twenty-four hours in denver is my fave

October 17, 2012

print of denver
I’ve been meaning to do a post of Denver suggestions for a while since the question of what to do in the sunny city is often posed in my inbox. It usually comes from people who have limited time here for work since people don’t seem to come here on their own free will. Why so? It’s sunny, clean, accessible and I live here. Do I need to give more reasons than that? So if you have twenty-four hours in Denver, here’s what I would suggest you do:

– As far as a place to stay, I suggest finding a vacation rental through Enrout (it’s a whole lot easier than searching a bunch of sites) so you can feel like you lived like a local for the day. I think it would fun to stay in a little cottage over your typical motel. Cross your fingers for mints on the pillow.
– After a restful night, start the day with a heaping plate of cornflake french toast (or chicken and waffles if you’re lucky enough to go on a Thursday) at Jelly.
– Then burn off the calories by grabbing a ride from the public biking system, Bcycle. You can pedal around the capital area and end up at The Denver Art Museum for some high-brow fun.
– Afterwards, head south to hit up The Hornet or Karma (the branding isn’t pretty but the bento box lunches are fresh and delightful) for lunch. Since you’re close anyway, a trip to Fancy Tiger, Ironwood, and Sputnik (solely for the photobooth) is a must.
– For proof that hip people live outside of Brooklyn, head to Highlands Square. Munch on a whoopie pie from Happy Cakes while you browse the goods (I mean this in every sense of the word) at shops like The Perfect Petal and Word Shop.
– Depending on your food mood, head southeast for dinner at Linger, Steubens or Pinche Tacos.
– After fully stuffing yourself, hunker down with a read at Tattered Cover (or just go for the smell of books).
– Then, top your stomach off with a cake and shake at D Bar Desserts.

Hooray for Denver!

Denver skyline illustration from January Jones Prints


  • On October 17, 2012 , Janssen said:

    Okay, you’ve sold me!

  • On October 17, 2012 , aubry. said:

    denver is such a great city… i’ve been there a few times before – and even had my fair share of happy cakes – but i just forwarded this post onto my best weekend getaway friend and told her we are DOING THIS TRIP next time we find cheap airfare. this is gold, dear melanie!

  • On October 17, 2012 , Yelle said:

    Sounds like the perfect day! I absolutely want to visit now! Seems like the are so many likable spots!

  • On October 17, 2012 , sarah said:

    i miss denver so very much.

  • On October 17, 2012 , Micha Davis said:

    I love Denver – it’s basically home. The Art Museum is fantastic!

  • On October 17, 2012 , Kate said:

    Thanks for The Hornet mention! We love you back!

  • On October 17, 2012 , » A PLACE HOLDER A DENVER HOME COMPANION said:

    […] over at you are my fave, gives her suggestions for 24 hours in denver. i think she’s got a pretty good list going […]

  • On October 17, 2012 , Jana Miller said:

    Perfect timing-headed to Denver for thanksgiving!

  • On October 17, 2012 , LH said:

    Yay! Denver! I love Steuben’s too. A trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete for me without eating breakfast at Snooze, browsing the Tattered Cover (16th street or Colfax) and walking around Wash Park!

    Also so many good burger joints, do you have a favorite? Cherry Cricket…Park Burger…?

  • On October 17, 2012 , Corrie Anne said:

    Love living in Denver! Love the b cycles & tattered cover. Linger is above my gym so I always overhear people talking about how cool it is is. Haha.

  • On October 17, 2012 , MEL said:

    Woohoo! More great advice on fun things in Denver! 🙂

    Wana see more of Melanie’s faves in Denver?

  • On October 17, 2012 , Katie said:

    Good roundup!

    I’d have lunch at El Diablo and dinner at Highland Tap and Burger…my favorite burger in town.

    I’d also swing through Decades on Broadway if I’m going to Fancy Tiger.

  • On October 17, 2012 , Katie said:

    Oh, and I’d skip D Bar and get a cone from Little Man for sure!

  • On October 17, 2012 , Katie S said:

    Where’s Casa Bonita? 🙂 jokes..

  • On October 17, 2012 , Courtney K said:

    Oh Denver. Love my new hometown (added bonus that you live here too!) And I have to second the Highlands. It is such an awesome neighborhood (though I may be a little biased haha.) If you’re around for breakfast definitely check out the Wooden Spoon or Rise and Shine biscuits. If you’re downtown (and it’s before 3p) I have to throw in Red Star Deli for amazing sandwiches and then maybe a quick drive out to Red Rocks if you’re curious what all of the fuss is about (it lives up to the hype plus some.)

  • On October 17, 2012 , sarah said:

    i’ve always wanted to go to denver, why is it that sometimes the nearest cities never get visited. you’ve inspired me to book a trip, after the bar that is!

  • On October 18, 2012 , Joy | Frock Files said:

    When I was living in Portland and James was in Boston, we took a “meet in the middle” trip to Denver. I’m delighted to see two spots we visited on this list: Jelly (we were SO full) and D Bar. We had a fantastic time! Next time we’ll have to take your advice on finding a cottage instead. This is the same tip I give people who are going to stay in Hawaii, where I’m originally from.

  • On October 18, 2012 , Alie said:

    Yay! I loved reading this and actually knowing all of the places that you mentioned! Great recommendations, Melanie!

  • On October 18, 2012 , Emily said:

    Being from the Denver area myself, I can attest to Melanie’s choices! All spectacular! I’ve yet to try Jelly, being a fan of Snooze (AMAZING), but I’ve heard it’s wonderful and it’s on my list! Happy Cakes is amazing if you’re in Highlands looking for a cupcake. I’d HIGHLY recommend Church of Cupcakes (previously Lovely Confections) if you’re down on Colfax though. After a self-guided cupcake tour around the city my friends and I hands down voted this place winner of ‘Best Cupcake’ with their Bee-titude flavor!

  • On October 18, 2012 , Emily said:

    Oh! Don’t forget a trip to the I <3 Denver store down on the 16th Street Mall! Local artists HEAVEN!

  • On October 20, 2012 , Jelly Cafe + Vacation Kickoff | Corrie Anne said:

    […] since I saw Melanie’s post on things to do in Denver, I’ve been wanting to check out the Jelly Cafe. Other than a quick […]

  • On October 20, 2012 , Karen said:

    The fact that there is a place called Pinche Tacos just brightened a previously dreary day.

  • On October 20, 2012 , Brittany said:

    I’m new to Denver and I’m dying to do this! Perfect way to get acquainted with my new city and I sure love feeling like I’m on a vacation without having to pack my bags.

  • On October 22, 2012 , kirsten said:

    i’m full just reading this post, which is exactly how i like to feel like a local in a city, eating every second of the day.

  • On October 22, 2012 , mer said:

    so great Melanie! being a Ft. Collins native I often find myself in Denver but do not know it well enough to really sink my teeth into it. thanks!!

  • On October 23, 2012 , Jackie said:

    You picked some amazing places!!! I’ve lived here for 4 years, and got some new ideas…like Jelly and visiting Word Shop. D Bar, Pinche Tacos and Happy Cakes are the best!

  • On November 10, 2012 , Jennifer said:

    You made me miss the city where I went to grad school so much! I lived close to Fancy Tiger, Beatrice & Woodsley, Bardo, etc. Miss them all!
    I would just add doing some slackline in Washington Park!

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