Weekend in Denver, Colorado: Where to Eat, Explore & Ski

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! 💜

A couple of weeks ago, I met my brother in Denver Colorado for a fun getaway. He lives all the way out in L.A., and it was nice being able to explore a new city and spend some time with him. Growing up, you would have had to pay me a million dollars before hanging out with my brother (and I’m sure he felt the same.) As you get older, the time spent with your siblings is much more meaningful. I can’t believe I’m admitting to this, but he’s a blast to hang out with. Some of you may have already seen the video from our trip, but I wanted to put together a blog post to share some of the places we visited. I hope this post inspires you to make a trip to Denver. We visited some pretty cool spots that you should add to your travel plans.
T.C. and I met up at the airport, rented a car, and then headed to our hotel to get settled in before making our way to dinner. Denver was love at first sight for me. If I weren’t already trying to move somewhere even warmer, I’d be looking real hard into relocating to Denver. My brother goes out there a lot for work, so I may try to fly out in the summer for a hike or walk around the city. Denver is one of those places where you feel like you can’t get enough. There is so much to see, and that’s why another weekend out there is necessary. I was shocked at how many readers I have from the Denver area, and your recommendations did not let me down! If there are any must do/see/eat for a summer in Denver, please let me know in the comments! 

Denver food standards were set high after eating at City, O’ City. I almost threw in the towel on trying new places and ate here for every meal. City, O’ City is a vegetarian restaurant with vegan & gluten-free options. Let me tell you this; the portions are not small. We decided to order a ton of different items to split but didn’t realize how big the portions were. Since our hotel had a fridge, we thought we’d take home the leftovers. That was a big joke. After trying all the food, it stood no chance for survival. We will definitely be going there for breakfast this summer.

We managed to make it just in time for happy hour. We took advantage of that by ordering cocktails, $2 cauliflower chorizo tacos, and an order of buffalo seitan wings for my brother. I’ve never been a cocktail person, so I thought “why not?” I went with the Cap Hill Sour. Anything with lemon sparks my interest. The drink had cap rock gin, dom Laroque Cab Franc, simple syrup, lime, and lemon juice. It wasn’t a bad way to start the evening.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’ve never been a taco person. I like them, but ordering them has never been my thing. Why? I have no clue. My brother suggested that we try the vegan & gluten free cauliflower chorizo tacos. The first bite was unreal. I’m not even going to try to understand why it was so good. I’ll leave it at magic. The tacos have spiced cauliflower topped with chipotle aioli, chimichurri slaw, and vegan sour cream served on corn tortillas. My brother said the buffalo seitan wings were phenomenal, and the proof was in how many were left…zero.
 Next, on the menu, we split the roasted brussels sprouts. As if the food couldn’t get any better, it did. I was waiting for just something to be “ehhh,” but that didn’t happen. The smoky roasted brussels sprouts were served with green apples, dried cranberries, almonds on frisée, and served with a vegan bacon maple mustard dressing. Dang was this dish freakin’ delicious!

As if we didn’t eat enough, we finished the meal off with the City, O’ City burger. The patty was made with vegetables, sunflower seed, and walnuts, but somehow it tasted like a fried, greasy burger and we loved it! They added vegan cheese and their “special sauce.” <—like the Krusty Krab secret formula.

They had a great dessert menu, but that’ll have to wait until next time. We rolled out of there like roly-polies.
It was still pretty early, so we walked up the street and stopped into Asbury Provisions to have a drink. This place reminded me of a pub you’d find Ed Sheeran in. Should I delete that? No. Those are my thoughts. This place was cozy and pretty crowded, but with very nice people. I had a glass of Rickshaw Pinot Noir, and my brother had a Cherry Gose (his favorite.)

We had a very early morning, so we decided to head back to the hotel. We stayed at the Warwick Hotel, which I highly recommend. It’s in a great location and very reasonably priced. They even have a rooftop pool, but it was winter so you won’t catch me up there. The staff was super sweet and friendly. We ended the night with our complimentary drinks, and then I went upstairs to crash! Of course, my brother makes friends wherever he goes so he stayed downstairs with a group of people for a few more hours. I was also on east coast time, so I didn’t stand a chance.
We were up bright and early for our day of skiing! You can read all about the ski trip on this blog post. I had some coffee, and then we headed to Whole Foods to grab a quick snack before heading to ski. We originally planned on eating somewhere for breakfast, but to be honest, we were still pretty full from the night before. I think choosing to rest the stomachs before skiing was a pretty good idea. 
We spent the entire day skiing at Echo Mountain! If you’re going to be in Denver, you have to go skiing! Even if you’re terrible at it **cough** **me** I did some research on places to ski and came across Echo Mountain. It is the closest to Denver and the most reasonably priced. You can make this a day trip, and it’s great because you don’t have to buy anything in advance. You can go out and buy tickets when you arrive, which is less stressful than booking everything in advance (when you have no clue what any of it means.) They provide rentals, slopes for beginners, and pretty much everything you need to make it a good ski day.

