We get asked all of the time where should I stay, where is a good place to eat, what other "must do" things should we do while we are in Denver?...
Well we want to share our "Staff" picks on all things to do in Colorado. From our favorite farm to table restaurant to the cool hip craft cocktail lounge. We have also compiled a healthy list of hotels and must do things to do in Colorado. This list is curated specifically for our clientele! If you have questions about any of these establishments or activities, please shoot us an email (info @ oxotic.com) or give us a call at 855.484.1550. We are more than happy to assist you with your vacation research!
We've broken this information up into three major categories. EATS - HOTELS - THINGS TO DO IN COLORADO. In the EATS section you will find the Restaurant's name followed by the neighborhood. Same with the Hotels.
We hope you enjoy our recommendations, they really are the best of the best!
#Thingstodoindenver - #ThingstodoinColorado - #ThingstodoinBoulder - #ThingstodoinGolden
Longtime friends and now owners/partners, Brandon Bortles and Barry Dobesh-the B’s, as they are branded together–chose the name Abejas to convey the meaning behind the bee. Bees are industrious little bastards that symbolize agriculture, nature, and the fresh provisional menu behind Abejas. Abejas is a homecoming for the owners. The owner-duo met in Golden and both have deep roots in this small town. After Barry graduated from the Colorado Art Institute’s culinary program in 2002, he and Brandon became colleagues at the Hilltop Café in Golden. Barry next spent time working in Chicago, while Brandon moved on to manage New York restaurants. They rejoined in Denver in 2007 and started forming their dream to provide Golden with an intimate, seasonal restaurant, fit for a causal glass of wine with friends as much as for the celebration of a special occasion.
One of the best, if not THE best roof top bars/restaurant in Downtown Denver. We love their small plates "tapas" menu, brought to you by an award winning Chef. They have an incredible craft cocktail menu, great beer and wine list. Oh did we mention THE MOST EPIC view of the Denver Skyline. LoHi is the home to dozens and dozens of hot trendy shops, restaurants and bars. It's a great walking neighborhood. Save some room for Desert and check out Little Man Ice Cream (ENORMOUS Building shaped like an old fashion Ice Cream can)!
Technically, the name refers to the kitchen’s focus on oak wood-fired cooking. But it’s pretty fitting for a place that stands so tall and mighty among Denver’s top-tier destinations -- and that just keeps growing on you with every visit. At first glance, chef-partner Steven Redzikowski’s seasonal repertoire doesn’t seem so wildly different from that of countless other contemporary kitchens: you've got your pork belly, your short ribs, and your handmade gnocchi. But the distinction’s in the details: that gnocchi, for instance, sports a startling combination of butternut squash, chanterelles, and lemon confit in creamy onion sauce. And the cocktails are smarter than you are.
*** If you are headed to Boulder, try their sister restaurant Oak at Fourteenth. Very similar menu, My favorite spot in Boulder!
Washington Park West
From the cool-toned, streamlined decor, to the suave service and the painterly compositions on your plate, dining at chef-owner Olav Peterson’s hidden-in-plain-sight neighborhood gem is like visiting a modern art gallery. Only instead of pretending to appreciate how an all-white canvas represents the decline of civilization, you can actually appreciate silken fresh pastas, salads like tiny flowering gardens, and the revelation that is properly cooked roast chicken, washed down with a beer from Estonia or Spain that you’ve never tried .
Between the wilderness of the forest and the solitude of the city, Beatrice & Woodsley brings the Colorado wilderness into Denver’s heart to celebrate the history of restaurants as places of restoration, replenishment, and relaxation. Nestled amidst an urban aspen grove, Beatrice and Woodsley offers social dining with a seasonally influenced Rustic-American menu. With cuisine that pays homage to the melting-pot of recipes and methods from the formation of the American culture, the restaurant playfully combines today’s palettes with the traditions and flavors of the old world. Simple ingredients, carefully executed techniques, and adventurous imaginations combine to provide a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Central had always been good, sometimes very good. But when Chef Matt Selby took over the kitchen, it instantly developed a new depth of character. Though a vet, he’s still got the enthusiasm of a newbie, and it shows in everything from elaborate foie gras preparations and earthy soups, to the way he squeezes flavor out of the humblest vegetables. And he’s not the only one having fun: the talented bar crew’s always doing something new, the servers think on their feet like an improv group, and you’d have to be wallowing in Morrissey-grade misery to resist going with the flow.
