Denver Colorado 2021

Denver Colorado is the main place to fly into from San Francisco if you are heading to the Colorado mountains. In June 2021, we managed to hit the city during one of its hot spells, with temperatures around 100.

Having only a single afternoon in the central city area didn’t give us a lot of time to explore.  It seems that we have a history of only passing through Denver, as we did in 2012 and  2014. In spite of the heat, we still put on our walking shoes to see what we could see in our short time there.

Walking around Denver

We started in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which was where Denver’s elite originally built mansions. Indeed there are some beautifully restored old homes, including where we stayed (see hotel review below)

Capital Hill Mansion B&B

We then walked to Colorado’s State Capitol building.

Denver State Capital

Next, we hit the Upper Downtown along the 16th-Street Mall.

Denver 16th Street Mall

We then walked through LODO, which is Lower Downtown to Coors Park.

Denver Coors Field

As we were wilting from the heat, we had to make a stop for refreshers at Wynkoop Brewing Company, one of the more than 50 breweries and 100 brewpubs in the self-proclaimed “Napa Valley of Beer”. Tom was not impressed with his choice of a LODO IPA (watery and with little character). And Joyce found her Marguerita lacking.

We then moved onto the disappointing RINO (River North) Arts District, where the only art we saw only a couple of buildings covered with murals.

Denver River North Arts District 04

We were similarly disappointed in LOHI (Lower Highlands) district, a low-key version of LODO with restaurants and bars scattered among primarily residential buildings.

Denver LOHI

Maybe it was the heat, or maybe the city was still recovering from Covid. But we were ready to move on.

Denver Restaurants

We had time for only one meal. Our dinner was on a block of Larimer Street that is lined with restaurants, bars, and boutiques. In the evening, the street had live entertainment with a guitarist/singer. We ate at Rioja, a Mediterranean restaurant helmed by James Beard-winning chef. We enjoyed three dishes: rabbit three ways (pancetta-wrapped rabbit loin and rabbit leg confit on a carrot-coriander puree with snap peas and pea shoots), an unusual combination of sausage-wrapped tuna with fregola, pine nuts, pickled peppers, and pinquito pepper coulis. We paired our food with a 2018 August West Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, We couldn’t resist a tasty dessert of fig and goat cheese-stuffed beignets on ruby port reduction and accompanied by a dessert wine, a 2018i Calvo Vin Santo del Chianti.

Denver Hotel

We stayed at  Capital Hill Mansion., a nicely refurbished 19th-century mansion that is now a B&B. The owner and his daughter are wonderful hosts and really made the stay special. Normally they only serve breakfast but when we were there, the owner prepared/served dinner for a family who returns each year for a family reunion. Our room was on the main floor. The room itself was very large and furnished with period pieces. It had an in-room refrigerator that contained free soda and water. The owner prepared a nice breakfast each morning that one could enjoy outside in their lovely garden area or inside. It was very good with fresh-cut fruit and delicious homemade waffles.

Our sleep was disturbed with some noise from flushing toilets. The water running through the pipes was very loud and it sounded like the water was going to come down through the ceiling at any minute. The bathroom and shower were newer additions that looked like a DIY project (as did some other parts of the renovation). While functional, the shower was an odd shape and was probably set up for the use of handicapped people. Although the room was large, the furniture got in the way of using the space. The tiny TV was in a closet. But as we rarely watch TV while traveling, this was not an issue. The bathroom shower had a handheld faucet and it didn’t slide up high enough to shower, but we made due. It is a beautiful and nicely run place, but, but we would explore another option on our next trip.

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