Even if you don’t plan to ski, it’s a beautiful drive out to the slopes, and they have a restaurant with delicious food and drinks. There were a lot of people hanging out there while their friends skied. So if you’re going with a group, you don’t even have to ski to enjoy yourself! To be honest, I spent most of my time sipping on coffee watching my brother ski. I went down the slope about five times and then I had enough. It was so hard, and I learned that watching with coffee in my hand was much more enjoyable. It’s really fun to see the kids fly down the slopes like little Olympians.
We stopped in the restaurant at Echo Mountain for lunch later in the afternoon. We split some seasoned waffle fries that were to die for and a quinoa salad. Because I was still doing vegan January, T.C. ate the salmon. The food wasn’t overpriced at all, and it was shockingly delicious(I say shockingly because who would have thought a ski resort would have good food?) That salad was bomb! T.C. said the creamy tomato soup was the best he’s ever eaten. You’ll have to make sure to watch the video to see how skiing went! 😂 
We spent about seven hours at Echo Mountain but wanted to drive back before it got dark. The drive is very scenic, but dangerous with snow on the mountain roads. You have to be extra careful. 
How beautiful is this?
We pulled over on the drive back so I could take some photos of the elk. I couldn’t get enough of the scenery. It felt like something out of a movie.

We headed to Wynkoop Brewing Company in downtown to have a drink and watch the Rams play the Chiefs. This was such a cool spot with so many pool tables. The food looked delicious, but we had our minds set on Tacos. I enjoyed a glass of Malbec while T.C. had cucumber gose. This is a great spot to watch sports or for a big group.

All of the skiing and football watching had me hungry! We planned on going to Root Down since it was recommended by so many of you, but we didn’t feel like going back to the hotel to change or waiting for a late reservation, so we walked into Machete Tequila & Tacos! When T.C. mentioned this place earlier, we had our mind set on tacos!

We started with the Masa Crisps & Salsas.

I ordered the cauliflower Coliflor (asked to make vegan) and Betabel tacos! I’m still not a beet person, but they were really good. The Cauliflower tacos were so good. I should have ordered like five more! My brother ordered the Camaron (shrimp) and Pescado (grilled tilapia) tacos! I was looking at their menu earlier and can’t believe I didn’t order their shishito peppers with aioli sauce. How did I miss that? Next time.

The vibe of this place was cool, and there was so much to look at (see the video for reference.)

After a day of skiing, I never slept so well in my entire life 😴 
It’s hard to pick where to eat breakfast in Denver because there are so many spots. When I came across the Corner Beet online, I was like “YEP!” I couldn’t wait to try this spot out. It was right up my alley. It’s an adorable juicery & vegetarian cafe. I loved the vibe and decor, and if you’re a plant lover, this will be your heaven. I started with a heavenly almond milk cappuccino, and my brother had a chai latte. The coffee drinks were on point! 
You can’t go to a juicery without trying juice, so we ordered a flight! We had the citrus moon (grapefruit, orange, spinach, fennel, kale, pineapple, cilantro) Peter Rabbit (gold beets, carrot, parsley, apple, cucumber, orange) & two Tropical Spice (spinach, apple, ginger, pineapple, romaine, lemon, cucumber, ginger, mint.) We also ordered a wheat grass, and ginger shot to throw into the juices as well. These little shooters were so fresh and bold! We felt healthy after drinking them 😂  I loved the tropical spice the best and T.C. liked the Peter Rabbit because he’s one of those “beet” people. 
My brother ordered their breakfast burrito, and I went with the avocado toast! Before I ate the toast, I saw the flour on the outside and realized it wasn’t gluten-free. I went up to the counter to order the same thing but this time on gluten-free bread. It was 100% my fault because I forgot to ask for it. She would not let me pay for it and insisted on making us another. I felt so bad and begged to pay for it, but she wouldn’t take my card. Honestly, that’s the kind of service you get in Denver! They were so nice there, and the food was just tasty and fresh. Don’t worry though, we took the toast with us, and my brother had it for lunch, so nothing went to waste. If I lived in Denver, that’s the place I’d want to park my laptop at and just work. Please please please add this place to your list 💜
We had a lot of food to walk off, so we explored the downtown area, LoDo, and made our way to Union Station. You can’t go to Denver without stopping at Union Station! This spot is a Denver staple. It’s more than just a train station; it has shopping, restaurants, and bars.

