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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.
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
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).
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.
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)
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.
There’s more and I will add to the list later.
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
- The Book of Mormon
- The Lion King
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.
Just feel like eating after a day of checking out all of the things? Here are some restaurant suggestions:
- there (yes, that’s the name)
- Work and Class
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.
- Sunblock-It’s really sunny.
- 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!