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.*

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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.

Denver Art Museum

9 Ridiculously Easy Tips On How to Save Money in Denver

Denver is not a cheap city. In fact, it’s still surprising to me that so many people still believe that it is. Denver should be considered a high cost of living city, fortunately, there a ridiculous number of ways to save on events/resources/and activities in town. I won’t touch housing costs in this blog post (we’ll save that for another day). If you’ve been wondering how to save money in Denver-it’s not too hard. In fact, it’s possible to save money while living in Denver and I’m excited to show you some of the ways that I watch my money and still have a great time living 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.*

How to Stay Fit in Denver

Without going broke! There are an endless number of ways to stay fit in Denver and attend your favorite fitness classes without going broke. Here is a short-list of strategies that I use.

  • Attend Civic Center Moves Classes! These are free classes held all year around in Civic Center Park. During the winter, they are held inside. Then, around the end of May/beginning of June, the classes move outdoors. Participants do have to fill out a waiver, but that’s to be expected. Classes include: yoga, yoga cross, and hip hop fitness. Also, The November Project hosts a workout every Wednesday morning in conjunction with Civic Center Moves.
  • Use Classpass-I am obsessed with Classpass because I get bored with my workouts. How it works, users choose the subscription that works best for them. Then, they sign up for the different fitness classes they’re interested in. You can use Classpass across the United States. I love this because I travel pretty frequently. My current favorite class is a hip hop fitness class called Groov3 held at PassionForce studio in the Baker neighborhood. New users get $30 credited towards your new subscription when you sign up with my affiliate link.

  • Run Clubs-These are hosted around the city and are typically based out of restaurants or bars. They are free and oftentimes have free refreshments after your run. Bring cash though, because you’ll most likely end up purchasing a drink.


Savings apps are all the rage. But, one of my favorites is Denver-based Ibotta. Users are able to save on the following:

  • Groceries
  • Booze
  • Retail
  • Amazon

And, every new user gets $10 towards their first $20 payout when they redeem their first savings within a few weeks of downloading the app.

How Ibotta works:

  • Download the app Play Store (Android) or the Apple App Store for Iphone users.
  • Check out the app and see which retailers are included. My favorites are: Safeway, Whole Foods, and Sprouts. Hey, I like to eat!
  • Then, I begin checking out the savings for the store that I intend to shop at next. Typically, in order to access savings offers you will answer short questions, watch a SHORT video, or view an information page about a product.
  • Once you go shopping make sure to check your app so that you don’t forget to pick up your items.
  • Scan those items as you put them in your cart. There is bar at the top of the app that has a barcode icon on the left-hand side. When you touch that the “Scan Product Barcode” screen will open up. You want to do this so that you can make sure that you can redeem that savings, every once in awhile a savings can’t be redeemed. This is unusual, but, it just will save some aggravation for later.
  • Either at the store, or right when you get home, upload your savings. Basically, this means scan your receipt and items that you saved on into the app. You want to do this as soon as you get home, or you’ll forget.

Free Days

Thanks to the SCFD (Scientific and Cultural Facilities District) that Denver voters approved for another 12 years until…2028. This is great because we’ve approved a tiny percentage of sales tax towards arts and culture. What does this mean? Denver (and surrounding counties) have money for the arts!

And, free days.

I love free days because they give access to museums, festivals, and other art focused events to all residents. Here is a short-list of free days to check out. Please note: you will need to show that you’re a resident of one of the counties upon admission.

  • Denver Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Denver Art Museum
  • The Denver Zoo
  • The Botanic Gardens (Chatfield and Denver)
  • $10 tickets at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (basically, that’s free for theater)

Here’s a link to check out free days throughout the year.

South Pearl Street Farmer’s Market

My current favorite farmer’s market in Denver is the South Pearl Street location. I just love the atmosphere and the energy. It feels like there is something for everyone as you walk up and down the street.

My favorite stall to save offers a $10 all you can stuff bag of goodies. The only downside, the veggies and fruits at this stand are shipped in from all over, but if you’re looking to save-this is an incredible way to eat fresh throughout the summer. The best deals happen at the end of the year as the bulk of the harvest starts to come come in.

By the way, there is an ART to stuffing the bag.

Ego CarShare

I LOVE this non-profit! There are a ton of different car share programs that have a presence in the Denver/Boulder metro area. I decided to go with a locally based company because I felt like I wouldn’t get lost in the crowd.

The experience with Ego CarShare has been fantastic and it’s been super easy to use.

Why did I decide to go with a car share program? There were several reasons.

