Denver I Love The Inside Scoop On Denver Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:46:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 125018964 How to Find Arts & Culture in Denver While Staying Home Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:00:26 +0000 Are you looking for ways to find arts and culture in Denver while staying home? Experiencing the amazing Denver arts scene has always lifted...

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Are you looking for ways to find arts and culture in Denver while staying home? Experiencing the amazing Denver arts scene has always lifted us up and made us whole, connected, engaged and happy.  Respecting the stay at home orders from Governor Jared Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock is paramount.  However, that doesn’t mean we can’t still fill our minds and souls with fine arts.

Like many of you, I’ve been racking my brain for ways I can help contribute to my community right now.  How can we support friends and sprinkle sunshine at a time when more gray clouds hang over our beautiful mile high skies than we ever dreamed possible?  Having just conquered cancer, it seems helping out at food banks and homeless shelters isn’t a possibility for me.  Although, these are definitely important things to do if you are able. Volunteers can find out more information at


One small thing I thought I could do is to spend a little time each week compiling ways to experience Denver’s arts and culture at home with your families.  If you are like me, you might be overwhelmed at how many classes and shows are emerging online. Where do we find these opportunities?  How can we access the links easily? What will we do without our treasured spring traditions: The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Hattitude, outdoor concerts and beautiful spring dance recitals?

By putting some curated arts information in one place I hope you can easily find a creative experience from home that inspires and uplifts you.

In exploring all the virtual cultural experiences in Denver, I am completely awe struck by the strength of our community.  The creativity of artists, the powerful words of poets and songwriters and the genuine care we each show one another is as vibrant and powerful as ever!  I want to give a big shout out to the cultural facilities and terrific local artists mentioned in this story – each have overcome great challenges to keep the arts alive in Denver! THANK YOU!

A note of caution: please don’t let any of these suggestions cause you unnecessary anxiety or FOMO (fear of missing out). None of us need that right now!  Perhaps pick one fun cultural “outing” or class a day or even a week to lift you up and keep your mind and body in motion.   Many of these opportunities are free. Others offer an opportunity to pay a fee to support our local actors, dancers, writers and artists who desperately need our support right now.


It’s been said, “the show must go on!”   These trying times are making that very hard. Nevertheless, where there’s a will, there’s a way!  Here are some ways to keep theatre in your hearts while expressing your inner talents from home.

1. See a Broadway Show

Both Broadway and the Denver Center for Performing Arts (DCPA) have cancelled all performances during the COVID19 crisis. However, there are a few website that allow you to stream full Broadway shows from home during this time.

So in trying out one of these websites, I made a bowl of popcorn and watched Kinky Boots on BroadwayHD.  This show always makes me Colorado proud when I think about Annaleigh Ashford. Ashford is the broadway star from Colorado who originated the role of Lauren in the original Broadway cast of Kinky Boots, a performance for which she received a 2013 Tony nomination.  Sure–it wasn’t the same as seeing the show live, but honestly I have never before seen the show so up close and detailed!

Locally, check out Rocky Mountain PBS for a wide variety of Broadway shows and never before streamed Broadway experiences.  Boy has Rocky Mountain PBS been working overtime!  Thank you PBS!  You rock!

The websites that are streaming Broadway shows have small membership fees; however, they also offer free trial periods in which to watch shows without charge.  Some of the shows you can catch up on are Miss Saigon, Carousel, Holiday Inn, He Loves Me, Oklahoma and many more!

Photo Courtesy of Neighborhood Music Stapleton

2. Take an Acting Class or Perform Virtually

Sadly, many kids spent much of the beginning of the year rehearsing and memorizing line for shows they never got to perform.  Even though the show are all cancelled, the artistic community has come together to offer actors of all ages opportunities to preform virtually. There are also opportunities to spend time at home honing one’s skills and finding positive outlets for creative expression.

We are really lucky that we have the opportunity to take our one-on-one lessons into a virtual format.  We have a generous and loving community that is working through the process with our studio and continuing to support our teachers.  We’re probably like all families and small business owners. We are holding our breath and optimistic for a successful summer!

-Sky Barker Maa, Owner of Neighborhood Music Stapleton

Neighborhood Music Stapleton Provides Exceptional Online Performing Arts Opportunities

Skye Barker Mass and her team at Neighborhood Music Stapleton,  (NMS) turned broken hearts into full hearts by quickly transitioning to online theater opportunities for kids.  Neighborhood Music has a virtual recital scheduled for April 25 and May 2nd  along with a number of online private virtual lesson opportunities from local directors and teachers.  For more information go to Neighborhood Music’s website.

Sunshine Songs with Broadway Start Laura Benanti

Like the amazing team at Neighborhood Music, Tony award winning Broadway star Laura Benanti was among the first performing artists to show what is possible when creativity and compassion come together during the COVID19 pandemic.  Benanti’s heart went out to all the young actors who had rehearsed for weeks for their high school musicals and school shows, but didn’t get a chance to perform due to cancellations and social distancing guidelines.  Benanti invited these talented rising stars to sing their songs online and tag her with hashtag #sunshinesongs.

Her spectacular idea was not only greatly appreciated by thousands of students across the country, but the beginning of a whole new movement – the Sunshine Song Movement.  While the talented participants may have lost an opportunity to perform with friends and classmates at schools and community theaters, they gained an opportunity to perform on a global stage with audiences that include Broadway’s biggest stars and directors.  Both Lin Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt have been big fans and supporters of Benanti’s Sunshine Songs.

Thank you Laura Benanti! If you know someone interested in participating, they can send an email with the title “SUNSHINE SUBMISSION” to


When people say, “dance like no one is watching,” now is the time! Denver’s dance community is beyond amazing in showing us how easy it can be to find arts and culture in Denver while staying home.  For starters, world class dance companies near and dear to my heart are offering online dance classes to engage the community in active uplifting opportunities to move and groove.

Cleo Parker Robinson

3.  Dance Class with Denver’s Iconic Dance Legend Cleo Parker Robinson

Some of the virtual classes offered through Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) include ballet barre, Horton technique, movement meditation and even a dance warmup with Cleo herself!  In addition to the online dance classes CPRD is offering the community the ability to hear motivational messages from Cleo Parker Robinson and learn about her incredible 50-year journey as Founder and Artistic Director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

4.  Keep Dancing with Virtual Classes for All Ages at Cherry Creek Dance

Cherry Creek Dance has virtual classes for all ages from parent tot movement classes to the highest level of teen jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap and breakdancing.  There are also a number of adult dance classes and exercise opportunities online including floor barre and adult tap.  You will find there are certainly some benefits to taking a dance class in the privacy of your own home.  For one, you won’t need to worry about flubbing that pirouette, so just go for it!


Learning more about great art and the artists who create it is an excellent way to seeking out some arts and culture in Denver while staying home.  Creating art yourself…even more fantastic!

5. Get to know a local Denver artist:

As a result of staying home to keep our community safe, we are all spending a little more time on social media these days. What a great opportunity to get to know a local artist.  Local artists are lending their talent to tell an important story of what we are all feeling and experiencing in isolation.

One of my favorite local artists, Carole Goodwin, takes her instagram followers on a daily artistic journey during COVID19 with clever sketches on toilet paper.   Whimsical artist Nancy Alterman, also on instagram @yofiegal, is sketching beautiful flower baskets of hope to uplift and calm us during our stay at home experience.

Some other favorite local artists to check out on instagram are: @detour303, @dinkc, @shittykittn1, @greggdeal, @wemfer, and @leeannwise_art.

“La Valeta” by Jaime Molina

Another great way to get to know local artists from your home is to watch the Artists and Artwork Videos, online under the Schools and Teachers Resources on the Denver Art Museum’s website.  I particularly enjoyed learning more about Denver based artist Jaime Molina.  Earlier this this year, Molina completed Denver’s newest public art icon – the 40-foot totem pole, “La Valeta,” that stands tall at the intersection of Federal and 6th Avenue.

6. Take an Online art Class:

Have you always wanted to take an art class, but never had the time?  Well, now you do.  Kids too!   Some are free and others have a fee to help support local business and non profit art institutions.  There are phenomenal opportunities to learn from great artists and illustrators during the COVID 19 pandemic.

One of my favorite virtual experiences so far is the free daily doodling class I’ve been taking online with my son and Mo Willems author and illustrator or the children’s book series Piggy & Gerald.  Willems created 15 inspiring online youtube classes for kids through the Kennedy Center. The last class ends today, April 3rd, but the full series can still be accessed through the Kennedy Center website.

In addition, other great places to find virtual art classes for kids in Denver is through Neighborhood Art Studi0 and the Denver Art Students League.

Zoos, Gardens & Museums

Denver’s museums and cultural facilities are offering some incredible virtual experiences during the stay at home order.   These fine institutions offer easy ways to find arts and culture in Denver while staying home!

7. Tour the Botanic Gardens

A great way to get a little culture in while you are staying home is to take a virtual tour through some of the country’s best botanical gardens, including our 28 acre treasure right in the heart of Denver.  Follow the hashtag #ourgardensyourhome and access to all these gorgeous gardens online here.

8. Check out the Animals at the Denver Zoo

During the travel restrictions, why not embark on a grand safari trip virtually through the Denver Zoo? Visit the Denver Zoo online for live streams and DZTV animal videos daily, family activities and conservation you can do from home.

One of my favorite virtual trips to the Denver Zoo was visiting the Toyota Elephant Passage with Groucho! Groucho is 50 years old and the oldest Asian elephant at the zoo.  Being a geriatric elephant, Groucho requires specialized care.  When else would you have the time to see Groucho get his  nails trimmed?

Be sure to check out the baby cam or the the Denver’s zoo’s first ever greater one horned rino calf born on February 22.  While visiting the Denver Zoo’s website, be sure to vote for the name you like best for this amazing new zoo member.  Choices are Talli, Joona and Pemba. Learn what each name means and see which name is in the lead so far.  Also be sure to follow hashtag #closedbutstillcaring for more fun Denver Zoo experiences from home.

9.  Explore the Collections of Denver’s Great Art Museums

Denver is home to a great number of worldly art treasures many of us have never seen.  While staying home, you can see many of these great works of art from your computer thanks to the efforts of Denver’s art museums putting these virtual experiences online.  For instance, a couple of my favorite experiences are taking a 360 virtual tour of the Kirkland Museum and browsing the impressive online collection at the Denver Art Museum.


“Ode to Joy” by the Colorado Symphony

What better way to find arts and culture in Denver while staying home than listening to local musicians!

10. Enjoy the magic of the Colorado Symphony Playing Together While Being Apart

If there is one thing we all need right now, it’s music!  Colorado Symphony has stepped up under the hardest of circumstances to provide online musical experiences that uplift and change the entire mood of one’s day. Have you seen Colorado Symphony’s Ode to Joy on Youtube? There is no better way to start your day during this COVID19 Stay at Home period then with this inspiring online performance.

Starting this weekend, Colorado Symphony will be offering online a virtual music hour where the Colorado Symphony will relive some of the best classical works from its past few seasons. The weekly virtual music hour will include special introductions by Colorado Symphony musicians and conductors. This is one of my favorite ways to find arts and culture while staying home.

11.  Support Local Denver Musicians on Spotify

Keeping things local, you can also find a playlist on Spotify of local Denver artists: “Denver Rocks” that helps support local musicians who can’t perform their shows right now.  The playlist includes favorite songs by The Lumineers, One Republic, Nathaniel Rateliff, The Fray, Joe Walsh, Earth Wind & Fire, Big Head Todd, DeVotchKa, The String Cheese Incident, Hazel Miller and many more!  What a great day to get in touch with the most dynamic musicians – all in one place!

12.  Attend the Rocky Mountain Virtual Music Festival on Social Media

Colorado is known for its amazing music festivals, and in the time of the coronavirus The Rocky Mountain Virtual Music Festival, presented by ARISE Music Festival, gives us something to hold onto!  The Rocky Mountain Virtual Music Festival is a weekly live-stream music festival.  By attending virtually you help support Colorado musicians, bands and artists during this difficult time. The festival’s inspiration is simple,

The only way out is through, and we intend to get through with music.

Every Friday, this festival features a series of live-stream performances and visual artist spotlights.  Moreover, the focus of the festival is on building community, promoting safety, maintaining positivity, and giving both creatives and viewers something to look forward to each week.  Going on its third week, the festival is  free.  That being said, tipping is encouraged! All visual artists and musicians have the option to earn tips through virtual “tip jars” like Venmo and PayPal.

To view the live streams in progress on Fridays you can use three different methods:

1) Go directly to the Festival page on Facebook and refresh at the start of every stream. You may have to scroll down to see the live video.

2) Go to the Festival page on Facebook and click “videos” on the left, which will lead you here:

3) RSVP for the facebook event, and the streams will be shared to the discussion while they are live:



“Basket of Hope” by Nancy Dale

I sure hope these ideas for ways to find arts and culture while staying home help brighten your week.  Please email me or reach out on instagram @denverilove with ideas you want to share.  I am looking for dozens of more easy ways to find arts and culture in Denver while staying home! I would love to help spread the word.  Hoping everyone stays safe and healthy.

Note: If you don’t want to miss these weekly arts and culture updates, be sure to sign up for the free Denver I Love blog, and we’ll get you added to the distribution list.  Emails are well spaced throughout the year and not overbearing in any way.

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Macarons Matter! Happy Valentine’s Day Denver! Thu, 06 Feb 2020 21:29:59 +0000 “Macarons Matter” is a favorite mantra. Two years ago our busy family of five was derailed off track and hit with some pretty heavy...

The post Macarons Matter! Happy Valentine’s Day Denver! appeared first on Denver I Love.