Almost everyone recommended visiting Red Rocks! Here’s the deal. Visiting this place in the winter was such a tease! It was gorgeous, but I can’t imagine how fun it would be in the summer with concerts and movies! I’m adding this to my summer list. They also have group workouts here that could be fun to try out. 
After spending the afternoon walking around Red Rocks and visiting the museum, we drove to American Cultures for a Kombucha flight. This spot was adorable, and I wish they had a place like this near me! We had the Mauna Kea Turmeric Coconut, Turtle Mountain Rosemary, Maui Sunrise Mango/Ginger/Pineapple, and the Strawbery Ginger! I loved all of them except the turmeric one, which was convenient because that was my brothers favorite. 

A couple blocks down from American Cultures is Black Eye Coffee! I remember reading about this place on Brittany’s (Eating Bird Food) Colorado blog! She wrote a great travel guide for Denver. She was right about this coffee spot not disappointing. I had an almond milk cappuccino, and it was fabulous. My brother ordered iced tea, which was also really good. I didn’t know unsweetened ice tea could be such a hit, but it tasted a lot like tropical banana. I know that sounds weird, but the point of my story was that they also have excellent iced tea. 
I know Denver is filled with so many unique coffee shops, so that’ll be on my list when I go back in the summer. One can only drink so much coffee in a day 😆 
Next, we stopped at Ratio Beerworks.

After trying to coffee and kombucha, it was my brother’s turn to be in his element. He started with the raspberry saison and sipped on Healthade Kombucha, which was pretty cool that they sold it there. The atmosphere was a lot of fun! We met some pretty cool people and ended up staying for several hours. 
That’s a “the beer was really good” face. I also forced him to get an Instagram that night! You guys have to follow him! @tc_mcnitt
We ended our trip on a pretty dang good note. We headed to Watercourse Foods for dinner. This place will surely satisfy your vegan comfort food cravings. This place also had giant portion sizes, so many leftovers!

We started with the gluten-free cauliflower wings. I have been craving these ever since we left Denver! We had Memphis bbq, mango habanera, and buffalo! I couldn’t choose a favorite because they were equally good. You have to get the trio if you order these, and you should order these! The vegan ranch sauce was freakin’ good as well. I don’t know how they do it! I wish I could make stuff this good 😢
I ordered their brussels sprout salad which came with brussels sprouts, kale, pomegranate, grilled apple, maple dijon, balsamic reduction, candied walnuts, and vegan gorgonzola. I’m sure you can tell by looking at it how amazing it tasted! We also ordered a side of their gluten-free mac and cheese on the side, which was pretty good!  My brother ordered the seared tofu sandwich. It had a soy chili glaze, butter lettuce, radish sprouts, pickled ginger, crispy onions, chipotle aioli and served on a kaiser roll. And you better believe I helped him eat some of those tasty sweet potato fries! I probably gained like ten pounds with all the delicious food we had in Denver, but it was all worth it.

Should you add Watercourse Foods to your travel guide? ABSOLUTELY YES!!! (even if you’re not vegan, you’re going to love the food)

When we got back to the hotel, we packed our bags and got everything ready for our morning flights. After I took a shower, I took a melatonin and passed out by 8 pm. I was zonked! 
We were up and ready to leave by 3:00 am! I had a flight at six and T.C. had a flight at 5 am. We wanted to beat the blizzard and return the rental car before heading to our gates. I felt so bad for T.C. because he had to fly all the way to L.A., feed his cats, grab more of his work clothes, and get on a flight a couple of hours later to fly right back to Denver for work. He found out he had to be back while we were on the trip which is why he didn’t plan to stay in the first place

It took a bit before our flight took off because they had to prepare the plane for the crazy weather!
Other than a few bumps here and there, it was a pretty smooth flight. I couldn’t sleep, so I enjoyed a cappuccino and some snacks from Caribou. I also managed to beat 32 levels in candy crush on that 3 1/2 hour flight. I’ve been playing on and off for about six years, and I’ve finally made it to level 600. Don’t judge me! 😆 
I was so hungry when we landed! I wasn’t going to be able to eat for a while because I had to drive out to my parent’s house to pick up the dogs. Kyle dropped them off on Monday because he was going out of town for work for the day. I stopped at Red Mango (one of my favorite Charlotte airport juice spots) for a green smoothie! It had a banana, water, ice, spinach, extra ginger, kale, cucumber, celery, and lemon!  
I finally made it back to my house with the pups later in the afternoon! I was ready to relax with a cup of coffee and get back into emails! ♥️ I miss Colorado and cannot wait to get back there in the summer!

