Hamilton Denver

Denver Life: Going to See Hamilton

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard about the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” that swept through Denver in a flurry of Broadway tour madness. In fact, a year before Hamilton was due to arrive in town, the Denver Center for Performing Arts made it possible for subscribers to get tickets based on their theater subscription. I didn’t do that. In fact, I left it to chance because I had no idea what I would be doing a year from the time they started advertising the fact that the show would be in town.  Fortune smiled on me!

 

Going to the DCPA

Recently it was revealed that spending on arts and culture in Denver surpasses spending on anything else. This doesn’t surprise me. We’re not hicks just waiting for cool things to happen. We’re actively courting cool sh$t to come to town and actually making a point of enjoying the theater, art shows, and whatever else we can think of.

The DCPA is fun because it feels like there is no barrier to accessibility. Don’t have fancy clothes? No worries, just go. I’ll admit that I would love to see more people dressing up (am old-school ) but, if dressing up is keeping you from going to the theater-just be clean and smell good and enjoy yourself.

Hamilton

Ok, somehow Alexander Hamilton’s story became this epically interesting tale of intrigue, romance, and shadiness. Before I went to the show I’d only heard two of the songs and had a vague idea of what would happen. In fact, I was concerned that it was all going to be a bunch of hype.

It wasn’t.

And, as the show went on I found myself absolutely enthralled and caught up in the story of Hamilton, George Washington, and the rest. It was almost like watching the Maury Povich show “You are the father of…the United States…”

The music was incredible, the casting was amazing, and the story was based on real events.

There were problems such as the fact that demand far outweighed the availability of tickets. I had friends who were number 20,000+ on the epic waitlist. And, the tickets weren’t cheap. Cheaper than New York, but they weren’t cheap.

Finally, the show breezed in and out of town so fast it made my head spin. We needed more time. One thing is for certain, it’s obvious that the show will be back. Book of Mormon has swung through three times (it’s stopping through again this June).

The Queen City was a happy and willing host for the thousands of guests from surrounding states such as: Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico who visit on long weekends to take in the sights of Denver.

So, did Hamilton live up to the hype? Yep, it sure did! The beginning of the show was a little slow for me (and I had to adjust to the musicality of the show). Once that happened I was transported into America’s founding fathers’ history.

I can’t wait to see it again and I do hope that people who missed the show the first time will get a chance to check out the show.

Fun and Frugal Activities

25 Fun and Frugal Activities to Do in Denver

It’s becoming painfully clear that the winter of 2017/2018 is not going to show up in Denver. I’ve made peace with that reality and now am looking forward to Spring and Summer Shenanigans. Because I’m still kicking my debt to the curb, I thought it would be fun to create a list of fun and frugal activities to do in Denver.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*



Fun and Frugal Activities

It’s amazing to me to see all of the incredible resources we have available to us in Denver. From the arts, fitness, sporting events, and foodie activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here’s a list of frugal activities that I enjoy during the warmer months. This list is by no means a complete list of all of the things that I like to do. Think of it as a starter list.

  • Little Free Library Hunt-Denver has a ridiculous number of Little Free Libraries. I’ve seen a Tardis, home replicas, and even a home replica with their dog in front. One of my favorite things in Denver is the Little Free Library obsession that has taken over the town. Each time I’m riding my bike, walking, or driving around I seem to find a new one. And, I purposely choose not to write down where they are. It’s fun to rediscover a library when you least expect it.

 

  • Meetups-Denver’s meetups are incredible. There is a Meetup group for every type of person and interest. I’ve gone to mixology classes (free) hiking and more via Meetup. During my car free days I was even able to carpool with other participants. Love Meetup! Check it out today.

 

  • Check Out the Murals-One of the best things about Denver is its embracing of murals. I can’t get enough of them. And, they aren’t just in the RINO district. Incredible murals can be found in almost every single neighborhood in town.

 

  • Volunteer with Denver Start Up Week-One of the coolest events in town! In 2017 they had Mark Cuban and Casey Neistat as guests. It’s an incredible FREE weeklong event that connects startups, business people, with resources, and one another.

Most of These are Free 🙂

  • Movies at Infinity Park-Soon there will be free movies at the park. I’m hoping that they will show Black Panther. Keeping fingers crossed!

 

  • Movies on the Rocks-There is nothing better than watching a movie at Red Rocks. Last year I saw The 5th Element. The only downside-sometimes crazy weather rolls through. If you’re going to watch a movie make sure you prepare accordingly. Had a great time. And, this event usually begin at the beginning of June.