“Macarons Matter” is a favorite mantra.

Two years ago our busy family of five was derailed off track and hit with some pretty heavy stuff: a cancer diagnosis being only part of it.  As you can imagine, many phone messages and emails went unanswered. One person in particular was especially persistent in trying to reach me.  It was Denver arts patron Kari, the chair of the debutante ball for the upcoming Le Bal de Ballet events that support the Colorado Ballet and other dance companies in Denver.

Her message: “I have an important question, please call me back.” After receiving several voicemails to this effect, I called back. Her important question was, “I saw your daughter listed macarons are her favorite food, I just needed to know what flavor?”

Macarons are a Metaphor for the Delicate Balance of Life

From that moment on, macarons became a metaphor and Kari became a close friend.  When you have a tough day at the office; a tricky diagnosis, a bad grade on a test, a complicated set back…remember…macrons matter! In other words: appreciating small things matters. Treating yourself to something good matters. Recognizing the delicate balance of life matters.  A beautiful waltz in a big white puffy dress matters. Small, beautiful, carefully crafted, delicious macarons in the most creative flavors possible matter!

Macarons are the Perfect Way to Say Happy Valentine’s Day

Macarons are special and always relevant.  They are perfectly made with a lot of care and effort and are the ultimate treat to say, “I Love You,” on Valentine’s Day!

If you want to present your cutie with a box of Valentine’s macarons, no need to go to Paris, although as Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea.”  Denverites know some of the best macarons in the world are right here in the Mile High City!

One more note about macarons: they are worth every penny! For those of us who have attempted to make macarons on our own, we know macarons are not something you can easily whip up at home. I am speaking from experience and from about 20 to 30 failed batches over the years.

As Kalli Sarik, the head baker for HappyBakeshop in Denver’s Highlands, explains

Macarons are definitely more time consuming and finicky.  Sometimes it even depends on the weather and if it is a dry day instead of rainy day to make them come out just right.

While these bite-sized delights are relatively expensive given their size, I appreciate treating myself to something I really can’t make myself!

Denver Macaron Love

So, if you want to get your Valentine something special that really matters this Valentine’s Day….check out all the local love at these macaron shops around Denver!

Bella Macaron

Where: Homemade in Thornton.  Local pick up from the baker. 12665 Jasmine Street. Thornton, CO 80602.  Orders in Advance Only.
Cost:  $2.00 each/ $24 per dozen
Contact:  Chef and Owner, Heather Carpenter (303) 915-1952,

Bella Macaron is a local find.  With homemade custom macarons for every occasion, Valentine’s Day is of course a big deal in chef and owner, Heather Carpenter’s world.  If you want to impress your cutie with something special, Bella Macaron offers lots of fun and creative possibilities: a carton of mini conversational macaron hearts (as shown in the featured photo above), white chocolate raspberry hearts, cherry cordial flavored macarons, salted caramel heart macarons, cherry vanilla with Valentine’s sprinkles and more!  If you aren’t following Bella Macaron on Instagram, you should!  Talk about an uplifting feed!

D Bar

Where: 494 E 19th Ave, Denver, Colorado
Cost: $2.25 each
: Make a reservation through Open Table or walk in for a macaron fix to go from the desert case.  Chef and Owner, Keegan Gerhard (303) 861-4710.

Denver I Love | Chef Keegan Gerhard
Chef Keegan Gerhard

D Bar serves up perfectly crafted macarons along with some of the best deserts this side of the Mississippi!  D Bar prepares its macarons offsite in partnership with Füdmill, a collaborative effort of great chefs in Denver including D Bar’s owner and celebrity chef, Chef Keegan Gerhard.  Chef Keegan is a big deal not only in Denver but worldwide. When you visit the desert take out counter at D Bar be sure to see Chef Keegan’s face displayed in Legos.  D Bar Denver hosts one of Denver’s most spectacular  Valentine’s Day celebrations: an absolute to die for desert buffet on February 14th.  Will there be macarons on the dessert buffet? Oh yah there will!

French for Sugar

Where: 1201 E. Colfax Avenue #103  Denver, CO 80218 (Colfax and Marion)
Cost: $3.00 each
Contact: Owner and Chef Michelle Weekly, (303) 522.6886

French for Sugar is fun local bakery off of Colfax and Marion that is all dressed up for Valentine’s Day.  This cute store and event space has a festive pink glow year round, so Valentine’s Day is an extra big deal with hearts dangling from the ceiling and the cutest window display ever.  French macarons are always available at French for Sugar, but the store is offering special flavors for Valentine’s Day like pink champagne and chocolate covered strawberry.  French for Sugar is also well stocked with cute Valentine’s items to go with the macarons like stuffed animals, heart themed novelties and other whimsical gifts.


Where:  1160 Speer Boulevard, Denver CO 80204
Cost: $20 for a package of 5
Contact: Michelle Rasul, Head Pastry Chef, (303) 376-0070

Every holiday and special occasion sparkles brighter with special goodies from Gateaux.  If you have been following Denver I Love for any amount of time, you know how much I adore this bakery!   There is no better way to spread sunshine than by bringing someone a box of treats from Gateaux. Valentine’s Day at Gateaux is extra special!  While they don’t offer macarons in the case year-round, they do for Valentine’s Day!   Of course like everything Gateaux prepares, the macarons are absolutely perfect and gorgeous!

Happy Bakeshop

Where: 3621 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Cost: $2.00 each
Contact: Owner Amber Watson, Head Baker Kalli Sarik, (303) 477.3556

A visit to 32nd Street in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood always lifts the spirits.  The attractive array of local shops and one of a kind eateries makes the street one of Denver’s best blocks. It is only fitting that an original treasure like Happy Bakeshop would be located on 32nd Street.  Happy Bakeshop’s macarons do not look like other macarons.  They are big and bright, and they look so happy they seem to actually be smiling up at you through the pastry case.

Le Delices de Paris

Where: 600 S Holly St, Denver, CO 80246
Cost: $19.90 per bag of 12
Contact: (303) 320-7596

This authentic French patisserie sells macarons by the bag.  They are not Valentine’s themed, but they are exceptionally good tasting!  Pretty much everything in this petite patisserie is très délicieux!  Stop in for lunch and try one of the totally amazing mini quiches to go with your macarons. 

Mall Macarons: Lollli & Pops & Kseni Mademoiselle Macarons

Where:  Cherry Creek Mall, 3000 E 1st Ave, Denver, CO 80209
Cost: $29 a 6 pack at Lolli & Pops
Contact: Lolli & Pops (303) 390-5701; Kseni Mademoiselle (303) 526-0484

For a quick macaron fix, Lolli & Pops and Kseni Mademoiselle, both in Cherry Creek Mall, have very pretty macarons at the ready.   At Lolli & Pops you can also fill your bag or box with a fabulous assortment of red and pink candies.

Olive & Finch

Where: Uptown at 1552 E. 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218 and in Cherry Creek at 3390 E. 1st Ave. Denver, CO 80206
Cost: $2.25
Contact: Cherry Creek (303) 955-0455  | Uptown (303) 832-8663; Head Chef Roger Meier

Olive & Finch has two great Denver locations at which to find special baked goods and precious macarons.  Olive & Finch is one of the few macaron bakeries where you can sit down and enjoy a delicious latte with your macaron treat.

The Macaron Shoppe, LLC Denver

Where: Homemade in Denver where you pick up your order from the baker.  Orders in Advance Only.
Cost: Classic one  flavor dozens are $30/monthly variety boxes and specialty flavors $35 a dozen
Contact: Deviny Shenise: Owner + Baker, (720) 938-0325; on Instagram @macaronshoppedenver

The Macaron Shoppe offers made to order small batch custom orders.  In order to try these delicious hand crafted macarons you will need to order in advance and pick up form the baker herself.  Delivery can be added to orders for $5 to $15. The Macaron Shoppe offers over 70 different flavors in every color and creative design and combination possible.  Definitely worth the extra effort to make macaron arrangements.

Sur La Table – Make Your Own at a Valentines Day Macarons Cooking Class

Where: 121 Clayton Ln, Denver, CO 80206
Cost: $69
Contact: (303) 780-7800
When: February 14th at 9 am.  The Cherry Creek location in Denver.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a do it yourself fun and festive morning activity.  Learn how to make jewel-toned macarons delicately piped and filled with buttercream and white chocolate ganache at Sur La Table Cooking School in Cherry Creek. What’s on the menu: almond macarons with raspberry lemon buttercream and gold-dusted vanilla bean macarons with white chocolate rose ganache.  Register online.

Woops, Flat Iron Crossing

Where: 1 W Flatiron Crossing Dr, Broomfield, CO 80021
Cost: 2.95 each / $30 dozen
Contact:  Deb Evans Owner, (832) 334-6664

I discovered this amazing macaron shop right in the middle of Flat Irons Crossing, and I’m loving it so much!  Not only does Woops have adorable boxes for a Valentine’s splash, this small shop between Denver and Boulder sells some of the best tasting macarons ever.  I personally tried 6 flavors, and can attest first hand to how delicious they are! The fun macaron towers Woops prepares are another great way to say, “I love you!”  Woops impressed me with their friendliness and expertise. Rachel helped us pick out the macarons, and she was such a wonderful dynamo telling us all about how they are made.  This excellent customer care come from the top and Woops’ owner Deb Evans seems to really understand, “macarons matter!”

Whole Foods Macarons

Where: 2375 E 1st Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Cost: $2 each / $18 dozen
Contact:(720) 941-4100

Believe it or not, Whole Foods does macarons really well and you can’t beat the convenience of the self serve refrigerated case! In rating some of my favorite macarons, I would definitely put the Whole Foods macarons toward the top of the list. They always have them on the ready, and the flavors never disappoint.   This is one of my best party prep go tos, along with Whole Foods’ Chantilly Cake in the case, when I don’t get my act together early and still want things to look special.

Last but not least

Poeme Macarons

Where: Homemade in Fort Collins. Online at Poeme Macarons.
Cost: $34 a dozen
Contact: Owner and Chef: Sandra Zupanski, (970) 232-0951

I add Poeme macarons at the end not because they aren’t top of my list but because us Denverites have to drive a little further to pick up these miraculous macarons in Fort Collins.  You need to order Poeme macrons online.  I absolutely love looking at Poemme Macarons Instagram! I mean: how can you not feel good when you see the description, “musically inspired macaron shop!”  Come on – could there be anything better?

Poeme Macarons is named after a violin piece with the same name, written by french composer Ernest Chausson, but wait…the story gets even better. Poeme Macaron’s owner, Sandra Zupanski is a professionally-trained violinist, a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a dedicated passion for baking.  Who else but an awesome Wolverine could combine  music and French pastry in harmonious euphony. Sandra was a third-prize winner in the American-protégé International Music Competition, which allowed her to play in Carnegie Hall.  Go Blue! Sandra, I love your awesomeness!

I know this story only scratches the surface here for Denver’s amazing patisseries.  Please let me know where you find your favorite Denver macarons!  I always love hearing from you.  Email me at or message me on instagram @denverilove.

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Finding Extraordinary Holiday Fun in Denver: Timeless Traditions & Notable Newcomers Fri, 22 Nov 2019 14:20:55 +0000 Whether you are looking for extraordinary holiday fun in Denver that is timeless and aged to perfection or totally fresh and out of the...

The post Finding Extraordinary Holiday Fun in Denver: Timeless Traditions & Notable Newcomers appeared first on Denver I Love.


Whether you are looking for extraordinary holiday fun in Denver that is timeless and aged to perfection or totally fresh and out of the box, the Mile High City is a magical place for both! But with the long list of activities to try and fit in over the next couple months, all that fun can feel pretty overwhelming – even stressful. Here are some of my favorite treasured traditions carefully curated to help navigate, elevate and inspire. I am also super excited to share some of Denver’s newest holiday experiences coming on the scene for the first time this year.


There’s nothing like the City of Denver during the holiday season! Many magical Denver holiday traditions are going on 30, 50, 60 years!  Yet, Denver’s annual holiday rituals never get old, only more spectacular and meaningful every year!  What are your favorite Denver traditions?  Here are some of mine:

1. Tea at the Brown

At the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, 321 17th Street, Denver, CO 80202. Reservations for Holiday Tea opened last June!

Top of the 3 tiered plate stand at the Brown Palace tea. Middle tier = tea sandwiches. Bottom tier = most delicious scones ever!

The Denver holiday tradition I look most forward to every year is having tea in the magnificent lobby of the Brown Palace.

Every year, I join my sisters, mom and dad under the larger-than-life chandelier in the Brown’s atrium for a holiday “planning” tea.  We come with a purpose: to set goals and aspirations for the new year and review how we fared on resolutions from the year past.  The warmth wraps me up like a soft blanket. With 3 generations present, the resolutions through the years (going on 18 now) tell a tale of perseverance, optimism, strength and struggle.

In my opinion there is nowhere more beautiful or inspiring in December than the Brown Palace Hotel.

What holiday traditions motivate you? Which ones do you look most forward to every year? Is Tea at the Brown Palace on your list?  Two more extraordinary fun winter traditions at the Brown Palace include: the 32nd Annual Champagne Cascade this Sunday November 24th and the 75th Annual Tea with a live Steer to welcome the Stock Show to town on January 24th, 2020.

For tea reservations call: (303) 297-3111 or book online.

2. Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

At Cleo Parker Robinson Dance,119 Park Ave W, Denver, CO 80205, from December 7th to December 20th.

Many years back my daughter auditioned for the Children’s Ensemble of Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum.  We had no idea the world it would open up.  Whether you are performing on stage or watching from the audience, Granny is more than a holiday show. It is about being part of a family, a student of kindness, an ambassador of goodness, a recipient of love, world traditions and acceptance.  By just sitting in the audience, you elevate yourself to new ideas, appreciation and perspective.

