Even a pandemic hasn’t kept amazing things from opening in Denver over the last few months. Whether you want to check out cutting-edge art offerings, find a unique way to relax or savor some of the best beef in the area, the Mile High City offers a new place for you to explore. Here are six reasons to visit Colorado’s capital right now.
Book Dinner at A5 Steakhouse
Make a reservation for the Culinary Creative’s latest restaurant and get ready to indulge in some of the best beef in the city, as well as equally matched cocktails. After Morin restaurant shut down in 2020, chef Max Mackissock decided to turn his modern French place into something new. The team revamped the décor to lend it a vintage coastal vibe and gave the menu a steakhouse makeover. But even with the changes, A5 maintains upscale presentations that make the restaurant feel nothing like the steakhouses Denver is known for.
On the appetizer menu, try the rich beef tartare katsu sando and crabby toast, the latter is a dish that looks and tastes more upscale than it sounds. Move onto the classic wedge salad, followed by the 10-ounce Tajima black wagyu bavette steak or a top-notch French dip. Add a side of roasted cauliflower drizzled in brown butter and an order of Japanese milk bread rolls. It’s not an old-school steakhouse — it’s so much better.
Visit Meow Wolf
The hottest opening in the local art world launched in September 2021. We’re talking about Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station, the third installation by Santa Fe’s famous art collective. The large, four-story space is near downtown, right next to the football stadium. But once inside, you won’t feel like you are in Denver much at all. With 90,000 square feet and more than 70 installations, the facility immerses you in the art, intricate story line and overall quirkiness of the place.
If you want a taste of the host city, head to the C-Station section, a futuristic, Blade Runner-esque world that tips a hat to some Denver landmarks and the Sun Valley neighborhood in which the venue is located. All the worlds are connected, and you may find yourself walking into one unawares. It’s a great spot for kids too, just expect to take a break or two in the café for snacks, lunch, beer, wine and caffeine. Make sure to book tickets in advance to secure a spot and time — it sells out fast.
Appreciate Art at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver
The Ritz-Carlton, Denver consistently impresses, but now there are even more reasons to book your stay here. For starters, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel has partnered with the aforementioned Meow Wolf to bring guests to the immersive and unique Denver experience with the Gateway to Exploration package (which also includes Meow Wolf cocktails and an Uber credit to get to the venue). The hotel has also added on the luxurious Ultimate Ritz-Carlton Celebration package, which features tickets to the newly renovated Denver Art Museum, spa treatments and more. The offerings always change to highlight the newest and best things to do in Denver.
See the Revamped Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum has been around in some form or another since it was founded as the Denver Artists’ Club in 1893. The first structure that housed it was crafted by architect Giovanni Ponti in 1971, and it is now known as the Martin Building. In 2006 the venue expanded, and the old building was put on hold. But now both spaces are ready for visitors, and the original building has been refurbished and filled with permanent exhibitions and traveling shows.
Not only that, James Beard-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski has taken over the former restaurant spot and opened The Ponti, named after the original architect. The Ponti serves high-end American fare with Italian and Mediterranean twists, with many vegetarian options as well. While Jasinski consults on the restaurant, chef Ben Love oversees the menu, which includes plates of dukkah-roasted carrots, cavatelli topped with locally scoured lamb sugo, and a rich tempeh Reuben sandwich. It’s open the same time as the museum, which means lunch every day and dinner Tuesdays.
Take a Bite Out of Apple Blossom
In the fall of 2021, chef Paul C. Reilly, his sister Aileen Reilly, and her husband JP Taylor Jr. opened Apple Blossom inside Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver. It was the first foray into the hotel restaurant world for Paul, but Aileen and Taylor both had a hand in this sort of hospitality before. Prior to this venture, the team had run the popular Beast + Bottle, a nose-to-tail eatery that shut down due to the building being sold. It still owns its Northern Italian joint Coperta in Uptown and now Apple Blossom, a fine dining place sought out by visitors and locals alike.
Chef Russ Fox helms the kitchen here, churning out elevated comfort food, such as duck gumbo, chicken friend duck livers and handmade pastas topped with lamb bolognese, vodka sauce and Santa Barbara uni. Sit at the long bar or book a cozy seat in the main dining area. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served here, and while you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to enjoy the elegant décor, fine wine, cocktails and excellent food, if you are staying there, you can opt to enjoy it through room service.
Enjoy Suds at The Beer Spa
The Beer Spa in RiNo is not your ordinary spa. It’s the laid-back Colorado version that’s approachable, simple, sleek and involves craft beer. But you’re not actually bathing in it. Instead, fill an insulated pint of craft beer from whichever local brewery is being featured that month, and then head to a private bathing room. In these rooms are two-person tubs filled with hot water and a giant bath bomb of the herbs, spices and hops featured in the beer. There’s no alcohol in the bath, just the aromatics and soothing hops that go into the beer-making process.
While the tub fills (it’s all on automatic timers so you don’t have to manage it), sit in the infrared sauna with your cup of beer, wine or non-alcoholic beverage, and relax for 20 minutes or so. Then it’s time to get in the tub and unwind. Truffles and/or a charcuterie board can be added on to the 90-minute experience. Take advantage of the warming beer lotion and a CBD mud mask while there, and then afterward relax in the lounge with another drink or in one of the zero-gravity massage chairs. It’s not as luxurious as The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Denver, but it’s a great way to get a unique local experience that feels good at the same time. And there’s no reason you can’t do both.