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36 Hours in Denver

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It’s that time of year when people begin thinking about their summer vacation. If you’re like most people, you’re probably crossing your fingers and hoping that your boss won’t hassle you about your vacation request this year. One of the best places to visit this year is Denver, Colorado! Only have 36 hours in Denver? No worries, here’s a basic guide for a quick trip to Dtown.

36 Hours in Denver

6:00 pm -You’ve landed at Denver International Airport and narrowly missed a bird flying at your head (because cute little sparrows live in the airport-seriously). You make your way to the train that will take you to the main airport terminal and the train to Denver which is affectionately called “The Train to the Plane or The A-Line” It only costs $9 and you can use cash or charge to purchase your ticket. The ticket is good for 24 hours on public transit but you’ll probably opt to use LYFT for tonight’s shenanigans. Here’s the LYFT code for $5 your first ride if you’re a new user (downloading the app is super fast).

Related Post: Why I Love the Train to the Plane: Warts and All

7:00 pm-It’s around 7 pm and you’ve arrived at Union Station. It only took 37 minutes (give or take) for the train to go from the airport to downtown and you did get a glimpse of the famous devil horse “Blucifer” that warmly welcomes visitors to Denver at the airport. Leave your stuff at one of the many great hotels downtown and then prepare to wander around town.

Some Recommended Hotels and Hostels:

  • The Curtis Hotel
  • The Fish Hostel
  • The Oxford Hotel

Or, click here to check out hotels. Check Out Our Roundtrip Fares UNDER $199 at CheapOair

8:00 pm (ish) Ok, you’re hungry. The sunset is pretty legit and people are looking pretty happy for a Tuesday night. Grab a LYFT and go to either Avanti or Postino LOHI. Avanti is a great food hall with a gorgeous view of downtown Denver. It also has a single alcohol license for the entire building. Of course, local beer is on tap. You could also go to Postino which has a $20 bruschetta and bottle of wine special on Monday and Tuesday nights. Yes.

It’s almost 10:00 pm and you only have 36 Hours in Denver so it’s too early to go to sleep. Check out Williams and Graham which is about 2 or 3 blocks from Postino and about 7 blocks from Avanti. Williams and Graham is a speakeasy that actually made a list of the 50 best bars in the world. That’s legit considering how many bars there are in the world.

It’s late enough where it’s time to rest up for Wednesday’s explorations. You return via LYFT and get some rest.

Wednesday

It’s super early Wednesday and you’ve decided to work out with some Colorado peeps. Check out The November Project’s free workouts on Wednesdays. Typically they work out in Civic Center Park on Wednesdays at 5:30 am or 6:15 am but check out their Facebook page to see what they’re up to. Great people.  ***Do research exercise and altitude sickness***

8:00 am-10:00 am Not up for exercising first thing on a vacation. No worries. Have a leisurely lie in and then go to one of the following places for a great Colorado breakfast:

  • Mercantile Dining and Provision-Union Station
  • Stowaway-RINO District
  • Jelly (in the Capital Hill neighborhood)
  • Snooze-Union Station
  • Root Down-LOHI
  • Sassafras

These places are popular so you may have a bit of a wait f.y.i.

10:00 am You’ve had brunch it’s time to quickly check out Colorado’s state Capitol and the City and County Building. Don’t forget to take a picture at the actual 5280 (mile high) marker.

11:00 am (ish) You’ve already packed in a lot into your itinerary considering that you only have 36 hours in Denver. It’s time to embrace some culture. Check out the Dikeou Collection which is a really cool (free) contemporary art collection in downtown Denver that very few people know about.

12:00 pm (ish) make your way down to the Museum of Contemporary Art located near Denver’s Union Station. Designed by David Adjay-who was named the world’s most influential architect by Time magazine this year. The building is also the first building in America designed by an African-European architect. You’ll know you’re there when you see a building with a giant heart with a dagger in it. Be still my beating heart.

Take some time checking out the art and then enjoy some refreshments in the rooftop cafe (has WIFI).

Boulder

Huh? Isn’t Boulder far away? Nope. It’s less than an hour away and it would be a shame if you missed it.

1:00 pm Head to Denver’s Union Station and get a $9 round trip day pass. Take the bus that goes directly to Boulder. Check the t.v. screens in the bus terminal to figure out which “gate” the bus is departing from. Show the pass to the bus driver and then you’re on your way. **The bus going between Denver and Boulder is super clean and safe for those of you who’ve never taken the bus before.** 

2:00 pm Arrive at Boulder’s Downtown Bus Station. Walk one block to Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. It’s an open air mall with lots of shops, restaurants, and a gorgeous view.

