Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Articles From Around the Web

There are quite a few things I've found interesting over the past couple of weeks. Check them out & I hope you're having a great Tuesday — xoxo darling, Hayden.

Uhm, breakfast nachos sound amazing...

Love a local bookstore (Shakespeare & Co. is such an icon).

Found this post about the BLM movement quite funny.

A spicy grapefruit sidecar sounds like a nickname I would want & a drink I most definitely want.

Look at these turtles

Bookstores to support right now (and forever)! 

An interesting look at COVID-19 and museums.

Black-owned brands to purchase from for your kitchen & stomach.

This mid-century house is something my parents would love (and I kind of like it too). 

Take care of yourself if you are protesting.

Some photos that might sate (or exacerbate) your wanderlust.

Art Deco is one of my favorite design styles.

Travel-themed books because we all should be reading even more right now.

The Schoenbrunn Palace is one of my favorite places in the world.

Some famous pitch decks.

Hocus Pocus 2?! Sign me up! 

Use this resource tool for any and all things Black Lives Matter related.

Want these shoes so bad.

Take me to all of these places.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Ultimate Denver Guide

Hey y'all and welcome to my Denver guide. Now, I've only lived in Denver for about two years so I will be updating this guide when I find something new & amazing but until then this is a great jumping off point to planning your trip or exploring the city you live in. I hope you enjoy & let me know your Mile High favorites — xoxo darling, Hayden.
A Note: Obviously as we are in COVID-19 some of these places are not currently open or have different hours, check with them before attempting to visit.

What To Do:

Museums & Sites:

Black American West Museum

Black American West Museum & Heritage Center

Probably not at the top of the guide books, this museum near Five Points is worth the visit. It's in a historic house on a street corner and is packed to the gills with information about Denver's most famous Black citizens. You'll learn things they definitely never taught you in a history book & if you have time, talk to one of the docents because they can enlighten you even further as they each have amazing stories to tell about people the museum features. 
A great photo opportunity, especially if you're in town for a convention, this big bear is peaking into the center and you can stand near his feet for the perfect snap. 
Learn about the powerful women of this family home (multiple generations in multiple families) plus see 1920s furniture and architecture on a 45min-1 hour tour. It's also home to the Center for Colorado Women's History, which makes it a must visit as well. Location Tip: It's right by the Denver Art Museum & the Kirkland Museum (see below). 
I'm a sucker for capitol buildings and the Colorado state house is really beautiful. It has a gold dome (we love), sweeping staircases and tons of history. Go on a tour and they'll take you up in the dome for views of Denver City Hall, the Rocky Mountains and downtown Denver. 
This angular building is full of classic art, modern art and everything in between. I love going on a Friday night with friends to just have a wander around the galleries. They also get amazing traveling shows — Degas, Dior, etc. The textile art and fashion section might be my favorite but a trip out onto the roof is also pretty spectacular. 
Located within an easy walking distance of Union Station this is my second favorite museum in Denver. Each floor has these massive, unique contemporary art exhibits. They change it up a lot so your experience will probably be different than mine but I just love when they get huge displays that take up half the room. There's a rooftop bar area that gives good views of the Highlands neighborhood and downtown as well. 
If you want to know anything about the history of Colorado, welcome to the place. It's a good place to start if you know nothing about the Centennial State and there are lots of cool artifacts throughout the galleries. 
My favorite museum, because I love practical art, Kirkland is full of furniture, art and everything in between. The building is only one story but it's long and you walk through galleries that go through time periods of decorative art design. The end part is Kirkland's art studio, where you can see how he made his epic works. 
Union Station has pretty much everything — bookstore, flower stand, ice cream parlor, coffee shop, bars, multiple restaurants and a grand hall that is gorgeous. The bright white walls reflect the light coming in through the giant windows and give you an amazing vibe. I like taking my book or laptop and sitting at one of the many tables before meetings/dinners. It also contains a few of my favorite restaurants (see below) and a hotel I kind of want to stay at one day. 