  • To save money-In addition to running Square State, I also run a website about personal finance. Currently, I am paying off debt and using a car share gives me access to a car while reducing my transportation costs by thousands of dollars a year. Previously, I had a paid off car, but it still cost around $350 a month to own it after factoring in insurance, gas, maintenance, and random stuff.
  • Reduce my carbon foot print-Yep, I think about stuff like that. But, I grew up in Boulder.
  • Simplify my life-not owning a car has drastically simplified my life. I don’t worry about parking, maintenance, hail damage, etc.
  • Public transit-I actually use it and am within walking distance of three light rail stops.

How to Use Ego Car Share

It’s actually super easy. Once you sign up, you will need to pick up a key fob from either downtown Denver or somewhere in Boulder (depending on where you live).

You will reserve your car either via the app or website (I use the website). The cool thing about the reservation system is that cars are placed throughout the city. Your key fob will unlock the doors and clock you in and out of the car.

I’m very fortunate in that I have a car that is parked within 6 blocks of my house. But, sometimes I will pick up a car in Boulder or other parts of Denver depending on what’s going on, the weather, and the type of car available.

I believe that all of the cars are hybrids.

It will be easiest to live car free in Denver if you live along the light rail line or closer to downtown.

Facebook Events

There are so many cool events happening in Denver that it’s hard to keep up with them all-especially during the summer. Different businesses throughout town host free and inexpensive events as a way to connect with citizens, let people know who they are, and to get people into their retail spaces.

Past events that I’ve signed up for and discovered (free or discounted)

  • Denver Start Up Week
  • Puppy Yoga for $5
  • Yoga at Denver Milk Market
  • Free Tequila tastings
  • Concerts
  • Fitness classes

The Financial Independence Retire Early Community: F.I.R.E.

Previously, I mentioned that I am a personal finance blogger. Well, there is a really fun community of personal finance bloggers focused on what’s called: F.I.R.E.

For some reason, Colorado, in particular the Denver/Boulder metro area has become a hot bed of people who are hyper-focused on living well, while spending less, investing more, and enjoying their lives.

Bloggers such as:

The great thing about hanging out with the F.I.R.E. community, no one will make you feel weird for wanting to save and stretch your dollars.


If you’ve been sleeping on joining Meetup and live in Denver (or, are moving here) sign up STAT. They have a ton of amazing communities that you can join for every interest that you may have.

If you’re looking to hike, grow a business, connect with a certain interest group-then, you need to be on Meetup. It’s a great way to build community and connect with new people-even if you’ve lived in Denver for years.

Denver Public Library

And, the Library of Things. I cannot rave enough about the Denver Public Library. I still may be sketched out by the main branch, but I continue to obsessively visit local branches throughout the city and near my house.

The library has a ridiculous amount of programming, access to wifi, and even the opportunity to rent out a podcast studio at one of the local branches.

Programming includes (but, isn’t limited) to the following:

  • A talk given by a forensic pathologist!
  • Conversations about personal finance
  • Play groups for kids (these are incredibly well attended)
  • Technology classes
  • Social Media Marketing

DPL does an incredible job of providing an endless amount of resources that enrich the lives of Denver citizens…and the services are basically free.

Now You Know How to Save Money In Denver!

You don’t have to go broke in Denver. Start using the above resources, strategies, and community spaces to begin saving money while living in Denver.

There are a number of other strategies and services that I didn’t share. Drop some of your favorite ways to save in the comments!

Want to Start a Blog?

Have you been thinking about starting a blog but not sure if you should? Want to shout out your favorite town, lifestyle ideas, or ways to save? What are you waiting for? Use Siteground to host your website. Not sure how to set up your self-hosted blog? Useh this free tutorial from Elite Blog Academy that will walk you through all of the steps. Can’t wait to read your blog!

save money in Denver

The Colorado Local Tool Kit: What Almost Everyone Has On Their Person

If you’re new to Colorado the first thing you will notice (if you’re here for a week ) is the sunshine. An almost relentlessly gorgeous blue that dares you to question why it’s so grey in your hometown during the winter. Denver is ridiculously sunny throughout the year. And, Denverites have mild freakouts when it’s grey for more than 3 days in a row. It’s a thing.  It’s also a thing that almost every Coloradan carries the Unofficial Colorado Local Tool Kit. Want to know what’s in it? Keep reading!

* 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.*

Start Saving!

Are you looking to visit or move to Colorado? Check out my new favorite way to save RIZE savings platform. Set your goal and automated savings. And, get closer to visiting one deposit at a time. You can also boost your savings if you would like. Click HERE to begin saving towards your goals.

The Colorado Local Tool Kit

Each place has its own special challenges. Some places rain all the time, other places are just super humid. There are towns that exist under a constant shroud of clouds. Not Colorado. We’ve got our own special issues.


