Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Travel Tips for a Weekend in Denver

Beautiful Denver, Co

Over the weekend I visited Denver for the first time and since I over plan vacations, had a long list of things to do while there. Most of the activities were great, unfortunately almost all of the food options were not. So to help aid others, below are my Denver travel tips with reviews on all I did - including (my opinion) of what to skip.

Sam's No. 3
Featured on Diners, Drive-In, and Dives, this unassuming restaurant boasts a large menu and even larger lines. Expect to wait an hour or more, even on a week day. I went with a pretty simple veggie omelette that was featured on the show and my friend tried a chili burger that was recommended by the server. Unfortunately neither meal was very good. We overheard two other patrons complaining about their food too, so it wasn't just the two of us that left unsatisfied. My veggie omelette had a piece of bacon in it. When I told my server she immediately took it off the bill. So I applaud the customer service. My parents actually ate here when they were in Denver and had a good experience so maybe it was just an off day. I wouldn't go back, though.

Colorado State Capital
State capital buildings are always gorgeous, and Colorado's is no exception. We decided to take a tour and were pleasantly surprised to learn it is free! For about an hour we walked throughout the building as we were told stories about the structure and state history. The last 15 minutes or so include a visit to the dome where visitors can take in sweeping city views. Unfortunately the elevator is out of service (and sounded like it has been for some time) so I was unable to experience that part of the tour due to my debilitating fear or heights and the narrow staircase that I was convinced I was going to fall off of. It's unfortunate that there isn't access for those who cannot make the climb. Despite missing the best part, I'd still recommend a visit.

Molly Brown House Museum
I knew nothing about Margaret Brown, other than she is referred to as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" who survived the Titanic, played by Kathy Bates in the film. So after the capitol we walked a few blocks to see her home. Tickets for the hour-long guided tour are $11 for adults and $5 for children. If you're not into architecture or history, this may be a take it or leave it experience for you. Time was spent mostly learning about the architecture of the home and it's contents, some of which were owned by the Browns, with some knowledge of Molly's life. I didn't get to fully enjoy it because there were a lot of people on the tour, making it difficult to see and hear at all times. Despite that our tour guide was fantastic and I am glad we went.

The view at Viewhouse, Denver

Great views, cool atmosphere, solid beer selection, bland food. If it weren't for the food it would've been the perfect spot. This bar and eatery is located right next to Rockies stadium and has three floors, with a large outside area containing cornhole and fire pits, and a rooftop that boasts a picturesque Denver view. When we ordered we were informed our fish tacos would be bland and need seasoning. Thanks? We probably should have believed his honesty because it was pretty blah. So was my ahi. Being a pescatarian my options were limited, so I can't speak much on the food. I think this would be the perfect spot to catch a sporting event or grab some night drinks.

Banjo Billy's Bus Tours

Banjo Billy's Bus Tours
Ghost tours are my jam. It's a great way to see the city while learning the local history with some fun stories mixed in. This tour was fantastic! Tickets are $27 for adults and $20 for children which includes a two-hour ride on an eclectic hillbilly shack on wheels with an abundance of ghost stories delivered in a theatrical manner that was equally scary and funny. I'll have a more in-depth recap on Monday, but the takeaway is it's really well done and we loved it. While ghost tours are only offered in October, the company also offers history and brewery tours that I can imagine are just as entertaining.

Denver Biscuit Co.
Hands down THE BEST food we had on the trip. The "Strawberry Shortcake" may be a top five food I've ever consumed - and that's saying a lot because I'm an eggs for breakfast girl. The biscuits were so incredibly fluffy it was almost like cutting into cake. The strawberries used were super fresh, and the whipped cream tasted a bit like butter and has a thicker texture than regular whip. It's no joke! The lighting at our booth was bad, which stinks because I wish you could see the masterpiece. There are a few locations, but I visited the one on Colfax. It was a bit hard to find since it shares space with a pizza joint. It'll be the place with the long line. Get there early!

Denver Botanic Gardens
It was meh. I'm not mad I went but I've been to better botanic gardens. I was looking forward to lots of flowers but it was a mix of everything from succulents to small orange trees. It was a nice stroll on a beautiful day but probably would be more appreciated by a lover of plants as a whole. The building on the grounds that are used for offices was a stop on our ghost tour so it was fun to see that up close. If you have extra time add it to your list. If you're too busy, don't fret if you miss this stop.

Denver Capital Hill homes

Exploring Capital Hill
Since the Botanic Gardens are in Denver's Capital Hill neighborhood, we took advantage of being in the location and drove around gawking at the amazing historic homes. And I'm talking HUGE houses. When Denver was developed the wealthy lived in the area so there are mansions scattered throughout. Several of these big brick structures with perfectly manicured homes were featured on our ghost tour. While so spooky at night, during the day they are awe inspiring...OK and maybe a little creepy. But it was the perfect relaxing activity before catching our plane home.

Head on over to my pal Austin's blog PeaceJoyAustin, for even more things to do in Denver!

Additional tip: you'll probably want to rent a car. The airport is quite a ways out of town, plus there is so much to see outside of Denver. We also explored Rocky Mountain National Park, which is a must. Review on that majestic journey here!


Kate at Green Fashionista said...

Totally craving biscuits now! And adding the Viewhouse to my to-do list, I'll skip the food though <3
Green Fashionista

Marie said...

Oh what a fun trip!! Oh my Strawberry Shortcake, my favorite!! I have always wanted to visit Denver but as an asthmatic the high altitude scares me.

Dara @ The Southern Thing said...

Denver has been on my travel list for a while now! I'll have to save this post for when I finally get to go!