I won’t be writing too much today, this is a short entry. I’m still jet lagged. I arrived back in Colorado late last night from the East coast. I am still very confused about where I am. I have come from sea level back to 6,000+ ft above, gone back 2 time zones and changed into a total different vibration/energy. Bear with me.
As much as I enjoy going hiking and getting away from the crowds, I also have a great appreciation for city life. The culture, the art, the architecture, the restaurants and museums. I guess I’m a bit of a Renaissance woman. Or, you could say, like Donnie and Marie I’m a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n roll. I’ve always appreciated the arts and culture of city life more than most people my age. What type of kid or teenager asks to go visit a museum? Me! I’ve explored many amazing cities all over the country and Europe. And every single one has it’s own unique identity, it’s own character and niche. Each city stands alone with its own culture among all the rest. For me, I tend to have an affinity for cities that celebrate art and culture and that embrace the history of their city. That don’t over-modernize. They juxtapose the glimmering glass skyscraper next to the 18th century brick row homes. And they do it with great respect for their roots while also embracing their future. It’s inspiring when you really think about it. That brings me to Denver. I love this city. Every neighborhood is a treasure trove of things to discover and appreciate. Each neighborhood has its own character and when you weave them all together they create this beautiful city. I love the architecture throughout the city of Denver, in every neighborhood. I marvel at the street art and the murals all over. And the energy is so unique. It’s urban but it also isn’t, there’s still a small town feel to it somehow. I don’t know how they manage to create this cohesive tapestry of being profoundly urban yet also profoundly Colorado. But it is what makes this city so special and makes it stand out from a lot of other cities. It feels oddly calm and relaxed for a huge metropolis. (Minus the traffic because good Lord, it’s awful sometimes! But given I’m from NJ where traffic was invented, it isn’t the worst I’ve experienced.)
For this specific Denver adventure, I explored LoDo (Lower Downtown). It’s an extremely popular neighborhood for everyone to spend the day (and night). The cornerstone of this neighborhood is Larimer Square- a vibrant, fun, edgy but also chill shopping and eating district. It’s a fantastic place to explore. And at night, it’s like Wonderland with all the lights canopying the streets. Larimer Square is great day or night but at night the white lights make it feel almost ethereal to me even though it’s a city. And you also have Union Station, which is so much more than just a transportation hub. It’s like the crown jewel of the neighborhood. There are some great bites to eat there. Don’t just walk through, take your time there! I like the Terminal Bar because it has a beer garden vibe! Gorgeous building! The architecture in this area is varied, but for me those awe-inspiring Victorians are the staple of the neighborhood. They bring authenticity and warmth to an urban center. The buildings remind the urban setting to slow down and take a leisurely stroll, admire and enjoy the scene. Don’t focus on where you’re going in LoDo, focus on where you are. You may find yourself staring at a clothing store front window for hours finding all types of little details on the exterior of the building to appreciate. I love walking around this area!
And I love eating and drinking here too! Typically, people visit this neighborhood to shop and dine. And man, are there a LOT of options. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it! This is the kind of area where the people-watching is superb. For me, there is almost a European vibe to it, people just sitting outside, soaking in the sun, sipping on something delicious and sharing an appetizer. The mood is relaxed, pleasant, upbeat and blissful. It’s the kind of place you slow down and really evaluate life and the joys of the simple moments. And, yet, there you are in a completely urban setting! Make sure you stop at a couple different places for at least a drink (maybe even an app). Take your time, spend the whole day. Just meander, get lost! This is the type of area where you are supposed to get totally lost but will also feel safe. And don’t just visit Union Station or Larimer Square, go on the off-streets. I often find you discover the greatest places by going off the main road. I always seem to find the best eateries that way.
A few recommendations for eateries (depending on your persuasion)… If you like seafood, check out Jax Fish& Oyster House. Mercantile Dining is great for a bar scene but with awesome food, too. Tavernetta is great for Italian food. If you like Southern comfort food, Tupelo Honey is a good pick. For breakfast food enthusiasts, definitely check out Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. There’s so much more that I have yet to try! Typically, I walk around Union Station and grab quick bite. And then for drinks I stop at several places for a cocktail or glass of wine and enjoy outside on the patio. Like I said, I recommend grabbing small bites (or drinks) at several different spots rather than committing to one place for a big meal. This is just the type of area where you graze and explore. 🙂
I’m telling you, LoDo is just simply… CUTE as heck! It’s a little bit sexy, a little bit edgy, a little bit artsy, a little bit sweet and innocent, a little bit historic and a WHOLE lot of character! It’s the kind of place where you’ll find something new every time you visit. It will not disappoint. It’s safe, it’s clean, it’s a great environment for families too. I feel totally relaxed the whole time I’m there. It has something for everyone. When choosing which part of me Denver to explore, LoDO HAS to be on the list. Absolutely! Enjoy it in the daylight or nighttime, or better yet both!