Union Station, Denver

ISSUE #15: Denver, Colorado

NO MATTER WHAT TIME OF YEAR, I love escaping to the Mile High City for a quick fix of vitamin D and a new culinary experience at one of the city’s top-rated restaurants. With 300+ days of sunshine a year, Denver is an active community with bike and walking paths easily connecting you from downtown to popular neighborhoods. To get downtown from DIA, take the light rail straight to the newly renovated Union Station. While you’re there, grab a bite at Snooze – a Denver breakfast tradition—or if you get in later in the day, swing by the Terminal Bar for a small bite and a sample of one of the 30 Colorado beers on tap.

One of my favorite places to stay downtown is Denver’s historic Brown Palace Hotel. Opened in 1892, it was once a destination for people moving west for the gold rush. Its founder, Henry Cordes Brown, was like my grandfather, an entrepreneur from Ohio. Mr. Brown was a real estate entrepreneur who founded the city’s first library and donated land for the State Capitol building. If you opt to stay elsewhere, it’s worth paying a visit to the Brown Palace for high tea or a guided historical tour of the hotel – it’s really a site to see.

My favorite way to start or end a night out in Denver is at Williams and Graham speakeasy bar in the Highlands neighborhood. The entrance is disguised as a library and you must be let in through a bookshelf. The mixologists are true professionals and it’s a show just to watch them mix your cocktail. If you’re staying in the Highlands for dinner, my favorite spots are Linger and Root Down. These sister restaurants never disappoint – the quality, service and hip factor is all there. Linger’s menu is global street food featuring eclectic small plates with plenty of health-conscious options. For more classic American dishes with a local twist, go over to Root Down. Like Linger, Root Down’s menu is very farm to table, based on local, seasonal ingredients. Other Denver favorites include Beast + Bottle, Fruition Restaurant, Potager and even Sushi Den can give Seattle sushi restaurants a run for their money.

When you need a break from eating and drinking your way through the city, The Denver Art Museum is well worth a visit. For a dose of culture and fresh air, check out the Santa Fe arts district where on the first and third Fridays of each month you can pop into gallery after gallery along Santa Fe Drive to look at art and antiques and maybe even catch live music and dancing. To take advantage of Denver’s beautiful sunshine, be sure to pack your running shoes for a walk or jog around Washington Park. Afterward, reward yourself with a short cool down walk to old South Gaylord Street to grab a coffee and pastry at Devil’s Food. It’s just the jump start you’ll need for another day eating, exploring and embracing that rocky mountain high.