Denver EAT + DRINK + SHOP {2020 Local Guide to Denver}

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Denver used to be dubbed a cow town due to a lack of culture and limited shopping and dining options. But times have changed – an influx of new residents and industries have created a burgeoning scene in Denver with hip new restaurants, craft breweries and chic cocktail lounges. Shopping has also evolved with a fun retail scene including trendy boutiques in unique neighborhoods as well as upscale malls and name brands stores.

The Best Places To Eat, Drink & Shop in Denver

EAT

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dining in Denver.  Food halls are having a big moment – check out at least one during your trip – Central Market, The Source, Avanti, Milk Market or Stanley Marketplace for Denver’s latest culinary trend where you can find delicious options for everyone from artisan vendors.

Brunch is an event in Denver and there are plenty of options.

Snooze is so popular they now have four locations.  Be prepared to wait but the Thai bloody mary will ease the pain. Start with a pancake flight – you’re on vacation after all.  At Linger enjoy creative dishes like hungover ramen and banh mi and if the weather permits, you will want to linger on their rooftop patio.

At Sassafras American Eatery you’ll find southern comfort food at it’s best like the Deep South Benedict made with jalapeno cornbread.

And for brunch with a Spanish twist, try Ultreia where you can order tapas-style brunch like tortillas Espanola or a manchego and chorizo scone paired with a spicy bloody mary. 

For lunch or dinner, book a table at Safta a tribute to the culinary landscape of Israel and the Middle East from James Beard award-winning Chef Alon Shaya.  

At Acorn Chef Ian Palazzola brings fresh ingredients to life in innovative ways.  Beast and Bottle has a focus on lamb but also features pizza and “not lamb” creations. 

If you’re looking for a good steak, you’ll enjoy Guard and Grace – a modern steakhouse by Chef Troy Guard with an extensive wine program.  For Italian, Tavernetta is one of Denver’s hottest restaurants featuring the award-winning team from sister restaurant Frasca in nearby Boulder

For vegetarians and vegans Vital Root is the (nearly) all vegan sister restaurant of Root Down –  a local’s favorite in Denver.  

If you still have room for dessert, Little Man ice cream is worth the wait – Denver’s nostalgic and delicious ice cream stand is easy to spot, located inside a giant milk can.

DRINK

While Denver is best known for its craft beer culture (with over 150 breweries to frequent), there’s no shortage of wine bars and chic cocktail lounges as well.  For craft brews, Wynkoop Brewing is the pioneer, based in a warehouse building in LODO since the late 80’s (before LODO was even a thing).  You’ll find plenty of pool tables in addition to beer and good pub food.  

If you’re looking for a guided beer tour, you can book a designated driver or a guided walking tour with Denver MicroBrewery Tours and for a full list of Denver breweries, see the guide here.

The Cruise Room is one of Denver’s most iconic bars in the historic Oxford Hotel, this chic bar goes back to the prohibition era. Plus, the Oxford made our list of cool Denver hotels.

Green Russell is a nostalgic speak-easy located in historic Larimer Square and features a chic but cozy vibe and handcrafted cocktails.  Cooper Lounge in the mezzanine of Union Station evokes the glamour of a bygone era.

Enjoy stunning views of Denver and the surrounding mountains at Peaks Loungeon the 27th floor of the Hyatt Regency – considered one of Denver’s most scenic bars.  Sotto Voce doubles as the restaurant Jovanina’s wine cellar and cozy hideaway bar. 

Death & Co – is part of the hip new Ramble Hotel in RINO and one of Denver’s hottest bars.

Attimois an urban winery featuring Italian wines in a contemporary downtown space.

SHOP

16th Street Mall, Denver CO. Image: wikimedia.org

RINO

Rino (river north)  is Denver’s trendiest neighborhood and the shopping is no exception with hip shops like Shea and Meraki Moon and find gear at Topo Designs 

Shop Rino Made for local artists. There’s no shortage of places to fuel up in this neighborhood with two food markets  Central Market and The Source.

Enjoy a coffee at Caffe Figurati or a craft cocktail at Curio bar.

Downtown and LODO

You could spend days shopping downtown – here are the highlights you’ll want to explore – 16th street mall is Denver’s main hub for shopping downtown – a pedestrian outdoor mall featuring more than 250 stores and restaurants.  There you’ll find the Denver Pavilions with name brand stores and a movie theatre.

From there, stroll the mall or hop the free shuttle ride which stops frequently at each block.  Book lovers can get lost in Denver’s legendary book store Tattered Cover and if you looking for authentic western wear, check out Rockmount – founded in 1946, it’s the real deal for Americana style.

Make sure to stroll Larimer Square – Denver’s charming and historic shopping block with unique and upscale boutiques.  Grab a coffee and pastry at The Market if you need some fuel.

Check out unique stores like Cry Baby Ranch for modern western flair, browse racks at Eve, Frinje, Hailee Grace and other indy shops.  From Larimer, venture a few blocks into lower downtown to explore Dairy block and Free market – innovative retail destinations featuring hip brands including Aesop, Beauty Counter, Jenni Kayne and others.  For locally made products, check out Fetch, a collective of artisan brands from across the state and nation.  Dairy block is also a great stop if you’re ready to eat or have a cocktail from one of the many artisan vendors.

Cherry Creek is Denver’s shopping mecca including a premier indoor mall with department stores including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s and many other name brands and Cherry Creek North – a thriving retail neighborhood just adjacent to the mall with upscale retail, dining, spas, salons and art galleries.  For handmade goods from Colorado (and around the globe) explore the fun and eclectic Artisan Center

Gear up for your mountain adventures at Outdoor Divas.

South Broadway

If vintage is more your style, you’ll want to head to South Broadway in the Baker neighborhood for vintage stores, craft shops,  an arthouse movie theatre and live music venues. Browse hip shops including Sewn, Decade and Buffalo Exchange for vintage clothes and gifts.

Continue south of Alameda Street for “Antique Row”  – a collector’s dream with nearly 100 antique stores packed into 18 blocks.

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