GET AWAY TO WHERE THE MOUNTAINS AND METROPOLITAN LIFESTYLE VIBRANTLY COINCIDE
Article by Mindy Hargesheimer
Photography by Visit Denver
When you think about Denver, what immediately may come to mind is the gateway to the stunning landscape of mountain peaks with an abundance of recreational activities. But what you might not realize is just how unbelievable the urban experience is in this extraordinary city set at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, including a booming collection of sleek boutique hotels, one of the most engaging arts and live music scenes anywhere, and elevated restaurants, shops, museums and galleries amid lively and diverse neighborhood pockets that will have you experiencing total fulfillment from this metropolitan basecamp.
With recent recognition and rankings, such as landing its spot as a top 10 city in the world to visit (Lonely Planet), leading the nation in attendance at performing arts events and exhibitions (National Endowment for the Arts), a repeat nominee for its foodie and craft beverage scene, and home to THE most attended concert venue of any size anywhere in the world (Billboard), Denver is bursting with profound cultural and lifestyle experiences, and we’re here to round up our recommendations for you.
One neighborhood that sets Denver apart is Cherry Creek North, otherwise known as the Mile High City’s ultimate luxury shopping and dining destination with the highest concentration of small businesses. A well-known favorite of the locals, Cherry Creek feels like a city within a city with its urban oasis atmosphere.
Get your street chic and fun-filled soles ready for 16 walking-friendly blocks of shopping, pampering, entertaining and feasting. With ample annual events to check out, such as the Food & Wine and Cherry Creek Arts festivals, you can pair your festival-fan side with high-end couture hunting at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, perusing Hermes, Chanel, Stuart Weitzman and Louis Vuitton, just to name a few.
As you work up an appetite, prepare to drink and devour the exquisite fare that Cherry Creek offers with more than 50 restaurants, making it almost impossible to choose and most definitely requiring a return visit. Whether your palate is yearning for a farm-to-table, multi-course meal by an award-winning chef, or a burger and locally brewed craft beer with a side of fries, you’ll find flavor profiles to satisfy every craving.
One such sophisticated and stylish restaurant destination includes Local Jones inside the urban chic Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek. Equal parts nostalgia and composure, this neighborhood restaurant serves up great food in a socially engaging atmosphere, offering brunch and dinner menus. Try the Colorado green chile breakfast burrito with a ginger liqueur spritz in the a.m., and take your turn at the pasta bolognese and ‘Tell Me I’m Pretty’ spirited libation in the p.m.
Step outside the restaurant, and you’ll find the only hotel property in the country that offers a Vespa to zip around town. Halcyon feels a bit like your living room with a warm and inviting vibe. Soak up the social atmosphere both upon entry and at the Elevated Rooftop Bar, and bring your swimsuit for the pool deck complete with recreational curling, cabanas and breathtaking views of the city.
Map out your foodie excursions by dabbling in an al fresco rooftop cocktail with a mountain view, decadent-filled chocolates cafe-side, and feasting on lobster rolls, tacos & tequila, crepes and so much more in this Denver district. All of it is waiting for you to create your own local foodie tour to satisfy your epicurean side.
Additionally, the Cherry Creek corridor boasts dozens of refined spas, salons, art galleries and boutique hotels in addition to Halcyon, such as Hotel Clio and The Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop. This Denver neighborhood favorite offers an entirely unique experience, providing intentionally elevated and customized services and local experiences.
Beyond the charm of Cherry Creek, Denver’s culture of arts and live music are thriving and growing by leaps and bounds. Take Meow Wolf, for example. Meow Wolf’s third permanent exhibition, Convergence Station, opened in Denver in September 2021 and is a not-to-be-missed experience. This four-story exhibition encompasses more than 75 unique installations, rooms and portals from 300 creatives. It tells a tale of what happens when a Denver city bus crashes into a rift during a rare cosmic event and opens a portal to four converged alien worlds. It has become one of the most talked about and nationally publicized attractions in Denver.
Likewise, the Denver Art Museum hosts its global art collections representing cultures from around the world, with more than 70,000 works of art in 12 permanent collections along with several outdoor artworks not to be overlooked. The eight-story architectural marvel stuns with its dramatic façade, in part thanks to last year’s $175 million renovation project that expanded and reimagined the campus with new, dynamic spaces to explore.
Denver’s open-air Red Rocks Amphitheatre featured the “most attended music venue in the world in 2021” thanks to its fantastic and rare aesthetic, history, and milestone moments that propelled it into its status it holds today. Freely hike and roam this geological wonder on non-event days, but don’t miss an opportunity to watch a performance under the Colorado stars and see where The Beatles played in 1964 and U2 filmed Under a Blood Red Sky in 1983, an event that boosted the venue into the global spotlight.
Finally, don’t miss the downtown district favoritesRiNo and LoDo. Denver’s urban-vibed River North Art District is a former industrial mercantile area turned into an artist magnet—blending urban charm and industrial revival with a collection of maker and artist galleries, breweries and bars, restaurants and coffee roasters, and street art murals surrounding you at nearly every corner. Be sure to check out Bigsby’s Follyfor its roaring ‘20s-inspired urban winery experience.
Denver’s Lower Downtown micro district, coined the Dairy Block, is a historic pocket packed with culinary concepts and unexpected craftsman curations to explore. Peruse the featured events, stay overnight, and eat, drink and be merry.
Visit Denver believes that travel makes the world a smaller and more connected place. It brings people together and fosters interaction among diverse cultures. We couldn’t agree more!
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