Denver, Colorado, or the Mile High City, is known far and wide for its expansive and rocky terrain, diverse food scene, and breweries galore. While this city is comfortably spread out, you can get a fairly full experience in just 24 hours.
Check out the highlights of my one-day trip to Denver, Colorado!
Grab Brunch at Jelly
To make the most of your day in Denver, hit brunch early and get your sugar rush going at Jelly. Regardless of which location you make it to, you’ll be hit with a wave of sweet syrup, fatty bacon, and fresh coffee smells.
A glance at the menu will tell you you’re in for a treat as all the brunch classics Jelly have to offer come with their own special house twist. From cinnamon roll pancakes and Molly Hot Brown French toast to Haco chili biscuits with gravy and chiliquiles, you’re bound to find the perfect brunch.
While everything on the menu is sure to satiate your appetite, they aren’t called Jelly for nothin’. Their claim to fame is their Made-to-Order Donut bites stuffed to the brink with your choice of housemade jams, jellies, and other fun confectionaries like:
- International delights like Mexican chocolate and Thai peanut.
- Classic confectionaries like lemon curd and crème anglaise.
- The best of both worlds like salted caramel and bacon maple.
Hike at Red Rocks Park
You may not have time to catch a show but you definitely have a couple hours for some exploring everything beyond the uniquely rocky amphitheater this part is globally known for.
The highlights of the Red Rocks can be seen from the short 1.5-ish-mile hike directly off the main Red Rocks Park complex. With that completed in under an hour, you’ll still have plenty of time to explore the amphitheater itself as well as the Red Rocks Trading Post where you can grab yourself a water and a souvenir.
Looking for something a little more immersive? Opt for the 6-mile loop instead. Rated as moderate on AllTrails, this trail takes about 3.5 hours to complete if you’re movin’ and groovin’. Make sure you’re either keeping pace or an eye on your watch.
Lunch & A Beer in Golden
Just a short 8-mile drive from Red Rocks is one of the most famous breweries in the entire world: Coors Brewing Company.
As one of the oldest operating breweries in the United States, Coors Brewing Company has their process down pat. Nearly 150 years in operation has produced an expansive line of brews to choose from including newer selections like the Blue Moon Belgian White, the classic Coors Light, and Colorado exclusives like the Colorado Native Amber.
But why am I telling you all of this when you can just take the tour yourself for just $20 including three samples of your choice? Reserve tickets online up to 30 days in advance.
After a hike in the sun and a few beers, you’re bound to be hungry. Walk just two blocks north on Ford Street to The Golden Mill for some grub. Be sure to snag a table on their large patio where you’ll be surrounded by scenic mountains on almost all sides.
This eclectic eatery has everything from house-rolled sushi to tender birria tacos that take ten hours to reach their high standards. Be sure to save room for a scoop or two from Happy Cones!
Lots of Options for Afternoon Shopping
What’s a trip without spending a little money? As the American hub for the outdooring industry, you’ll find all kinds of great gear spots in Denver including a flagship REI location. Not only will you have four stories of gear to explore, you’ll also find equipment rentals available and the Pinnacle climbing wall to take advantage of.
If you’re in the market for more trinket-y kind of things, check out:
- The 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver.
- Antique Row on South Broadway.
- South Pearl Street, South Denver’s Historic Shopping District.
- Union Station in Downtown Denver.
- Washington Avenue in Golden, CO.
You’ve also got Larimer Square which is just off of Downtown Denver. This area is slightly more upscale with boutique clothing stores, wine bars, and a Cotopaxi shop.
Dinner & Drinks on Larimer
Known as the hippest block in town, Larimer Square is the place to be for happy hour. Sprinkled in between hip clothing spots and jewelry stores, you’ll find bars with vibes all across the board.
Dressed to impress? Show off at Corridor 44, a swanky yet affordable lounge dedicated to champagne and small plates. If you want something a bit more vibrant, step into Bao Brewhouse for delicious dim sum and sake.
Personally, I chose Jovanina’s Broken Italian on Blake Street for Elk Bolognese and one of their specialty cocktails featuring Mezcal, honey, lime and grapefruit oil.
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, be sure to stop by Garage Sale. A delightful mix of sophistication and grunge, Garage Sale doubles as a vintage clothing store and full-service bar. Grab a cocktail while you browse two stories of one-of-a-kind vintage finds.
Mile High Nightlife
To round out your day in Denver, check out Denver’s scorching nightlife scene once the sun sets on the Mile High City.
Beyond Larimer Square is Larimer Street which is a hot stretch of the city good for a night out no matter what level of rowdiness you’re craving.
Wind up at Ratio Beerworks, the microbrew capital of Denver. The punk-band-gone-brewers behind the scene envisioned a German craft beer hall with a punk-rock twist. Today, that vision has expanded to include live punk and indie performances, food trucks, and a 20-barrel brewing system so there’s plenty of beer to go around on the weekends.
Or, wine down with a glass or two at Attimo Wine, a relaxing lounge on the closer end to Downtown.
Get Mile High
No matter what you decide to do in Denver, you’ll have a beautiful view of some of the most majestic peaks in the country which is plenty enough reason to visit (at least for me).