A GUide to Denver

FOOD SCENE

Barcelona – RiNo Art District

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

https://www.barcelonawinebar.com/location/denver/

Description:  A superb wine and tapas bar in the hip RiNo Art District, Barcelona offers an award-winning selection of wines from Spain and South America.

Bistro Vendome – Larimer Square/LoDo

[Dinner] $$-$$$

http://www.bistrovendome.com

Description: Classic French bistro fare in a charming neighborhood setting.  The outside patio (opened seasonally) is a wonderful place to sip on a craft cocktail or glass of wine and just enjoy the scenery.

Cart Driver – RiNo Art District

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

www.cart-driver.com

Description: Simple and small, wood oven pizza and oysters.

Favorites: Extensive oyster selection, very fresh!


Cerveceria/Denver Beer Co. – Platte Street/LoHi

[Lunch and Dinner] $

https://www.cerveceriacolorado.com & http://denverbeerco.com

Description: Two local breweries with fantastic beer and fun patio areas.  A rotating food truck is always nearby, so come enjoy a brew and try whatever local fare is being served that day.  Not digging what the food truck is serving that day?  No problem.  Head across the street to Maria Empanada’s or Brider for some food-to-go.

Citizen Rail – LoDo

[Lunch and Dinner] $$$

https://www.citizenrail.com

Description: New-American fare that features locally-sourced ingredients and meats that are butchered and dry-aged in the restaurant’s very own Dry-Age room.

City ‘o City – Capitol Hill

[Breakfast and Dinner] $$

www.cityocitydenver.com

Description: Hip style, simple, music, fun environment, ***vegan/vegetarian.

Favorites: Great happy hour, El Jefe vegetarian burger is yummy, homemade ketchup

Local’s Favorite: City ‘O City and Watercourse are generally considered to be the two favorite vegetarian restaurants in Denver.  

Cholon – LoDo

[Lunch and Dinner] $$$

https://www.cholon.com/denver/

Description: Modern Asian cuisine at its best!  ChoLon’s upbeat service, sexy ambience, and innovative cuisine has led the restaurant to be ranked in the top ten of 5280’s “25 Best Restaurants” list every year since it opened.

Colt & Grey – Platte Street/LoHi

[Lunch and Dinner] $$$

https://www.coltandgray.com

Description: Coloradans love their farm-to-table style gastropubs and this Western-themed, New American restaurant does not disappoint.  Many of your meals ingredients are typically sourced in-house or from local vendors, so the menu changes with the seasons.  The bar is beautiful and the bartenders (ask for Dwight) make an incredible cocktail.  Not happy upstairs?  Check out the sexy cocktail lounge downstairs, St. Ellie’s.


Cuba Cuba – Golden Triangle

[Dinner] $$$

www.cubacubacafe.com

Description: Cuban style restaurant with a menu that also includes some other foods from South America, Spain, and other Central American regions. 

Denver Central Market – RiNo Art District

[Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

http://denvercentralmarket.com

Description:  The Denver Central Market is a gourmet marketplace and food hall that hosts 11 local vendors.  You can shop, eat and drink in the dining hall daily, from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Denver Milk Market – LoDo/Ballpark

[Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://www.denvermilkmarket.com

Description: Denver Milk Market is an all-local, all-wonderful mix of take-away and dine-in restaurants and bars run by Colorado chef Frank Bonanno. With 16 venues to choose from all contained under one-roof on the Denver’s historic Dairy Block, Denver Milk Market has a little something for everyone.

Denver Union Station – LoDo

[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner] $-$$$

https://unionstationindenver.com

Description: The recently remodeled train station hosts several shops, restaurants, bars and The Crawford Hotel.  Enjoy your morning coffee at the ever popular breakfast spot, Snooze Eatery or perhaps have a swanky cocktail up in Cooper Lounge.  At Union Station, you are in the middle of the city area buzz, so people watching can be a common pastime of those who frequent here.  Places to dine in Union Station: Ultreia, Stoic & Genuine, Mercantile, Snooze, Terminal Bar, Cooper Lounge or Next Door.  Don’t forget, there are many other restaurant options surrounding Union Station, so if nothing in the station proper speaks to you, you should be able to find something else right around the corner.  Or, just head to the Union Station Whole Foods for your hotel room staples and familiar food bar item(s).