 

  • Yoga in the Park-Free yoga is one of the best types of yoga. And, doing your practice first thing in the morning in the Sunken Gardens on a Sunday morning is a great way to get your shavasana on.

 

  • Coffee at Rosebud Cafe-The same coffee shops always seem to get on the “best of” lists. If you’re looking for new coffee shops, try out this lovely space near Speer and Logan.

 

  • $5 Yoga at Shine BoutiqueAwesome! The last time I attended it was a hip hop yoga class. The best part was when everyone started rapping. This boutique is unique for its community vibe, salon, and no sizes!

 

  • $10 Veggie Bag at the Pearl Street Farmer’s Market-I love to always buy Colorado. Really. I do. But, sometimes you’re rocking a budget and the $10 veggie bag is a great way to eat healthy for less. There is an art to stuffing the bag, but, seasoned pros have it down to a science. You also get to wander up and down the market. It’s officially my favorite farmer’s market in Denver.

10-20

  • Bike to/from Denver/Boulder-There is a bike path that you can ride between Denver and Boulder. It’s officially on my list for this year. And, I’m looking forward to riding my bike from Sheridan to Boulder. Make sure you have your Colorado kit with you!

 

  • Go Hiking-I can’t get enough of hiking. There’s nothing like exploring Colorado by foot. In fact, I enjoy hiking year around and especially look forward to the wildflower hikes. It’s a frugal activity, but you do need to factor in gas.

 

  • $4 Rockpile Tickets-Opening Day is coming soon! There’s nothing better than watching a great baseball game. Fortunately, the Rockpile is pretty cheap.

 

  • Watch Fireworks-Different organizations will have fireworks displays. Specifically: The Rockies, The Rapids, and occasionally the City and County of Denver. Check when these fireworks displays will go off and that’s a fun and frugal date night.

 

  • Start a Podcast-I have a podcast called “Square State” but Denver and the state of Colorado needs more people to start sharing their shows!

 

  • Hangout in the 41st and Tennyson Shopping district-This area is officially one of my favorite parts of Denver. And, most new arrivals and tourists have no idea about these local spaces.

 

  • Food Hall Mania-We now have a ridiculous number of great places to eat. And, the food hall craze has taken over the city. I can’t wait for the Dairy Block Food Hall opening sometime this year.
    • Zeppelin Station
    • Stanley Marketplace (technically in Aurora)
    • Avanti
    • The Source-F.Y.I. their new hotel is about to open in May
    • The Denver Central Market

 

  • 32nd and Lowell-Another cozy part of Denver that a lot of people don’t know about.

 

  • Downtown Littleton-I absolutely love taking the light rail to downtown Littleton. It’s fun to window shop, have a nice meal, and then hop back onto the light rail.

 

  • Old Towne Arvada-Like everyone else, I wondering when that G-Line will begin running. Old Towne is a great area to eat, drink, and chill out.

20-25

  • University Lecture Series-There are several universities in and around Denver. They all have incredible free lectures and personal development resources. At least once a month I attend an event at a university. Free…usually with lunch included.

 

  • The November Project-Daylight Savings just messed up my plan to begin working out (for free) with The November Project. They basically use the city as their gym. The work outs are INTENSE but you get hot sweaty hugs when you’re finished. Just warning you now. And, a lot of encouragement.

 

  • Dikeou Collection-Many people have no idea where this art collection is housed. And, the hours are a little wonky. But, the art is awesome. And, it’s free.

 

  • 1st Fridays-My favorite 1st Fridays to attend are the ones when the main street is closed off. They’ve gotten so popular that it’s difficult to walk on the sidewalks.

 

  • Hangout in Boulder-I really enjoy spending the day in Boulder. Typically I like to go hiking for the day, get a meal, and then go for a coffee. Ok, a day in Boulder is the most expensive thing on this list. It will hit your wallet for around $25 bucks.

What would you have on your list of frugal activities in Denver?

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Colorado Tool Kit


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SQS011: The Great American Beer Festival

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

It’s almost that time again when hordes of beer-loving fans descend on the Colorado Convention Center located in Downtown Denver. The Big Blue Beer will have a bird’s eye view on all of the beer drinking shenanigans that will ensue. We love to have fun in Dtown!

I decided to enlist the aid of a couple of friends who love beer and have attended the festival. I learned a lot about how the Great American Beer Festival runs and believe this episode will be super helpful to you!

The Great American Beer Festival 

Before you go-don’t forget to download the LYFT app in case you don’t have a designated driver. This is my affiliate link btw.

We get the male perspective of this event.

