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Cherry Creek to RiNO: Uncovering Denver's Mile-High Marvels

Updated: Feb 4

Cherry Creek Vibes: Family Time and Exploration

Our journey began in the elegant and upscale neighborhood of Cherry Creek, providing an ideal backdrop for our family gathering. Following the festivities with our loved ones, Mike and I made the delightful decision to extend our stay by another 72 hours, eager to immerse ourselves in the heart of Denver. During this period, it allowed us to experience the perfect blend of family togetherness and urban exploration.

Cherry Creek beckoned with its delightful array of coffee shops, exceptional dining options, and an exquisite hotel that surpassed our expectations.

Let's shine a well-deserved spotlight on Hotel Clio, which sets the bar incredibly high for service and amenities. The hotel's rooms are not only spacious and well-designed but also exceptionally comfortable, standing out among the accommodation options in the area.

Their commitment to enhancing our city excursions made our stay at Hotel Clio even more remarkable. They provided a Tesla house car, bikes, and tickets to local attractions, which included the Denver Botanical Gardens, the Denver Art Museum, and the Denver Zoo. Shout out to Carson and the team for the coolest gift of a campus that I have taken on every adventure since Denver.

Our visit to the Denver Botanical Gardens, highly recommended by many, was one of the highlights of our stay. We embarked on a delightful 15-minute bike ride through Cherry Creek to reach this botanical haven. While cars lined up in the parking lot, we joyfully pedaled to the designated bike parking area, embracing the adventure awaited.

Our experience at the gardens was even sweeter because we had complimentary tickets for our stay at Hotel Clio. The hotel went above and beyond, even securing a reservation for us. Here's a valuable tip: engage with the concierge a day or two in advance to ensure your plans are in place; waiting until the last minute may not be as fruitful.

The Denver Botanical Gardens proved to be a true delight, with lush, green landscapes welcoming us at every turn. Whether you're in search of Instagram-worthy spots, tranquil seating areas, or the soothing ambiance of water features, this place has it all to create an enchanting visual experience.

Delicious Dining Experiences: Toro Kitchen and Lounge and Blue Island

In Denver, memorable dining experiences are never in short supply. We couldn't resist the allure of Toro Kitchen and Lounge, a Latin American restaurant located in Hotel Clio. Toro Kitchen and Lounge is known for its ceviche bar, small plates, and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The sweet corn empanadas and craft cocktails were among the highlights of our visit. It's a place where Latin American flavors come alive, and every bite is a culinary delight.

Blue Island: An Exceptional Happy Hour

Cherry Creek doesn't disappoint when it comes to happy hour. Blue Island is a gem in this neighborhood, serving up fantastic blood orange margaritas, $1 oysters, and some of the best fries with togarashi seasoning. It's a spot where flavors and atmosphere unite for a fantastic time.

Aviano Coffee Bar: Unique and Refreshing

Cherry Creek is a treasure trove of delightful coffee spots for coffee enthusiasts like us. One such gem is Aviano Coffee Bar, where we enjoyed a flat white and iced sparkling matcha. The combination of flavors in the matcha is unique and refreshing, making it the perfect pick-me-up in the heart of Cherry Creek.

Cherry Creek Farmers Market: A Culinary Adventure Awaits

Remember to explore the Cherry Creek Farmers Market. It's a culinary adventure with food stalls offering everything from breakfast burritos to smash burgers, fresh organic veggies and fruits, and locally made beauty and wellness products. Whether you're looking for a quick bite or fresh ingredients to take back to your kitchen the farmer's market is a vibrant hub of local flavors and community spirit.

Exploring RiNO: Where Creativity Meets Cuisine

Denver's magnetic appeal lies in its eclectic neighborhoods, each offering a unique atmosphere. After our delightful time in Cherry Creek, we were drawn to explore the RiNO District (River North Art District). This neighborhood is a world apart from Cherry Creek, and that's precisely what made it so intriguing. It exudes an artsy, Brooklyn-meets-LA vibe, with an abundance of cool coffee shops, trendy eateries, and an explosion of street art around every corner.

Our stay at the Catbird Hotel in RiNO was nothing short of extraordinary. This establishment beautifully deviates from the conventional hotel experience, instead welcoming you with the cozy ambiance of a condo hotel complemented by the comfort of a living room lobby. The rooms are thoughtfully designed, resembling studios or cozy apartment flats, and they come equipped with everything you might desire. From fully stocked kitchens for culinary explorations to yoga mats for your wellness routine and even projectors for entertainment, the Catbird Hotel spares no detail in ensuring your comfort.

The crown jewel of the Catbird Hotel is undoubtedly its rooftop, a true gem that boasts not one but two inviting hot tubs. The Red Barber bar stands ready to craft your favorite libations, and a diverse lineup of daily activities ensures there's never a dull moment during your stay.

What's more, the hotel spoils you with an amenity package that includes delectable breakfast options. I highly recommend trying the banana French toast; it's a delightful way to kickstart your day with flavor and energy.

