Have you ever been to Denver? I mean really been to Denver, not flew into DIA hopped on a shuttle and headed straight to the mountains. No? Well, neither had I until I packed up my bags and move here. Well, actually I visited once a few months before but I had already decided with Denver’s close proximity to the mountains and international airport, this was the place for me.
My feelings were confirmed on that first visit when I saw the Neiman Marcus in Cherry Creek and sipped drinks on the Linger rooftop! A lot has changed since I moved to Denver
6 9 years ago so here is my quick guide to this amazing city.
I must warn you though… during and after your trip to Denver, you may experience strong feelings to pack up and move across the country. Totally normal, happens to everyone, seriously I mean with over 1,000 residents moving every month! Denver is THE place to be. But really don’t move here we are full!
Where to Stay in Denver
Find a hotel in LoDo, Downtown or RiNo you will be set. Here are some of my favs! The Maven Hotel at the Dairy Block is my go-to recommendation. We did a staycation there in the fall that was so fun! Read all about it here.
Looking to get an AirBnb? Highlands, Sunnyside, Lohi, RiNo are going to be the most centrally located to everything I am suggesting on this list but Cap Hill and Wash Park are great areas too.
Where to Eat in Denver
It’s really hard to narrow it down to just a few restaurants in Denver to try. I have a full list by neighborhood of my favorite spots here. My favorite pizza spots here and where to find white queso here. But here are a few favorites that are always crowd-pleasers:
- Linger – This was the hottest restaurant in the city when I moved here and still is. You will need to make reservations in advance! Totally worth it!
- El Five – Linger’s sister restaurant that stole back its beautiful rooftop. Make reservations even for grabbing a drink! A must-see/do!
- Safta – Hand’s down my favorite restaurant in Denver, everything at Safta is perfection
- Avanti Food & Beverage – Food stall and rooftops – this is perfect for feeding a crowd, day drinking, happy hour… really anytime it’s fun.
- Kachina – Snap the perfect Insta, eat delicious and totally different street tacos and sip on perfect margaritas. Plus The Dairy Block is SO COOL. The Poka Lola Social Club is the lobby bar and it’s so fun.
- Snooze – With a few locations around Denver this local favorite has amazing brunch. Be prepared to wait!
- The Rio – Cheap margs and yummy Mexican, The Rio is a Denver staple also great for big groups.
- Cart Driver – For the best pizza in RiNo – head to Los Chingones for drinks while you wait
- Work & Class – Right next to Cart Driver in RiNo this is one of our favorites to take friends, the atmosphere is so fun and the food is on point
- Hop Ally – Love Asain fusion then this is the spot for you – everything is so so good!
- My Neighbor Felix – Located in LoHi this Mexican spot is perfect for groups craving extra-large margaritas
Where to Drink In Denver
- El Five – Head to here for drinks before your reservation at Linger. Or if you can eat here too, the food, drinks and the VIEWS are incredible!
- Ophelias – Check out the lineup and come here for drinks also great for brunch or dinner!
- Denver Beer Co. Recess Beer Garden, Number 38, Finn’s Manor – Is it sunny? These bars offer big patios perfect for groups – most have TVs and either food or food trucks
- Terminal Bar – The perfect place to start your night is the Terminal Bar in Denver’s Union Station. Great for groups and central to literally everything.
Other spots I like – Mile High Spirits, Herbs (dive bar with live music), Infinite Monkey Theorem, Great Divide Brewery, Williams & Grahm Speakeasy, Poka Lola Social Club, two great dive bars outside downtown Don’s & Lincoln’s Roadhouse.
What to Do in Denver
Breweries – Most breweries in the area also offer tours so you can make a day brewing tour hopping all over the city. I am sadly allergic to barley so I don’t know the best breweries 🙁
Red Rocks – Even if you can’t make a show it’s worth the trip just to see the venue, walk the steps, hike the beautiful trails and explore the museum. I have a full guide to visiting Red Rocks for a show here.
Shop – Yes! Denver has great shopping! Cherry Creek Mall is world-class and Cherry Creek North is filled with high-end designers and local boutiques. The following hoods all have great shopping as well.
South Pearl Street – My old stomping grounds! Every Sunday from late May to late October is a fabulous farmers’ market, seriously the best in the city. The best sushi in the city can also be found here Sushi Den and sister restaurant Izakah Den, Plus some pretty serious shopping at Melrose & Madison, Gracie’s & Paige on Pearl.
Union Station – The crowning jewel of Denver – great for drinks and so many great restaurants in the area like Mercantile or Tavernetta. Here you are centrally located to just about everything with The Dairy Block and McGregor Square only 2 blocks away.
RiNo – River North is the hottest spot in Denver. The sheer number of restaurants and bars opening here is pretty crazy. Basically, everything I listed above under where to drink and eat is in RiNo.
South Broadway – Some of my favorite bars and restaurants are on South Broadway. Great place to bar hop day or night. Canopy is super hip “sports” bar with great decor – byo food. Punch Bowl Social has bowling and games galore and Historians Ale House has a great rooftop. There are also lots of cool small boutiques and shops.
Highlands Square – Highlands is a super cute and hip neighborhood near downtown, you can shop, eat and drink to your heart’s content. Fire on the Mountain for wings and Blue Pan Pizza for my favorite pizza in Denver. American Elm is great for a nicer dinner and then you can bar hop along Tennyson Street. Our favorite bar in Denver is Local 46 on Tennyson.
Boulder – Probably easiest with a car but there is a bus that will take you to Boulder if you want to go explore for the day. From the bus drop off you can walk to the Flatirons for a hike and stroll the Pearl Street Mall.