To me, Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum is the most meaningful and miraculous holiday tradition in Denver.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance , (CPRD), brings this Denver treasure to the stage every holiday season – now going on it’s 28th year! Yet, each year CPRD surprises audiences with something new and different. Through dance, music and spoken word, Granny takes audiences on a cultural and spiritual journey highlighting holiday traditions around the world.

Photo Credit: Stan Obert

For tickets call (303)  295-1759 ext. 13 or buy them online.  You can also contact CPRD about having the Granny cast come to a school for a performance.

3. Denver’s Spectacular Light Displays

It would be hard to find another city with the beautiful holiday light displays Denver has.  If you are looking for extraordinary holiday fun in Denver, here are four tried and true beautiful light experiences you’ll want to go back to every year.

Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens

At the Botanic Gardens, York Street Location, 1007 York Street, Denver, CO 80206, from November 29, 2019 to January 3, 2020.

Hive, a modern bistro nestled enchantingly under the trees at the Monet Pool.

For over 3 decades, the Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light has lit up the holiday season in Denver.  Every year is different, exciting and totally exceeds expectations.  Be sure to buy the HeloSpex glasses to enhance the wonder!

Also a little note: the food at the Botanic Gardens is a cut above other museum cafeterias and cultural facilities in Denver.  You can duck into the cafe for dinner or just to warm up with a pastry and cup of hot chocolate. Produce harvested from Le Potager garden and the Gardens’ CSA at Chatfield Farms are incorporated into the menu whenever possible.

Get tickets online.

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms

At Chatfield Farms,8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, CO 80128, from November 29 to December 22nd.

The Denver Botanic Gardens hosts not one but two phenomenal holiday light events every year. Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms offers a totally different experience than York Street.  You will not overlap if you do both!  Live reindeer viewing, pictures with Santa, crafts with Mrs. Claus and a hayride through the lights are some of the fun experiences included with you admission to Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms.  New highlights for 2019 are a giant snow globe, Elf Boulevard and Santa’s Cinema.

Get Tickets online.

Zoo Lights

At the Denver Zoo, 2900 E 23rd Avenue, Denver, CO 80205, from November 29th to December 30th.

Going on its 29th year, Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo dazzles Denverites of all ages with one of the largest holiday light displays in the city.  It sells out every year and advance tickets are a must.  More than two million lights transform the Denver zoo’s 80 acres into an enchanting land of wild animals and wondrous experiences to explore.  I love seeing all the eco-friendly updates through the years. The theme for 2019 is “Illuminated with Life.” 

Get tickets online.  Member pre-sale tickets are available for purchase now.

A Hudson Christmas

At Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, Colorado 80120, from November 29th until December 31st.

Wow does Hudson Gardens go all out for Christmas!  With tons of trails transformed into a winter wonderland this is a fun one to add to your list.  Santa Claus will be there and lots of merry people enjoying holiday music and spirited fun. Even though it is widely attended, the light display at Hudson Gardens is spread out over a broader acreage than some of the others – creating more personal space for a peaceful stroll.

Tickets are available at the Hudson Gardens Box Office or through Altitude Tickets.

4. The Colorado Ballet Nutcracker

At the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1385 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80204, from November 30-December 29th

Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

Denver is lucky to have one of the oldest, largest and most enchanting Nutcracker productions in the country! The Colorado Ballet is going on its 59th year of presenting its enchanting Nutcracker with 26 performances this season!  A few dates are already sold out!

Bring your family and friends to Colorado Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker this season to experience sheer joy, get into the holiday spirit and see fantastic dance.

With lavish costumes, magnificent dancing, extravagant sets and majestic live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra, Colorado Ballet’s Nutcracker offers one of the most exuberant holiday experiences of the season.  In addition to being the largest production of The Nutcracker in the state, the Colorado Ballet Nutcracker has been named the best-loved Nutcracker in the United States.

For tickets call the Colorado Ballet Box Office 303-837-8888 ext. 2 or click here for tickets.

5. Colorado Symphony’s All Star Holiday Line Up & Denver Brassfest

At Boettcher Concert Hall and in the Galleria of Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1000 14th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202, special events and programming throughout the month of December.

Photo Credit: Colorado Symphony Orchestra

I love going to Boettcher Hall at the holidays! Colorado Symphony always presents the most exciting holiday line up – totally over the top!  This year’s schedule is exceptionally special and certainly fits the category of extraordniary holiday fun in Denver.

Top of my list: Drums of the World on December 1st, John Denver Holiday Celebration with the Colorado Symphony on December 7th; Celtic Women: The Best of Christmas Tour on December 8th; Holiday Brass (not to be confused with Brassfest below) on December 22nd; and A Colorado Christmas running December 13 – 15th.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance at A Colorado Christmas. So will Denver vocalist Devin DeSantis who will narrate the favorite tale, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

As if that isn’t enough, trumpet call please….Denver Brass puts on a FREE holiday Brassfest outside in the Galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.  This year’s Brassfest is December 14th. It’s the place TUBA be!

6. The Magic of Denver’s 16th Mall

From Tremont to Larimer, there’s ice skating (November 26th to February 16th), Denver’s unique and spirited Christkindl Market (November 22nd to December 23rd), and the Holiday Carousel at the Denver Pavilions (December 14th to January 2nd).  These activities only scratch the surface.

December in Denver means a joyous journey along the 16th Street Mall – the epicenter for extraordinary holiday fun in Denver!  All dressed up with a fancy sparkle, this downtown destination offers more activities than you can possibly pack into one night. Picking a few of my favorites, I like to start with a spin on the holiday carousel at the Denver Pavilions. The Carousel is open from December 14th to January 2nd. On December 27th all rides are free!

Moving down the mall, the historic Daniels & Fisher Tower, completed in 1910, always wears its holiday best.  This year, the Daniels & Fisher Tower, at 16th and Arapahoe, is home to Denver’s latest experimental art installation.  The permanent project projects the artwork of Denver artists on the side of the Daniels and Fisher Tower with content rotating monthly.  The Daniels & Fisher Tower is also home to the beloved  Clocktower Cabaret with a full line up of shows.

Other must dos right near Arapahoe and 16th Street are: experiencing authentic German Christmas traditions at Denver’s Christkindl Market, from November 22nd to December 23rd, and skating at Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park. from November 26th to December 24th.  Entry to the Skyline Park Skating Rink is free, but there is a charge for skate rental.

7. Hanukkah Menorah Lighting at the State Capitol

At 200 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203 on December 23rd, 7p.m.

The Jewish holiday of Chanukah is a celebration of light, freedom and miracles. We are blessed to live in a state and city that values religious freedom as displayed by the public menorah lighting at the state capitol.

This year’s 6th Annual Hanukkah Menorah Lighting at the State Capitol will take place on December 23rd at 7 p.m. Featuring a public address by Governor Jared Polis and other elected officials, a meaningful program is planned for all.

Celebrating an evening of community unity, pride and light, you can expect to find food and festivities for all ages.  Some of the extraordinary holiday fun will include: a giant menorah, a live DJ, traditional sufganiot (Israeli doughnuts), a fire-show, chocolate gelt (coins) and glow lights!

8. Ice Castle Adventures

At 120 Buffalo Street Dillon, CO, 80435, opening soon.

I can thank instagram for introducing me to this fabulous find!  I ventured to Ice Castles in Dillon, Colorado for the first time last year, and I’m definitely going back!  About a 2 hour drive from Denver, Ice Castles is smack in the the heart of Summit County easily accessible from surrounding ski towns.  The pictures totally drew me in – best selfie spots!  Once there we had an amazing time sliding down ice chutes and ducking through cool carved tunnels.

9. The Historic Paramount Theatre Presents Extraordinary Holiday Fun in Denver

At 1621 Glenarm Pl, Denver, CO 80202, with special holiday programming now through Christmas.

I’ve shared before that I love the mantra, “collect moments not things.” So, it’s no surprise my favorite holiday gifts are show tickets. There are a lot of great theatres in Denver planning live holiday performances, but I chose to include The Paramount Theatre because of both its impressive holiday line and its magical presence off the sparkly 16th Street Mall.

Of particular note is the FACE Holiday Show on December 21stFace Vocal Band is an a cappella group from Colorado. They made their first national appearances as one of the eight original groups on NBC’s premiere season of “The Sing-Off” in 2009. Other great holiday shows at the Paramount:  A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage, December 22nd,; Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, December 13 & 14th; and An Irish Christmas, December 18th, and lots more!

10. The Ginormous Gingerbread House at the Broadmoor

At 1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80906, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

There is nothing like the Broadmoor Hotel for extraordinary holiday fun not far from Denver.  Along with the Broadmoor Holiday Show, the hotel has a 35 year old tradition of creating the most ginormous gingerbread house – an edible vintage replica of the resort itself.   Like no other, the Broadmoor’s gingerbread house stands over 13 feet tall and has 4 million calories! About a dozen pastry chefs help make the massive creation who spend months planning and over 200 hours baking and decorating!

If you go on a Saturday or Sunday, try to snag one of the coveted reservations for the Broadmoor’s one-of-a-kind holiday brunch.  The price is steep, but in my opinion, it is the best brunch not only in Colorado but the country.


To stay true to the integrity of my blog, I try to keep it real and give only the inside scoop on people and places I know first hand.  However, there are lots of new holiday happenings in Denver I can’t wait to try this year for the first time.

Most importantly, I can’t wait to try these notable newcomers and replace stock photos with real life experiences.  You know how I feel about stock photos! Nevertheless, Real photos and real fun – here I come!  Follow me on instagram @denverilove as the season’s adventures unfold.

1. Christmas at Gaylord Rockies

At Gaylord of the Rockies, part of the Marriott International portfolio, 6700 N Gaylord Rockies, Aurora, CO 80119, from November 22nd to January 5th.

When it comes to extraordinary holiday fun, the new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center near Denver International Airport is setting a new gold standard. For Christmas at Gaylord Rockies 2019, the resort has transformed into a holiday wonderland. The extravaganza boasts more than 2 million holiday lights and tons of events, big shows and activities.


The signature holiday experience ICE will feature Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer brought to life in this walk-through winter wonderland carved from more than two million pounds of colorful ice. Crafted by master artisans who travel across the globe from Harbin, China, ICE will showcase spectacular holiday scenes and two-story tall ice slides.

So much ice is sure to get a little chilly. Consequently,  complimentary parkas are provided for both children and adults to help keep you warm.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Cirque Dreams Holidaze, is an electrifying and reimagined live family holiday spectacular.  This exclusive in-the-round theatrical experience features extravagant costumes, daring aerialists, talented singers and extraordinary dancers.  It’s a Broadway musical and new cirque adventure all in one.

The action packed 75-minute Christmas celebration will be performed on stage and in the air by toy soldiers, snowmen, penguins, reindeer, gingerbread and Santa.

Mistletoe Village

Mistletoe Village is the central hub for holiday hands on activities at the Gaylord.  Along with ICE!, Mistletoe Village is home to various attractions, shows, food, drink, shopping and Santa Claus.

Glacier Point

Outside on the west side of the resort with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, guests will have fun zooming around at Glacier Point on super slick Ice Bumper Cars, taking a yuletide glide on the outdoor Ice Skating rink, and Ice Tubing down one of four slides that will send you hurdling towards the Denver skyline.

2. Mile High Tree Creates Extraordinary Holiday Fun in Denver

At Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex,1848, 1736 Speer Blvd, Denver, CO 80204, from November 30th to January 31st.

Photo courtesy of VISIT DENVER

The giant immersive holiday tree in Denver’s Sculpture Park is an exciting new holiday attraction at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.  Whether an experience on its own or as an outing before or after a show, Mile High Tree is sure to transform the holiday season in a thrilling new way.

What is Mile High Tree? It’s a 39 foot in diameter, cone shaped structure with dazzling lights, oversized holiday ornaments and nightly music shows every 30 minutes.

Moreover, this big tree is more than eye candy–it’s a full immersive experience inside and out. Mile High Tree can host up to 140 guests at a time inside the tree itself.

The Mile High Tree  is the largest installation of its kind in North America. The tree was created by ILMEX Illumination, a globally renowned decorative lighting production company in Spain. Madrid-based Brut Deluxe handled the lighting design using pixel-mapping technology to create the magic on display at Denver’s Performing Arts Complex. .

3. Camp Christmas

At Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St, Aurora, CO 80010, from November 21st to January 5th

Bryant Palmer, Chief Story Teller at Stanley Market and Founder of Oh Hey Creative, tells Santa what he wants for Christmas.

Where: Stanley Marketplace

Denver Center for Performing Arts sadly will not be presenting a Christmas Carol this year because that particular theater is under construction.  Friends of the Denver Center promise the theater will be ready for Christmas Carol 2020!  In its place, however, is an exciting and new immersive Christmas experience put on by the DCPA offsite at Stanley Marketplace called, Camp Christmas.

Camp Christmas is a giant 10,000 square foot, indoor, winter wonderland!

Camp Christmas is not for the faint of festivity.  This over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the holiday spirit all the way up with mesmerizing displays of decorations that shift time and reality.  It’s not just pretty lights and mistletoe. When you go to Camp Christmas you experience Marie Antoinette commanding a Rococo sleigh and ancient Roman festivals all gussied up for Christmas.

By the way, the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities IS putting its annual production of A Christmas Carol – running for one month from November 22nd to December 22nd.

4. Westword’s Happy Hanukkah 8k -8 Crazy Nights

Anywhere – Anytime!