For those seeking a bit of recreation, the hotel offers a playroom with gear to check out, whether it's bikes, skateboards, scooters, or sports equipment.

You'll also find a filtered water station on each floor, providing you with still or sparkling water. Those little touches make your stay even more convenient and enjoyable.

And here's a charming little tip: you can take one of the plants from the lobby to your room to infuse it with some greenery. We did just that and named our new companion Priscilla. These personal touches and thoughtful gestures make the Catbird Hotel a standout choice, elevating the RiNO experience and making it a must-visit for anyone looking to explore Denver's artistic side in style.

Exploring RiNO: Sipping Local Coffee and Savoring at Central Market Food Hall

In RiNO, our quest for delightful experiences took us to the heart of local coffee shops and the vibrant Denver Central Market Food Hall, where the culinary delights seemed endless.

Great coffee is a universal necessity in any city, and RiNO more than meets our expectations with its collection of fantastic local coffee shops. Among our favorites was Lekker Coffee & Watering Hole, conveniently situated just a stone's throw away from the Catbird Hotel. The aroma of freshly brewed orgainc coffee and the warm ambiance of Lekker made it a perfect spot to start our RiNO explorations.

Yet, RiNO has more to offer than just exceptional coffee. It's a true paradise for food enthusiasts, and our serendipitous discovery of the Denver Central Market was a culinary jackpot. This food hall is a bustling epicenter of unique culinary experiences, ensuring there's something for every palate.

One evening, we indulged in High Point Creamery's ice cream, savoring every creamy bite of this sweet treat. The next day, our culinary adventure led us back to the Central Market for a mouthwatering experience at Vero Italian, where we delighted in delectable pizza. We also explored the fresh seafood offerings at Tammen's Fish Market and relished every bite of a fantastic brisket sandwich from The Local Butcher.

Food halls like the Central Market embody the essence of communal dining, where the atmosphere is as savory as the dishes themselves. It was an experience we couldn't get enough of, a testament to RiNO's vibrant and diverse food scene that celebrates the joy of shared meals and culinary exploration.

Dining Adventures from Highlands to RiNO

Denver is a city that never fails to provide memorable dining experiences, and we embarked on a culinary journey that took us from the Highlands to the RiNO, savoring every moment.

We couldn't resist the magnetic allure of Ash'Kara, a restaurant nestled in the Highland neighborhood. This gem specializes in an irresistible fusion of Israeli, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Northern African cuisine. At the heart of it all is a blazing 900-degree brick oven, crafting artisan, heritage grain wood-fired pita that sets the stage for a remarkable dining experience.

Ash'Kara's menu is inherently vegetable-forward, making it a paradise for non-meat eaters and vegans. However, even carnivores will find joy here. The Pastrami Flank Steak with Reuben Bread Pudding is a revelation, a carnivore's dream that's sure to leave a lasting impression. The Cauliflower Shawarma, on the other hand, is a testament to culinary delight, elevating the vegetable to a whole new level.

Ash'Kara offers a good wine selection and craft cocktails to complement these delectable dishes, ensuring that every palate is satisfied. It's an experience that transcends mere dining and delves into the realm of dreams brought to life.

One of our evenings led us to the LoHi area, where we dined at El Five. This restaurant boasts obstructed views of the downtown Denver skyline, setting the stage for a truly romantic evening. Old-fashioned cocktails set the mood, and the tapas selection ensured our taste buds were in for a treat.

Every dish at El Five was a symphony of flavors, from chickpea pancakes with braised lamb shank to harissa eggplant fries and goat cheese croquettes. The combination of breathtaking views, intimate ambiance, and an array of delectable tapas made for a dining experience that we'll cherish forever. Denver's culinary scene truly knows how to cast a spell on your taste buds and create lasting memories.

Unforgettable Experiences and Meow Wolf

We can't let you miss out on some of the best experiences in Denver!

This mesmerizing artistic wonderland, created by over 350 local artists, spans four floors of creative brilliance.

Denver's Art Scene

Whether you're an art enthusiast or just curious, Denver's art scene has something for everyone. From murals in RiNo to the Denver Art Museum's diverse exhibitions, there's art to explore at every turn.

The Denver Art Museum

Offers free admission every Tuesday. We took full advantage of this opportunity and explored an impressive exhibit called "Desert Rider: Dreaming in Motion." It spotlights self-identified Latinx and Indigenous artists who have transformed vehicles associated with the Southwest into artistic expressions of identity, pride, and community. These transformations challenge stereotypes and inspire hope.

72 Hours of Unforgettable Fun!

As we bid farewell to Cherry Creek, RiNO, and all our remarkable stays, culinary journeys, and cultural escapades, one thing is abundantly clear – Denver, with its diverse neighborhoods and vibrant atmosphere, offers an unforgettable adventure for all your senses. From the cozy and upscale vibes of Cherry Creek to the artistic tapestry of RiNO, our journey through the Mile-High City has left an indelible mark on our hearts.

Thanks for following along on our Denver adventure.

Written by Nicole Landers, AKA @girliegreen1 & Mike Schibel @schibel

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