by Rease Kirchner
Denver is the perfect city for a weekend getaway or road trip almost any time of year. The Mile High City draws thousands of visitors each year for its proximity to mountains, cultural offerings, and, of course, nightlife. Twentysomethings traveling to Denver will find an endless array of entertainment options, from food to clubs to the out of the ordinary.
Denver: Out of the Ordinary
Strange Brewing Company
This brewery is Denver’s smallest and newest, but it is definitely worth checking out. Their schedule is always jam packed with events such as microbrew festivals, pairings of food and beers, talks with local brewers, live music and more. Currently they have 8 exclusive microbrews for all those beer connoisseurs out there. They also have special hours for every Denver Broncos home game so, if you are in town for a game this is a great place to watch while you enjoy some original brews.
Strange Brewing Company is located at 1330 Zuni, Unit M, Denver, Colorado 80204
Kitchen Table Cooking School
This cooking school has Singles and Couples Cooking Classes and Cooking Parties. In a giant, Tuscan-styled, warm family kitchen and tasting room, young locals and visitors work hands-on at industrial stoves with take-away foods, recipes and skills. They offer practical classes such as College dorm cooking skills, cooking on a budget, and cooking and freezing basics. At the end of each class you can share your meal and even order some drinks. This is a great way to stir up your routine with something new and delicious.
Kitchen Table Cooking School is located in The Landmark Shops in Greenwood Village, CO 80111 (just outside of Denver)
Denver: Tips from locals
I recently discovered the best late-night spot in Denver, hands down. It’s not a bar or a club. It’s The Shoppe, and it’s serving cupcakes and cereal until 2am on Friday and Saturday. I know I can’t be the only one who craves sweets late at night, especially after getting back from the bar. Late-night baking can sound like a great idea at the time, but I’ve spent too many Sunday mornings cleaning up after the mess. And let’s be honest, the cupcakes are never as good the next day. From chocolate chip pumpkin to samoa (yes… as in the Girl Scout Cookie) you can’t go wrong at The Shoppe.
Live too far away to walk? Don’t waste your money on cab fare: take advantage of the Denver B-Cycle program and check out a community bike. If it takes you less than 30 minutes it’s free! Up to an hour is only $1.10. You can even sign up for an annual pass which is discounted for students. Denver has the largest bike-sharing program in the country with 400 available bikes at over 30 stations, and that’s just in the downtown area. So really there’s never a reason not to have a cupcake.
Abby Hendren is a 24 year old who works in television and has a crazy puppy named Kubrick. She moved to Denver a year ago but still doesn’t know how to ski.
For the twenty something runner, Denver offers an array of running clubs throughout the week. Many well-known restaurants and bars host running clubs for their favorite running patrons and most offer a delicious free meal and discounts on adult tasty beverages. The Irish Snug, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, and The Gin Mill, are just several businesses that offer such running clubs. Running Clubs not only promote a healthy life style but they bring people together who share similar interests: running, socializing, and of course enjoying a tasty adult beverage every now and again.
The Irish Snug is located at 1201 East Colfax Avenue Denver, Colorado 80218
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos have multiple locations, check their website for a list.
The Gin Mill is located at 2041 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80205
The Denver Derby Party is hosted at the beautiful Denver Botanical Gardens the first Saturday in May on the same day as the Kentucky Derby. This event is surely not to be missed as tickets for this event sell out in two hours or less. Seersucker suits, big hats, fancy dresses, and mint juleps galore. Need I say more? Local bands provide musical entertainment and local restaurants and bars provide yummy food and drinks. This event is put on by an organization called the Sean Ranch Lough Memorial Scholarship and all proceeds from ticket sales go towards funding a four (4) year full ride college scholarship to a deserving young person with the goal and dream of attending college who would not otherwise have an opportunity to do so.
The Denver Botanical Gardens are located at 1007 York Street Denver, CO 80206
Brew at the Zoo is a ridiculously fun event hosted at the Denver Zoo. What is more fun than sampling tons of beer and food from Colorado’s best local breweries and restaurants? Doing it all while hanging out with monkeys, zebras, and giraffes of course!