Questions for you!

  1. Have you been to Denver?
  2. Do you ever travel with your siblings?
  3. What city should I visit next?

Comments

  • K

    As adults my sister and I have travelled together to Alaska, Hawaii, San Fran & Napa, LA & San Diego, SW Colorado, and much of the Midwest! A lot of that was with spouse(s) and some with our parents.

    Reply to K
  • Kacey

    Love this post! I live in Denver and will be the first to say, I’m horrible at exploring new places! I’ve only been to a few of these spots, so this has inspired me to branch out more. Especially some of these coffee spots…I love cozy unique cafes! Glad you enjoyed your visit!

    Reply to Kacey
  • Nicole

    I live in the Denver area, just moved back from PA last year, and haven’t been to many of these places! So thank you for the list! It’s crazy how much you don’t even get to in your own backyard!

    Reply to Nicole
    • Courtney

      Same! And I’m vegetarian so I’m definitely going to make time to visit all these restaurants 😊

      Reply to Courtney
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’m the same way with Charlotte! There is so much here I need to see. Maybe I’ll do a staycation post! 😀

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    Yay! So happy to see a Denver post :). Next time you guys head out here you should check out Boulder too! One of the best things about seeing our city blow up is the fact that there’s SO much yummy vegan food now. It’s everywhere!

    And a summer Red Rocks concert is a MUST! It’s also really fun to just go up there and work out in the summer. Hiking is also a must do in the summer. Eldorado Springs is a fun little pool that’s tucked away into a canyon – that’s where the Eldorado water comes from!

    I just recently traveled with my big brother (in Italy) and it was SO FUN. We were thte same when we were younger – constant war between us (my poor parents). Now we’re the best travel buddies ever. The next destination we hope to hit is Asia!

    I think you should check out Portland or Seattle – those are two cities we’ve been dying to visit too!

    Glad you guys had fun here and you 100% need to come out in the summer (I think Kyle would love it too!).

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
  • Anastasia

    Once again, your pictures are incredible!! You constantly inspire me with your photography!!

    My aunt and uncle used to live in Denver so I would fly out and stay with them on my breaks in middle school and high school! That was back before my healthy eating days (or before I understood how awesome local food could be!) so now I am dying to go back and try every place in this blog post!

    All of our family vacations growing up resulted in my siblings and I fighting. We get along more now that we are adults and that makes me so excited to take a trip with them one day! It looks like you had an incredible time with your brother! That is so great you guys got to do this together since you literally live on opposite side of the U.S. I just texted my brother we need to go somewhere with my sister. 🙂

    I think you and Kyle should go somewhere abroad!! Like Ireland or something. Obviously more expensive then somewhere in the U.S. but I think that it would be so awesome 🙂 (I also may be living vicariously through your travel posts!! lol)

    Have the most amazing weekend. So glad you are feeling better!!

    Reply to Anastasia
  • Loren

    Where is that sweater from? The blue one?

    p.s. your brother is cute

    Reply to Loren
  • Anonymous

    Was it cold?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jules

    Wow! Learned some things about my own city. So glad you enjoyed 😆☺️

    Reply to Jules
  • Lauren

    Denver looked great! Curious to know what you changed in the Coliflor tacos to make it vegan? I was looking at the menu (yum!) and didn’t see any ingredients that looked non-vegan.

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’m not sure to be honest. I knew that they labeled the others as “vegan” on the menu and that one was not. I just asked for them to make it vegan just to make sure and she never said anything so who knows lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brittany

    AHHH! I loved this post. Also, photo editing on pointttt. I loved looking at all of your photos and reading about your time there 🙂 I have only been to Denver once and it was when I drove cross country from IL to CA. I stopped in Denver for maybe 3 hours to meet up with a friend from college and was on my way! However, for those 3 hours I absolutely loved it there.

    Anywho, hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Reply to Brittany
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Brittany!!

      I loved it as soon as we landed, so I don’t blame you for falling in love after three hours.

      I hope you have a great weekend, too! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    I love reading about the vegan options in your post. I live in Boulder and you should explore there.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Sara

    OMG I LIVE IN DENVER! SO COOL!

    Reply to Sara
  • Susie

    I find your relationship with your brother so endearing and heartwarming. I have two brothers but we are not close and never in a million years will I travel with them! I have taken good/ fun trips with my sisters though. I would love to visit Colorado someday. I’d also like to visit NM in October during their hot air balloon festival. I think I’d be too chicken to ride one, but just the visual experience from the (safe) ground is enough for me, haha!

    Hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day!

    Reply to Susie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Susie! Hope you had a great holiday too!

