As I excitedly prepare for a month of jet setting around, starting with this long weekend in Toronto, I am sad to leave Denver during one of the most beautiful times of year – late summer to early fall. While I know that my destinations will force me to be more spontaneous and pull me out of my comfort zone, there is something wonderful about staycations and exploring your own city more. I have had many people visit me in the past year and a half that I’ve been in Denver, and while exploring on my own and with others, I’ve found the little list of things and restaurants that I keep in my back pocket for long weekends.
I finally wrote it up after some people continued to ask for recommendations, and thought I would share it for you all. My recommendations are largely food related and very Denver centric, but I am looking forward to expanding this at some point with my favorite day trips.
Fun Things To Do in Denver
- The Source: A warehouse turned into a hipster paradise, this collection of entrepreneurial shops has 2 incredible restaurants, little shops for picking out wine, flowers, cards, and gifts, as well as its own bakery and butcher. It’s definitely on its own out in the River North neighborhood but a cool spot to check out (top right photo).
- Hiking: There are plenty of nearby trails and hikes within 30 minutes of Denver, as well as amazing workout classes and meet ups. Some of my favorite events this past year have been Yoga On The Rocks (bottom right photo) and hiking within a 30 minute drive of downtown (bottom left photo).
- Cherry Creek: Not only are there plenty of boutiques and restaurants, I love walking around Cherry Creek on Saturday mornings because there is a wonderful farmers’ market (top left photo) and great coffee shops. The Artisan Center is my favorite store in the area to browse for gifts and unique jewelry and housewares.
Top Notch Eats in Denver
- Acorn: This restaurant in The Source is contemporary American cooking in a fun tapas-style presentation, with plenty of small plates to share. I loved the oak grilled eggplant, fish, and pasta dishes (top left photo).
- Potager: An almost hidden spot in my neighborhood (Capitol Hill), this farm to table restaurant has amazing dishes with local ingredients and a wonderful staff. Sit outside in their beautiful backyard patio. This is where I get my CSA pick ups in the summer! (top right photo).
- Sushi Den: Hands down best sushi in Denver, flown in fresh from Japan – a great place to get apps and drinks and walk around the cute neighborhood of South Pearl (bottom right photo).
- Root Down: Amazing American food with a healthy/farm to table twist. This place is always a winner in my book, and they have an amazing bar area too for more casual eats. I recommend any of their salads, their Moscow Mules, and sharing lots of plates here (bottom left photo).
- The Kitchen Denver: Can you see a theme here? I love the farm to table community, and with amazing wine selections, cheese boards, and perfectly satisfying moderate portions, this place is the perfect splurge. The owner has 7 restaurants and a nonprofit that puts gardens in school playgrounds to connect kids to real food.
Casual Eats & Treats in Denver
- City ‘O City: I eat here too frequently- it’s in my neighborhood and has amazing vegetarian dishes, like seitan wings, savory waffles topped with deliciousness, and more. Can’t go wrong with a brunch or lunch here if you’re close to downtown (top left photo).
- True Food Kitchen: Sit back and watch the workers prep veggies and use a juicer at this trendy spot in Cherry Creek. You can’t go wrong with the half kale salad/half sweet potato side, and the inside out quinoa burger (two quinoa patties with Mediterranean veggies smashed in the middle). This is creative chain cooking (top right photo).
- Pho Duy: If you follow me on Instagram, you know I end up here more than once a month. This is the most authentic Vietnamese food I’ve ever had, and a great cheap eat while exploring a different neighborhood. They have a creative vegetarian pho with spicy broth, fried tofu, and veggies that I can’t get enough of (bottom right photo).
- Pizzeria Locale: Looking for a quick, delicious pizza? This new chain is the new baby of Chipotle’s fast-casual domination, with mini pizzas cooked up to order right in front of you. The side of meatballs are incredible, and I love topping my pie with fresh arugula or their shaved proscuitto (bottom right photo).
- Little Man Ice Cream or Sweet Action Ice Creamery: Don’t make me choose between ice cream joints. These are two of my constantly expanding favorites depending on what neighborhood you’re in!
Happy Friday! I hope I got you guys hungry and interested in coming to visit. My pull out couch is always ready for you. For those interested in following along our weekend in Toronto and beyond, make sure you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram @uprootfromor!