El Five – Highlands/LoHi

[Dinner] $$$

https://www.elfivedenver.com

Description: Tapas and sunsets is what El Five offers its dining guests.  This sexy, open-air restaurant strives to be the “melting pot of all of the Mediterranean regions” and offers customers a selection of food such as Lebanese garlic dip, patatas bravas and paella.  Best views of the city and delightful outdoor patio.

Finn’s Manor – RiNo Art District

[Late Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://www.finnsmanor.co

Description:  Finn’s Manor is a cocktail bar with a quirky atmosphere and a food truck pod located in the heart of the RiNo district, featuring 16 rotating taps and over 800 spirits.  This peculiar gin joint hosts live music and events. 

Illegal Pete’s – LoDo

[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://www.illegalpetes.com/location/illegal-petes-denver-lower-downtown/

Description: A fast-casual style restaurant, Illegal Pete’s serves up some tasty, Mexican-inspired dishes.  If you’re in the mood for burritos, tacos or taco bowls on-the-go, check out Illegal Pete’s.

Il Posto – RiNo Art District

[Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://www.ilpostodenver.com

Description: Il Posto is a delightful Italian restaurant.  Their new space in the very trendy RiNo area is chic and the food represents the best of what Italian food has to offer – sophisticated, simple and creative dishes.

Le Roux – LoDo

[Lunch and Dinner] $$-$$$

https://www.lerouxdenver.com

Description: European restaurant with French flare.  Another well-done concept from the chef and owner of Cholon. 

Linger – Highlands/LoHi

[Lunch and Dinner] $$-$$$

http://www.lingerdenver.com

Description:  El Five’s older sister (and Root Down’s younger sister), Linger, opened in Denver’s popular Highland neighborhood back in 2011 and made in immediate splash.  The menu is one-of-a-kind and offers tempting morsels from Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East.  Once the site of Denver’s historic Olinger Mortuary, Linger has a funky, slightly macabre decor made complete with a Lite-Bright bar and subtle allusions to its grave history. The body of Buffalo Bill spent 6 months at Linger back in the early 1900s. 

Masterpiece Deli – Highlands/LoHi

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

https://masterpiecedeli.com

Description: Looking for a scrumptious breakfast or deli sandwich?  Look no further.  This Highlands delicatessen prides itself on using high quality ingredients and treating customers with gourmet sandwiches and sides.  The sandwich prices are on the higher side, but returning customers think the food is worth it.

My Brother’s Bar – Platte Street/Highlands Platte River Valley

[Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://www.mybrothersbar.com

Description: Come on all of you literary types and history buffs – this old-school bar and grill (think burgers) is on the map thanks to Jack Kerouac’s famous novel, On The Road.  One of the oldest bars in Denver, the “King of the Beat Generation” was known to frequent this establishment during his time in Denver. My Brother’s Bar is the oldest continually operating saloon in Denver’s historical wild west days of yesteryear.  It started in 1873 and was then sold to Schlitz Brewing company who owned and operated the bar for 40 years. Today, the historical restaurant is owned by the son of the head waitress who has been there for more than 30 years, who swooped in and saved My Brother’s Bar from developers and gentrification. 

Postino’s Wine Bar – Highlands/Lohi

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

https://www.postinowinecafe.com/p/lohi.html

Description: In the mood for a little vino and bruschetta?  Postino’s is the perfect spot for you.  With its lively atmosphere, outside patio and focus on “approachable wines” (aka – tasty, but less expensive), Postino’s is a hit with anyone living near the Lower Highlands neighborhood.  Postino’s has a killer Happy Hour and the restaurant can get very busy, so be prepared.  And, if you’re not in the mood for what Postino’s has to offer, you are right next door to the wine bar’s sister restaurants, Bamboo Sushi and Recess Beer Garden, which are both also very fun to check out.

