2 Days in Denver

For the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to take separate trips with my parents for quality time. This year, my dad and I decided on Colorado, with plans to spend a couple days in the state’s capital (Denver) and a couple more days up in the mountains. This was also my first time visiting CO, so I’m pretty excited to cross another state off my list!

Planning a trip to Denver? Check out this post for tips on what to do!

Day 1

I had a couple points of interest marked on the agenda for our first day in Denver, but mostly, I figured we’d take it easy and walk around and take the city in with a pretty low-key day.

First up was a stop at The Denver Money Museum, a free museum at one of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank locations. It was essentially a big room with several displays, but nonetheless, a really cool place to pop into! If you’re interested in learning more about the economy and the Fed, you can, but what I found most interesting was seeing currency throughout U.S. history, dating back to 1775! Did you know that a $100,000 existed at one point in time?! The museum also showed what $30 MILLION looks like, and surprisingly, it wasn’t what I imagined it would look like at all!

Post-museum, we walked for a bit and did some shopping and exploring in the popular downtown areas like the 16th Street mall (a street filled with all kinds of shops and restaurants- both local and chain) and LoDo (lower downtown), before stopping at Red Rock Brewing for a “lupper ” and some craft beer! I wish I had pictures to share with you here, but we were pretty hungry, so the food didn’t last long enough to snap a photo!

Next up was a visit to the famous Union Station, where everyone MUST visit when in Denver. The historic station still operates with trains, but inside, has been revamped with shops and restaurants, my favorite of which is Terminal Bar. I mean, look how amazing this place is! It didn’t hurt that the Christmas tree was up too – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Once we made it back to our fabulous hotel, the ART, we decided to stop at the FIRE terrace to enjoy the awesome atmosphere of the rooftop and fire pits, the perfect setting for a cool fall night (Note: It’s had to capture this fully at night so the photo below is a morning shot)!

Thinking about planning a trip to Denver? Plan a stay at the ART Hotel!

Day 2

While our first day exploring Denver was pretty lax in terms of an itinerary, we had a busy day booked for our second, and last full day in the city. First up? Brunch at Jelly, in the Capitol Hill district. Despite the fact that it was a Thursday, I’d like to point out that this place was PACKED and had a running wait list before, during, and after our meal (Pro tip: You can’t make reservations, but you can add your name to the waitlist ahead of time via the Opentable app).

I also have to point out that this place is totally EPIC and if you even have an ounce of geekiness in you, you have to stop here if/when in Denver. Their drink sizes are available in hobbit, elf, and wizard sizes. I’m 100% obsessed, guys.

Not to mention the biscuit I had with my meal is one of the best I’ve ever had AND their burritos are humungo. My dad was pretty proud of the fact that he ate the whole thing too – major man vs. food status!

Post-meal we walked over a few blocks for a tour of the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown’s house (if you’re wondering where you know the name from – think back to 1997 in Titanic – Kathy Bates’ character). Looking at the exterior, it reminded me a bit of The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, so I couldn’t wait to check out the inside.

Molly Brown actually lived in this house pre-Titantic (she was living in NYC afterwards), but spent many years with her husband and children in this home beginning in the late 1800s, well before Denver was built up into the city it is today. I love seeing (and learning more about) historical things, so this was a really awesome stop!

Although we were still stuffed from brunch, there was one stop we HAD to make. Voodoo Doughnut. I’ve been dying to visit this place (the original location’s in Portland, OR) for years and was so excited to find out they had a shop set up in Denver. Fortunately for us, it was a solid half hour walk away, so we were able to burn some brunch calories to make room for more to come. Do note that if you venture here though, it isn’t in the greatest area of town. But it was well worth the hike!

Voodoo Doughnut has THE coolest names for their doughnuts and they’re absolutely delicious! Plus, the creativity here is top-notch! For example, they had a “Marshall Mathers” donut (the rapper Eminem’s real name if you’re not familiar) which was topped with M&Ms. Other cool ones? “Captain My Captain,” topped with Captain Crunch cereal, and the biggest doughnut I’ve seen that you can have for free – but only if you can finish eating it in about 90 seconds!

The last big thing on our agenda was a distillery tour at Stranahan’s Whiskey. It wasn’t a brand either of us were familiar with, but it had great reviews and we wanted to try something different, since we had already sampled a bit of Denver’s craft beer. The tour was only $11 per person and well worth it! We not only learned more about the whiskey process, but were also able to sample from different aged whiskey barrels and got the cutest taster glasses to take home, as part of admission. Stranahan’s also had the most delicious whiskey + fig (and sugar cube) drink!

To close out the night, we stopped at Torchy’s Tacos, just a couple blocks from our hotel. The line was nearly out the door when we rolled up and then WAS out the door by the time we sat down to eat. Worth the wait? I’d say so. The main item on the menu is, you guessed it, tacos! Their queso is also pretty fabulous!

Have you visited Denver? Stay tuned for the mountain portion of our trip, still to come!