Outdoors:

In the summer this place is one of my favorite spots to be. The gardens come into full bloom, they do a summer concert series and there's a cafe in the back portion where you'll just want to spend the whole day. They have gorgeous greenhouses and they light everything up in December (but the tickets go quickly so if you're coming for the festive season set up an alert to get some). 
Want to see bison not far from Denver? Drive up to Genesee, get off at the second exit for the part and drive down a but of a rickety road for a bit and then bam the bison are there in the field...well sometimes. I suggest going at dusk because they're usually closer to the fence. 
Down in Littleton, Hudson Gardens is beautiful in the summer but my favorite time of the year is December when they deck the space out with gorgeous lights. Also, it runs along the Platte River trail so you can walk through the gardens and then go for a little jaunt on the linear park. 
If you're coming to visit in the early Fall (I'm talking September), Kenosha Pass is a must-drive. If you get up super early you might be able to get a parking spot to hike but I just love going for an early morning drive, pulling off to snap some photos and blaring my music, windows down. It's a delightful fall experience. 
Want that classic big neighborhood park-feel? Look no further. Wash Park is massive with a boathouse (lots of people get married there), a giant linear trail, tennis courts, lawn bowling places and massive fields ideal for picnicking. 
Giant red rock formations jut out of the ground at this park in southwest Denver. The trail goes for miles but it's just gorgeous. Early winter mornings are brisk with serious hikers and older people walking their dogs whereas summer days the place gets packed with families out for casual strolls. 

Shopping:

Looking for a stationary store that brings it? Look no further than this Littleton outlet. The place is absolutely adorable — they have a chair I want in my future home — with bright natural light flowing in through the street-facing windows. Pick up some bandanas, pennants and cards for the folks back home. 
Also located in downtown Littleton, this old house has been converted into such a nice spa & yoga studio. Enter through the front door on the wraparound porch and you'll enter into an oasis. With salt therapy rooms, facials, body wraps and killer massages the place sets itself apart in the Denver-metro area.
If you love bargaining and finding hidden gems, Mile High is the place for you. Not only can you shop and try unique foods but the place is super aesthetically pleasing. I suggest going around 11am on a Saturday — don't go early because the shops won't be open...this might be different than your hometown flea market. 
Park Hill is one of my favorite neighborhoods and this little bookshop is a highlight. It's everything you want in a cozy neighborhood store. A creaky wooden staircase and shelves stuffed to the brim with paperbacks and hardcovers. It feels like the perfect place to duck into during a rain storm or on a snowy day.

Tattered Cover

Probably the most famous bookstore in Denver, Tattered Cover has a few different locations — all of which offer that cozy, local bookstore feel but on a large scale. Think BookPeople in Austin. The downtown location, right across from Union Station, is in a historic building full of unique books. 

Entertainment:

This center, a bit off of 16th Street Mall is where the best of the best perform in the city. See the opera, watch a play or maybe see the symphony. Every show I've seen has been wonderful (I even bought a membership). The symphony plays the scores to movies while the movie plays in the background (we saw Love Actually) and the theater does wonderful plays (like A Doll's House and Twelfth Night). There are also some restaurants/bars so you can grab a bite before/after you show. 
I did a whole guide to Lakeside a while back but if you are looking for a place to take epic photos, she's your gal. It's this old school amusement park with a carousel, bumper cars, bumper boats, rollercoasters, etc. but they all have this retro signs/colors to them. There's a kiddie land for the small ones and you can bring your own picnic. But save room for the ice cream cones because I love 'em. 
I will be the first person to tell you, Red Rocks is not my favorite place, but I think everyone else loves it. It's not just an epic concert venue. There are lots of trails around the place, a trading post and a museum as well. If you're visiting in the summer/early fall a concert might be a must if you're into that kind of thing. Make sure you drive through the tiny mountain town of Morrison because it's adorable. 

Where To Eat & Drink:

