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Milana has been to Denver twice now, most recently in June 2018. In early February 2017, was her first trip. The purpose of that trip was to visit Winter Park (see separate blog post) but we spent 2 days in Denver as well. Unlike Winter Park, where there was tons of snow and 30 degree weather, Denver was in the high 60s during the time we were there. It was great, spring-like weather for exploring the city.
On our first visit, we stayed at the Magnolia Hotel. The hotel is in the process of converting to a SPG property, so you’ll be able to use points to book really soon! We loved the hotel, our room and the location. We used Priceline and it was another winning bid!
The hotel was just one block from the 16th street mall, a pedestrian area with lots of shopping and restaurants. We walked around quite a bit! Now this isn’t our favorite part of Denver as it didn’t feel safe, especially at dusk, but it’s downtown and central to many areas.
If you get tired of walking, there are shuttle buses that will take you block by block. They ran pretty frequently and best of all, they’re free!
Our most recent visit, we spent in Cherry Creek at the Moxy. Moxy is Marriott’s newest brand and we absolutely love it. It just might be Milana’s favorite hotel chain! We stayed at one in NOLA as well. I used my annual free night for one of the nights, and then points for the second. You check in at the bar as there is no lobby and they always have skittles and goldfish you can take. Lots of games in the lobby and outside to play too. The rooms aren’t like typical hotel rooms, there is no desk or chairs put out but rather fold out table and chair to take when you need it. The hallways all have funky decor, which kids will love exploring. It’s a different concept than other Marriott brands but we love it and will continue to stay there when possible. There was a Whole Foods just one block from the hotel, which was perfect for snacks and even dinner one night.
After we checked in, they brought up some unicorn poop and Mars Mud (aka slime) for Milana which to a 6 year old was the best thing ever!
THINGS TO DO
One of our favorite things to do is visit local children’s museum, and Denver’s just might be our new favorite! We visited it on both of our trips.
There were so many cool exhibits and things to do. Milana loved the art studio, where she got to paint a buffalo:
There was a pet hospital room:
And lots of other things. Her favorite was the loose parts room, where you choose recycled materials and create something new. She wanted to come back the next day! Their market/kitchen area was amazing, one of the best we’ve seen. And they also had a great water play area. I highly recommend visiting if you are ever in Denver!
Another fun museum is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. This was free for us using our home science center membership (check to see if you have a membership to a science center that participates in the ASTC Passport program and get free admission to hundreds of centers all over the country). They have a fairly large kiddie area with a dinosaur dig, building area, water area and a few other things. Great alternative to the Children’s Museum if you don’t want to do both.
The Museum of Nature and Science is located inside City Park, where the zoo is also located as well as several playgrounds. After the museum, we walked around and explored the various play areas.
Denver is home to Hammond’s Candies and they offer free tours to see how their candy is made every half hour. We love factory tours so of course we had to go! Milana loved seeing how their candy was made (candy canes and taffy the day we went) and especially loved getting some free candy at the end.
Just half a block from the Magnolia hotel was one of the best tea places we’ve ever tried. The Tea Cloud has lots of different tea types/flavors, so you are sure to find one you like. We liked their rooibos fruity burst so much, that we placed an order for it as soon as we got home. If you’re a tea lover, don’t miss this gem!
On the corner of 16th Street and Stout Street (half a block from the Magnolia hotel) is an awesome taco stand called Asada Rico. We don’t normally eat Mexican food outside of SoCal (we have the best Mexican food here!), but this seems to always have a line and great reviews, so we gave it a shot. So glad we did because the food is really good! I had the asada tacos and Milana had the bean and cheese burrito. Both were excellent!
Another really good place was Hapa Sushi, one of the best sushi places we’ve been to.
If you like wings, Fire on the Mountain is great! They specialize in wings and even have a vegan version made out of seitan.
One of the more unique dining experiences was the Buckhorn Exchange. We saw this place on the Travel Channel, they specialize in Rocky Mountain Oysters aka bull testicles. So of course, we had to venture here and try some! They weren’t as terrible as they sound, but I’d be fine with never eating them again! We also had some rattlesnake dip while here, which was actually pretty tasty.
A short walk from the Moxy hotel was a highly recommended burger joint called the Cherry Cricket. The first night we arrived, Milana wanted burgers so we walked over to try them. The place is nothing special but the burgers were really good. Highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for burgers!
For breakfast, we walked half a block from the Moxy to Syrup, a really good breakfast spot. There is another location in the city, so check them out when you’re here! Milana chose the banana/strawberry nutella stuffed French toast and loved it! I had the berry pancakes which were delicious. Highly recommend this place for breakfast!
Denver is a great city to visit with kids no matter what the season. Denver is just a two hour flight for us, making it a great weekend destination!