Denver Colorado Travel Guide
2023 GOAL: “Go to a state you’ve never been to” CHECK! Out of all the places I have explored, I have yet to adventure in the beautiful state of Colorado! We nestled right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by a vibrant and dynamic city… DENVER! It’s an ideal destination for travelers who are looking to experience the best of both worlds - a bustling city and stunning natural scenery. In this travel guide I am going to take you through the must-see attractions, cozy hospitality, best restaurants, and exciting outdoor activities that Denver has to offer!
Our first stop was of course the lovely Maven Hotel! It’s a really cool and modern hotel located in one of the most popular neighborhoods in Denver, LoDo, which is home to many of Denver's top attractions, including Union Station, Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies), and the Denver Art Museum! It is also connected to the infamous Dairy Block, so it is sure to always be lively and easily explorable on foot so you can get a true feel for the local vibe! The rooms at The Maven are so spacious and contemporary, with a design that blends modern comfort with an industrial chic aesthetic. Last but not least, the amenities: full access fitness center, a business center, and even a communal work space for guests, rooftop deck with incredible views of the city skyline, and their on-site bar and restaurant, Kachina Cantina, is a lively spot that serves up the BEST food and drinks! The Maven Hotel is a top pick for a memorable stay in the Mile High City!
We timed this trip PERFECTLY because it was restaurant week in Denver! We spent our first meal at Slater's 50/50 — a popular restaurant chain with a signature location in Denver that's known for its creative burgers and craft beer selections! Fun fact: The name "Slater's 50/50" comes from the restaurant's signature burger, which is made with 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon! We tried out the Mac n cheese balls, ahi tuna nachos, vampire dip, the cowboy burger, cheeseburger bowl, and above all else… the S'MORES MILKSHAKE!! We also sipped on some yummy signature cocktails and beer tastings as they have well over 50 beers on tap! Slater's 50/50 is the ultimate sports bar vibe with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s the perfect hotspot to pop in on your way around the town.
The next morning we grabbed some coffee and breakfast at the coffee shop downstairs and headed out to Loveland Ski Area! It’s about an hour away from downtown and up in the Rocky Mountains. Loveland was a gnarly destination for skiers and snowboarders of all levels! It’s one of the highest ski resorts in North America with a base elevation of 10,800 and summit elevation of 13,010 feet… LIKE WOW. It was only $120 for a day pass and they have any rentals you may need — super affordable for a full day of fun! Speaking of a full day of fun… if you follow me on social media, you know that unfortunately Abbi blew out her knee on the 6th time down the slope… she’s recovering slowly but surely but our fun day trip skiing turned into an evening at the ER :( Aside from that, if you're looking for a fun and challenging ski experience in a beautiful mountain setting, Loveland Ski Area is where it’s at!
The next day was FILLED with adventure! We started off with a drive through Estes Park till we hit The Stanley Hotel! It’s a historic hotel that is famous for its connection to the horror novel "The Shining" by Stephen King! It was built in 1909, super elegant, and the design is a total reflection of its era. This was such a cool stop on our way to the Rocky Mountain National Park!
On our way into Rocky Mountain National Park, we saw a handful of baby elk on the side of the road! They let us walk almost right up to them as they ate. It was such a unique experience and I am so glad we took the time to be mesmerized by nature on our way to our hike!
After driving and capturing all the gorgeous scenery, we finally made it to our hike at Emerald Lake Trail, the Bear Lake Trail, and the Longs Peak Trail! It was about 4 miles round trip that begins at the trailhead for Emerald Lake which is at the Bear Lake trailhead! As you continue along the trail, you'll pass by two smaller lakes, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake — both of these are stunning. The final leg of the hike takes you to Emerald Lake, which is nestled in a stunning alpine basin surrounded by towering peaks of The Rockies! The views on this hike were so beyond incredible and could not recommend it more. Highly recommend preparing that the altitude will hit you if you’re not used to it, so be careful and pack snacks/water! Rocky Mountain National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Colorado! Stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and endless outdoor activities, it is simply PERFECT and an unremarkable experience to see the beauty of the Rocky Mountains!
