Sunday, September 04, 2016

Girls Weekend In Denver

So you want to go to Denver? Excellent Choice.

My two friends and I had been on the hunt for a girls weekend excursion and while we were craving a beach getaway, the threat of Zika had me gently nudging them to places to the el norte. When we discovered that you can take a yoga class at the hipster mecca of Red Rocks Amphitheater for the low price of $12, we knew we had found our destination.

It was endlessly delightful to respond to the standard query of "what brought you to Denver?" with, "oh we came for a yoga class." Like, one class. Flying half way across the country for one hour of exercise. But it was totally worth it. I frickin' love Denver. I can't wait to go back.

What we did:

Yoga at Red Rocks - they have eight classes a summer and there is a very, very real chance I'll go again because it was an out of (white girl) body experience. An awesome flow, perfect weather, incredible music, free granola bars. If Heaven has yoga classes, they're all at Red Rocks.

(more) Yoga in the Civic Center Conservancy - if I was going to haul my yoga mat on an airplane, I wanted to make it worth my while. So I scoped out free yoga classes. Most cities have them (this is now my second free-yoga-while-traveling class, and I'm making it a habit) and it is a fun way to do something that isn't eating, walking, or napping.

The Flatirons (1 and 2) - we wanted a hike that was only going to take a morning but not make us feel like we hadn't accomplished anything. Flatirons was perfect. We ended up with a 30 minute detour (the trail marking is not great) and still made it up to the end of the trail within a few hours. There was some rock scrambling and it required a little Beyonce motivation, but we did it and it was totally worth it for the views, the sense of accomplishment, and the cheeseburgers we got at the end.

The Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks - after the yoga class we were not feeling particularly go-getter-y. This trail was perfect for some instagramable rocks and a leisurely "let's talk about our feelings" pace.

The first .3 miles of the Dino Ridge Trail - I demanded this because I love me some dinos. We parked right at the end of the road and took the 10 minute walk up, learned things, had a moment of awe over these being Actual Dinosaur Foot Prints, and walked back down. Skipped the crowd and the tours.

Improv at Voodoo Comedy - Improv and Podcast Superstar Mel Evans has relocated to the Denver area (much to the devastation of Chicago) and we saw her crush it so hard in some improv musical comedy.

What we ate and drank:

Lunch at Mountain Sun - If you're going to climb a flat iron, you deserve a cheese burger slathered in blue cheese. These were perfect. With delicious beers to boot.

Dinner at Work and Class/Working Class/Work and Release - (we could not ever actually remember the name of this restaurant) was exactly what these snobby-ass Chicago foodies wanted. Good cocktails, killer small plates, and no wait for a table. Everything was delicious but the mac and cheese, corn, and house salad were particularly scrumptious.

Ice Cream at Sweet Action - TWICE. No regrets.

Potions at Shine Restaurant - on the recommendation of a colleague we had some post-hiking potions. Good for an introspective giggle (do you need a restarter or a firestarter?) bad for being not particularly delicious. Though I'm sure they were good for our souls in a tetanus shot kind of way. 

Brunch at Rioja - This was the best possible last meal of the trip, but it also could have been the last meal of my life and I would have been okay. We picked it because of my companion's aversion to eggs (making brunch a challenge) - almost everything on their menu did not require a pair of sunny-side-ups to complete it which was perfect. The service was kind of garbage but you can redeem all manner of sins with free goat cheese biscuits and honey butter.

Where we stayed:

An absurd little Airbnb that stank to high heaven of the whacky tabacky (Welcome to Denver, I suppose). It was perfectly located next to a Whole Foods that provided the many, many kombucha varieties we needed for four days.

How we got around:

Frontier got us there. If you're 5'2", can pack light, and always have your own snacks, Frontier is not as bad as everyone says and was $150 cheaper than even Southwest. A tiny little Chevy Spark rental got us around. It was like a Harry Potter car, it fit into every parallel parking space we found and used like 6 ounces of gas the whole trip.

Other shout outs:

Golden Farmer's Market (and Izzybelle Chocolate Sauce), Union Station's new make-over, and Dirt Coffee.

She's pint-sized and amazing.