I often get asked, “What should I do/see while in Denver?” Between the hiking and skiing and exploring, it can be hard to find the time to do it all. But if you have some extra time in the city, I recommend some of my favorite spots that probably aren’t on any Denver visit guide. (and if they are, let’s pretend I found them first.)
Here are my five of my favorite hidden gems.
Just a few blocks from Coors Field and the heart of Lodo (Lower Downtown) is Star Bar, one of my favorite spots downtown. With a more authentic feel than many of the bars on Larimer, Star Bar has a wide variety of craft beer, skee ball and an awesome patio that gives you that home away from home feel. If you are looking for a place to cozy up on a patio couch or turn up outside the reaches of the Lodo bro’s, Star Bar is the place.
While I have yet to find a late night slice that I didn’t like, this recent find is a true gem. And who isn’t craving pizza and chocolate chip cookies after a few Vegas Bombs and a Vodka Soda (two limes)? Pie Hole is best after a turn on the “dance floor” across the street at Sputnik, so next time you are on South Broadway grab a slice (or two). If you aren’t quite ready to stop the party, Pie Hole even delivers to bars. I don’t remember a whole lot, but I am told that the paper plate artwork is impressive and entertaining. (JK Mom, totes remember…)
If you are looking for funky vintage finds or something for your next theme party, Buffalo Exchange has it. This vintage and used clothing boutique on South Broadway as brought me some of my very favorite pieces and I happily gave them a forever (ok, for right now) home in my ever-growing closet. From knee high fringe boots to sequins crop tops to designer labels, Buffalo Exchange does not disappoint. Scouring the racks for unique pieces is one of my favorite things to do on a lazy weekend, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Digging through the racks of discarded bridesmaids dresses and 70’s work out leotards can be hard work, but it well worth the diamonds in the rough.
Denver does brunch. And it does it well. So finding a place with delicious food and a short wait is a true art form. I recently stumbled upon OneFold (lol ok, my personal Denver tour guide took me there) and I still can’t stop drooling. This spot specializes in locally sourced and organic breakfast and coffee with a sophisticated and unique twist. Even with only six plates, it’s hard to decide what to indulge in. We had the congee with is savory rice porridge…and it was amazing. #Trust. But move quick, because this little spot is HOT. After being named 5280’s Top of the Town, Best Breakfast, this hidden gem will quickly become another Denver must-see.
As one of my new favorite hideaways, The Cooper Lounge is the definition of hidden. Tucked above the Terminal Bar at Union Station, Cooper will have you feeling like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, confused and awed and hoping that no one kicks you out. Now pay attention. First, find the hostess stand by the Amtrak counter and give them the secret Cooper handshake. Orrrrr, just let them know you are interested in grabbing a drink. If there is a wait, grab a drink at the Terminal Bar. Once you make it to the bar and order a French martini and pretend like all of your beverages are served on silver platters.
Half of the fun of exploring a new (or current) city is just going for it. Try somewhere you have never been before and while the dive down the street (love you, Don’s) might be easy and cheap, step outside your comfort zone and begin the quest for a new favorite spot. Sometimes you stumble upon a death metal brewery and while it may not have made the list, you found a place in your heart for Mad Max and scream-o and have a really cool story to tell.
For even more Denver Hidden Gems, check out my Pinterest map and start your own Denver adventure.