After a long day of hiking, we slid into Kini’s Denver for dinner! This restaurant was so classy and upscale with such a wide variety of American + International style dishes! We ordered the meatballs, goat cheese dip, rib eye, truffle fries, and brussel sprouts — it did not disappoint! Above all else, the atmosphere at Kini's is so cozy and relaxing. They also have a bar area where you can chill and catch a game. It’s the perfect hotspot to unwind with a casual business dinner, a drink with a friend, or even a family outing!
For our last two nights in Denver, we stayed at the Clayton Members Club! It’s a super fancy, upscale club located in the Clayton neighborhood of Denver. They have so many luxurious amenities like a steam room, outdoor pool, rooftop bar, full fitness center, spa services, and endless social networking opportunities. The interior is completely decked out with high ceilings, elegant chandeliers, and beautiful plush furnishings — we felt like we were at a fancy palace! Something we learned while at The Clayton is that to become a member, it is actually by invitation only. They are pretty selective about who gets in and it’s primarily targeted for professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. If you manage to snag a membership, you’re in for the time of your life! To put it simply, we felt like a true VIP at The Clayton!
On our last night at The Clayton, we paid a visit to the exclusive rooftop bar and let me just tell you, it has the most gorgeous panoramic skyline view. There is a spacious outdoor terrace as well as cozy sofas and chairs inside to sit. We celebrated our trip with a tasty glass of wine and the trio dip to start (the “green goddess” dip is to die for). Then, we ordered their highly decorated pizza and the chocolate cake for dessert — YUM!!! One of their super talented bartenders had us test one of the drinks he was crafting for their spring menu and it was one of the tastiest cocktails I’ve ever tried! Whether you’re a member or a guest, their sophisticated and elegant rooftop bar is a must-see!
Last but most certainly not least, ZIPLINING!!!!! Sadly, Abbi was not able to go because of her injury, but I invited a random girl I met on our hike two days prior and she said yes — yay for meeting new friends in random cities! We spent the morning at Denver Adventures — they offer a variety of outdoor activities, including ziplining tours in the Rocky Mountains!!!!! It is simply the most beautiful birds-eye view through treetops and mountains. The zipline course has several different lines that range in length and speed and you can even rent a GoPro to take with you to capture the moment. The team prepares you thoroughly beforehand so no need to worry if you are inexperienced with ziplining. Hands down, this was an experience that I will never forget!
A major shout out to Tinggly for always knowing which adventures to be a part of on these awesome trips! Tinggly is a unique and innovative travel company that offers a range of over 1,000+ different experiences and activities all around the world. What I love most about this company is that they focus on unforgettable experiences that best suite you and your interests. To give you an idea, some activities they offer are: bungee jumping, sky diving, spa days, food tours, wine tastings, ziplining, helicopter tours, hiking, snorkeling, and so much more! You can purchase a Tinggly experience as a gift for a loved one and they’ll receive a beautifully packaged gift box with their voucher for their experience of choice — that way they can choose the experience and location that’s right for them! They make it so easy to explore the world and create unforgettable memories! Counting down the days till my next adventure with Tinggly!
As always, I can’t say enough about how flawless the Hertz team is! Their reliable service, vehicle options, and loyalty programs are unmatchable. I am beyond thankful for our gorgeous SUV for this trip! With the mountains, snow, and Abbi getting hurt…. It came in clutch with how spacious and durable it was. One of the aspects I love most about Hertz is all of their additional offers to make me feel so safe on my trip such as GPS navigation, roadside assistance, and more. I highly recommend joining their loyalty program, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, to earn points and redeem for free rentals and upgrades. Above all else, my hands down favorite part about Hertz is their stellar customer service. Their team of agents are always so generous, helpful, and available to assist their customers with questions when they are in an unfamiliar location. Hertz makes it super convenient to rent a car and explore the world on your own terms!
The Mile High City truly has something special for everyone! Whether you're looking to explore the great outdoors, immerse yourself in culture and history, or simply relax and enjoy the city's vibrant atmosphere, Denver is the perfect destination! So pack your bags, book your flight, and get ready to experience all that Denver has to offer! Till next time….