Denver City Guide: Local Experts Weigh in on Must-see’s in Denver and Around Colorado

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As anyone who has ever visited Colorado can attest, the state is full of great, secret places to get outside. We thought what better way to get the inside scoop on all the great things to do in the Mile High City and the surrounding area from a few local internet celebs who make this part of the country their home.

We asked the who’s-who of the Colorado outdoor community for their thoughts on the best places to get outside in Colorado, their favorite place to eat in Denver, and their favorite thing about living in the Rocky Mountains. Check out what they had to say and then check out their blogs and Instagrams.

Then be sure not to miss Gociety’s Adventure Fest in Denver on September 17th. It’s sure to be a day packed with learning, demos, sharing, brews and grooves. Join thousands of adventure seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, athletes and like-minded individuals as we bring the mountains to the city. Tickets are on sale now.

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Erin Sullivan

Do / seek / make Writing about travel & living deliberately • CO based.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of blogging and social media is connecting with people. This week, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with three young women, all at different stages in life. They don’t know each other, but what they have in common is huge hearts and big dreams. One feels pressure from family to make the “right” choices. One is looking to start a blog to inspire others. One is bravely on her own for the first time in her life, digging into what that means and how she wants to define it. They are all envisioning the lives they want. The first step is the vision. It will probably be blurry at first, but you can’t drive a parked car. Get moving. Thank you Madison, Jess and Ivana for sharing your stories with me. Photo by @taylormichaelburk on Panorama Ridge. 🐳

A photo posted by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

What is your favorite spot in Colorado for getting outdoors?
Rocky Mountain National Park. I’m more of a hiker than anything. RMNP is gorgeous and has trails of all lengths, difficulties and views. I live up in Boulder, so it’s not too far to drive even for an afternoon or to catch a sunset.

What is your favorite place to eat in or near Denver?
If I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day, I would (sometimes I do because I’m an adult). Snooze is one of my favorite spots to do the breakfast thing. I also work a lot from cafes– writing, blogging and editing photos– and Purple Door Coffee is one of my favorite spots to do that.

What is your favorite thing about living in the Rocky Mountains?
The people are down for anything. The friends I have made here are adventure seekers in every capacity. Access to mountains is also a huge benefit– I love that there are trails a 5 minute drive from my place in Boulder.

Shannon Hickman

Shannon shows the world the food she’s making and eating in order to help people discover their inner appetite for a compassionate life.
Facebook: /anotherhungryvegan
Instagram: @anotherhungryvegan

What is your favorite spot in Colorado for getting outdoors?
That’s a tough one, because I have so many! I really love Chautauqua Park in Boulder for the beautiful view of the mountains and it is so accessible. If you visit in the summer, I recommend going in the morning if you’re wanting to run, hike, or just walk around as it can get very hot during the afternoon. This is also a beautiful place to stop for a picnic after you get some exercise in for the day. Tourists and locals alike seem to really like hanging out around Chautauqua!

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What is your favorite place to eat in or near Denver?
I absolutely adore Watercourse Foods, which is Denver’s only local all-vegan restaurant. They have an amazing breakfast menu and unique offerings like buffalo cauliflower wings, non-dairy milkshakes and country-fried seitan steak! Watercourse has a full bar (plus a coffee bar) and offers some wonderful dishes for happy hour deals. Don’t forget to order a Ho-Ho cupcake to go! My second favorite all-vegan spot in Denver is Beet Box Bakery. They have items like baked vegan donuts, sweet and savory croissants, and even sandwiches if you come in after 11am. Beet Box also offers a variety of gluten-free treats and is very accommodating for allergies and sensitivities. You can even order a customized cake here for your next celebration!

What is your favorite thing about living in the Rocky Mountains?
I really love the changes in the seasons here. Growing up in Southern California, we didn’t get snow and it rarely even rained. In Colorado the leaves change color in the fall, surprise thunderstorms happen in the summer, flowers bloom in the spring, and white snow covers the mountains (and almost everything else around you) in the winter. Being in Colorado also means I have access to incredible places like Red Rocks, the Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain National Park and more! I feel like there is always something to do here, and my friends and family are completely amazed when they get to visit.

Brandon Tormanen

Visual storyteller. Grew up in Minneapolis, moved to Colorado and never looked back. Has a huge case of wanderlust and tries to act on it as often as possible, traveling far and wide.
Instagram: @b.tormanen

Stand tall; learn to fail and get back up. A simple adjustment of attitude can change your whole life | #collectivelycreate

A photo posted by Brandon | @collectivenomads (@b.tormanen) on

What is your favorite spot in Colorado for getting outdoors?
I think I have to say Rocky Mountain National Park. There are so many different elements in the park. From a huge range of hikes depending on your difficulty level on the East side of the park, the vast meadows on the West Side, alpine lakes for kayaking and last but not least, Trail Ridge Road taking you over 13,000 feet without ever leaving your car.

What is your favorite place to eat in or near Denver?
This is a tough one. There are so many good restaurants in Denver with more popping up constantly. I’m going to have to go with the Cherry Cricket for one of the best burgers in Denver. A close second is Comida in The Source, the griddle tacos and atmosphere make it great place to hang out.

What is your favorite thing about living in the Rocky Mountains?
The positive energy for sure. Everyone is active, outdoors and loving life. Not to mention the weather is always changing so there is never a dull moment.

Luke Gottlieb

Fashion and lifestyle portrait photographer based out of Denver Rock City, USA.
Instagram: @victorofvalencia

Kingdom | #collectivelycreate

A photo posted by Luke. G | @collectivenomads (@victorofvalencia) on

What is your favorite spot in Colorado for getting outdoors?
I was born and raised in the mountains here in Colorado. It’s such tough call for what my favorite place to get outdoors in Colorado would be, but growing up in the Roaring Fork Valley I have an insanely strong connection to that area. My spot is up the Frying Pan river. The whole entire area up there is super special and beautiful. The river itself has some of the best fly fishing in the country and the entire wilderness up there is full of alpine lakes and vast forests. If you are into hiking, fishing or just simply exploring this place is full of Colorado magic.

What is your favorite place to eat in or near Denver?
I have always been one to enjoy the local hole-in-the-wall places. I must say the tacos at El Taco De Mexico are some of my favorites, but as far as the most kick ass eating location I would have to suggest Sliceworks. I have no shame in admitting that pizza is my kryptonite and this is the best in town in my humble opinion. Feast your eyes. Enjoy responsibly.

What is your favorite thing about living in the Rocky Mountains?
Maybe it’s a biased answer since I grew up here, but I truly feel like there is no other place I would rather be. These mountains are special and they are a hub for some of the most epic landscapes and activities. Colorado has always felt like it’s own country. A far off land that you could only dream about. Well, it’s here and I must say, I may never leave.

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