If Denver had its own USDA food pyramid, Lon Symensma’s kaya toast and French onion soup dumplings would occupy an entire row. But since a balanced diet unfortunately consists of other things too, Symensma's Asian-fusion flagship offers up one spectacular, almost-too-pretty-to-eat plate after the next. Along with gourmet twists on old-school classics like chow fun and fried rice, look for artful specials like Dungeness crab shumai with tarragon-avocado cream, or Wagyu ribeye over leek-green raisin purée and black-bean gremolata. Meanwhile, we’re almost positive the bar’s exotic seasonal cocktails meet all of your daily fruit requirements.
Central Business District
When a chef celebrated for his globe-spanning imagination announces he’s opening a straight-up beef barn in a Downtown office tower, you’d be smart to smell a cash grab in the making. But you can be smart and wrong -- and in Troy Guard’s case, you would be. His steakhouse combines all the glitter and polish of your average Financial District destination with what feels like a genuine desire to please on the part of the entire detail-oriented staff. The result is relaxing yet exciting, comfy yet sexy, from the first bite of venison tartare through the wine-paired filet mignon flight, and the last crumb of cake from pastry talent Ryan Walker.
For 30 years and counting, Sushi Den has been the first and last word in raw fish around here, and its next-door sibling Izakaya Den introduced the concept of the Japanese tavern to Denver while scaling it up with slick decor and fusion twists. Now, in a warm, rustic, copper-toned nook across the street, the Kizaki brothers are putting their stamp on robatayaki and other traditional drinking foods, the simplicity of which showcases their fierce commitment to quality and proper technique as much as sashimi does: think monkfish fried karaage-style, melt-in-your-mouth grilled salmon collar, or funky skewers of chicken hearts and gizzards. (Before you balk at offal, remember you once scoffed at sushi too. That was dumb.)
Central Business District
If a city could have a restaurant for a girlfriend, this modern Italian fixture in the Hotel Monaco would be ours, because we constantly take it for granted. Year after year, week after week, from dawn to dark, Chef Elise Wiggins and her team put their egos on the back burner and their hearts on the line to make killer bread and pasta from scratch, nail classics like veal scallopini and brunch time strata, whip up elegant specials, design gluten-free alternatives, host a daily happy hour and pig roasts on the weekend, and basically take such good care of us that we really should remember to bring them flowers and candy next time.
Rooster-shaped ceramic pitchers and skull wallpaper, wooden planters full of herbs and Slayer graffiti, all coming together in a dusty old brick building that used to house a dive bar: this place is as metal as farm-to-table gets. And that goes double for the menu; it's as dynamic and downright ballsy as any Denver’s ever seen. While the signature whole roasted pig’s or lamb’s head warrants all the hype it’s generating, there isn’t a dish that doesn’t change whatever game it’s playing, from s**t on a shingle gone glam with brioche and walnuts in wine sauce, to a twist on poutine featuring fried tripe and foie gras gravy. The beer, wine, and cocktail lists are thrill-filled too.
Rioja’s a pioneer (and better than ever). Bistro Vendôme’s a classic. Euclid Hall’s a pure blast. But Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch’s dazzling, buzzing seafood smash hit in Union Station already feels like a legit icon -- a Grand Central Oyster Bar for Mile High cool kids. After all, Chef Jorel Pierce is a cool kid himself, so while oysters on the half-shell and lobster rolls are forever, ever-changing originals like octopus mortadella, tuna tartare in chai vinaigrette with maple giardiniera, and live uni with lychee shaved ice from Stoic’s dedicated granita bar are really where it’s at, followed by freaking foie gras crème brûlée with fried rosemary.
Cherry Creek Country Club
Considering owner-sommelier Aaron Forman’s an ex-dog musher, the fact that a meal at this consummate neighborhood bistro remains full of surprises after a decade-plus shouldn’t itself come as any surprise. Chef Michael Winston takes the trademark playfulness of its New American menu seriously, which means at any given time you might get kimchi-Brie crepes, or yam kugel with the signature duck confit, or knock back some tater tots in fondue while you’re waiting for a foie gras tart with creamed spinach and pickled mushrooms. And the wine list’s still the vinous equivalent of the Iditarod: wide-ranging and racy.
