Nice to Meet You, Denver, Colorado! [Part I]
With only two PTO days plus the weekend, every minute counts when planning our vacation. We maximized our time by departing dark and early (Hello, 7am flight!) and return again dark and even earlier (Hello, red eye!). The price of this type of traveling = sleep. But sleep deprived bodies will not stop us from another adventure! Let’s get started! 🙂
Before we get to the fun adventure, we had a couple hiccups. Time for a travel lesson or two.
Due to TSA recent short-staffed issue, all travelers are now recommended to arrive 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights. This was updated from a typical 30-40 mins early arrival. Given it is the weekend, we half believed it and showed up 1.5 hour prior to departure. How many people could possibly be at the airport at 6am?! We were greeted by queues snaked between different counters. Travelers wiggled in and between queue to get to the check-in counters. It was a mess! Even though we saved time by checking in online, we still waited over 1 hour to get through security! It was quite possible that we will miss our flight and that’s that. We finally made it through to our gate with only a minute to spare (bathroom break!)! Phew!
A quick plane ride and we landed in Denver International Airport! 🙂
We had reserved a car prior to our arrival as our main means of transportation. As it turned out, we had reserved our car at Hertz’s downtown location instead of the airport location. Oops! This led to a very long conversation with a remote customer service representative over a computer screen and a wired telephone. Transferring the reservation, upgrading the car, adding extra protection ended up jumping our reserved price of $137 to a whomping $601! That’s my entire traveling budget! What did we do? Bye Felicia, we UBER! In a world ever so connected, Uber is always the ride you want, the best way to get wherever you’re going. 🙂
Now that we learned our lessons, welcome to the mile high city!
After a moment to rest, we spent the afternoon explore downtown Denver. Beginning with food! We found a local burger joint, 5280 Burger. I got the ‘Mighty Mushroom’ (Go Figure) and it was delicious! Bubble got the ‘I Can’t Decide’- pick any two burgers on the menu. He chose the signature ‘5280’ and ‘Ring of Fire’ with pepper jack cheese, sauteed Habanero and Serrano peppers and housemade Ring of Fire sauce. AKA the spiciest burger and Bubble can attested to that claim. One of the burger is titled the ‘A**Hole*’ burger and the description read – we spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, but if you know better. We’ll make it your way! Charming.
We walked down the entire 16th Shopping Mall. This 1.25 miles pedestrian mall is packed restaurants and shops. No cars are allowed except the free shuttle bus. It felt like I was back in Europe.
The architectures are quite unique as well! This sway designed building tucked away from the main street is my favorite!
We visited the Colorado Convention Center, home to the Blue Bear. The gigantic statue stands 40 feet tall and we look super tiny next to it. It is a listed as a tourist must-do and we did just that.
We browsed at the Tattered Cover, an independent bookstore established in 1971. Inside felt rustic and whimsical. What a cozy place to stop by. As a bride-to-be, I flipped through The Knot Colorado Edition (Don’t judge!).
Across the street is the iconic Union Station. It is a full service Amtrak station with routes to the airport. The lobby has a collection of eateries and shops. It is a nice spot to spend an afternoon, enjoying a coffee/ice cream/drink while people watching.
At the end of the strip is the Millennium Bridge, leading the Common Park. After spending the afternoon in the heart of downtown with skyscrapers, it is quite refreshing to relax by the greens.
All the walking has made us hungry again! What could be a better snack than donuts, specifically, Voodoo Donuts. Voodoo Doughnuts, in my books, is the ultimate donuts. Enough food shows has advertised this joint and as a donut addict myself, trying Voodoo Doughnut is not a choice. …even if it means we will be walking 40 minutes uphill. The shop smelled sweet and delicious. Looking at the board and the spinning display chase, it was tough to make a choice!
We finally settled on a Voodoo Doll, Old Dirty Bastard, Memphis Mafia and Triple Chocolate Penetration. Because walking 40 mins back means delay gratification, we UBER back to the hotel, so we can inhale the doughnuts faster.
For now, sugar crashed and time for bed!