Working for 209 Magazine has afforded me the opportunity to visit a number of unique destinations in the area, but when it comes to out-of-state travel those opportunities are few and far between. So when I got the chance to take my first trip to Denver it was a no-brainer for me that I wanted to share my experience with the 209 readers. With four days to roam the Mile-High City, I took it upon myself to explore as much as I could, mostly via the RTD rail system, so I could get a well-rounded idea of what Denver has to offer. While I couldn’t possible experience everything during my short stay, I was able to enjoy enough of the city to warrant a return trip.
There is no shortage of artistic expression in Denver, with galleries and museums dotting the map across its many districts and neighborhoods. But if Monet isn’t your thing, or you would rather enjoy art cost-free in a wide-open space, you can forgo places like the Denver Art Museum for stretches of street art in the RiNO District or the Art District on Sante Fe. More than just graffiti, these two districts in particular boast a number of murals from budding artists that are sure to make a lasting impression during your visit to Denver. It should take roughly a day’s time to explore these two districts and if you’re still craving more art afterwards there are six additional art districts in the city to explore.
Food is arguably the most important aspect of travel. After all, what better way is there to get a taste of a new environment than to experience its cuisine? If you share this philosophy, Denver has you covered with dishes from around the world. If you want to eat somewhere that is truly authentic to Denver, however, there is one place that is a must-visit: The Buckhorn Exchange Steak House. Founded in 1893, the restaurant has served everybody from President Theodore Roosevelt to the famed “Buffalo Bill” and is currently on the National Register of Historic Places. More importantly, the food is delicious with everything from buffalo prime rib and elk to fresh salmon and quail.
When it’s time for dessert, Voodoo Doughnut on Colfax is the perfect stop for modern takes on classic treats. Found in only seven cities across the country, this unique doughnut shop delivers on both style and deliciousness.
As with any metropolitan city, the number of choices for nightlife fun in Denver is abundant. Bars, lounges, concert venues, theatres and more — it’s all there for you to explore. One scene that might not be typical to many cities but has deep roots in Denver, however, is the comedy scene with more than half a dozen locations to enjoy within city limits. One of the most well-known venues is the Comedy Works Downtown location on 15th Street that regularly books some of the world’s most renowned comedians. Andrew Santino, Bobby Lee, Bryan Callen and Tom Segura are just a few of the acts booked in 2020 that comedy fans can enjoy in an intimate setting. And for those die-hard comedy fans who want more laughs, places like Comedy Works South and the Denver Improv are also good places to visit.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
In addition to traditional destinations for travelers, Denver also offers its visitors experiences that many would consider to be non-traditional and are unique to the Mile-High City. Tied into Denver’s burgeoning marijuana-based tourism, The International Church of Cannabis is one such place. Touted as a technicolor place of worship for its members who call themselves Elevationists, this destination welcomes out-of-town visitors with open arms. Complete with a lounge area full of video games, a private movie room and even a Salvador Dali couch, the big draw is the guided meditation and laser light experience known as BEYOND that takes place daily at various times. Set in the remnants of a Lutheran Church from the early 1900s, this is a truly Denver-centric location that must be seen to be understood. It’s important to note, however, that cannabis consumption within the church is prohibited for non-members.