The Denver Zoo is located at 2300 Steele Street, Denver, CO 80205
The Great American Beer Fest is America’s largest sampling of beer and breweries from across the nation hosted in Denver. There are literally hundreds of breweries that attend offering thousands of beers to sample. This event sales out every year and is held at Denver’s Convention Center, the home of the Big Blue Bear.
The Denver Convention Center is located at 700 14th St Denver, Colorado 80202
Girls night out? Check out Corridor 44 champagne bar located off of Larimer Square in Downtown Denver. Corridor 44 is cute and trendy place to sip bubbly and chat with your girlfriends.
Corridor 44 is located at 1433 Larimer Square Denver, CO 80202
Both the First Friday Art Walk and Denver’s Art Chalk Festival feature Denver’s talented artists in a unique way. Every first Friday of the month in Denver’s art district on Santa Fe Blvd., galleries open their doors to the public to show incredible artwork, paintings, and sculptures created by none other than local Denverites.
Denver’s Art Chalk Festival is a one of a kind event. This free event features both local and national artists and their talent. Artists take their artwork to the next level and create breathtaking images on the sidewalks of Denver.
Cortney Logan is a 26 year old paralegal. She is a Colorado native and has lived in Denver for 3 years.
Eating great food out should not always involve button-up shirts and wrinkly khakis. I’m as guilty as anyone of splurging on a nice night out, but when it comes to the simple foods I crave, it is hard to beat the plethora of hole in the wall joints in Denver that crank out reliably delicious bites.
If you were to map out a list of my favorite cheap eats in Denver, they’d likely all line up on Federal Boulevard. Running South-North, west of I-25, this long street offers an overwhelming variety of locally-owned Vietnamese and Mexican options. The only real issue is that they all have remarkably similar names and storefronts. For Vietnamese, the go to is Pho 95. Pho is a heavy soup with red meat (sometimes organs if you’re feeling adventurous) cooked in a savory broth with rice noodles, fresh basil, jalapenos, limes, plum sauce and hot sauce. Their Medium Bowl (a large anywhere else) runs around five bucks. The real joy might be watching the regulars down the bathtub-sized Large Bowl.
Pho95 is located at 1002 South Federal Boulevard
The taco shops on Federal will make you never want to waste money at a Taco Bell again. They’re all great, but the best is Tacos y Salsas. A local Denver chain, the best location is right up the street from Pho 95. Now the tacos are fine, but the stars are the two buck and change Gorditas. These little pillows of masa filled with the meat of your choice (go for the spicy al pastor or the melt-in-your-mouth carnitas) and cheese are phenomenal. Take them over to the freshly-stocked salsa bar and pretend to know what you are doing by picking only the green salsas.
Tacos y Salsas has several locations, Jack’s favorite is located at 910 S Federal Blvd
When you get burnt out on exotic offerings from Federal’s strip of wonders, you can always return to Colfax St. for the All-Amurican treats of Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs. Each hot dog, a blend of pork and beef shipped in from New Jersey, snaps when you bite into it and runs at 3 bucks and change. Their menu offers a sampling of dog styles from around the country. My favorite is the Memphis Dog, slathered with a sweet BBQ and generous helping of bacon. As with most cheap eats, these aren’t exactly healthy so skip the onion rings and fries as a side and go straight for the Fried (without batter) Green Beans. You body will thank you.
Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs is located at 3525 E Colfax Avenue
Jack Czarniecki is a 23 year old who has lived in Denver for about a year and spends his days planning meals and and ordering his Netflix queue.
My wife, Carrie, and I love to visit the Blue Sky Grill at the Pepsi Center for a Fat Tire about 45 minutes before the game, because you can carry your drink with you from there (it’s $1/drink less) directly into a Mammoth (lacrosse) game, a Crush indoor football game, an Avalanche hockey game, or a Nuggets basketball game (so long as you already have your ticket). In the summer there is always the opportunity to catch the Rockies at Coors Field for a baseball game, and in the fall at Mile High Stadium, you can check out the Broncos.
Blue Sky Grill is located at 1000 Chopper Circle Denver, CO 80204
Tommy’s Thai has a metro/trendy feel without being pretentious (and the lunch prices are extraordinary especially considering the deliciousness of the food).