  • I admit my dirty secret
  • There are men EVERYWHERE during this week.
  • Tons of external events as well
  • Libraries are getting in on the action
  • Thousands of beers, and hundreds of brewers
  • Don’t freak about the lines.
  • How to avoid getting sloppy
  • Use the GABF free app to create a plan
  • Bring an empty plastic water bottle.
  • Eat before you go.
  • The infamous pretzel necklace.
  • The Volunteer Strategy (yep, it’s probably too late for this year)
  • Tim from Go With Less

We get the female perspective of this event.

  • Use the free app!!
  • Mindy’s top tip
  • We talk session duration-I had no idea
  • Ladies don’t wait!
  • We discuss Colorado’s ridiculous plethora of beer-related opportunities and events.
    • Hops and Brews
    • Canned Aid
  • Eat before you arrive
  • Pretzel Necklace
  • Fond memories of the Peanut Butter Porter from Florida and Lawson’s “Sip of Sunshine” IPA from Vermont
  • Out of town guests bring:
  • The Designated Driver experience
  • We discuss the lines.
  • Mindy reminisces about another awesome beer 3Floyds in Indiana. Super popular. Just a head’s up.
  • Dress up!

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50 Cool Things To Do In and Around Denver



* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Let’s be clear, I’m constantly amazed by all of the incredible stuff there is to do in Denver and the surrounding suburbs. So, I decided to put together a list that included the typical and not so typical activities that are awesome to do, pretty affordable and fun. Here’s my list of 50 cool things to do in and around Denver!

50 Cool Things to Do

  • Comic Con-This is my first year attending and I can’t wait! Every year I would watch all of the sci-fi enthusiasts (read my people) converge downtown at the Convention Center with the Big Blue Bear. This year I look forward to being one of those people. I plan on sharing a post about my experience soon!

 

  • Casa Bonita-Most Denver kids have gone to Casa Bonita at least once in their lives. There is nothing better than indoor cliff diving and mediocre food to make life complete. The sopapillas are pretty decent though.

 

  • Colfax 1/2 or Full Marathon-After being on my to-do list for the past 5 years, I finally ran the Colfax 1/2 Marathon. Without training…like a crazy person. Fortunately, I was able to finish it but by mile 8 was questioning the decision to run/walk it without training. Best moments included: running through the zoo and checking out the animals, discovering that there was a nice ladies restroom open in the zoo, running under the giant American flag on Colfax,  the Firemen without shirts, and actually finishing the race.

 

  • Denver Cruiser Ride-Is an epic event that had gotten crazy big and was driving the founders crazy. They seem a lot happier this year after changing the format to 5 rides this summer instead of every Wednesday. Ride with hundreds of bike enthusiasts throughout the city of Denver, wear a costume, listen to music, and just have a great time.

 

  • Catch a Cirque du Soleil Show-We are fortunate enough to have Cirque du Soleil stop through Denver basically every year. This year’s show is so good that I’ve decided to see it twice.

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  • Denver Center for Performing Arts Show-It’s official, Denverites don’t need to go to NYC to see theater. We are fortunate enough to enjoy a ton of amazing musicals and other serious shows produced a the DCPA. Take advantage of the $10 DCPA access shows (plus a $1.50 processing fee per ticket). Those tickets get picked up QUICK.

 

  • Afternoon Tea at The Brown Palace-What is it about afternoon tea that is so appealing to so many people? I recently had a chance to enjoy it again at the Brown Palace and I can say that for me, it’s the opportunity to spend hours eating tiny bites of yumminess while spending time with family and friends.

 

  • Underground Music Showcase-There is a phenomenal music scene in Denver. The UMS is the event to hang out with other music enthusiasts who can’t get enough of live music.

 

  • Red Rocks-To be honest, I don’t need a reason to go to Red Rocks. I just go, all the time. It’s almost magical to me and I can’t get enough. If you haven’t had the chance to attend Movies on the Rocks, Yoga on the Rocks, or a concert-you need to add this to your list of things to do.

 

  • Waterworld-It does get hot here and when it’s hot, Waterworld is one of the best places to cool off. The highlights: the Spacebowl, Voyage to the Center of the Earth, and the Wave Pool.

 

  • Dim Sum at Star Kitchen-It is possible to go to Star Kitchen, eat your fill with a ton of friends and only end up paying $10 a person (plus tip). Yep, that has happened. Am in love with that place.

