Visit Colorado: our crazy fun travel journal of Denver and beyond

We love time in the Rocky Mountains, but it’s rare that we get to enjoy it in Colorado. We’re exploring Denver and beyond this week and it’s started with a bang! Planning for the family to visit Colorado was as simple as Googling “Denver + hiking + kids + science”. OMG.  Let’s just say that it’s given us the perfect Denver area itinerary for the week.

We’ve partnered up with Visit Colorado, Visit Denver and Visit Estes Park to make sure that we can experience and share our most interesting and totally Colorado sites.  If you have some ideas for places for us to visit or any insider tips, please share!

Starting in Denver: lunch at Steuben’s

We landed in Denver to blue skies and no traffic. Score!  After picking up our car and heading into the city, we immediately sought out lunch (even if it was a bit earlier than normal).  We headed right to Steuben’s Uptown on the recommendation of a friend and it was ideal for the family. Straight out of the 60s, it was a great taste of Denver with healthy options as a standard for kids and craft beer at the ready for the dads. With roasted chicken, Philly cheese and edamame with cucumbers, we were set. And driving around the neighborhood we saw many more cool foodie spots that we MUST come back to. Just another reason to Visit Colorado more often.

Staying at Capitol Hill Mansion B&B downtown

The kids always love it when we check into a new hotel. Like, it’s the highlight of the trip. When we pulled up to the Capitol Hill Mansion Bed and Breakfast, they were totally stoked.  Built in the 1890s and pretty monumental in the neighborhood, the Mansion had the perfect spot for us. We’re in a two room suite with our own entrance and plenty of room for the kids. It’s great for relaxing, sleeping and getting a bit of work done. And it’s walking distance to everything.

Hiking at Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks Park

Of course we’re going hiking when we visit Colorado! Dinosaur Ridge was our starting point. We headed up the hill, checking out the fossils all up the hillside and in the rocks and the kids were just as wowed as any adult. Really cool.  The highlight of Dinosaur Ridge though is actually the dinosaur bones still in the rocks and dirt. Oliver (our oldest) was really excited to spot a few dinosaur bones that weren’t labled. #paleantologist

Red Rocks is really cool.  Just past Dinosaur Ridge it’s more than the famous amphitheater. With endless hiking trails and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, there’s something for everyone at Red Rocks Park.  Because the kids were a bit tired and we’d already hiked 2.5 miles in the warm sun, we just did the simlple Trading Post Trail Loop. It was short, really dramatically beautiful and there were bunnies.  It was a hit!

Coolest dining experience: Avanti F&B

We didn’t completely understand the concept of Avanti F&B when we arrived, but it was really incredible. A whole bunch of restauarateurs got together in this big cooperative space with some bars, outdoor seating, dining rooms, lounge space and beautiful views of downtown Denver and they created the most delicious collection of diverse food.  We enjoyed poke (we love poke), Mexican food, Peruvian sandwiches, deep fried risotto, gelato and more. It was a really fun way to dine with kids and we ate a bit too much goodness. When you visit Colorado, be sure to stop into Avanti F&B for a truly unusual experience.

Starting the day by hitting Snooze (AM Eatery)

We rolled out of bed after all that hiking and food yesterday and headed right for Snooze AM Eatery at Union Station.  We’ve been to another Snooze location once in Tempe (love Tempe too!) and it was awesome, and this one was as well!  Again, Denver is killing it with the awesome 60s decor and great menus.  We enjoyed blueberry pancakes, an awesome breakfast sandwich (Havana Dreamin’ was delish) and all kinds of breakfast side.  FYI, this was the first time in history that the kids ate hash browns.

Denver Art Museum: the most family-friendly art museum ever

Often we head right for the children’s museum and outdoor spaces, but went right for the Art Museum this time. Immediately we had to go into the DIY art room so the kids could get some arts and crafts out of their system before checking out the exhibits. Upon heading up into one of the architecturally coolest buildings around we we immediately pulled into one of the many family spaces for interactive art. After some play time, we got into the brunt of the museum. Our favorite exhibit was Stampede, animals in art.

History Colorado: making history fun for kids

It’s sometimes tricky to get kids to care about history, but we always make the effort. History Colorado is kind of the perfect blend of fun and fact and was lots of fun to explore with the kids. They particularly enjoyed the Play Ball and skiing history exhibits.  We could’ve spent all day playing and learning, but more of Denver called us to head back out.  FYI, if you’ll be in Denver over the summer there’s going to be the coolest exhibit:  Legorado – Lego art of Colorado. (we may have to come back just for it!)

Denver Botanic Gardens and Children’s Garden

Every conservatory and botanical garden has its gems and unique features.  The Denver Botanic Gardens is really incredible with an impressive conservatory and expansive gardens of all sorts. We really enjoyed exploring both the conservatory and the science pyramid, as they were really different than what we typically see, although the conservatory at the Olbrich Gardens in Madison, WI is really amazing too.

The highlight overall of the Denver Botanic Gardens was actually the Children’s Gardens. Separate from the main gardens, the children’s gardens are all about the different ecosystems you’d see when you visit Colorado, including a great kids stream for playing in.

Continue to follow along as we continue to explore some of the lesser known Denver sites and go beyond the city. And don’t forget to leave us you best tips for a Visit to Denver or beyond.



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