We’re getting back into the travel groove with another installment of our “48 Hours In…” series. It’s been a while!
Rocky mountain high, Colorado.
Denver, that old Mile High City. Where it used to be an airport hub, or a stopover when traveling to Vail or Aspen, the Colorado capital has seen its interior corridor flourish over the last decade, with building renovations and art installations. The restaurant and bar scene continues to thrive as well, bringing kitchens from New York, LA, and Portland in recent years. For my first proper visit to the city, I reached out to my Twitter friend, Mo Smith, a Colorado native always in the know with food and drink.Death & Company
1280 25th Street
Dark and classy, with blacks and blues throughout the room, the West Coast post of the famous New York bar slid into the Denver scene earlier this year as the newly constructed Ramble Hotel came into focus. Holding the main floor just outside reception, the drink menu is organized by flavor profile preference and the food menu, which changes often, delivers everything from small bites to full entrees (I really enjoyed both the house burrata dish and the scallops). Holding down the hotel fort, D&C also offers a morning menu with pastries, small plates, and desserts.
1889 16th Street Mall
Now in its second year of business, this Denver hot spot from a team of Boulder favorites is everything you love about Italian fine dining: a menu of well-executed favorites, an extensive wine selection, a team of sharply-dressed, convivial staffers. Adjacent to Union Station, the dining room and open kitchen are a welcoming space, with warm woods and classic whites, great for date night, pre-theatre bites, or a weekend family meal. Pro-tip: a tiramisu and a pour of Fernet-Branca is a stellar way to close out your meal.
Snooze, an AM Eatery
(multiple Denver locations, as well as California, Arizona, and Texas)
Snooze is just one of the many eateries located at Denver’s Union Station, offering an extensive menu of brunch and breakfast go-tos, as well as a full array of morning drinks and cocktails. It’s a popular place, so make sure you’re in early, or be prepared to wait. The food, drinks, and service are worth your time. (I recommend the outpost of the Tattered Cover bookstore across the hall for optimal waiting.)
**Have more than 48 hours during your visit to Denver? Mo had plenty of downtown Denver food & drink suggestions in addition to the list above, including Mercantile, Avelina, Stoic & Genuine, and The Cooper Lounge.
A repeated recommendation from friends, the century-old Union Station underwent a massive two-year overhaul just a few years ago, from décor to transportation routes, with a grand re-opening in 2014. While the main room of the terminal continues to serve travelers arriving and departing on various trains, the building now includes boutique shops, restaurants, and a shiny bar mid-terminal. Denver visitors have the option to stay as well, with rooms of the Crawford Hotel wrapping along the second level of the station.
Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway
In the heart of downtown, the Denver Art Museum is a popular tourist recommendation – and for multiple reasons. The building itself is an exquisite shape, a tangling of boxes, triangles, and sharp edges – and the installations are renowned. Currently on display on one of the museum’s four levels, “New Territory: Landscape Photography,” an innovative look at landscape images created utilizing unique techniques, from a split camera tent offering 2D images to pieces printed instantaneously via mobile darkroom. The museum will host a Claude Monet exhibition in late 2019.
Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York Street
The Denver Botanic Gardens are a stunning sightseeing stop for anyone visiting the city. The sprawling expanse includes vegetation from the region and beyond – carefully curated rock gardens, cacti, bonsai trees. Artwork from various artists, including glass artist Dale Chihuly, is presented throughout the park. Pieces from artist Mike Whiting with a vintage video game theme are currently featured through September.
Photo credit: Jennifer Matthewson / Daily Blender