A view of the city of Denver drenched in golden sun from the roof of Colorado State Capital building at sunset shows the top spire of the Capital building in the foreground
Weekend Warrior

From Cliff-Diving to Concerts: 48 Hours in Denver

We Cover All of the Basics for a Memorable Trip to Denver 

A cityscape of Denver with typography spliced in

Today, Denver doesn’t look much like its former Wild-West-cowtown self, but it’s a beautiful mountain city nonetheless—which might be why it attracts so many laid-back, outdoorsy folks. With a growing foodie scene, top-notch scenery, and easygoing culture, it’s the perfect place to spend a weekend exploring. Don’t forget to pack your hiking boots and a sense of adventure!

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Casa Bonita

LAKEWOOD, CO - JANUARY 11: Mexican restaurant Casa Bonita has been a memory-making institution for decades, filling children with countless sopapillas and dreams of plummeting from the top of a man-made, three-story indoor waterfall while people eat tacos, listen to Mariachi music and watch puppet shows around them. January 11, 2019. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Source: Casa Bonita

A Dining Experience Unlike Any Other
6715 W Colfax | Edgewood | casabonitadenver.com

Between the all-you-can-eat buffet, cliff diving shows, fire-jugglers, and puppet shows, the concept of the destination restaurant Cosa Bonita is almost too ridiculous—almost. Here’s some of the long list of highlights that come with this unconventional Mexican eatery: 

  • Black Bart’s Cave (a pirate-themed nook that’s crowded with screaming kids)
  • Roaming, costumed mariachi bands
  • An all-you-can-eat buffet
  • FREE deep-fried pastries called sopapillas
  • Arcade complete with skee-ball machines 
  • A guy in a gorilla suit, 
  • Fire jugglers 
  • A puppet show theater 
  • A gold mine and silver mine 
  • A magic theater
  • A gift shop resplendent with tacky kitsch, 
  • And of course, the centerpiece of the whole experience—the 30-foot indoor waterfall featuring cliff-diving performances and skits.

According to patrons on Yelp, the festive Mexican restaurant is considered a west Denver landmark that is known more for its fun and nostalgic experience than its food.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

One of the large red rock formations at Red Rocks Park, home to the famous Red Rocks Ampitheater in Morrison, Colorado with blue sky and white puffy clouds in the background

Source: Shutterstock

From Hiking and Biking to Concerts and More
18300 W Alameda Pkwy | Morrison | redrocksonline.com

The architect behind one of America’s most incredible concert venues? Mother Nature. The forces of nature combined just right to make the acoustically perfect arena of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, formed by massive, 300-foot sandstone monoliths. Red Rocks isn’t just a fan favorite—artists like Jimi Hendrix, Rush, and the Grateful Dead all reportedly listed the venue among their favorites. But you don’t have to go to Red Rocks to see a concert, you can also visit during the day and explore the park by hiking, grabbing lunch at the Ship Rock Grille, or doing some yoga.

Big Blue Bear

Fireworks over Denver Convention Center

Source: Denver Convention

Meet Denver’s Unofficial Mascot
700 14th St | Downtown | denverconvention.com

Located outside of the Colorado Convention Center, this iconic art installation is actually called “I See What You Mean.” The 40-foot, 3-story tall bear, built by the late artist and University of Denver professor Lawrence Argent, makes for an awesome photo op to say the least. Big Blue has a place in the hearts of local residents—as well as visitors from all over—and is worthwhile stop in the downtown area.

Root Down

A hip cafe scene with green chairs and pop art

Source: Root Down

Field-to-Fork Food That’s Healthy, Too!
1600 W 33rd Ave | Lower Highlands | rootdowndenver.com

Generally speaking, Denver is a pretty fit, health-conscious city—which is part of the reason a  restaurant like Root Down is so popular. Another reason? It’s also delicious! In addition to vegetarian, vegan, and raw dishes, you can also find seafood, short ribs, chicken, steak, and other meat-based options. This is one restaurant that you can feel good about eating at: Not does it fully accommodate all types of diets and restrictions, but it’s also powered by 100 percent wind energy and largely uses locally-sourced ingredients.

