This is what happens when you stumble upon $40 roundtrip tickets a week before the flight: you spontaneously end up in Denver, Colo. for a day and a half with your BFF, staying with your Kansan-turned-Coloradan friend from high school, reigniting some old habits, eating one of the best burgers of your life and taking in some breathtaking views from 8,000 ft. high.
It was a successful weekend, to say the least. Bea (the aforementioned BFF) and myself landed at DIA with no set plans for the short trip. This is an example of it being better to have no itinerary, go with the flow and just enjoy spending time with an old friend; however, I'm always happy to pass along recommendations to others who are thinking about visiting the Mile High City.
WHAT TO DO
Go hiking, obviously. We drove out to Evergreen to do a fairly easy hike at Maxwell Falls. I recommend this trail if you're not an avid hiker, don't want to spend all day hiking, but still want to see good scenery. It overall took us about an hour and a half to complete the hike, and it's nearly a 40-minute commute from Denver, which is very reasonable. Click here for recommendations for day hikes near Denver.
Of course, you need some city time to go along with the mountain hiking. We enjoyed exploring downtown Denver; we walked around the Union Station area, hung out at Wynkoop Brewery and explored Larimer Square during a sun shower. Denver has a very walkable downtown that is fun to explore on one's own accord, but isn't overwhelming.
As we are currently suffering through post-grad depression (it's real, folks), we had to visit Regis University, where our friend Eric attended for undergraduate. It was crazy to see how much smaller his campus was than the University of Kansas, my alma mater. Although an aesthetically appealing campus, the mountains in the distance really helped its beauty rating.
WHERE TO EAT
I'm not gonna lie, I'm not the expert on the Denver food scene—but I'm not going to ignore a couple of fantastic meals I had while I was there over the weekend. I shamelessly ate two burgers during the short trip: one at Wynkoop Brewery in LoDo upon arrival in the city, and the second at Mead St. Station in Highlands after our hike (so I obviously deserved a burger). I had a standard cheeseburger at Wynkoop, but it was delicious. At Mead St. Station, I consumed a ~grass-fed bison burger with jalepeno goat cheese, bacon jam and crispy onions~. With a side of spicy french fries. Yeah. I may or may not have gone into a food coma post-lunch.
You would think as a burger lover I would be critical and picky when choosing my next burger victim, but I have a philosophy: no burger gets discriminated against. I like some more than others, sure, but TBCH I haven't had one that has disgusted me.
On a lighter note, we ended the trip Saturday evening with salads at MAD Greens. The "Mighty Aphrodite" was a solid 7/10, but I'm not much of a salad person.
What you really need to get out of this: learn how I ended up with $40 roundtrip tickets to Denver in the first place. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up for Frontier's newsletter and get cheap fares! I don't usually fly Frontier, but when I do I get cheap AF tickets.
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