Skip to comments.Traveling to Denver - Any recommendations from Freeper Friends much appreciated!
Posted on 02/02/2013 6:23:07 AM PST by w4women
My daughter is transferring from DC to Denver and she is taking me to Denver next week to look for a place for her to live. We plan to make it a mini-vacation so any help with restaurants, landmarks, must-sees is greatly appreciated! We will have a car. Thanks in advance.
Thornton is a reasonable area to live...northside.
Not much to see in February.
Colorado Springs is a great day trip. Then head up the mountain to the old mining town. Cripple Creek is fun too.
Yep....ditto on the AF Academy (my alma mater). It’s beautiful, and it happens to be the #1 tourist attraction in the entire state, believe it or not. It’ll be roughly an hour’s drive south and well worth it.
While you’re around that area, visit Garden of the Gods. Also very beautiful.
The Fort restaurant is expensive but affords the opportunity to try buffalo, elk and other game meats. It is set on the edge of the mountains and has great views. Opus restaurant is flat out amazing and is located in the heart of old Littleton. Do the recommended wine pairings with each course. The chef is unbelievable. Your screen name indicates you are a woman. My wife recommends the 16th street mall or the Pearl street mall in nearby Boulder (the Peoples Republic) for quirkier shopping. A worthwhile tour is Celestial Seasonings Tea also near Boulder. It’s free and worth checking out.
The downtown area is fairly condensed, so if you got a self guided walking brochure, you could spend a few hours there. It’s very clean and attractive.
Red Rocks Park, between Denver and Colorado Springs
The 16th Street Mall is fun, plus lots of art museums downtown.
There is Nature/Science Museum by the zoo, which I really love.
A really good breakfast place is Snooze. The whole area has some good restaurants. My favorite Italian is a place called Luigi’s, next door to a wine tasting room called Water to Wine (Centennial).
I would say look towards SouthGlenn area in Centennial or Highlands Ranch (lots of services and families)
Have fun and it will be cold.
Stay off the toll roads. From what others have said, if you drive a rental car without a transponder, your $1.50 toll will end up as $15.00 on your credit card, due to a “camera fee” from the toll road, and a “convenience fee” from the car rental company (the toll road doesn’t accept cash).
I’ve been through Denver a lot, but I won’t participate in that scam, either on personal travel or business.
However, Boulder has some good eateries, including the Rio Grande Mexican restaurant, the Dushanbe Tea House, which serves Tadzhikistani cuisine, and one simply known as The Kitchen. Boulder also has a good bookstore. On the negative side, Boulder is the Berkeley of the Midwest, and FR fans wouldn't like its politics.
If you want to eat at a good steakhouse, take a road trip to Centennial, Wyoming, about an hour and a half to the north, and visit the Old Corral.
was in the Denver area last September. Went to Colorado Springs to the Air Force Academy, Pikes Peak and took a trip to Durango (about 6 hours from Colorado Springs if I remember correctly). Beautiful state!
Another vote for the Air Force Academy. Don’t miss the Chapel there.
Garden of the Gods : )
Garden of the Gods : )
Isn’t Colorado a pot friendly place? We used to ski there every Spring Break at one of the best ski places ever, Monarch Pass.
However, like DC, Colorado is a godless country.
Go to Idaho Springs (up I-70) and eat at Beau jo’s pizza. There’s one in Denver but the one in Idaho Spring’s is worth the extra effort if the roads aren’t bad. We liked Benny’s Mexican restaurant in Capital Hill on Logan. There’s always a lot of homos there though.
Red Rocks is a good place to go this time of year because it’s not way up in the mountains. If you go to the Springs as someone suggested you’ll want to go to Garden of the Gods.
As far as retail. Denver has some great places that some cities don’t have. I don’t know where you’re from but if you don’t have a Gander Mountain, Sportsman’s Warehouse, or REI, you should check those out. Go to the REI in downtown Denver and the others in Aurora.