  • Kira

    Ahh man your post I sent taking me back. We lived in Denver and are missing it…especially Jelly!

  • I’ve actually never been to Denver (outside of the airport), but I’ve heard it’s a cool town to visit! Your post definitely confirms that! :)

  • Jennifer Hazel Quisenberry

    I would have to make a stop at the Voodoo donut too!

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Denver. (I’ve got family that just moved there.) This looked like a fun trip. I’m a museum nut so I’d totally go to the Molly Brown one! Thanks! :)

  • I have never been to Dever. I have heard there are a lot of great things to do there. Seeing from your post there is! That museum is so pretty!!! I love Torchy’s!

  • I’ve just been to the Denver airport. It looks like a wonderful place to visit! I definitely want to see the Terminal bar and Molly Brown’s house.

  • It sounds like you had a great time in Denver! I love that you went and saw the Unsinkable Molly Brown’s house! And yes to eating some VooDoo Doughnuts and Torchy’s Tacos! We have Torchy’s in Houston and I think that I could eat it everyday!

  • The Money Museum sounds really interesting! That’s cool that you get to take trips with your parents and spend quality time with them that way–my younger sister has traveled to London with my Mom on a work trip and to Korea with my Dad on a work trip. I grew up and moved away before they started going to such cool places, apparently. haha!

  • Denver looks like the ultimate foodie and drink lovers paradise! Drooling over that massive burrito!

  • Lisa Warren

    I’ve never been to Denver but it looks like a lot of fun!! That burrito looks amazing! The rooftop restaurant looks pretty cool too!

  • Candy Kage

    Love Denver and you hit some great spots to visit. Only wish airport was closer

  • This looks like so much fun!!!! It’s so cute that you take trips with each parent. I bet you’re looking forward to Europe!!! Also, I’m sad that I still haven’t ever met your dad :-(

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    OMG those doughnuts! SO FUN! This makes me want to go back to Denver and explore!

  • I haven’t been to Denver, but I’d love to get there one day. After reading this, I’m ready to hop on a plane right now! :)

  • Abbey Phipps

    My husband and I went to Colorado on our honeymoon and I’m convinced that the whole state is just beautiful! We haven’t been to Denver, but that museum building is beautiful! :)

  • YAY Colorado! My favorite state <3 my husband and I are taking a western road trip when he gets back from deployment and we will be ending in Colorado, I will definitely be saving this post for future reference and planning :)

  • How fun! That whiskey tour looks and sounds like a blast. I haven’t been to Denver in ages but I hear it’s a growing foodie town.

  • I live in Denver :) born and raised! So glad you had a good time!! Torchys is new to Denver haha everyone is pretty excited! I’m glad you went to Union Station, the terminal bar is adorable and they really made union station stunning. And of course, great pick with voodoo donuts ! So delicious!

  • Would love to travel to Denver! Especially for the doughnuts alone!! Serious travel goals though. Looks like you guys had a great time!

  • CDG

    I totally crushed that Burrito!

  • I haven’t been to Denver since 2007. I really want to go back especially to try Voodoo Doughnuts! I’d also like to go to Molly Brown’s house.

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    I have never been to Denver. It looks amazing though! That money museum and all the cool restaurants you went to. That Molly Brown museum looks so interesting!

  • Looks fun! Denver is on my bucket list and I can’t wait to visit!

  • Ashley

    I adore Colorado! It’s such a beautiful state!

    I had NO idea they had a VooDoo Donut there! I’ve been to the original one in Portland, and it’s so cool! The lines were super insane though, how were they in Denver? We waited for like an hour to even get into the shop! It was lined around the building and down the block! The things you do when you’re a tourist, ha!

  • This sounds so much fun! Such 2 days trips are so great at breaking the monotony! I have never visited a money museum. Sounds like fun! Amazing pictures :)

  • This looks like so much fun! I have actually never been to Denver, which is pretty lame considering I live in Utah which isn’t too far away! I’ll have to make a trip there soon. All the food looks SO good!

  • Jae

    We were in Denver for my birthday weekend (Nov 02–06)! I’m kicking myself for failing to go to the Union Station when we stayed in 17th St the entire trip! :(

  • Karissa Ancell

    I’m excited to see places in Colorado. My family and I are moving there next year and I don’t know enough about my soon to be state.

  • Wow it looks like you had a great time! I’ve been wanting to visit Denver for a while now and I got some ideas from your trip! Also Torchy’s is DELISH!


  • Baia Dzagnidze

    What a fun adventure

  • Mar

    Sounds like a great trip! I’ve never been to Colorado either, but it looks beautiful!

  • I’ve never been, but it looks like a wonderful place to visit and it certainly looks like you had a good time :)

  • I didn’t realize Torchy’S had made it nationally!! That’s crazy!! Looks like a fun time for both of you!

  • I’ve heard so many great things about Denver! It’s been on my travel bucket list for a while now. I plan to visit the next time we drive across country :)