5:00 pm Leave Boulder for Denver and evening shenanigans

6:00 pm  (ish) Shenanigans

Ok, let’s be clear. There is a TON of fun to be had in Denver (and Colorado) regardless of time of year. This post will just gloss over all of the possibilities and then you can decide what you would like to do.

The Cruiser Ride

Make your way back to the hotel and rest up a little bit. If you’re visiting between May 15-Mid-September you can participate in the Denver Cruiser Ride. Ride the streets of Denver with 1,000 + of your favorite new friends.  You’ll have to check out a Bcycle (Denver Bcycle Bike Sharing Program) or see if there is a bike that you can borrow from your hotel. **This is a dangerous activity because you’re riding in the streets of Denver.** You’re an adult just going to put it out there.

Sports

Denver basically has a team for every sport. Let’s go through the list:

  • Denver Broncos-Football
  • Denver Nuggets-Basketball
  • Colorado Rapids-Soccer. F.Y.I. Dick’s Sporting Goods Field where they play is far from Downtown Denver.
  • Colorado Avalanche-Hockey
  • Colorado Rockies-Baseball.
  • Denver Barbarians-Rugby (Boulder is the headquarters for U.S. Rugby)

Breweries

Do you feel like keeping things low-key and having a beer while wandering around a cool neighborhood? Check out the RINO neighborhood and one of the following breweries:

  • Great Divide Brewing CO.
  • Epic Brewing CO.
  • Spanglang

There’s more and I will add to the list later.

Theater

Love the theater? Check out what’s being performed at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. One of my favorite places in Denver. I’ve seen the following shows there:

  • The Color Purple
  • Wicked
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Lion King

and more!

Arts

Feel like checking out more art? Go to the Santa Fe Art District and wander up and down the street. I do prefer going to Santa Fe on the 1sr Friday of each month when they have musicians, food trucks, etc.

The Denver Art Museum has some amazing art and next to it is the Clyfford Still museum. Both typically close at 5:00 but occasionally have special events.

Restaurants

Just feel like eating after a day of checking out all of the things? Here are some restaurant suggestions:

  • Linger
  • there (yes, that’s the name)
  • Stueben’s
  • Work and Class
  • Uncle
  • Lena

Most vegetarians/vegans will have a couple of options on the menu (except Work and Class-that’s for meat lovers). Check the menu online to make sure they have stuff that you would like to eat.

36 Hours In Denver-Logistics

They will fly by. You’ll have a great time. Seriously. Some basic logistics

  • Water Bottle-Stay hydrated. We don’t carry them around for fun. It’s because it’s so dry here.
  • Read up on Altitude Sickness-EVERYONE regardless of your health. Talk to your doctor about any concerns that you may have. 
  • Bring layers. We have weird weather. Just saying.
  • Good walking shoes
  • Comfortable backpack
  • We don’t judge people (really ) for not dressing up. But, bring one cute outfit because-why not?
  • An open mindset. People are really friendly here. Don’t get weird if people start talking to you randomly. Obviously be mindful of your belongings and safety but that would be in any city. I’ve lived out East and I know it freaks people out. But, we don’t want anything-usually we’re just being friendly.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to take the Plane to the Train back to the airport. It’s great but sometimes has…issues…

4:30 am (ish) Thursday

Time to go home!  Hope this was helpful and we are looking forward to having you visit our wonderful city and state. Welcome!

 

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The Library of Things

I am obsessed with going to the library. My mom passed her love of reading to me. As well as a deep love and respect for the library, the library system, and the wisdom that they share with everyone in the communities that they serve.

My first experience with going to the library in Colorado was in Boulder. The Boulder Public Library is built over Boulder Creek and at the time that I started going there, the children’s section was located directly over the water.

I love that library. It still holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first library that I had a library card from. Throughout the years I’ve made it a special project to visit libraries in every town that I visit in Colorado.  I can’t wait to go to the Rocky Mountain Land Library…but, that’s a post for another day.

Denver Public Library

Is amazing. While I must admit that I don’t go to the Main branch as often as I used to, I visit the library on a weekly basis. Yep, I’m that girl. The librarians at more than one branch actually know who I am. And, I love that about them. They are friendly, knowledgeable, and create and run amazing programming. But, what makes DPL the best library ever (besides national accolades) is the following:

The Library of Things

What exactly is this? At the core of any well-run library is the mission to expand it’s users world-view through access to knowledge, art, beauty, and thought leaders from the community. The Denver Public Library does this but takes its missions a step further with The Library of Things.

Put simply: The Library of Things gives patrons access to the following:

  • Free State Parks Access
  • Free museum entries-You have to schedule your visit in advance but who cares? You can even take a friend!
  • A wireless hotspot
  • A Go Pro Camera to record what you’re up to!
  • Video projector
  • Power Check Meter-To see how much it costs to run your appliances
  • Draft Meter-It’s getting colder! Find the drafts in your home.

