Colorado is a stunningly picturesque nature lover’s paradise; a.k.a. Curious G's dream come true. After a 3.5 hour morning flight, we arrived at Denver International Airport and dove right into our end of the summer adventure! We spent a couple of days in the beautiful city of Denver, then headed to Colorado Springs and Avon for a much needed dose of fresh mountain air. Follow along as I document our getaway via this three part post!
Red Rocks Park is known for its grand amphitheater, where you can catch a performance under the stars amongst the stunning namesake rock formations. While the amphitheater was closed for a Jason Mraz sound check while we were there, we did manage to walk up 100 steps to experience the partial climb (many fitness enthusiasts come just to run up the steps) without going in. The acoustics provided by the galactic goliath rocks surrounding us were enough to make us feel like we were in the center of the performance space. It was a lovely soundtrack for exploring.
The rest of the park offers breath taking hiking trails, and we hiked a trail for about a mile, just enjoying the fabulous scenery. The terrain was kid friendly, and we felt like explorers in a foreign land far far away from the noise and grit of the city. Along the way, we saw cacti, a variety of dessert flowers and insects. We spent about 3 hours in Red Rocks Park, stopping in the Dinosaur Discovery area on the way out (there’s not much to see there; it's an extremely abridged version of a museum/ gift shop). There is a general store and a Music Hall of Fame museum where we bought over priced water and snacks (since we came directly from the airport and didn’t pack the necessities). There are restrooms available by the general store as well. Dining options, which we did not partake in, are also available in the park.
16th Street Mall: Arcade Games, Oysters and Wine, free shuttle rides, and more
After checking into our hotel, we headed out to the 16th Street Mall, which was about two blocks away. We did a quick cursory walk-thru, then met up with our local friends at FTW, which is the arcade and game hall attached to the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley, to kill some time before our dinner reservation at The Kitchen. The food at The Kitchen was good and the company was great. Curious G was a fan of the oyster selection and her scrumptious ricotta tart, but after having an early wake up call, flight across the country, moderate hike, change in altitude, and two glasses of wine I was toast. We took the free 16th Street shuttle back to our starting point and walked two blocks back our hotel, where we all immediately tapped out.
The Denver Art Museum greatly contributed towards my fondness for Denver. I was so impressed with it the first I visited about a decade ago. Thus, I was excited to take my family there! We strolled through the 16th St Mall and through the lovely Civic Center Park, where Labor Day and Taste of Colorado festivities were underway, to get there. The museum not only lived up to my favorable memory of it, but it surprised us with an incredible selection of kid friendly activities! It was the perfect way to spend a few hours in the morning before we had to check out of our hotel.
After checking out of our hotel and packing up the car, we drove about 10 minutes over to Denver’s River North Art District known as RiNo, where we planned to have lunch. Our friends raved about the Banh Mi they had at Zeppelin Station the prior week, and I had also seen an Instagram post about this food hall from a feed I started following in the process of planning this trip (I started following some local Denver moms to get the scoop). I was getting slight Chelsea Market vibes from Zeppelin Station, although its location along an old railroad track is distinctly Denver with its open blue sky, wild desert flowers and the fabulous crush walls which dot the whole neighborhood.
Where we stayed:
I stayed here about 10 years ago when I was in Denver for work and booked it for our family trip for its convenient location. It’s within arm’s reach of the 16th Street mall, where we ate dinner and breakfast during our overnight stay. It was also a 10 minute walk from the Denver Art Museum. Our room was very comfortable, and had we had the energy, we would have gone up to the hotel bar, Peaks Lounge, to take in the stunning Denver city and mountain vista.