̶A̶d̶v̶e̶n̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ Denver Is Out There: Part Un

October 15, 2018

Or rather, this post should be more aptly titled, "Selfies, or it didn't happen." Or "How to be Basic: Solo Edition." Or "Everything I Photographed, I Learned From Instagram." I can keep going...

Mostly it's about how to spend a Denver morning by yourself. Hint: it involves avocado toast and beer. Beer? Yes, beer - because, were you even listening when I said "Denver"? (Fun fact: Denver brews more beer than any other city!) But let's backpedal here a minute. Why were you in Denver, Shell? Who was watching the baby? And more importantly, how much did you pack? (If you followed my Instagram posts leading up to my Disney trip, you will fully appreciate that reference.) Anyway, I was recently in the mile high city for my brother's wedding, and took full advantage of the quick trip while Barry was on baby duty (flying with a 9 month old? I'm not ready for that just yet). I landed a day before the wedding, so I had a little bit of time to do some exploring before showtime. 

When I arrived, the weather was perfect. We're talking low 70s with zero humidity, let's-all-have-a picnic-on-a-mountaintop kind of perfect. But since I am entry-level at this outdoor adventure business & consider drinking champagne on a patio the extent of said outdoorsiness, I settled for walking to breakfast from my brother's apartment instead. I have a pretty terrible sense of direction, but thanks to the wizardry that is Google Maps, I was easily able to route myself in the direction of sustenance and nutrition (ie. coffee). But truth be told, I probably could have sniffed out the coffee even without Siri's help. I have a sixth sense for that kind of thing.

Get your eat 'n sip on at Port Side - 2500 Larimer Street

First stop: Port Side, a coffee shop my brother recommended. In addition to coffee, they also offer a breakfast & lunch menu, as well as beer (of course!). It was like 9AM, so I opted for coffee. The seasonal flavor was pumpkin spice (no surprise there) so I got an iced PS coffee with almond milk. For breakfast, I tried the hipster local favorite, avocado toast. Port Side's version isn't your standard avo toast though - it looks sweet & innocent on the outside, but packs a little bit of a kick! It comes fully dressed with mounds of fresh avocado on toasted country bread and topped with radish slices, sprinkled with togarashi, a Japanese spice blend with chili powder. I had no idea what the stuff on the top was at the time, but it kind of lit my mouth on fire. It's essentially a lip plumper and definitely got my lips tinglin' - but I wasn't mad about it.

Since it was so gorgeous outside, and I had no where to be, I wandered. The area I was in was very walkable, with lots of places to grab coffee (or beer!), a few boutiques, and guys THE ART. There is art everywhere! It's probably my favorite part about Denver, besides the mountains. So I took myself on an art walk and found some seriously 'grammable walls, y'all (& with no Instagram husband in sight! OH THE HUMANITY!)

The bright colors are everywhere! Just wandering around the Larimer/26th street area, I saw at least 10 different murals. I also stumbled upon Boxyard Park, a pop-up park at the intersection of Blake Street and Broadway in the RiNo Art District (which makes total sense now why I legit saw art on every building). Boxyard is essentially a space where different events will be happening throughout the year - everything from farmers markets and concert series, to dog park events and art installations. The park is pretty much an art installation in and of itself! I'm still trying to figure out how that boxcar structure is put together...

Boxyard is also a bit of a #shoefie mecca. And those rainbow stairs!? Someone please convince my husband we need stairs like this in our house. And speaking of rainbows, just down the street from Boxyard & back near Port Side, you'll find a rainbow crosswalk. Unfortunately, I didn't have anyone to snap a photo of me Abbey Road style so I #shoefie'd instead. 

My wanderings took me back towards Larimer Street in search of retail therapy. I stumbled upon Shea Boutique and was instantly drawn in by their amusing signage. A quick Instagram search also revealed that they often have these signs out front with some pretty hilarious things written on them. How do I get that job?

Also, there is a super cute "living wall" (which I'm 99% sure is fake), so if you roll up here with your friends, you could totally have an impromptu photo shoot under the neon sign. I settled on just browsing the racks and trying on a few pieces. Fare warning: some of this stuff is pretty pricey - a striped crop top & matching pant set will run you $285 and a basic sweater goes for about $50. The baubles & trinkets like keychains and enamel pins were more my speed, in the $7-12 range. One of the motel style keychains made its way home with me (they had several with funny sayings on them. Obvs, Beyoncé is my spirit animal).

If boutiques like Shea are too bougie for you, or if you just have an affinity for the fashions of yesteryear (like I do), you have to check out Goldmine Vintage - it's what vintage clothing shop dreams are made of. I didn't take any photos because I was too busy flipping through the chronologically ordered racks (specifically the 50s & 60s), but just trust me when I say this is a shop you don't want to miss. I had to talk myself out of a 60s psychedelic mini dress, an 80s Mickey sweatshirt, and the most badass fur coat I have ever seen in my entire life; mostly because I had traveled all the way to Denver with a single overnight bag (yup - not even a full size carry-on!) and there was no way in hell a fur coat was fitting in my luggage. Missed opportunities...

My last stop brought me to 10 Barrel Brewing for an afternoon drink (not solo! At this point, my brother had joined me). Any time I try a new brewery, I have to get a flight because flights are the greatest invention for indecisive people like me. I'm that person that will stare at a 1 page menu for a solid 15 minutes trying to decide between 4 different things and then ask for "another minute" when the server comes back for the 3rd time. And lord help us all if you're with me at a Cheesecake Factory (if you've ever seen a Cheesecake Factory menu, you know instantly what I'm talking about).

So from the beer list, I settled on a couple of brews that sounded good and built my flight. The beers were great, the atmosphere was chill, and the chips & queso were on point. Or maybe I was just starving/buzzed. I mean, it's pretty hard to mess up chips & queso. I needed to fuel up for the rest of my day in Denver, after all...

Stay tuned for Part Deux!

10 Barrel Brewing Co. - 2620 Walnut St

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