Breakfast

High on my list when I recommend brunch to anyone, Annette is located in Stanley Marketplace (a kind of awesome foodhall meets mall in an old air hangar). What I think makes this restaurant unique from other foodhall stops is it has it's own design — basically, it is a separate restaurant entirely with a door to the hall. It's a beautiful, airy room with plants and light fixtures that look like upper-class IKEA (in the best way). The coffee comes in a Le Creuset french press...yeah. And my companion and I finished our meals in record time because they were that good. I got the most basic breakfast — eggs, bacon and toast and overall, the meal had extra special attention paid to it.
One of my favorite restaurants in Littleton (there are other locations closer to downtown Denver), Bacon Social House, serves up brunch-y items all day in an industrial-chic eatery across from Littleton's Town Hall. I 10/10 recommend going to the rooftop because you can get a lovely view of the Front Range. I love their Aperol Spritz on a warm summer's day. Plus, the chicken and waffles covered in bacon bits doesn't stink. Make sure to get the bacon flight to taste test interesting flavors.
If there is a classic Sunday brunch spot in Denver, it would be Cozy Cottage. It's this tiny little house on Tennyson with a great patio (well, if it's summer). Sit outside on a sunny day and get the crispy Belgian chocolate chip waffles. I love 'em so much. Also, the restaurant is BYOB, so I saw a ton of people bringing their own champagne and just using the restaurant's orange juice, which is kind of ingenious.
Probably the most Instagrammed food in Denver, Denver Biscuit is pretty good. I'm from the South, so I'm a little judgy of biscuits than I probably should be, but they are good. Get the cinnamon roll too because that thing is a delight. There are multiple locations of this chain, and all of them have a cool-kid interior design. 
One brunch here and I was in love. This is the restaurant portion of the bakery next door (see the coffee shop section for more on that). We ordered a ton of stuff, and all of it was good. I would recommend the croque madame and the ratatouille. I wouldn't suggest for a huge group of you and your friends, but for two people it is perfect.
When you first see the name of this cafe, you might think it's just cinnamon rolls but let me tell you it's not! They have these delicious, savory rolls that I will admit, I eat way too many of. The Bacon, Cheddar, House Roasted Tomato and Original are my favorites. Each shop is cozy, and a lot of the people in them know each other, so you get a real sense of community. 
Located in Aurora, not too far from the airport, HashTAG looks like Bumble (the dating/friendship app) in the best way possible. It's highly Instagramable with honeycomb design features and bright yellow accents. Get the Fro-J, basically a frozen mimosa and split the cinnamon roll — it's massive. I enjoyed the breakfast nachos because that's fun and whoever is like "let's have nachos for breakfast?"
Located in an adorable house off Littleton Blvd. Latke Love cooks up traditional Jewish delicacies, but I think their latkes with homemade apple sauce topped with cinnamon whipped cream are the best dish. They taste like home, super warm, crunchy, salty. 
When I'm missing Bojangles, Rise & Shine is the place I go. It's a great breakfast restaurant with good biscuits and tasty combos. They do counter-service with lots of seating, and while it can get crazy, the line moves quickly.
Bagel lover here, telling you that Rosenberg's is totally worth the hype. The downtown location is in a historic building, and does fill up on a Sunday morning, so go early. The Everything (aka the best bagel in the world) is the perfect balance of spices and crunchiness. They don't toast bagels, but they don't need to because their so fresh they're still warm.

