For a quick weekend getaway, Denver, in itself is a great destination that can cover quite a few of your family’s check-boxes. It has two major advantages to other cities in that 1) while the city is rather widespread, everything is easy to get to, and 2) it’s a city of extremes, from fine dining to hiking.
We stayed right in the heart of downtown Denver, in the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station. This is really in the heart of everything and an extremely comfortable and modern, looking hotel. The rooms are spacious and being able to see downtown right from the window is a heck of an advantage. I also like that it is close to Union Station, but not on top of it. It gives you the chance to walk one block and have it be a little bit quieter than to be in the insanity of Union Station.
That combo of the location being everything as well as its modern and updated style are nice features. You can see in this view from the room that it really is in the middle of everything. If we were the type of people into sports, we could head right over to Coors Field and catch a baseball game. But it was kinda cool to be able to point out from the window and show exactly where we were heading.
For one example, you’ll even see in this photo that the bike-sharing bikes were literally outside the hotel. If you didn’t wanna walk, or didn’t want to Uber, you could just jump on one of these bikes and have a go at it.
Just next door and part of the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station is the Woodie Fisher restaurant, which is actually the original firehouse for Denver. This was one of our favorite brunch restaurants in Denver. It’s a wonderful high-end brunch. Some of the highlights of the menu were the house-made burrata, the brunch fried rice, the Alaskan King Crab Benedict, and the brussels sprouts. First of all the brussels sprouts were, as our daughter put it: ”the best brussels sprouts she ever had.”
The rest of the menu is fortunately variants and takes on traditional brunch items. Pair that with a gorgeous, historic train station and it’s just a wonderful place for a Sunday brunch. Plus, having it basically connected to the hotel made it a nice package, especially if you’re exhausted from jet lag.
But it’s the centrality of Denver that makes it quite an easy destination. Union Station itself is a gorgeous, historic building, and is worth a visit in its own light. There are cute shops, and restaurants in it and it just looks as if the station itself is from a time gone by. If we had more time, it’s the perfect location to consider jumping on an Amtrak and exploring other towns.
One day we ran down to Meow Wolf, which is basically a 10-minute Uber ride to the south. We have a stand-alone story on Meow Wolf here.
If you’re looking to explore further, whenever you would like to do a nature walk or hike, it is only a quick ride in almost any direction. One day we decided to go walking on some trails in Red Rocks, and another time we decided to go to the trails by Dinosaur Ridge. This is all extremely close and nearby. I loved the idea of the juxtaposition of going from a fine dining breakfast to hiking on the same day.
Just near Union Station by two blocks is McGregor Square. This is basically as if somebody decided to build a miniature town square and surround it with restaurants in such. We came here for Pixar Putt, and you’ll see the accompanying story here.
Just below Pixar Putt was the restaurant, The Original. This is a breakfast/lunch/dinner place that really stands on its own uniqueness. For example, check out the sliders with donuts. It mixes the wonderfulness of sliders with the even more wonderfulness of donuts. Their cold brewed coffee was delightful and you’ve got to check out their deviled eggs (specifically the buffalo deviled eggs). Fortunately, so many of their dishes were unique as compared to traditional diner fare. Think of a 1950s diner but going creative with nearly every dish.
Speaking of dining, just south of our hotel was Aloy Modern Thai. It has a very laid-back, casual decor, but the food is anything but laid-back. It’s an extremely high-end, contemporary type of food, and some of the dishes were the best Thai dishes we’ve ever heard of. Two of the highlights had to be the pineapple fried rice and the duck wontons. The service was impeccable, and the food was definitely worth a visit.
What we really loved though was that it had this welcoming casual atmosphere, yet the food quality was so unique. I feel like you can go to any city and have the usual Pad Thai, but how often can you have this mix of different worlds like Duck Wontons?
If you’re not in the mood for fine dining and want to pick up something more casual, we found a local chain called Mici Italian. This was a great idea for a quick pickup before one of the trails. It’s a local chain that is using their family recipes, passed down over the years. It’s at least natural, healthy, and much, much better than fast food. Plus, which kids don’t love pizza?
But all of this is the wonderful city of extremes. That is Denver. Staying right in the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, we could easily jump to any of these things with public transportation, a quick walk, or an Uber. You could go from hiking in the morning to a museum in the afternoon, and then fine dining afterward. Each of these neighborhoods is almost a stand-alone zone. If you want to go hiking, you could jump to that area. If you want to go to the artsy district, you can go to that area.
This is why Denver is a great weekend destination for anybody looking for a “fly in” city that can cover everybody in the family’s interests. It’s a central hub for most airlines and is a relatively easy flight from either coast. Once you’re in Denver you can hit any interest that your family might like.