Hi everyone! So this is kinda late lmao but my life has been crazy hectic but better late than never. Obviously, there are more to Denver than what I listed here but it is a good start and I will definitely add to this next time I visit. Majority of the places are major attractions and of course IG worthy. You definitely have to love the outdoors but it’s okay if you’re not a hiker because I’m not! I definitely did my research on how to find the best views with either the easiest hikes or that involves minimum hiking LOL. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Other than that, happy reading 🙂 PS: It’s organized by neighborhood/area.
B R E C K E N R I D G E
Located about 1.5 hours from Denver, Breckenridge is such a cute little mountain town. There are lots of restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops with views of the mountains everywhere you go. It is the perfect place to get some souvenir shopping done. There is a welcome center that has lots of free pamphlets with maps and adventures to do.
We had an amazing dinner at Hearthstone restaurant where you can dine with mountain views at the window. I can’t get over how amazing the views were. I felt like I was right next to the mountains. As for our meal, it was delicious! I had filet for my entree, which is like my fave and it did not disappoint. The cocktails were also delicious, so if you don’t want to come for dinner, you can always go to happy hour.
E S T E S P A R K & R O C K Y M O U N T A I N S
Estes Park is another cute little mountain town that has lots of shops, restaurants, and souvenir shops. This is the most visited mountain town in Colorado since it serves as a base for the infamous Rocky Mountain National Park. Pro tip: you can drive to the Bear Lake trailhead but you must go extra early because parking will fill up.If you plan on going later, you can park at the Estes Park Visitor Center and take the shuttle up.
There are lots of hikes you can do here but I picked the Bear Lake Trailhead because you get to see 3 different lakes: Bear Lake, Dream Lake, and then emerald lake. Trust me, the views just get better and better as you go along the trails. The trail was very easy to follow since it’s so populated and there are tons of signs. It took us a little over 2.5 hours but less than 3 hours roundtrip to do all, which include breaks to eat and take pictures.
B O U L D E R
Flatirons: This is one of the most iconic landmarks in Boulder and is a perfect attraction for basically anyone. If you are adventurous, you can hike it but to me, the best views are from far away when you get to see the whole landmark. There is Chautauqua park right there where you can sit down and have a nice relaxing picnic to enjoy the views. My cousin actually brought some water colors and painted.
If you want to hike it, the hikes are pretty leisurely and moderate. It is about 2.6 miles roundtrip, which would take the average hiker 2 hours leisurely. Dogs are allowed as long as they have a leash.
Pearl Street Mall: This is an outdoor “mall” which is expands to four blocks and is made up of various shops and restaurants. There are lots of cute little boutique shops, antique stores, candy shops, restaurants, and more.
The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse: This is a very cute teahouse that reminds me of Aladdin’s magic carpet in a way LOL weird but very exotic with Persian art. This teahouse has various types of tea and asian fusion foods, including dim sum on the weekends. They also serve afternoon tea here too which I wanted to try out, but you must reserve it 24 hours in advance.
D O W N T O W N D E N V E R
Union Station: very cute train station that has so many cute restaurants, shops, and even a hotel inside. There are bars, coffee shops, ice cream, floral shops, bookstores, pizzeria, and more! The inside decor is incredible to me and resembles the inside of a hotel lobby. I just can’t get over how cute it is inside and want to come back and spend a whole day here.
Cherry Creek Mall: very big mall with probably every big name designer you can think of and plus stores for us regular people like Forever 21, H&M, Sephora, etc.
Other attractions that I was not interested in but very popular: Denver Zoo, Denver Aquarium, Denver Art Museum & Denver Botanic Gardens
54 Thirty Bar: A rooftop bar with nice city views at night. The drinks are pretty good and average $12 per drink. It gets really busy around sunset so I would suggest come about an hour before sunset since you do have to check in and wait to go up since they do reach max capacity at times.
