Three Days in Downtown Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado is one of the most fun and welcoming cities I have ever been to.  When we moved here in November it was at the beginning of the ski season.  My husband, a snowboarder, couldn’t wait to get his whole family sliding down the mountain.  We spent most of our winter weekends exploring the mountain towns and ski resorts.  When we weren’t driving back and forth on I-70, we spent our weekends unpacking boxes, getting used to a new school curriculum and finding our way around unfamiliar surroundings.  Downtown Denver was not high on the priority list yet.

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I was recently given the opportunity to stay as a guest at The Curtis Hotel, a Doubletree property, for two nights as a representative of Trekaroo.  While we made the Curtis our home for two nights, we spent three days exploring a very small bit of what the downtown area of Denver has to offer.  Three days is not enough time to hit all the highlights so we made a list of things we want to do over the summer and free weekends.  Even though we have a list of things to do on return trips, we feel like we made the most of our three day adventure.

Day One – Arrive and Wander

We arrived shortly after 5:00 in the evening on a Friday night.  After getting checked in and settled in our room, we did a little bit of hotel exploring.  Our room at the Curtis was perfect for our family of four.  I loved that there was a sofabed for the kids because we could fold it up while we were hanging out and have lots of room for them to play.  The hotel was big fun for the kids and the best part of it was the elevator announcements made at each of the themed floors.  See more of my thoughts on our stay at The Curtis.

When we could finally get to the first floor, we walked down the street to Sam’s No3 Diner.  I had eaten here with my daughter a few weeks ago while we were at Mary Poppins downtown and she was excited to show it to her dad and brother.  This restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives and has a huge menu.  You can get breakfast at any time of the day but it will be hard to choose a favorite meal!  I had the French Dip, my kids had French toast and my husband had a 2lb burrito.  That is actually the name: 2lb combo burrito!

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After dinner, we walked another block to the 16th Street Mall.  There are mostly shops and restaurants, but we had fun wandering around and adding different restaurants to our list of places to try.  Neither of my kids could walk past the pianos, a public piano art program called Your Keys to the City.  These whimsical pianos are open for anyone who wants to play.  After banging on the keys for a few minutes, we discovered two very talented young musicians playing another piano down the way.  We stood and listened for awhile as they played an impromptu concert.

On our way back to the hotel, we took a detour to visit the Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center.

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Day Two – A Self-Guided Walking Tour, Stand a Mile High and Try to Catch a Fly Ball

On Saturday morning, we actually had to race to a lacrosse game across town.  When that finished, we returned our car to the hotel and started our day.  We first walked to Larimer Square where we had lunch at Tom’s Urban 24.  I was underwhelmed by the prices of our food (ahem, EIGHT dollars for a kid’s meal?) and the crowd of young Kentucky Derby fans slinging back the drinks, but I would like to return on a date night with my husband so I could give it a second chance.  He was pleased with his meal and I liked the fun atmosphere.  Larimer Square offers a number of places to eat and every single one I saw has been recommended to us at one point or another.  From our booth at Tom’s, we saw the colorful sign for Rocket Fizz and it just called our names.  Little did we know that it is quite the soda and candy store.

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Rocket Fizz offers just about every candy you can think of.  There are hundreds of soda choices and you probably won’t recognize some of them!  We spent about thirty minutes picking out some treats to get us through a lengthy walk to the Capitol.  We wanted to see the Capitol because we wanted to see the plaque that shows where you are standing exactly one mile above sea level.

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We didn’t do a tour or go in because it was closed to the public on the weekends.  After taking some pictures and running up and down the stairs, we walked through a Cinco de Mayo festival that was happening.

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We made our way back to the hotel for a quick break before walking to the baseball stadium to see the Rockies play the Tampa Bay Rays.  We bought our tickets at the gate and were still able to get $15 seats.  I don’t recommend doing this because we had a hard time finding seats in our price point.  The game was great and I will share more about that in a later post.  After the game, we walked back to the hotel and everyone fell asleep quickly!

Day Three – Museums Galore

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Denver has a number of museums that cover all sorts of topics.  We decided to visit the History Colorado Center.  The History Colorado Center can be completed in under two hours as long as it isn’t very crowded.  Our favorite parts were the Denver A to Z exhibit and the Colorado Stories exhibit.  It was great to learn more about all of the different moments in Colorado’s history.  There is a lot that I didn’t know about our new home state.  There is a lot of reading, much like most history museums, but the displays are brightly colored and the paragraphs are short.  The museum is full of hands-on interactive exhibits that will help keep the kids busy while you read the signs.  There is a ski jump simulation, a barn to gather eggs in, and games to play.  After our visit to the museum, it was time to head back to the hotel to pick up the car.  Your day doesn’t have to stop here though.  The Denver Art Museum is just a few blocks away so you could make a full day of museum hopping.

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We can’t wait to go back to the downtown area and explore Denver some more.  Do you have any suggestions for activities we should put on our list for our next trip?

Interested in other three day itineraries?  See our itineraries about Pensacola, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, and more.

Stop by Delicious Baby and Friday DayDreamin’ for fun travel posts!

 

Comments

  1. 1

    Even though I am not into winter sports I am considering Denver as a potential destination for our family. I’ve been reading a lot about the area lately and your post just showed it can be fun and leisurely and I just know that my daughter would love Rocket Fizz!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2

    Denver sounds like so much fun – I think my family would really enjoy the city. Love the idea of the Keys to the City program – brilliant idea!

  3. 3

    What a fun trip! I really want to visit Denver one of these days. As a huge fan of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I’ll make sure to eat at Sam’s No.3 Diner. Not sure I’d be able to polish off the 2 lb. burrito though.

  4. 4

    I loved Denver when I was there for TBEX last year, but I was solo. We need to head there and hang out with the kids. It is a pretty cool city!