What Isn't Working During COVID

What Isn’t Working in Colorado During COVID

Last week I shared 9 changes in Colorado during COVID that I sincerely hope we keep after COVID is finally gone. I did forget to add one huge change that I’m loving which is that traffic has gotten better. It’s not as crazy now that so many people are working from home. In this episode I thought it was important to balance out the previous episode and share what isn’t working and what has to change moving forward. Winter is coming and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get concerned about several festering issues that will become even worse if we don’t dealt with them now. In this episode I will share what is not working during COVID. Feel free to share what you’ve noticed too. By the way, I’m recording this episode from one of my favorite coffee shops because of course my internet isn’t working right now.

* 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.*

Thinking About Starting a Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today.

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Do you like saving money on groceries, booze, and clothes? Don’t forget to download the Ibotta app, a Colorado local company, I’m a proud affiliate of Ibotta and have saved $100’s of dollars on groceries using it. Sign up via my affiliate link and earn a bonus $10 towards your initial $20 payout when you redeem your first savings.

Show Notes

Unhoused Coloradans

  • The problem is now out of control. It’s my personal view that everyone from politicians, to homeless advocates, and everyday citizens has failed this community. We can no longer accept this situation for so many reasons. I’m so frustrated with what’s going on that I’m looking to do a special season about this issue. Will keep you posted.

Lack of Conversations and Assistance for the Restaurant Industry

  • Last week I talked about the innovations and amazing new approaches that I’ve seen to the restaurant business model. However, the reality is that it has already snowed and we’re hurdling towards winter. Restaurants simply cannot be profitable at 50% capacity. It’s clear that the restaurant industry won’t be helped on the Federal level so I ask the following question: what can we do at the state level to help our local entrepreneurs have a fighting chance to stay in business?

Mask Litter

  • What’s the deal with all of the mask litter? I’m finding blue masks everywhere.

Litter and Tagging Everywhere

  • I will admit that this is an issue that has bothered me for awhile. But, it has gotten worse during COVID-especially in RINO. It almost feels like someone got bored and started tagging buildings for weeks. Also, the is trash everywhere. Literally, everywhere. I had an amazing time during Crush Walls wandering the area but I was honestly grossed out by all of the uncollected trash in areas that weren’t close to the dumpsters. Basically, the smaller trash cans and recycling bins were overflowing. Gross.

Our Local Level of Environmental Commitment

  • Given that this summer tied our hottest summer on record, things have to change. And, Denver being one of the worse cities around for recycling is disappointing. We need to get a lot more serious about the environment and after choking for weeks on smoke and crappy air quality I think it’s an easy issue to get behind. Remember, if we have no snow or rain we don’t have ski seasons or water for crops. And, for those of you who bitch about it snowing in Colorado-if you don’t understand the correlation between snow and no fires, snow and ski resort tourism dollars, snow and water to irrigate and fight fires with-you’re living in the wrong state.

Managing Our Community Members’ Mental Health

  • To be honest, I think the state and local jurisdictions have done a pretty solid job acknowledging that mental health is an ongoing issue in our state. I’ve added this issue to this list to make sure that we continue thinking about it and continue focusing on solutions related to mental health issues in our state. Sadly, suicide continues to be a huge issue in Colorado.

My Colorado App

  • There is so much coming at us that sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. I wish that the My Colorado App was given more publicity and that the website for the app was streamlined. I would like it to be as normal to use as the All Trails App.

Texans-Out of State Visitors

I’ve loss track of the number of locals who’ve complained about Texans and other out-of-town visitors to our state. In an earlier episode I mentioned that if you’re going to visit you need to follow our rules. It’s not our fault that you don’t have as many great public lands to access as we do. The biggest complaints have been specific to people bringing stank ass attitudes to our state and lack of compliance with our regulations. If you don’t like how we do things, don’t come here and got to Tennessee instead.