Lunch/Dinner 

This is my favorite place for Thai food in Colorado. Their pad thai is probably the best I've ever had. It's located in this little strip center near the Swedish Medical Center, and the employees are super nice. When they say something is hot, they mean it...some of my mouth died in the best possible way after eating their panang curry. 
Denver has a foodhall obsession (I think we are in the double digits) and Avanti is probably my favorite. It's right across the water/interstate from downtown with this big upper deck that gives you great views of the skyline. They have quite a few options from pizza to French cuisine to burgers to hot chicken with the addition of two bars and plenty of seating. I love Bistro Georgette's ham & cheese sandwich and the Brava! Pizzeria cheese pizza is a delight. 
It seems like Denverites are in two camps about Casa Bonita, ones that absolutely detest it and ones who see it for the kitschy glory. I, for one, am here for it. The place reminds me of the Mexico ride at Epcot combined with the Rainforest Cafe and just a whole lot of childhood fun. Go on a weeknight as it isn't as crowded as the weekends. I would say it's a photography paradise because you have cliff divers, a waterfall, sopaipillas (the best part of the meal) and more. It's just so much fun if you accept it for what it is and go along for the ride.
This Highlands spot is a great place for happy hour and dinner mid-week with your friends. It has a great vibe, good margaritas and delicious food. Get the queso and chips for the table and then double down by ordering the queso mac & cheese as your entree. You might go into a food coma, but it'll be worth it. 
My favorite thing about Gozo is how cozy their splendid food is. I have dreams about the pork and chorizo meatballs (served with the creamiest polenta and a flavorful red sauce) on super cold nights. It's the neighborhood place you want to walk to on a snowy evening for a glass of red wine and hearty food. Be forewarned, it's on Broadway (in the super popular section), so parking can be hard on a Friday/Saturday night. 
Have you ever had mashed potatoes on pizza? No? Good. It's your time. Order a pepperoni with the mashed potato dollops and your world might be changed for forever...mine certainly was. The Tennyson restaurant reminds me a bit of a place you'd find in a college town — dark, craft beer served in cans, and some glorious pizza. 
I think BBQ is a bit hard to find in Denver...well BBQ that I hold up to my standards. But Jabo's in Greenwood Village has the most amazing sauces in vary spice levels that I love. Get the pulled pork with the spicy vinegar sauce, and you might be sent to another plane of existence — it's that good. Also, the sconuts (a cross between a scone and a donut) are a delicious dessert to add to the meal. 
Located in an old mortuary, Linger is a big player in the Denver restaurant scene. A friend and I somehow got in for an hour in-between seatings on a Friday night. The menu is an eclectic mix of African, Asian, European and more. Get the fried chicken bao bun — the bun is perfectly fluffy — and some pad thai that is incredibly flavorful. My favorite dish is the Chicken B’Stilla Bites, which have almonds, labneh, harissa and a pomegranate-celery salad. The LoHi restaurant makes a mean Paloma and gives you popcorn doused in an interesting mix of spices at the beginning of your meal.
Possibly my favorite restaurant in Union Station (although see Terminal Bar below for a competitor), Mercantile is my go-to for lunch before I hop on the train to DIA. Their fried chicken bahn mi is good in every sense of the word — crisp bread, crunchy chicken, spicy sauce, snappy veggies. The restaurant is also super cute inside with tile floors, high ceilings and a great vibe. 
I think Milk Market is Denver's fanciest foodhall. It just feels more dressed up than the others and also one of the biggest with hot chicken, gelato, coffee, bao buns, antipasta and a butcher (plus more). Plus, it's the most downtown of the foodhalls, so it's easily walkable if you're staying there. The pork bao buns are where it's at at Bao Chica Bao. Get a mixed plate at Mano Pastaria, the roasted bell peppers are goooood. At Salt & Grinder have the cheese plate, there was this soft, spreadable cheese that I'm obsessed with.
Located in Platt Park (aka my favorite neighborhood), Park Burger has a front door on the corner of a building and it is consistently packed with people from the neighborhood and visitors. They have juicy, thick burgers, a good selection of drinks, nice vibes and milkshakes. It's an ideal mid-week date spot or a place to grab lunch before going for a walk of the neighborhood. 
This is my favorite pizza in all of Denver...yep, I said that. It's a locally-owned spot that has approximately four tables, a terrible parking lot (no offense to them, I just hate it) and the crispiest crust, juiciest mini pepperonis and most flavorful cheese. Just look at how beautiful that pizza is! They also introduced me to hot honey, which has pretty much changed my life. You can get some craft beer in cans and it's a good place to meet up with friends for a delicious dinner. 
One of my favorite eateries in the Highlands, they do this spicy potato dish with melted cheese that comes into my mind frequently. The empanadas are buttery with a flaky pastry — they are perfect to share. Plus, the drinks are strong, and it has a good atmosphere.
Looking for the best sandwich in Denver? Look no further than this Park Hill market. I can genuinely say the Jerry's Classic (Genoa salami, Capicola, smoked ham, provolone, roasted red peppers and house dressing on a ciabattini roll) is one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. Those red peppers were a spectacular addition to the whole thing. Grab a Topo out of the fridge and sit on their sturdy wooden tables inside, or if it's a beautiful day grab the metal table outside and people watch.
One of my favorite Denver-area restaurants, Steuben's does not disappoint. It's basically up-scale diner food, but it's done so right. Their Nashville hot chicken was just as good — if not better than hot chicken I've had in Nashville. Plus, they have homemade Choco Tacos. There is one in uptown Denver, I haven't been, but I love that the one in Arvada is in an old diner that they renovated to make it look straight out of the '70s.
Located in the heart of Union Station, Terminal Bar extends into the station with beer-hall style tables but if you're looking for a tucked away spot go into the restaurant and sit in one of the dark booths. They have a huge craft beer list, yummy cocktails and delicious food. The grilled cheese with tomato soup and the pretzel knots with beer cheese are my top two, but I've never had a bad meal here. 
I highly recommend this pizza place near downtown because it has a great atmosphere — industrial-chic meets cozy. The best thing is bar far the rosemary puff — pizza dough covered in a rosemary butter.

