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Coming back at you with one of my infamous travel guides! They really are some of my most favorite posts to write. I wanted to share my personal Denver travel guide and how to get the best bang for your buck in a long weekend. We picked this particular weekend due to the fact the Broncos and Rockies were both in town. My husband is quite the sports buff and Counting Crows were performing at Red Rocks. If you remember from this post, I have quite the thing for that dreadlocked Adam Duritz. The weather was absolutely perfect for our trip. I had heard it could be quite unpredictable but for mid-September it was in the 80’s during the day and low 70’s at night. The most important part for this Flordia gal is there was no humidity.
Denver Travel Guide : How to Spend a Long Weekend in Denver. Pin Me!
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How to Get There and Around
The Denver Airport is a good 30 minute without traffic drive out of the downtown Denver area. That translates to a pretty pricey Uber or taxi ride. However, the good news is there is a brand new beautiful train line they just finished in April 2016! It is incredibly convenient. $9 for the entire day. Walk out of the baggage claim area and look for the Westin hotel. The train is right by it, you cannot miss it. It comes every 15 minutes. The last stop is Union Station and it was dead on 37 minutes. I highly recommend it. Our hotel was also located inside of Union Station (the Crawford Hotel), so it really couldn’t have been any more convenient for us. Once you are there, Uber or Lyft is convenient and affordable. We actually took Uber out to Red Rocks for a concert and it was under $30. Our hotel had a courtesy car service which we also took. If it was in use, they had their sister property The Oxford pick us up. Something to definitely look into if you don’t want to rent a car which the overnight parking price was insanely expensive. Here is another great resource for public transportation.
Where to Stay
I recommend staying in the LoDo area. That is where our hotel The Crawford was located. Super convenient to everywhere you want to be. We walked to all the restaurants, breweries, shopping, and the baseball game. It is a safe area to walk around at night. If you can swing it, the Crawford was the ultimate in luxury stay. I will have a full post on it but it seriously made our trip. The hotel is inside of Union Station which has everything you need, a brewery, coffee shop, ice cream, restaurants, Snooze for breakfast and a gorgeous space to catch up on work. The staff and service are impeccable. Stop at the Cooper Lounge or Stoic & Genuine for drinks. Mercantile for dinner and the Terminal Bar for a beer. Included in your stay is guest perks such as a free coffee and ice cream every day. Also, a free beer and priority seating at Snooze. We stopped by the last night to grab some waters and the concierge handed us a bottle of champagne just because. You can tell it is a boutique hotel and you are spoiled accordingly.
What to Eat & Drink
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If you don’t like to eat or drink, then downtown Denver is not for you.
There was seemingly one on every corner. The Wynkoop Brewery was walkable from our hotel, tons of seating and options. We hiked over to the Great Divide because everyone was RAVING about it and it was a big ehhhhhh for us. Not a lot of seating and super NOT friendly bartenders. No free samples, everything you had to pay for. Our girl was actually nice enough to tell us that each sample was 1-2 bucks and you could get a flight for $5. The other chick, we watched person after person ask to “try” something and she would pour them a full beer and charge them $5 bucks and move onto the next. Rude. We chatted up the bartender at Wynkoop and he gave us so many other options but here is a great list for you.
Have you seen that one street that is lined with all the pretty string lights? It is Larimer Square. Outdoor eating (weather permitted of course), shopping, and an overall picturesque setting. Worth swinging over to if you are in the area.
We picked the particular weekend that we did because the Broncos and Rockies were both in town. The Broncos stadium is a quick Uber ride away but the tickets are pricey. The Rockies game is walkable from LoDo and we got tickets for $5 out front.
The other reason why we picked that Weekend is because the Counting Crows were at Red Rocks. Y’all know my love for Adam Durtiz. We have seen them probably 10 times and this was the best they sounded. It is seriously a must do in Denver and really life in my personal opinion. Tickets once again pricey. We rolled the dice and got them as they were dropping on Stubhub the day of. ***Insiders tip, the upper third of the seating is general admission but you can also sit on the random landings around the area. The middle seating is a marijuana free zone and the first third and general admission are fair game to that aspect. Also, I’m so used to sporting events where you can’t bring anything inside. Not the case at Red Rocks. People had backpacks full of food, drinks, blankets, and everything else to maximize a concert experience. Good to know…..
This is the “up and coming” River North or RiNo area. Quick Uber ride from downtown or one stop on the train from Union Station. If you have time to burn you can stroll the area and stop in a coffee shop or grab a drink. ****Insiders tip. Every travel guide talks about going to The Source. It is a cool spot, much smaller than I was expecting. IT IS NOT WALKABLE to the RiNo area. I made that mistake. In 4 inch heels, with a then made very grumpy husband. Nothing like trekking across train tracks in an industrial area trying to find where all the wall murals are supposed to be. I’m a wall mural snob, not going to lie. There was a lot of what I would call graffiti around that area, not pretty wall art that you want to take pictures of. Anyways, The Source is cool (much smaller than I thought) but if you had to get dropped off in one place…..pick the main street of the arts district because the Source is off the beaten path.
What to Pack
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Definitely check the weather, like every day leading up to when you leave. Denver has crazy weather. We actually lucked out and it was very warm but the couple sitting next to us at Red Rocks said they one time had to watch a concert in sleeping bags because it was so cold. We walked a lot so my sneaks came in handy. These fringe booties go with everything and are insanely comfy. Even my 5-mile hike through the industrial area of the RiNo area……they do not look any worse for the wear. I am extremely impressed with the quality. This is the best bang for your buck jacket. Check this post for my must have travel necessities.
Best Part of the Trip
For Mark and I, it was definitely going to Red Rocks. I will tell you either leave the concert right during the last song or be prepared to wait. My Uber kept on saying no cars were available and the taxis were being super shady about the pricing. Mark was able to get a signal quicker than I was and we scored an Uber out of there (1.7 x the price) but luckily we got out of there before the masses. Also, we went during a non-snow season but I would love to go back and hit the slopes!
Marijuana is legal there…..be prepared to smell it everywhere. Like everywhere. We didn’t receive the best service in restaurants…..I have my own opinions as to why on that. Denver is one of the fast growing US cities right now so everyone we asked for where to go, they were clueless because they had just moved there. There was only one person we met who had lived there for more than 5 years. I was actually giving insight to a lot of people just because of my research. So definitely scout before you go and don’t rely on the opinion of “locals“. I was very impressed with how affordable everything was. I may be jaded to the cost of pricey cities like New York etc but I found that the drinks and food were very reasonable. Everyone was very friendly, it was a safe and walkable city.
So there you have it! My Denver Travel Guide for a long weekend. Have you been before? Did you see something that you didn’t check out when you were there? Is Denver on your travel list? If it is then definitely feel free to hit me up if you have any further questions. If you liked this travel guide, I’d appreciate if you would pin it or share! Also, check out all my other travel guides here.