Author: Caitrin Blake

Exploring Denver’s Cider Scene

It used to be that if you didn’t like beer, you were left with minimal options to consume an alcoholic beverage save a few malt beverages or cider options (assuming, of course, wine and hard alcohol weren’t appealing). However, as multiple cider mills have opened up across the country, including here in Colorado, hard cider has become a viable drink option in its own right. And while it might not be as easy to do a “cider crawl” through Denver as it would be for checking out local beer taprooms, Denver is increasing its presence in the cider scene with a number of cider mills, bars and tasting rooms that are making a name for themselves at both local and national levels. Stem Ciders Located off of 28th and Walnut, Stem Ciders offers a rotating selection of both popular and seasonal ciders on tap and take home in bottles or growlers. They offer a wide selection of ciders from standard apple and crab apple to those made with apricots or coffee. Throughout the week, the …

Best Neighborhoods to Window Shop

While Denver offers its share of malls and shopping centers, it also has plenty of neighborhoods and streets that showcase smaller boutiques, restaurants and bars, all of which make an ideal way to spend an afternoon. And it’s these neighborhoods that we consider to be the best places to shop in Denver. South Pearl Street Located just south of Denver near the very popular Washington Park, South Pearl Street is a popular destination for diners and shoppers alike. South Pearl is home to a number of iconic Denver restaurants, including Sushi Den, which is recognized as one of the best Sushi restaurants in Denver, the Duffeyroll cafe, which offers some of the best cinnamon rolls and breakfast sandwiches in the Denver area, and Stellas, a wonderful coffeehouse frequented by students and professionals alike. The street offers a number of other dining and drinking options, offering everything from tasty burgers to upscale Japanese fair, as well as a beer tasting room and a wine bar. Shoppers enjoy the boutique shops and art galleries offering gifts, clothing, …

Best Drives From Denver to Enjoy Fall Colors

With the abundance of aspen trees, Colorado provides a number of opportunities to see beautiful fall colors. However, Colorado weather is notoriously unpredictable, especially in between seasons, which makes it difficult to determine the optimal time to see colors. The higher the altitude, the earlier the colors change. While in other parts of the country, the most beautiful color changes happen in October, most of Colorado’s high country, especially the aspen trees, tend to change color in September. There are a number of places in the Denver metro area and foothills that people can go to experience autumn foliage, many of which make a nice drive from Denver or are located nearby at local parks and paths. Trail Ridge Road A drive unto itself regardless of the season, Trail Ridge Road is one of the best drives in Colorado regardless of when you drive it. The highway connects Estes Park to Grand Lake, and 11 of the 48 miles are above tree line. But before and after the crest of the drive, motorists will be …

Beyond the Theater: Fun Date Nights in Denver

If you’ve been dating for awhile all dates can start to look the same. And while dinner and a movie or dinner and a show can be fun, these options don’t create a lot of opportunity to spend quality time together. However, as Denver grows, the number of creative options for date nights has grown too. From active adventures to craftier pursuits, dating in Denver has never been better. Top Golf A fairly new addition to the Denver metro area, Top Golf is a year-round driving range where players hit golf balls containing microchips towards targets. Players can track how far they hit their balls, and points are awarded based on the achieved distance and whether or not a player hits the target. The rates vary throughout the day, and the bays are cheapest to rent in the hours before noon. Each bay is climate controlled, meaning that regardless of how hot or how cold it is outside, it will be a pleasant experience. Couples will enjoy lighthearted competition against each other in a fun …

Where to Take your Kids for a Haircut

As an adult, getting a haircut becomes something of a treat or an escape for many (though others might view it as another item on the to do list). Few adults, though, will deny how positive the experience can be when it is good as well as how negative it can be when it is bad, and the same holds true for kids. Especially for young ones, getting their haircut can be a stressful experience. Having a stylist who is patient and knows how to cut little ones’ hair is key to making the process successful. Many Denver area salons offer or specialize in kids’ hair cuts, and many of them even do something special to commemorate the first haircut. Whether it’s a special occasion or a maintenance trim, rest assured that there is an option for you in the Denver area. Pigtails and Crewcuts Located in the Northfield-Stapleton area, Pigtails and Crewcuts, a dedicated salon for kids, provides haircuts to boys and girls alike. They have toys and books for kids while they wait, …