Dessert 

This whole restaurant is based around desserts, which is a concept I adore as a sweet tooth haver. The cake & shake is a slice of chocolate cake with a small chocolate milkshake. They also do a Funfetti slice of cake with a mini sundae is also a delight. The hot chocolate is decadent, and the butterscotch pudding (my favorite) is so unique and wondrous. 
From the minds of Little Man Ice Cream, Dang is a soft-serve haven. Think gourmet flavors in soft-serve form...something I've always wanted. It's in Park Hill, it's brightly colored, and even the vegan flavors (peppermint) are fantastically yummy. 
Looking for gourmet pie? Look no further than this Lakewood spot. It's family-run (they even make fudge), and their key lime pie is the best in Denver (that's coming from a Floridian). The grasshopper and rocky road are also real good.
An adorable bakery in the Highlands they make mini cakes (great for anniversaries and birthdays) plus cupcakes. I love 'em because they don't put a ton of icing on top.
If you have seen a photo of an ice cream flight — yes, an ice cream flight — it's from High Point. They have a few locations, but they all offer some of the creamiest (unique) ice cream in the state. Each flight comes with waffle chips, a sauce of choice and five flavors. The salted caramel is probably my favorite flavor. 
Ice Cream Riot has crazy flavors, cereal milk anyone?, but my favorite thing is the Pop-Tart ice cream sandwich. Let me say, I don't even like Pop-Tarts...in fact, I kind of hate them. But there is something about the texture of soft ice cream and a crunchy Pop-Tart that just goes well together. I loved it.
A classic bakery with modern flare, Maggie & Molly's sour cream sprinkle cookie is one of my favorites — just a perfect chewy, crispy confection. Also, their mint chocolate brownie could solve some of the world's problems, I think.
This is that classic small-town ice cream parlor you grew up going to. Brightly colored walls, what seems like miles of buckets of ice cream and plenty of cone options. Get the Elk Tracks in a sugar cone, and you won't be disappointed.
Home of Taco Tuesday — that's right, the ice cream taco — Nugg's is a classic ice cream spot on East Colfax. I 10/10 recommend the ice cream taco because it isn't over the top. Also, Caroline's Birthday Cake is a great flavor!
This bakery on Arvada's high street transports you to a German bakery back in the 1400s — but with modern technology. The cookies are delicious, and that apple strudel is to-die-for. Go during the holiday season for the most festive feels you'll ever get.
Ahhh, the classic Instagram-friendly ice cream stop off in Denver. Sweet Cooie's kind of feels like you've stepped onto the set of Mad Men with mod furniture, turquoise walls and lots of gold accents. But holy moly, the Gooey Cooie. Basically, a warm brioche bun is stuffed with ice cream of your choosing, drizzled with royal icing and covered in toppings of your choosing. It is gooey and delicious and everything you could ever want.
Every location of this chain is usually packed (unless it's late on a weeknight). The Hammonds Peppermint Bark — yes, the Hammonds candy company!! — in a pretzel cone is absolute heaven. Their ice cream is super creamy, and the saltiness of the cone was a perfect mating. There are tons of other amazing flavors (including York), and I don't think you can go wrong.
This is by far (in my opinion) the best bakery in the Denver area. I love getting up early on a Sunday morning and going for a box of pastries. The almond croissants, chocolate croissants, cinnamon buns...everything is delicious. The pastry is flaky, everything is buttery, and I just want you to try it asap. 
A seasonal-delight is how I would describe The Inventing Room. It opens every summer and then does pop-ups during the winter. Basically their whole concept is insane but delicious, desserts. I went to their donut pop-up and had a unicorn creation that was not only photogenic but really good!
Such a great early Saturday morning spot! It's more like a European bakery where you get a tray (or a box) and pick your pastries out yourself. All of the dough was flaky perfection, and I highly recommend the chocolate banana tart.