Tommy’s Thai is located at 3410 E Colfax Ave Denver, CO 80206
Jerusalem Restaurant caters to all – everything from lunchtime business crowd in suits and ties to the grungy college kid with munchies, and even though the building itself is nothing spectacular, it is able to cater to all.
Jerusalem Restaurant is located at 1890 East Evans Avenue Denver, Colorado 80210
Ethiopian Restaurant is somewhat expensive, and the atmosphere is simple, but nice. You’ll need to have 4 people to try their coffee (or else be willing to sit there all day and drink coffee), but you should – my sister-in-law once had four little cups of coffee because it was so good. She was wired for hours!
Ethiopian Restaurant is located at 2816 E Colfax Ave.
Impulse Theater – We went here for my 28th birthday. One of the lines was so funny (and repeated so many times) that Carrie and I use it to this day to get laughs from each other in difficult or trying situations. Impulse Theater is a place that is filled with great memories and lots of laughs.
Impulse Theater is located at 1634 18th St Denver, CO 80202
Jonathan Kraft is an Internet Marketer who has lived in Colorado most of his life. Despite traveling to many of the world’s largest and most well-known cities, he always comes back to Denver because it’s such a great place to be. He likes skiing, travel, languages, diving, and spending time with his wife Carrie. Find out more about their world travels (and get more advice for things to do in Denver) at http://www.CarrieAndJonathan.com
As a late-twentysomething living in Denver, we have a great time checking out all the brewpubs and beer-centric spots in downtown. Denver is called the Napa Valley of beer–and theres plenty of destinations that back that up. Starting with the Wynkoop Brewery, which is Colorado’s first brewpub, you can play billiards upstairs, attend a beer tasting in the bar or see an improv show in the basement–all the while drinking locally crafted beer!
Wynkoop Brewery is located at 1634 18th Street
Our second stop is the Great Divide Tap Room. Its a small joint with a patio and no food, but the innovative brews are worth the trip alone. And often, a food truck takes up shop on the curb right outside. It also hosts a monthly cheese pairing tasting, “Hop Disciples” gathering of homebrewers and live music on Friday nights.
The Great Divide Tap Room is located at 2201 Arapahoe Street
We often end the night at LoDos Falling Rock Tap House. With over 200 beers available an more than 60 on tap, its a haven for beer lovers. Whats cool is that all the taps are craft beer or micro brews–you wont see Miller, Budweiser or even an international label up there. Its also a hot spot to mingle with brewers, especially during the Great American Beer Festival every September.
LoDos Falling Rock Tap House is located at 1919 Blake Street.
Micki Sievwright is a 28-year-old writer and PR pro who has lived in Denver for three years, and as a result, caught the craftbeer bug. She writes for the Ladies of Craft Beer, records her latest dining escapades at Gourmet Glee and tweets @GourmetGlee.
Platte street has the cutest boutiques and restaurants. I have to limit how often I frequent Protos, the best pizza place in Denver as well as Common Era, which is filled with eclectic, colorful clothes that add up to one amazing outfit (complete with accessories and shoes!) Basically everything on this block is a 20 year olds dream – at Paris on the Platte you can drink italian sodas all night because it is one of the few restaurants actually open late, at Emage you can get your snow boarding fix, and at Zen Dog you can parade your pet around the store allowing him to choose a new adorable collar.
Protos Pizza is located at 2401 15th Street
Common Era is located at 1543 Platte Street
Paris on the Platte is located at 1553 Platte Street #102
Emage is located at 1620 Platte St # A
Zen Dog is located at 2401 15th Street #180
Ever heard of RockBar? Yes, it is located in a seedy looking motel on Colfax, but it may be the most fun had in Denver. The DJ spins 80s, 90s and the top 40 making this dark, carpeted venue the best place to dance.
RockBar is located at 3015 East Colfax Avenue
For those under 21, D Bar dessert ( a little pricey but so worth it) is the best place to sit on the patio and eat delicious creations from the famous food network chef. Why waste your calories on alcohol when you can waste them on cupcakes. And to make this an even sweeter deal, the restaurant is open late! Finally, another place to hang out after 10:00pm!
DBar Dessert is located at 1475 East 17th AvenueRachael Greenberg is a 23 year old currently practicing public relations and has lived in Denver for 2 years.