Black Owned Denver

72 Hours Enjoying Black Owned Denver, Colorado (From a Local)

Every time I travel outside of my state I’m asked where am I from. This is a normal line of questioning. But, what happens almost every single time, without fail, is that people are completely confused when I tell people that I’m from Colorado…and I grew up there. They always look so confused and I feel like I end up staring back at them like the Puff Daddy meme that we’ve all seen on Twitter. By the way, this is an incomplete list.

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Many people are surprised that there is a rich and long-standing history and community of Black people who have lived in Colorado and made a difference to the state.

If you’re thinking about visiting, I strongly encourage you to do so and thought that I would share a few itineraries that intentionally included POC and allied spaces to check out as you explore Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs and beyond.

Thinking About Starting a Travel 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.

Before You Go

I strongly recommend that travelers visit Fall-Spring and avoid summer trips if at all possible. I’ve included a link to a post that I wrote sharing How Global Warming May Impact Your Colorado Vacation.

Here are some tips to help you plan your trip.

  • Working on your fitness to prepare for those mountain hikes? Fit and Nu is the first gym for created for and operated by women of Color here in the state of Colorado. You can take either in person or online classes.

Related Posts

  • Colorado is a high elevation state. That includes Denver-which is called also the Mile High City. The further west that you go (basically-going into the mountains) the higher the elevation. If you have any medical conditions speak with your doctor about what to anticipate when traveling at a higher elevation. Most people way underestimate how elevation will affect their bodies and the most common complaint that I hear about trips to Colorado is related to altitude sickness and not feeling well during a trip.
    • Take it easy while you’re here
    • Drink water, more than what you typically do
    • Don’t resume your regular exercise routine when you arrive. Wait at least 3 days and still take it easy.
    • If you’re dizzy or have a headache pay attention to that. Those could be signs of the beginnings of elevation sickness.
  • Adrian Miller-The Soul Food Scholar. You would have seen him in High on the Hog.
  • 72 Hours in Denver When You’re Meat-Free

What to Bring

Dress however you would like but definitely bring several pairs of casual/fitness clothes. Especially if you’re visiting friends you will end up moving around quite a bit walking, biking, or maybe a hike. There isn’t pressure to dress up, but if you enjoy dressing up absolutely do!

  • Sunblock-It’s sunny here
  • Chapstick-It’s dry here
  • Lotion-It’s dry here.
  • Travel sized black hair products. The Black Travel Box is a Colorado local business that you can order products from.
  • Sunglasses-It’s really sunny here
  • Water bottle-It’s dry here LOL!

Where to Stay

I have a couple of properties that I love to stay at and like to shout out. Also, this website tries to always start with Colorado local businesses as I like to support local companies and keep the dollars circulating longer in town.

  • The Source HotelI really love this hotel and the staff are wonderful. It’s 2 blocks from the 38th and Blake light rail stop and part of a retail development as well. It’s also within walking distance (about 4 blocks) to Zeppelin Station which is a food hall and has a bar as well. There’s also a saline pool on the roof top patio with an insane view of the mountains. And, if you’re a beer fan-it has a brewery as well. I also hosted my first in-person financial retreat there and would happily host it again at this property.
    • The light rail is safe and has a constant security presence. ALWAYS buy your ticket. The one time you don’t is the time that security walks through the train.
  • The Maven Hotel-This hotel is part of an incredible retail development. It has a ton of beautiful art, is a few blocks away from Union Station and Coors Field and is a great place to as a base for your trip.
  • Hostel Fish-I’m a life long hosteling enthusiast and really like Hostel Fish. This hostel is located 2 blocks from Coors Field and is close to a bar district. COVID has changed a lot of things.
  • Ember HostelFunny story, I’ve actually stayed at the Ember Hostel (1 night) when I was getting some plumbing work done on my place and it took longer than expected. It’s a great hostel located in the Capital Hill district.

Arriving From the Airport

Denver International Airport has a train that travels from the airport to Downtown Denver’s Union Station. I STRONGLY recommend taking the train vs. taking Uber/Lyft from the airport. You will have problems trying to do this.

  • The train is faster. It takes 37 minutes from the airport to downtown. It costs $10.50 and that ticket works on all public transit for the entire day. There is security on the train and they check your ticket typically 3 times before you arrive at Union Station.
  • Most Coloradans take the train and then will schedule a Lyft or Uber from Union Station.
  • Lyft has the larger corporate presence in Denver. They have a massive corporate office here.
  • If you insist on taking Uber or Lyft from the airport please pre-schedule it. Especially if you’re arriving late in the evening. Most drivers do not “hang around” the airport because of the distance to town and because most people take the train.
  • You’ve been warned.
Denver International Airport

Day #1

Your first and second day in Denver I recommend that you take it easy. Check out Mimosas for brunch. You can take a ride share or walk if you’re in downtown Denver. Or, a scooter. But, I hate scooters, you can read why HERE.

