The very last stop of Southwestern road trip was spent in Denver, Colorado. We had booked a big house for a long weekend of friend-hangs with some of our dearest – Jess, Andrew, Katie, and Jeremy!Jess and Andrew had lived in Denver and inspired our trip to the city, however they wound up moving just before our visit. Funny how the timing of life can work out sometimes! That said, they both kindly flew back to Denver for our weekend in town, so although we didn’t get to see their pad, we did get to see the city through their eyes which was the highlight of our time in Denver.Kai and I arrived a day before the rest of the crew, which meant that that we had 24 hours to explore Denver on our own, as tourists! Our first stop was the River North Art District (known as RiNo) which is often referred to as the heart of Denver’s art scene. Here you will also find numerous warehouse spaces, converted into breweries, restaurants, and even food halls, such as Denver Central Market where we first stopped.The market has a variety of local vendors, ranging from bakers to fishmongers, brewers to farmers.It was the baked goods that immediately caught our attention, and Kai and I found ourselves torn between many heavenly treats.We settled on a massive, frosted sticky bun and a steamy mug of joe.Fueled on coffee and carbs, we then we roamed the neighborhood by foot, popping into skate shops, smart shops, and retail stores . . . . . . while always accompanied by an abundance of art. The weather was brilliant, and it was great to have a day where we weren’t cooped up in the car, and could roam at our leisure. After our visit, we found out that you can actually book a graffiti tour in RiNo – which in hindsight would have been awesome, because some of the art was impressive beyond words, and we would have loved to discover more about the artists. We spent the next few hours wandering, nosing into whatever shop or coffee spot took our fancy. We climbed high bridges to scope out views . . . . . . and from those high views, we spotted food halls where we then ate more food!Zeppelin Station is a hub for fashion, design, art and food in the heart of RiNo. So for two tourists looking to eat and shop local, we’d seemingly stumbled upon paradise. After poking through the shops, we hit up Bigsby’s Folly, an industrial-style restaurant and wine bar in the station, and ordered two pints of a local mead. Along with some local nachos . . . . . . and some local chicken wings!We feasted as only two food benevolent tourists could, and finished, pondering, ‘was that dinner??!’ We decided that no, it was just a snack, and a (second) dinner was still necessary later!
After our first, mini-dinner, we went back to our Airbnb to wait for Jess and Andrew to arrive! What ensued was a weekend filled with friends and elation :) I didn’t take my big, clunky DSLR out with me, but on our first night, we hit up Uncle for ramen and it was exquisite! The following day, we had a lazy brunch outside in the sun. Jeremy and Katie arrived, and our Denver crew was complete! The sun was shining, and it was another gorgeous day outside. So we promptly hit up a smart shop, got some weed gummies, and then walked over to Denver Botanic Gardens, where we spent the day strolling amongst bunnies and flowers.This may be a stoned recollection, but the bunnies hopping around the park were the cutest ever!
The gardens were decked for fall, sporting pumpkins, fiery foliage, and day of the dead sculptures. After a good half-day spent in the botanic gardens, we headed back to RiNo to hit up one of the local breweries.Which meant more art!And more cozy, eclectic watering holes! Honestly, the next three days my camera got left by the wayside as we ventured through haunted houses, arcades, and cocktail bars. It was THE BEST way to end our road trip, and we loved seeing another side of the US with some of our best friends in tow.Here’s to many more adventures in 2020!