Giving in Colorado with Jen and Kane

Giving Back to Colorado One Facebook Post at a Time

When COVID hit, we were shown the best and worst of human nature. We discovered people’s fears, denials, and belief systems. We also watched people crumble under the uncertainty and some rise up to the challenge of the moment that we’re currently living in. The following couple show what it looks like to live with purpose and to show up when other people won’t. With people like the following couple doing good in Denver, I know that we’re in good hands.

* 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.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

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Show Notes

  • I reflect on how amazing the following group is and the difference it’s making in people’s lives.
  • Things can’t get worse? Can they? Why, yes, they could.
  • Jen and Kane Lezecki
  • Jen is a Colorado Native from Lakewood. Kane is a native from Broomfield despite being born in NYC. A husband and wife duo.
  • I ask them what they like about Colorado.
  • We share our thoughts about Colorado’s growth.
  • Keeping what’s special about Colorado special
  • The traffic sucks.
  • Jen wanted to save the world. She intuited that COVID was coming.
  • She shares the genesis of the group. The lesson-trust your gut!
  • What the group has taught them about people’s needs.
  • I express my amazement at how helpful the group is. We talk about what people are now needing
    • Needing mental health resources
    • How do I get this and where?
    • People are still looking for toilet paper
  • This group is so humbling and we’re humbled by the community members
  • I ask about how they’re managing their well-being
  • How can the listeners help our fellow Coloradans?
    • I ask about the safety protocols they’re using to protect community members.
  • What’s the goal for the community?
  • I end the conversation asking what they think Colorado will be like after this crazy moment in time.
7 Tips to Visiting Denver This Summer

7 Tips for Visiting Denver This Summer During the Rona

I was scrolling through Twitter and popping into some travel focused Facebook groups when I started to notice something alarming-people from other states were planning road trips to Colorado. My first instinct was to freak out. I didn’t stay inside my house from March 11 until May so that you could bring your Rona germs to my state. But, I’m a realist. The reality is that people are going to travel and visit other states. So, I thought about how I could make those trips fun and safe for visitors to Colorado this summer. Because let’s face it, your trip will be different this time. Here are 7 tips for visiting Denver this summer. Take notes

* 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.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

Listen to the Show

Show Sponsor

Need more tips and information to plan your next trip to Denver? Purchase the Time to Visit Denver guide today. Or, if you’re thinking about moving here get the Epic Guide to Moving to Colorado.

Thank you for listening to Square State a podcast all about Colorado. If Texas and California did shots together Colorado would be the result.

Before you begin planning your trip to Denver and the state of Colorado I need to tell you a couple of things.

  • Your trip will be different
  • Businesses have closed
  • Expectations are different
  • But, we’re slowly but surely figuring things out.

Traveling during a pandemic is tricky. We all need a break from reality, but the reality is the pandemic will follow you wherever you go…unless you go to New Zealand and that island isn’t opening up anytime soon.

Tip #1 Be Flexible

Be flexible. Because each state and city is approaching the pandemic in different ways. It’s highly likely that our rules here in Colorado may be different than the rules in your town and state.

Tip #2 Respect our Rules and Mandates

We ask that you respect our rules while you’re here. Be prepared to wear masks in the following spaces:

  • Grocery stores
  • Retail spaces
  • Massage facilities
  • Fitness spaces
  • Coffee shops
  • Restaurants

However, I’ve found that these spaces are doing a great job of communicating their expectations of their clientele in addition to communicating the steps that they’re taking to keep everyone safe.

Tip #3 Do Your Research

You may have heard that businesses are opening back up. But, things are different. Here are some things to anticipate and look out for:

  • Ladies, it pains me to tell you that there seem to be fewer public restrooms available.
  • Hours are different-Many businesses are open for shorter periods of time.
  • Some businesses have completely changed their business model or have pivoted a key area of their services.
  • Timed entries is a thing
  • Some venues are still closed or won’t reopen this summer. Water World is one of those closed venues for this summer.
  • Red Rocks is still closed at the time of this recording which is mid-June 2020
  • Some mountain towns or smaller country towns have their own set of rules and regulations and some may not be excited to have you there. Especially if you don’t follow their rules.

