Unsurprisingly, all the things that have consistently helped Denver rank as America’s most livable city in recent years—including easy access to the outdoors, nearly 300 days of annual sunshine, and affordability—make it a travel destination. Convincing too. Besides, now is a smart time to go. The weather is pleasantly mild, and the summer crowds aren’t overrunning the city just yet as May marks the end of the city’s first shoulder season. Meaning: You can enjoy exploring the Mile High City at your leisure, and in complete comfort.
So how to make the most of your spring weekend getaway to the Mile High City.
where to stay
When Thompson Denver opened in February, he preached new energy to Denver’s LoDo neighborhood—something the area deserves after the past few years. The 216 guest rooms and suites subtly nod to its Rocky Mountain roots, featuring warm finishes, clean lines, and elegant, comfortable furnishings like plush beds draped in soft Sferra linens. Another thoughtful touch is the drug’s partnership with Victrola, the Denver-based brand that has been making quality turntables for over 100 years. To that end, all guest rooms come with the company’s Linden Wood Bluetooth radio, while suites have standard players and coordinating vinyl kits.
Fittingly, the elegant aesthetic extends to the hotel’s communal, restaurant, and bar spaces. The lobby and reception area has a bold and luxurious look, with a reception desk largely covered in dark marble, a two-story fireplace and original work by Colorado artists.
Led by world-renowned chef Ludo Lefebvre, the hotel’s signature restaurant Chez Maggy honors his late mother-in-law with traditional and classic bistro fare with surprising twists like bison tartare and fork and knife burger dipped in pepper broth, smoked mayonnaise, and braised onions. For a more relaxing meal: Pull up a seat at the handsome circular bar, where we hope you’ll see Harriett, one of the city’s most elegant bartenders.
And because no evening is complete without a nightcap, head to the Reynard Social. Although the sixth-floor lounge is inspired by old-school chalets with a fireplace, low seating, and mountain views, the fun Victrola Listening Lounge and exotic cocktails like a light green and chocolate yard sale feel the here and now.
where do you eat
Although the location in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace may be modest, don’t be fooled: Annette is one of Denver’s brightest restaurants, and it has heaps of accolades that prove the point. By combining family warmth with seasonal and highly palatable dishes – even modest snacks like popcorn and mashed eggs – owner and chef Caroline Glover has set a high standard for what a neighborhood restaurant should look like today.
Yochi’s Japanese cuisine may not be traditional per se, but it is executed with great care and is absolutely delicious. (There is a reason for this RiNo spot Always Noisy, no matter what time of day.) Distinctive innovations include Hama Chili (slices of butterfish dressed in spicy ponzu), and be sure to try some of the lesser-known nigiri chops like Ishidai (knife) and Kuromutsu (black sea fish). Ditch the soy sauce, because each piece is appropriately seasoned by the chefs.
Another unmissable place is Sunday Vinyl. Tucked away in the Kimpton Hotel Born overlooking the Union Station train tracks, this elegant wine bar combines positively beautiful décor (pale pink walls, horseshoe bar, arched booths) with a wide selection of wines and vinyls from which the restaurant’s soundtrack is captured. While the Cool Brasserie Brixton may consider itself a French restaurant, it also happens to be devoid of the hype and formality. (Note the Stormtroopers overlooking the bar’s brick wall.) In the morning, locals flock to Stowaway Kitchen for international breakfasts consisting of Japanese salmon rice bowls, eggplant sandwiches, and halloumi. And while there’s plenty of respectable pizza in town, Cart-Driver stands out from the rest by bringing out the perfect wood-fired Neapolitan pies from a reclaimed shipping container.
what should be done
One of the most buzzing things to do in Denver, Meow Wolf’s “Convergence Station” is an experience like no other – just go. As the third permanent exhibition of the Santa Fe-based art production group, “Convergence Station” takes guests on an immersive, multi-sensory, and mind-blowing journey to explore the concept of quantum travel.
There is no shortage of big brand retail stores in town, but wouldn’t you feel comfortable shopping locally? With that in mind, head over to RiNo Conifer. Owned by Caitlyn Schwarz, this beautifully curated boutique showcases items and gifts made by small, sustainable makers. And on Blake Street, you’ll find another great women-owned store, Judith and Joe, where stylish, sustainable clothing is the specialty.
For a totally unique spa experience, book a session at The Beer Spa, owned by Jessica French and Damien Zouay. From the sitting room where you can savor a rotating beer to your beer treatment room – complete with an infrared sauna, giant cedar bathtub and shower stocked with toiletries at The Beer Spa – the facilities help you party and enjoy all the amazing benefits of Denver’s favorite drink.