Craving a sweet escape? Look no further than Denver, Colorado—where the sun is shining, the beer is plentiful, and activity options are never ending. Denver has recently become synonymous with its cannabis creations, but a trip to the Mile High City can be so much more than a weed tour. The host city of the most recent season of Top Chef, Denver hosts some of the best restaurants in America, most with an emphasis on sustainable, local ingredients. Denver is also home to master drink-makers, hikers, bikers, tech-extraordinaires, and trend-setters. A trip to Denver is essential this season, and we’re here to tell you what to do when you get there.
What to Eat:
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Share and Snack at Food Halls and Farmers Markets
The culinary scene in Denver is exploding. From boozy brunch spots to sophisticated farm-to-table restaurants, the Mile High City has recently become a foodie haven. But even as fast-casual dining has become the norm for diners across the country, no city is perfecting the multiple-concept food hall like Denver. Within the last year alone, two large food utopias, Zeppelin Station and Denver Milk Market, opened downtown.
Denver food halls are not only whipping up some of the best food in the city, they offer some of the best vibes (and views) that the city has to offer. Take Avanti Food & Beverage, Denver’s first high volume multi-concept food hall: there you can split a bean and papaya-packed arepa from Quiero Arepas and a sustainably sourced poke bowl from QuickFish with your friends on the outdoor patio, overlooking the gorgeous skyline and, hopefully, a dreamy Colorado sunset. You can also visit Denver Central Market, located in the artsy RiNo (River North) neighborhood, where the top-notch cocktail bar, gorgeous charcuterie plates, and exposed brick makes you feel like you are spending an or evening in Florence. Denver’s food halls are plentiful, so take a tour with your group, and taste as much as possible—you will never run out of options.
Between these meals, you are surely going to need some healthy snacks. Thankfully, Denver’s abundant fall and winter farmers markets have you covered. With Denver being one of the world leaders of the Slow Food movement (and home of the United States headquarters), it comes as no surprise that Colorado diners are encouraged to eat fresh and local. Stop by the quaint (yet vast) Pearl Street Farmers Market on sunday, where you will find locals stuffing their canvas bags with squashes, greens, and if in season, Palisade peaches. Follow their lead and bring that produce back to your Airbnb to cook like no New Yorker is able to cook without stopping by a nearby Whole Foods. Or take the easy route and stuff yourself with cookie, popcorn, and kombucha samples. Want to stay downtown? Look no further than the front patio of Denver’s iconic Union Station. On Saturdays, you can find treats like cheese from the James Beard award-winning Alex Seidel’s Fruition Farms. Stick around for a cooking demo (and more samples) from one of Denver’s top chefs. With all the tastes Colorado has to offer, you will not leave hungry.
What to Drink:
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⠀ Celebrating #ColoradoDay the best way we know how, with some #DenverPaleAle. We're proud to support Colorful Colorado through our many initiatives including the DPA Artist Series, our Taproom Giving Program, Green Initiatives, and sponsorships & events that support local non-profits like @unitedwaydenver , @levitt_denver and @habitatdenver . Learn more about how we show our love for the state of Colorado at greatdivide.com/about (link in bio). ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ Photo Credit goes out to #GDIcon @bren.conn⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #CityToTrail #GreatDivideBrew #GreatDivide #Colorado #ColoradoDay #ColoradoProud #MadeInColorado #CraftBeer #IndependentCraftBeer #ColoradoBeer #DrinkLocal #ColoradoCraft #ColoradoCraftBeer
Get Spirited with Local Spirits
When we think of boozy drinks in Colorado our mind goes straight to beer. From Coors to innovative microbreweries, the state has become leaders in the craft. But although you shouldn’t leave Denver without taking a tour of the city’s popular Great Divide Brewery, or hanging out on the patio of Ratio Beerworks, now is the time to experience Denver’s spirit scene. Across the city, distillers are barrelling, charcoal filtering, and naturally flavoring liquors in ways we have never seen (or tasted) before.
You can experience this diversity in technique at Denver’s new Booz Hall. That’s right, a food hall for booze. Enter to find art, boutiques, and five tasting rooms all in one hip warehouse. Swig down some peach cobbler moonshine from 3 Hundred Days of Shine, try a cocktail with jalapeno-infused Treeline gin from Wood’s High Mountain, or even a boozy ice pop from Rising Sun Distillery. Make sure to resist getting over-buzzed from these micro-distilleries—you have to save room for a tour of Stranahan’s Whisky, home to America’s top-selling American single-malt whiskey.
What to Do:
Hike it Out
Take an easy day trip to Boulder, where you can climb Chautauqua Flatirons, which tower behind the bustling bohemian college town. But while Chautauqua is guaranteed to provide the workout and views any hiker could want, if you have the time (and the rental car), we encourage you to go off the beaten path.
Drive south to the small town of Calhan, Colorado to find the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, a below-ground natural playground. Roam through the prehistoric-looking park like a dinosaur and take in the colorful, uniquely-shaped boulders. Even if it is not concert season, you can find a similar experience visiting Red Rocks Park in Morrison, home to the famous Red Rocks amphitheater.