Proto’s Pizza – Platte Street/Highlands Platte River Valley

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

https://protospizza.com/locations/protos-denver/

Description: A great place to get a thin-crust, Neapolitan style pizza, a simple side salad and a glass of vino.  Delicious!

Ristorante Lo Stella – Golden Triangle District

[Dinner] $$

www.ristorantelostella.com

Description: Family owned old world Italian dining.

Favorites: All the pasta is homemade and everything is excellent.

We believe this is the best Italian restaurant in Denver. This is their second location ~ The first location is in Italy!  

Root Down – Highlands Neighborhood

[Brunch and Dinner] $$$

www.rootdowndenver.com

Description: Upscale atmosphere with a health conscious menu, good for vegan/vegetarian options.  An excellent restaurant, small plate style.  Very busy but very good.

Sushi Sasa – Platte Street/Highlands Platte River Valley

[Lunch and Dinner] $$$

http://www.sushisasa.com

Description: One of the top sushi restaurants in town.  Minimalist décor offering high quality seafood and creative Japanese cuisine.  

Tamayo – Larimer Square

[Brunch and Dinner] $$$

www.eattamayo.com

Description: A revolutionary approach to Mexican food.

Favorites: Guacamole made at your table with a margarita is something to consider before jumping into very creative, upscale tacos and enchiladas.

Tavernetta – Union Station

[Lunch and Dinner] $$$

https://www.tavernettadenver.com

Description: Upscale Italian right next door to Denver’s Union Station.  Managed and overseen by a James Beard Award winning team, the food at Tavernetta is delicious, but the price point is high.

Ultreia – Union Station

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

http://www.ultreiadenver.com/#about

Description: Tapas (small plates) in the historic Union Station.  Fantastic food and a great ambience.

Work and Class – Five Points

[Dinner] $$

www.workandclassdenver.com

Description: Eclectic, crowded, can be loud. It’s an intimate space, where people are sitting in close quarters. This restaurant serves meats and sides a la carte.

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH


Denver Biscuit Company – South Broadway, East Colfax, Tennyson Neighborhoods (3 locations)

https://denbisco.com

Description: Specialty biscuit breakfast dishes, which are unique and flavorful.

Rosenberg’s Bagels & Deli – Five Points

https://rosenbergsbagels.com

Description: The bagels here are legit.  The owner, who grew up outside of New York City, figured out a way to engineer and replicate the New York City water that makes New York bagels one-of-a-kind.

Snooze- An A.M. Eatery – LoDo (Union Station)/Ballpark

https://snoozeeatery.com

Description: The food here is made with fresh ingredients 

Sassafras – Highlands

www.sassafrasamericaneatery.com

Description: Southern Breakfast – home-cookin’ done right. Try the fried green tomato benedict.

Stowaway – RiNo/Five Points

www.stowawaydenver.com

Description: Australian owned, open, minimalist, cafe, with a full menu of breakfast and lunch options.

The Universal – Highlands

www.theuniversaldenver.com

Descriptions: One of the best brunch spots in Denver, hip, minimalist, and simple decor, with a menu of contemporary American food, cajun influences.

VEGAN/VEG-FRIENDLY

(May have GF options, are NOT Celiac safe) 

Axum Ethiopian – Park Hill/East Colfax, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

Each guest orders from a selection of spicy lamb, beef, shrimp, chicken or veggies, and it comes on a platter lined with a spongy flatbread called  

Fire on the Mountain – Highlands, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

Vegan wings

Mad Greens – Downtown, Denver, and other several locations

[Lunch] $$

Salad restaurant

Okinawa Sushi – Capitol Hill/East Colfax and Tennyson, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner]

Extensive selection of sushi, offering vegan/vegetarian friendly options

P.S. 303 – LoDo

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

https://www.psontap.com/locations/ps303/

Description: A gastropub with a delicious selection of fresh menu items including: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower, Crispy Naked Wings & the PB&J Burger.  Great place for lunch or Happy Hour.

