You’ll want to pack both your cowboy boots and your hiking boots for a weekend in Denver — the Mile High City offers big-city pleasures and outdoor adventures alike. Urban bike trails make it easy to pedal from downtown to the outer neighborhoods and craft breweries. Starchitect-designed museums and indie galleries will satisfy your culture cravings, and the city’s culinary creativity will give you good reason to hit the trails in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Short Stack.
No need to worry if jet lag keeps you in bed. Capitol Hill’s Jelly Café serves its beloved breakfast menu, including warm doughnut holes and a prosciutto, pesto, and Swiss egg sammy all day.
- Solo Show.
The Clyfford Still Museum holds nearly all of the American painter’s works, making it one of the most comprehensive collections of a single artist. Largely credited with laying the groundwork for the post-World War II abstract expressionist movement, many of Still’s works remained unviewed until after his death in 1980. You can view more than 3,000 paintings and works on paper, plus archives of letters and photo albums.
- Hot New Hood.
Explore River North, known as RiNo. A few years ago this area was made up of run-down warehouses. Now, it’s full of art galleries, music venues and of-the-moment restaurants. Check out the creative business in the Source, a mixed-use 1880s brick building with over a dozen vendors.
- Farm to Table 2.0.
You’ll smell the wood-fire goodness wafting from Acorn as soon as you step foot in the Source. Don’t miss the oak-smoked pork posolé; even lighter dishes like the grilled chicken and quinoa salad are standouts.
- Modern Art with a View.
Take in the rotating exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art and head upstairs to the rooftop café for a late-day caffeine hit and killer views of the city.
- Sweet Treat.
Order a cone of salted Oreo from Little Man Ice Cream, housed in a 28-foot old-fashioned cream can.
- Dinner and a Show.
Denver’s Five Points neighborhood once attracted jazz legends like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Influenced by the supper clubs of the ’40s and ’50s, Nocturne Jazz
& Supper Club in the adjacent RiNo neighborhood pairs live performances by top musicians, like jazz artist Pat Casey and the New Sound, with a tasting menu inspired by hit jazz albums.
Finish the night with a perfectly executed craft cocktail at dimly lit, speakeasy-inspired Green Russell or with a cold craft beer at Star Bar, one of the city’s best casual bars.
- Mile-High Jog.
Join uber-fit locals for a 2.3-mile run around Washington Park. No shame if you need to stop to catch your breath at 5,280 feet.
You’ve earned your brunch. Head to Uptown’s Beast + Bottle for strong coffee, Arctic char eggs Benedict and fallen pancake soufflé with whipped pork and maple butter.
- Window Shop.
Designed by architect I.M. Pei, the 16th Street pedestrian mall is made of red, gray and white granite in a pattern that, seen from above, resembles a diamondback rattlesnake. Browse the boutiques and stores and caffeinate at Ink! Coffee, which serves joe from beans roasted in Basalt, Colorado.
- Bike Off That Brunch.
Pedal off your food coma with a bike ride along the popular Cheery Creek Bike Trail. Denver’s bike-sharing program, called BCycle, has stations throughout the city, or ask the concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver to arrange bike rentals.
- Ball Game.
Even if you aren’t a diehard baseball fan, you’ll enjoy a game from the rooftop of Coors Field, a 38,000-square-foot area in the upper right field with plenty of seriously good food and drink vendors.
- Shop Hop.
Larimer Square, Denver’s oldest and most historic block, is home to independent shops including Scarpaletto footwear, Jon Atencio jewelry and Element modern home furnishings. Pick up a few mementos to take home.
- Hoppy Pampering.
The 6,000-square-foot spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver embraces a local ethos, going as far as partnering with local breweries on its treatments. Try the Microbrew Exbeerience, which incorporates two beers from nearby Great Divide Brewing Co. in a malt and hops exfoliation.
- Hot Table.
Book in advance to dine at Rioja, a Denver staple in Larimer Square from James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski. The menu embraces flavors from Spain and
the Mediterranean coupled with highly approachable wines.