For those of you who are cannabis curious. Check out Simply Pure. Wanda James and Scott Durah are the co-owners. Wanda also happens to be the first woman of color in the United States to receive a legal cannabis license (which are incredibly difficult to get).

Need some fun yummies for your munchies? Go to It’s a Bodega a Black owned snack emporium of unique snacks, candies, cookies and chips from around the world. My favorites are the TimTams. If cannabis isn’t your thing (it’s not mine) let’s move on.

Need to get your mind right? Take a yoga class at Urban Sanctuary. This yoga space serves black, brown and allied yogis looking for a welcoming space to get your shavasana on.

If you’re ready to go shopping, head to the 41st and Tennyson (Berkeley Neighborhood) area. This cute little shopping district is one of my favorite parts of town and I continue to be amazed by how it constantly gets missed in travel content. While there, pop into Lariat, a Black owned boutique, with Colorado inspired fashion (I’ve met the owner in case you’re wondering LOL!)

For lunch head back over to Five Points to Welton Street Cafe for some soul food. This restaurant has been a long-time mainstay in Denver’s food scene and Five Points neighborhood.

Want to learn how to use fire arms safely at a Black Owned range? Denver’s 1770 Armory instructs African-Americans in the safe handling of weapons in a welcoming space.

Denver is home to an incredible community of Slam Poetry artists who perform as the Slam Nuba team. If they are performing while you’re in town I strongly recommend checking them out. They cut heads.

Pop into Whittier Cafe for a great cup of coffee. African owned, all of the beans are African and if you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Ethiopian Coffee ceremony let me know. They serve pastries, oatmeal and burritos. Basically, typical coffee shop fare.

Denver is known for its murals.

Day # 2

Check out Meow Wolf Denver (opening Fall 2021), an immersive art experience that is opening this Fall. It’s the third location for the Meow Wolf Art Collective with the original in Santa Fe and the second location in Las Vegas-it’s that massive weird grocery store that you’ve probably heard about.

Craving some BBQ? Head over to Boney’s BBQ on the 16th Street Mall. They are open even if the website isn’t working. But, be warned, they close when the food is gone. They open at 11:00 am.

If you’re craving some ice cream stop by Smith and Cannon Ice Cream, Walia Creamery or MyKings Ice Cream or Sweet Sweetz.

What to Do

  • Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art-Currently has the Black in Denver photo display. This exhibition will end on August 22, 2021. The Museum of Contemporary Art is the first building designed by an Afro European architect in the United States.
  • Denver Art Museum and check out Simphiwe Ndzube’s exhibit in addition to other incredible curated exhibits at the museum.
  • Museum for Black Girls-I visited the second location…right before COVID hit. Literally weeks before. Then, I had a wonderful conversation with the amazing curators of this space. If you’re visiting Denver with your girlfriends or daughter, this is a wonderful place to check out. I was also very fortunate to be shown the second location by the 10 (?) year old daughter of one of the curators. Seeing the exhibit through her eyes really moved me and made the experience even richer. This pop up changes locations and a second exhibit is opening in HOUSTON!
  • Black American West Museum and Heritage Center-Denver and the West has a long history of Black Cowboys and Black settlement. This museum shares that history. Right now it’s closed because it’s being renovated but I will update this as soon as it reopens.
  • National Western Stock Show-MLK Jr.African-American Heritage Rodeo this will take place in January 2022. Again, Black cowboys and cowgirls STILL exist. If you’re in town in January make sure to have it coincide with this event if possible.
    • There is also the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza too!

Sports

We have A LOT of sports teams in Denver. If you’re into sports, the venues are all downtown with the exception of the Colorado Rapids soccer stadium. Watch your favorite teams playing while you’re in town. I’ve listed our professional sports teams below.

  • Denver Nuggets-Basketball
  • Denver Broncos-Football
  • Colorado Rapids-Soccer
  • Colorado Avalanche-Hockey
  • Colorado Rockies-Baseball

Theater

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The arts factor heavily in our daily lives here in Denver and beyond. In fact, citizens have voted to fund the SCFD for over 30 years in order to provide free arts events for all Denver metro residents. That’s why we have free days at museums, the Zoo, etc. Visitors aren’t eligible LOL! But, this gives you some context for why there are so many murals, theatrical productions, etc. in Denver. Also, many national theatrical tours will debut in Denver after NYC. I’ve listed some shows that are coming soon.

