One of my best friends, Kd, turned 23 on January 19th, and I decided to go out to Denver to visit her for a four day weekend. I found a cheap flight out of Charlotte, North Carolina with Frontier and booked it immediately! Somehow I got the front row for both of my flights after not paying to pick which seat I wanted. Constantly check Google Flights and The Flight Deal on Twitter to find tons of flight deals to cities you’re looking to visit! I parked my car in long term parking at Charlotte’s airport (CLT) and only paid $35 for 4 full days!
Denver is such a fun city with lots going on! There are lots of different neighborhoods surrounding downtown Denver that have different stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and breweries. I stayed near Denver University, where Kd lives.
I went on a run on Friday morning to explore the Denver University area. There were many eclectic architecture styles for many of the houses nearby. Many of the restaurants and bars in the area were geared towards college students, and were cheaper and more trendy. All of the people were very friendly and helpful!
The French Press (coffee shop/restaurant, $): I found a place called The French Press in Lakewood on my way back from dropping Kd off at work. I ordered the Veggie Bennie and a house coffee. The asparagus and red peppers added to the traditional eggs benedict was very interesting and delicious! I definitely recommend for anyone looking for a quick and yummy breakfast! I just sat at the bar and was quickly helped and my food came out very fast!
Corvus Coffee Roasters on South Broadway Street (coffee shop, $$): This coffee shop is hip with a rustic, modern look. I decided to order something a little more funky than a traditional coffee, so I asked the barista to make me a drink that’s different, but popular at their coffee shop. He made me a Maple Latte. I sat at the bar and read my book. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and I ended up talking to one of the baristas for about a half hour! Definitely recommend for a fun, yet community feel.
The Corner Office (restaurant, $$$): This is a fun restaurant off of Curtis Street in downtown Denver. Kd and I ordered the Hemmingway Daiquiri, which is made out of Bacardi Select Dark Rum, Luxardo, grapefruit and house-made Lime Cordial. It was very strong, but so delicious. I ended up ordering the Bibimbap, a Korean dish with rice, vegetables, marinated steak, and a fried egg. This restaurant was delicious, but expensive. When we told our waiter it was Kd’s birthday, he brought us some complimentary cotton candy! I recommend it for special occasions.
Snooze (brunch restaurant, $$): Kd and I went here on her birthday for brunch! This restaurant has a fun feel and everyone was just hanging out and sipping on some mimosas. I ordered two different eggs benedict, the Chili Verde Benedict and the Bella! Bella! Benny, which also came with a hash browns cake. We both ordered different types of spicy Bloody Mary’s, and they were delicious. This place is so popular, I recommend a reservation if you’re going during peak brunch hours!
Denver Zoo (free!): We went to the Denver Zoo for Free Zoo Day. Check the website or the Denver Zoo’s Facebook page to see what days the zoo is free! There were tons of animals, from lions, to elephants, to gorillas. We even got to feed the giraffes!
Denver Central Market (restaurants and small food shops, $-$$): It looks like a large warehouse from the outside, with outdoor seating. There were lots of local vendors inside. There was everything from a cheese shop, to a small bar, to an ice cream shop to a pizza place! We tried different samples at High Point Creamery, and I ended up getting the Coconut Creme Brulee, which I figured out was vegan after. Kd got the Basil Berry flavor, and it was so delicious.
Shea’s (clothing store, $$): Shea’s is a local boutique near the Denver Central Market, and it was very affordable. I ended up getting a cream, silk-like cardigan for $25! They had some really cute body suits, sun glasses, and skirts.
Lodo’s Bar and Grill (downtown bar, $-$$): The bar was two levels, and had lots of dancing! My Virginia ID is still vertical, and they let me in. Some places in Denver were very particular about horizontal versus vertical IDs, so be sure to check before you get denied. The drinks there were good and affordable. We went on Kd’s birthday, and she got a free BJ shot when she showed the bartender her ID!
Keystone Ski Resort ($$$): Keystone is located in Keystone, Colorado (go figure). Kd’s boyfriend, Jordon, has a season pass to Keystone, and Kd and I were able to use his buddy passes. This means we got a discount on the lift ticket for the day. It was $105 or so, which is definitely more expensive than the east coast, but well worth it. The little village with shops and restaurants was cute, but we didn’t stop in any. I loved the slopes and the snow compared to the east coast! The runs were a little bit harder and a lot longer (it took at least 10 minutes to get down one run!). The snow was a lot more fluffy and easy to maneuver in. In the afternoon it started to get a little icy, but overall I loved the mountain!
Cheba Hut (sandwich shop, $): This sandwich shop is on the way back to Denver from Keystone Resort. It was fun and casual and cheap! The menu is pot themed, which is hilarious considering marijuana is legal in Colorado. I got the Kali Mist (lol) in the Pinner size (8”) and was very full after. Definitely a great spot to hit after snowboarding!
Spanky’s Urban Roadhouse (restaurant, $$): We went to this restaurant when we got back to Denver after snowboarding. I thought that the food was decent, but it wasn’t anything great. However, we ordered the Chorizo Nachos and those were so good. I wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone visiting because it wasn’t special.
Jelly Café (breakfast/brunch restaurant, $-$$): On my last day in Denver, we went to Jelly Café near Denver University for brunch. This restaurant had a fun 50’s old school feel with their décor! I got a Cinnamon Toast Crunch alcoholic drink and the sweet potato hash. It was delicious and affordable! I recommend going at an off time, or expecting a wait since it is so popular! This restaurant was also very particular about vertical IDs.
Linger (brunch restaurant, $$): Linger is a very trendy restaurant with a fun brunch menu and bottomless mimosas! We met our friends from Ashburn at this spot on Sunday afternoon. I was pretty full from earlier, so Cole and I split the Donut Holes and the Wagyu Sliders and both got bottomless mimosas! 10/10 recommend this restaurant, very friendly wait staff and delicious food.
Starbuds (marijuana shop, $): Honestly the fact that you can go into a store and buy pot is still hilarious to me. We had to show our ID’s to the worker before we could even get in. There were mason jars with different types and different “grades” of marijuana. I didn’t buy anything, but the experience was very interesting!
I loved every minute in Denver, and can’t wait to go back soon!