Courtesy of From the Hip Photo

7 Unique Things to do In Denver

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No visit to the Mile High City is complete without checking off some of the big-ticket attractions and sights on a Denver bucket list—outings like a concert at Red Rocks, a baseball game at Coors Field, or a brewery tour in this beer-loving city. But stick around a little longer, and you’ll discover some unique things to do in Denver to round out your itinerary.
 
From bopping around one of Denver’s most historic (and still lively) blocks to slinking into a tub of hops and barley for a one-of-a-kind beer bath, here’s seven of the most unique ways to explore Denver.

 

1. Spend an Evening on Larimer Square

 

Denver was born on Larimer Street: In the late 1800s, the block between 14th and 15th operated as the city’s first commercial district, home to the first residence and first city hall. Today, a hammock of lights are strung over this lively, pedestrian block that’s lined with boutiques and restaurants.

 

Photo by Evan Semón

 

Plan the ultimate night out on Larimer Square, starting with margs, guac, and tacos at Tamayo—Richard Sandoval’s modern Mexican restaurant that curates one of the city’s best tequila lists. Then, catch a comedy show at Comedy Works, which draws top touring talent and SNL alum into his cellar, with hilarious local comedians opening up the performances. The club typically runs two shows a night on the weekends. For a nightcap, pop into the rainbow-colored Van Leuween parlor for a scoop of French-style ice cream that’s made with double the amount of egg yolks to make it extra decadent. Or, duck down to Emerald Eye, a subterranean cocktail bar slinging tropical drinks—with a focus on rum and agave-based libations.

 

2. Take a Floral Class

 

From strolling through the Denver Botanic Gardens to venturing into the mountains to hike among wildflowers, Colorado visitors have options for checking out beautiful blooms. But for a hands-on experience, sign up for a floral-focused class at Rowdy Poppy.

 

Master Gardener Kim Zimmerman founded the micro flower farm and design studio in 2018, and recently opened a pretty-as-a-Pinterest board design house in the RiNo district where guests can learn all about flowers.

 

Courtesy of Hard Knoch PR

 

Rowdy Poppy’s workshop schedule includes everything from crafting inkless botanical tattoos to arranging vases full of flowers to creating beautiful crowns. Enjoy a glass of wine or a non-alcoholic beverage while you perfect your creations.

 

3. Soak in Hops and Barley

 

Love beer so much you wish you could bathe in it while sipping a local microbrew in an insulated glass and then lather your hair in a shampoo that smells like roasted barley and oats? Do just that at Oakwell Beer Spa, which is one of the most unique spa experiences in Colorado.

 

When you arrive, you can pour a beer for yourself from a wall of taps that’s like a mini tour of local breweries. Then, your spa attendant will take you back to your private room where a round tub for two fills up with a warm bath that’s steeped with hops and barley, plus a rotating herbal blend.

 

Courtesy of Oakwell Beer Spa

 

Round out your spa experience by relaxing in the infrared sauna and take a shower with beer-centric products. The spa also has zero-gravity massage chairs for continued spa day bliss.

 

Oakwell is opening a second location in Highlands Ranch, south of its original Denver spa.

 

4. Visit the Museum of Illusions

 

At this 16th Street Mall museum, you can snap some mind-bending photos that will confuse your Facebook followers and have them questioning Newton’s law of gravity. But the Museum of Illusions is so much more than a selfie museum and the installations go way beyond those funny mirrors you may have come across at boardwalk piers or amusement parks. You’ll want to spend at least an hour in the ‘edu-tainment’ museum that explains the science behind the optical illusions you’re stepping into.

 

Courtesy of Museum of Illusions

 

We won’t give away too many surprises, but the illusions include one where you’ll look like a gravity-defying Hollywood stunt professional hanging from a building and another that will have you viewing “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” with a new perspective.

 

5. Have Dinner at a Chef’s Counter

 

Chef’s counters are a trend taking over the Denver dining scene— even gaining accolades from Michelin—and they’re a fantastic way to interact with chefs to learn the story behind dishes or about how they source their ingredients.

 

Hear about the recipes chef Johnny Curiel learned from family in Guadalajara while sopping up frijoles puercos and a salsa verde with sourdough tortillas at the chef’s counter at Alma Fonda Fina. Or, join Chef Phraseuth ‘Paul’ Sananikone on an 18-course culinary journey with bites of nigiri and wagyu at Ukiyo, which is located underneath Bao Brewhouse.

 

Courtesy of Ukiyo

 

Michelin awarded its first round of stars to Denver restaurants last September, and starred restaurants Brutø and Beckon both have chef’s counters, but, considering the stardom, you’ll want to book these reservations in advance.

 

6. Take a Cooking Class With a Top Chef

 

Cooking shows and made-for-Hulu cooking dramas have many wondering what it’s like to be in the kitchen. Some of Denver’s best restaurants are lifting the veil with their chef-led cooking classes.

 

Learn how to make homemade pasta with some of the best at Restaurant Olivia. Sign up for a Saturday “School of Fish” class at Stoic and Genuine. Or, sidle up to the bar on a Friday afternoon for a lesson in Peruvian ceviche at Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge in Cherry Creek.

 

Courtesy of Restaurant Olivia

 

At these spots, you’ll learn the secrets behind iconic dishes.

 

7. Go on an ‘Adult Field Trip’ To The Molly Brown Museum

 

You probably know Margaret “Molly” Brown as a Titanic survivor. But she was also a philanthropist, suffragist, and actress, and you can learn all about her legacy at the Molly Brown House Museum and even get a rare glimpse of things like her ruby earrings and her personal stationery embossed with the initials “MB.”

 

Courtesy of Visit Denver

 

After the “Silver Crash,” the Brown family moved from Leadville to the “Queen City of Plains,” AKA Denver. Their long-time Denver home on Pennsylvania Avenue (which is now Pennsylvania Street) houses a museum with a fascinating collection including family photos, scrapbooks, jewelry, art, furniture and more.

 

Keep an eye on the museum’s events calendar for creative programs, like the adult-centric “field trips” with themed cocktails.

 

 

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