You could also drop in a Cleo Parker Robinson Dance class if you enjoy dancing as much as I do.

For dinner, head over to Konjo Ethiopian Food in Edgewater Public Market. I absolutely love this development and think that not enough people know about it. There’s a rooftop bar and an incredible view of downtown Denver and a lake. Edgewater Public Market also has a food court with other restaurants in it, shopping and a vegan fast food place with REALLY good vegan food.

Day #3

Looking to explore the mountains? Make sure to check and see if Outdoor Afro is hosting an event while you’re in town. It’s one of my favorite outdoor communities to do: hiking, backpacking, stand up paddle board, etc. with. There are chapters across the United States so also check and see if there is a chapter in your town. Here is the link to the Colorado Outdoor Afro group on Meetup.com.

Here are a couple of other outdoors groups for POC and allied folks.

  • Blackpackers and you can listen to my podcast episode with the founder, Patricia Cameron here.

Before you head out to enjoy your final day in Denver, grab a cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat at Coffee at the Point.

If you’re on your own and you’re not used to hiking pick a heavily trafficked, easy trail. Boulder’s Chautauqua Park has a number of these trails. Do pay attention to the wildlife warnings posted at the trailheads. Hiking is a serious activity at altitude so don’t be cocky. I don’t want to hear about you on the news. And, yes, we hear about out of state visitors getting into trouble hiking all the time.

  • This is a MUST read-How to Hike Safely in Colorado as a POC

If you’re not up for an actual hike but easy exploration of towns outside of Denver here are my quick day trip suggestions.

  • Boulder-I actually grew up in this town and while it may annoy me at times, it’s just 40 minutes away from Denver and great for a couple of hours away from the city. Explore the Pearl Street Mall which is an outdoor walking mall. Check out Rosetta Hall (food hall) for a meal and eat on the roof top.
  • Golden-If you’re looking for an old school “western” downtown Golden is a low-key option to check out. It’s also 35 minutes from Denver and is home to great hiking, dirt biking and beer.
  • Estes Park-Nestled at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is 1 hour 45 minutes from Denver. It’s worth the drive and one of my favorite mountain towns. You will need a reservation to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Breckenridge-I spend A LOT of time in Breckenridge. It is one of my favorite mountain towns. Here are a couple of reasons why.
    • It’s not Aspen LOL! I’ve finally figured out why so many Black people are going to Aspen-influencers going. But, Aspen is not as welcoming as other mountain towns in Colorado. Period.
    • The people who live in Breck are really chill
    • It’s a very welcoming space for POC travelers. I always see POC travelers of color both single or with families.
    • Good skiing and great hiking
    • One of my favorite hostels in the world is there (The Bivvi) and I stay at it all the time.
    • Isack Heartstone-He is a massive wooden troll that lives in the woods. I love visiting him every time I’m in town. If you have kids, this is a must do activity.

Happy Hour

Check out MPB (Moods Beats and Potions) for happy hour or dinner. MPB is a new business in the Five Points/RINO neighborhood. It looks like so much fun and I’m excited to check it out.

Quick Mention: Red Rocks Amphitheater

I’m obsessed with Red Rocks! It’s the place where I’ve attended numerous concerts, taken yoga classes and watched Black Panther with a sold out crowd of 9,000 people.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth it to visit Denver just to attend a concert at Red Rocks? It is. It’s a magical venue. You will need a car to visit. Or, you can pay for a shuttle service on the night of an event. You will be charged a premium to get to Red Rocks.

Last evening in Denver, it’s time to eat. Here are a couple of places that I recommend enjoying before you leave Denver.

It’s a Wrap

By now you’ve had a whirlwind experience in Denver and the rest of the metro area. I will be adding to this post with additional places to go and things to do as businesses open and close due to COVID. Hopefully, this post gave you some additional ideas of what to do and where to go while you’re here-especially if you would like to support Black owned businesses

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SQS009: Denver Start Up Week

* 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.*

Denver Startup Week 

Is one of my favorite business-focused events in Denver. Why do I love it so much? Let me share the reasons why:

  • It’s free!

 

  • Even though it’s free, the vision of the founders and planning committee is big picture focused.

 

  • The knowledge shared.

 

  • The speakers
    • Mark Cuban
    • Bryan Leach
    • Casey Neistat
    • Just to name a few of the amazing people who are sharing their wisdom during the week.