In a barely there East Colfax storefront, Royce Oliveira, Leanne Adamson, and their tiny crew serve up a slice of the good life with such intelligence, skill, and verve that, immensely satisfying as it is, you can’t get enough. Not so much a restaurant with an open kitchen as a kitchen surrounded by some tables and chairs, the twinkling two-room space sets a casually intimate mood enhanced by the chance to interact with the easygoing Oliveira while he’s cooking -- and whatever’s he’s cooking, you’ll want it, be it perfectly pan-fried whiting with crème fraîche, rye croutons and golden raisins, or luscious chicken and dumplings in mussel broth.
Since the first incarnation of the Bean opened in 2009, this restaurant’s gone through its fair share of changes including a relaunch in a new location in 2012. Recently though, it’s hit a peak with a focus on food that’s not only farm fresh (sourced largely from their own Bean Acres), but fun too. From weekend bingo brunch to the penchant for creating cocktails for recently deceased celebrities, there’s enough kitsch to keep you entertained. But it’s the food, like its much-lauded lunch burger and its unexpectedly elegant dinner entrees, that makes the Bean a must-visit.
“Hey, wanna go eat in a shipping container?” A few years ago, that may have seemed like a silly question, but this small (but mighty) restaurant has become a fast favorite landing on basically every “best of” list since it opened in early 2014. And now it’s earned a place on this list, too thanks to a new fall menu that includes comforting, yet flavor-packed classics like whiskey & Coke beef brisket and Wisconsin cheddar mac & cheese.
Though it’s relatively new (it opened in 2012), The Populist somehow always feels like a classic. That’s not to say it’s not on trend: locally sourced ingredients, check; community tables, check; hip location in the hottest neighborhood, check. But while this restaurant is undeniably stylish, it’s also just damn delicious. So even though there are new options opening up in Denver every week, we’re sure you’ll regret it if you don’t stop in soon for its deceptively simple monikered bacon & egg or its newest seasonal take on agnolotti.
Old Major Executive Chef and owner Justin Brunson is undeniably the king of meat in Denver. He’s opened Masterpiece Deli, launched the Denver Bacon Company, and recently took on the fast-casual trend with Honor Society. But it’s Old Major that remains a can’t-miss thanks to its in-house butchery and charcuterie programs, as well as a consistent ability to turn out perfected plates. Whether it’s the famous nose-to-tail platter or a delicate, flaky cheddar biscuit, you need this. Now.
Relationships can be a lot of work, right? But (usually) you’re only involved in one at a time. At Beast + Bottle, though, there are countless relationships being managed all of the time. From the local purveyors who supply the restaurant with an ever-changing lineup of fresh ingredients to the diners who are each treated to a dose of old-school hospitality on every visit, everything is orchestrated flawlessly by the team of Paul and Aileen Reilly, who have yet another kind of relationship: they’re brother and sister.
Though Chef Alex Siedel’s Fruition is a perennial Mile High favorite, it’s this more recent endeavor from him that’s currently got our attention. As part of the redesign of Union Station, it’s got that shiny and new appeal. But beyond the hype are creative dishes that elevate fresh ingredients. Mercantile’s fall menu, which includes dishes like a celery root tortellini with confit veal sweetbreads, crispy Brussels sprouts, and pickled mustard seed vinaigrette, is out now. So what are you waiting for?
City Park North
This restaurant touts a qualifier after its name: “neighborhood eatery.” If only all neighborhoods had a place like this. But no matter where you live in Denver, don’t wait to dine here. The menu changes constantly, offering up new takes on ingredients each time you visit. This season, expect to see plenty of squash, apples, and pears featured in dishes like the fall shelling bean ragout with delicata squash, charred autumn vegetables persillade, boutique sherry, and Schnebelhorn cheese.