The Library of Things quite simply is the most amazing thing ever and I have to  admit that I’ve geeked out over it. It may take a little while to receive your pass, hotspot, or use the GoPro, but you will always have access to one. And, I just love the name.

Connect with your local librarian today to find out what resources are available to you that you may be unaware of. If there are resources that you would love to see made available to library patrons-suggest them. I am very aware that my experience with the DPL has spoiled me when it comes to library expectations. It is my hope that more libraries follow suit and think outside the box about how they can best serve the people in their town.

I just placed a hold on the GoPro and I’m looking forward to shooting some great video for the blog. The Library of Things is one of the coolest ways (besides the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District) to democratize access to services that everyone should be able to use.

What’s your library like?

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How to Have a Safe and Fun Colorado Cannabis Vacation

Many of my friends would be surprised that I wrote this post. See, I voted “no” to legalize Cannabis. It was a complete protest vote because I knew that it was going to pass by flying colors. I voted “no” because I believe with great freedom comes great responsibility.

But, at the end of the day, I’m a live and let live person. You’re adults and you will do what you want to do and if that includes taking a cannabis vacation in Colorado I will welcome you with open arms but I also would like to make sure that you have a safe, fun, and awesome time so that you will visit again.

Colorado Life after Legalization

I get asked (more often than I would like) what’s life like in Colorado after we voted to legalize pot? Maybe people are curious because we currently have one of the most (if not the most) permissive law in the world.

Life is pretty much the same except there are a lot of green crosses on buildings which typically indicate that there is a dispensary in that space. People now ask me about pot when I travel. Before they asked me about:

Before they asked me about:

  • Jon Benet Ramsey
  • The Kobe Bryant controversy
  • The Shootings
  • Snow
  • There are black people in Colorado?!
  • The balloon boy hoax

I was amazed that legal pot could trump those other constant questions-but it did.

Legal Cannabis and Tourists

I will say that we almost always can tell if you’re tourists visiting a pot shop. You giggle and look around as if people are watching…we aren’t. You nervously hold your paper bag of pot that you carefully chose and are going to enjoy…somewhere. Inevitably, I’ve found many of the tourists to be older than you would expect and just looking to relax (pun intended).

The other reason I decided to write this post was because we began to notice that tourists on pot vacation were ending up at the hospital at higher rates than you would like to see for out-of-town visitors.  My hope is to educate people and share information that will help tourists make safer decisions.

The Rules

Shocker, there are actually a number of rules that help manage how pot is consumed, sold, disposed of, etc. in the state. You will very rarely find people walking around smoking a bowl. In fact, it’s against the law to consume pot in public. You will get ticketed if you’re found doing this. 

The usage laws may depend on the town that you’re visiting. Some towns are pragmatically embracing the new legalization status…others…not so much.

This one feels obvious but you’re not allowed to smoke up and drive. And, pot cannot be in open containers.

You must be 21 years old to purchase and consume your favorite bud and the maximum amount that you may purchase is one ounce.

Rules Change it is Your Responsibility to Check Them

Edibles

I plan on interviewing some dispensary owners for my podcast Square State so that I can get a more in-depth and educated explanation on the different types of weed sold. The one product that I do want to mention is edibles.

In fact, edibles truly inspired this post especially because of the increase in tourist emergency room visits. Colorado has increased the regulation of edibles. The state has also mandated that the letters THC be printed on the labels (and I believe on the actual gummy).

  • Follow the directions on the package.
  • Edibles may take longer to affect you.

Even though this is a post geared towards people who are visiting from out of state I do also want to mention that edibles obviously need to stay out of the reach of children. It feels like a no-brainer, but kids have accidentally ingested these because they look like candy.

The Practical Stuff

When planning a vacation there are practical components that need to be considered. Where to stay, when, what to do, and where to go. With a cannabis inspired vacation there are a few more nuances that have to be considered.

  • Accommodation-When booking accommodation you can look for cannabis friendly spaces. I found a number of websites geared towards pot smokers. Just Google “cannabis friendly accommodation websites” I was amazed at all of the listings. *As I’ve never stayed in one I am unable to give a recommendation*
  • Smoking inside-Be aware that similar to cigarette smoke, pot smoke is also subject to the Clean Indoor Air Act. So you may need to ask about air purifiers.
  • Transportation-Book where there is access to public transit. My favorite mode of transportation in Denver is the light rail followed by my bike. But, in your case make sure that you’re close enough to the city center of the city that you’re staying in (Denver, Fort Collins, Breckendridge, etc.) that you will have access to Uber, Lyft, or public transit. Want a free ride worth up to $20 from Uber? Signup now and use promo code: 20NEWRIDEUBER
  • If you’re visiting Colorado you DO have to consider the effect of a higher altitude on your body. I am not a doctor so do contact your doctor about any health concerns that you may have and ask about the potential for: altitude sickness, etc.