Vital Root – Tennyson Neighborhood, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $$$

Vegan

Watercourse Foods – Uptown, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

Vegan - When vegetarian and or vegan food is the order of the day, Watercourse is where we take our guests.  

RESTAURANTS WITH GLUTEN FREE AND CELIAC SAFE ITEMS

Adelita’s  – South Broadway, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner]

Mexican food, delicious margaritas, ask for gluten free options 

Empanada Express Grill – Highlands, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner]

Authentic Venezuelan cuisine, gluten free options 

Ernie’s Bar & Grill – Sunnyside, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

Pizza, contemporary America, ask for GF options 

Federal Bar and Grill – Jefferson Park, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

Owned by a Celiac – they have a separate fryer and everything can be made gluten free, they also have gluten free beer options

 

Motomaki – Boulder

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

Sushi restaurant

Taste of Thailand – South Broadway, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner]

Using fresh and often home-grown ingredients, this place is the real deal.


Tarasco’s – Southwest, Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $

Traditional and authentic Mexican food, there is a vegetarian section in the menu

Vesta Dipping Grill – Lower Downtown (LoDo), Denver

[Dinner] $$$

Specializing in grilling over an open fire, ask for GF options

COFFEE

Amethyst – Capitol Hill

https://www.amethystcoffee.co

Carbon + Habit Doughnut Dispensary – Platte Street/LoHi

https://www.carbondenver.com

Crema – RiNo 

http://cremacoffeehouse.net  https://www.carbondenver.com

Little Owl – LoDO

https://www.littleowlcoffee.com

Metropolis – Baker, Golden Triangle, and Highlands (3 locations)

http://www.metropolisdenver.com

Portside – RiNo/Five Points

http://www.portsidedenver.com


DRINKS – COCKTAILS AND BEER 

Avanti Food & Beverage – Highlands/LoHi

[Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://avantifandb.com

Description: A collection of food truck venders under one roof that also offers a great selection of cocktails, wines and local beers.  Fun rooftop area with great views of the city.

Death & Co – RiNo Art District

[Lunch and Dinner] $$$

https://www.deathandcompany.com/location/death-and-company-denver/

Description: Designer cocktails and delicious snacks are abundant at Death & Co, an elegant cocktail lounge located in the stylish Ramble Hotel.  If you come during the day, see if you can grab a seat at the daytime café, The Garden.

Denver Beer Co – Lower Highlands (LoHi), Denver

[Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

http://denverbeerco.com

Description:  Fun, hip and near the Platte river.  This local brewery has a big outdoor area, food trucks 

54thirty Rooftop – LoDo

[Lunch and Dinner] $$

5430 Rooftop

Description: Denver’s highest, open-air, seasonal rooftop is located on the top of Le Meridien hotel just a few clocks away from the ever popular Larimer Square.

Noble Riot Wine Bar– RiNo Art District

[Late Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://nobleriot.com

Description:  Fun, little wine bar tucked away down the RiNo Art Alley.  This little place really knows what its doing.

10 Barrel Brewing Co. – RiNo Art District

[Lunch and Dinner] $-$$

https://10barrel.com/pub/denver-brewery/

Description: 24 beers on tap, made-from-scratch pub grub and a fun rooftop patio.  ‘Nuff said.

Williams and Graham – Highlands, Denver

[speak easy style, unique/unforgettable cocktails]

You will think you walked into a speak-easy from the days of Prohibition. So you will need to check with the restaurant directly.

