Colorado, a state known for its breath-taking landscapes, outdoor adventures, its Wild West history, and the early legalisation of recreational cannabis. There is no better place to experience it all than Denver – The Mile High City. With direct flights from London, day trips to ski resorts, The Rockies, and outdoor climbing are all within reach from the comfort of this magnificent city.
With the love for the great outdoors deeply ingrained in the spirit of every Denverite, it’s evident how nature has shaped the city. View Plane laws restrict the height of new buildings, preserving the iconic view of the Rocky Mountains throughout the city. This unique regulation not only offers stunning vistas but also keeps the clouds from moving eastward, granting the state over 300 days of sunshine each year. This, combined with the city’s mile-high altitude, calls for vigilant hydration. It’s just as common for Denver natives to have a water bottle on hand as it is for them to have a pair of skis.
With a magnificent National Park in their backyard, it’s no surprise that the lives of locals are brimming with activities like bouldering, fishing, hiking, and leaf-peeping. For residents in the Rocky foothill regions, such as Estes Park and Boulder, daily trips to the park are a must. With the potential to spot chipmunks, mule deer, mountain lions, elk, moose, eagles, and black bears, it’s easy to see the attraction. A leisurely stroll around the splendid Lily Lake offers numerous opportunities to witness these creatures and capture picturesque angles of the park that beckon for a photo op at every turn. For the more adventurous, hiking tall mountains like Longs Peak provides an incredible way to immerse in the dreamlike wilderness of the National Park.
Denver’s appreciation for the outdoors extends beyond hiking. Since 1988, a law has mandated that large construction projects allocate one percent of their budget to public art. This commitment to outdoor artwork has yielded iconic pieces across the city, such as the “I See What You Mean” blue bear, affectionately known as “Winnie the Blue” to locals. Additionally, Denver boasts the second-largest performing arts complex globally, and the Denver Art Museum showcases architecturally splendid exhibits, including a remarkable collection of indigenous North American artifacts. After exploring the extensive gallery, make sure to visit Leven Deli around the corner. Nearly as American as Denver’s signature cheeseburger, the deli serves up North American luxury Reuben sandwiches like you’ve never tasted before.
Denver’s art scene proudly embraces the unconventional. The psychedelic immersive art experience sweeping across North America, Meow Wolf, has found a home in the city, offering a day of wonder to all who visit. The city’s remarkable street art has made it instantly recognizable, with extraordinary graffiti murals and tags adorning businesses and commercial signage, turning the entire city into a canvas. Discover Denver Tours conducts guided tours of the River North Art District (RiNo), providing a stroll through the district to spot favourite and iconic pieces, while also highlighting the creations from the CRUSH Walls art festival, a celebration of the craft. The district is also home to the renowned jazz bar, Nocturne, a place of great music, delicious food, and an ambiance that perfectly complements the district’s artistic and musical vibe.
As synonymous with the state as its pristine snow-capped mountains, Colorado’s red sandstone defines the landscape of the Midwest. With the state’s name literally translating to the colour red, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre stands as an iconic music venue. Hosting legendary bands like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and U2, this 10,000-capacity amphitheatre is seamlessly integrated into the landscape, using the rock itself to create a memorable acoustic experience that both audiences and performers cherish. The sight of a rock backdrop behind an iconic rock band is truly remarkable – The Arctic Monkeys used the space and sound to deliver an unforgettable performance of their very best hits. As you drive through the awe-inspiring American roads, John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” resonates, a fitting tribute to a city he loved so much that he adopted its name.
While experiencing the charms of Denver, a stay at The Maven Hotel is a must. This boutique hotel, situated in the heart of the city’s bustling Dairy Block, offers a unique handcrafted blend of comfort and style. The Maven seamlessly captures the vibrant spirit of Denver and takes it a step further. Each room is thoughtfully designed with an artistic flair, reflecting the city’s creative energy. It’s not just a place to rest your head; it’s an immersion into Denver’s dynamic culture. The Dairy Block, in Denver’s LoDo district, where the Maven is nestled was once home to Windsor Dairy and is now a vibrant micro-district that encapsulates the city’s culinary and artistic scene. You’ll find yourself steps away from the Milk Market, an epicurean wonderland offering a diverse array of culinary delights, from gourmet sandwiches to delectable desserts, and boasting 15 shops, 19 restaurants, seven bars, and a luxury coworking space.
As of 2023, Denver has secured itself a place in the Michelin guide – a recognition of the incredible culinary adventures available throughout the ever-growing city. Home to three Michelin starred restaurants, other restaurants have also been added to the guide with Bib Gourmand status. In Lower Downtown (LoDo), the stunning Union Station houses culinary awarded delights like Tavernetta, an embodiment of La Dolce Vita with its Italian class, food, and wine. There’s also Sunday Vinyl, a fusion of dining and music that encourages savouring good food and tunes while paying homage to the restaurant’s inception. Venturing further afield, the Lower Highlands district (LoHi) offers fantastic cocktails and shareable eco-tapas, along with a memorable view of the city at El Five. Also from the Edible Beats company, within the same block, Linger presents a varied selection of street food and is a beloved favourite among locals. The wagyu sliders are a particular luxurious treat. An unmissable stop in RiNo, also awarded a Bib Gourmand, Mister Oso is a laid-back taco joint that exudes a perfect barbeque vibe with mouth-watering food, making it an ideal prelude to exploring the bars in the district.
As is the case throughout much of North America, Denver’s passion for the craft of beer making runs deep in the city. The 14er Brewing Company offers an ever-changing selection of recently brewed experiments, including pale ales, sours, and even hard seltzers. Prost provides a taste of German beer halls in an American setting, complete with steins, communal tables, and an impressive beer menu to satisfy every palate. The American love for craft beer has gone so far in Denver that there’s even a beer spa where you can pamper yourself with a sauna, a beer bath, and, of course, beer, in a unique celebration of hops. Due to Denver’s high altitude, alcohol has a stronger impact than at sea level, and it’s said that every beer packs 1.6 times the punch of its sea-level counterpart. So, Denverites know how to savour the craft to the fullest.
The moment you land at Denver International Airport, a sense of horror, thrill, and the gothic follows you. From the mysterious talking gargoyles to the Demon Murder Horse (look it up) at the airport, Denver has a natural affinity for the eerie and macabre. As a state with more ghost towns than inhabited ones, it has served as the inspiration for multiple horror franchises, including the 1980 film “The Changeling” and, of course, “The Shining.” The Stanley Hotel, Stephen King’s inspiration for his iconic novel, can be both stayed in and visited for a delicious lunch in Estes Park at the foot of the Rockies. Ghost tours of Denver city reveal tales of the shadowy gravediggers of the original cemetery and much more.
Denver, the Mile High City, and its surrounding Colorado landscapes offer an exquisite fusion of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, vibrant art scenes, and gastronomic delights. This dynamic city, with its rich Wild West heritage and liberal mindset, serves as a gateway to explore the stunning Rocky Mountains and indulge in a wide range of outdoor activities. The preservation of iconic views, exceptional public art, and a thriving culinary scene make Denver a place where culture and nature harmoniously coexist. So, whether you’re drawn to the boundless outdoor pursuits, artistic endeavours, or the captivating tales of Denver’s past, the Mile High City promises an unforgettable journey filled with extraordinary experiences and endless exploration.
- Return fares with United from London Heathrow to Denver start from £479
- For more information on Denver, please visit: www.denver.org