When it comes finding extraordinary holiday fun in Denver, it is sometimes a bit of a treasure hunt to identify fun happenings for Hanukkah! Westword has come up with an 8K virtual race to celebrate Hanukkah. You can complete 1 kilometer for each night of Hanukkah. Whether you run or walk them all at once, or do them 1 kilometer at a time, what great motivation this 8k can be! Even better, complete 1K on each day of Hanukkah. We can all thank Westword for the motivation to get off our bum and work off those delicious Hammonds candy canes and Mitchel Sweets!

WHAT IS A VIRTUAL RACE? A virtual race is a race that can be run or walked from any location around Denver you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, trail or treadmill. You get to run your own race at your own pace.  After completion, a medal will be shipped directly to you.

5. Denver’s Holiday Lights & Sights Walking Tour

Meet at 1437 Bannock Street, Denver, Colorado 80202, multiple dates from November 29th to December 28th.

Keeping that active groove on…try Denver Walking Tours‘ new 90-minute Holiday Lights & Sights Tour. On tour, you can learn about Denver’s iconic buildings and treasured historic destinations all lit up for the holidays.  Some of the spots on tour include: Union Station, the Daniels and Fisher Tower, the Brown Palace, Larimer Square and the Denver Performing Arts Complex.  Tours start at 5:30 pm, and only 20 tickets will be sold each night.  Tickets are offered at $17.50 per guest.

6. Free Latke Demo and Tasting with Safta

At 350 S Dahlia St, Denver, CO 80246 on December 9th.

Last year, James Beard winning chef Elon Shaya came to Denver and opened his Israeli food restaurant Safta at the new Source Hotel.  Consequently, Denver has been a buzz about hummus, falafel and cauliflower ever since! There really isn’t a bad dish that comes out of Safta’s kitchen.

On December 9th, the Denver Jewish Community Center (JCC) will host a free latke demo and tasting with the culinary experts from Safta. Safta’s manager, Charlie Troup, Chef de Cuisine, Jessical Nowicki, and Pastry Chef, Liliana Meyers will share their latke making skills in the JCC lobby. The chefs will even give out their latke recipe for you to try at home. There is limited space for this event and registration is required.

7. Reunite with Olaf & Anna in Frozen II in the new Cherry Creek Theater

At Cherry Creek Shopping Center’s AMC Theater, 3000 East 1st Avenue, Denver CO 80206 November 22nd.

Who’s excited for Frozen II?  I AM!!!!  Starting this weekend you can see Frozen II at the renovated  AMC Theaters at Cherry Creek Shopping Center.  As you reunite with Olaf, Anna and Elsa, enjoy munching on some tasty eats from the theater’s new kitchen.   Subsequently, go downstairs and visit Santa’s Flight Academy.  When you visit the Flight Academy you also get to visit with Santa and receive a personalized Cadet Badge.

As if there wasn’t enough action at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, now through December 22nd there will be live holiday entertainment on Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 4pm.  If you are looking for extraordinary holiday fun in Denver, Cherry Creek Shopping Center really delivers.

Well, I’m going to stop there.  As you can see, there’s more extraordinary holiday fun in Denver than you can possibly fit into a couple short months.  However, its good to have choices! There is no better place to be at the holidays than Denver, Colorado! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season filled with love, friendship and adventure!

The post Finding Extraordinary Holiday Fun in Denver: Timeless Traditions & Notable Newcomers appeared first on Denver I Love.

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These New Shows Coming to DCPA Will Make the Best Girls Night Out! Wed, 13 Nov 2019 18:38:39 +0000 There are a number of new shows coming to the Denver Center for Performing Arts (DCPA) that just scream:  “GIRLS NIGHT OUT!”  That’s not...

The post These New Shows Coming to DCPA Will Make the Best Girls Night Out! appeared first on Denver I Love.


There are a number of new shows coming to the Denver Center for Performing Arts (DCPA) that just scream:  “GIRLS NIGHT OUT!”  That’s not to say men won’t absolutely love these shows too! One thing I try to achieve through my blog is to give a deeper personal glimpse into what’s happening in Denver and the people who make it happen, especially when it comes to Denver’s thriving arts scene. Rather than generate lists or pull information from websites, my aim is to share first hand knowledge, real experiences and insights.  When I saw the line up of shows coming to the DCPA, I knew I had to write something about these shows.

These new shows coming to the DCPA hit all of Denver I Love’s story categories: Go, Know, Celebrate and Elevate!  The touring companies don’t touch ground in the Mile High City until 2020, but I’m putting it out there now because you will want to plan ahead for these awesome theatre opportunities.  Getting tickets for shows at the DCPA has become harder and harder, so get tickets now.

With the holidays around the corner, what a great present these new shows coming to the DCPA will make! There are few things more meaningful than the gift of theatre.  My favorite all time ad slogan remains, “collect moments not things!”  I am so over stuff! I’ll never be over going to the theatre with someone I care about!  I hope you this review inspires you to call a friend and enjoy a great night out at the theater!

Mile High Tree at Sculpture Park

At the Denver Performing Arts Complex November 30 to January 31

Photo courtesy of VISIT DENVER

Starting with a bit of an aside, to add to the theater gift giving spirit, the DCPA has a surprise in store for theater goers. Along with some fabulous first time touring shows, there will be a spectacular first time tree coming to the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The tree, called “Mile High Tree,” will be the largest of its kind in North America!  From November 30th to January 31st the 110 foot high tree will be on display in Sculpture Park with a light and music show every 30 minutes.  What a great addition to a fun night out at the DCPA this winter. For more information see Visit Denver.

The Mile High Tree attraction is a partnership between VISIT DENVER and Denver Arts & Venues, with the support of the DPAC tenants including DCPA, Colorado Ballet, Opera Colorado and Colorado Symphony.

There is certainly lots of motivation to go downtown.   Here are the new shows coming to the DCPA that I know will make the best Girls Night Out!

New Shows Coming to DCPA For the First Time Ever:

Escape to Margaritaville

At the Buell Theatre December 23, 2019 to January 5, 2020

Photo credit: Adam Lundeen

Making its first time ever national tour, Escape to Margaritaville will be at the Buell Theatre over the holidays. Having shared a drink with Jimmy Buffet on the beach in Mexico, hung out with him and his son, gone to dozens of his concerts, and read his book; this number one fan could not be more excited to escape to Margaritaville come cold, freezing January.   I don’t think I’ll be wearing flip flops, but I’m sure I’ll be chewing Juicy Fruit and having a ball.

This show didn’t last long on Broadway, but there is some kind of urgency and privilege about seeing a touring show that hasn’t run forever. Quite possibly, you won’t have this opportunity again.  I plan to take a few friends for their birthdays and relive our wine cooler days watching Buffet back in the day on the grass at Fiddlers Green.  Can’t think of a better girls night out! Will it be super deep?  Probably not, but entertaining – yes!  Well that’s all I’ve got on this one until I see it in January.

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

At the Buell Theatre January 28th to February 9th 

Photo credit: Adam Lundeen

Wow are you in for a surprise with this musical!  There are a lot of Broadway shows out there about talented female musical artists: Carol King, Cher and Gloria Estefan.  This one is different.  Rather than come off guarded or gratuitous, Summer: the Donna Summer Musical is raw and revealing.  Don’t get me wrong, Beautiful is my all time favorite musical. The only Broadway show I went to 4 times.  However, the Donna Summer Musical is right up there with it in terms of story, talent and production.

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical brings to light the struggle of an amazingly strong and talented superstar while addressing childhood molestation, domestic abuse, gender discrimination, cancer, balancing of career and family, empowerment and triumph.  Needless to say when I took my ten-year old to the show for a fun night of good dance moves and hit songs, I was misguided.  On the other hand, if you grab your most kick ass girlfriend, you’ll have the the perfect companion for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.  This powerful show is definitely a top pick for 2020.

Mean Girls

At the Buell Theatre March 25th  to April 12th

Photo credit: Adam Lundeen

Mean Girls will knock your socks off! Go on a Wednesday and wear pink! Whenever you go though and whatever you wear, you are going to love this brilliantly written show that brings big talent, big Broadway dance numbers, and big new songs to the stage.  You might think Mean Girls is more for teeny boppers. Think again. Mean Girls, based on Tina Fey’s popular 2004 movie, adds a lot of layers and dimensions you probably can’t even imagine.

The music is brilliantly written by Fey’s husband Jeff Richmond and the lyrics by Nell Benjamin. Using humor to define a materialistic generation plagued with bullying and unbearable peer pressure, it is a hilarious yet disturbing tale about coming of age in the suburbs. It just may be the most fun, entertaining and energetic show coming to the DCPA this year.

Sadly, I will miss the all star original cast that hailed from my alma mater Univeristy of Michigan.  Their synergy and back history will be hard to replicate. Taylor Louderman (Regina George), Ericka Henningsen (Cady Heron) and Ashley Park (Gretchen Weiners) were friends who performed together in college and separately earned many Broadway awards and theatrical accolades before reuniting in the original cast of Mean Girls on Broadway. I know I digress totally off topic, but I just love their story. There are so many talented actors coming out of the U of M School of Music Theatre and Dance (SMTD), their dominance on Broadway is known as “the Michigan Mafia.”  Go Blue!

You Lost Me

At the Ricketson Theatre January 17th to February 23rd

Artwork courtesy of: DCPA

One of my favorite organizations in Denver is the Denver Center Alliance (the Alliance), a dynamic group of Denver do-ers that have a long history of supporting the Women’s Voices Fund and the vast reaching education programs at the DCPA.   The Alliance hosts social events including a few theater nights a year.  This year the Alliance is hosting a Theater Night to See You Lost Me on January 23rd. So, no excuses: this last Girls Night Out recommendation is planned and ready to roll.

A great thing about the Alliance theater nights is you don’t need to find someone to go with because the group is built in.  It’s not only the best insider deal in town, but a fun way to meet new people in Denver and support the DCPA.  The cost to join is only $50/year – with individual tickets to theater nights sold separately. If you want to join us, please reach out to me and I will get you in touch with the Alliance President, Susan Struna.

You Lost Me is sure to make a big impact and is all about girl power! In 1828, 17-year-old Ann Harvey saved 160 Irish people from a wreck off of Newfoundland’s Shipwreck Coast.  She became an instant hero.  Almost 200 years later, the Harvey family homestead has become the Shipwreck Inn.  The Inn’s present-day proprietress Ann Harvey is leaving her own mark with a tourist blog.  A memory house for all those lost at sea. This Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Festival finalist is a bright new drama that reminds us that every moment holds the opportunity to change lives.

Both the playwright,  Bonnie Metzgar, and the show’s director, Margot Bordelon, are recipients of Denver’s Women’s Voices Fund. To see them bring this poignant work to Denver is nothing short of amazing!

Tips for Buying Tickets for the New Shows Coming to DCPA

The best way to get tickets for the new shows coming to the DCPA if you don’t want to pay a lot in fees is to buy them in person at the DCPA Box Office.  The box office is located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex, across from Boettcher Concert Hall.  The Bonfils building is currently under construction, but the box office is still open.

Also, students can usually get $10 tickets with a valid student i.d. an hour before the show.  If you don’t mind paying a service fee, get tickets online or by calling the box office at (303) 893-4100. Additionally, if you organize a group a 10 or more, you qualify for special pricing and deals.

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What to Know Before You Go to the New Monet Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum Wed, 30 Oct 2019 21:34:06 +0000 THERE’S A GREAT BIG NEW MONET EXHIBIT AT THE DENVER ART MUSEUM IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T HEARD! Monet: The Truth of Nature is the...

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Monet: The Truth of Nature is the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings in more than two decades.  The new Monet exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, is on view now through February 2ndThis extraordinary exhibit is like nothing you’ve seen. Here are a dozen things to know before you go:

1. Not Just Big But HUGE – this is Mega Monet!

Spanning two floor levels with 125 breathtaking paintings, it will take you a good amount of time to go through.  Plan accordingly.  Usually when one is lucky enough to see Claude Monet’s paintings, they find a much smaller collection. Even larger presentations, however like those at Musée d’Orsay or the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) don’t begin to compare to the expanse of masterpieces hanging on the walls of this Denver exhibit.

2. A Rare Look into the World’s Finest Private Collections at the New Monet Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

Through Monet: The Truth of Nature, The DAM gives a special glimpse into dozens of paintings that are not usually on public display.  The rarity of the collection makes the exhibit truly a once in a lifetime experience.

3.  The World’s Finest Art Museums are Present and Accounted For!

The exhibit reunites Monet’s life work that is scattered around the globe in many of world’s finest art institutions and museums.  The paintings below hail from Australia, Scotland and Japan.  Of course there are many pieces of art that usually reside in France and all over Europe and the United States.

4.  The Descriptions Read like The Fisk Guide to Colleges.

Highlighting art collections of the finest US collegiate art museums, there are paintings that traveled from Harvard, Princeton, University of Florida and my alma mater the University of Michigan.  I love that the painting that traveled from Ann Arbor to Denver, The Break-up of the Ice, is a cool icy scene.  Of course Monet never visited either city, but how appropriate! In the same vein, The House of the Customs Officer, that usually resides in Cambridge, is timely fuel for academic discussion.

5. From Beginning to End: Monet’s Life in Paintings at the New Monet Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

The impressive chronological expanse from Monet’s very first paintings to his last makes the exhibit make this exhibit special.  In the beginning, you find the some of Monet’s earliest attempts at his famous style en plen air. Traveling through the exhibit you experience the journey in which he began to master his technique and develop his passion and genius. At the end, right before you exit the exhibit there is an unfinished painting of water-lilies found after the painter’s death. The unfinished outer rim and still water before the addition of movement sheds a voyeur’s light into the famous impressionist’s order in which he mastered painting his beloved gardens of Giverny.  The galleries truly span from beginning to end, but as we know, the end was just the beginning for the many artists who followed.