For places to live. Suburbs except Aurora. I like Littleton and Highlands Ranch because the lightrail went down there. I think it goes down to Parker now too. The north Suburbs are cool too.
Denver has horrible traffic so the closer you live to work and Church, the better.
First Baptist in Englewood is where you want to go to church.
Don’t eat yellow snow. Never been, but friends have and the area is beautiful with idiosyncrasies depending on where you’re at. Same rules apply as when going anyplace else - do research and know where to avoid.
Just outside the city is a restaurant called The Fort.
Another restaurant that I've heard of, but have never been to, Casa Bonita. From what I've heard the food is terrible, but its a great time.
If you're up in the Winter Park area, there is a little tiny place, that if you don't know about it you'll miss. Carvers Cafe. Cozy, comfy place, with very good food. My fave in WP.
Over in Estes Park, they have Big Horn restaurant. My favorite place for breakfast in Estes. There is Chicago's Best, a hot dog, beef and pizza joint. They get their hot dogs from Vienna Beef, and are the best hot dogs that I have found in Co. Dogs are good, beef is also pretty good, and I liked the cheese fries.(And I'm a Chicagoan). Also in Estes is Smokin Daves Barbeque.
Lastly, you've got to try Beau Jeaus in Idaho Springs. Great Mountain pie (pizza)
My daughter lives in the Cherry Creek area of Denver, which is an upscale shopping and residential area. Although there is a large indoor mall in Cherry Creek “South” with the typical mall stores and chain restaurants (don’t bother), Cherry Creek “North” is a very walkable outoor shopping area with streetside shops, upscale boutiques, restaurants, and bars. There is also a JW Marriott Hotel, which is where we stay when we visit. Although the locals seem to think that the Cherry Creek area is expensive, by Boston, New York, and Washington, DC standards, it is anything but expensive.
If you go to (or stay in) Cherry Creek), I recommend the Cherry Cricket for casual pub style dining, beer, and sports TV. For more upscale dining, try NoRTH, which is located next to the JW Marriott Hotel and a short jay-walk from the Cherry Cricket. Also, don’t overlook the JW Marriott Hotel for dining and the bar scene. Unlike most chain hotels, including other JW Marriott Hotels, this place has a lot autonomy. The restauarant and bar staff do not wear uniforms, rather they dress as they feel, often in blue jeans and western boots; the restaurant is exceptional by chain hotel standards and top rate by any other standard; and the bar is the place where locals go to be seen in the evening. Here is a link to the North Cherry Creek webpage: http://cherrycreeknorth.com/
For things to do outside of Cherry Creek, I suggest a Denver University hockey game for some of the best college hockey in the country; a drive or cog railroad ride to the top of Pikes Peak (check the website ahead for road conditions); a drive through the Eisenhauer Tunnel (the highest elevation of the interstate highway system); a tour of the Air Force Academy; the rodeo (if you happen to be there when the pros are in town); a beer crawl (bud is not beer in the Denver area); and if you like sushi, a visit to the Sushi Den (http://sushiden.net/), which may very well be one of the best sushi restaurants in the world outside of Japan.
Estes Park is nice to visit. If my memory is working correctly, I think the large hotel there is where they filmed “The Shining”. The last time I was there the airport was at Stapleton. Never thought we’d get off the ground.
The hotel in Estes Park is The Stanley Hotel (named for the Stanley Steamer guy). It is a beautiful, big, and old hotel, and it is definitely worth a visit, if you have the time.
Watch out for ravenous rabbits:
Where in “Denver” is she going to be working. While there is public transportation, it isn’t timely. The Denver metro area is massive, and commuting can be a bit of a bear, so if possible, living near where you work will reduce some of that frustration.
Let me share a couple of great “local’s secrets”. Head up 285 into the mountains to Zoka’s Restaurant (they have a website). It is THE BEST AND FINEST FOOD IN COLORADO, IMO! :) Then, continue on up the canyon to the Bucksnort for coffee or a drink as it’s in the center of an historic mining town and is a beautiful canyon drive. Then, take 285 back to Denver to c470 south and explore some of the nice places to live, conveniently found off exits of Broadway, university, and Yosemite. You’ll find a nice selection of houses and condos. Two more great secrets to live are Castle Rock and old downtown Littleton area. After she moves here, I’ll share my contact info should she need advice or contacts.