Restaurateur Frank Bonanno has made a big impact on the Denver dining scene with his mini-empire that includes the always impeccable Mizuna. But over at Bones, his Asian noodle house headed up by Executive Chef John Dipierro, a passion for experimentation has us salivating. Head there on a Wednesday for its steamed buns special and you’ll be treated to a unique creation that changes weekly as the team plays with new flavor combinations. Or go anytime for a piping-hot bowl of noodles like the new-for-fall option with crispy chicken skin, charred chile charmoula, corn, wakame, and oyster mushroom sauce.
*Also check out Luca De'Italia - Next door to Bones & Another John Dipierro creation, My favorite Italian restuaunt in Denver. Everything he touches is GOLD! He does not pay me to say that either!!! I love his entire foodie empire!
City Park West
Denver’s got plenty of places where you can score a quick bite with your morning brew or, on the other end of the spectrum, a nap-inducing gorge-fest of a brunch. But we love Onefold right now because it hits that sweet spot in between. Yes, it's got the requisite breakfast burrito. But it's more about what’s inside the house-made tortilla (like the duck fat fried potatoes) than how big it is. And you’ll find more than the usual suspects here too, like the ultra-comforting congee, a savory rice porridge that’s popular in Asian countries.
Another place that’s proving that a small space can produce big flavors is this pizza and oysters mecca. With only a handful of tables, a 1,000-degree wood-fired oven, and a knack for turning something simple into something memorable, Cart-Driver is anything but just another pizza joint. And though Chef Kelly Whitaker is well-versed in Italian techniques (you only need to have visited his Boulder pizzeria Basta once to know that), he’s also committed to using local ingredients whenever possible. The result: food that will have you coming back no matter the season.
*Write up brought to you by: Thrillist
HOTELS - DENVER
The Crawford Hotel #Staff Pick
Downtown Denver - Union Station
This is a new hotel inside Union Station, awesome location, in the heart of Downtown. This entire area was just revitalized in the last 2 years a project that took 5 years to complete.
Downtown Denver - Financial District
A boutique hotel in the middle of Downtown Denver this hotel is famous for it's old style charm with Modern Luxury design. Part of the Kimpton family of hotels this is one of our favorite Hotels in Denver.
Downtown - Convention Center
Close to everything! This is a gorgeous high-rise hotel located in the heart of downtown. We recommend grabbing a drink at the Peak's Lounge on the 27th floor. You'll thank us later!
Brown Palace #Staff Pick
Stay where every President has stayed since 1892! Explore the unique offerings of The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, a legend among Downtown Denver luxury hotels since 1892. From the dramatic allure of our Top of the Brown Guestrooms and regal Presidential Suites to our fine dining offerings and stately meeting facilities, the qualities of our iconic hotel in Downtown Denver make it the ultimate destination for business functions, leisurely vacations, romantic getaways and even spa retreats.
Downtown Denver - Convention Center
One of the newest high rise hotels in the Denver area. It's the Four Seasons! We also have a Ritz-Carlton but it is a complete toss up between these two. They are both Luxury hotels with all of the amenities. We recommend the Four Seasons in this price bracket in Denver.
HOTELS - BOULDER
Downtown Boulder - Pearl Street/CU Campus
Treat yourself to a refreshingly uncommon downtown Boulder hotel destination, where luxury and comfort come naturally. At St Julien Hotel & Spa, world-class accommodations and service balance perfectly – melding nature and nurture, simplicity and style, relaxation and renewal. St Julien sets itself apart from other Boulder, Colorado hotels as an oasis of tranquility – offering inspired views of the Flatiron Mountains, and doorstep access to the famous Pearl Street Mall. Enjoy a new sense of style and sensibility inside this casually elegant luxury hotel in Boulder, Colorado.
Located in the heart of Boulder's historic downtown, St Julien Hotel & Spa is within walking distance of more than 200 shops and 80 restaurants, just steps from the historic Pearl Street Mall, the beautiful University of Colorado campus, miles of hiking and biking paths and numerous entertainment options.