ICE CREAM

Lik’s – Capitol Hill

Little Man Ice Cream – Highlands

Sweet Action – South Broadway

Sweet Cow – Platt Park


NIGHTLIFE

Boyz Town – South Broadway, Denver

[gay bar with strippers, small outdoor area] $

Charlie’s – Capitol Hill, Denver

[cowboy style gay bar, outdoor area, pool table, 2 separate dance floors] $$

Clocktower Cabaret – Downtown / 16th Street Mall Neighborhood, Denver

[burlesque shows, cocktails, small plates, fun and entertaining, historic building] $$

www.clocktowercabaret.com

Milk – Golden Triangle, Denver

[straight dance club, true underground, multiple rooms, styled after cult classic clockwork orange, walk around the facility to check out the different styles] $$

www.milkbardenver.com

Ophelia’s – Downtown, Denver

[food/drinks during the day, looks like a concert venue, offers life shows/performances, straight dance club, hosting a variety of theme parties such as 80s party, dress up, etc] $$$

www.opheliasdenver.com

Scarlet Ranch – Highlands Ranch (about a 30 minute Uber/Lyft ride south of downtown)

Denver (and one of the country’s) premier swinger clubs. The Scarlet Ranch is not like your typical swinger club, it is a lifestyle community club.  For pricing (which depends on the day) go to: www.scarletranch.com

Tracks – Five Points/RiNo Art District, Denver

[biggest gay bar in the Denver area, has 4 dance floors, with a stage on the main dance floor, excellent outdoor area in an alley]

Trade – Lincoln Park / Santa Fe Arts District, Denver

[Leather gay bar in the arts district area] $$

Triangle – Five Points/RiNo Art District, Denver

[one of the newest and hippest gay bars, lounge style] $$

X-Bar – Capitol Hill, Denver

[dance gay bar, large patio out front, second dance floor upstairs opens on Fridays] $$

PARKS / OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN DENVER

16th Street Mall – Downtown, Denver

Description: Enjoy shopping, chain coffee shops and restaurants, as well as some local restaurants, it has a free shuttle that runs through 16th street mall.

Cheesman Park – Capitol Hill / Cheesman Park Neighborhoods, Denver

[Roughly bounded by E. 13th Ave, High St, E 8th Ave, and Franklin St]

Description: Once served as a cemetery in the late 1800s, features a west facing marble acropolis, offers incredible mountain views. Denver Botanic Gardens located adjacent to the park. Has a large open lawn which is ideal for lounging, walking, soaking up the sun, excellent for runners

Cherry Creek – Downtown and Cherry Creek Neighborhoods, Denver

[Creek trail runs through much of the city, along Speer Blvd]

City Park – City Park Neighborhood, Denver

[Bounded by York St, E. 26th Ave, Colorado Blvd, and E. 17th Ave]

Description: Denver Zoo is located in the middle of the park. The Museum of Nature and Science is also located in the park to the East. It has walking trails, lakes, and a golf course. Enjoy Jazz in the Park on Sundays

Denver Botanic Gardens – Cheesman Park/Capitol Hill

https://www.botanicgardens.org/york-street/our-gardens

Truly a gorgeous place to have a cup of coffee or lunch and read a book.  

Larimer Square – Downtown, Denver

[Larimer street, between 14th and 15th]

Description: Part of the first downtown area of Denver, this locale has been restored as a trendy shopping area, restaurants, ice cream, a market]

Sloan’s Lake – Sloans Lake Neighborhood, Denver

[Roughly bounded by Sheridan Blvd, W. Byron Pl, Stuart St and W. 17th Ave]

Description: beautiful park on the west side of the city, gorgeous mountain views to the west and city views to the east of the park. Has a big lake in the middle of the park, located in a residential area in the city, excellent for joggers. Has seating areas, benches, and picnickin area, lots of geez all the time

Washington Park – Wash Park Neighborhood, Denver

[Roughly bounded by Downing St, E. Virginia Ave, S. Franklin St, and E. Louisiana Ave]

Description: urban park surrounded by a blend of modern and historic architecture. There is a large lake in the middle of the park making it perfect for walking around the park on a beautiful sunny day


SHOPPING

16th Street Mall – Downtown/LoDo

Antique Stores – South Broadway, Denver

Cherry Creek Mall – Cheery Creek

Santa Fe Arts District Galleries and Shopping – Lincoln Park / Santa Fe Arts District, Denver

