Denver is popping up all over the map for its active and social vibe. If you’ve been itching to plan your next vacation, then Denver is there with back scratcher in hand (and a beer in the other). Winter is ready to hits its peak time and with the beautiful Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, it’s a great season to explore the Mile High City.
1. Go on a Brewery Crawl
All you need to warm you up in the frigid winter weather is spending some time in Colorado’s hot craft beer scene. With more than 300 breweries, Colorado is the ‘State of Craft Beer’. There are more breweries scattered around the city than you can handle – or maybe you can (drink mo-fo drink). One of the best things you can do for yourself when visiting Denver is to hop in the car and take a self-guided brewery tour. When I say hop in the car, I of course mean in the passenger’s seat of either Uber, Lyft or a trusty friend who is willing to go sober for the occasion. Check out some of the city’s most interesting spots.
Great Divide: ‘Great Minds Drink Alike’ 🙂 Visit their tasting room for a sampler of the classics; Indian Pale Ale, Double IPA, Imperial Stout, Farmhouse Ale and Pilsner.
Denver Beer Company: Try their Coconut Graham Cracker Porter or Blood Orange IPA.
Black Shirt Brewing: This place puts an emphasis on the reds. Try their Red Saison, Red Rye or Imperial Red Porter. They also are music lovers and host a number of concerts and indie musicians there.
Strange Craft Beer Company: What’s ‘strange’? I suppose it’s relative. But if you fancy Sweet Potato Green Chile or are beer-curious, this is your place for sure.
2. Hit The Slopes
OK, so it’s not exactly in Denver, but within a couple of hours time, right outside there are tons of opportunities to snowboard and ski. What would winter in Denver be without at least one shred session in the Rockies? Nothing. That’s what. So, grab your gear and head up to the slopes for a day on the mountain. Check out some of these winter sports hot spots. Even if you don’t like winter sports, just go along and hang out in the resort with a beer. There is no shame in that!
Keystone – One of my friends who is an avid snowboarder goes to Keystone Resort every single week in the winter. This year he traded his weekends off for 2 back to back weekdays off so that he can enjoy the mountain during the week; less expensive hotel rates; and avoid the traffic that is synonymous with Colorado snow lovers. Keystone also offers a skating lake; night skiing; and award winning restaurants.
Copper Mountain* – Just 75 miles west of Denver, Copper Mountain is another Colorado favorite. They have a variety of slopes from beginners to advanced. They also are home to Woodward at Copper, an indoor freestyle training center that is open to the general public.
Echo Mountain Resort – Denver’s closest year round resort – just one hour away and very reasonably priced. Year round passes are just $249 (and if you are organized enough you can get them as low as $149 on early bird special).
* Front Range ski bus offers pick ups from Union Station downtown for day trips to Copper Mountain or Loveland so you can fully enjoy your time on the slopes and nap on the ride back! I have personally used them on more than one occasion and had a great experience.
3. Take a Self Guided Street Art Walk
It may be winter but Colorado is a year round outdoorsy type of state. Unless the temps are negative, you are likely to see runners, bikers and hikers year round. This activity is like a treasure hunt turned walking tour with a free day at the art museum pass combo. Santa Fe Arts District is an unique, nationally known art and cultural district with over 100 galleries, restaurants, theatres and specialty shops.
Denver is full of artists who have taken to the streets to beautify the city and share their passions and messages with the public. Here are some more great streets to wander down during the day…
Walnut – the 3300 block and surrounding area is home to a number of art galleries
South Broadway – SoBo is also known as Antique Row. It has an eclectic mix of taverns, off beat clothing stores and art galleries. LaCour on the 1600 block is a French bistro & art bar and also offers live music.
Larimer – Larimer Square in LoDo (Lower Downtown) has several boutiques that carry over 200 fashion lines from fashion capitals around the world. It’s also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
35th Street – This area is part of the RiNo neighborhood which is short for River North. Just north of the downtown Denver, this area has a mashup of artists and creatives including furniture makers (yes, they still exist); painters; mixed media artists; sculptors, designers, architects and gallery owners. The area once an industrial area has a cool industrial modern feel with warehouses converted to breweries and lofts. It’s boundaries are I-70 (North); I-25 (West); Park Avenue West (South); and Arapahoe Street (East).
4. Buy Weed….Legally!
Unless you are like the last person in the states to hear it, Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in January 2014. Colorado residents over the age of 21 can purchase up to an ounce per day for personal consumption and those (including visitors and tourists) with an out of state ID can purchase up to one quarter ounce for personal consumption.
Note: Not all counties or towns in Colorado have dispensaries as cities, towns and counties have the right to ban the sale of marijuana.
5. Budweiser Snow Sculpture Championship
Located in Breckenridge (about 90 miles outside of Denver), this annual winter festival draws an international crowd of talented snow sculpture artists from around the world. The event lasts for 10+ days and the public gets to vote on their favorite snowy sculpture. The 2016 event will be held from January 30th until February 7th.
Catch the popular Summit Express shuttle directly from DIA (Denver International Airport). While the shuttle has pick ups nearly hour from early ’til late during their peak winter and summer seasons, advance are reservations required.