I called my my 75-year-old dad from Denver, when I was there in August, just to say hello from my travels.
“Colorado,” he mused. “Isn’t marijuana legal there?”
Really. It was the first thing he asked — not a, “What are you doing there?” or a, “Do you like it?” Straight to the legal weed thing.
I raised an eyebrow. “Why yes, yes it is,” I replied. And that sealed the deal. When my pops is onto this whole legalizing weed thing from halfway across the country, legal pot no longer seems edgy or even all that interesting.
But of course, marijuana is about the least fascinating thing the Mile High City has going for it. Come to Denver for the public art, the museums, the excellent dining, hell, come for the barrels of microbrew beers, but the weed? Whatevs.
Prior to August, I’d never been to Denver and when given the chance to visit, I jumped on it, flying out less than a week later. I had a few brief days there and was given the opportunity to see some excellent sights, thanks to Visit Denver.
Take a gander at my top picks, and let me know what I need to see and do next time!
The Crawford Hotel
Denver has some epically historic hotels, like the Brown, but the Crawford Hotel, built in the newly refurbished, Beaux Arts-style Union Station train station, which dates back to 1914 and is still active, was gorgeous. A clean, mod design using details from the original structure, like wooden support beams and old blue prints, charmed the heck out of me.
Eat & Drink
Any restaurant that has a monstrous still from the movie Harold and Maude (my favorite movie of ALL. TIME. as a centerpiece in the restaurant is a winner in my book. Add to that the fact that Linger is in a former mortuary and has some damn tasty twists on international street food, and I’m hooked.
Stoic & Genuine
You know how I feel about oysters, right? Right. Stoic & Genuine, located in the world of restaurants and shops added to Union Station has a damn good selection of fresh oysters which are flown in daily. IE, do not be alarmed to eat seafood far from the ocean coasts.
Git ‘er Done
American Museum of Western Art
I had no idea I could love Western art as much as I do. Admittedly, I’m addicted to the West and all things Western, but I was mesmerized by the collection at Denver’s American Museum of Western Art in the 19th-century Navarre Building. The Anschutz Collection included works by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran Georgia O’Keefe,
Clyfford Still Museum
I’m not gonna lie. I had never heard of Clyfford Still before I went to the Clyfford Still Museum. Heck, even Abstract Expressionism aficionados might only be somewhat familiar with his work. Bottom line, this tiny space is devoted to one of the 20th century’s most important artists (and yes, he actually is).
B-Cycle Bike Tour
Denver is filled with nature-obsessed outdoors lovers. This is a good thing. It means pretty much everyone is super active, and the city’s B-Cycle bike rental program lets you join the fray, biking along pretty waterfront paths like the Cherry Creek bike trail.
Denver Botanic Gardens
I had a the great fortune to visit the Denver Botanic Gardens when the Dale Chihuly exhibit was in full swing, and it was completely remarkable — colorful, wild, mind-boggling. Even without Chihuly, the 23 acre site is worth a stroll.
Rockmount Ranch Wear
You know those snap button shirts all the hipsters wear? Well, they originated here in Denver, at Rockmount Ranch Wear (though of course were worn by real cowboys and the like), and you too, can now own their snap buttoned elegance, in patterns that include beer hops — perfect for this microbrew obsessed town.
Denver Beer Co.
I don’t drink microbrew beer, (I get headaches), but pretty much everyone and their grandma does in Denver, and you’d be missing out not to hit one of the local spots like Denver Beer Co., which has a smattering of outdoor tables from which to enjoy sipping your brew.