Coffee Shops 

Truly one of my favorite shops in Denver is Amethyst-Lakeside. It is downright beautiful. Complete with millennial pink bar stools, tile floors, exposed brick and plenty of artwork, it is a must-visit. Plus, it's women-owned and we stan supporting women. While the wifi is good, I like bringing a book, sitting by one of the windows and indulging in an iced chai.
This bakery is the epitome of cozy with dark walls, plenty of seating and strong wifi. Yes, the coffee is good, but really, you're here for the baked goods. The ginger cookie with giant sugar crystals is where it's at...but I've never had anything bad. Plus, the baristas are some of the most friendly in the business — I swear I always have a great convo whenever I'm in there.
Global Goods is in one of the cutest houses I've ever seen on the main drag of Olde Town Arvada. I truly think it could have been in Gilmore Girls...seriously, you just feel like it's fall in Stars Hollow when you walk across the creaky wooden floorboards. Grab a spicy chai, breakfast burrito and sit on the patio with a good book or head inside for solid wifi. Also, the shop supports global creators, so pop into the back room to see what goodies they have today.
HOJA is such a good cafe. Like truly. It's off South Pearl next to a Duffeyroll, and I just love it. The place is bright and dishes up delicious foods — the burrito is a must-try. Make sure to get an iced cafe de olla — it's iced coffee with cinnamon and orange that will excite your tastebuds. Plus, look at it...it's so pretty.
Link has great wifi, comfortable seating and self-serve alcohol. The baristas are some of the best, and they do a mean iced chai (but the hot chai is the epitome of fall). Sit in one of the booths with the warm-hued pillows and write the next great American novel. 
Looking for the most Instagramable coffee shop in Denver? Look no further. Located in a former gas station, Lula Rose comes complete with a pale pink La Marzocco. The latte I had was excellent — not bitter at all. I sat by one of the big windows and just read my book — the place is oddly peaceful on a weekday afternoon.
Located in an Ethiopian grocery store in Aurora, Mojo is kind of tucked away. If you enter from the back parking lot, you'll be inside the coffee shop; if not, you'll have to make your way past the foodstuffs to find it. First, get a Napoleon because it's the perfect balance of cream and stiff cake layers. Then get some drip coffee and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the store.
If you love that minimalist, bright white, Pinterest coffee shop vibe, Sonder is for you. It's located in Aurora, in the bottom of a fairly new apartment complex, so there is plenty of parking. Their wifi is good, and they have a killer seasonal menu. I visited in the summer and had a sunflower latte, which was super unique.
One of my all-time favorite shops in Denver, I highly recommend to anyone in the Platt Park area. It's on the corner of South Pearl and Colorado in a skinny building. With exposed brick, reclaimed wood tables, and a good patio for spring/summer sittin', the shop gives off good community vibes. The drinks are done well — nothing too bitter — and the wifi is solid.

Bars

Our bartender at Williams & Graham (see below), this is the coolest speakeasy I've ever been in. You have to text a phone number after a certain time on Saturdays for a reservation. They confirm and give you directions, which involve walking down a back alley in Cherry Creek, hitting a gold doorbell and then winding your way through the underbelly of a hotel. But then you emerge in this beautiful bar that has 1920s vibes out the wazoo. The drinks are powerful, flavorful and just all-around enjoyable. 
Probably my all-time favorite Denver bar, the Cruise Room was born after the repeal of Prohibition back in 1933 and has been going strong ever since. It's in the historic Oxford hotel and is immediately on your left when you walk in. The bar can be insane at night but if you wait in the corner a spot always opens up. The whole thing is art deco, lit in a cool red lighting, and all of the drinks I've had are good.
Located in a fake pie shop on Larimer Square, this speakeasy is a Denver classic. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable and will make a custom cocktail for you if you tell 'em what you like. I had a signature, and it was great — the menu changes a bunch so it will just depend on when you go. While the place can get really loud the cheddar puffs make up for it.
This is one of my favorite bars in downtown Denver because I like that is is part of the Dairy Block, but still maintains its own identity. It can be pretty crazy on a Saturday night, but if you start your evening here, you won't have any issues. It's got a cool atmosphere, and their signature cocktails are very photogenic.
Okay, this has become my new favorite bar in Denver. It is AMAZING. The two bartenders were the nicest I've ever had. They made us special drinks and just generally got us. We were the only customers for a bit on a Tuesday evening, but I'm sure it can get nuts. The actual atmosphere is slick, located in a new apartment building in Five Points. The drinks are out of this world. Get the cotton candy martini for the 'gram but also because it's good. Also, the RTD stops just in front, so you have no excuse to drink and drive.
Located in LoHi, W&G is a classic speakeasy (hidden behind a secret door), and the line can get quite long as the bar is small. We got there about 15 minutes before it opened and were the second in line. It's dark and intimate with the friendliest servers — ours recommended B&GC to us (which we obviously loved). I guess I should mention the cocktails, which range from classic to fun to off-the-beaten-path — all of which are great. 

