So this ended up being quite the post, so I decided to split it into 2 parts.
Several years overdue, I finally made time to visit my best friend, Noel, in Denver. I say overdue because the last time I visited was towards the end of our freshman year of college, almost 4 years ago. Sure there was stuff to do back then, but you’re limited when you live in the dorms and don’t have a car. So this time around we were determined to explore Denver quite a bit more.
I arrived Monday night, so after Noel picked me up from the airport, there was little to do except get settled and hang out. One of the new developments I was already anticipating having to navigate was the weed culture in Denver, being that it’s now legal for recreational use. So out of curiosity, I tagged along as Noel and her boyfriend went to a dispensary to stock up on “supplies”.
Quick aside, not that it matters, but I’ve never done any kind of recreational drug in my life. I’ve never felt the need to, and I’d say I’m still pretty uncomfortable with how common it seems nowadays. I debated even mentioning it in this post, but I felt that it’s relevant to my experience in Denver. So here we go.
Anyways, like I said, we visited a dispensary. Now, as absurd as it is, I subconsciously had a mental image in my head of a dark, seedy place. But of course that is very far from the truth. The dispensary we visited was very clean, almost clinical in presentation. The staff was nice, and seemed very used to having someone come in to ogle like I was doing. So that experience served to dispel some misconceptions I was having. That being said, I’ll stick to wine…
Monday night, we hung out and went over the plans for the week. Everyone was kind enough to let me rest after a day of travel. Tuesday morning we would be returning to the airport to pick up another one of our buddies, Ty, who was coming out to visit for a couple of days.
After picking Ty up on Tuesday, we headed to a local brewery, since that is another thing Denver is known for, their beer. Colorado Plus offers several local and house made beers. So I definitely took advantage and tried several different brews. I also highly recommend the deep fried pickles. It was a lazy way to spend a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, but what’s better than sharing some beers with a group of friends?
Dinner was at what is apparently a Denver staple, Casa Bonita. I’ll admit, it was interesting, but I might have enjoyed it much more if I were like 10 years younger. The inside is basically set up like a Mexican village, with a waterfall the centerpiece of the place. One of the appeals is the “live-entertainment”, but it only seemed to consist of a guy diving into the water from different heights. Not to say it wasn’t impressive, but it was underwhelming. The plates of food were also very overpriced for what I considered to be meh quality. The only redeeming factor for me was the unlimited sopapillas you got per table. They also had an arcade, but it was so sad and rundown. I definitely understand this place is meant for families with young kids. So it was an experience, but I would maybe steer clear.
Wednesday we had a jam-packed schedule. You can’t visit Denver without taking advantage of the hiking available within an easy drive’s distance. So we decided to head to Red Rocks in the morning. The weather was almost perfect (I wouldn’t have minded if it were a little cooler…), and the hike itself is not that difficult. We visited the Amphitheater, then headed back down to follow a trail. The Red Rocks are gorgeous. I absolutely recommend it to everyone. I do wish I had a better camera to take more photos, but I was happy with what I got. The trail wasn’t all that long, so we were able to head back to Denver relatively early in the day, at around 2pm.
That ended up working really well because it gave us ample time to rest for a bit and then get ready for our other activity planned for the night, a Colorado Avalanche game!
Yes, I was able to coerce my friends into attending the game with me. They were extremely patient with me as I felt the need to explore Pepsi Center. It’s located near downtown Denver, and their public transportation, the Light Rail, had a stop right outside the arena. So ease of access is huge. The arena itself is definitely a little older. I felt the interior was a bit dull and boring, especially in comparison to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and even our own American Airline Center back home. They seemed to offer the typical food and drink options you’d find at most arenas, and all was pretty similarly priced. The game itself went really well for the Avs. The Colorado Avalanche at that point had already clinched last place in the league. They have been having a historically terrible season. And I could definitely sense that amongst the fans. I feel some sympathy for the fans as my Dallas Stars have also been having themselves a terrible season… Anyways, the Avs managed to pull a win against the Detroit Red Wings. I don’t think many arenas compare to Nashville in terms of in-game presentation and the noise of the crowd. But the fans in Denver were pretty loud. It helps that they won! It was a fun experience for sure, and I was able to knock one more team off of my list!
Ty had to catch an early flight back home the next morning, so we called it a day after the game.
So I’ll stop here for now…come back later to read part 2!