Denver ChopHOuse and Brewery.
I like Colorado. I don’t know where your daughter will be working...but commuting from the mountains will be tricky in the winter. I like the foothills areas, Golden is a wonderful small town ( as another poster pointed out, the buffalo bill museum) and there was a decent restaurant (Woody’s) the last time I was there. Also,Deer creek area and Longmont (heading towards Boulder). If you are downtown near the cherry creek mall there are tons of shops... Years ago, I took my daughter and we did the area...and stayed one night in The Brown Palace. A beautiful, historic hotel..three restaurants and I believe they have a high tea. They have tours as well. If you’re going, you may as well “Do it up, Brown!” Safe travels.
Idaho Springs is one of my all time favorite places. We used to love a Mexican cafe called Los Dos there. also, in South Aurora, be sure and check out the La Bola Mexican restaurant if it’s still there — and Beau Jo’s pizza, for sure, fabulous pizza.
I take umbrage to that remark. I've lived in SW Colorado for over twenty years. I also don't consider denver a part of Colorado.
My son lives in Castle Rock. That area, Parker area Cherry Creek very nice. Not cheap though.
Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks, I-70 West through Glenwood Canyon to Glenwood Springs, Awesome.
There is so much to see , most not this time of year.
Lack of trees takes some getting used to .
If I was young I’d move there in a heartbeat.
First off, lucky her and you. I adopted Denver, specifically Golden as my new hometown. 300 days of sunshine a year, much of it in January and February. For lunch you can sit in a sidewalk cafe many winter days that hit 60, sunshine, no wind.
Good advice above.
Golden is the location of the territorial capitol. Now it is known for the Coors brewery. Enjoy the trip.
While in the Denver area you have to go to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Estes is about 1-1/4 hours from Denver, with RMNP just west of Estes, maybe 10 minutes.
Estes is a nice little tourist town. In the winter its a pretty little town (Its always pretty) just not many people (UNLIKE the summer). RMNP is ALWAYS a nice place to visit. In the summer, plan on a trip up Fall River Road. Trail Ridge Road is the main road in RMNP and goes over the continental divide and exits the other side of the park in Grand County, near Winter Park. In the winter Trail Ridge Road is closed part way through the park. But don't think the park is useless then. Its a great time to see some areas that are still accessable. Take Trail Ridge Road until its closed off. Park your car there, and take a walk or snow shoe up the road a little ways. You might see someone else, maybe. But its a great scenic QUIET walk. Very good for the soul.
Staying in Estes, try the Silver Moon Inn.
Another Place to eat while in Estes is Dunraven Inn. Very good reviews. Also Donut Haus is a great place for donuts and coffee.
On the other side of the mountains is Winter Park. Not accessable in the winter from Estes. You'll have to drive back towards Denver, then take 70 west to 40 I believe. Berthoud Pass is a beautiful drive, if you like mountains and don't mind twisty turny roads. They widened the roads out about 10 years ago, so its not like the old mountain roads where 2 cars could barely get by. I always like the drive to WP.
When in the WP area, like I mentioned before, there is Carvers Cafe. The place I really recommend to stay if you can afford, is about 15 minutes outside WP, a place called Devils Thumb Ranch. Beautiful western rustic place, but totally classy. In the summer they do LOTS of weddings there.
The rooms in the lodge are top notch. Can't go wrong staying in one. They also have log cabins you can stay in. These aren't old, drafting "cabins". These are higher end log HOMES. They have single bedroom lofts, or 2 or 4 bedroom homes.
