It’s the new IT place! (And the natives are thrilled about it 😉 ) Now, I’m sure you feel like I’m beating you over the head with the fact that we just moved to Denver, and that I love seasons, and mountains, and all that jazz. But Josh’s family is coming to visit this weekend for three days and its really got me thinking about where we have to take them while they’re here. Now, for all intents and purposes we are still beginners when it comes to exploring Colorado. There’s seriously a lot to do here! But we’ve also already been here for 8 months and we’ve seen some pretty cool stuff.
I think I will keep the list pretty simple. We’re talking a three day trip after all. And I’ll do you the pleasure of included only places that I will personally vouch for… because we STILL have a long list of places we want to see or try. Being a beginner in a city like Denver (or state like Colorado) is pretty awesome. It feels like a perpetual vacation because we’re from a region of the country that is so different. I still love to ride shotgun when we drive to the store so that I can stare at the mountains on the horizon when we go, instead of focusing on driving. I always say that they are a driving hazard. Forget texting and driving, I’ll just stare at the Rockies! haha.
So I’m calling this my Beginner’s Guide to Denver; because while I am a “beginner” these are the places I’d say you have to see for a long weekend or vacation. 🙂
Snooze AM Eatery
We eat here All. The. Time. It’s the bomb.com. I’m pretty positive that the (ever changing) menu is designed by some perpetually stoned cuisine artist… but who else would you want creating a breakfast menu? Think Pineapple Upside-down Pancakes, Peanut Butter Jelly Waffles, Stawberry Shortcake French Toast… it’s certainly enough calories/carbs to shock a sumo wrestler, but your taste buds will thank you.
Sometimes when I’m feeling more savory than sweet I get this hasbrowny thing with eggs where you get to pick all the meats and veggies you want on top. And all the hot sauce cause your girl likes it spicy. SO GOOD.
It’s also really like…”trendy” inside? Not sure how to explain it… but a lot of the servers have a lot of tattoos and piercings and stuff and they play loud(ish) music. On holidays the servers get to wear cute jammies. I dig it. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered applying there. ;P
OH! And free coffee in the waiting area! Because YES, you will be waiting. I’ve never seen this place anything less than slammed.
Denver Biscuit Company
Apparently Denver has a thing for breakfast/brunch restaurants because this place is also only open until 2 or 3pm. It’s also NOT the place to go if you’re on a diet. But it’s so so good. And the industrial chic interior design that they’ve got going on makes me swoon. I would live inside this restaurant.
They have a full menu, but people really go for the variations of chicken tender sandwiches on the to-die-for biscuits. Add eggs, add sausage gravy… add ten pounds around your midsection…at your leisure. But definitely fat and happy. 😀
Now, I don’t totally understand why VooDoo is like… an international tourist attraction; it’s not that serious. But if you’re coming to Denver it is kinda cool. They serve all kinds of crazy flavored donuts. Froot Loops, Bacon, Marshmallows, all adorn an otherwise very basic treat. Somehow the marketing really nailed it though. They have super cute and iconic pink boxes and an alternative style that really draws people in (obviously.) You can even get married there and serve your guests donuts!
Okay now enough about food. Let’s get to what CO is really known for…MOUNTAINS! (aaallllllll the heart-eyed emojis.)
El Dorado Springs State Park
Now, Denver locals don’t bite my head off. I’m sure there are about a million beautiful trails to hike in the mountains here. (Also pretty sure this doesn’t still count as actual “Denver.”) But of the few we’ve explored… this one was my favorite. It was the first one we went to when we first first arrived. I was still pregnant with Grey and secretly hoping that some mountain hiking would put me into labor… it didn’t. But the views were amazing.
It is even a nice drive. The views from the car window are even a sight worth seeing.
The other obvious must-see. We love taking the kids to this one. It’s a real easy hike with lots of room for the kids to play. And while I’ve yet to actually attend an event at Red Rocks Amphitheater, even the view of the outside of it is SO COOL. (I have an event planned though, and I am so excited!! I hear so many good things.)
Lair O’the Bear
Again, it’s just a beautiful trail. The drive up is awesome. There’s a really easy trail which is good for kids. There’s a little creek that runs around the bottom. This is the one my kiddos always ask to go back to, they think it’s Colorado’s version of a beach. LOL. Maybe they’re right?
We spent the afternoon in the mountains. I snuggled with my four month old next to a brook where my two older kids skipped rocks with their dad while the sun and the moon graced the sky with their presence at the same time. Colorado is magical.✨// There's a little love letter for baby Grey over on my blog and a bit of what it's like knowing he's my last one. #coloradical #bearcreek #rinehartsgowest
Then, Denver seriously has more parks than I ever thought possible. My neck o’the woods literally has one every few blocks. But these are some of the big ones…
Civic Center Park
This is the “green area” in the middle of downtown. It’s got some really cool fountains, gardens, and a greek-esque amphitheater. It’s also got sweet views of the buildings on Colorado’s Capital Hill. We stopped here when we were on vacation… and I kind of fell in love.
This park is bigger… and it has a playground. It also has a really pretty boat house and pond. Lake? I don’t know how to classify these bodies of fresh water. Is there a system? Someone let me know. It’s not an ocean I know that much. #floridaprobs
My kids love the playground. I love the gardens/statues/boathouse. It’s also right by Snooze, the Denver Zoo, and the Museum of Nature and Science.
The Tattered Cover Book Store
Where my Kindle/Nook haters at?! eReaders will never replace actual books in my mind. Sorry technology, you can’t have this one. This store smells like old pages and the wooden floors that creak when you walk on them. I’m not sure how old the building is, but decades at least.
Their website says that it’s “an experience you can’t download” and they’re right. It’s every book lovers dream. The indie style and café make you want to lay out on one of their sofas and read every book you wish you had the time to drown yourself in.
It’s a slice of heaven, for sure.
Now, Denver natives don’t kill me (I know you’re passionate about sharing your homeland,) I’m sure there are a million good places that I’ve missed – I’ve only been her mere months after all. But this is what I have found to be a good list for vacationers. After all, it was enough to capture my heart as I immediately went home and packed up my family so that we could move back.
We’re still looooving exploring Denver and the rest of Colorado. It’s so so different than Florida. So far I love the culture, the investment into making Denver a community, not just a place to live, and how family-oriented it is here. It’s just a real cool place, okay? I hope you have fun when you come. 🙂