Travel File: Denver, CO

Denver

A “free” weekend on the calendar.  I pack my clothes and assemble a basket of snacks for the road.  He books a place to sleep and changes the oil.  He grabs some CDs, I take along a few books.  We leave as early as we can, which usually falls around the 9:30 am hour.  We remember to check the weather that day.

It has become synonymous with taking a road trip.  Driving into storms, that is.

drive in

Let me back up.  I DID check the weather report the week before and sunshine was expected.  That, however, changed.  We, however, stayed right on course.  The mile high city is about 6 hours from Amarillo, TX.  It greeted us with snow, freezing rain and slow traffic on the Friday afternoon before Spring Break.

amarillo_to_denver_map

There are a few things I have learned over the years in my travels, and was reminded of during this trip:

  • Always time it so you enter a city’s limits after morning rush hour and well before their 5PM rush home.
  • Always carry cash and coins, as some places don’t take credit cards and most cities have parking meters.  (We needed cash because our debit card was not working and we needed change to feed the meters!)
  • If you want to be fashionable,  do so by planning around GOOD WALKING SHOES (We planned well in this department)
  • Get away from the tourist areas–that’s where all the cool restaurants and shops are.
  • Take a bike to get around a large city, and/or take public transportation (We did a lot of walking)
  • Find hotels that are within walking distance of food (The last thing we wanted to do was get back in the car and drive around the city looking for food in the snow.  We had an Irish pub right across the street!)

Denver, Co is surrounded by mountains:

Cityscape_Mountains_Denver

There is something about the energy of a city. You take in colors, lights, buildings, history, traffic, cathedrals, people…

Denver_City_Sights

Denver Graffiti Wall

Denver has a bike sharing program.  You can ride a bike from one station to the next.

We ran across a room for rent in the neighborhood of our hotel (seems comparable to Cali…?)

Denver_City_Sights_1

We visited the Capitol building.

Colorado State Capitol

Matt pointed out how different the light is when you are walking around a city full of skyscrapers.  I love all the reflections and the sharp lines against the sky.

Denver_Syscraper

Check out the reflection of one building onto another (on the left):

enver_City_Streets

Denver has wonderful shopping opportunities.  We walked to places like the 16th Street Mall (touristy for sure, but still nice).  I hopped into the H&M, only to find a very original store across the way on the second level of the mall.  It was called the I Heart Denver Store.  Everything was made by local artisans.  Matt and I fell in love with this person’s creations:  I chose a pair of earrings, and he bought a belt buckle.  They’re made from recycled skateboards!!!

Denver_shopping

Denver recently passed a law making it legal to buy marijuana.  Not sure of all the details, but there were dispensaries everywhere.  And although we loved the location of our Ramada Inn, it DID reek badly of pot in the hallways.  Luckily, our non-smoking room smelled fine.

We walked all around Colfax St and into the Congress Park Neighborhood where the record store, Twist & Shout, is located.  Right next door is an awesome book store too.  Check out the view from the parking garage above Twist & Shout in the upper left corner of this photo:

Twist_and_Shout_Records_Denver

We also wandered down Broadway street, where there are SO MANY cool, locally owned stores and eateries.  When we visited Denver two years ago, I found this totally cool fabric/yarn shop.  Fancy Tiger Crafts was on my list of places to re-visit this trip:

Fancy_Tiger_crafts_Denver

Buffalo Exchange, which is next door to Fancy Tiger, kept us searching for the perfect vintage duds.

Here’s a map with some highlights of our trip:

The Ramada Denver Downtown where we stayed

Twist & Shout Records

The “X” on 17th Ave. is near Watercourse Foods (My favorite!)

The “P” is Commons Park where we had a picnic

Denver_map

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post, where I will share food and picnicking ideas with you!

Denver is a city with it’s own unique pace, it’s own voice, it’s own friendliness. If you’ve never been, I highly suggest it.  If you have been to Denver, where do you love to go?

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