I’ve visited Colorado before, but I’d never been to Denver until last weekend. I was in town promoting my new book, Phillip Lindsay: Rise of a Hometown Football Hero. It seemed like a perfect excuse for a mini vacation, so my wife and a few friends decided to tag along. If you’re looking for things to do this weekend, here are five itinerary ideas that we loved.
1. Drive the Lariat Loop
When my wife suggested Colorado’s Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway, a few miles west of Denver, I imagined a terrifying white-knuckle drive at the edge of a cliff. I’m happy to report it isn’t that! It’s a scenic drive along 40 miles of well-maintained roads.
A person could make the loop in an hour or so. But there are so many points of interest that you could also spend a day or more traversing it. Because time was short on our Colorado vacation, we only stopped at two spots outside Denver. We spent a few minutes at the Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum, largely because the view of the city from there is not to be missed. We also explored the next item on the list:
2. Visit Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
This place took our breaths away—in more ways than one. Even before you get to the amphitheatre, the setting is spectacular. The Colorado landscape, where plains meet mountains, is a sight to behold. As for the amphitheatre, it is by all accounts a perfect place for a concert. We didn’t get to see a show, but we were thrilled even just to walk down to the stage area. We were much less thrilled when we had to walk back up!
3. Go to a Denver Broncos Football Game
Admittedly, this option isn’t for everyone. It is expensive, and if you aren’t a football fan, you might instead opt for a self-guided tour via Walking Denver. (That’s what half of our party did.) Those of us who visited Empower Field at Mile High enjoyed a beautiful Colorado day at one of the best stadiums in the country.
4. Take a Ghost Walk
For a fun blend of local history and macabre storytelling, you can’t go wrong with a ghost walk. We booked ours through Nightly Spirits. The 2.5-hour tour was less than a mile of walking. The time was mostly spent sitting in private rooms at four different bars. There, our guide regaled us with tales of reported hauntings. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a ghost walk definitely qualifies as a unique experience worth trying.
5. Enjoy the Food
I don’t have fancy tastes (I’m a fussy eater), but I take my dining out seriously. The meals in Denver were consistently amazing. It started with a home run at Jabo’s Bar-Be-Q in Greenwood Village. We also, of course, had to try the famous Colorado-style pizza at Beau Jo’s (along the Lariat Loop). Other favorites included dinner at the Blue Moon Brewing Company and breakfast at The Cow Eatery (also on the Lariat Loop). If the weekend’s first meal wasn’t my favorite, it had to be the last: a pizza place called Two-Fisted Mario’s.
You’ll find a variety of things to do this weekend in the Mile-High City. You can also grab a copy of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver and Boulder. And if you aren’t in Colorado, today’s a good day to start planning your next trip.