The Denver You Don’t Want To Miss

Laura Ann Klein

FRIDAY

3:30 p.m.  You've gathered your luggage and loaded into a sleek town car from All Less Limo (1-303-275-0075).  Take advantage of that water bottle posed at your elbow, you're going to need plenty at altitude. 

4:30 p.m.  Check into the Hotel Monaco (www.monaco-denver.com) in your chic room in the middle of downtown. You don't want to miss the evening wine hour between 5-6. My guess is you worked up to the minute you left for the airport Friday, so catch a convenient cocktail and appetizers in the hotel at Panzano where they host one of the best Happy Hour deals in town. Save room for dinner.

7:00 p.m.  With more than 300-something days of sunshine in Denver, chances are it's a gorgeous evening in Denver and the temperature is perfect for a walk towards LoDo to watch the sun go down. Walk west towards the sunset along 16th Street Mall. You can always hop on the Mall bus and ride to the end of the line. Make your way to Little Raven for a wide view of the sunset over the Front Range. Worth the price of admission right there.

8:30 p.m.  Denver is becoming a mecca for great gourmet food. Your taste buds point to The Golden Triangle's new darling Charcoal where the straightforward menu of four dollar sign food at three dollar sign prices in a six dollar sign room. If you're a wine drinker, his list has something for everyone from the connoisseur to people like me who just like a taste of wine with their food.

10:30 p.m. Hail a cab and tell the driver, "Punchbowl or bust!" The Punch Bowl Social Club (www.punchbowlsocial.com) is one of Denver's newest night spots is a little bit speakeasy, a little bit foodie haven, a little bit neighborhood bar. You can play darts, shuffleboard, marbles (yes, I said marbles), ping pong, billiards, or knock over some pins. It's like Chucky Cheese without the singing furries and the bad pizza.

SATURDAY

9:00 a.m. Dawn brings the perfect excuse to recover at Tom’s (www.tomsurban24.com) just around the corner from the hotel. With everything from Pho to Eggs Benedict the flightiest appetite and most delicate stomach won't go away empty. Even if you aren't going to fit in a ballgame you can see Denver's beautiful Coor’s Field from the vantage point of Tom’s. Take a tour on non-game days at 10, 12 and 2 (http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/col/ballpark/tours).

1:00 p.m. Once you’ve caught your second wind, board one of the red retro bicycles with generous baskets as handy as a shirt pocket (www.denver.bcycle.com) With 850 miles of paved paths in and around Denver, you're going to be able to cycle your legs off (www.denver.org/what-to-do/sports-recreation/denver-bike-trails">paths.) Here's a helpful hint: East is more or less uphill. If you want to conserve your energy but feel like a rock star, head East on the path along the Platte and ride to Cherry Creek Mall.

6:00 p.m. Reserve ahead to dine on Denver’s favorite patio on historic Larimer Square’s Bistro Vendome (www.bistrovendome.com), home of the best deal on steamed mussels and crusty French bread. You’re likely to find one of the west’s restaurant critics on the Bistro patio; it’s a haunt they flock to.

8:00 p.m. You’ve got tickets to the theater (www.denvercenter.org) only blocks away at the second biggest theater complex in the country (New York City is No. 1). Tittering comedies, boffo musicals, or thought-provoking dramas can be seen in the lush complex of stages which include an intimate theater in the round and a chic world-class opera house.

11:00 p.m. Your senses are a little overloaded and your legs are a little tired. What you need is a cool, dark place for a smooth handcrafted cocktail. What about that place you noticed just across from Bistro Vendome? Green Russell (www.greenrussell.com) is the top speakeasy on Larimer Square. Chef Bonanno is a Denver treasure. Even Tony Bourdaine thinks so and he hates Denver.

SUNDAY

10:00 a.m. It's always a little bit of heaven to loll around in your hotel room on the last day of a trip, Maybe room service for breakfast? Or cab it to 17th Avenue, home to Avenue Grill (www.avenuegrill.com), an avenue staple for more than a quarter of a century. The beef Carpaccio Flatbread is unusual and light. Make sure you sit on Kris's end of the bar. She knows everyone in town and you'll leave for the airport with new Facebook friends and fistful of business cards to contact when you return again. Soon.

Laura Ann Klein is a travel blogger. Read her column at edgyjunetravels.com.

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