I know, I know, this isn’t about Scotland! I’m diversifying my content today as you may have guessed. Recently, I was going through my photos of 2016 and realised I had never talked about my trip to Colorado. Since I was going to the USA to present a paper at an academic conference last year, I thought why not take advantage of it and pop by my person’s new home in Colorado. We hadn’t seen each other in over two years so it seemed perfect. I spent a week in Boulder with her, exploring Denver and going on a little road trip. This is why today I’m bringing you a little guide to spending a long weekend in Denver and the surrounding area.
Itinerary for a four-day weekend in the Denver area
First things first, I think you should plan to arrive on Thursday night and stay in Denver (or early on the Friday morning). This will give you the maximum amount of time to enjoy a full weekend of exploration.
Friday – Denver
Wake up bright and early and take to the streets. This is the perfect day to walk around the Colorado capital.
Of course you can just walk around the city centre, enjoying the sights of the older buildings such as Union Station and Larimer Square. This was my favourite, walking down the 16th Street Mall in the relaxed Denver atmosphere (pro tip: there is also a free bus for those who want to get somewhere faster!).
If you’re more interested by activities, Denver offers a lot and you can pick from a variety of places to see and visit. Among others that includes the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Art Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the US Mint (which incidentally has nothing to do with the aromatic plant).
Outside the city centre you’ll find the City Park, which hosts the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Saturday – Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks needs no introduction. You can drive to Red Rocks yourself and head for a hike or a little cycling trip around the park. Or you can book one of the many day trips leaving from the city centre of Denver.
Red Rocks is called that because of the distinctive colour and shape of the rock formation in the mountain park. It’s also known for its open air amphitheatre, built straight into the rocks.
Coming back from Red Rocks, I would recommend you head to Union Station and take a bus straight to Boulder.
Sunday – Estes Park
Wake up early (again, I know!) and head out for a fantastic brunch at Dushanbe Tea House. (It was a personal favourite of my hosts.) From there, start your day trip right away toward the Rocky Mountain National Park and stop in Estes Park.
I loved our stop at Estes Park. It’s a small town in the middle of the mountains and feels like the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park. There you will have breathtaking views over the snowy tops. You will also find Stanley Hotel (the hotel Stephen King used as an inspiration for The Shining).
Monday – Boulder
The last day in the area is perfect to peruse around Boulder. It’s such a quaint town where you’ll easily feel at home. It’s surrounded by mountains and almost has the atmosphere of a ski resort, especially in the city centre.
Boulder has so many places for brunch, so you can treat yourself to another brunch if you fancy starting your morning that way. Then head over to Pearl Street. It’s lined by many bookshops, bakeries, restaurants, bars and even dispensaries.
P.S. Did you know Denver is one of the sunniest places in the USA? Chances are the weather will be on your side!
P.P.S. If you’re visiting Denver/Boulder and looking for places to eat, check out recommendations by the lovely ladies at Denver Epicurean.
Have you ever been to Denver or Boulder?xx