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Part-time traveler and full-time nationally award-winning educator. My passion for travel led me to start my travel blog so I could share the stories of my adventures as I conquer at least two new countries and two new states a year to reach 50 states & 50 countries by age 50.

 

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Top 5 Things to Do in the Mile High City (Denver, Colorado)

Updated: Jan 3, 2019


Denver is specifically known as the Mile High City because (guess what?) it is literally a mile high (5,280 ft) above sea level.


I was here only for a few days as a result of a multi-day Professional Development that my school sent me to. Considering that we had a limited  amount of time to explore since our daytime hours were spent...well...for the purpose we were there for (in workshops), that meant we had to maximize our time during the afternoons and evenings.


From my experience, there is a mile high list of things to do in #Denver, whether you want to experience nature or experience the true city. There is accessible transportation and clean, wide streets (trust me that is a HUGE deal when you visit lots of cities in the country). There is a real nightlife where things are actually open past 10 PM and bars are open until at least 2 AM. There is a cultural scene filled with lots of museums. However, the one thing lacking in Denver is diversity. #Colorado has a huge Latino population, but is rarely seen in the downtown area. Many of Denver’s residents are not actually native to the city. Hence, Denver has become an increasingly attractive area.



With my Google searching and friends' recommendations, these are the major highlights of this Denver trip. 



#1. Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado



Colorado is of course known for its nature. Mountains upon mountains that are thousands of feet above sea level. The city itself is 5,280 feet.  A mountain within proximity is Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado. To do a lot of the nature-type items, one needs a car. Since we were only here for a few days, we just took a cab ride up. It was a pretty hefty price to go up, maybe around $80+!


When we reached the top of the #mountain, we actually were at an additional 2,000 ft above elevation; around 7,000+ feet. It was simply breathtaking. Being a city girl who is not used to venturing on mountains, I felt like I experienced God's true beauty for the first time!



You could see Denver's cityscape from a far.



It was a great moment for all of my coworkers. We clearly enjoyed ourselves to the extent that we looked like a poster for a diversity ad.



However, we did not think of the difficulties of returning from the mountain. It took a good 45 minutes or so to drive up to the mountain. This was during a time of fairly no traffic. Although the taxi driver promised he would come back at a certain time, he did not do so right away (of course!). We waited 5 minutes...10 minutes...turned 30 minutes. Most of us had little signal to even call. However, when we tried to call another cab, they told us that we would have to wait an hour. It began to get dark to the point that we started hearing animal noises and we thought a bat had passed. At that point, we legitly asked, "who would we sacrifice for meat if we do not leave this mountain?" HAHA.


Considering that I am writing this blog, it is obvious that we made it down!



#2. Beaujo's Colorado Style Pizza:

Website: http://www.beaujos.com/

This excursion was a result of a recommendation for a friend of mine who lived in Colorado for a period of time. I'm sure you have heard of New York style pizza. Chicago pizza? Maybe! But Colorado pizza...umm no! Apparently what makes it "Colorado style" is that the ingredients are piled high, like everything else in Colorado. As a result, they are known as "#MountainPies."



Beau Jo’s, a pizzeria which started in Idaho Springs, first developed the #ColoradoStylePizza in 1973. Along with ingredients piled high, this style of pizza has a thick crust which you then dip into honey (after finishing the pizza). This delicious and savory treat at the end of your slice is A-MAZ-ING. That being said, you want LOTS of honey to dip your crust because you will be dipping multiple times. Random Crazy Fact: #BeauJo’s uses more than 50,000 pounds of pure mountain honey each year with their Colorado Style Pizza.



Colorado Style Pizza can be ordered as a 1-pounder, 2-pounder, 3-pounder or 4-pounder options. You are probably thinking if this is meat or pizza.  The 1-pounder feed 1-2 people, the 2-pounder feeds 2-3, the 3-pounder feeds 3-4 and the 4-pounder feeds 5-7. There is quite an array of toppings such as basil pesto, ranch dressing, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage and garlic cream sauce. Their menu is clever!




#3. Punch Bowl Social

Website: http://www.punchbowlsocial.com/home


Punch Bowl Social also come from a friend’s recommendation. Based on my Google search, I discovered that this place exists in multiple locations along the Midwest and is making its way to more locations including New York (score for me!). The draw of this place is 1. lots of entertainment (table games, bowling, vintage arcades)  2. unique adult beverages include alcoholic milkshakes and 3. delicious food.


Food is so delicious that it is literally food porn, see the evidence:




#4. Free Neighborhood Art Evenings

Check Denver's arts out!

http://www.denver.org/things-to-do/denver-arts-culture/denver-art-districts/ 


Everyone who knows me knows that I am an expert Google searcher. I managed to discover that Denver has free neighborhood art evenings walks. In promotion of the arts, Denver's galleries in certain neighborhoods are free, once a month.


The best bang for our buck (FREE $0.99) was the Museum of Contemporary Art. They had an new art exhibition party of sorts happening filled with delicious fancy assorted desserts, drinks and spectacular rooftop views of downtown. It felt like I was in New York's MoMA. I like to call this art piece, "Girl in a Bubble."




#5. Just walk!


Downtown Denver is definitely a walkable area! On one evening excursion, of, a coworker and I were able to walk around #LarimerSquare, wander into Union Station, and walk over the Denver's Millennium Bridge.


A. Larimer Square


Larimer Square is known for its pretty aesthetics. It's always LIT (literally) with Christmas lights. There are tons of restaurants, so you are bound to find something of interest to eat or drink by just walking around!




B. Union Station


Union Station is one of the most iconic, historic landmarks in Denver. This sign is part of the "old" #UnionStation, which opened in 1881 to create a central location for railways in Denver. Originally, there were four different railroad stations, making things inconvenient. However, a fire that started in the women's restroom in 1894, destroyed the central portion of the 1881 depot. The structure you see today was built in two stages, the last being built in 1914. The main historic building closed to the public on December 1st, 2012 for construction and reopened July 26th, 2014. The ground level currently serves as the hotel lobby, public space, and train waiting room and also contains 10 independent retail and restaurant outlets.




C. Denver Millennium Bridge


The Denver Millennium Bridge is the world’s first cable-stayed bridge using post-tensioned structural construction. The name, #DenverMillenniumBridge, honors a milestone in time and in Denver’s architectural development. To meet the structural challenge of spanning 130 feet (40m) without a steep increase in elevation, the deck’s structure must be as thin as possible while remaining stable. The bridge started being built in 1999 and opened in 2002.



ONE WISH: Red Rock Amphitheater

We did not get a chance to go here as we had to decide between going here and Lookout Mountain. Since Red Rock Amphitheater was not having a performance while we were there, we opted not to go because we felt we would not get the full experience. I want to go back to Denver just to experience a concert there, aside from other things.





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What is your favorite spot to check out in Denver, Colorado? What other recommendations would you give?

Comment below!

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