*Some of our activities and accommodations were complimentary. These opinions are still our own.
Colorado is one of our favorite places to visit in the USA, and while most of the attraction to the state may be the scenic mountains towns, Denver is a great city destination in its own right.
Denver is an ideal place to fly into when arriving in Colorado due to the large airport which has always meant lower fares. Instead of hurrying into the mountain ski towns, we spent a few days in Denver exploring the city.
Arriving in Denver
Getting from the airport to downtown is very simple. Considered taking the light rail that goes directly into Union Station. If you are staying near the Crawford Hotel, Oxford Hotel, Maven Hotel, other nearby hotels, I recommend taking the light rail to get the experience of going through Union Station as a warm welcome into Denver.
We stayed at The Curtis hotel which wasn’t close enough to the light rail to make sense, so we took an Uber ride which was around $30.
The Curtis Hotel is a unique pop culture-themed hotel. From the minute you walk in, you start to notice some subtle to bold differences in the decor and hotel theming. Each floor has a different theme. We spent a few minutes wandering around each floor just to check them out. Our favorites were the superhero, scary movie, video game, sci-fi, and music-themed floors.
Each floor has a “hyper-themed” room that is fully decked out. We stayed in the Jimmy Buffet-themed room on the music floor, which had parrot curtains, a large Marlin over the headboard, beach scene wallpaper, a record player, Jimmy Buffet records, an acoustic guitar for you to play, and many other small details which made our stay extra fun.
Things to do for a Winters Couples Trip in Denver
Go ice skating
After we checked into our rooms we headed outside just two blocks away to go Ice Skating downtown. Each winter you can ice skate for free at the open air ring at Skyline Park. All you have to do is rent your skates to get on the ice. During the week there are additional activities like, Friday night DJs, figure skating performances, and snowga.
Take a Denver Food Tour
I have always turned down the idea of going on a food tour. Why pay more money than the food costs when you can just go yourselves? We decided to give a food tour a try with Delicious Denver Food Tours to see what they were all about, and now we understand why they are an amazing idea for an activity to do in any city.
While the main attraction of a food tour is, of course, the food, there is so much more that comes along with it.
You have a guide that not only takes you to great places to eat, but is also calling ahead to have tables set and ready, and ordering some of the best things on the menu. In 2-3 hours time, we enjoyed a reindeer hotdog, authentic empanadas, authentic Naples pizza, churros, and (our favorite,) tacos served in
As we walked to each restaurant, our guide Chris shared history and interesting information about Denver we would have never known otherwise.
One last and unexpected benefit of taking a food tour is the fun we had meeting the other foodies on the tour with us. We got to know 6 new friends on the tour as we walked along and broke bread together. When meeting people on a food tour, you are guaranteed to have at least one thing in common; a love for food.
See One of Denver’s Sports Teams Play
To be honest, I (Dan here) am not the biggest sports fan. I like to play sports and I like to watch a game on occasion, but I am never one to know the players’ names or follow a team and know what is going on with them. However, when I looked at the schedules of the professional teams in Denver, I saw the Denver Nuggets would be playing the Portland Trailblazers while we were in town.
Michelle grew up going to the Blazers games in Portland, so we booked tickets to go to the game. The tickets were much more affordable than going to a Spurs game or a Mavericks game near us. We ended up paying around $70 for two tickets, sitting in the second row of the upper bowl. Getting to the arena was a 15-minute walk from our hotel and we had an amazing time at the game.
It was a one-point game most of the fourth quarter and it ended up being a nail biter to the end. We had a great time.
Beyond the Nuggets, Denver is also home to the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, the Denver Outlaws, and other minor league teams. Check the schedules and make it out to a game while you are in town.
Stroll Through Larimer Square
Located in downtown Denver, Larimer Square is a historic block which was Denver’s first street, where today stands shops and restaurants. You know you are in the right part of Larimer Street when you see lights strung over the block and Victorian style buildings on both sides.
Short Trips from Denver
After a few days in Denver, its time to enjoy some time away from the city and enjoy the mountains.
A quick and easy escape from Denver is to head to Winter Park. Every weekend there is a train leaving Union Station in the morning where you can go to Winter Park, ski for the day, then take the train back down to Denver the same day. This is the easiest and fastest way to make it to the slopes from Denver.
Our favorite ski town, Steamboat Springs, is a 3 hours drive from Denver. In the town or nearby, you can enjoy all the winter activities like skiing, snowmobiling, going for a sleigh ride or ice fishing, and enjoy the natural hot springs.
This is a perfect place to learn or work on your skiing and snowboarding skills. Located in the town is the Howelsen Hill Ski Area which is owned by the city. Lift tickets are only $25 a day for adults. It makes a great place to learn how to ski or to warm up if you have gone several years without hitting the slopes.
The Steamboat Ski Resort has a larger variety of slopes for beginners and advanced. For accommodations, check out the Wyndham Steamboat Springs Resort. They have 1-3 bedroom suites with in-room fireplaces and full kitchens. When you are in a winter wonderland, sometimes you just want to cozy up inside, drink hot chocolate and watch some TV. This place was perfect for that.
Read more on our time in Steamboat Springs.
Located outside of Steamboat Springs is our favorite place to go to enjoy time together, Vista Verde Ranch. This is an all-inclusive ranch with private cabins, amazingly attentive staff, and fun activities. If you want to stop worrying about what you are going to do with your time, just go to the ranch and let them take care of everything. They will keep you as active as you want to be with winter activities and horseback riding, or let you relax. The food is top notch and accommodations are dreamy.
Read about the rest of our stay at Vista Verde Ranch.
Other Colorado Ski Towns Near Denver
Within 1-3 hours from Denver are numerous ski towns like Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain. Each town has its own charm and flavor, but we haven’t been to all of them yet. We found Vail to be very charming but did not like the price tag of everything, or the vibe when we stopped in. We’ll have to go back to check them all out!
What are your favorite ski towns outside of Denver?