 

  • Day in Boulder-Sometimes Boulder drives me crazy. But, sometimes it’s the town that I grew up in. Unpretentious, beautiful, and tranquil. If you’re visiting for at least 5 days-you have to spend at least an afternoon in Boulder. Here’s a link to a post I wrote about enjoying 36 Hours in Boulder. Have fun!

 

  • Day in Rocky Mountian National ParkRMNP is one of my favorite places to hang out in Colorado. It’s a quick 1 1/2 drive from Denver (depending on the day). My favorite thing to do is to go at different times of the year because the park is always changing. Love.

 

  • Happy Hour at Avanti-Is one of my favorite places to go and hang out with friends, get my drink on, and check out the Denver skyline.

 

  • Groov3 class at Dance2b-I am OBSESSED with this hip hop dance/fitness class. Leslie (the instructor) is fabulous and I look forward to sweating like a pig, listening to great music, and throwing shade at Leslie because she never sweats. How is it possible?

 

  • Rock and Roll Half Marathon-For those of you who love to run, this is a great event. I had the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon on my vision board for the past 5 years. I would talk about it and then back off because I was afraid. Until…I did it and had a great time. You will too!

 

  • Wing Over the Rockies-This place is awesome not just because it has a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter and is located next to a large beer garden. Yep, this place is legit.

 

  • Slam Nuba-Poetry slams are the coolest thing ever. And, Denver has an incredible community of poets who share their wisdom and artistry…not often enough. They also happen to be one of the best slam poetry teams in the U.S.

 

  • The Derby Party-There is nothing better than getting my drink on, looking cute, wearing a fascinator, and supporting education all at the same time. The Derby Party lets me do that and I look forward to attending it every year. The tickets aren’t cheap…but, it’s a wonderful event and sends kids to college/university. Yes!

 

  • The Polo Classic-Many, many years ago I went with my mother to the Polo Classic with my mom. I have no idea how she got the tickets (they’re pricey/we weren’t rich) but I still remember that experience and stepping on the divets that the horseshoes pulled up.

 

  • The Barn Party-Apparently, this event has been going on for awhile and completely off my radar. It’s also run by the same people who run the Polo Classic. It’s on my list for next year.

 

  • The Denver Botanic Gardens-Is a gorgeous oasis of calm in the city of Denver. The garden curator brings in amazing art installations that are seamlessly added into the landscape. Past exhibits included: Chihuly and Caulder.

 

  • Ohana-There is this weird trend sweeping through Denver which is Hawaiian Poke. It’s a little weird to me because…we’re not close to the ocean. Surely, this trend could go very wrong? Well, it goes really well at Ohana. Delicious.

 

  • Hanging Lake-Is worth the almost 4-hour  drive to get there. Plan on spending the night and enjoying that part of the state. When you visit please do not go into the water or stand on the log. Period, end of story. Don’t be a douche. Also, plan on soaking in Glenwood Hot Springs afterward. Your knees will thank you!

 

 

  • Denver Central Market-Finally, finally Denver has become a foodie city. There are some cool food concepts opening up and DCM is one of them. If you’re looking for: chocolate, coffee, good food, or a fish monger…visit the DCM.

 

  • Stanley Market Place-Similar to DCM, Stanley Market Place is a mixed use market. The difference: they have regular vendors including: Zero Waste, gyms, and co-working spaces.

 

  • Ride the Cherry Creek Bike Path-I”m going to double-dog dare you to ride the bike path to Cherry Creek Resevoir instead of the typical ride downtown. It’s a beautiful slightly uphill ride through the city.

 

  • Velorama Bike Event-It was with great sadness that I watched the Colorado Classic fold. For some reason, I love cycling. The Velorama is a music festival and cycling event. A great combination to attract new fans of a great sport.

 

  • Hang out in Rino, eat, drink, check out the murals-RINO used to be Denver’s Skid Row. Seriously. While it still has some skeevy pockets, overall it’s pretty awesome. There is nothing better than wandering through the alleys and checking out the newest mural, getting a flat white from Stowaway, or grabbing a beer from one of the many breweries in the area.

 

  • Jazz in the Park-For some reason I haven’t seen a lot of publicity on this event this year. But, it’s still pretty big. Go to City Park on Sunday evenings around 6:00 pm to picnic, hang out with friends, and listen to great music for free.

 

  • Put Put Golf at Skyline Park-Underneath the Downtown Clock Tower there is a put-put golf course with all things Denver.

 

  • Get Some Local Ice Cream-For a town of ridiculously fit people, there is a lot of great ice cream in town. Here are my favorites: Little Man, Sweet Cooies, and Sweet Action. I also would like to check out Rocket Ice Cream in the Lowry Neighborhood.

