What’s the best thing to do after a long day of outdoor excursions, mud puddles and utter excitement? Indulging in literally the best buffalo wings I’ve ever had. Shoutout to Fire on the Mountain, for literally blowing my mind. If you don’t know this, I’m a bit of a wings connoisseur, and I live in New York, so the last place I expected to have the best ones of my life was in Denver, Colorado. But hands down, they were top notch.
In case you didn’t notice, food is a big part of traveling, especially for us Wanderlisters. So after indulging and growing one pant size in wings, I of course had to wash it down with some of Denver’s best ice cream at Little Man Ice Cream. I got a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich that was to die for and let’s just say by the end of the night, I needed to SIT DOWN.
The best part of Denver, other than the weather, the food and the people, is there’s never a shortage of things to do. Even after we stuffed our faces and literally were exhausted from the Nova Guides tour that afternoon, we walked back to D’s home in LoHi and went out on her apartment’s balcony and just stared at the skyline. It’s one of my favorite things to do when traveling, just sit with a friend, new or old, and relax and enjoy what’s right in front of me in that moment. If I take away anything from the trip, it’s that.
The next morning, it was obviously time for brunch and D took us to the apparent Denver hot spot Snooze in downtown. I probably had the most delicious Carnitas Benedict ever (if I haven’t made it clear, Denver has a great food scene!) and washed it down with some delicious grapefruit mimosas. A little food in the belly and a little buzz in the brain and I was ready to conquer the day.
After brunch Dana took us on a driving tour of Denver. We got to see Washington Park, Capital Hill, Cherry Creek, Uptown, Union Station and much more. She took us to the REI in downtown, one of their flagship stores, and even though I’m not much of an outdoors woman, I was blown away at the size of the store and could see people spending all day in there. We walked down to the South Platte River and dipped our toes in. It was still super chilly from all the snow melt coming down from the mountains. We also went out to Red Rocks and climbed the amphitheater steps. I wish I could’ve seen a show during my trip there, but it’s definitely something to look forward to my next trip!
We wrapped a great day with a cookout on D’s deck with friends, old & new. We ate good food, played games and had a blast. Afterward, we went out to a really cool bar called Forest Room 5. It was the strangest bar I’ve ever been to. It almost gave me the vibe of your grandma’s basement, if she was a hoarder of creepy things, but they pulled it off.
My last day in Denver we decided to take a little road trip to try and squeeze in as much Colorado before I left as we could. We headed out to Estes Park, a little town on the edge of Rocky Mountains National Park, about 2 hours northwest of Denver. D was desperate to get me to see some elk along the roadside, but I guess they were hiding from us that day. We made the trek up there and saw the Stanley Hotel (the hotel from The Shining) but I am too superstitious and wouldn’t let D get too close to it. We did a little shopping in the quaint little mountain town and had a really great last day. One of the best parts of Colorado is that there’s the city, there’s these quaint little mountain towns and then there’s the middle of nowhere. On our way back to Denver, we had to stop at a roadside cherry pie shop, cause why not?
My last day in Colorado, I had a bittersweet taste in my mouth. On the one hand, I was excited to continue my travels onto California and see more friends. But, since I had enjoyed my time so much in this totally new place, I was sad to go knowing there was so much more to be seen. It is definitely a place I didn’t understand for a long time. As I’ve said, I’m not very outdoorsy, so I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it. But Colorado is all about bringing you outside your comfort zone and appreciating other things life has to offer. That’s it’s shtick, just like any other place has their’s, and it’s definitely a place I want to experience again.