Oxford Hotel

The exterior brick building known as the Iconic Denver Hotel

Source: Oxford Hotel

100+ Years of Luxury Makes for an Unforgettable Stay
1600 17th St | Lodo | theoxfordhotel.com

Having been in operation since 1891, the Oxford Hotel has retained the same swanky, old-school charm that it started with—with the addition of modern amenities, of course. The suites feature swoon-worthy clawfoot tubs and four-poster beds, and there’s an onsite spa, too. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can still experience it by getting a bite to eat at the Oxford’s restaurant, the Urban Farmer, or grabbing a drink at its bar, the Cruise Room.

Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery

 A cafe machine next to coffee bean grinders inside the cafe

Source: Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery

Tasty Meets Trendy
1020 S Gaylord St | Washington Park | devilsfooddenver.com

You’ll find hipsters sitting alongside oldtimers at Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery—the food is just that good. Originally a single entity, the company recently split into two separate locations across the street from each other in the delightful neighborhood of Myrtle Hill. Whether you sip on a coffee at the Bakery or dive into a savory brunch at the Cookery, you won’t be disappointed.

Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Science and Nature, a white building with red roof sitting on a lake, illuminated at sunrise with a view of the mountains and the Denver skyline in the background

Source: Shutterstock

Explore the Magnificence of the Natural World at This Hub of Learning
2001 Colorado Blvd | City Park | dmns.org

With its distinguishable location in the majestic Rocky Mountains, Denver is a natural wonderland—and nothing will make you appreciate your surroundings more than a trip to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There’s something for everyone at this information-rich attraction: A solid docket of permanent and rotating exhibitions, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium, not to mention an unbeatable view of the city from the fourth floor mezzanine.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Source: Denver Botanic Gardens

An Urban Oasis in Cheesman Park
1007 York St | Southeast | botanicgardens.org

With 50 gardens to explore, the Denver Botanic Gardens is well-worth the $12.50 price of admission ($9 for kids!). See collections of plants native to Colorado as well as international greens, when you tour this multifaceted showcase of nature. You can also enjoy soups, salads, and sandwiches at the Offshoots Cafe or burgers, pizza, and ice cream at the Hive Gardens Bistro.

Molly Brown House Museum

The exterior of the Molly Brown House Museum has two stone lions resting to greet you

Source: Molly Brown House Museum

See the Home of Famed Titanic Survivor Molly Brown
1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203| | mollybrown.org

The Titanic may not have been unsinkable, but socialite and philanthropist Molly Brown—who survived the tragic crash—sure was. You can visit her preserved house and learn more about her fascinating life when you go to the Molly Brown House Museum

Molly and her husband, J.J. Brown, were both born to poor Irish immigrants, but when J.J. struck it rich in the mining industry, the couple soon became one of the wealthiest in Denver. She was a first-class passenger on the Titanic, but unlike many, she spent time helping others get into lifeboats before boarding one herself. 

She’s most famous for grabbing an oar to help row her boat to safety and for arguing against the ship’s Quartermaster, who was on the lifeboat, when he refused to go back to look for survivors after the Titanic went under.

Fruition Restaurant

An appetizer is being set out by the kitchen to serve

Source: Fruition Restaurant

It doesn’t get any more farm-to-table than Fruition Restaurant. The owners have a farm just south of the city, where they grow a lot of their ingredients. The space may be rustic, but the dress is definitely not casual, and the menu will knock your socks off: Veal sweetbreads with bone marrow crema, carbonara with hand-cured pork belly, devil’s food cake with caramel popcorn ice cream, and more.

Timing Your Weekend Adventure in Denver Colorado

Wondering what the best time of year is to spend a weekend in Denver? Summer, spring and fall are popular times to visit this mostly-sunny city, but if you’re looking for better prices, aim for the transitional points of the seasons. It can get pretty snowy in the winter—but with the mountains comes an abundance of snow sports, so that can be an advantage for those looking to hit the slopes.

Have you visited the Mile High City? Tag us in your dreamy mountain-town photos on Instagram.

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