What to Do?

You’re probably wondering what you’ll be able to do while on a cannabis vacation. Fortunately, there are a ton of events and businesses creating events with the pot tourist in mind.

Of course there are the typical activities: hiking, biking, the theater, going out to eat, skiing, and exploring. Tourists can also enjoy:

  • Yoga (and other events) via the Mason Jar Event Group that specializes elevated cannabis experiences.
  • Tours-Tour company experiences include: tours of actual grow houses, cooking with cannabis, party buses, guided hikes, glass blowing demonstrations, and the list goes on.

Transportation

Almost all of the tour companies that I looked at offer transportation services. As mentioned previously, I also strongly recommend booking your accommodation close to the light rail (regardless of the type of vacation you’re planning).  Do not smoke and drive.

There are the following modes of transportation in Denver:

  • Pedicabs
  • Taxis
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Tuk Tuks
  • Buses
  • trains

There is no need for you to drive while high.

Cash or Credit

Again, pot is illegal on a Federal level. This makes transactions tricky. No, you can’t (and shouldn’t) use your credit cards. Establishments are cash only businesses. Recently an app has been launched for payments but I would like to interview the founders for my podcast Square State as I have questions about people who are out of state using the app.

Finally

I feel I shouldn’t have to mention this but I’m going to because people don’t always use their best judgment.

DO NOT under any circumstances leave the state of Colorado with any of the pot products that you purchased. It’s considered trafficking because pot is still illegal at the Federal level.

DO NOT take pack a package of edibles in your check-in luggage or your car. DO NOT take hash oil with you. What you bought in Colorado should be enjoyed in Colorado.

We want you to have fun and enjoy yourself. We also would like for you to visit again.

Back to Work

I feel that it’s also important to remind you that what happens during a Colorado Cannabis vacation doesn’t stay in Colorado. If you are subject to random drug tests  your vacation may come back to haunt you.

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Food

Let’s be honest, Colorado used to be a food desert. A place of unimaginative and boring food where the most exciting item on any menu was a Denver omelette or a really good steak (the steak has always been good). And, to add insult to injury, we have a underwhelming amount of good Mexican food despite our proximity to Mexico. For a foodie, living in Colorado has been hard…until now. Food is finally good in Colorado.

Food

Is experiencing what I can only call: a resurgence, awakening, or, an epic moment. It is a great time to be a foodie in Colorado. It feels like we’re up for anything and that people, finally, finally have the palates to appreciate good food. There is a bit of a trick to finding good food consistently in Colorado:

  • Talk to other foodies-if you have friends who enjoy good food ask them where they go out to eat.
  • 5280 and Westword’s best of lists-Google the lists for the past 2 years and then go for it.
  • Eat local-Don’t get me wrong, there are national chains that make good food but there are so many local chefs creating beautiful and regional sourced food that it would be a shame to miss out on their greatness.
  • It’s a Secret-there are secret food experiences that you can have around the state. In Denver and Boulder there a number of cooking events that you sign up to receive monthly updates on cool events.
  • Harvest Week Dinners-Every October there are a number of venues that share incredible dinners celebrating the harvest.
  • Denver Restaurant Week-February 24-March 5, 2017. Enjoy 3-5 course meals at a hugely discounted price. Check out the different restaurants that you’ve heard about for less.

Great Foods that I Find on a Regular Basis

  • Truffles and Truffle salt
  • Great olive oil
  • Good bread
  • Kimchi (fresh)
  • Good cheeses-I used to live in France, I have a palate for good cheese. We have it here.
  • Great coffee
  • Local lamb

And then, there is the experimental food, the regional foods, ethnic food, and the I can’t believe we’re eating this in DENVER food!

I’m also in love with the food hall concepts that have opened up: The Source and Central Market Denver. I can’t wait for Stanley Marketplace in the Stapleton neighborhood sometime this fall. In fact, there are so many great places to eat I’m overwhelmed by all of the choices.

There are even James Beard awards winners in our midst as well. Some other cool food concepts of note:

  • American Cultures Tap Room-love kombucha? Go to the tap room and taste a number of your favorite blends.
  • Pho Real! I love Uncle-I haven’t gone in awhile but the food is so freaking good.
  • The PreserveryA cool community/food/and music concept. I had a great lunch there the other day. (RINO)
  • HMart-The ultimate in international grocery experiences. I’ve only gone to the location in Aurora. Pick up fresh fish, kimchi, or fruits and vegetables.
  • Bramble and Hare-The most Boulder of Boulder restaurants. I love this place.

I’m so excited to check out more cool places and share them with you. Can’t wait.