Tip #4 The Questions You NEED to Ask

Here are some helpful questions that you should ask before heading to a venue that interests you. Basically, you’re going to look at their website or call before you stop by. Here’s what you need to check out and ask.

  • What are your hours?
  • Do you have a patio?
  • What is the party size limit?
  • Can we purchase alcohol to go?
  • Do you have a bathroom available for patrons?
  • Do we have to make a reservation?

Tip #5 What to Bring

I call this the Colorado travel kit. You need to have the following items on you.

  • A water bottle-It’s dry here
  • Sunblock-Your skin will thank you
  • Face mask-You’ll need to wear one in most places
  • Hand wipes -Coronavirus!
  • Hand sanitizer-Coronavirus!
  • Chapstick -Your lips will thank you
  • Lotion-Your skin will thank you

Tip #6 Triple-Check Public Transit

Currently, RTD is operating on limited hours and patrons do not have to pay for service. This could change at any moment so you will have to check that as well. You will be requested to wear face masks on the bus and train.

Tip #7 Don’t Wing It

Before the Coronavirus you could “wing it” you know, just visit a place without a firm plan.

I would strongly discourage that as long as we are fighting the spread of the virus. As a resident of Denver and the state of Colorado, I want you to have a great time while you’re here.

But, I think it’s important to be candid about what to expect and what to consider while you’re here.

Things are different. They may be different than your state. That said, I would like to share what things have been like for me for the past couple of weeks as we reopen the state.

  • I’ve taken the light rail
  • I’ve gone to the Farmer’s Market-head’s up visiting the market has changed. Some require a reservation or you have to enter from a specific location and walk in a certain direction. No roaming around.
  • I worked at my co-working space.
  • I’ve hung out at coffee shops-Specifically on the patios
  • You can eat inside restaurants but I’m not ready for that yet.
  • Bars are slowly reopening and I’ve seen people enjoying them.

I’m finding that people have been pretty good natured about everything and that there is a very clear sense that we’re all in this together. I hope you enjoy your next visit to Denver and Colorado.

How to Network in Denver

How to Network in Denver

If you’ve been wondering how to find and nurture authentic business connections in Denver, this podcast episode is for you. The other day I was working a side-hustle at The Outdoor Retailer Show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, it’s basically where people in the outdoor space show their new products, buy sourcing materials for clothing/equipment etc. and talk all things specific to outdoor concerns such as climate change and the impact on the industry. This was the third time I’ve worked the show and I’d met a ton of people running Colorado local business, creating cool products, and doing cool things. Basically, the kind of people I want to share, support, and collaborate with via my Square State project. One of the people that I worked with was a really cool guy who shared that he and his girlfriend were looking to move back East and we began discussing why. I’d asked about his experience living in Denver. One of the biggest issues was his inability to break into his field. I found that surprising but this is something that I’ve heard before. From other people as recently as the week before. But, one of those ladies was legit crazy so I think that was her issue. So in this week’s episode I thought it would be helpful to share how to make authentic personal and professional connections in Denver. Sorry guys, the ladies have a better ecosystem for this.

* 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.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

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Support the Show via Patreon

Grab your free guide to Denver and Colorado in the show notes as well. Support Square State one of three ways via Patreon:

  • $3 a month or the equivalent of a cup of coffee. Support the ongoing expense of producing the show
  • $9 a month to gain access to monthly giveaways of your favorite CO swag, job related leads, savings information and more.
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Real talk, I’m not a fan of the concept of “networking” as it brings to mind meeting people with a specific agenda versus just organically meeting people…because WE SHOULD BE. Humans are social animals and moving to a new town or living in a town changing as quickly as Denver has presents some challenges when it comes to meeting people. In this episode I’m going to give you some insight on how to meet people authentically in Denver, connect with opportunities, and hopefully jobs.

How to Network in Denver

Each city has a certain vibe when it comes to networking and making connections that move you forward personally and professionally. Denver is no different. What is unique to Denver, in my view, is the focus on fitness based activities to foster connections.

