The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Denver, Colorado
Colorado was one of those states that I’ve always dreamed of visiting but for some reason, never took the plunge! The Mile High City — is known for having city life meets outdoor adventure, where travelers can enjoy food, drinks, art, 420 friendly shops, and sports all within the Rocky Mountains.
Luckily, I decided to take the opportunity as my last winter getaway of the year when my boyfriend found out his favorite band was performing. We purchased our tickets for the concert, booked our flights and hotel. And as the next few weeks go by, the band broke up! It was a pretty disappointing way to start the trip. BUT, we decided to make the most of it. So we changed up our plans and made it a getaway to explore Denver and Steamboat Springs, which are two destinations that have always been on my bucket list!
To truly get the most out of our Denver experience, we decided to book three different hotels. First, in the upscale neighborhood known as Cherry Creek. The second hotel was in Steamboat Springs. And our third and final hotel was The Art Hotel located in downtown Denver. If you want to read about my trip and follow my exact itinerary to research your upcoming stay in Denver, Colorado, continue reading below! And for more Denver posts, click here!
As usual, Jeff and I like to start our vacations bright and early so we can grab breakfast in the Delta Sky Lounges at the airport. Starting our travel day bright and early helps us to avoid any traffic to the Orlando airport and miss the long lines at TSA. Pro Tip: apply for TSA Pre-Check! It’ll make your airport experience a breeze. We usually do an early start to our vacations so we can be fed, maybe get a cocktail or two, snooze a bit more on the plane, and then voila, we’ve reached our destination.
As soon as we landed in Denver, we were surprised to find out how mildly cold the weather was for March.
Here’s What I Packed For Denver
How To Get There
To save some money and time, we took the train/RTD from the airport to downtown Denver. The train runs every 15 minutes throughout the day and every 30 minutes in the early mornings. The cost was about $10.50 (2022) to get us to the end of Union Station. Click here for the A-Line Schedule on the day of your trip. RTD from the airport to Union Station felt safe (we boarded around 11 am) and was actually quite scenic! We noticed people traveling to/from work, families visiting town to go skiing, plus college students all taking the train. The total ride was about 37-40 minutes long.
We departed RTD at Union Station, which is the cultural hub of Denver. Union Station is in the LoDo neighborhood and is also home to the award-winning Crawford Hotel plus restaurants and shops. Within walking distance, you can get to Coors Field, Larimer Square, Dairy Block, and countless restaurants, sports bars, and rooftop cafes.
Once we got to Downtown Denver, it was around noon, so we were ready to get a bite to eat. So we stopped in at Illegal Pete’s for Jeff’s favorite burrito spot for lunch and a margarita. And check out Rocky Mountain High Dispensary. (When in Denver lol)
Checking into the Moxy Cherry Creek
As we made our way to Moxy Cherry Creek, I couldn’t help but noticed all the high-end shops and boutiques in the area. I was so excited to find out that Moxy Creek is within walking distance of them all. Before we explored the neighborhood, we checked into the Moxy! The hotel itself had a cool vibe. The room was minimal yet comfortable and offered a great view of downtown Denver and the rocky mountains in the distance! For our stay, we got upgraded with two drink credits, thanks to our rewards with Marriott! For a more detailed separate on the Moxy, click here!
Shopping around Cherry Creek
If you’ve never been to the Cherry Creek North neighborhood of Denver, it’s a suburb of Denver that is known for being a premier outdoor retail and dining destination where you can also find art galleries and local boutiques. I got to attend a yoga studio, which obviously was a highlight of my stay. I love nothing more than being in a neighborhood where I feel safe to walk around during the evenings to get a coffee, shop around or grab a bite. For some travelers, it may feel commercialized with all the big named stores, restaurants, and workout studios. For our shopping lovers, I highly recommend staying in the Cherry Creek Area.
Dinner at Little Ollie’s
For dinner, we made a reservation at Little Ollie’s which serves delicious Chinese food, dim sum, and sushi. We went family-style and shared a few plates together. The service was great and the restaurant was had great vibes and was quite lively during the evening. If you aren’t able to have Little Ollies for dinner, stop for a cocktail at their modern cocktail lounge.
Little Ollie’s Menu: http://littleollies.com/menus
Breakfast at Local Jones
This beautiful restaurant is located inside the Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek. Just a few blocks away from the hotel we spent the night at. Here we got brunch and Bloody Mary’s before starting checking out of the Moxy and heading off to Steamboat Springs. The service here was amazing and the interior of the restaurants was bright and trendy.
Traveling to Steamboat Springs from Denver
To get from Steamboat Springs from Denver, the best way is to rent a car. The trip from Moxy Cherry Creek to Steamboat Springs is 2 hr 55 min (154.0 mi) via I-70 W and US-40 W. The ride is picturesque and depending on the weather, road conditions can be sketchy. If you aren’t experienced with driving in the snow (Jeff has only seen snow twice in his life lol) make sure to travel with caution and take bathroom breaks when you can find them. There are a few stretches where there is nowhere to pull off and use the restroom. You are after all going up and down mountains. So dreamy!
Checking into Homewood Suites, Steamboat Springs
If you are looking for a more affordable stay with spacious rooms, complimentary WiFi, a fully-equipped kitchen, comfortable workspace, do not overlook Homewood Suites by Hilton. They’re right off the main road plus offer 🥞 🧇 🍳 breakfast. I will say, the breakfast isn’t the best but at least it’s there :). Because of the location, we were able to easily stop here frequently to rest and change outfits throughout the day. Once we were all checked in and unpacked, we headed out to Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs.
Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs
Address: 44200 Co Rd 36, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Phone: (970) 879-0342
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is absolutely stunning and blew me away. Here you can relax in a hot & cold spring all while being immersed in a winter wonderland. The springs are fully developed stone pools set along a mountain creek. And unlike other hot springs, this one had no harsh smells. There are multiple pools and can get crowded mid-day. You will need to book a reservation in advance. There is an option for daytime or nighttime. At night time, it becomes clothing optional.
There is a pool if guests want to take an icy dip. The temperature of the hot springs was typically around 100- to 106-degree.
Pro Tip: Bring water shoes, cold water bottles, and a bathrobe. You thank me later!
Tacos at Salt + Lime
Address: 628 Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, you’ll love Salt & Lime. This restaurant was quite busy the evening we went but we loved the funky ambiance. The food is delicious and I love that the restaurant has so many options for vegetarians.
Riding the Scenic Gondola Rides in Steamboat Springs
Hours of Operation: Daily, 10:30am – 3:00pm
A great way to ride up Mt. Werner is to take a scenic gondola ride. The ride offers panoramic views and is a great way to get to the top. If you aren’t skiing, you absolutely can take a ride to the top on the gondolas. The ride takes about 9 minutes long and is an affordable way to enjoy aerial views of the Yampa Valley.
Enjoy a thrilling ride at Saddleback Ranch on Snow Mobiles
Featured on E! Channel, Saddleback Ranch is the only guided tour that offers snowmobiles on private land. The ride was a highlight of the trip. I will say, if you aren’t experienced on a jet ski, snowmobiling is difficult. The Adventure tour is about three hours long and they include cookies at the end of the tour.
Italian Dinner at Mazzola’s
This Italian restaurant is a popular dining spot in Steamboat. The restaurant itself is small so we highly recommend grabbing a reservation (available on OpenTable.com). Mazzola’s opened in 1970 and offers amazing quality Italian food. I ordered the chef’s special that featured truffles, and I was OBSESSED!
Cocktails The Barley Tap and Tavern
If you are looking for a delicious spicy margarita, look no further than The Barley Tap and Tavern. The Tavern offers small bites and is a great place to spot during their happy hour.
Delicious Cajun Food at Louisiana Lindsy’s Provisions
If you are a huge fan of cajun flavors, grab some jambalaya subs from Louisiana Lindsy’s. The food is served in a tiny food hut in the middle of downtown. The gumbo is an absolute must, especially when it’s cold outside. It’ll feel like it’s warming your heart with cajun goodness!
Checking into The Art Hotel Denver
We spent most of the day traveling back from Steamboat Springs back to Denver, so we were ready to check into our room and relax and The Art Hotel Denver. This beautiful hotel is located in the Art District of Denver and is a few blocks away from the Art Museum. The area isn’t as walkable as Cherry Creek but is absolutely beautiful and unique with all of its art pieces. If you are a Hilton Honors member, this is a great option for members.
For a separate post on The Art Hotel Denver, check out this post! (coming soon!)
FIRE! Dinner inside of The Art Hotel
Since we spent the last few days exploring the outdoors, we decided to do dinner at the restaurant that was in the hotel property. FIRE! is a beautiful restaurant with delicious meal options. We also decided to come here for breakfast, and the food does not disappoint!
Sunrise at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Address: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465
If you didn’t visit Red Rocks Park, did you even go to Denver? Okay, maybe but the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre are a must-visit. If you aren’t familiar, the Red Rocks Amphitheater is an open-air theater built within a rock structure. Travelers from all over fly to Denver just to listen to concerts held here! They say, if you perform at Red Rocks, then you’ve really made it.
Biscuits and Gravy at Rise & Shine Biscuit Kitchen and Cafe
I can’t start my mornings off without a good cup of coffee, so we were on the hunt for a local cafe. Rise & Shine is a locals favorite! There are two Rise & Shine locations and they are a great option for breakfast lovers If you want to start your morning off with savory dishes like Southern Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy, you’ll want to try out this cafe!
Strolling Along the Dairy Block & LoDo
Dairy Block Website: https://dairyblock.com/
If you can find street parking on the weekends, I suggest finding a spot near the Dairy Block. This area is a district mini district where you can find shops, upscale restaurants, boozy bars, the Maven hotel, and plenty of artwork sprinkled up and down the area.
Margaritas and Thrifting at Garage Sale Vintage in Larimer Square
From the Dairy Block, we took a 3-minute walk to Larimer Square. Larimer square is a lively and iconic place in the heart and soul of downtown Denver. Here you can amazing local and familiar restaurants brands like Ocean Prime. But we decided to check out the two-story thrift shop, Garage Sale Vintage which has an awesome margarita bar inside! We even picked up a vintage playboy and other souvenirs. I just love skimming through the vintage clothing.
Modern Chinese at ChoLon
ChoLon Menu: https://www.cholon.com/downtown/dinnermenu/
ChoLon is right downtown and is a great spot if you are craving Asian fusion dishes. We couldn’t help ourselves and ordered family-style for the table. If you are in the mood for Chinese, Vietnamese fused with modern flare, book a reservation at ChoLon.
Visiting Another Planet at Meow Wolf Museum
Meow Wolf Website: https://tickets.meowwolf.com/denver
Held at the Convergence Station, Meow Wolf is an art experience unlike any other. This museum is taken at your own pace is a sensory overload with many interactive rooms and bizarre sculptures. Get ready to be taken to another planet, learn the story and be completely Immersed in sensational colors and sounds.
For a separate post on Meow Wolf, check out this post (coming soon!)
Denver is a beautiful, colorful and lively city and I’m so happy I got to experience so much in the way that I did. We checked out so much local art, ate amazing food, and walked around so many of its iconic and historic streets. And of course, who can get over the sweeping mountain views. I’m absolutely stunned by Denver and wish I visited sooner. I hope this guide was helpful as you make your itinerary to the Mile High City. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected] or DM me on Instagram!