the stunning Denver Union Station. Devour house-made pastries, breakfast sandwiches and signature oats, as well as fresh pressed juices and delicious coffee flights. One of the city’s most historic landmarks, Denver Union Station is home to the iconic Tattered Cover Book Store as well as a number of other boutiques so it’s well worth sticking around to explore. Outside the station, visitors can take the Free MallRide bus which runs daily along 16th Street Mall. Its final stop is the Civic Center Station, giving easy access to the Golden Triangle Creative District. Here, visitors can explore 16 museums and galleries including the Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum and History Colorado Center. Also not to be missed is the Colorado State Capitol Building, where visitors will find the official Mile High step. When hunger strikes, City, O’ City is a great spot for a healthy veggie bite.
After lunch, head to the Colorado Convention Center and snap a photo with the iconic Big Blue Bear, a 40-foot statue which can be seen peering into the center’s windows. A short walk from there is Confluence Park – visitors can stroll alongside the South Platte River, which stretches from Colorado to Nebraska, before arriving at the Empower Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos. For dinner, head to the picturesque Larimer Square, which has a range of delicious options, from Mediterranean dishes at Rioja to Japanese-inspire cuisine at TAG.
Finish off the day back over the river for a crisp craft beer at Denver Beer Co, followed by dinner at The Bindery, an award-winning restaurant perched on the edge of Denver’s Lower Highland. Offering stunning views of Denver’s skyline, this chic neighbourhood eatery focuses on the craft of cooking, turning out delicious yet inventive dishes and artful cocktails that beam with originality.
Grab breakfast at Denver Central Market in the trendy RiNo district. Doors open at 8am and diners can feast on everything from artisanal baked goods at Izzio to fresh berry bowls at Green Seed. After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely stroll around RiNo – this hip neighbourhood offers a number of boutiques, breweries and galleries to explore as well as a huge amount of street art by local and international artists. Denver Graffiti Tour is a great way to learn about the stories behind the murals. For lunch, head to Lou’s Italian Specialities, which opened in the Cole neighbourhood last autumn. The diner offers hearty Italian favourites such as hot chicken parmesan sandwiches, made using homemade marinara sauce and caprese paninis.
Burn off the lunch calories at City Park, a beautiful open space offering sweeping views of the city. Visitors can stroll around Ferril Lake, pay a visit to the 3,000 animals residing at Denver Zoo or head to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. In the evening, The Plimoth is a great local’s restaurant offering a contemporary, seasonal menu; dishes include root vegetable gratin and cracklin’ chicken coconut curry.
Head back to RiNo for a post-dinner drink – Millers & Rossi is a speakeasy hidden in the back of an art gallery, where guests can enjoy craft cocktails and live music.
Stay: Boutique hotel Life House opens this May in Denver’s Lower Highlands neighbourhood. Combining Victorian influences with Native American accents, this eclectic new property aims to be an affordable yet stylish offering for “mature millennials”.
Getting there: British Airways, Norwegian and United all flight direct from London to Denver.
More information: www.denver.org