With the pandemic putting a halt to international travel, I wanted to plan a trip within the US to somewhere I haven’t been before… that’s when Denver, Colorado entered the chat. Since I was only there for about seventy-two hours, it was just enough time to hang out in Denver and visit Colorado Springs. I’d love to go back for skiing and to experience more of Denver post-pandemic. Continue reading if you’d like to know all the deets!
The first night my bff Ashley and I were in Denver, we booked an experience. There’s a lot to do in Denver (museums, botanical gardens, and special events), so I highly recommend filling your schedule with something you’re interested in! The Alice: An Immersive Cocktail Experience is in Denver through the end of 2021, so we decided to book tickets. I love Alice in Wonderland, tea parties, and cocktails, so it was the perfect combination for me.
The actors were great and it truly was an immersive experience; in order to make our ‘tea,’ all of the guests had to solve riddles via interaction with the characters. The first cocktail we had reminds me of the mixed drinks I used to order in undergrad (before I knew what I liked to drink), but the experience was worth the money in my opinion.
The other thing we did was drive to Colorado Springs to visit Garden of the Gods. We parked at the visitor center when we arrived to book a $17 trolley tour of the park, then we explored the park on foot once we had seen all around it. You can also drive through the park and park at different lookouts for incredible views, photos, and even a picnic in some areas. The views were incredible, especially since Florida has no mountains. I’m typically not an outdoor person, but I would love to see other parks in Colorado when the seasons are changing!
I didn’t know much about the food scene in Denver prior to going, but I was not disappointed. I consulted my Instagram followers and Lindsey’s blog, Lemonhearted, before making my itinerary. My two absolute recommendations are Denver Biscuit Company (pictured) and Huckleberry Roasters for coffee (maple cardamom latte with oat milk ftw!). Ashley and I went to the Stanley Marketplace location of Denver Biscuit Co., and it was a really cool market-style shopping/dining/entertainment center. It’s located in Aurora and was on the way to our hotel from the airport; it’s a great way to spend some time if your room isn’t ready by the time you land. I ordered The Beeler without pickles and it was everything I needed and more.
Other spots worth mentioning:
- Logan House Coffee: A cute coffee shop in Stanley Marketplace. I got a fall spice latte, which was a nice departure from pumpkin spice everything. The staff are really nice, and it seems like a good place to get some work done.
- The Corner Office (pictured): We ate brunch here and started with the dark chocolate beignets. I also got their Night Owl martini and a breakfast burrito; everything was good, but I didn’t realize the breakfast burrito would be the biggest burrito I’ve seen so far in life.
- Sexy Pizza: This was on the itinerary, but we didn’t get a chance to go because we were so full from Denver Biscuit Company. The pizza looks so good in pictures.
- Necio Mexican Kitchen: I made reservations to dine at Necio for dinner after Garden of the Gods, but I was so exhausted that I just went through the Cane’s drive-thru. Next time!
- Poka Lola Social Club: This was the plan for after Necio. It’s actually in the same hotel as the Huckleberry Roasters location I went to, so I snuck a peek while having coffee. It’s aesthetically pleasing and the menu looks good, so I’ll definitely be trying it next time.
If you’re a beer person, you should definitely check out all of the breweries the Denver area has to offer. I would’ve gone to one if I liked beer!
The whole trip came about when I spotted that Southwest was having a pretty good deal on flights. The cheapest option (in comparison to budget airlines such as Spirit and Frontier) was to Denver for the first weekend of October, so I figured I’d give myself an actual fall this year. If I remember correctly, it was about $200 roundtrip (or less) with the perk of being able to check up to two suitcases for free. Southwest doesn’t do seat assignments, but thankfully it wasn’t an issue for either flight.
The hotel we stayed at was the Element Denver Downtown East, which I would definitely stay at again. The prices were the cheapest I’ve ever paid for a hotel in the US and the area was pretty much deserted (although a room key/front desk call is required to enter the hotel). There were quite a few places within walking distance, and the other places were about a 5-10 minute drive aside from the journey to Colorado Springs. The hotel rooms were nice and clean, not too noisy, and breakfast was included this morning (and much needed!).
I’m not familiar with Denver’s public transportation, so Ashley and I decided at the last minute to rent a car. We were thankfully able to book one through Thrifty, and what I will say is that you get what you pay for. lol. I do recommend renting a car though so you can drive towards the mountains and explore other towns. Paying for street parking wasn’t too bad, and we thankfully always found a parking spot near our destination.
While on the trip, I realized there’s so much I don’t know about the Western United States. I’m excited to explore more of the country.