When people first think of Denver, Colorado, they might think of one of the many (somewhat) successful sports teams, or the very popular passing of the legal marijuana law; But there are so many reasons that Denver should be known as one of the best cities in the United States of America! You will fly into Denver International Airport or DIA for short, which was voted the Best Airport in North America by Business Traveler magazine for six consecutive years (2005-2010). This airport is massive and full of delicious restaurants, great artwork, and many “clues” if you are one of the million conspiracy theorists out there. One of the only cons (I can think of) about DIA is that when you fly in, you have to make quite the trek to where the fun is, whether you’re going to hit the slopes or just explore the city and it’s suburbs. However, there are some great things to see on the way. Once you have exited the ginormous airport and the white circus tent looking peaks are in your rearview mirror, you’ll start to see those BEAUTIFUL Rocky Mountains! Most of the year you will see the snow capped peaks, but even if you arrive in the middle of summer they are a sight to see! You will also get a glimpse of Bluecifer! Bluecifer is a fiberglass sculpture of a mustang; and you guessed it; He’s blue! You will not be able to miss him right in the median of Pena Blvd. He has deep red eyes and stands roughly 32 feet tall. The story goes that his creator died when a piece of his whopping 900 pound body fell on him and caused a severed artery. His family would go on to later complete the project in his honor. That’s enough for me to look forward to flying home!
If your destination is downtown Denver, your best bet is to catch the A line light rail straight to Union Station. Which is one of the best tourist spots that us locals love too! Here you feel as if you are transported back into the good ol’ days. Union Station is located in the old historic terminal building and is home to bars, shops, restaurants, a hotel, the bus station, and many light rail stops. Here, you’ll see weary travelers, 9 to 5’ers on their lunch break, waiters on there way to work and locals grabbing fancy cocktails alike. This is definitely not a spot to miss but there is tons more to see and do in this city. If you have done even a little bit of research about Denver, I’m sure you read about the famous 16th Street Mall. This is a 1.25 mile long street filled with restaurants, shops, and home to the Denver Pavilions. Although, you may be able to find any type of food here, I wouldn’t suggest eating on the mall. Only because Denver is home to so many amazing locally owned restaurants and in recent years has become quite the culinary destination. If you are new to Colorado, I have to insist that you try something smothered in green chili. Green chili was made famous by Colorado’s lower neighbors in New Mexico but you will be so happy that we adopted this amazing spicy, sauce/soup deliciousness! I promise. Order anything, fries, burritos, or nachos with this in the description.
Something about Denver that I like to boast about is that there is something for every single person. Colorado has a good reputation for being a relatively healthy place but if hiking, biking or running isn’t your thing, not to worry! We have a brewery (and a dispensary) on just about every other corner. There are also countless activities super close and accessible near the city. Such as fitness classes, beautiful parks, interesting museums with international exhibits, romantic hot springs, snowy hills, live sporting events any season, amazing food tours and even marijuana tours. Or if you like a little bit of everything you can be hiking to a waterfall by 8am, back downtown drinking a locally brewed pilsner at happy hour by 3pm, dining at a critically acclaimed restaurant by 7, and just for fun, rubbing shoulders with the point guard of The Denver Nuggets by midnight! Fun, right? Which leads me to the party scene in Denver. Like I said before, there is something for everyone, and every mood here! Take your pick, there are a plethora of dive bars on South Broadway with live music, classy clubs downtown, gay focused clubs on Colfax and frat bro bars in Lower downtown aka Lodo. The best part of partying in Denver, is that when all that drinking catches up to you the next morning, there are SO many brunch spots to soak up that hangover! We are definitely a Sunday brunching city! Try the Wynston Maple Drive breakfast sandwich at Syrup in City Park, the Pineapple Upside Down pancakes at Snooze on Colorado Blvd, or bottomless mimosas at Max’s Wine Dive in Cap Hill. You’ll be back to normal in no time!
I can’t imagine after reading this description of Denver, there is anything else you could possibly want but please rest assured if there is more that you crave… DENVER HAS IT! Guaranteed!
Fun Fact: All Venture Road trips begin in Denver, Colorado! The first week of your trip, you’ll fly into the mile high city for all the prep your traveling brain can handle, and on your down time you will not be disappointed with what this majestic city has to offer! See you on the road!
“Next destination...Denver” was written by Jillian Salazar
Jillian Salazar is an avid traveler from Colorado, USA. She studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and discovered that being on the road long term was definitely for her. In early 2017, she dropped everything, left Denver, and has now been traveling consistently for about a year and a half. Her goal is to show at risk youth, that traveling is an option regardless of where you come from. In October, she will be embarking on her biggest adventure to date- The 500 mile Camino de Santiago. You are welcomed to follow her travels on her personal blog @ ajillianmiles.com.