Once in a while you discover new things about a place that’s considered as somewhere that’s “always just been there.” You ignore it without realizing how beautiful and actually great it is. That’s my relationship with Denver. I’ve always seen Denver as a place to layover when I’m headed home, or when I’m leaving home. Despite the many different times I have been in this city, I’ve never actually gone past the airport. I almost somehow have it memorized better than any other airport in the world. Landing and taking off, I would often think how ugly and empty Denver seemed. Turns out, the actual city proper is a half hour or more away, and I’ve just been viewing the almost secluded “ugly and empty” landing strip.
One of my best friends(ew) Ricardo, decided that he is turning himself into a “traveler” and will now be going to places he’s never been to; and because
we’ve missed being assholes to each other in person, we’ve missed each other(ew, again) and none of us have ever really spent time in Denver, we decided to come “travel” the city together.
The city is such a fun and colorful place with a lot of hidden gems everywhere, even in the alleys! It’s one of those places that’s very artsy-funky, and historical but also kind of modern at the same time with a gorgeous mountain view surrounding it.
We spent most of the time we were there just walking around Union Station and discovering something new around the area every single day.
We paid a visit to the Denver Art Museum and had so much fun watching the exhibits. Although, to be honest, I think we probably weren’t sophisticated enough for Rembrandt because we seemed like two fishes out of water compared to all the guests inside that gallery. The museum had so many interesting art displays that we must have spent hours literally just getting lost in there.
When we left, the outside actually felt like an extension of the museum. Almost every building-wall was painted with cool murals; a lot of the alleys had interesting interactive installments; random areas in the streets and outside some of the buildings were a couple of weird-but-cool statues; and pretty much everywhere else was a random street performer a mile away from one another.
The food places we’ve been to eat were also nothing short of amazing. I have no complaints with every single place we went to. It might’ve possibly been the other way around though, since at one point, we went to an all-you-can-eat Korean restaurant and REALLY got our money’s worth. The waitress looked at my tiny frame and probably assumed I ordered more than I could handle. She was wrong. 🤷🏻♀️
On the nights that we went out, we had such a great time because the Denver night life is actually pretty exciting. All the bars are walking distances from each other, and we pretty much went inside each one of them for one drink or just to warm up. They all had good local beer, funny-named drinks, and were just all-in-all really great places to chill in.
My favorite must’ve been the place called 1UP. It was this really cool bar that’s partly an arcade. The whole place was surrounded with a lot of different vintage pinball machines and arcade games with the full bar situated in the middle of the whole thing. People pretty much just casually took turns playing games while drinking and mingling. Not a lot of mingling from my part since I was mostly just playing and I was being a little competitive.
Towards the end of the night, we randomly walked into this bar called Ophelia’s and ended up staying there ’til closing time because we had so much fun people-watching and surprisingly enjoyed ourselves dancing to 80’s music.
During our last day, the weather decided to match with our feelings, because it was suddenly too cold and gloomy. It was scheduled to snow the night we were both leaving, so the city was a little dark and empty. Not a lot of people were walking around the streets because the weather was around 20 degrees.
We also just bit the bullet and braved the freezing weather to do the full tourist experience and just walk from landmark to landmark in the city hall and the civic center.
Our uber driver suggested for us to visit Larimer St before we left, and we were not disappointed! Despite my frozen fingers and Ricardo’s swollen ears, we managed to still do our dumb photoshoots and enjoy ourselves. Larimer St was amazing! They had a great festive Christmas display(and if you know me, you know how much I love Christmas!) They had all the christmas lights turned on in the middle of the day because it was such a gloomy morning, but that just made it even more interesting to look at.
The whole time I was there, I just felt happy and unfazed by my version of real-world stresses. It made me want to commit to making it a habit of visiting Denver as much as I possibly could. I know there will be a lot more to discover, and I can’t wait for more adventures.
Til next time!