Heather Conkin

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What to do in Boulder and Denver

When I decided to have blog on my new website, I thought my first blog post should be something amazing, eye catching, and bold. So this page sat blank for several weeks. Just today I had the inspiration for my first topic. My friend Maria from Bloom and Grow Radio is coming to visit Denver soon and consequently will be staying with me for part of her tip (yipeee!) and I’ve owed her a list of my recommendation for, oh, about 5 weeks. The truth is, I have written this list for other friends and family visiting the area countless times so and it’s time to get efficient! I thought why not turn it into a public blog post so that it might serve others and so that I can refer back to it when others ask in the future. So here we go folks, here are my recommendations on what to do if you come to Denver. First things first…..


Boulder vs. Denver

My Colorado geography is not stellar, so I’ll just say that off the bat. I didn’t even know that Boulder and Denver were in the same metro area until I moved here 4 years ago. But they are and the vibes of each area are pretty different. My best take is that Denver is more of a young “metro” vibe and Boulder is more of a laid back, crunchy vibe. Denver has a more eclectic + dense mix of restaurants, bars, and neighborhoods while Boulder is a college town and quickly growing startup community. If you want more access to local hikes and scenery, Boulder is where it’s at. If you are looking for a more urban vibe, you might like Denver. Both are great and luckily we live almost smack dab in the middle so we get to experience both!


Restaurants

In no particular order, here are my favorites restaurants around both towns, although there are still so many on my list that I haven’t made it to yet! We tend to gravitate towards Boulder.

The Rio Grande - (Boulder) The food is pretty standard Mexican fare, but we go there for the margs and the view.

Oak - (Boulder) LOVE the toasty warm atmosphere of this spot. My husband swears they have the best whiskey cocktail he’s ever had in his life called “Across the Atlantic.”

The Black Cat - (Boulder) Hands DOWN my favorite special occasion restaurant. Most everything is locally sourced and the chef is also the farmer and is almost always on site. Do the chef’s selection. You’re welcome.

The Kitchen - (Boulder) Fun fact: Elon Musk’s brother owns this place (among others)

The Med - (Boulder) Our First Restaurant experience here and still one of our go tos.

Park Burger - (Denver) One of my favorite spots in Denver.

Hopdoddy - (Denver) Another one of my favorite burger spots in Denver. Their house made bubbly non alcoholic beverages are so fun!

Salt - (Boulder) A fun spot in Boulder. The food is great and the vibe always agrees with me.

Mercantile - (Denver) wonderful food, great vibe, beautiful aesthetics


Hikes

Most of these are easy hikes because that’s what I prefer! Easy with the option to tailor the length. For most of these you don’t necessarily need speciality shoes. There’s still so many beautiful hikes I haven’t done! Also I haven’t listed anything that takes longer than 45 minutes to get to the trailhead….there are so many incredible hikes if you are willing to drive….maybe a post for another day

South Mesa Trailhead

Shanahan Ridge

Gross Resevoir

Chautauqua


A word about Cannabis

First off, I barely know what I’m talking about, but I have learned a thing or two since moving here. It’s almost unavoidable. You just absorb knowledge on this topic through osmosis. Of course know your own body and don’t do anything stupid. The biggest thing I’ve learned is the difference between CBD and THC. Forgive (or thank me for?) my lamens terms but THC is the component in the plant that makes you high and can take on many forms and cause many different moods, effects, and outcomes. It can make you feel anything from insanely paranoid to euphoric. It’s also not uncommon at all to feel nothing the first time you try it. For some it take a few times to feel the effects. CBD is another component of the plant that does NOT make you high at all if used alone. It is used a lot in oils and in other ways medicinally. CBD can be combined with THC to change the effects of the plant. I think I always pictured THC users as your typically pothead, but I’m amazing at how the culture is different here. Yes, I have encountered potheads and heard about teenagers who have no business using this stuff, but I have also encountered business professionals, stay at home moms, average- joes….pretty much all types of people who use it responsibly. I’ve even talked to people who say that it’s changed their life for the better and contributed to improvements in sleep, mood, anxiety, productivity and more. I know there’s a whole culture with regards to cannabis that I’m not even aware of…just the other day sometime told me that there was as place where you do a “Sushi + Roll” ….you can guess how that one goes. Dispensaries don’t just sell the flower…you can get teas, gummies, caramels, BATH BOMBS, vape pens, candy…you name it. My recommendation is of course to be careful, don’t be an idiot, and to find a dispensary that is reputable. Here’s one, but there is one around every corner!

Craft Breweries

I am not a big beer drinker. BLASPHEMY I know! But here are some well known breweries and districts to check out if that’s your thing!

Rino District
4 Noses Brewery
Crooked Stave
Avery
Boulder Beer

Skiing

My husband is the skier in our family and these are the places he tends to go. Breck is a favorite!

Breckenridge
Copper
Vail
Eldora (he doesn’t ski here yet, but a lot of people like this area for kids and because it’s a little closer)
A-Basin


Sightseeing

Estes Park - a mere 40 miles from this area, you will see incredible sites, peaks, wild life and more!


Breckenridge - a like to go to Breck just to hang out! See some beautiful sites, show and enjoy yourself, even if you don't ski!


El Dorado Canyon State Park - Nearby my house, my friend calls this her “thin place” which is like a place that seems like you don't know whether it’s heaven or earth. Magical!


Nederland - Ride the Carousel of Happiness and go on a hike! Just a short drive from this area, you can go above the clouds and unwind for the day here. Oh and those special bath bombs I mentioned?? Find those here.


Peak to Peak Highway


Maroon Bells - a pretty long drive from Denver, but sooo worth it if you are here during peak color season which is usually mid to late September. Incredible!



There you have it! I’m sure I’ll edit and add on to this list and there is surely something I am forgetting, but here’s my best shot at things to do and places to see to get you started if you visit this magical area! Enjoy some photos of a few of these places!


Merchantile in Union Station.

Merchantile in Union Station.

South Mesa Trailhead

South Mesa Trailhead

Union Station

Union Station

The incredible Maroon Bells

The incredible Maroon Bells

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