Water-Lilies, 1914-17, private collection

6.  Weather Wows at the New Monet Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

Focusing primarily on Monet’s love and enduring relationship with nature, weather plays an important role in his life, his paintings and this exhibit.  Monet’s interest in capturing quickly changing atmospheres shines a special focus on skies filled with fog, sunshine, clouds and frost. Living in Colorado we can relate to the beauty that fast changing weather can bring.

Coming into Giverny in Winter, 1885, Private Collection

7. Water is Everything!

If you focus just on the water when you look at the paintings, what an incredible story the oceans, streams and ponds tell! You can almost feel the mist of a peaceful stroll along the Seine and the crash of a perilous wave off the shore of Normandy.  The painting below, The Manneporte Seen from the East, is the location of where Monet actually wrestled with waves after they pulled him in while he was painting.  He returned later to paint the tale.

8.  Oh the Places You’ll Go Visiting the New Monet Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum!

One of the best parts of the exhibit is experiencing Monet’s travels unfold through the winding galleries of beautiful art.  Monet’s love and affection for everywhere he lived shines, even glistens, as you walk through the chronological roadmap of his life.  From his home in Argenteuil with is first wife Camille and throughout Europe, Monet led the way for many impressionists to follow their own journeys using light, landscapes and color.

Picture gallery in chronological order:

  • The Beach at Trouville, 1870, Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
  • The Artist’s House in Argenteuil, 1873, The Art Institute of Chicago
  • The Doge’s Palace, 1908 Brooklyn Museum, New York
  • Tulip Fields at Sassenheim, 1886, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
  • Villas at Bordighera 1884, private collection
  • The Houses in the Snow, Norway 1895 Frederic C. Hamilton Collection Denver Art Museum

9.  Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

If you are looking for big floor to ceiling water-lilies like the ones on display in the newly renovated MoMA, you won’t find them at the Denver Art Museum.  Only one of the galleries in the Monet exhibit at the Denver Art Museum is devoted to water lilies, and you won’t find it until the very end.  With a primary focus on the painter’s life long journey, the ever famous man-made gardens of Giverny seem to fall backstage to Monet’s other more prominently featured obsessions: haystacks, windmills, Poplar trees, boats, wheat fields and bridges.

10. Pink is the New Black.

Monet never uses black! Try to find black in his paintings as you walk through.  It just isn’t there.  Blues, pinks, yellows – those you’ll find!  Monet’s skill in capturing natural light and the reflection of color is one of the most prominent take-aways of the new Monet exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.

11.  Where Have all the People Gone?

People are a rare commodity in the pictures of the Monet exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.  Aside from some bodies on bustling bridges and far away park benches, the paintings focus very little on human beings.   However, there are a few family members featured. See if you can spot them as you go through.

The Canoe on the Epte, about 1890, Collection of Muséu de Arte de Såo Paulo Assis Chateaubriand – a rare painting of the exhibit featuring family members.

12.  Poor city planning plays a role?

Monet was troubled with poor city planning that infringed on his love of nature – something to which Denverites can certainly relate. Mayor Hancock can take some solace in the fact that even beautiful Paris had its planning critics. When Monet painted Paris, he tried to find a viewpoint from a high building or on top of a bridge to get above all the development. His aim was to avoid and overlook man made interferences with the landscape.

The Tuilleries, 1876 Musée Marmottan, Paris.

Finally, a few final footnotes to keep in mind:

Only in Denver!

Denver is the sole venue in the United States that will show this collection and one of only two museums that will have it worldwide.  After Denver it will go to one other place, Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany, that helped co-organize the exhibit with the DAM.

The Gift Shop at the New Monet Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum!

Last but not least, don’t miss the gift shop.  It is worth getting a little souvenir just for the bag. These are sturdy bags – WITH HANDLES- that have the name of the exhibit and location along the side and on the front and back. Whoever designed these bags…hats off to you!

A Monet Exhibit Like No Other!

I’ve traveled far and wide to see Monet’s greatest works including trips to his home at Giverny and to Musée Marmottan to visit Monet’s stolen and now returned “Sunrise” masterpiece.  Just last week, I stared in wonder at the floor to ceiling paintings of Monet’s Water-lilies at the newly designed Museum of Modern Art in New York. However, quite honestly I have never seen as impressive a collection of Claude Monet’s work than that presented in the current Monet: The Truth in Nature exhibit!

Thank you Denver Art Museum for giving us this special gift of the holiday season!  I could’t stop smiling the whole time I went through!

This DAM’s Monet exhibit is one of the hottest tickets in town. Many upcoming dates and times are already sold out. If you plan to go be sure to buy tickets as soon as possible.  You can get them on the Denver Art Museum website.  Tickets are $27 each including audio, youth 6 to 18 are $5; and as always at the DAM kids 5 and under are free. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day.

The post What to Know Before You Go to the New Monet Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum appeared first on Denver I Love.

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PUMPKINS, CORN MAZES & FALL FUN: HARVEST FESTIVALS NEAR DENVER Fri, 04 Oct 2019 15:24:15 +0000 Come October there’s nowhere better than colorful Colorado!  At the center of all the fall fever, you have the Broncos, the leaves, the beer...



Come October there’s nowhere better than colorful Colorado!  At the center of all the fall fever, you have the Broncos, the leaves, the beer and of course the pumpkins! Let’s talk pumpkins.

With so many nearby fall festivals in one month, it’s hard to know where to go. Rather than pull a lot of information off websites, I like to share a few first hand experiences I love.  I’ll admit my pumpkin patch research spans several years, but there was one year I did make it to all of them all in one month.  I hope you find something on the list new to try.  I’d love to hear about where you go and the pumpkin adventures you have!

Have fun fellow pumpkin pickers!  Orange is the new black!

Four Mile Historic Park’s Annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival

Saturday October 5th and Sunday October 6th
715 S. Forest Street
Denver, CO 80246

As a native Denverite I used to love dressing up for Pioneer Days in school.   So, what could be more fun than making corn bread, churning butter and quilting? At Four Mile Historic Park’s annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival you can do all that plus compete in the cake walk, see a blacksmith demonstration, pan for gold and a tour an old school house.  Add to that some pumpkin picking, live music, face painting, and truck rides; and it is pretty hard to beat Four Mile Historic Park’s festive Pumpkin Harvest Festival when it comes to good ol’ Colorado fun!

Located smack in the middle of Denver, this one is super easy to get to; but parking is a different story. The highlight of the Four Mile Pumpkin Harvest Festival is getting to make a super-sized scarecrow that goes home with you at the end of the day.  KYGO is going to be live during the festival this year from 10 am to noon.

Cost:  Four Mile Historic Park Members get in for free; Non Member Adults are $10; Youth (3-17): $5; Military and Senior: $6; Kids 2 and Under: Free; Food trucks, full bar, scarecrow making and pumpkins are all additional.

Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield’s Pumpkin Festival 

Friday through Sunday, October 11-13, 9 am to 5 pm.  Last entry at 4 pm daily.
8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton, CO 80128

Another treasured October tradition for Denverites is the Pumpkin Festival  and Corn Maze at the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Chatfield location.  The Corn Maze is open from now through October 27th, but the Pumpkin Festival is one weekend only.

Admission includes access to a 10 acre pumpkin patch, fun fall activities like pony rides, horsedrawn hayrides, carnival games, bouncers, face painting, crafts and artisan booths. Who doesn’t love a good photo booth?  They have that too!  For this one, you need to bring your own wagon to haul your pumpkins to your car.  There is a full entertainment lineup of live music throughout the 3-days starting at 10 am on Friday.  Acts include Magic Rob, the magician; children’s music and a number of Bluegrass bands.

For the brave at heart, experience the Corn Maze  After Dark with only a glow stick from 7 to 11 pm.  Want more scary thrills?  Try the Dead Zone Scream Park open after dark. The Dead Scream Park includes admission into Corn Stalkers Haunted Maze, After Dark Maze and Fear Flicks.   Fear flicks is an outdoor movie experience with a different film each week.

Cost: Advance Purchase Pricing – Non members: $8 for adults; $6 for children (ages 3 -12); $7 for seniors and military (ages 65+).  Members can take $2 off every ticket.  You have to pay $2 more a ticket if you buy it at the door. Pumpkins, food, beer and the corn maze are additional.  Discounted Corn Maze tickets can be added for an additional $8 per adult or child. Ticket pricing for Dead Zone Scream Park starts at $28.

Anderson Farms Fall Festival with Lots of Pumpkins

Now through November 3rd. Fridays 10 am to 11 pm; Saturdays 9 am to 11 pm; Sundays 9 am to 10 pm; Monday-Wednesdays 10 am to 6 pm; Thursdays 10 am to 10 pm.
6728 County Road 3 1/4
Erie, CO 80516

For one of the largest and most comprehensive fall festivals make your way just northwest of Denver to Anderson Farms.  From bumpy wagon rides to a massive pumpkin patch, Anderson Farms is unique in its sprawling playground of fun activities one after another.  There is a really large corn maze; bouncers, slides, pedal karts, farm animals, a barrel train, sand diggers, gem panning, pony rides, face painting, pumpkin painting, pumpkin launches and more!  With so much space at Anderson Farms to wonder and explore, this pumpkin patch is one of my absolute favorites.

Cost: Fall festival Monday-Thursday $12; Friday-Sun $19; Terror in the Corn $27; Terror in the Corn Quick Pass $40; Zombie Paintball Hunt $27; Zombie Paintball Hunt Quick Pass $40.  Terror/Zombie combo pricing also available. Additional charge for pumpkins and food. Children 2 and under have free admission to the Fall Festival.

Miller Farm’s Farm Festival 2019: Pumpkins, Potatoes and More!

Now through mid November, 9 to 6 pm daily
13912 CR 19
Platteville, CO 80651

Miller Farms is definitely up there as one of Colorado’s top Fall Harvest Festivals.  At Miller Farms you can experience farm life up close and personal by picking your own vegetables and hanging out with the animals.  A fun hayride leads you through 180 acres of fields filled not just with pumpkins, but potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, squash and more.

Best Deal
Load a wagon full of pumpkins, gourds and winter squash plus whatever other goodies from the Mille Farms field for only $35.

The creative antique alley features farm equipment and one of a kind oddities.  If you love the Pixar movies, Cars, you’ll be able to get to have a great photo op with Mater and Lightning McQueen.  Other activities include: the Corn Maze, play areas, a hay pyramid to climb on and more.

Cost: $22 for adults, age 12 and up; family of four $75 and additional persons $18; Chirldren 5-12 $15; Children 4 and under free.

Rock Creek FarmU-Pick-em Pumpkins & Corn Maze

Opening October 5 – 31st. Open every day from 9 am until 6:30 pm with extended evening hours Friday and Saturdays until 10 pm.
2005 South 112th Street
Broomfield, CO 80020

Rock Creek Farm is not only one of the largest pumpkin patches but one of the best values.  Just south of Boulder in Broomfield, Rock Creek Farm is full of fall delights. Over 100 acres of pumpkin fields sprawl through the Farm with a road on which you can drive through at your own leisure.   There is no charge to drive through or park.

Rock Creek also has lots of animals to meet: pigs, goats, cows, sheep and chickens. The kids areas have bouncers, slides, tractors and more.  At the center of the fun is a hay bale maze and over 6 miles of corn mazes. If you are looking to take some amazing pictures, Rock Creek Farm has the very best view from its pumpkin patch!

Cost:  There is no charge to enter the pumpkin fields and kids areas. That’s right: free admission and free parking! You only pay for the pumpkins, fall goodies, corn maze and food.   Discounts given for more than one pumpkin purchased.   Corn maze pricing ranges from 7 to 10 dollars.  Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Nick’s Garden Center’s Fall Fest

Everyday through October 27th. Monday- Saturday 8 am – 6pm; Sunday 9 am to 5 pm.

If you don’t have time to drive out to the farm, stop by Nicks Garden Center in Aurora for aa great selection of gourds and pumpkins.  There is no entrance fee and tons of free activities: a straw maze, story time with Professor Pumpkin, play areas and game.

Cost: Some activities do require tokens: train and tractor rides for $4 a person; an inflatable obstacle course $4; and Nicks Duck Race cost $2 per duck.  You can also purchase a writst band for $12 that gives you one ride on the train, tractor, pedal karts and obstacle course.  You won’t get the pumpkin picking experience straight off the vine, but you will have lots and lots of pumpkins to choose from.

Nick’s Famous Pumpkin Weigh Off

This weekend on Saturday October 5th is Nick’s famous Weigh Off.  Local farmers bring their pumpkins and the winning first and second largest pumpkins get paid $1.50 a pound.  To give you an idea of how large these pumpkins are, the first place winner often gets $1,400 to $1,500!

Tagawa Gardens Fall Family Pumpkin Festival

Saturdays & Sundays, October 12 & 13, 19 & 20, 26 & 27.
7711 S. Parker Road
Centennial, CO 80016

Another fun greenhouse festival close to Denver is Tagawa Gardens’ Fall Family Festival in Centennial, near Parker. This festival combines entertainment and education to make a meaningful fall experience for everyone.

For three October weekends at Tagawa, you can: get up close and personal with live animals: take a horse-drawn hayride; explore the Bat Cave and the Spider’s Lair; decorate your own pumpkin; walk on water bubbles; and take a mini train or pony ride.  Food trucks off plenty to eat and drink.

There is also a full calendar of special events during the festival including: Dr. Mike’s Bag of Bugs; pumpkin bowling, tarantula encounters and crafts.  A number of the special events involve opportunities to learn and see honey bees, birds of prey, hawks, wolves, owls and other animals native to Colorado.