Choosing the Right Preschool

Choosing a preschool can be quite difficult. Parents must consider a number of different factors, including the philosophy guiding the preschool as well as issues like cost and location. Thankfully, there are a number of great preschools located in the Denver Metro area, and while some are contingent on living in the right neighborhood, others require luck (or, rather, a lottery) and/or a waitlist. Luckily, there are enough options in Denver that everyone can find a preschool to suit their needs. Montessori Schools Montessori schools emphasize discovery and freedom of choice (within limits) for a child. One defining characteristic of Montessori schools is the aspect of mixed age classrooms, for instance 3-6 years old, where students interact and learn together. Montessori emphasizes the ability of students to discover materials on their own rather than via lecture, and students pick their activities. While there are some Montessori programs attached to school districts via charter programs, the Denver metro area boasts a number of private Montessori programs as well, including (but not limited to): Montessori School of …

Things for Kids to Do: Museums After Hours

Many of the attractions that would be fun for families to participate in together are only open during 9-5 hours or on weekends. Weekends can be a great time to explore, but for many families this means fighting with crowds or competing with athletic schedules. While this can limit a family’s ability to fully participate in all that Denver has to offer in the way of museums and other child-oriented attractions, a number of museums offer “after hours” type events or stay open late one day a week, which makes it more feasible for everyone to enjoy all that Denver has to offer. The Children’s Museum at the Marsico Campus The Children’s museum has something to offer kids of all ages, and it was recently renovated within the last year with even more exhibits. While the museum closes at 4 pm on weekdays and 5 pm on weekends, on Wednesday nights they stay open until 7:30 pm, which makes it possible for parents and kids to go after school or work. Downtown Aquarium The Downtown …

Colorado Camping for Families

Camping in Colorado is one of the greatest pleasures about living in this state. Not only does it provide the opportunity to get out and enjoy nature, but it forces everyone to disconnect and take a break for the weekly monotony of to-do lists and chores. While there are a multitude of options for camping, when camping with kids, it’s wise to consider accessibility to bathrooms, proximity to towns and stores, as well as the amenities of the campground. The following are a list of “favorite” camping spots, though it is by no means an exclusive or exhaustive list. Turquoise lake Located outside of Leadville, roughly 2 hours from Denver, Turquoise Lake is a favorite among Coloradans. With 8 campgrounds and over 300 campsites, there are ample opportunities to find a spot to pitch your tent. The lake itself provides a beautiful backdrop, as well as opportunities for boating and fishing. There are a number of trails nearby for hikers, with both easy and difficult paths. Be sure to prepare for high altitude weather and …

Hiking Near Denver: Advanced

For parents with kids who are used to hiking and have a fair bit of experience, there are a number of great opportunities for hiking near Denver in the front range mountains to delight and challenge them. As kids move from adolescence into their teen years, they are better able to sustain their energy for a longer hike and manage the elevation changes that come alongside that challenge. The hikes listed below are not the best for those with young children or who are not skilled or experienced hikers themselves, and parents should ensure all members of the family are acclimated to Denver’s altitude and up to the challenge. Mt. Bierstadt: Denver’s Most Popular Fourteener For many Coloradans, summiting a fourteener is a right of passage to becoming a true Colorado resident. While Bierstadt isn’t necessarily the easiest fourteener to ascend, it is located close to Denver, roughly 12 miles outside of Georgetown, which makes it fairly accessible. The hike itself is only 7 miles round trip, but it is a difficult 7 miles with …

An Exploration of Outdoor Art

Over the last few decades, Denver has become an even more interesting destination for art lovers. And as one of the sunniest cities in the country, Denver has a lot of great outdoor and public art, much of which is in a day’s good walk. A great way to spend a day getting to know Denver with the kids is to take a (long-ish) walk through Denver, checking out the art, and enjoying the scenes along the way. Start: Denver Public Library & Denver Art Museum The Denver Public Library and the Denver Art Museum (DAM) next door are pieces of art unto themselves. Just outside the Denver art museum you’ll find the sculpture “The Yearling,” a red chair with a life size horse on top. Next door, the DAM’s The Hamilton building juts out jaggedly along the sky scape. The building was completed in 2006, and the metallic exterior and unique shape are interesting viewed from the outside or within. While most of the art is housed indoors, there are a number of great …