South Pearl Boutiques – Platt Park, Denver


CULTURE

Convention Center – Downtown, Denver

[Check out the Blue Bear looking inside the building]

Denver Art Museum – Golden Triangle, Denver

Denver Botanic Gardens – Cheesman Park / Capitol Hill, Denver

Denver Performing Arts Center – Downtown, Denver

Denver Zoo – City Park, Denver

History Colorado Museum – Capitol Hill, Denver

Nature and Science Museum – City Park, Denver

Santa Fe Art District – Lincoln Park, Denver


HIKING

Bear Creek Lake Park – Lakewood, CO

Swimming, fishing, and camping. 20 miles from central Denver via US-6 and CO-470.

Chautauqua Park – Boulder, CO

Vast network of trails through the dramatic landscape of the Boulder “Flatirons”. Many of these trails are short, but climb steeply and can be strenuous. Highlights include 1st/2nd Flatiron, Royal Arch, Flagstaff Mountain, and Bear Peak. 30 miles from central Denver via US-36.

Chicago Lakes Trail – Idaho Springs, CO

A strenuous 8.7-mile trail beginning at Echo Lake on the side of Mount Evans. The trail descends into the Chicago Creek valley, then enters the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. Idaho Springs Reservoir and Lower Chicago Lake are potential turn-around points, especially if there is some lingering snow at higher elevations in June. 45 miles from central Denver via I-70.

Rocky Mountain National Park – Estes Park, CO

Massive 415-square mile park northwest of Denver featuring dozens of well-maintained trails of varying length and difficulty. Abundant wildlife including elk, big-horned sheep, wild turkey, and the occasional moose. Some attractions are ADA accessible. Some trails may require ice spikes or snowshoes in June. 70 miles from central Denver via US-36.

Roxborough State Park – Littleton, CO

Impressive sandstone formations in the foothills south of Denver. An easy, scenic route offers views of the major attractions; a longer trail climbs Carpenter Peak with a panoramic vista. 25 miles from central Denver via US-85.

South Platte/Cherry Creek Trails – Denver

Both trails run for miles through the heart of the city, meeting at Confluence Park. Ideal for walking and biking.

DAY TRIPS

Boulder, CO

[So much to do in the city of Boulder – Pearl St mall where you can enjoy shopping and street performers while savoring your ice cream. You can visit Chautauqua Park where you might see a family of bears! or maybe just deer… Check out “Southern Sun” or “Mountain Sun” restaurants for delicious burgers and local beer. Another excellent place to try is “Foolish Craig’s” for amazing burgers and also delicious crepe desserts]

30 miles from central Denver via US-36.


Evergreen, CO

[Walk around the lake in the middle of town. There are several little hikes such as “3 Sisters” and others. Lots of festivals in the parks around town during the summer]

30 Miles from central Denver via US-285

Georgetown, CO

[If you want to see big horn sheep, you must drive out about 45 minutes outside Denver to Georgetown. Lots of hiking in and around the small city. Very quaint downtown with a lot of historic houses and buildings from Colorado’s mining days. Enjoy a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad for magical views of the city]

45 miles from central Denver via I-70

Golden, CO

[Drive up lookout mountain to overview the city and the mountains to the west. Walk along Clear Creek which runs through town. Check out Coors Brewery tours]

15 miles from central Denver via US-6.

Lyons, CO

[Oskar Blues brewery is located in Lyons. Enjoy Native American shops and treat yourself to great food in the mountains]

45 miles from central Denver via US-36

Nederland, CO

[Enjoy the small little town of Nederland by walking along the creek and lake. Enjoy Indian buffet at Katmandu restaurant. Lots of unique little shops]

45 miles from central Denver via US-36 and CO-119.

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater – Morrison, CO

[Hiking trails with views over the city, regular concerts throughout the summer. Enjoy Yoga and other exercising. Check out the town, Morrison – Restaurant “Beso de Arte” is delicious]

15 miles from central Denver via US-6.