Guys, I went to Denver. Again.
I just love this city. The people are cool, the weather is nice, the scenery is gorgeous and don’t even get me started on all the good food I’ve eaten in Denver. I decided to head back in the summer since usually when I’m there it’s cold and snowy. Plus I had a couple days off, my recently cancer-free uncle was going to be there helping my cousin move and a couple of college buddies were planning on getting together. Win-win-win-win.
So while my first couple of days were spent in home decor and hardware stores, I had a blast helping my cousin put her new pad together. She lives in an awesome, historic building in Capitol Hill and I just love it. There were so many fun places within walking distance. Check out my favorites below:
- Jelly Cafe – OK, full disclosure: I actually went here three times, whoops. It would have been four; we tried to squeeze in one last breakfast before I flew home, but the wait was too long. Great breakfasts, killer sandwiches (tons of gluten free options) and delicious coffee that comes in hobbit, elf and wizard sizes.
- Thump Coffee – Cool, minimalistic vibe and an incredible house iced tea. This popular coffee shop has seating areas for those at work vs. those who want to socialize—so well rounded.
- Olive and Finch – Homey, fast-casual breakfast joint with really good food. Really good and affordable! I got there so early, but the breakfast (try one of its hashes, mine had crispy prosciutto, genius) made me feel like I could wake up that early every day if it meant eating like a queen.
- City, O’ City – We went here on a recommendation not realizing that it’s vegan (or maybe just vegetarian?). Regardless, I ordered the waffle of the day and really enjoyed it—gluten free, black beans, avocado, picked-around-the-tofu-because-no and fajita veggies. I’ve heard the savory waffle is great too. But honestly, if you aren’t veg, it wouldn’t be my first choice, but the decor was awesome.
- Punch Bowl Social – I’m not sure if this was technically Capitol Hill. This was our back up when we couldn’t get a table at Jelly that last day, but I was very pleased with it. They had a very robust bloody mary bar and a DJ, which was a little strange, but the vibe was still good and the food was great. I stuck with simple breakfast food, but it was done well. Fair warning: the service was a little slow and we had about three waiters, which complicated things, but it worked out.
When I wasn’t eating or drinking coffee, I spent a lot of time outside, hanging out with friends and getting a little work done. We were able to fit in a concert at Red Rocks Ampitheatre before my cousin and uncle left for a visit back home. Definitely a bucket list-worthy item. We saw David Gray and Amos Lee. Gray was so fun and admittedly, Lee was a little too twangy for my tastes, but he and his band performed a cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie that I can’t get out of my head in the best way.
The inspiration for a summer trip surrounded the fact that I hadn’t done much hiking in Denver since it’s usually cold when I’m there. I quickly learned choosing a holiday weekend to hike was a terrible idea and between traffic and over-filled trailheads, we didn’t have much luck. But as my friend Dave and I were riding down the highway, he pointed to a large, plateau-like rock and said, “I want to be on top of that.” So we went. It turned out to be in this cute little town Castle Rock, where we also grabbed more coffee, obviously. The park’s creatively called Rock Park and there was hardly anyone there. It was a very short hike (couldn’t have been more than 1.5 miles round trip) followed by the miniest climb ever to get to the top. On top you could see out far, mostly over neighborhoods and highway, but some of the vistas were pretty and I definitely don’t regret it.
Until next time, Denver.