Cost: Like Nick’s Fall Fest, most of the activities require tickets but admission and special events on stage are FREE.  You can purchase 25 tickets for $20.  Regular price is $1 a ticket.  Visit the Tagawa Gardens’ website for a $5 off coupon on pumpkins and fall decorations.

Berry Patch Farms’ Autumn Blessings

October 5th, 10am to 2 pm.
13785 Potomac Street
Brighton, CO 80601

For a more low key pumpkin – produce picking experience, Berry Patch Farms is near Denver and has a nice easy feel.  The raspberries and strawberries are ending their season, but flowers and basil are still at their prime.

On Saturday October 5th, Berry Patch Farms will offer hay rides, chef demos, scavenger hunts, straw mazes, pumpkin picking and samples of autumn produce.

Cost: October 5th festival $5/person; children under two are free. Pumpkin prices are $3 -$7; Regular October Saturdays are $2/person.

Maize in the City

Open Thursdays through Mondays now through October 14th and every day from October 17 – 31. Weekdays 12 pm to 7pm; Fridays 10 am to 7 pm; Saturday and Sundays 9 am to 7 pm.

10451 McKay Road
Thornton, CO 80233

For this Wolverine, anything with the word “maize” in it has my attention!  I am also interested in anything fun and adventurous close to Denver. Maize in the City isn’t actually right in the city, but it is really close by.

Attractions include: corn launchers, bouncers, barrel rides, animals, an easy pick pumpkin field; a corn kernel box; and 20+ acre corn maze.  We are heading out to Maize in the City for the first time this year.  Adding one new adventure a season is always a great goal!

Cost: Access to the Easy Pick Pumpkin Field, playground and corn kernel box is FREE!  You just pay a la carte for some of the attractions: the Crazed Corn Field Maze pricing starts at $9; mini maze is $5; corn launcher $5 to $7; mini train $3; pony rides $6; petting zoo $4; bouncers $12 all day pass; and arts and crafts range from $2 to $10.


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If These Walls Could Talk: Denver’s Street Murals & Insider Tours this Weekend Fri, 20 Sep 2019 16:25:49 +0000 Social justice, cultural pride, majestic animals, history, fantasy…you name it…all have inspired an explosion of Denver’s street murals throughout the town.  Denver’s walls tell...

The post If These Walls Could Talk: Denver’s Street Murals & Insider Tours this Weekend appeared first on Denver I Love.


Social justice, cultural pride, majestic animals, history, fantasy…you name it…all have inspired an explosion of Denver’s street murals throughout the town.  Denver’s walls tell so many incredible stories, but many are down side streets, back lots and alleyways? You may be asking where is the best place to go, and what can I see? Denver I Love is here to help!  Also, be sure to check out the 4 recommended street art tours happening this weekend.


There really isn’t anywhere in Denver these days where you won’t find some kind of free and amazing street art.  However, like a ripe pomegranate, there are some particularly fruitful pockets you will find as you peel back from the main streets and tuck down the back alley.


A portion of the instagram popular “Love this City” wall mural by Pat Milbery at Broadway and Arapahoe Streets.

Perhaps Denver’s best known location for interesting street art is the River North Art District (RiNo) and the neighboring Historic Five Points.  Creative minds have been expressing themselves on the buildings here for years.

This month marked the 10th anniversary of CRUSH WALLS, Denver’s one week street art extravaganza that brings over 100 artists together to paint the town red…and blue, yellow, orange and every other color under the sun.  Crush Walls, founded by artist Robin Munro, stands for Creative Rituals Under Social Harmony – which is truly the perfect description!

When you talk about Denver’s street murals, Crush Walls is at the epicenter! Over 100,000 Denverites attend Crush Walls, and hundreds of thousands more people flock to RiNo after the festival just to see the finished walls.


Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals

Denver’s Arts District on Santa Fe is home to some of the city’s greatest historic architecture.  Without losing sight of its significant past and treasured architecture, Santa Fe is now a modern hub for art, theater and dance. As one of the first arts district in the state, Santa Fe is home to many important arts and cultural organizations like the Colorado Ballet, Center for Visual Arts, Museo de los Americas and Su Teatro.  Thus, it is fitting that the buildings showcase outside some of the creative expression and cultural celebration taking place inside.


Serena Williams mural by Jules Muck, on the wall of Train Fitness, 22nd & Larimer

One of the first Denver I Love stories on the books was an interview with Kyle Zeppelin.  Zeppelin touched a bit on his Dad, Mickey Zeppelin’s vision in developing parts of lower downtown (LoDo) and his intention for LODO to showcase artists, provide space for creative expression, and celebrate the historic architecture and buildings that are some of the city’s oldest and greatest treasures.  Even with big new projects like the Dairy Block and Union Station’s redevelopment, LoDo remains true to being a haven for artistic design and style.


Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals

From 1st Avenue south several miles along Broadway, the walls and alleyways of the historic Baker Neighborhood show off an eclectic expression of murals, graffiti and art emerging out of the woodwork, brick and concrete.  Along with favorite vintage clothing stores like the Buffalo Exchange, top restaurants, bars and coffee shops, you will find many of the business names and concepts featured on their exterior walls.


The best things about Denver’s street murals are the mind blowing ideas and creative souls behind the work.  Everyone has a story and these walls CAN talk!  The number of great artistic story tellers in Denver is astounding.  Here are 5 in particular that you might want to look out for.

Thomas Evans a.k.a. Detour

I met Detour while he was painting this larger than life John Coltrane mural on the outside wall of the jazz club Nocturne. Detour uses his art to connect music to fine arts and urban culture through portraits that tackle issues ranging from serious statements to light-hearted celebration. As one of Denver’s most sought after artists, his portraits can be seen on trucks, buildings and galleries throughout the city, United States and even the world. During the Crush Walls Street art festival, Detour actually created THREE murals in one week!  Find them at Nocturne, 32nd and Curtis and Red Line Contemporary Art Center.

Markahm SK Maes, a.k.a. Shitty Kitten and DINKC

Meeting Shitty Kitten opened my eyes to how absolutely brilliant this man is!  This year, Shitty Kitten and DINKC, another uber talented cartoon-character like artist, decided to collaborate on a mural for Crush Walls in the alley of EXDO.  The two had never worked together before and had no plan for what they would create up to the morning they started painting.  They let their creativity and incredible minds lead as they picked up the paint cans and started spraying.  I can’t imagine there are many people in the world who could do that! Right?

Meeg Conroy, a.k.a. Miss Meeg

Miss Meeg is a local artist and one of the great veterans of the Crush Walls festival.  Her most recent creation stands apart as one of the few painted on glass windows instead of walls.  Carefully taking into account the exterior natural light of the daytime and the inside florescent lights of the night, Miss Meeg is an artistic genius when it comes to painting animals.  Keeping with the furry friend theme from last year, she replaced her adorable bunnies with a few sly foxes keeping watch through the windows of the Denver Central Market.

Kotatron the Triceratops

The story I heard unfold for Kotatron’s Crush Walls piece was one so sad and senseless, it inspired many coats of paint that may never be fully understand. Two days before the team of Kotatron the Triceratops, a.k.a. the Elite Mech Forch (EMA), started painting their Crush Walls masterpiece for 2019 a tragedy took place. The artist, “Fever,” who was supposed to be up on that ladder was killed.  The rest of the crew painted on.  The wall serves as a memorial and tribute to a lost friend and crazy talented mind who was taken way to soon.  Seeing these guys turn their pain and loss into a work of art was a total privilege to see.

Gregg Deal

I haven’t had the opportunity to meet Gregg Deal yet, but I really want to!  When it comes to Denver’s meaningful street art, the name Gregg Deal is top of the list!  I follow his instagram and you should too! Check it out @greggdeal.  Deal’s intricate Denver street murals have many layers that make you stop, think and ask questions that don’t even come to mind before you stand in front of his art.  They are well planned out, totally unique and meaningful. I saw a video of Deal speaking about art, and his words are totally stuck in my head:

Art is about disrupting space; it is about taking people to task; it is about raising questions; it is about bringing up the moral fortitude of our communities and whether or not our communities are realizing what their moral obligation is and realizing if there are problems in their communities that they need to recognize and make fix.

– Gregg Deal, Crush Walls 2019, as seen on the Crush Walls Instagram

With hundreds of talented artists putting their mark on Denver’s walls, Denver is elevated to new heights because of the talent and ideas each person brings to surface.  Some other artists behind Denver’s street murals are:

  • Pat Milbery, one of Denver’s most famous street artists responsible for creating the Love this City Campaign;
  • Mpek36 who I had the pleasure of seeing in action in the alleyway of EXDO, and was in total awe of his use of explosive color and graffiti to transform the ordinary to the extraordinary;
  • Danny Starr who is an accomplished oil and water color painter who most recently created an inspiring statement behind Denver Central Market for the local brand Be A Good Person; and
  • Tracey Weil @Weil Works for creating something totally out of the box with her 3D street art.   Weil’s colorful designs wrap the street poles and up the game in Denver’s alleyways.

I realize there are dozens of more incredibly talented and notable street artists in Denver I’ve yet to meet. I can’t wait until Crush Walls 2020!

Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals Denver's Street Murals


This weekend presents one of the best opportunities to learn more and dive deep into Denver’s street art.  Doors Open Denver showcases architecture and design all over Denver.

Every year Doors Open Denver features a particular neighborhood or area of the City in a special way.  The 2019 Doors Over Denver is planning to highlight the Santa Fe Arts District and nearby neighborhoods of Los Almas and Lincoln Park.

There are dozens of tours throughout the rest of Denver as well – from the most historic buildings to the newest most modern architecture.

Among the 110 insider tours on the schedule,  at least 4 are geared toward Denver’s street murals and graffiti.  Here they are:

1.  La Alma Rebel Tour

Visit the murals of La Alma/Lincoln Park with Cori Anderson, Founder, the Street Art Network. September 21 at5 pm and September 22 at 10 am.

2.  Chicano Murals Tour

Explore the birth of the mural movement in Colorado from La Alma/Lincoln Park to the Art District on Santa Fe with a special focus on the rich Chicano cultural heritage spanning from the early settlements to the Civil Rights Movement to to today. The Chicano Murals Tour will be guided by Lucha Martinez and is 60 minutes. September 21 at 9 am to

3.  Denver Graffiti Tour 

This 90 minute walking tour will explore Denver’s street murals in RiNo with Lauren Cross of Denver Graffiti Tour, LLC. September 21 at 2 and 4 pm

4. Between Us

The Downtown Denver Alleyways Project is a guided walking tour of the downtown Denver Alleyways with the Project Program Director, Curator and participating Artists. September 21 at 11 am and 2pm; September 22 at 11 am.

All DOD tours are $12; and you need to register online.  Click here for tickets.

If you have a minute…shoot me a picture or info on your favorite Denver street murals!

The post If These Walls Could Talk: Denver’s Street Murals & Insider Tours this Weekend appeared first on Denver I Love.

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Ten Shows and Exhibits in Denver to See Before They Go Away….Hurry! Fri, 13 Sep 2019 21:07:34 +0000 As the season changes, so do many of the great summer exhibits and shows in Denver.  Here are 10 shows and exhibits that are...

The post Ten Shows and Exhibits in Denver to See Before They Go Away….Hurry! appeared first on Denver I Love.


As the season changes, so do many of the great summer exhibits and shows in Denver.  Here are 10 shows and exhibits that are so extra special you really need to see them before they go away!  From theater to concerts; art exhibits to architecture; and of course lots of food and drink – here’s the inside scoop from Denver I Love.


Where: Denver Museum of Nature and Science: 2001 Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80205
Last Day: September 14th at 7:30 PM
Tickets: $7.95 to $9.95 / additional discounts for members  – Click here for tickets.

Toy Story 4 received rave reviews, and everyone loves the new character Forky – who started his life as a spork and became the most loved toy in the pack.

Watching the animation changes and technological advances from Toy Story 1 to Toy Story 2 are stunning, especially on the big IMAX screen!  Pixar isn’t the only one keeping up with the times. A fun thing about Denver’s IMAX are the free water bottles that are aluminum and reusable!  To enhance its commitment to building an empowered community that loves, understands, and protects our natural world, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has eliminated single-use plastic completely.

…and that’s not all Toy Toy Story fans – shout out to my dear friend and roommate from college, Jody Weinberg, who I always love seeing in the Pixar credits!  See if you can find her during the funny and fun credits at the end. Jody is one of the rare members of the Pixar team to work on all 4 Toy Stories.


Human Nature: Figures from the Craig Ponzio Sculpture Collection
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens: 1007 York Street, Denver, CO 80206
Last Day: SUNDAY, September 15th
Tickets: $9 to $12.50 non members / Free for members – Click here for tickets and tours.

Denver Botanic Gardens has the MOST incredible art exhibits! Think back: Chihuly, Deborah Butterfield and Alexander Calder. The current sculpture exhibit, Human Nature: Figures from the Craig Ponzio Sculpture Collection, is one of the best I have seen!  While it has been showing since April, this is the very last weekend to see it!

What makes this exhibit so special?  First, the collection features pieces by an incredibly diverse group of artists from the most famous, such as Auguste Rodin, to local Colorado artists, like Kendra Fleischman. Also, you will find neoclassical mixed with modern, and, European mixed with American. Furthermore, the sculptures are spread throughout the gardens. So, it is fun to walk through and try to find all of them.  It took me a few trips around to not miss any.


Where: Denver School of the Arts: 7111 Montview Boulevard, Denver, CO 80220
Last Day: SATURDAY, September 14th at 7pm
Tickets: $20-$30 – Tickets must be purchased in person at DSA since the rest of the run is sold out.

