Location: Central Denver
This last December my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Denver for a few days. We planned out some awesome stuff to do and places to see. Here are the highlights, condensed into one awesome day, broken down with directions, tips, and prices.
*If you’re just here on a layover and want to check out the downtown Denver area there is great public transportation from the airport. Catch the train right outside the terminal to get to the heart of Denver in about 35 minutes.
Breakfast at Denver Biscuit Company
Sure to fill you up for a day of sightseeing and adventure, the Denver Biscuit Company offers hearty, Southern-Style breakfasts. Their biscuits are big, flaky, buttery, and homemade. If that doesn’t sell it, I don’t know what will. Head over and grab a bite to start your day!
Denver Biscuit Company:
3237 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Hours: Mon-Fri 8AM-2PM, Sat-Sun 8AM-3PM
City Park/ Denver Museum of Nature & Science
After you’ve filled up and chatted your way through breakfast, you’ll want to burn off some of that energy. Luckily, City Park is literally two blocks away. Taking walks and exploring parks is one of my favorite things to do. City park has some wonderful walking or running trails and you can make your time there as long (or as short) as you like.
When you’re done exploring the walking paths, head over to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (it’s in City Park). They have some really cool standing exhibits, and a constant rotation of special exhibits. Special exhibits usually have a separate fee, so make sure to check and book in advance if the special exhibit interests you.
I’m usually happy to view what the museum offers in their standing collection but sometimes there’s a special exhibit that catches my eye 🙂
Lunch at Zoe Ma Ma
After exploring the museum I highly recommend heading over to get lunch at ZoeMaMa. It’s right in the heart of downtown Denver next to the old Union Station. ZoeMaMa is excellent Taiwanese/Chinese, food that comes closer to what I had in Taiwan than anywhere else I’ve been in the States so far. If you head to the Union Station location you can still see the grandma who inspired the restaurant, cooking alongside everyone else.
You won’t regret ordering the Sichuan Braised Beef Noodle (available on Sun, Mon, & Tues) or the Za Jiang Mian. Don’t forget to add some hot oil from the self-serve station to next-level your meal.
Zoe Ma Ma
1625 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11AM-10PM, Fri-Sun 11AM-11PM
Price: $10-12/person (*in true Chinese fashion, no tipping is accepted at Zoe Ma Ma)
Parking: Downtown Denver can be an expensive place to park, check out Parkopedia, to see parking prices and locations. It’s super helpful!
After you eat, head over to Union Station next door and take a look at the renovated building. This train station is over 100 years old and houses some beautiful shops and restaurants, as well as the Crawford Hotel in the upper levels. If you need to, you can catch the train directly from Union Station to the Denver Airport.
Tattered Cover Bookstore
Just across the Street from Union Station and Zoe Ma Ma is a Denver icon. The Tattered Cover Bookstore opened in the 70’s and is a truly inviting place for all bibliophiles. The store boasts multiple sections divided up by topic, ample seating for reading while you discover new books, and a small cafe if you want to grab a coffee or snack.
Tattered Cover Bookstore
1628 16th St, Denver, CO 80202
Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30AM-9PM, Sat 9AM-9PM, Sun 10AM-6PM
Confession time. I’m an absolute addict when it comes to visiting aquariums. I guess you could say I’ve become a bit of an aquarium snob for how I judge them. Regardless of the amazingness of the aquarium, I always have a good time. My husband likes to tease me because I can spend forever looking at the shark tanks. Denver boasts a decent aquarium and it’s not ginormous, so you can see the whole thing in a couple of hours. Don’t forget to pet the rays, they feel like velvet!
700 Water St, Denver, CO 80211
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10AM-9PM, Fri-Sat 10AM-9:30PM, Sun 10AM-9PM
Price: $20.99/person (basic entry ticket)
Parking: $7 (across the street from the aquarium)
Dinner at Uncle
Because my day plans clearly center around food, the day wouldn’t be complete without an excellent meal to finish it off. As you can see by the selection of meals for the day, Asian food has a special place in my soul, and no one pulls it off quite like the folks over at Uncle. Uncle is the best Japanese ramen I’ve had outside of Japan and they’re on the top 10 list for best ramen in the States.
You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, just be sure to add the “Spicy Bomb” to your ramen for an instant ramen upgrade. Their Pork Belly Buns are also especially noteworthy, and their kimchi is legit.
Head on over to put your name on the waitlist because they do not take reservations, and yes, you will probably have to wait for your table.
Why not bring over that new book you bought at Tattered Cover to pass the time? If you’re like me, waiting for good food is not an issue. My thoughts? You’ll just be hungrier when you finally sit down, so you can fit more delicious food in your body.
2215 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Hours: Mon-Sat 5PM-10PM
Parking: There’s really no parking at Uncle, you just have to look around the neighborhood and see where you can squeeze in. Don’t be afraid to walk for a minute to get here.
Dessert-if you’re up for it…
If you somehow, miraculously have room left in your tummy for something sweet, Little Man Ice Cream isn’t far away and offers some excellent choices. And it’s ice cream…there’s always room for ice cream. 🙂
Little Man Ice Cream
2620 16th St, Denver, CO 80211
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11AM-10PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-11PM, Sun 11AM-10PM
Price: around $5/person
Daily Total: $84.00-$96.00/person
Denver is a great city for entertainment, activities, and especially food. This one day itinerary is a merely a fraction of what there is to do in Denver, and is merely a guide of suggestions. If you don’t end up doing everything on the list-don’t fret! Taking things at your own pace, while having a general guide to follow is the best part of having a plan in the first place.
So take your time. Explore. Learn. And most importantly…have fun doing it!