Do it all in Denver

If you want to spend time outdoors in nature, soak up the cultural scene, sample fabulous food and do something fun with the kids without using a lot of vacation time, I suggest a trip to Denver, Colorado.

Fall foilage

Denver is uniquely situated with the Great Plains to the east and the glorious Rocky Mountains to the west giving it a great climate with low humidity and lots of sunshine. It’s always been a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and, for me, it wouldn’t be a trip to Colorado without hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Enjoy the golden aspen leaves in September and October whether you like to hike or take the Georgetown Loop train. There’s also a Winter Park Express Ski Train if winter sports are your pleasure and there’s whitewater rafting and tubing in the summertime.

Dining in Larimer Square

Denver’s come a long way from its humble origins as a mining town. A group from Lawrence established the first settlement, which they called Montana City. After several failed settlements, the site was named Denver City after Kansas Territorial Governor James W Denver. Today Denver is the 19th most populous city in the U.S. and has a sophisticated, cosmopolitan culture. There are seven art districts for you to explore, along with craft breweries and lots of chef-owned restaurants. Stay at the new Art Hotel for the ultimate immersion in art. Snooze is a highly recommended “A.M.” restaurant by visitors and locals alike.

Denver is famous for its festivals and there are dozens each month. Denver Arts Week takes place in November, right after the Denver International Wine Festival. There are cultural celebrations, beer fests, taco festivals, music festivals, wildflower festivals, a bacon and beer festival, a zombie crawl, just about anything you can think of.

Denver Zoo in City Park photo courtesy of Rich Grant/Visit Denver

Denver is a great place for families. City Park is an urban park with lots of play places and picnic areas. It also contains the Denver Zoo noted for its variety of animals and cleanliness, and the Museum of Nature and Science, a leading resource for informal science education. The Children’s Museum gets high marks from parents and grandparents alike with things to entertain all ages. The Denver Botanic Garden and the Denver Art Museum are also highly rated.

We’ve got a Denver travel bag and great books to help plan your trip.

Donna Casey

I work in Circulation as a senior library associate. I love mysteries, traveling, gardens and libraries. My favorite authors are Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell and Harlan Coben, but I enjoy any well-plotted mystery.