Denver has gained quite the reputation for its amazing arts education and long history of sending top tier talent into the world.  Catching the annual All-School Musical at Denver School of the Arts is always special! This year’s production of the fosse hit Chicago does not disappoint! Tickets are sold out. However, if you go at 6pm to the box office, they will release a few more seats as space permits.

Denver School of the Arts, commonly referred to as DSA, is an audition based arts magnet school (grades 6-12) in Denver Public Schools. The school is highly competitive in that every year thousands of students audition for a small number of coveted spots.  DSA boasts many famous alum including world class musicians, dancers, Broadway actors, directors, writers, set designers and visual artists.  You never know if you are watching the next Meryl Streep – and with the amazing cast of Chicago, you just might be!


Where: The Buell Theatre, Denver Center for Performing Arts: 1350 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80202
Last Day: SUNDAY, September 22th
Tickets: $45 – $179 – Click here for tickets.

Another hot ticket this week is Miss Saigon at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.  The national touring cast for this show is brilliant!  It is one of those really BIG Broadway productions…big talent, big songs, big set and big impact!  Every role is cast perfectly from the biggest roles to the supporting ones. The performance by Red Concepcion, the Engineer, is especially notable. If you are only going to see one show this season…this is it!  This isn’t a show for younger audiences though.

Miss Saigon is the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim (played by Emily Butista) who is orphaned by war and forced to work in a bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer (played by Red Concepcion). There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I., Chris (played by Anthony Festa), but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son and has remarried (Chris’ wife Ellen is played by Stacie Bono).

The show has some of  Broadway’s greatest hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “The Movie in My Mind,” “Last Night of the World” and “American Dream.”

Did you know the DCPA is the largest not for profit theater organization in the United States?  No wonder, the DCPA attracts the nation’s best talent!  When it comes the amazing theater, Denver is certainly on the map every which way!


Where: Parking Lot of Red Rocks Amphitheater: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465
Only Day: SATURDAY, September 14th – 3 to 8pm
Tickets: Free event

Sadly, most of the fun food truck festivals are winding to an end. However, Red Rocks Amphitheater’s food truck festival happening THIS WEEKEND will give our taste buds one last hurrah.  I know this story is about shows and exhibits, but a food festival is pretty much a show and exhibit at the same time, right?  Taking place in the upper north and upper south lots at Red Rocks, the Food Truck Rally will feature lots of food, drink and music!


Last Day: September 29th
Where: The Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities: 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, CO 80003
Tickets: $53 to $60 – Click here for tickets.

The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities launched its 44th theatre season with the regional premiere of Bright Star, playing through September 29th. Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and inspired by a true story, Bright Star illuminates the great American tradition of storytelling with a dramatic and emotional tale of love, regret, and understanding.

Written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star features an Americana and bluegrass-infused score that ranges from heart-piercing ballads to up-tempo numbers that hearken back to old-time American dance music.

“A lot of what makes Bright Star enjoyable is in the emotions the characters get to explore through their journey and the songs,” says Producing Artistic Director of Musical Theatre and Director of Bright Star, Rod A. Lansberry. “There’s a close-knit sense of how these characters are connected because of the respective journeys they take and the music serves to deepen that emotional connection.”

The Arvada Center is known for giving audiences an intimate and up close experience – especially with the fabulous talk backs after certain shows.  There is still time to catch a talk-back opportunity for Bright Star on the following performances:

  • Tuesday, September 17 after the 7:30 pm performance
  • Wednesday, September 25 after the 1 pm performance
  • Thursday, September 26 after the 7:30 pm performance


Where: The Newman Center for the Performing Arts at University of Denver:
2344 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80210
Last Day: September 22nd
Tickets: $38-$48 –  Click here for tickets.

In my opinion there is no greater treasure in our city than Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.  The 49th Season of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance opens at the Newman Center with their latest production, “Rise & Resist” — a dynamic performance featuring works from Donald Mckayle and Micaela Taylor.  If you haven’t seen a Cleo Parker Robinson dance performance, treat yourself to one of the most impactful art experiences you can have in Denver.  If you have seen one, then you know – the talent, creativity, meaning and energy is like no other!


Where: 3804 W. 32nd Avenue
Only Day: September 19, 6-9 pm, VIP access at 5pm
Tickets: $40-$60  Tickets can be purchased at:

Another great food festival happening in the next week is Taste of Highlands. When seeking out a hotspot for fabulous restaurants, its hard to beat Northwest Denver! The 7th annual Taste of Highlands will feature many favorite restaurants from Northwest Denver like: Revelry Kitchen, the Wayback, Happy Bakeshop, Himchuli Indian & Napali Cuisine, Vital Root, Sartos, Sweet Cow, Duo, and Sushi Hai.

The event, hosted by the Highland Merchants Association, will be zero waste and benefit the We Don’t Waste food recovery program. The evening will include live music from Woodshed Red. General Admission tickets are $40 and include unlimited tastes and access to the event. VIP tickets are $60 and include two drink tickets and a commemorative glass.


Where: the Denver Art Museum: 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204
Last Day: October 1
Tickets:  None needed. Free.


“La Musidora,” combining the Spanish words for music (las música) and rocking chair (la mecedora) is an interactive outdoor art installation in front of the Denver Art Museum. The rocking chairs make musical sounds when you rock back and forth, seating 20 people at at time. Designed by Hector Esrawe and Ignaio Cadena from Mexico City, the musical chairs are woven in beautiful colors and textures.

This dynamic installation, created special for the Denver Art Museum, has also served as a canvas for Denver’s weaving community.  If you can make time over the next couple weeks to go rock, you will really enjoy it!


Where: All over Denver, with a special neighborhood focus for 2019 at Center for Visual Arts, Su Teatro and Museo de las Americas.
Last Day: SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, September 21st and 22nd, 10am to 4pm
Tickets:  Most events are free.  Special tours are $12 a person.  Tickets can be purchased through

The Art District on Santa Fe will host an expert-led insider tour for Doors Open Denver (DOD) September 21 and 22nd. There are also self-guided tours and access to many spaces the public would not otherwise see.  This year presents a wonderful opportunity to learn the history behind the featured neighborhood: the La Alma/Lincoln Park community and discover some of Denver’s most incredible artists in the area!

There are three locations for the neighborhood activities: Center for Visual Arts at 955 Santa Fe Drive; Su Teatro at 721 Santa Fe Drive and Museo de las Americas at 861 Santa Fe Drive.  In addition the Byers Branch Library will serve as a mini DOD headquarters on Saturday only.

More About Doors Open Denver:

Doors Open Denver 2019 will feature overall 52 FREE open sites and 110 Insider Tours (Cost $12) and 5 Cultural Events!  Many of Denver’s greatest historic sites will be opening their doors for the event: Union Station, the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, the Byers-Evans House, the Cass Mansion, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver Firefighters Museum, the Governor’s Residence, the Lumber Baron Inn, Rockmount and the historic Sugar Building – to name just some.  Click here for the full list of site locations.

Doors Open Denver is an annual 2-day event that celebrates Denver’s architecture and design. Each year the Denver Architecture Foundation inspires the community to connect with Denver’s unique spaces and hosts dozens of tours by local experts.  The expansive tour schedule can also be found in the DOD Event Guide.

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Who Wants to Tango? Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Art Exhibition Opens at The Stanley Marketplace Mon, 08 Jul 2019 22:31:29 +0000 Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Art Exhibition Opens at Stanley    Leave it to the folks at Stanley to bring a totally outside the box art...

The post Who Wants to Tango? Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Art Exhibition Opens at The Stanley Marketplace appeared first on Denver I Love.


Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Art Exhibition Opens at Stanley   

Leave it to the folks at Stanley to bring a totally outside the box art exhibit to Denver!  Along with great food, drinks and eco conscience shopping, The Stanley Marketplace provides a number of immersive and creative arts experiences throughout the year. This month and next, Stanley is showcasing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel art exhibition in the 10,000 square foot event space known as The Hangar at Stanley.

This is the first time we’ve turned The Hangar into a lengthy art-focused exhibition, so we wanted to be as creative as possible when thinking about how to program the space,

said Mark Shaker, co-developer of Stanley Marketplace.

Fun Activities: Holy Yoga, Art Lectures, Tango Dancing, Gypsy Jazz, Opera and Italian Cooking

The creative team at Stanley has planned a plethora of creative arts programming centered around The Sistine Chapel exhibit.  Special activities include: an Italian disco party, yoga underneath the frescoes and a lecture series for children and adults.  Also planned are hands on painting events, an Italian cooking class and a variety of music and dance collaborations.

You can get tickets for the exhibition and for the special events online through Etix by clicking here.

Previewing The Sistine Chapel art exhibition with Bryant Palmer, Chief Storyteller for Stanley Marketplace






You might ask, how the heck can the world’s greatest artistic achievements, Michelangelo’s renowned ceiling frescoes from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, make their way to Denver, Colorado?  The exhibit is a collection of magnificently reproduced images in near original size. The exhibition allows viewers a face to face encounter with masterpieces like The Creation of Adam​ and​ The Last Judgment.  

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is a licensed exhibition of SEE Global Entertainment, a Las Vegas-based exhibition production company which acquired the worldwide rights to the fresco reproductions by Bridgeman Images. The Colorado debut of the Sistine Chapel exhibit is presented in association with Beverly Hills-based Daniel Sladek Entertainment.

Shout out to my friend Daniel Sladek who lives in Los Angeles but happens to be from DENVER.  Talented Daniel Sladek is a graduate of Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School and the University of Colorado.

Schedule of Activities and Events with The Sistine Chapel Art Exhibition

Here is the full list and schedule of what’s happening between now and August 13th  at the Sistine Chapel art exhibition at the Hangar at Stanley. There really is something for everyone and every age.

Paint Your Own Masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel​

7/10, 7/17, 7/31, 8/7 from 7 to 9 p.m., $50

A sip-and-paint experience led by Aurora’s Painting with a Twist in which attendees create their own paintings inspired by Michelangelo’s work.

Holy Disco! Italian Disco Party featuring DJs Clayton K and Eric Lake​ July 12th

7/12 from 7 to 11 p.m., $35

Holy disco is exactly what it sounds like: a buzzing evening of music, drinks, and fun surrounded by Michelangelo’s frescoes, with Italian disco tunes and light bites. Polyester attire encouraged.

Renaissance Presented by Kim Robards Dance​ on July 13th and August 3rd

7/13, 8/3 from 7 to 10 p.m., $50

There are two elegant evenings planned with modern dance performances and chamber music.  Kim Robards Dance is a non profit professional touring modern dance company based in the Denver area.  A VIP option on both nights includes an Italian-inspired cooking class at Create Cooking School in The Stanley Marketplace for just $40 more.

Holy Yoga in the Sistine Chapel​

7/13, 7/27, 8/3 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., $15

I’m always looking for a creative way to exercise.  Holy Yoga certainly fits the bill.   The founders of OmFest have combined meditation and movement to make this yoga class one of a kind.

A Journey into Michelangelo’s Rome Lecture Series​

7/16, 7/23, 8/6, 8/13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., $25

Author and Michelangelo expert Angela K. Nickerson will give a number of art lectures weaving the story of a powerful pope and a masterful artist that led to the creation of the Sistine Chapel.

Holy Swing! An Italian-Inspired Swing Party on July 19th

7/19, from 7 to 11 p.m., $25

On July 19th you can swing the night away with dancing and live gypsy jazz by Speakeasy Soiree. 

The Sistine Chapel for Children, with Angela K. Nickerson​

7/20, 8/10 from 8:30 to 10 a.m., $15

Kids are also in for a treat. A tour of the Sistine exhibit specifically for younger people, combines conversation and storytelling to bring Michelangelo’s art to life and inspire creativity.

DaVinci vs. Michelangelo Battle of the Titans Theatre Experience​

7/24 to 7/28 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., $35

Denverites can embark on a fantastic multimedia journey through the Italian Renaissance. Performer Mark Rodgers will focus specifically on the life and work of rivals DaVinci and Michelangelo.

Holy Tango on August 2nd

8/2 from 7 to 11 p.m., $20

Who wants to tango?   CM Dance of Denver will be giving tango lessons among the frescoes on August 2nd.

Holy Opera on August 9th and 10th 

8/9, 8/10 from 7 to 9 p.m., $50

Holy Opera is a sonic experience inside the Sistine exhibition featuring songs, arias, and ensembles from some of the Denver area’s most accomplished opera singers, Leah Podzimek.

Hours and Exhibit Info:

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel art exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from now until August 13th inside The Hangar at Stanley. Special events inside the exhibition take place before and after regular operating hours. ​Tickets are on sale online now​.

The Hangar at Stanley is located at 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora.

The post Who Wants to Tango? Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Art Exhibition Opens at The Stanley Marketplace appeared first on Denver I Love.

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Hop Off the Highway Honey: Colorado Road Trips & Fun Stops up I-70 Wed, 03 Jul 2019 17:28:54 +0000 Colorado road trips up I-70 take you to world famous mountain towns like Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen.  Yet, when it comes to Colorado highway...

The post Hop Off the Highway Honey: Colorado Road Trips & Fun Stops up I-70 appeared first on Denver I Love.


Colorado road trips up I-70 take you to world famous mountain towns like Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen.  Yet, when it comes to Colorado highway travel, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “life is a journey, not a destination.”   I-70 encompasses a spectacular stretch of smaller historic mountain treasures and natural wonders to discover from Denver to Fruita.  Hop off the highway honey!  You won’t regret it!