When I was growing up, my mom had to buy a humidifier and placed it my room because it was so freaking dry. In fact, living in Colorado feels like a constant fight to keep your skin, supple, moisturized, and not ashy. Sometimes it’s a losing fight. If you don’t have lotion on you, then you probably have some body butter/balm. Basically, something to keep your skin from feeling like it’s constantly itching.


If your skin feels like it is constantly itching-your lips feel cracked. All. the. time. In fact, one of the most common types of swag to hand out at events (think races) is lip balm. Yep, it’s a thing. If you leave your house without a decent lip balm, you’ll find yourself constantly licking at your lips in a desperate attempt to keep them from looking…dried out and ashy (sense a theme)?


That constant sunshine coupled with living at a higher altitude=the need to always wear sunblock. In fact, I remember public service announcements about sunblock from when I was a kid.  But, in all seriousness, it doesn’t matter where you live-sunblock is probably a great addition to your skin care regiment.

Water Bottle

Ok, it’s clear how dry it is in Colorado. And, we’re also dealing with the higher altitude. For people visiting Colorado (and Denver) from lower altitudes-you need to drink water. There is a reason why people are constantly walking around town with water bottles. It’s freaking dry here-all the time.


One of the best things about Colorado is the constant sunshine. In fact, it’s said that Denver has more sunny days than San Diego and I would agree. It’s very difficult for me to go outside without my sunglasses because the sun is so intense.

Ball Cap or Beanie

Depending on the time of year, you will probably see many people wearing either a knit beanie or a ball cap. It can be windy here I think that’s partly why people wear hats so much.

Oversized Backpack

I often joke that people here always look like they’re about to go deep into the mountains…for a while. In fact, I’m also guilty of carrying a ridiculous amount of stuff with me that often includes:

  • All of the items mentioned above


  • My laptop


  • And, a change of clothes if I’m going to workout

What’s in Your Town’s Local Tool Kit?


SQS006: How to Become an AirBnB Host in Denver with James Carlson

* 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.*

Want to Try Out Airbnb?

Use my affiliate link to save money on your first booking!

SQS006:How To Become an Airbnb Host In Denver

James Carlson from James Carlson Real Estate regular runs classes on how to become an Airbnb host in Denver.  He and I discuss the following in this podcast:

  • How he got into hosting.


  • The sheer amount of money he earned in a short amount of time.


  • What a great host needs to do.


  • Pros and Cons


  • How to be legally compliant in Denver

We all know that Denver is finally on the radar for destination travel in the U.S. With the increase in tourism to the city of Denver and the state of Colorado, there is a huge opportunity for would be Airbnb hosts.

Who’s Visiting Denver?

  • Families


  • Adventurers


  • Convention Attendees (Examples)
    • Denver Comic Con
    • The Outdoor Retailer Conference



  • Business Travelers


I could go on, but, you get the picture. With all of this tourism, the question becomes…where is everyone staying? You may have thought about running an Airbnb, but wasn’t sure about it. This episode is a must listen if you would like to make money this way.

Not in Denver? Doesn’t matter-you will learn a lot, and then research your city’s specific regulations regarding short-term rentals.


  • Here is the link to Jame’s event calendar so that you can catch his next class!




Want to Move to Denver? Get your free Moving Guide to Denver today!



10 Amazing Snacks Made in Colorado to Take on Your Next Hike

One of my favorite activities to take part in here in Colorado is hiking. I can’t get enough of it. A typical hike that my friends and I will take part in usually lasts around 4-5 hours depending on the size of the group, length of the hike, distance from Denver, and the altitude.

There are a number of things to consider when planning your next hike but one that many people don’t spend enough time on is creating the perfect combination of snacks for your next hike. I thought it would be fun to share 10 amazing snacks made in Colorado to take on your next hike when you’re pressed for time or low on groceries!

Related Post: 10 Free or Ridiculously Cheap Ways to Get Fit for Summer in Denver

10 Amazing Snacks

  • Made in Nature Snacks-Headquartered in Boulder and manufactured in California, Made Nature has some amazing tasty and healthy snacks that hikers can carry with them into the backcountry.


  • Lara Bars-I absolutely love these and my current favorite is the Cherry Pie. Which is weird because I tend to prefer apples.



  • Binnie’s Coconut Butter-This is so good you want to slap somebody. I had the pleasure of meeting the founder and she is super focused on creating an amazing and delicious product creating obsessed fans everywhere.



  • Lithic Nutrition-this is made with cricket protein. Really. It’s a great source of protein that is a lot more earth friendly and produces a heck of a lot less methane because…crickets are easier to raise than cattle.


  • Noosa Yogurt-This yogurt is a Colorado obsession. Especially during the fall when the Pumpkin flavor is released. Right now they are releasing way too many flavors (can’t keep up with them all) but my current favorites are: Mexican chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. Of course lemon.


  • Power Puck-Share Good Foods makes these delicious treats.



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