 

  • National Western Stock Show-Watch some bronco busting every January when the Stock Show comes into town. It is a huge event that keeps getting bigger every year.

 

  • Black American West Museum-Let’s be clear about this: there were, and still are, black cowboys and cowgirls. The Black American West Museum shares this rich history with visitors and scholars in town.

 

  • El Chapultepec-This small, slightly grimy, and musical landmark was the regular stomping grounds of Jack Kerouac. If you don’t know who he is…Google him. If you’re looking for an unpretentious place filled with great music and Coloradans-go to there.

 

  • Day trip to Estes Park-Before you reach Rocky Mountain National Park, if you’re arriving from the East (coming from Denver) then you will naturally go through Estes Park. It’s not just the home of the Stanley Hotel of the Shining infamy. It’s also a lovely mountain town with salt water taffy, a river walk one block off of Mainstreet, and  a quirky tea room called Moon Kats.

 

  • Like Professional Sports?-We have all the sports. If you’re into sports…Denver is a great town to visit. Our teams: Nuggets, Broncos, Rapids, Rockies, Avalanche, and the Denver Barbarians (rugby)

 

  • Chalk Art Festival-The first weekend of every June Larimer Square is cordoned off and filled with artists, food, and activities. The artists create gorgeous works of art that will be washed away after the weekend.

 

  • First Fridays-Art Walk in the Santa Fe Art District is one of my favorite events. Low key, great art, music, and food-it’s a great way to spend the evening with friends. Buy a glass of wine and just enjoy wandering up and down the streets. If you’re lucky enough, hopefully, you’re there when the street is blocked off.

 

  • Yoga on the Rocks-Imagine watching several thousand people do a downward dog. It’s glorious. Here’s my tips and tricks on how to have a great time the next time you go.

 

  • Any Ski Resort Closing Party before Mud Season. Those parties are legit.

 

  • Frozen Dead Guy Days-Ok, people have a hard time wrapping their heads around what this festival is. In short, it’s a festival that is a celebration of “Grandpa” a Frozen Dead Guy in Nederland. It’s a fun and interesting story.

 

  • Bolder Boulder-When I was a little girl, I would watch the elite runners pass by in a blaze of Olympic glory. It was (and still) continues to be one of the best race atmospheres in the U.S. Maybe it helps that everyone gets packed in together? Either way, if you’re a runner and you’re planning on visiting Colorado-this race may be for you.

 

  • The Royal Gorge-A few years ago The Royal Gorge attractions suffered from a pretty catastrophic fire a few years ago. Fortunately, the actual bridge wasn’t affected and the attractions have been restored.  This is a beautiful part of Colorado…just don’t pick up hikers down there…SuperMax is nearby.

 

  • The Royal Gorge Rail-The views are just stunning. After exploring some of the vineyards in this part of the state, take a ride through the Gorge via the Rail. The prices are pretty freaking reasonable too!  My favorite part is the open car.

 

  • Pike’s Peak Cog Rail-The next time you hang out in Manitou Springs (and don’t plan on hiking the Manitou Incline) I highly recommend taking the Pike’s Peak Cog Rail up the mountain. It’s STUNNING. You will feel the difference in altitude.

 

  • Pride-This event is huge! Welcoming, fun, and just a splash of crazy. Every Denverite should go to Pride.

 

  • Marade-Once one of the biggest Martin Luther King Day Parades, the Marade has gotten a bit off the radar. I did a podcast episode about it and hope that they will bring in some new energy and ideas to revive a long-standing Denver tradition.

 

  • Speakeasies Galore! There are a number of great speakeasies in Denver. My goal is to check them all out by the end of the year. Suggestions: Williams and Graham, Green Russell, Retrograde, Ste. Ellie, The Cruise Room, and B&GC

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SQS005: How to Climb and Complete the Manitou Incline

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Manitou Incline

Aka “The Beast” is one of the coolest experiences that I’ve had in Colorado. Hard as hell, intense, a lot of mental energy. But, I got it done.

  • I went with a great Meetup Group!

 

  • Manitou Springs-Cute town next to Colorado Springs. Happy to say it has fully recovered from the mud slides from a few years ago.

 

  • Traffic from Denver to Colorado Springs-is pretty heavy. Larkspur is in between both towns and has a lot of traffic because of the Renaissance Festival.

 

  • Start early!

 

  • Parking after 2:00 pm and the free shuttle.

 

  • Chase Bank parking.

 

  • Restroom situation.

 

  • This was hard!

Equipment Used

 

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