Once a rugged cow town filled with gamblers and gunslingers, the Colorado capital has grown up. Today, it meets cosmopolitan halfway and learns to play nice while still kicking up a little dust.
Author Rachel Sturtz Photography Jen Judge
ILLUSTRATIONS PETER JAMESFIELD
“Every week, my friends and I carry snacks and wine to the Denver Botanic Gardens for their summer concert series. It’s great music in the most beautiful setting in the city.”
BELLHOP AT THE BROWN PALACE HOTEL
“If you need late-night food, you’ve got to go to Pete’s Kitchen. They have great Greek food and amazing chicken-fried steak with eggs. There’s a line out the door at one a.m. for a reason.”
HOSTESS AT ZENGO
“I head to the Cruise Room at The Oxford to pretend I’m cool. They’ve maintained the bar’s 1930s Art Deco decor, and you can’t help ordering an Old Fashioned.”
Image – Rich Grant/Courtesy of
Denver Metro Convention &
THANKS TO AN INNOVATIVE PUBLIC ART INITIATIVE, EVERY WALK IN DENVER FEELS CURATED
At Denver International Airport, a 32-foot blue mustang welcomes you to the area, and a 40-foot bear, shown below, peers into the Colorado Convention Center. Those are just two of the commissioned pieces that have popped up since 1988, when Mayor Frederico Peña decided to dedicate one percent of every large construction budget to public art. Since then, more than 150 original works have been erected. Look for Taylor Aiello’s native flora sculpture on your trek through Red Rocks. The city also offers free public art tours by foot or by bike (www.denvergov.org/publicart).
Image – Shutterstock
HEAT MEETS SWEET IN DENVER’S GO-TO DISH
Green chile stew may be a New Mexico staple, but Denver’s takes it to new heights. This hearty stew (spelled with an “e” or an “i”) is chock-full of pork, tomatoes, onions and eye-watering spices. Denverites like to slop it on everything—drowning burritos, omelets, burgers and even beer (Patty’s Chile Beer at Wynkoop Brewing Company) in the tasty melange.
Every Cinco de Mayo, area restaurants vie for the heavily contested, brawlworthy title of Best Bowl in the Annual Green Chili Bowl Cook-Off. Ready to embark on your own green chile crawl? Start with past winners Las Delicias (www.lasdelicias.net), Santiago’s (www.eatatsantiagos.com), or Benny’s Restaurante Y Tequila Bar (www.bennysrestaurant.com).