There’s a lot to do in Denver and, this summer, the city more than proves it with festivals, special events, new restaurants and yoga in odd places. From its proximity to the mountains to the lauded Slow Food Nations festival and fireworks in a football stadium, there’s plenty to do. Book a room in one of the many high-end hotels and see how the Mile High City has grown up.
Celebrate the Fourth of July
Fireworks are illegal in Denver, so if you want to see them, there are only a handful of places to go. One is Civic Center Park, right in front of the State Capitol on July 3. Take a seat on the grass and enjoy the light show and the free concert before a fantastic fireworks finale.
On the actual holiday, spend the day at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, riding roller coasters, cooling off on the water slides and treating yourself to cotton candy before the annual fireworks display at sundown.
Finally, if you want to spend the day watching sports before the pyrotechnics, consider catching the city’s professional lacrosse team, the Denver Outlaws, battle the Atlanta Blaze at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High. There will be fireworks after the game inside of the stadium.
Visit Slow Food Nations
This worldwide event is coming to Denver this summer (July 14 to 16) for the first time. The idea is to explore food through a farm-to-table lens and celebrate local culinary traditions and culture.
It’s a little bit street food festival mixed with academic talks and eating awareness. This includes the Colorado-made block party with food and drink from local farmers, chefs and producers; the free taste marketplace; cooking classes; and a whole afternoon of ancient grain appreciation.
Drink at Denver’s Highest Rooftop Bar
One of the best things to do during the summer is to have drinks and eats on a roof with sweeping vistas of the city and Rocky Mountains. For the ultimate view, make a beeline for the soon-to-be-open Le Méridien Denver Downtown’s 54thirty, a bar that will boast a 20th-foor locale — the highest in the city.
Down a signature cocktail, local craft beer or vino from Denver’s urban winery, The Infinite Monkey Theorem, while sampling elevated European-style comfort food from chef Tobias Burkhalter. And, to make your summer imbibing even more fun, it will have a telescope on the roof so you can gaze at the stars.
Camp in The Ritz-Carlton
You may not be packing up a tent and sleeping bags on your next trip to the Mile High City, but if you stay at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, you can camp out, inside.
With the new Ritz Kids City Camper Experience, the whole family can enjoy an indoor adventure with a kid-sized tent, s’mores cupcakes, a plush stuffed animal and a Colorado wildlife storybook.
Of course, you don’t need kids to enjoy a little indoor “camping” at the Ritz-Carlton, or a tent for that matter.
Eat at French 75
One of Denver’s culinary greats, chef and restaurateur Frank Bonanno, is opening his 10th establishment to add to the list of top-notch venues that includes Mizuna, Luca, Osteria Marco, Green Russell and more.
Enter French 75, a casual European bistro named after that superb drink of gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar. Of course, you can order that cocktail, or a variation of it, as well as other summery tipples.
Serving lunch and dinner, with a special focus on happy hour, the restaurant debuts in downtown Denver in mid-July.
Do Yoga Outside or in a Brewery
One of the perks of visiting Denver in the summer is that there are bountiful opportunities to practice yoga outside. Every other Saturday through August, The Art, a Hotel features free CorePower Yoga on the patio at 9 a.m., which is followed by all-you-can-drink mimosas and brunch at the hotel’s restaurant, Fire. In Sunken Gardens Park, practice your asanas with Yoga Rocks the Park on July 9 and select dates in August.
Just as outdoor culture is important to Coloradoans, so is good craft beer. Great Divide Brewing Co. sporadically hosts free yoga classes inside the brewery (August 2); Après Yoga has classes each weekend at different breweries; and The Yoga Mat does a session at Ratio Beerworks on the first Saturday of every month.
Dine Alfresco on Larimer Square
Larimer Square in downtown Denver was one of the first dining destinations in the city, and it has stayed strong for decades. This summer, the block-long collection of high-end restaurants and boutique shops will host Dining Al Fresco (July 22, August 19 and September 9), a special event where the street shuts down and the restaurants, such as Bistro Vendome, TAG, Rioja and Milk & Honey Bar Kitchen, bring even more tables out into the open air.
Of course if you can’t make those dates, many of the eateries have outdoor seating, albeit on a smaller scale. Also on the historic block, look for the Peachy Sidewalk Sale (July 21 to 23) where you can shop and eat your fill of complimentary Colorado peaches.
Bike Over to the Velorama Festival
From August 11 to 13, head to the RiNo Art District and revel in food, beer, live music, art and the state’s love of biking. This brand-new festival meshes the Colorado Classic, a pro-cycling race, with a lineup of some of the hottest bands. This year’s list includes Death Cab for Cutie, The New Pornographers, Saint Motel and more.
Aside from bikes and bands, also check out the Denver Flea, a shopping extravaganza that will be set up during the weekend. It’s a good place to take in the city’s culture while sourcing locally made goods from more than 200 vendors, sipping craft cocktails and enjoying the end of summer.
Catch the Colorado Rockies
Major League Baseball recently named its rosters for the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami and the National League’s lineup is loaded with four Rockies: Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Greg Holland. To get a glimpse of the budding stars before the July 11 extravaganza, stop by Coors Field over the next few weeks to see the home team battle Cincinnati (July 3 to 6) and the Chicago White Sox (July 7 to 9).
The stadium sits a mere two-minute drive from new hotel The Maven. The Baseball Bucket List bundle includes a stay in The Maven’s baseball-themed Diamond Suite (which has a view of the ball park), two Rockies game tickets with food and drink in the Rockies Press Club, a VIP pre-game tour, signed memorabilia and more.
Sample A Taste of Colorado
Every Labor Day weekend, the Mile High City hosts a tasting of all things Colorado. This year’s epicurean event takes place from September 1 to 4. Admission is free, and it includes five stages of live music all day, 250-plus vendors and special kids’ programs.
Buy a few tickets to sample bites from more than 50 local restaurants and spend the last weekend of summer getting your fill of Denver.