I've stayed in both a cabin and a room, and you can't go wrong with either. There are 2 restaurants at DTR. In the lodge is Hecks. Very mountain resorty. Good food, good atmosphere. The other is the Ranch House Restaurant. I had a great experience there with some friends about 6-7 years ago. Was there about 1-1/2 years ago and it had changed some, but still an OK time. The Saloon at Ranch House can be good. They also have John Ls Wine Cellar. I haven't eaten in there. Basically its Ranch House food served in their wine cellar. Totally CLASS. Great place for a special dinner.
Further west on I70 is Summit County. Playland of the Rockies. About a half dozen ski areas within 1/2 an hour from each other.
There are other things besides skiing to do there. I took my mom dogsledding in Breckenridge, 11 years ago, when she was 73. You can do early morning balloon rides. Snow Cat tours. Snowmobiling.
There are western dinners you can find, where they take you for a sleigh ride and then have dinner in either a heated tent or rustic barn or cabin, what have you.
A little farther west on 70, past Summit County is Vail. A beautiful little ski town. That even if you don't ski, is a great place to visit. My mom, at 73 loved walking the streets. She still talks about it today. LOTS of places to eat and stay there. Definetly on the highr end as far as costs. Then there is Vails richer sister next door, Beaver Creek.
Vail is about 2 hours from Denver International, which is east of Denver.
When going to either Winter Park or Summit County/Vail, its a great time to stop in Idaho Springs, just outside of Golden, Co. and go to BeauJos.
Here is a picture of Estes Park. The elevation of Estes is about 7500, with many peaks in RMNP in the high 13,000's and Longs Peak at 14,259. Its truly dramatic and breath taking
Sleigh ride at Devils Thumb Ranch.
Hecks restaurant at DTR
Cabin at DTR
Dog sledding in Breckenridge
Hot air balloon ride in Vail, Co.
The great thing about your daughter living in the Denver area, is it gives you a reason to go out there. There are oodles of things to do out there, and you don't have to do them all in one trip. You can plan one special thing to do for every trip.
Ohhh...One other thing I just remembered. Down by Colorado Springs there is a town called Cañon City. They have a train ride that goes through the Royal Gorge. GREAT ride to go on. I did it with some friends a few years back. Ride the dome car. Sit back, enjoy a good burger, watch beautiful scenery as it rolls by and enjoy the company of family and friends. AWESOME. Try the dinner train some time. I haven't done that one, but I've did another, what a great time.
Also while in Cañon City, on top of the Royal Gorge is a bridge to check out. near the bridge is a trapeze type of ride that swings you out over the gorge (if your the adventurous type) Also, there is a high ropes course near there. Near Cañon City, is Manitou Springs with Cave Of The Winds.
While down by Cañon City, which is near Colorado Springs, you MUST check out Garden Of The Gods.
Royal Gorge Railroad (bridge overhead)
I moved to Denver six years ago from Philadelphia and love it, I’m sure your daughter will be very happy here. Best of luck with the trip and the move.
If your daughter is looking to live in the city I would highly recommend the Lohi area. This is one of the hottest and fastest growing areas of the city. You can walk to downtown, walk to sports stadiums, great restaurants and breweries, easy access to bike trails and easy access to the major highways. I live a few blocks west of there in the Highlands Neighborhood which is great... a little more family oriented. Commons Park West is a great place to start looking for apartments and gets you into a hip, fun area. Other great neighborhoods are Wash Park, Uptown, Platte Park and Cherry Creek... each have their own feel so a lot depends on what you are looking for. I would highly recommend living in the city instead of the suburbs, but thats just me.
During your visit I would recommend checking out 16th street mall and Larimer Square (Osteria Marco is great). Check out Linger or Root Down for a great taste of what Lohi has to offer. If you like beer then Denver Beer Company is a great local brewery. If the weather is nice I would walk around Wash Park. Red Rocks and Golden are worth checking out and if you’re up for a drive Breckenridge is a fun little town and gives you a taste of the ski scene.
Ok, I’ll shut up now. You’ll have a great trip and Denver is an awesome place to live. I hope this helps, cheers!
check out Golden. Gorgeous little town in the mountains.
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