Denver is a vibrant city whose neighborhoods – including downtown, Capitol Hill, Larimer Square, LoDo and the Highland – have their own fancy-free and footloose personalities.
Getting around: From Denver International Airport, take the reliable and inexpensive Super Shuttle to your downtown accommodations. Once in downtown, the RTD ( http://rtd-denver.com) provides non-emission buses, light rail and commuter-rail transit to destinations throughout the area.
Parking your head: The Curtis Boutique Hotel – stylish, trendy and downtown – is a whimsical hotel featured on TV’s “Ellen.” Each floor at The Curtis ( www.thecurtis.com) has its own theme: I had the dubious honor of staying on the floor that pays homage to horror movies: When the elevator door springs open, Jack Nicholson’s voice bellows out a line from “The Shining” – “Here’s Johnny!”
Larimer Square: This enchanting block lined with ornate Victorian buildings is an ideal place to spend a late afternoon or twilight. Stroll the specialty shops, take a happy hour break at a bistro or an early dinner at one of the great little eateries. Make sure you stop in The Market at Larimer Square ( www.themarketatlarimer.com) to sample some of the homemade and tasty desserts.
16th Street Walking Mall: The pedestrian-friendly street has been cut off from normal automobile traffic. People happily stroll hand-in-hand, up and down the 2-mile stretch lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. The city also lined this avenue with colorfully painted pianos: Anyone can plunk down at an available bench and play.
Lou’s Food Bar ( www.lousfoodbar.com) is an affordable restaurant serving refined American cuisine with bold flavors and farm-to-table ingredients. Delicious entrees are set off with a French flair; soothing cocktails take the edge off your day at this award-winning local favorite.
Linger: For a fresh and fanciful evening out, go to the LoHi neighborhood. Linger Eatery ( www.lingerdenver.com) resides in a former mortuary that has been converted into a restaurant with a rooftop patio offering a one-of-a-kind view of the cityscape. Somehow they managed to plunk a recreational vehicle on top of the building and converted the trailer’s living area into a bar that conjures up some incredible specialty drinks.