THINGS TO DO IN COLORADO
Hiking/Trails: I would check out Boulder for your hiking excursion. It is 20 Minutes North of our office. We will be driving through Boulder Creek Canyon and taking pictures in front of the flat Irons. We will drive by many of the trails on this list: Chautauqua park is near the flat irons and easy access. Great views and a good workout. It is a pretty famous area to hike and right near the University Campus so it's easy access. Many of the trails that have waterfalls in the Boulder Creek Canyon are flowing heavy right now. So the scenery is great and there will be a lot of people out. Boulder Creek canyon is also close and easily access. You can also check out downtown Boulder. There is a great out door walking, shopping and entertainers on Pearl Street in Boulder. Boulder is 45 minutes from downtown Denver. If you have time to take a short trip, I would head up to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is amazing and worth the trip, a 2 hour drive from downtown Denver.
Vehicle Vault is the premier auto gallery and elite custom garage community that provides a unique environment for those who share the passion for cars. If you are lucky enough to be in Denver on the 2nd Saturday of the month, make it a point to head over to Vehicle Vault around 9am to Noon. You will get to see the greatest turn out of local exotic, classic, and collector cars on display at their monthly "Cars & Coffee" car meet.
Gallery at Vehicle Vault
Exhibiting a fabulous collection of rare and exotic automobiles from all over the world and presenting a totally unique venue for your special events.
Motorized Vespa style scooter rental service and guided sightseeing scooter tours across from the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. ScooTours Denver Scooter Rental provides everything you need including scooter riding lessons, gas, liability insurance and suggestions of where to explore on our motor scooters. If you can ride a bicycle, you are 18 or older, and you have a valid Driver's License, we can easily train you to ride. Renting a 50 cc moped is the perfect day trip activity for a group event, a visit to Denver, a birthday gift, bachelorette parties, and corporate outings in Denver. Guided sightseeing tours available.
Is a rock structure near Morrison, Colorado, 10 miles west of Denver, where concerts are given in the open-air amphitheater. There is a large, tilted, disc-shaped rock behind the stage, a huge vertical rock angled outwards from stage right, several large outcrops angled outwards from stage left and a seating area for up to 9,525 people in between. The amphitheater is owned and operated by the City and County of Denver, Colorado and is located in Red Rocks Park, part of the Denver Mountain Parks system.
Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Enjoy Trail Ridge Road – which crests over 12,000 feet including many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds – along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times. In a world of superlatives, Rocky is on top!
Since 1873 the Coors brewery has thrived on a legacy of quality, innovation and customer service. The tour showcases the company’s history and passion for brewing. Your tour takes place in the world’s largest single-site brewery. The brewery experience includes a 30-minute self-paced tour highlighting our malting, brewing and packaging processes. Cool off in the “fresh beer room," where visitors can sip a cold sample and rest on ice-cube benches in a refrigerated room. At the end of the tour, view old photos, neons, historical beer cans, bottles and memorabilia, and have the opportunity to sample* our refreshing products. Be sure to shop in the Coors & Co. gift shop.
This whiskey glowed amber from the start. When volunteer firefighter Jess Graber responded to a neighbor's barn fire down the road, he never imagined any good could come of it. But the barn he made effort to save belonged to George Stranahan, long-time liquor connoisseur. When the fire settled, the two discovered a shared passion for the Colorado outdoors and a good pour of fine whiskey.
And so Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey was born. They developed a recipe for the smoothest, most flavorful whiskey in the world using the purity of their mountain surroundings to their advantage. Well, to your advantage. They say from each thing bad comes something good. For Jess, George, and fine whiskey drinkers alike, it's amazing just how good it can be.
The law regarding marijuana in Colorado allows for cities and counties to decide for themselves if they will permit recreational stores. If you are planning your vacation to Colorado, we would recommend supporting the cities and counties that respect your right to marijuana.
The experience is similar to a liquor store. You must present photo identification in order to check out and purchase Marijuana products. Recreational marijuana stores are open for business. Anyone 21 years of age or older is allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana in Colorado. This is your right as defined by the Colorado Constitution, whether or not the city or county allows or bans recreational stores. We now have thousands of independent and chain dispensary locations throughout Colorado. Let's face it Pot is everywhere in this state. We just ask that you partake in the festivities AFTER you drive with us!
* You would think this is obvious but for legal reasons, we have to bring it to your attention... Consumption of Drugs or Alcohol prior to your driving tour is not permitted. We do reserve the right to cancel your tour without a refund if we find you have consumed any substance that would impair your ability to drive.