      You may change your mind one day! lol Also, I ALWAYS wanted a sister, so I had to learn to get along with my brother hahaha

      I’d be ok to ride in one if I had a parachute lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jenna

    I have been to Denver, but I only flew into the city. Apparently I need to add it to my travel list. Glad you had such an amazing trip!

    I’ve never traveled with just my brother, but maybe one day. But a few years back when we went to Ohio & Pittsburgh as a family, him and I walked around the city to find some coffee.

    You should go to Nashville!

    Reply to Jenna
  • Elle

    Ive been to denver but LOVE boulder and estes Park! Not sure if I could travel with my sibling, maybe! I love rapid City, SD! Not sure if its up your alley but I loved how it was in between badlands national park and the black hills! My boyfriend and I never ran out of things to do when we went! Also the stars in badlands was breathtaking!

    Reply to Elle
  • Katie

    LOVE Denver!! I agree that you should totally go back to Denver in the summer. If you go back you should definitely check out the surrounding areas for hiking. I love Rocky Mountain National Park and it’s in/near the cutest little town, Estes Park. I think it’d be right up your alley! Next up I think you should visit Austin! That’s where I live and it’s got great outdoor walking trails and hikes and awesome food! We love our vegan/gluten free/dairy free places too! And it’s warm (well…super hot lol) here if you’re looking for a warmer city!

    Reply to Katie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Katie!!

      Absolutely!! The hiking would be so fun! Austin is on my list. I want to go there so bad, but just need to plan it! I want to do Austin and Waco!

      Maybe that’ll be my next adventure!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Emily

    I live in Denver! So cool!

    Reply to Emily
  • Amber

    The photos are gorgeous! What camera did you use?

    Reply to Amber
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    What a fun weekend, Taralynn! So much packed into a few days! 😀 I love your mug in the last picture as well, it reminds me of Winnie the Pooh’s honey pot. Super cute! ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Caitlin

    1. Yes. We moved to New Mexico a couple years ago from Tennessee. My BF is from Boulder, so we go up there to visit his parents every couple months. Once you move out west I think it’s impossible to leave. I love Colorado because all the cities are so close and right off the 25. I also enjoy hiking a lot more now that I’m used to exercising at high altitude (northern NM is at 7,000 ft, higher than the tallest mountain in TN haha). The red rocks workouts looked super intense the one time I visited there, but I wasn’t used to altitude.
    2. Nope! I visit my sister back home.
    3. I actually think you’d really like Santa Fe, NM in the summer! That’s where I live. It’s very artsy and has lots of historical sites. San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle or Portland would also be cool! Salt Lake City in the winter.

    Reply to Caitlin
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Caitlin!

      I’m sure the altitude is tough when doing those workouts, especially since I’m from the south! I think it’s cool you visit so often! ♥️ & i don’t blame you!

      Kyle wants to visit NM so bad! I think it’s because he loves the show Better Call Saul lol Seattle is on my list!! My uncle lives there so I need to get out there soon.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Naomi

    Awwww, home. I live in AZ now but I’m glad to know you enjoyed Denver so much. And yes, Red Rocks during the summer is a must! Can’t beat Film on the Rocks or just about any concert under the stars. 🙂

    Reply to Naomi
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Arizona is gorgeous as well! 😊 but I can see why you miss Denver! I hope I can go experience red rocks in the summer! Looks like a blast 😃

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Rachel

    This looked like a fun trip!

    Reply to Rachel
  • Natalija

    Hi Taralynn, happy Valentine’s day to you,too! It’s awesome you got to spend time with your brother and that time truly was quality. Cauliflower chorizo tacos and buffalo seitan wings sounded amazing.The elk photos are just stunning, I kept returning to them over and over again, subtle beauty like in a fairytale. I’m telling you honestly I’ve never tried kombucha, but you made me really tempted. In my Soviet union childhood nearly everyone (!!!) had that slimy tea mushroom at home in a huge glass jar and made their own kombucha. If you are curious, you can read more about it here: https://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-russia-kombucha-20180515-story.html This slimy mushroom looked so horrid I never dared to taste despite all the health benefits. But it’s all different now when it’s produced in all those amazing flavours and cool packaging, so yes, I might try. Thank you very much for sharing all the cool eating places and all that mouthwatering vegan food! Your pups probably were over the moon when you have returned. Best wishes and have a lovely weekend!

    Reply to Natalija
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks so much, Natalija!!

      I think you lost me at mushroom! lol, I have a hard time even touching them! lol but it sounds pretty cool! & you have to try kombucha!!! It’s trick though because there are so many different kinds out there.

      Thanks for reading! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt

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