Colorado Chronicles: A Tapestry of Adventure, Art, and Culinary Delights
Colorado, a place like no other in North America, has become a magnet for a new generation of adventurers and city dwellers seeking a unique lifestyle. During my week in the “Centennial State,” I truly grasped the irresistible allure of this stunning destination, celebrated for its majestic mountains.
The Rockies offer a playground for year-round outdoor activities, from summer hiking and mountain biking to top-tier skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Colorado’s natural wonders extend to diverse ecosystems found in national parks like Rocky Mountain National Park and the Great Sand Dunes National Park, where visitors can discover alpine lakes, surreal sand dunes, and lush forests.
While cities like Denver and Colorado Springs provide dynamic urban experiences, the state’s incredible natural landscapes take centre stage just beyond city limits. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Colorado, drawn by its extensive trail systems and pristine wilderness areas, perfect for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts.
Colorado’s captivating cities and breathtaking natural landscapes seem to coexist in perfect harmony, creating a place of unparalleled beauty and adventure that offers experiences for urban explorers and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you travel, trek or tour, you’ll love Colorado.
Denver (known as Mile-High City) is the bustling urban heart of Colorado’s culture and commerce. It is an unapologetic blend of modernity and tradition.
The Source Hotel & Market Hall in the RiNo Art District seamlessly fuses industrial design with comfort. There is no more invigorating feeling than waking up here to views of Denver’s skyline framed by the Rocky Mountains that make you feel like you are part of something bigger.
Denver’s thriving arts and music scene features a plethora of museums, galleries, and live music venues. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is one of America’s great museums, and their exhibit ‘Cowboy’ explores the origins of the American cowboy and its mythology that persists today. The American Museum of Western Art is also exceptional, while the Denver Art Museum’s extensive Indigenous Arts of North America collection is one of the finest collections of Latin American Art and Art of the Ancient Americas.
Denver takes great pride in its past and has gone to great lengths to preserve its historic neighbourhoods and architectural gems, which have been gentrified in a way that provides a fascinating glimpse into Colorado’s past. A great way to get a sense of the city is to take the Denver Graffiti Tour, a visual reflection of the city’s creative spirit. The tour guides know all the local lore and trivia and tell the stories behind each of the vibrant graffiti murals and the thought-provoking street art that adorns the walls of businesses, shops and homes and make Denver’s historic neighbourhoods come alive.
A fun way to see the city is the Urban Denver City eTuk Tour. It begins and ends at Denver Union Station in the heart of the city. Built in 1881, it was once a key hub before falling into decline in the later part of the last century. In 2012, it underwent a major renovation and transformation that combined new transit-oriented mixed-use development built on the site’s former railyards. It reopened in the summer of 2014 with a new 112-room Crawford Hotel and several shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The eTuk Tour glides through Denver’s eclectic neighbourhoods, starting with LoDo (Lower Downtown), known for its historic architecture, trendy bars, and vibrant arts scene. It’s also home to Coors Field, making it a hub for sports fans and a destination for those seeking a lively nightlife.
Next up is Highland (LoHi), a neighbourhood combining a historic feel with modern amenities and a hotspot for young professionals and food enthusiasts. Not far from here is RiNo, short for River North Art District. Once an industrial area with factories, warehouses, and railroad tracks dominating the landscape, it underwent several decades of decline. Over the past 25 years, artists began to settle in the area, drawn by the spacious, affordable studio spaces.
Today, RiNo is a hip neighbourhood known for a thriving arts scene, unique street art, and a remarkable blend of historic and modern architecture. It’s a hotspot for galleries, breweries, and restaurants, making it a cultural and culinary destination. A short ride away is the historic neighbourhood of Capitol Hill, with its mix of Victorian and modern architecture.
Denver’s culinary scene is a delightful fusion of flavours and features an eclectic mix of restaurants, breweries, and food markets. Mister Oso in RiNo is a recent Michelin Bib Gourmand winner. Their Mexican-inspired dishes, from mouthwatering tacos to delectable guacamole, scream authenticity. Safta Restaurant is an authentic Middle Eastern eatery that pays homage to the culinary dishes of Israel and is beyond superb. Tavernetta Restaurant near Union Station is an exceptional, popular, upscale, busy but hot — with an open kitchen and a fireplace — an Italian lounge spot that serves la dolce vita-style handmade pasta. Another great restaurant at Union Station is Stoic & Genuine, renowned for its exquisite fish dinner offerings. Their Crispy Whole Fish baked with lemongrass, lime, Fresno chilli, ponzu butter and cilantro is superb.
Red Rocks, located just outside Denver, Colorado, is a natural amphitheatre renowned for its breathtaking setting and acoustically perfect surroundings. Carved into the towering red sandstone rocks, the venue offers a unique and immersive concert experience. The iconic venue is surrounded by stunning rock formations and panoramic views of the city and plains below, creating a visually spectacular backdrop for performances. The Beatles, U2, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, The Who, Mumford & Sons, John Mayer, Radiohead, Prince, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young and many others have performed at Red Rocks which remains one of the most revered music venues in the world.
Nestled against the stunning backdrop of Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, The Fort Restaurant is an absolute gem. This culinary haven effortlessly marries history with haute cuisine, offering a dining experience as unforgettable as the surrounding landscapes. The menu features frontier-inspired cuisine, from iconic buffalo steaks to delectable quail and unique game dishes.
Rocky Mountain National Park Day Trip from Denver
Aspire Tours is a Denver-based company that takes visitors on a Rocky Mountain National Park Day Trip that makes you feel like you are stepping into a postcard. You begin at Union Station in a comfortable executive-style van with ten or twelve other travellers and leave the streets of the “Mile High City” towards Rocky Mountain National Park. This trip is a journey through the rugged beauty of Colorado’s mountains. You drive through small, historic towns and over alpine passes as you scan the horizon for mountain wildlife like elk, black bears, or moose. The awe-inspiring landscapes, serene lakes, and sight of wildlife are truly incredible.
It’s a short scenic drive from Denver to Colorado Springs, nestled at the foot of the majestic Pikes Peak and surrounded by the stunning Rocky Mountains. It’s home to the United States Air Force Academy and Garden of the Gods, a national natural landmark visible for its striking red rock formations for hiking and rock climbing. The downtown area features a lively culinary scene, breweries, and live music venues.
We stayed at The Broadmoor Resort, a historic gem nestled along mountain ranges that provide an experience in luxury and charm. This grand hotel’s rich history adds an extra layer of allure to the majestic backdrop of Pikes Peak. It’s a 15-minute drive to the small town of Manitou Springs, where you can board the cog railway Colorado to Pikes Peak. As the train chugs its way up to the summit (at a 25 percent incline at times), you’ll see out-of-this-world surreal panoramic vistas of the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide.
For more information on travel to Denver visit, www.colorado.com