Eat and exercise like a local in these outdoor-loving towns.
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is known as one of the fittest towns in the nation—athletes can be seen all over the place on foot or bike. What you’ll also notice is this town knows how to refuel with locally sourced food and refreshing craft brews. Plan an active— and appetizing—vacation to Denver, and tack on a visit to Boulder for added endurance; just don’t miss these must-do pursuits.
Rent a bike.
Denver’s bike share program, B-Cycle, spans 10 central city neighborhoods with more than 85 stations and 700 bikes. Take a few minutes to register for BCycle, then the app finds a bike station near your location. The bikes fit all adults and come equipped with a front basket. Pedal the Cherry Creek Trail east, which takes you alongside Cherry Creek on a tour through downtown and many of Denver’s most affluent neighborhoods.
Tour the breweries—all three types
Five Points is the neighborhood for craft beer. Microbreweries such as River North Brewery, Epic Brewing Company and Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery are clustered in this hip, northwestern part of town, making it easy to do a “brewery hop.” Plan to visit the newly expanded taproom at Great Divide Brewing Company, an award-winning brewery with 16 rotating taps including the acclaimed YETI label. Beer may be the beverage in Colorado, but hard cider has also staked its spot on the tap. Sample alcoholic ciders at Stem Ciders’ taproom and brewpub, also in Five Points. This spot’s tart, dry ciders are made in the age-old cider tradition, such as the “Banjo” that is aged in bourbon barrels.
Visit Denver’s Historic District
Head to Larimer Square in the evening and stroll through boutique shops under strings of lights. Dine at Rioja, where chef Jennifer Jasinski snagged the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2013. Before you take a bite, admire the chef’s creativity on the plate: colorful sauces and geometric stacks of vegetables beside perfectly portioned proteins. The menu fuses Mediterranean and Spanish influences, with highlights such as grilled octopus with saffron and fennel and lamb T-bone poached in yogurt.
Hike the Flatirons
Just 30 miles from Denver, Boulder is home to the Flatirons, a favorite spot for local hikers. Begin your trek at the Chautauqua Trailhead. Follow the pea gravel trail to the Royal Arch on a 3.2-mile out and back trail where you’ll rack 880 feet in elevation, climbing steep switchbacks before crossing a ridge. The arch itself shows the beauty of Mother Nature after thousands of years of wind and water sculpted the sandstone into its current shape. For a longer hike, traverse through the Flatirons to summit Green Mountain. Hike from the Chautauqua Trailhead to Amphitheater Trail, a beautiful section of jagged red rocks, before winding through the fir-laden forests. While not a “14-er” (14,000 feet), the 8,148-foot peak offers a panoramic view of the Flatirons and Boulder’s surrounding peaks.
Discover Pearl Street
Pearl Street is the heart of Boulder’s farm to table movement, and its proximity to the trails makes it the perfect lunch spot. At SALT: The Bistro, the food is 99 percent non-GMO, humanely raised and sourced from the restaurant’s own Soul Patch Farm. The versatile menu spans from burgers to Bolognese to steak. Snag a spot on the patio for people watching: muscled men in cycling shorts strolling the streets in search of grub after a bike ride and women in flowy skirts “floating” down the sidewalk. You’ll often see street performers, including guitar-strumming hipsters and fire-juggling magicians.
If you go…
2811 Walnut Street Suite 150
Great Divide Brewing Company
2201 Arapahoe Street
1430 Larimer Street
1431 Larimer Street
900 Baseline Road
SALT: The Bistro
1047 Pearl Street
STORY AND PHOTOS: Alexa Lampasona
Simply Buckhead is an upscale lifestyle magazine focused on the best and brightest individuals, businesses and events in Buckhead, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Chamblee. With a commitment to journalistic excellence, the magazine serves as the authority on who to know, what to do and where to go in the community, and its surroundings.