Denver, Colorado Review - Great for Everyone

My husband had a professional meeting in Denver and I went along.  I asked several friends about things they would recommend doing there.  One said to be sure to eat at “The Kitchen” (we did).  Another said I should not miss the International Sherlock Holmes Exhibition (I didn’t). There was a suggestion that we visit “The Tattered Cover Book Store (we did). And then I consulted with the Denver Tourist Bureau and was offered many more suggestions.  Surprisingly, when I arrived, I met a friend from New Jersey, also accompanying her husband who had a car and unexpectedly had time to explore with me. (My friend told me that Denver, where her daughter lives, is the best place in the country for individuals who have limited mobility and/or are wheel chair bound.) In two days we explored restaurants, museums and gardens in Denver. Our dining experiences included The Kitchen on our first night and Rioja on our last night.

 

From the Grand Hyatt Rooftop

The meeting was located at the Grand Hyatt, which was close to the free city bus that runs along the 16th Street Mall where The Kitchen is located.  Approaching the restaurant, Gabe, an employee, was leaving the restaurant.  He asked if we were looking for the entrance and as he directed us, he told us that the ambiance and food were wonderful.  

 

The free bus along the 16th Street Mall

We were a little early and realized that The Tattered Cover Book Store was just down the block.  What a wonderful store.  It was huge, energetic, comfortable and fun.  We wandered from one room to another amazed at the variety and quantity of books.  People all around seemed to be enjoying themselves.  We certainly were.

The Tattered Cover Book Store

The Tattered Cover Book Store inside

 

The Kitchen

Now The Kitchen beckoned.  Seated in a cozy corner, our server Bradley, helped us select a wonderful wine, mussels for my husband and the best gluten-free, vegetarian meal I remember having.  Manager, Jenni Connally came by and told us that The Kitchen began in Boulder in 2004 and now has locations across Colorado in Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins, one location in Chicago and three locations coming soon to Memphis.  Their message of “Community Through Food” is spreading.

The Kitchen - Relaxed and comfortable

The Kitchen - Mussels

The Kitchen-Vegetarian and gluten-free

Our other dining experience was with good friends of ours who live in Boulder.  They enjoy coming in to Denver to attend events at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and Pepsi Center.  Frequently they include dinner at Rioja located in historic Larimer Square.  Our friends have been eating there for many years  and have observed Executive Chef/Owner Jennifer Jasinski and General Manager/Owner Beth Gruitch lead the team at Rioja, moving from a small restaurant to a larger one and then to add two additional restaurants.  The food and wine were outstanding and I had a gluten-free, vegetarian meal the was Four Square, four square dishes each filled with tasty items.

 

Denver Latimer Square - Photo: Stephanie Corotis

Rioja- Four square vegetarian meal

http://www.riojadenver.com/

 

My friend joined me on a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens.  As I approached the Green House Complex and saw a video in the entryway, I was amused.  I realized that, here I was at the Denver Botanic Garden and there was a video showing the progression of the corpse flower or Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum).  So here I was witnessing the story of the plant in Denver that I had read about as it opened, while at the same time the same plant at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the one I watched for months, didn’t.  But then another one did.  Fascinating plants!

 

Denver Botanic Garden -The corpse plant story

Denver Botanic Garden-Gardens for the west

The gardens were lovely, calming and invigorating. The Science Pyramid, The Japanese Garden and The Children’s Garden were standouts.

Denver Botanic Garden-Children's Garden

 

Denver Botanic Garden - Science pyramid

Denver Botanic Garden - Approaching the Japanese Garden

Denver Botanic Garden-Gardens for the west

Once again my friend and I set out to explore.  Our goal was the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to see the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes.  Once there, we were impressed with the accessibility of the displays and how intriguing they were, the Health Section, the mummies, the Mars Rover and more.  However, the Sherlock Holmes Exhibition, which will remain in place through January 31, 2016 before heading to Seattle, was outstanding and a “not to miss” activity.  Multi-sensory and muli-media, it totally engaged young and old, alike.  I loved the interview with Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the experiential aspects of the exhibition and I was astounded at its size.  It was totally enjoyable.  Order Tickets

 

Denver Museum of Science and Nature entry

The Museum of Science and Nature - Entry to the exhibition

The Museum of Science and Nature - Sherlock Holmes sayings

Receiving a booklet to solve the mystery

 

It was the Denver Art Museum that concluded my Denver visit.  It is an impressive building in a charming area.  The exhibitions were varied and noteworthy but I was struck with the various offerings of Southwestern art.  How appropriate! This museum hosts a wide variety of activities for families, especially on weekends. Watch for the Andrew Wyeth exhibition.

The Denver Art Museum

 

Denver Art Museum-Remington Room

 

Denver Art Museum - Captivating sculture

 

Denver Art Museum - Modern sculpture

 

My friend had wanted to visit Boulder and invited me along to “hang out” at the Pearl Street Mall.  We walked along one block after the next “oogling” shops and occasionally stepping inside to feast our eyes not intending to purchase anything- Ha!  We found this area to be charming and family friendly with lots of fun areas for children to explore. 

Boulder - a plaque explaining the Pearl Street Mall

We entered Peppercorn and were drawn to one item after the next.  They seemed to carry anything and everything one could want especially if it related to food preparation. 

 

Peppercorn -A wall of hot sauces

And look at all the hot sauce!

 

We walked several blocks and decided to have lunch at the Organic Sandwich Company.  This turned out to be a great idea.  The food is local and organic and I was thrilled with my vegetarian soup and gluten-free bread.  Owner Marcy Miller chatted with me and shared that she had lived in Evanston for years, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

  

Lil and the noisy dinasour

Heading back to the car we treated ourselves to one last look around at Nature’s Own where we saw beautiful rocks, geodes, and a noisy dinosaur replica.   This is the perfect tourist spot.

 

Photos: B. Keer unless otherwise noted.

 

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