A Weekend Guide To Denver

Live it (way) up in the Mile High City

The mountains. The craft beer. The (cough) weed. If you've got 24 hours of leisure time in the Mile High City, we've got the itinerary for you, complete with places to see, dine and stay, either in and around downtown or a short drive away.

As for breweries and dispensaries: Rest assured you'll find one or the other around virtually every corner.


Go sleep in the train station. No, really: The Crawford Hotel occupies the upper floors of the stunningly renovated Union Station, offering bird's-eye views of the Great Hall and guest rooms inspired by the railroad era. Or stay nearby at The ART, as much a museum as a hotel, with original works by esteemed painters and sculptors everywhere you look.


Think Denver's not the place for bagels, pastrami and pickled herring? Check out Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen and think again—it's the real deal. Or for something completely different, hipster mom-and-pop café Onefold serves up the likes of duck confit congee and breakfast burritos on handmade tortillas with green chiles.


Less than 20 miles from downtown, the jagged sandstone formations of Red Rocks set a spectacular stage for (relatively quick and easy) trail hikes or stair runs in the park's world-famous natural amphitheater. 


There's no better time to discover why Denver's artisan marketplaces and food halls have been gaining national recognition as tourist attractions—from The Source and The Denver Central Market in RiNo to Avanti F&B in LoHi to Stanley Marketplace in Aurora to Union Station itself. Not only does each one boast vendor stalls, bars and even sit-down restaurants from some of the city's best chefs and producers, but their settings are picture perfect—be it a 19th-century brick foundry (The Source) or a midcentury aviation factory (Stanley).   


Maximum cultural experience, minimum time commitment: The Museum of Contemporary Art is tiny yet jam-packed with sometimes provocative, sometimes playful, always captivating exhibitions. And the Clyfford Still Museum—which houses most of its namesake's entire oeuvre—is a work of art in itself.


From LoDo through RiNo, Larimer Street is the ultimate Restaurant Row, lined for 20-plus blocks with some of Denver's top dining destinations. To name just a few (not counting the aforementioned Central Market): mod Chinese hot spot Hop Alley, zany small-plates haunt Rebel, fast-casual sensation Dio Mio Handmade Pasta, Mexican Southern fave Work & Class and Mediterranean classic Rioja

Equally convenient and rich in options is the LoHi neighborhood, where you'll find first-rate modern Italian plates at Bar Dough, globally inspired street food in a former mortuary at Linger and cocktails from one of the nation's foremost bartending teams at Williams & Graham.

Pack your passport—and an appetite—as we hit the world's hottest culinary destinations on and off the grid all month long. Now Boarding: your next trip to paradise.

Ruth Tobias has been living, and writing about, the (mile) high life in Denver for 10 years and counting. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Denveater.