Denver Colorado is the main place to fly into from San Francisco if you are heading to the Colorado mountains. Generally we do not spend much time here as we are anxious to get to the mountains. But periodically we put on our walking shoes to what we could see in our short time there.
We try to get to the Rockies at least once a year for hiking. Most of our Colorado visits begin by flying into Denver, which is the main airport for going to the Colorado Mountains. While we do not spend much time in Denver, we do try to periodically catch up on its sights and restaurants as we pass through
The excellent museum possesses about 1,700 of the pioneer Abstract Expressionist’s work. The museum experience begins with a short video providing a synopsis of the artist’s life and his role in the history of the Abstract Expressionist movement, which is generally viewed as America’s greatest contribution the world of art.
The galleries are laid out chronologically, beginning with those painted in his early days, in remote farms of Southern Alberta and Eastern Washington. This is where he learned painting and produced figurative representations of his rural life.
It then traces his life through World War II, where he was building ships, painting and teaching art in Oakland, through his time in New York, Maryland and Boulder, tracing the maturation of his work, and following elements that would become gradually evolve into his iconic style.
Throughout the process, you can see elements of what would eventually become his mature style.
With over 24 acres, the botanical gardens contain plants from around the world, along with art and special exhibits. Enjoy the tropical gardens, Japanese gardens, succulents or native plants.
Walking around Denver
We always enjoy walking around a city as we feel it is a good way to explore. We started in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which was where Denver’s elite originally built mansions. Indeed there are some beautifully restored old homes, including where we stayed (see hotel review below)
We then walked to Colorado’s State Capitol building.
Next, we hit the Upper Downtown along the 16th-Street Mall.
We then walked through LODO, which is Lower Downtown to Coors Park.
As we were wilting from the 100 degree heat that day, we had to make a stop for refreshers at Wynkoop Brewing Company, one of the more than 50 breweries and 100 brewpubs in the self-proclaimed “Napa Valley of Beer”. Tom was not impressed with his choice of a LODO IPA (watery and with little character). And Joyce found her Margarita lacking.
We then moved onto the disappointing RINO (River North) Arts District, where the only art we saw only a couple of buildings covered with murals.
We were similarly disappointed in LOHI (Lower Highlands) district, a low-key version of LODO with restaurants and bars scattered among primarily residential buildings.
Maybe it was the heat, or maybe the city was still recovering from Covid. But we were ready to move on.
Larimer Street is lined with restaurants, bars, and boutiques. In the evening, the street has live entertainment with a guitarist/singer. You are sure to find someplace to stop.
The Mediterranean restaurant is helmed by James Beard-winning chef. We enjoyed three dishes: rabbit three ways (pancetta-wrapped rabbit loin and rabbit leg confit on a carrot-coriander puree with snap peas and pea shoots), an unusual combination of sausage-wrapped tuna with fregola, pine nuts, pickled peppers, and pinquito pepper coulis. We paired our food with a 2018 August West Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, We couldn’t resist a tasty dessert of fig and goat cheese-stuffed beignets on ruby port reduction and accompanied by a dessert wine, a 2018i Calvo Vin Santo del Chianti.
The Buckhorn is all about meat, especially every conceivable cut of beef, bison, lamb and elk. The historic restaurant was founded in 1893 by a guide who was friends with Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull and literally oozes historic, gamey atmosphere. Its walls and shelves are filled with stuffed local game and fowl and filled in with historic paintings, photos and documents. It is a virtual museum of old Denver. The food, meanwhile, is unadorned beef, game and fowl. After a cup of the house’s special bean soup (creamy and tasty, with a hint of smoked ham), we shared two meat dishes. The buffalo prime rib was tasty and extremely tender, albeit, due to the meat’s low fat content, a bit dry. The elk medallion, meanwhile, was tender, juicy and delicious, with a bit of smoke.
We stayed at Capital Hill Mansion, a nicely refurbished 19th-century mansion that is now a B&B. The owner and his daughter are wonderful hosts and really made the stay special. Normally they only serve breakfast but when we were there, the owner prepared/served dinner for a family who returns each year for a family reunion. Our room was on the main floor. The room itself was very large and furnished with period pieces. It had an in-room refrigerator that contained free soda and water. The owner prepared a nice breakfast each morning that one could enjoy outside in their lovely garden area or inside. It was very good with fresh-cut fruit and delicious homemade waffles.
Our sleep was disturbed with some noise from flushing toilets. The water running through the pipes was very loud and it sounded like the water was going to come down through the ceiling at any minute. The bathroom and shower were newer additions that looked like a DIY project (as did some other parts of the renovation). While functional, the shower was an odd shape and was probably set up for the use of handicapped people. Although the room was large, the furniture got in the way of using the space. The tiny TV was in a closet. But as we rarely watch TV while traveling, this was not an issue. The bathroom shower had a handheld faucet and it didn’t slide up high enough to shower, but we made due. It is a beautiful and nicely run place, but, but we would explore another option on our next trip.