It is time to get festive and what better way to kick off the holidays than a trip to Denver for food, fun and a dose of holiday shopping. Come on mountain peeps, you know you love it! We have a great line up of ideas for you to make a trip to the Front Range worth every minute of your travel time. Here are some of our highly recommended suggestions.
Let’s start with a stay at the Hotel Monaco. Located at the corner of 17th Street and Champa Street, this is the heart of Denver. You can rejoice, as you are walking distance from The Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 16th Street Mall, Union Station, the Pepsi Center and surrounded by a plethora of breweries, eateries, entertainment and more. We suggest you check in and plan most of your evening unwinding here first to make the most of your trip.
Entering the Hotel Monaco is like unwrapping a holiday present. Their spacious lobby is so festive with beautiful holiday decor, highlighting their incredible, gilded vaulted ceiling, The visual greeting is simply spectacular. The staff is warm and welcoming, the word stuffy doesn’t even cross my mind at this Kimpton-owned property, this place is fun. You have to love the cow that greets you in the elevator lobby as you head on your way to your room. It is the perfect Instagram shot! The rooms are spacious, luxurious with a little bit, no a lot of fun, quirky sophistication thrown in. Vibrant, colorful textures and patterns dominate your room. It is the perfect place to feel like a kid again but with all the benefits of being an adult. We really liked their little intimacy kits, wink-wink.
Once you have luxuriated in your room, head down to the lobby for a daily hosted wine reception and explore their award winning restaurant Panzano. You must be sure to make a reservation for your dinner that night to experience Chef Patrick Kelly’s exceptional Northern Italian cuisine. We seriously had one of the best dining experiences in this incredible, award-winning restaurant during our stay. The wine menu is extensive and we loved how we could investigate each selection on the iPad touch menu. I indulged in a Grilled Romaine appetizer that gave this Ceasar inspired salad a wonderful smokey flavor. Panzano’s Vitello Osso Bucco was so satisfying and incredibly comforting on the cold day we arrived. I would go back again just to experience this perfect, hearty dish. You must indulge in their Tiramisu, with an espresso and Sumbuca, it is perfection.
Start your next day out with a run or bike on the Greenway Trail that follows the South Platte River. We love how a large section of this trail lies below Speer Boulevard and brings you down to Confluence Park to the West or Washington Park to the South-East. When you arrive back at the hotel grab a great coffee right the Hotel Monaco’s lobby and then luxuriate in your room’s tremendous bathroom as you prep for the day.
The 16th Street Mall is just around the corner from the Monaco. The pedestrian transit Mall is 1.25 miles long and is home to over 275 stores. Everything from locally owned mom and pop shops, fast food and five star dining as well as breweries line this special stretch of sidewalk. Free shuttle buses cruise the mile-long Mall seven days a week so if your feet get tired then you can be whisked right back to where you came from. Head all the way down to the West end and check out the newly refinished Union Station. The whole city twinkles at night with gorgeous holiday light displays. If you’re feeling ho, ho, hum this will absolutely liven up your spirits and kick start you into the holiday mood.
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House and Denver Performing Arts Complex are both just a little bit further down Champa Street. The Colorado Ballet’s Nutcracker will be performing all through the month of December. The Buell Theater will host Red Bull Flying Bach, December 2 -4. Urban culture will fuse with high society where globally recognized dance crew, The Flying Steps, will perform to a genre-bending mix of classical, hip hop and electronic music as they bring their internationally successful tour stateside for an extended run of dates across the country. The Bottecher Concert Hall will host a Christmas Carol, Handel’s Messiah and more during the holiday season. Be sure to check the Ogden Theater’s schedule too! They have an amazing line up during the month of December – Greensky Bluegrass, The Wood Brothers, Michael Franti Trio and more are lined up in their concert calendar. If comedy is more your style then you are moments away from Denver Comedy Works.
If you really want to get some authentic time out then sign up for the Denver Microbrew Tour. The Denver Microbrew Tour is a guided walking tour through downtown Denver, Colorado’s historic LODO (lower downtown) and Ballpark Neighborhood districts. The tour includes beer samplings at several microbreweries and a local tap room, everything you could want to know about beer, a coupon for a pint of your favorite beer on the tour, and local Denver history.
So after all of that, you might be in need of a massage or an extra hard workout. The Monaco offers both spa services and the opportunity to head into the Denver Athletic Club for all of their incredible amenities. The hotel also has free bikes to get around and see all of the city’s sites. So make a plan, come down in altitude, give the keys to the Valet and enjoy a great weekend in the Mile High City.