It is not unusual to talk about the type of training you’re doing for a race, the type of activity that you enjoy doing, or what ski pass you picked up to hit the slopes this year.

Tip #1 Join a Fitness Focused Group

Do you love skiing, hiking, biking, rock climbing, etc? Join a group doing what you love.

Currently, I’m involved in the following groups

  • Outdoor Afros-Outdoor activities for POC/Allies
  • Trails and Ales-The OG of Denver based hiking groups on Meetup
  • A ski and snowboarding group on Meetup-I always miss this one due to timing
  • And I take a Groov3 hip hop fitness class, my current fitness obsession.

These groups are a low-key and easy way to meet people with similar interests.

Tip #2 Targeted Short-Term Volunteer Roles or Side-Hustles

I love side-hustling at the Outdoor Retailer show because I am able to meet 100’s of Colorado local attendees doing cool things AND they are focused on the outdoors. This is 100% in alignment with the three specific areas of focus for Square State which are:

  • To share and support Colorado based products, programs, and businesses.
  • To create authentic and meaningful connections between newly arrived and lifelong citizens.
  • To normalize seeing POC faces in outdoor places.

So, Outdoor Retailer was a perfect fit for what I’m working on and who I want to connect with. Spend some time looking into opportunities to support programs and projects in your field and meet people in a low-key way.

Tip #3 Join Business Focused Facebook Groups

Sorry guys, but the ladies in Denver have a clear edge when it comes to having online communities that will support and nurture their work. Here are some groups that I recommend joining and I’ll mention if they are women only. I will continue to add to the list in the show notes as I discover more so make sure to check.

Tip #4 Start Your OWN Community

Sometimes you just have to empower yourself in order to get stuff done. If you’re struggling to find community, then create the community that you’re looking for.

  • Meet in free places
  • Use Facebook Events/Meetup.com/Eventbrite to share your event
  • Market on social media and word of mouth
  • Collaborate with local businesses in order to hold your event.
  • The Commons on Champa

Be proactive about finding the community that you seek.

Tip #5 Create Your Own DIGITAL Community

At the time that I’m recording this episode it’s February 2020. There is no reason why you can’t create a digital community for your specific area of interest.

You could grow that community and then host an in-person event at a restaurant that sponsors the food for your event.

Be creative.

In my view it’s actually pretty easy to position yourself as an authority in Denver and grow business connections. I find that there are fewer gatekeepers to navigate through compared to other cities. My final pieces of advice:

  • Be proactive
  • A closed mouth doesn’t get fed-let people know that you need help connecting with people in your space. People can’t help you if they don’t know that you need help.
  • Connect in ways that are most comfortable for you, don’t rely on networking events. Especially if meeting new people makes you uncomfortable.

Stay in the Loop

The Source Hotel Rooftop

72 Hours in Denver for Gluten-Free Travelers

Winter Edition

I love to travel, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to travel with a food allergy. And, on top of that, end up with recommendations for places where the food tastes like cardboard. With that in mind, I created the following itinerary for Gluten-Free travelers to Denver. Don’t worry, you’ll eat, drink, and be merry 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.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

Before You Leave

There are a couple of things that you need to make sure you pick up before arriving in Denver. I call it your “Colorado Travel Kit.” And, for Gluten-Free travelers, I’ve added an additional tool-the Nima Sensor.

What is the Nima Sensor?

Is a handy tool that Gluten-Free individuals can use to check and see the gluten levels in their food. It helps to avoid accidental gluten exposure.

Basically, you but a little piece of food into a capsule, shake the capsule, then pop it into the sensor.

The sensor then checks for gluten levels in the food. Check out the photo below. And, you can grab the Nima Sensor on Amazon today.

