Top Five Destinations of Denver
I’ll admit it. For most of my life, I never considered Denver as a destination. I considered it an interstate landmark, a city that marks the entryway into the mountains and places like Aspen, Breckenridge or Estes Park. I considered it a place to fly into so that I could go check out the college town feel of Boulder. To the west are all the peaks of the Rockies. To the north, the aforementioned Boulder, the Flat Irons and a gateway to Wyoming. To the South, roads can take you to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and the Sand Dunes. There at the center of it all, so that you can easily access all of those things is Denver, at the base of the mountains that trap the pollution and west of the desolation of the plains that lead to it.
Then, I started to go to Denver to go to Denver. Like any place, once you start to explore, you find all of the wonderful things that make it cool. Since this isn’t the top five destinations of Estes Park or Aspen (though those might come in the future), lets stay within the greater Denver area and look at five pretty darn cool things to do.
Start of in the LODO (lower downtown) district and check out a great way to introduce yourself to the place – the Denver Microbrew Tour. Not only do you get to sample beers at several different microbreweries and a free pint of your favorite beer after your done with the tour, you also get a dose of the history of the area, home to the original settlement of Denver.
I love baseball and baseball season is here, so it makes sense to go to Coors Field while downtown and here are three reasons why. First, you have fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains, and no other ballpark can boast a sunset behind those jagged peaks during a night game. Second, if you like offense, you’re going to see many runs scored. (Pay no attention to Barry Zito’s first shutout since 2003.) Third, on the subject of microbreweries, there’s the Sandlot Brewery inside Coors Field that has won several medals at the Great American Beer festival. Yes, it is a test site for new Coors products (and how Blue Moon got its launch) but if you read the interview, you’ll see that they make some delicious sounding beers.
Maybe just having a few beers in me after writing about all the beers in the Denver area makes me want to go watch butterflies at The Butterfly Pavilion. What? You don’t think that when you’ve had a few? Well, la-de-dah, aren’t you cool? I guess you don’t want to hang out in a 7,000 square foot tropical rainforest and watch butterflies and know that your entry fee is going to fund sustainable farming operations. Wow, get a few beers in me, start me talking about the mountains and the hippie really comes to the fore.
One of the best music venues in the country, Red Rocks Amphitheater is the location for part of the iconic live album “Under a Blood Red Sky” by U2 (but the full location for the accompanying concert film.) There’s something wonderful added to music when you’re outdoors in a beautiful place. The only drawback is that you’ll pay a premium for the tickets, and that means that sometimes the audience skews older and thay are more interested in sitting down than standing up to dance and to enjoy the music. If I were you, I’d try to see Wilco there on June 22nd or 23rd. The hippie in me suggests String Cheese Incident in July or Crosby, Stills and Nash in August, though he’d still rock out to Wilco.
Lastly, I’m going to mention a place that will appeal to the hippie and non-hippie alike. The Denver Art Museum has quite a few cool permanent exhibits, but tops on my list this year is the “Garry Winogrand: Women Are Beautiful” photography exhibit that runs until the end of September. 50 candid photographs of women on the street and I think we can all agree that’s a great thing.
Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.
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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."