City Guide: Denver

Travel- DenverOkay, I know I’m super behind on my travel blogs for 2014. I don’t know how many people follow the travel part of this blog (let me know in the comments if you like these!), but I promise I’m going to be more on time with these in 2015. There are just two of these left to finish out our adventures from last year, and up next is Hawaii and Harry Potter World.

In September 2014, we had another wedding to attend — this time in Denver, Colorado. While I’ve flown in to Denver several times to ski at Keystone, Vail, and other nearby resorts, I hadn’t spent much time exploring the Mile High City itself before this trip. Turns out Denver has a lot to offer beyond its ski resorts!

The Recap

Favorite Eats

  • Moontower Tacos. Delicious, cheap tacos with unique flavor combinations.
  • Snooze. Fantastic brunch spot that gives you mountains of food. And the hollandaise! Mmmm.
  • Little Owl. This place is easy to miss since they don’t have much signage. But it’s worth finding. Beyond making excellent espresso, which this place does, I’m always impressed when a coffee shop makes their own syrups. It makes it so much better!

Favorite Sights

  • Deer Creek Canyon. Go hike here. Pretty terrain, great views, and you can see the Denver skyline in the distance from some parts of the trails.
  • 16th Street Mall. A cool place to walk around in downtown Denver.

Notable Lodging

  • SpringHill Suites in Aurora. Spacious rooms, very modern bathroom (which I appreciated more than usual with a wedding to attend), comfortable bedding, yummy breakfast included.

The Rundown

Denver is one of those places that lots of people love, and I have several friends who live there. While my husband was busy with groomsman duties, I caught up with friends and saw the sights.

Since we arrived in the afternoon, I ate lunch and grabbed some coffee in downtown Denver by myself. While I love traveling with people, sometimes I love exploring a city solo, too. A work friend recommended Moontower Tacos to me, and a quick perusal of their menu convinced me that it was worth a try. As I gravitate towards the craziest thing on a menu, I chose the Doggfather and the Gangnam Style.

MoontowerTacos

The Doggfather combines several delicious flavors that you wouldn’t expect to go together. At its most basic level, it’s a fried chicken and waffles taco. It also comes with bacon, apple butter, candied jalapeños, and two sauces on the side: syrup and hot sauce. You get a lot of different textures and flavors in each bite, and I liked that a lot. The tortilla becomes an essential vehicle for keeping everything together. After a few bites of the fiery Doggfather, it was hard to consider the Gangnam Style (fried pork belly, slaw, peanuts, and sesame sauce) a daring choice, but it was still good and I needed the lighter, cooler flavors of that taco after the Doggfather. All in all, Moontower was probably my favorite meal while in Denver. They still had so many tacos that I would have loved to try, including breakfast tacos. It’s also very cheap! Tacos range from $3-5 each.

After the tacos, I headed over to Rooster & Moon Coffee Pub to get a cappuccino and to spend some time writing. I love small shops like this that serve good food, beer, and drinks, in addition to coffee.

Later that night, I met up with an old friend from high school and she took me to a little Middle Eastern place called Jerusalem Restaurant. The place is tiny, but they serve up fantastic shawarmahs, kabobs, and baklava. And since they’re right next to a university, they’re open all hours of the night, and the food is cheap.

The next day, I hung out with a friend who lived in the Centennial area, and she took me to Southglenn for brunch. We ate at Snooze, a place that seems to be a favorite for many Denverites since the line was nearly out the door when we arrived on a Friday morning.

After eating all that food, we went for a hike. A sensible antidote, of course, to eating a small mountain of carbs and hollandaise sauce.

DeerCreekCanyon3

Deer Creek Canyon was only a short drive away from Centennial. The ease with which one could be in the city, eating a classy brunch, and then, on a whim, decide to go hiking was enviable.

The night before we hiked, it sleeted in Denver, which meant it snowed in the mountains. It’s not as clear in this picture, but it was very pretty to look at on the hike.

DeerCreekCanyon

Early on the morning of the wedding, we had breakfast at The French Press in Aurora with some friends. We all enjoyed our food, and the portions were huge. I had Sterling’s Sweet Biscuits, chipotle cheddar biscuits with chorizo gravy. Mmm, I’m going to have to recreate those some time.

Denver

Later that afternoon, we walked around downtown Denver. It’s a classy downtown, and we didn’t even scratch the surface of the possibilities since we only had a few hours. We walked around 16th Street Mall, a great place to stroll on a beautiful day like we had. It was hard to believe it was blue skies, sunny, and warm, when it had been sleeting two nights before. Before we had to go back to get ready for the wedding, we ate at MAD Greens, and then grabbed coffee at Little Owl.

Then we enjoyed the gorgeous outdoors in Byers for the wedding, and danced the night away. While it was a short couple of days, I’m sure we’ll be back in Denver some time soon.

IMG_1868

Have you ever been to Denver? Tell me your favorite spots! And if you love traveling, check out my other travel posts.

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