When you’re invited to a wedding in Colorado, you might as well build in some time for exploration, right? We had three days to take in all the sights and visit some extraordinary places. Mask in one hand and water in the other, we were well on our way. Here’s what we did.
Red Rocks Park & Ampitheatre
Red Rocks was the first place we visited on our trip. I prepared the week before by listening to a live recording of Leon Bridges in concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. What a dream! The venue feels like it was carved straight out of a mountain, and the views of downtown Denver from the walkway around the amphitheatre are unparalleled.
Super Mega Bien
After exploring Red Rocks, we stopped for a bite to eat at Super Mega Bien, the best spot for Latin American cuisine in downtown Denver. Two reasons I love this place – the menu is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian friendly, so there’s something for everyone, and the meals are served family style. We ordered a small plate of ceviche and a half order of the best chicken, and it was plenty for the both of us. I highly recommend this place.
I love the Union Station in Washington D.C., so we had to visit the one in Denver. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed, but it was still beautiful. It wouldn’t be 2020 without a photo wearing a mask, right?
Denver Central Market
After dinner, we took a walk to the Denver Central Market. They were operating a little differently due to the coronavirus, but we loved it nonetheless. The space houses vendors like High Point Creamery, where we stopped for some ice cream, Izzio Artisan Bakery, Curio bar, Crema Bodega, and more.
Hello, hippie town! If you’re into tie dye, leprechaun stores, local chocolate, homemade ice creams, and all things apothecary, Manitou Springs just might be your kind of weird. Located in a valley, the town is surrounded by mountains. We stopped on our way to the Garden of the Gods to grab some lunch at the Sahara Cafe, a restaurant boasting authentic Mediterranean food. Dolmas for the win!
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods was one of my favorite places we visited. About a five minute drive from Manitou Springs, the park offers some of the most extraordinary views of Colorado. We went on an extremely windy day, and by extremely, I mean we had red dust caked to our bodies afterward. The wind was blowing so hard that it knocked a small child down and she was plastered to a rock for at least three minutes (and I may have been the terrible person laughing my head off, because let’s be honest – it was funny). Despite the wind, we had the best time walking the sidewalk around the gigantic rocks.
Estes Park & The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park had hands down the best views of our entire trip. Think the typical photos you see of snow covered peaks and endless mountain scenery. STUNNING.
And located right in the heart of the valley, is The Stanley hotel, the hotel that inspired the infamous horror story, “The Shining” by Stephen King. The story goes that Stephen King visited The Stanley when it was becoming run-down and desolate and perhaps a little spooky.
Not into haunted hotels? The Stanley Hotel was also one of the filming places for the movie “Dumb and Dumber.” So grab a REDRUM latte (because that’s what Jack Nicholson would do), take a seat on one of the white wicker chairs on the front porch, and relax with a view of those glorious Colorado mountains.
We ended up exploring part of Nederland on accident when we took the scenic route to Estes Park. When we stumbled upon Barker Meadow Reservoir, we had to jump out of the car for a photo. So if you’re on your way to Estes Park, I highly recommend taking it slow and taking in the views.
If you ask me my favorite between downtown Boulder and downtown Denver, I’d say without a doubt Boulder is best. Pearl Street Mall is a neat place to take a stroll if you’re wanting to get in some serious shopping. If you’re in the mood for breakfast, I highly recommend Snooze, especially if you’re gluten-free. For dinner, hit up Bartaco – it’s only my favorite restaurant ever. I’d kill for that duck taco and asian slaw. We also loved walking in Trident Booksellers and perusing the books while waiting on our table.
Have you ever been to Colorado? What are some of your favorite places there?