Denver is home to innovative, award-winning chefs and is a hotspot for creative cuisine and farm-to-table dining. It’s also known as a craft beer and live music mecca.
In the Capitol Hill neighborhood near Denver Art Museum is Mizuna, a charming French restaurant, owned by local superstar chef Frank Bonanno. And just around the corner is Luca, Bonanno’s upscale Italian spot. Locals also love Table 6 with its epic Sunday brunches.
Whether you’re downtown on the 16th Street Mall or looking for a unique spot in Cherry Creek, visitors have a variety of great options to choose from. Stroll among the Victorian buildings and boutique shops of Larimer Square and take your pick of culinary talent, then be wowed by the offerings from locally sourced products. Check out Rioja, a Spanish/Mediterranean-inspired eatery owned by Jennifer Jasinski, a James Beard Foundation award winner, or Troy Guard’s Asia-Pacific-leaning TAG.
Denver has been getting a lot of attention for its latest innovation: gourmet food markets. In the River North Art District (RiNo) neighborhood is a “one-stop culinary adventure.” Housed in a 14,000-square-foot 1920s-era building, Denver Central Market includes a bodega selling milk, eggs, butter, yogurt and bulk coffee; a meat and cheese shop; a bakery; a full-service fish market; a butcher; and a chocolate shop. There’s also a bar, an ice cream shop and a pizzeria in case shopping whets your appetite. Not far away is The Source, where you’ll find just-baked breads, artisan cheese, organic wine, small-batch spirits and fresh-cut flowers.
Beer, Wine and Spirits
With more than 200 craft beers brewed in Denver daily, experience a world of pale ales, one-off firkins and daring ingredients, created by a community of passionate artisans.
Tivoli is Colorado’s oldest, most historic brewery. It originally opened in 1859 and supplied beer to the gold rush pioneers. Wynkoop Brewing, meanwhile, is a Denver institution, known for innovative brewers who will put just about anything in their beer, including Rocky Mountain oysters, gummy bears and green chilies. It’s known as the brewery that brewed a neighborhood because Wynkoop helped catalyze the revitalization of Lower Downtown (LoDo).
While we’re on the subject of drinking, don’t miss Balistreri Vineyards, a family-owned winery dedicated to completely natural wines, or Infinite Monkey Theorem, an urban winery that has turned heads by doing the unthinkable, canning its wines! Colorado is also home to more than 16 distilleries making whiskey, rum, brandy, gin and vodka.
When the sun sets, the nightlife soars. From intimate clubs to spectacular venues such as the famous Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre where music fills the air from spring to fall. You can check out the visitor center, Colorado Music Hall of Fame and surrounding park year-round. Jazz, rock, Celtic, folk—every genre can be found on any given night. And there are dance clubs, martini bars, pubs, sports bars and comedy clubs to keep you entertained.