D Bar Denver: I was bummed I didn’t have time to go here but it’s a highly rated American restaurant with a BOMB ass dessert menu. I was looking at the pictures and seriously drooled. Actually located within walking distance of 54 thirty bar so you can definitely get dinner, dessert, and go out for drinks after.
SOL Mexican Cocina: Found this Mexican restaurant right next to Cherry Creek mall and it was delicious. The tacos were pretty pricey for the size of street tacos, but the margaritas were yummy.
Lula Rose: very cute little retro coffee shop + very instagrammable. Serves breakfast + coffee/lattes/teas
Voodoo Donuts: this originated from Oregon and are delicious! There are so many different and fun flavors and the inside is so cute with chandeliers and pink walls. The donuts even come in a cute pink box.
Felfel Mediterranean: this is a little quick sit down restaurant chain in Denver that my cousins introduced me too and it is so delicious! It is Mediterranean so think kabobs, falafel, and hummus. The platters are huge and will only cost you around $10. Be sure to mention it’s your first time to get two free falafels.
Four Friends Kitchen: this was a Southern style brunch place with chicken and waffles, cornbread, grits, biscuits & gravy, etc with the classic brunch cocktails mimosas and bloody Marys. If you want something light and not too heavy, there are healthier options too but of course I ordered the chicken & waffles with cornbread on the side because who diets on vacation?! Not me LOL. I did add poached eggs to it and took the coleslaw out because I don’t like coleslaw at all.
Little Man’s Ice Cream: a very popular ice cream spot with original flavors like vanilla, chocolate and then specials. There is always a long line even in the pouring rain surprisingly. It was good and a must try but I don’t think I would wait another 30 mins for ice cream.
R E D R O C K S P A R K & A M P H I T H E A T R E
This is another major attraction that is a outside theater as well as has trails for hikes. The shows always sell out pretty quick so if you’re planning on visiting, definitely check the website to see who is performing. I heard that watching a show or listening to a concert while the sunset is just amazing. As for the hikes, it is a pretty easy trail with basically no elevation. The views were nice on the trails but honestly, you don’t need to hike because you can just sit down on the theater and enjoy the views. Pro tip before visiting: double check the hours before you go because if there is a show, the hours are different.
P I K E S P E A K H I G H W A Y
A MUST SEE ATTRACTION! This is a very scenic 19-mile highway that takes you up to the top for an amazing viewpoint with an elevation of 14,000 feet. The highway is VERY steep and dangerous and you would have to drive extra slow. There is usually a train that takes you from the bottom all the way to the top but when I went, it was still under construction so double check next time when planning your trip.
We drove to mile 7 and then took the shuttle all the way to the top. I do recommend this because it is pretty dangerous once you get up high and you can actually enjoy the views vs. focusing on not trying to die while driving. Once you’re on top, you can walk around and take some pics, explore the gift shop, and enjoy some of their famous donuts.
FYI: Make sure your gas tank is filled and it’s $15 per adult to enter or $50 per car. You can purchase tickets ahead online or in person via cash or credit. Also, it gets really cold up top so definitely pack a light jacket!
M I S C & T I P S
1. Colorado highways are pretty steep so be careful driving, especially around the curves and if it is raining.
2. It’s a flat city so honestly there are mountain views legit everywhere.
3. Always pack layers because you can basically experience 4 whole seasons in one day here.
4. Make sure you remember SPF & bug spray for hikes.
5. Before you plan on going on a hike, download Google offline maps of that area. You never know if you are going to lose service when you are basically in the middle of nowhere and so high up.
6. Majority of the time, there are welcome centers for hikes. Make sure you stop by and grab a trail map.
7. Make sure you do research ahead before every hike. Example: weather, what type of wild animals you might run into and what to do, duration of the hike (so you know how much water/food to pack), where to park, park times, etc.
8. You can rent bikes/scooters via an app in downtown Denver which is a fun way to sightsee the city.
And that’s a wrap. Thanks so much for reading and hopefully I will have more to add next time I visit. Hope you enjoy! xoxo, Jenn <3