Your Colorado Travel Kit

  • Lotion-Your skin will crack like a dried apple if you don’t have some lotion or vaseline with you. Don’t be ashy in Denver!
  • Lip balm-Your lips will also crack if you don’t have some lip balm.
  • Sunblock-Denver is a Mile High! We’re a mile above sea level. Protect your skin.
  • Water Bottle-It is dry here, you’ll need to drink more water. Also, drinking more water is helpful in the fight against Altitude Sickness. Yes, you can get it in Denver.
  • Sunglasses-The sun will sear your eyeballs (I’m kind of messing with you) but, seriously, the sun is really bright here. Everyone wears sunglasses when outside.
  • Baseball cap-If you’re doing anything outside. You may want a baseball cap.
  • Beanie (Winter Wear) If it’s winter, you need a beanie.

Altitude Sickness

Please note: it CAN happen in Denver and it really sucks. Touch base with your doctor if you have any concerns about this. And, in case you’re wondering what it feels like-a friend of mine had it this fall and it was bad.

  • Pounding headache-BAD
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Now that I’ve freaked you out, let’s have fun in Denver!

Similar Posts

72 Hours in Denver for Gluten-Free Travelers

Getting to downtown Denver from Denver International Airport is incredibly easy. If you’ve opted to go car-free, or pick up your car in downtown Denver, you can take the train from DIA to Union Station (the last stop). It is a super chill 37 minute ride making about 10 quick stops along the way.

The cost is $10.50 and you can use that ticket all day long around Denver. You could even go to Boulder with that ticket purchase.

Union Station

It’s so funny to me that Union Station baffles a lot of travelers. Especially those from the East Coast. They are initially a little weirded out by the fact that people hang out in Union Station.

I know that I do!

It has several restaurants, a hotel, a flower shop, and a coffee shop. Events are regularly held at Union Station and you may find yourself arriving to find Santa, a band, or a private party being hosted in the middle of the Station.

There are public restrooms in there as well. Also, the bus depot is underground, adjacent to Union Station. If you’re confused, there is a wonderful gentleman typically stationed at a help booth once you are inside the Station.

Where to Stay in Denver

There are several fantastic hotels in town. But, for this itinerary, I have two hotels in mind:

  • The Maven-This hotel is two blocks away from Union Station, is adjacent to the Milk Market Food Hall, and it sits on the Dairy Block. There is a lovely alley behind it that you can wander through, go shopping in, and even a speakeasy on the block called Run the Roses. If you like baseball, The Maven is two blocks away from Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. Why I love The Maven
    • The food is OUTSTANDING in Milk Market!! From Kentucky Red Hot Chicken, Bao, Poke, wood fired pizza, fresh fish, and fresh pasta-the food is so damn good.
    • Kachina Restaurant-I had a religious food experience there during the summer. The food is phenomenal with a specific focus on Southwestern cuisine.
    • Huckleberry Roasters- A Colorado local coffee shop with fantastic coffee.
    • The location-you can’t beat it.
  • The Source Hotel-If you choose to stay here, you will actually get off at the stop BEFORE Union station. The 38th and Blake Station. Then, you will walk over a bridge and 2 blocks in order to get to the hotel. Don’t worry-it’s super easy. If you’re needing help (ADA) you can have the hotel shuttle pick you up at the stop. Make those arrangements in advance. I LOVE The Source Hotel for so many reasons.
    • I hosted an in-person retreat there and the staff was amazing!
    • The food is fantastic
    • There is a hot tub and small pool on the rooftop with a view of the mountains.
    • There is a food hall in the main building
    • It has a brewery and the beer is good. By the way, I prefer cider and I loved their beer.
    • Digital Creators/Travel Bloggers-There is a co-working space called Charley CO for ladies only-sorry guys LOL!
The Source Hotel Woods Restaurant
The Woods Restaurant-The Source Hotel Denver, Colorado

Day #1

Pro-Travel tip for Denver:

About a month before you travel to Denver. Check out the Eventbrite and Facebook events feed for Denver. You may be able to find the following:

  • Free events
  • Free co-working days. If not, check out Deskpass which has a great presence in Denver. Start your free co-working trial today.
  • Unique one off events that only happen during the time of year that you plan on visiting.

Pro-Travel Tip #2 Do Your Own Research

Just because certain restaurants have been shared an listed in this post, don’t take my word for it. Do your own research!

