The Denver skyline silhouetted against a golden sunset.

Stopover Guide: 24 Hours in Denver

16 March 2017

Known as the Mile High City, Denver sits at the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains and with 300 days of sunshine, offers a bright and beautiful place to do business. Add to that a buzzing cultural scene, frothy brewpubs and diverse neighbourhoods, ranging from the museums of Capitol Hill and the Golden Triangle to the historic Downtown area and the art district on Santa Fe, and you’ll be just itching to explore. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Denver.

Where to Eat

Denver’s foodie scene is bursting at the seams, with award-winning chefs at every turn, serving everything from farm-to-table cuisine to classic steaks and more.

The rustic American restaurant Beast + Bottle on East 17th Avenue serves hand-crafted cocktails, eclectic wines and local, farm-focused cuisine for dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends. Menus include the likes of bison pot roast with red finn potato, carrot, turnip and shaved perigord truffle.

In the dining hot spot of Larimer Street, The Populist serves surprising small plates in the cool surrounds of RiNo (River North). Dine at communal tables (perfect for the lone traveller) where sharing is heartily encouraged. Dinner might be rock shrimp and gnocchi, cider braised pork cheeks and a kale and roasted beet salad, washed down with a cocktail or two.

A Denver classic, Fruition Restaurant on East 6th Avenue has won many accolades at the hands of chef-owner Alex Seidel. It’s fine dining without the fuss, and includes the likes of pan-roasted sturgeon with potato galette, Littleneck clams and confit celery. You can also check out Seidel’s other venture, Mercantile, a restaurant and European-style market in the historic Union Station.

Where to Stay

Centrally located in the heart of Downtown, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver makes a perfect base for business and exploring. The rooms are stylish, the service friendly, the living-room lobby is gorgeous (check out the ceiling), and it’s walking distance to shopping, dining and entertainment, as well as the Convention Centre.

The 189 guest rooms are decked out in a mix of urban cool and western charm, with quirky lamps and oversized headboards, and bold decor. There are three configurations to choose from, each containing large work areas, comfy beds, and all the usual amenities, plus specialty suites.

There’s a 24-hour fitness centre on site, yoga mats in every room, complimentary bicycles to use during your stay, and the Panzano Italian restaurant is available for dining in or room service. The hotel also has a mix of well-thought-out meeting spaces.

Where to Play

From your hotel, it’s an easy wander through the downtown area to the mile-long 16th Street Mall, filled with shops, restaurants and attractions. It’s made from red, white and grey granite that from above looks like the skin of a diamondback rattlesnake. Also in Downtown is Larimer Square, Denver’s most historic block, where urban shopping, dining and drinking spots are housed in restored Victorian buildings.

Visit the newly renovated Denver Union Station in Lower Downtwon (LoDo), a 1914 beauty built in Beaux-Arts style that now houses 10 chef-owned restaurants and bars, plus boutique shops and the Crawford Hotel. You can catch the train to the airport, too. Check out the wonderful independent Tattered Cover Book Store, while you’re there and pick up something for the plane. And if you’re thirsty, nip over to the nearby Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first of Colorado’s many brewpubs.

Just behind Union Station is Confluence Park, a nice green space for a walk, run or bike ride, if you want to escape the city’s bustle. Another way to enjoy some quiet time is to step inside a museum – and Denver has several. Try the Daniel Libeskind-designed Denver Art Museum for its renowned American Indian and Western art collections; and the Molly Brown House Museum for a glimpse into the life of the Titanic’s most famous survivor.

Renae Spinks

Travel for me is about conversations and connections. There’s nothing like setting foot in a new land and meeting people a world apart. From talking to North Sea fishermen in Norway’s Lofoten Islands to breakfast chat at a B&B in my own back yard, there’s always a story to share and a tale to tell.

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