Long winter weekend in Denver
November 21, 2019 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in Denver, late December, for a four day mini vacation. I'm up for ice and snow related activities, good food and drinks. I'm probably staying in the city center area and won't have a car, but could rent one if needed. Thank you for any suggestions you have.
posted by jennstra to Travel & Transportation around Denver, CO (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This may be a surprise to you (it was to me when I moved there) but snow is not guaranteed in Denver around that time. 60 degree days are not uncommon. If you really want snowy fun times, you'll have to head into the mountains a bit. If you rent a car (get a 4 wheel drive), I recommend Steamboat Springs -- they have the amazing Strawberry Hot Spring (lithium, not sulfur) and plenty of wintertime activities. You can of course go to Breckenridge or Vail, but I find Steamboat charming and lovely in ways that more well known ski towns just...aren't. If that's too far of a venture (it's 3 hours from the city) go to Estes Park. Very, very worth it.

As for restaurants, Rioja (modern italian) and Carmine's on Penn (traditional family-style italian, get the eggplant rollotini and pear salad...omg) are some of my favorites. Don't miss Double Daughters bar, where you can also order amazing pizza from next door. Steuben's has amazing Boston-style lobster rolls and smoked chicken pot pie. Sushi Ronin is a great place for omakase, and Safta is my go-to for Mediterranean.

The Truffle Cheese Shop has some of the most amazing cheeses from around the world, and they will let you taste everything and explain in detail how each cheese was made. Like, one time, they had a parmesan that was made from the milk of cows who were fed on orange blossoms. Seriously.

I don't live in Denver any more, but my spoiled SF Bay Area dining expectations rarely go unmet when I visit. Seriously, this city is an unsung mecca of amazing food.
posted by ananci at 2:17 PM on November 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

I had blissful food and cocktail experiences earlier this year at Death & Co and Green Russell.
posted by merriment at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Go see Improvised Shakespeare. It's super funny.
posted by bleep at 3:19 PM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Don't know if they'll be open by the end of December, but Evergreen has a wonderful outdoor skating rink. You can check their website when you arrive. 1 1/2 hours by bus or an hour by car. There's also a rink in Denver proper, at 16th and Arapahoe, but it's tiny and generally unpleasant (but cheap).

If you like holiday lights, Blossoms of Light at the Botanic Gardens (York Street location) is cute, especially if it has snowed. They'll sell out, so best to get your tickets in advance.

For cocktails, I like Williams & Graham--I recommend making a reservation. Work & Class has great family-style food, and I love the pastries at Tokyo Premium Bakery.
posted by sugarbomb at 4:41 PM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you feel like interacting with other weirdos from the internet during your stay, we should have a Meetup!

Steamboat Springs is great but remote. If you like hot springs, though, it's definitely worth the trip, and the drive is scenic as all get out.

My favorite place for omakase sushi is Bamboo Sushi, but it's pricey. If you want delicious sushi at a slightly more reasonable price point try Taki Sushi. Or if you don't want to spend your vacation thousands of miles from the ocean eating raw fish, try the classic, totally over-the-top steakhouse Buckhorn Exchange, which in addition to your standard cow also has more exotic meats such as rattlesnake, elk, etc. Or if you don't like eating animals at all, try Watercourse Foods. If you like old-timey cocktails in a suitably vintage setting, visit The Cruise Room.
posted by zeusianfog at 5:02 PM on November 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Denver- Boulder bus Eldora ski resort is a fun, mostly Boulder locals .
posted by hortense at 12:03 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for your suggestions! I'd better bring stretch pants for this trip, sounds like Denver has lots of great drinking and dining spots.
posted by jennstra at 12:44 PM on November 22, 2019

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