  • Look at the menus
  • Give the restaurants a quick call
  • Bring your Nima Sensor

Pro Tip #3 Check Out Denver Local Gluten-Free Information

Check out Jenny Finke’s blog “Good For You Gluten-Free” Jenny is a friend of mine here in Denver. In addition to running the Denver Bloggers Club and the Fuel Your Influence Blog Conference, Jenny is known for doing video reviews of local restaurants here in Denver. She also talks extensively about the Nima Sensor as well.

Breakfast 9:00 am (ish)

There are a ton of different places to eat breakfast in Denver, but a gluten-free allergy free breakfast that tastes yummy can be found at Just Be Kitchen, an allergen and refined sugar free restaurant in Denver.

I do not have this allergy, and ate there for a Denver Bloggers Meetup and it was fantastic. There is paid parking next to it and make sure to check out Confluence Park that is next to the restaurant. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to kayak on the river or take a quick trip on the Denver Trolley which is located next to REI.

Or, you can swing over to Snooze which is known for it’s incredible breakfast foods. Check out the one located in Union Station.

Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is incredible. Part of what makes it incredible, is the staff’s commitment to bringing unique and one of a kind exhibits to the city of Denver. At the time this post is being written, the only Monet exhibit of its kind in the United States, is currently being shown at the museum.

Previous unique exhibits include:

  • Dior
  • Degas
  • Rembrandt
  • Jordan Casteel

While you’re at the Art Museum, quickly cross the street and check out the Capital Building which is exactly a mile high.

Make your way back downtown and pop into I Heart Denver, a fantastic Colorado local gift shop located in the Denver Pavilions Mall. All of the products are made by Colorado local makers.

W. 41st and Tennyson

This area is one of my favorite places to hang out in Denver. I live on the opposite side of town though, so I make a point of visiting from time to time. Hop into a Lyft and make your way over.

This area is super cute and has coffee shops, restaurants, and a tiny splash of shopping.

It’s also home to Vital Root, a 100% gluten-free restaurant with delicious food. They serve brunch/lunch/ and dinner. And, they host a happy hour.

Check out the following places

  • Book Bar-I’m obsessed with all things related to books. This cozy coffee shop also has a bar and coffee shop. Sip some wine, have some fun conversation, and enjoy the books.
  • Second Love-One of the prettiest resale shops I’ve visited. If you’re looking for great, sustainable fashion, Second Love is a must visit.
  • The Yogi Exchange-For Yoga enthusiasts who need more clothes, this place is for you. Gently used yoga clothes and equipment for the win! They are very particular about the items that they accept. The first time I visited, I didn’t realize the items were used.

Day #2 Let’s Visit Golden and Red Rocks

Golden rests right on the base of the mountains, or the foothills. It’s a beautiful town with some amazing history, a cute little downtown area, great hiking and dirt biking if that’s your thing.

I’m a hiker so I will share some easy hikes to consider. Golden is about a 30-40 minute drive from Denver after rush hour.

9:00 am

You’ve grabbed some delicious breakfast from your hotel and not it’s time to go to Golden and Red Rocks. No trip to Denver would be complete without one quick excursion into the mountains or almost into the mountains. Golden is at the base of the mountains.

It has a stunning view of Denver, great people, and is home to the Colorado School of Mines and Coors Brewery.

Golden, CO Hike Options

Let’s be clear, don’t be cute trying to do a hike that you’re not physically prepared for. You could end up with Altitude Sickness. With that in mind, I have 3 options for you ranging from easy to difficult.

Before your hike remember the following:

  • Tell people what trail you’ll be on and WHEN.
  • Bring your Colorado travel kit: lip balm, sunblock, lotion, water, hat, and sunglasses
  • Bring snacks
  • Make sure your phone is charged up
  • Have matches
  • Toilet paper and a plastic bag. Leave no trace. I know it’s gross, but the tp has to leave with you in the plastic bag and be flushed away later. OR, use the bathroom 6 times before the hike LOL!
  • Shoes appropriate for the type of hike that you’re doing. I grew up hiking in tennis shoes. But, because I hike so much now, I do have hiking shoes. The big difference? The tread on the shoes. Hiking shoes tend to have a much heavier tread.


