This past winter, my friends and I decided to plan a big ski trip, and we ended up staying at a top-rated ski resort in Colorado. Everybody knows that Colorado is home to some of the best skiing in the country, and the powdery Colorado snow and endless natural beauty definitely didn’t disappoint. As our time on the slopes started coming to an end, though, I decided that I really wanted to make the most of my time in Colorado. So I spontaneously extended my trip in order to visit Denver, a city which I’ve always wanted to visit and was less than two hours away from the mountain.
Since I had never been to Denver before, I didn’t know where to stay. Fortunately, HotelTonight helped me book a great last minute hotel room in minutes, and I bid adieu to the mountains and headed toward the city.
First things first, I checked into my hotel, which was located in LoDo, and dropped off my ski gear. LoDo is named for “Lower Downtown”, and this neighborhood is the oldest neighborhood in Denver. As I walked around LoDo, I noticed the mix of beautiful Victorian buildings with modern, trendy bars and restaurants. After only an hour of exploring LoDo, I knew that this would be where I’d spend a lot of time if I were a Denver local. After all, it’s home to Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies play, as well as great nightlife and the architecturally stunning Union Station. Even though I wasn’t taking a train anywhere, I wandered into Union Station (mainly because a few locals told me I had to see it) and was immediately overwhelmed by this historic, beautifully renovated station, which also offers a great selection of shops and restaurants.
After exploring LoDo, I walked through Denver’s well-maintained streets until I reached Uptown, one of the city’s most pedestrian-friendly areas. Since it’s a denser, more walkable area than most of Denver’s neighborhoods, Uptown is a hotspot for young residents looking for an urban environment. Thus, there are plenty of great eateries, bars and nightlife options in Uptown. I walked up and down the same few blocks several times (which I later figured out is aptly named “Restaurant Row), checking out all of the menus at the hip Uptown restaurants, before finally deciding on a cool gastropub. After enjoying a delicious hamburger and a locally brewed craft beer, I walked through City Park, the city’s largest green space, and soaked in the beauty of the Mile-High City.
I decided to stick to my walking tour of Denver, which I was actually surprised was such a pedestrian-friendly city and made my way to Five Points. As one of Denver’s most diverse and culturally rich neighborhoods, Five Points is a must-visit neighborhood for anybody who loves art, music or even beer. Five Points was once known as the “Harlem of the West,” as it was one of the country’s greatest hubs for jazz. The neighborhood definitely hasn’t lost this vibrancy and energy over the years. To this day, Five Points still hosts jazz festivals and concerts year-round.
Since I was close to my hotel, I made my way back to my room and changed into some warmer clothes for dinner. Then, I headed to Capitol Hill, often considered one of the state’s prettiest neighborhoods. This beautiful and eclectic area was the perfect spot for dinner, as it’s a vibrant culture hub with a terrific selection of dining options. It also happens to be home to the Colorado State Capitol Building (hence the name) as well as the Civic Center Park, which I learned hosts many events and festivals throughout the year. The charm and excitement of Capitol Hill was infectious, and it made me realize why so many millennials now call this historic district home.
After checking out of my hotel in the morning, I figured I had time for one last neighborhood tour before I needed to head to the airport, so I traveled to the River North Arts District or RiNo as it’s also known. The area is full of funky boutiques and art galleries, as well as breweries, wine makers and coffee roasters. There’s a cool, creative vibe to RiNo, and I was bummed that I couldn’t spend more time hopping from one art gallery or brewery to the next. So as I hailed a cab to go to the airport, I vowed that I would return to Denver in the near future so that I could explore more of this one-of-a-kind city.
Even though I only had a day to experience Denver, I was able to see a great deal of the city, and I discovered why it’s one of the most desirable cities in the country to live. Now that I know I can book a last-minute hotel in Denver through HotelTonight, the Mile-High City will definitely be on my list of cities I need to continue exploring.