Breweries

Grab a seat by the fireplace (if it's fall/winter) or a picnic table outside (if it's summer) and kick back with some delicious foods and great beers. It's one of the most aesthetic breweries (and it's massive) in Denver, so your whole family can enjoy!
I love Mexican-style beer, and this place does it so well. Plus, it's adorable inside, and the bartenders are super nice. It's a great Sunday afternoon place to drink away the Sunday scaries near downtown.
Located in a tiny warehouse in Golden, Coda is one of my family's favorites. They make hazy, juicy IPAs in a taproom that feels a bit like an old pharmacy. Their tagline "Ale's What Cures You" is a true statement. 
The best place in town for an IPA (if that's your kinda thing) is for sure Comrade. This Aurora brewery is in a strip center, but the vibe is so nice. The whole thing is themed like the USSR (get it?) and they've won a bunch of awards at the Great American Beer Festival too. 

Denver Beer Co.

Near downtown, Denver Beer Co. is packed most weekends in the summer. The patio overflows with dogs, hipsters, millennials, etc. The Pretzel Assassin Amber Lager is probably my favorite, and I think all of Denver loves the Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch.
Such a great neighborhood brewery, Platt Park, is my go-to for trivia (Tuesday nights!). They even have a deli inside where they make pizza sandwiches...yes, they are amazing. 
Probably my favorite brewery in the Denver area (it's in Golden) is New Terrain. Their taproom is gorgeous...like absolutely, downright beautiful. It's up on this hill across from Coors, and a bike path leads up to the giant porch/patio. The taproom itself has high ceilings and super nice bartenders. They do great hazy IPAs and a good American pilsner. 
This is a bit of a drive, but it's so worth it to try this beer. Located in Idaho Springs, in the middle of the Hallmark-esque mountain town, this brewery offers food and classy beers. The Don't Hassle The 'Hef' and The Coloradan Mexican Lager are my favorites. 
Boulder

Day Trip: Boulder 

Flatirons

Early-Morning Activity: Flatirons Hike

Get up early and hop in your car to the Flatirons. You can park at Chautauqua (you'll be grabbing breakfast here later) or on the street. If you're a serious hiker, go crazy or just walk to the wooden fence and turn back around because it is steeeep. 
Once you've worked up your appetite, pop into the Chautauqua Dining Hall. While the inside is like a massive old house complete with a stone fireplace but the best spot is on the wraparound porch. Pretty much everything I've eaten has been delicious but you must get some of the chai, it's to die for! 
Staying in Boulder and not feeling the hike? The Buff is a classic college town breakfast place that does great bacon.
Celestial Seasonings

Mid-Morning Activity: Celestial Seasonings

You've probably heard of Celestial Seasonings. They make those cute boxes that usually have pretty designs on them and their Sleepy Time Tea is iconic. Take a tour of this massive tea empire and you'll get to sample tea, get some free bags and spot prairie dogs in the parking lot. 
Continue on your tea education at my favorite restaurant in Boulder, the Dushanbe Tea House. Given as a gift by Tajikistan to the city of Boulder, it is one of the most gorgeous buildings in Colorado. Painted walls and ceilings come together in a roof with skylights while plants and tables where you sit criss-cross-apple-sauce are in the corners. Their chai (the same as Chautauqua) is my favorite thing on Earth and when I go I get a giant jug to take home. If you do during the holiday season they put eggnog in it and...y'all I die. Breakfast, high tea and lunch foods are great — literally never had a bad meal. 
Peppercorn

Early-Afternoon Activity: Pearl Street Mall

Probably Boulder's most famous street is the Pearl. It's full of restaurants, coffee shops, stores and street artists. Pop into the Boulder Bookstore (a classic small-town book emporium) or go to Peppercorn (aka one of my favorite stores ever). It has every kitchen utensil, cookbook and dining room decoration you could ever want.  

Late-Afternoon Activity: Upslope Brewing

Once you've shopped until you've dropped head to Upslope (they have two locations). Their craft lager and citra pale ale are delicious. If you aren't into beer the spiked Snow Melt (hard seltzer) is super popular. 
Yet another brewery, but one that has delicious food is Avery. It's this massive, high-ceiling building on the outskirts that dishes up a cheese plate I've dreamt about. I like the Stampede, White Rascal and El Gose the best.