If you’re lucky, you’ll be in Golden on the day that Dedicated Bistro and Bakery Food Truck is at the Holidaily Brewery. Holidaily is an entirely gluten-free brewery and Dedicated Bistro is entirely gluten-free as well.

And, the Dedicated Bistro food truck makes the best fish in chips in the Denver Metro area. Period. Make sure to triple check their schedule to see what day they are at the brewery when you’re in town.

Don’t also, Holidaily supplies a lot of the gluten-free beer at many of the breweries and restaurants in Denver.

Other Restaurant Suggestions

Dedicated Bistro Gluten-Free Food
Dedicated Bistro

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Once you’ve eaten, it’s time to hop in the car and drive over to Red Rocks. Please, do NOT refer to it as “The Red Rocks” there’s no article in front of it.

Just call it Red Rocks.

It’s not just a concert venue. Citizens work out daily at Red Rocks, tourists visit, and people just relax and chill there.

During the summertime fun events such as:

  • Yoga on the Rocks-A phenomenal experience of connecting with your third eye with thousands of other people. Don’t worry, it’s amazing!
  • Movies on the Rocks-Watch recently released movies, enjoy a band, and comedy show for around $12 dollars a ticket. Movies on the Rocks is about the only way you’ll get me to watch movies now with other people. Because I no longer enjoy going to the theater.
  • Music Festivals-These happen all year long.

Walk up the stairs, take in the view, and check out the Visitors’ Center. I enjoy working out on the theater steps and just sitting and relaxing while checking out the view.

Red Rocks

Colorado Mills Mall

On the way back to Denver, pop into Colorado Mills Mall. It has a number of outlet stores and large number of Colorado local businesses too. Some outlets include:

  • Adidas
  • Banana Republic
  • Calvin Klein
  • Coach
  • H&M
  • Francesca’s

Please note: like with everything, stores do change. If you enjoy yummy coffee drinks, check out the following Colorado local business:

My favorite drink is the regular chai. Once you’re all shopped out, it’s time to return to Denver, freshen up and grab some dinner.

Dinner 6:00 pm (ish)

After a long day of hiking, shopping, and exploring it’s time to eat. Here are some great restaurants to consider once you’re back in town.

Day #3 Last Day in Denver

It’s my hope that if you’re in town sometime during the first 3 weeks in January, that you will check out the National Western Stock Show. Denver embraces its “Cowtown” roots proudly and the National Western Stock Show is a proud part of that tradition.

It continues to grow with record breaking attendance. Check out the rodeo, prize winning livestock, and meet honest to God Cowboys and Cowgirls.

Not feeling it?

Meow Wolf Denver-Opening in 2021

Denver has an incredible art community creating murals, interactive art experiences and more. If you can’t make it to Santa Fe for Meow Wolf, Denver may be the Meow Wolf Experience for you.

Casa Bonita

This is the most kitschy place ever. Think indoor divers, western gunfights, and other campy experiences that every Colorado child and adult has enjoyed throughout the years. Let’s be clear, you won’t be eating there…but, you do have to buy one of the food offerings. Casa Bonita, while fun, is NOT necessarily known for its food.

You’ve been warned.

South Pearl Street Denver

This cute little area also has one of my FAVORITE places to eat-and, it’s gluten-free. If you don’t feel like driving, you can take the light rail to the Louisiana and Pearl Street Light Rail Station. Then walk down Pearl Street. It has local shops, a great (slightly expensive) woman’s consignment shop, and it’s just an area where real Denverites actually hangout.

Queiro Arepas

Arepas are a Venezuelan staple and Quiero Arepas is a certified gluten-free kitchen. I cannot express enough how yummy they are.

After you’ve enjoyed your meal, head over to Washington Park and get a nice walk in around the park.