US Travel | Top 5 Ways to Experience Denver, CO
Red Rocks Amphitheater (image: timmyjohn1)
by: Jim Guttau
From its beginnings as a frontier town during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, the city of Denver has become a thriving cosmopolitan city and the largest city within 600 miles.
One of my favorite aspects of Denver, my city of residence for nearly five years, is the abundance of outdoor activities. With over 300 days of annual sunshine and the nation’s largest city park system, Denver residents enjoy year-round outdoor activities, from whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River to skiing at the world-class ski resorts nearby.
Nicknamed the “Mile High City” because of its elevation (5,280 feet above sea level), Denver has developed a reputation for a flourishing restaurant scene and exciting nightlife, especially in the hip and historic LoDo (Lower Downtown) neighborhood. Not to be missed are the many art districts and galleries scattered around the city, such as the brand new Museum of Contemporary Art.
Here are my top 5 ways to experience Denver:
1. Hear live music.
Showcasing musical groups like Counting Crows and Lyle Lovett, Red Rocks Amphitheater has phenomenal mountain and city views and is framed by two, three hundred-foot monoliths. Now in its tenth year, the popular Film on the Rocks is a summer series for the community to enjoy films at the Red Rocks.
2. Explore the mountains.
Vail is the largest single mountain resort in the United States with 5,289 acres of skiable terrain. Known for its European streetscapes, Vail is a posh resort town with topnotch dining. One of my favorite eateries is the elegant Sweet Basil; my lunch there always consists of their Gorgonzola dolce and mushroom tarte with grilled onions, and arugula. Also, visit the new $250 million Arrabelle at Vail Square—a new European streetscape at Lionshead Village.
3. Eat local cuisine.
Brasserie Felix, a casual French eatery in Denver’s Tennyson Street Cultural District, opened last August and has received rave reviews from food critics. Make sure to order their steak frites and mouth-watering mussels (choose from three kinds). Felix’s brunch offers guests bottomless mimosas and expertly made omelettes and Eggs Benedict.
4. Go to the theater.
My top pick for theater is a show at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, one of the most unique venues in Denver. To me, it seems the club is straight from the speakeasy era, with its lush brocade booths and the kitschy chandeliers. The nightclub is beneath the historic Daniels and Fisher Tower in downtown Denver and packs crowds in for Naughty Pierre’s Comedy & Burlesque Extravaganza, Demented Divas, the Patsy DeCline Show, and many more musical and comedy acts.
5. Sleep in style.
Enter a world of pop-culture at the ultra-hip Curtis Hotel. The new property features funky themed floors, wake-up calls from Elvis or Austin Powers, 5 & Dime, and Corner Office—a haven for delectable comfort food.
Jim Guttau is a freelance writer and owns a public relations firm in Denver. Visit www.guttaupr.com.