We know you don’t have all day, and time is precious.  Hoping this guide helps you make the most of your detours without missing the good stuff.  Recommendations are carefully curated to help you navigate a fun stop worthy of the journey and mindful of your time. Follow on instagram @denverilove for more pictures and ideas.

Hit the Road Jack: I-70 Hop Offs Along the Front Range

Part I of this journey travels from Denver to Loveland with great stops along the way: Golden, Idaho Springs and Georgetown. The three mining towns flourished during the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 and today have become  each their own unique epicenter of outdoor activities, notable restaurants and mountaineering spirit.


Welcome to Golden Sign

Golden is less than a half hour drive from Denver and beautifully situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Too soon to hop off the highway?  Oh, but it’s well worth the detour!

History – From Gold Mine to the Beer Capitol of the World

First a hunting ground for the Ute Indians, Golden changed forever with the Gold Rush of 1859. Originally called “Golden City” for prospector Thomas L. Golden, it was the capital of the provisional Territory of Jefferson from 1860 to 1861 and the official Colorado Territory from 1862 to 1867.  In addition to gold, Golden’s industry thrived with brick, coal, clay…and BEER!

In 1873, Adolph Coors and Denver confectioner Jacob Schueler converted an old tannery into the Golden Brewery. Coors purchased Schueler’s interest and renamed the brewery the Adolph Coors Golden Brewery.  Around the same time, Colorado became a state, and the capital moved to Denver.

Also of note: Jolly Rancher candies were founded in Golden.  Jolly Rancher was originally an old fashioned western candy store started in 1949 by Bill and Dorothy Harmsen.  Located on Golden’s main street Washington Avenue, all the ice cream, chocolate and hard candy were made in house. Today, Hershey owns Jolly Rancher.

Golden Festivals:

Golden hosts a number of festivals throughout the summer starting with the Golden Games in May.  Two upcoming fun festivals to put on the calendar:

Buffalo Bill Days at the end of July is a special Colorado tradition with lots of fun activities. The first Buffalo Bill Days took place in 1940 with a trail ride up Lookout Mountain to Buffalo Bill’s grave.  Over the past 75+ years Buffalo Bill Days has become one of the premiere events of the year.

The 29th Annual Golden Fine Arts Festival, August 17 to 18, 2019, is Golden’s annual prestigious juried art show.  Drawing over 35,000 people in two days, the festival celebrates with art, live entertainment, beer and wine gardens, food vendors, and children’s activities, and the best part…free admission for all.

Fun Things to Do In Golden:

Denver Mountain Parks Golden Colorado
Thank you Visit Golden for the great photo

There is no shortage of fun to be had in Golden! From digging for dinosaurs to fine art and majestic hiking trails, Golden has tons of fun activities for all ages.  A few recs to help navigate this large playground:

1. Take a Tour of a Brewery

Golden brews more beer than any other city in the world!    Miller Coors, the largest single site brewery in the country, gives daily tours of the malting, brewing and packaging processes. Watch thousands of cans being filled with beer and slotted into six pack holders for only $5 if you are a Colorado resident.  Visitors over age 21 can enjoy samples in a commemorative glass.

13th & Ford Streets, (303) 277-BEER (2337), Tour Info – (866) 812- 2337

2.  Meet Thomas the Train or Ride the Rio Grande’s “Galloping Goose.”

Colorado Railroad Museum Gun Fight
It’s always great fun to ride Thomas the Train at the Colorado Railroad Museum

Stopping at the Colorado Railroad Museum  is well worth it! On Thursdays through Sundays, take a train ride on the unique Rio Grande’s “Galloping Goose” motorcar.  The museum also offers an hour of Colorado railroad history on Fridays.  Check the website for times. In September, a “Day out with Thomas,”  is a big deal.  Tickets are already on sale. Click here to purchase.

17155 W 44th Ave, Golden, CO 8040  (303) 279-4591

3.  Annie Get Your Gun

A favorite stops along I-70 is the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, located at Lookout Mountain Park.  Bill Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, was a pony express rider and energetic promoter of his Wild West shows.   The City of Denver runs the museum and offers occasional SCFD free days – and FREE ADMISSION EVERY DAY for kids with an accompanying adult and a My Denver Card.

987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Rd, Golden, CO 80401 (720) 865-2160

4.  Make a Big Splash and Build a Sandcastle

Splash at Fossil Trace is a fun place to cool off and play in the biggest sandbox in Jefferson County. Don’t forget your shovel and bucket.  For under $10 a person, you can soar down Splash’s water slides from May through August.

3051 Illinois Street, Golden, CO 80401 (303) 277-8700

5.  Hike, Bike and Horseback

Golden is home to one of Denver’s most treasured mountain parks, Lookout Mountain Park as well as Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  Colorado road trips don’t need to be lengthy to find spectacular hiking trails and paradise-like bike paths.

6.  Dig for Dinosaurs

Did you know, the world’s first dinosaur bones were discovered near Golden in 1877! Now home to a world famous geological and paleontological outdoor museum, containing more than a hundred dinosaur tracks. Dinosaur Ridge is a National Natural Landmark open 7 days a week from May through October.

State Highway 26 (between C-470 and Highway 93), (303) 697-DINO (3466)

Golden Food Recommendations:

Within short distances off I-70, you can find a great variety of excellent food from all of over the world. Schnepf’s Restaurant at Fossil Trace, Sherpa House Restaurant, Abejas and Thai Gold are a few good ones to try.


The Vintage Moose Idaho Springs
The Vintage Moose – Idaho Springs

Up the road a few miles rolls out three exits to Idaho Springs.  For a tiny town, Idaho Springs has an extraordinary number of good places to eat, fun shops, breweries and activities to enjoy.  Victorian architecture lines Main Street dating back to when Idaho Springs was a major gold vein.  Idaho Springs is a favorite hop off on many Colorado road trips.

Idaho Springs History

According to the trusty Colorado Gov. site, “Idaho Springs is the site of the first significant discovery of the Colorado Gold Rush.”  Well that’s worth a hop off, don’t you think?! My favorite historic site in Idaho Springs is the Charlie Tayler waterwheel.  The wheel was moved by Bridal Veil Falls in 1948 and stands as a relic of Clear Creek County’s mining history.

The Charlie Tayler waterwheel at Bridal Veil Falls.

Idaho Springs Festivals

Idaho Springs also has lots of fun festivals coming up. The 2019 RapidGrass Bluegrass Music Festival takes place July 19th and 20th.  The Grillin and Chillin Music & Beer Festival takes place August 3rd and 4th with two days of live music, great spirits, and more.  In September, the 7th annual Dynamite Days Street Festival kicks up more of the same: live music, food and fun.

Fun Things to Do in Idaho Springs

1.  Tour a Mine

So many gold mines, so little time!  When choosing which gold mine to tour, there are some differences.

At the Phoenix Gold Mine you can tour a working gold mine and venture down a real mine shaft. Afterwards, try your prospecting skills panning for gold in the stream. If you find gold you get to keep it!   The mine is also known for its ghost tours exploring the legends of paranormal activities in mines.

Another worthy mine tour is the one hour Argo Mill and Tunnel Tour. The Argo Mine, built at the entrance of the Argo Tunnel, is one of Colorado’s most famous gold mines right in the heart of Idaho Springs. Notably, the Argo Gold Mine processed over $100 million worth of ore when gold was $18-$35 and ounce.  Today, the Argo Mine is a National Historic Site.

2.  Raft the Rocky Mountain White Water Rapids

Colorado Rafting
Photo Courtesy of Liquid Descent Rafting

Clear Creek runs through Idaho Springs with fierce class IV and V rafting rapids and great fishing.  This isn’t a ride at Disneyland though. Good safety and a trustworthy guide are a must.  There are a number of reputable rafting companies. We have a friend at Liquid Descent Rafting, and we really like that company.  Use this code for a 20% discount: MRC20.

3.  Soak in a Natural Hot Spring

First considered sacred bubbly waters by the Ute and Arapahoe Indians, the Indian Springs Resort has a long Colorado history from miners to presidents.  Today the resort offers an indoor swimming pool and outdoor hot tubs.  Note: the road to the Hot Springs is under construction until September, so this might be one you put off until fall.

4.  Ride on the Highest Paved Road in North America

Mt. Evans Echo Scenic Byway
Echo Lake from Mt. Evan’s Scenic Byway

Requiring a bit more time than just a stop off, the Mount. Evans Scenic Byway at the Idaho Springs exit takes you up Highway 103, the highest paved road in North America climbing all the way to the peak of Mount. Evans at 14,265 feet above sea level.  The road travels through three ecosystems including Echo Lake.  Echo Lake is part of Echo Lake Park, another of the great Denver Mountain Parks managed by the City and County of Denver. There is a nice trail around the lake and a nearby general store.

5.  Walk in an Ancient Forest

Another great hop off on the Mount. Evans Scenic Byway is the Mount Goliath Natural Area.  Here you will find the largest, northernmost strand of Bristlecone Pine trees in North America, internationally recognized as one of the purest locations to study alpine ecology.  The area is home to some of the oldest tress in Colorado ranging from 1600 to 2500 years old!

Idaho Springs Food Recommendations:

There are lots of great places to eat in Idaho Springs, but we always gravitate to the same two tried and true.  Colorado road trips have led skieers and hikers to Beau Jo’s Pizza in Idaho Springs for many a decade. Known for its deep crust pizza and huge salad bar served in the bathtub, Beau Jo’s is always festive and delicious. A few doors down, the food at the Historic Buffalo Restaurant and Bar is another good option- connected to the West Bound and Down Brewery.


Georgetown Colorado

On the road again.  Heading up the hill before you get to the Eisenhower Tunnel, Georgetown is another favorite I-70 hop off  for Colorado road trips – a grand Colorado treasure not to be missed.

Georgetown History:

historic Georgetown

Georgetown, like Golden, was originally home to the Ute Native Americans who hunted game along Clear Creek. It later became the most important Colorado mining town of its time with an air of sophisticated elegance.  Known as “the Silver Queen of the Rockies,” Georgetown thrived in the hustle and bustle of wealthy mine owners and European travelers. The Hotel de Paris even served lobster – no easy feat high in the Rockies.

Colorado road trips present many ways for history buffs to learn about the old west.  In Georgetown, go back in time and tour the Hotel de Paris and the one of a kind Georgetown Energy Museum.  The energy plant is an operating museum, still producing electric power with equipment installed in 1906. Georgetown has even won preservation awards for its historic Victorian style “mansions” and buildings from the late 1800s.  Visit Hammil House  in the center of the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District. To tour with a guide check out Silver Queen Walking Tours.

Georgetown Festivals:

Summer in Georgetown is delightful, but the biggest festivals in this town actually come later in the fall and winter: Oktoberfest,  October 12; The Big Horn Sheep Festival on November 9th;  The Pumpkin Festival at the Train;October 5;  and The Georgetown Christmas Market, weekends in December. That said, there is a fun train festival starting August 23rd: Railroad Days at the Georgetown Loop Railroad

Fun Things to Do In Georgetown:

1. Ride a Rare Narrow Gage Railroad

Perhaps the most well known activity in Georgetown is riding on the reconstructed Georgetown Loop Railroad—a narrow gauge railroad from 1884. The train is powered by a steam locomotive and travels over the mountaintops to Silver Plume and over the 95 feet high Devil’s Gate Bridge.

1520 Argentine Street, GeorgetownCO 80444,  1-888-456-6777

2.  Catch a Fish

The fishing in Georgetown is epic.  Set up a chair on Lake Georgetown to hook a Trout, Brown and Brooke. Fly fish in Clear Creek to bring in some of Colorado’s finest trout.

Georgetown Lake: Co Rd 306  GeorgetownCO 80444

3. The Georgetown Rock Shop

Family owned since 1971, the Georgetown Rock Shop on 6th always always held great wonder for I-70 travelers. It does not have the big rock tumbler that fascinated me as a child, but it does have many shelves of fun gemstones and geological treasures.  The Georgetown Rock shop is a much anticipated stop on every Colorado road trip.

501 6th Street, Georgetown, Colorado,(303) 569-2750

4. Climb a Fourteener

This is my total badass friend Sherrie – amazing doctor, medical director, mother and friend!

Climbing a fourteener is obviously not a quick hop off the highway, but with careful planning, it can be the detour of a lifetime. Two 14ers near Georgetown are: Gray’s Peak (14,278) and Torreys (14,275).  Access the trail heads by taking the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway for a windy 22 miles along an old wagon route.  Also nearby between Idaho Springs and Georgetown is Mount. Bierstadt (14,065). Be sure to look for Big Horn Sheep.

5. See How Candy is Made and Taste it Too

Colorado road trips are always sweeter when you can stop at a local sweet shop. Known for homemade candy, ice-cream and popcorn, Georgetown Valley Candy Company is 100% worth a hop off the highway!  Watch the candy being made on big marble slabs and old fashioned machinery. Georgetown Valley Candy Company has two locations: 6th Street in Georgetown and Miner Street in Idaho Springs.

500 6th Street, Georgetown, CO 80444303) 569-2778

Georgetown Food Recommendations:

The local restaurants and food shops in Georgetown are all first rate.  You can never go wrong eating on the sunny patio at the Happy Cooker!  Everything on the menu is fantastic: homemade breads, big salads and a wide brunch selection. Also try the The Dusty Rose Tea Room for an old-fashioned Victorian Georgetown experience.

Well that wraps up Part I of some ways to make the most of amazing Colorado road trips.  I thank my family for putting up with all my detours and my dad for always taking time to stop the car and instill in me a love and appreciation for Colorado’s small town treasures.  Next up: funky Frisco; marvelous Minturn and grand Glenwood Springs. So, be sure to check back soon for lots of mountain festivals, food & fun.

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