 

  • Denver Startup Week Highlights Colorado-based businesses

 

  • The networking

 

  • The parties!

In this episode, I share 10 tips on how you can have a phenomenal experience at this year’s Denver Startup Week event. Can’t wait to see you there!

Casey Neistat (my favorite video by him)

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Pearl Street Farmers Market Denver

It’s official, Denver has a new King of the farmers market scene. This past weekend solidified this finding as I found myself wandering up and down the Pearl Street Farmers Market with the masses. Let’s be clear, there are a number of wonderful markets throughout the Metro. In fact, the Union Station Farmer’s Market is a close second but for a consistently enjoyable experience, Pearl Street is hard to beat.

The Logistics

I love that the market is on one main street. It makes it easier for patrons to shop and browse. One of the side streets  is used for food trucks and some seating, but other than that, you just have to walk up and down ONE STREET. South Pearl Street has a great look and “feel” to it with historic buildings housing bricks and mortar businesses.

Parking is a little tight because it’s in the middle of a residential and business district. Happily, the market is pretty easy to get on foot, by bike, or via light rail.

If you ride your bike to the market there is manned bike “parking” with usually 2 attendants watching over the bikes. If you park your bike there you will be handed a ticket, when you’re done with your browsing, show the attendant your ticket and then get your bike. Please remember to tip a dollar or two before you leave.

Most vendors have credit/debit card readers but I would recommend that you bring both cash and card just in case there is a problem with the card reader.

The Vendors

Are pretty affordable, varied, and passionate about the products that they share. Sometimes buying locally can be a little more expensive, but I was finding that some other local markets were significantly more expensive because of the types of vendors and products being sold.

Standout Vendors:

  • The Sophisticate’s Tea-Listen to my podcast episode with Trinity Hindman (one of the founders). What exactly is it? It is a tea concentrate I particularly love the Sophisticate’s Mountain Fog Concentrate.

 

 

  • Tlaquesalsa-I’m convinced that this is the best salsa made in Colorado. I’ve tried all three flavors (Tomatillo, Arbol, and Jalapeno) and I love all three.

Best Deal

The $10 all you can fill bag of veggies at the veggie and fruit vendor whose name I can’t remember. This stand is pretty busy and should be easy to find. Therefore, be aware that not all of the veg/fruits are grown in Colorado-but, if you’re looking to be kind to your grocery budget, this stand is for you!

Pearl Street Farmers Market

Retains an ease and approachability that similar markets seem not to have. There are tons of people walking with their kids, friends, and fur babies. The vendors seem happy to be there and it’s nice to have the option of popping into one of the many stores or restaurants that flank the market. There is a distinct lack of attitude and a very real sense of warmth.

I love this market. It’s open on Sundays from 9-1 pm.

SQS004: Cultura Craft Chocolate

Matt from Cultura Craft Coffee

Matt Armstrong

I am a chocolate addict. When I emotionally eat, good chocolate is what I like to reach for. Also, when I’m happy…you get the idea. I love all things chocolate. So, when I noticed a large number of chocolatiers/chocolate companies in Denver, I thought it would be great to talk to a couple of them to figure out what the deal was…and, hopefully score some free chocolate. I didn’t get any from Matt because I forgot to…ask..beg. But, we had a good time talking about chocolate.  Enjoy the interview.

Colorado Chocolate 

  • What’s the deal with all the chocolate? There is a ton of great chocolate being made in Colorado. I’ve had a great time “sampling” all of them.

 

  • Dead Dog Chocolate has changed to Cultura Craft Chocolate. Why the branding change?

 

  • What Matt’s role is in the company. Matt is originally from Cali (with a couple of stops along the way). I’m curious about how he got connected with Culture Craft Chocolate.

 

  • Chocolate makers vs. chocolatiers. What’s the difference?

 

  • The ongoing process of educating consumers about their chocolate (quality vs. cost). I love supporting local businesses and know that cost and getting consumers to be comfortable with potentially spending more is an ongoing challenge.

 

  • Matt’s business experience in Colorado so far.

 

  • We get sidetracked by his taco love. It’s kind of hilarious how much he loves tacos. He let’s me know if Denver has any good places to check them out.

 

  • We discuss how Matt got into chocolate making. It’s a pretty cool story!

 

  • Drinking chocolate and getting consumers to make the switch to higher quality chocolate. It has less sugar but tastes so good.

 

  • I wonder about his favorite chocolate and the most popular bars that they sell.

 

  • I get nosey.

Where to Find Cultura Craft Chocolate

 

 

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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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