Go There: A Tequila Lover’s Guide to Denver
A boozy Denver itinerary that includes tequila queso? Let's go.
Welcome to "Go There," a Livability.com series about travel and how to maximize your time in some of our favorite cities. Do you have a place in mind that we should visit next? Let us know!
Today, we’re visiting Denver. You know the Mile High City for its craft beer scene and love for the great outdoors. But Denver is also teeming with great tequila and, as an agave spirit enthusiast, I’m here to share my tequila treasure map with you. (Heck yes, it involves tequila queso!)
Where to Stay
For a vacation that’s equal parts luxe and unique, book your stay at The Crawford Hotel. The hotel is inside Denver’s remodeled Union Station, a beaux-arts style train station and transportation hub. The hotel is a great launching pad: Machete Tequila + Tacos is just across the street and they've got an impressive tequila list (think: cinnamon-infused tequila) and margs that range from sweet to spicy.
Want to spike your vacation with art? Book a room at The Art Hotel, which puts you smack dab in the middle of the city’s art district. The hotel practically doubles as an art museum, starting at the porte cochere that puts on a dazzling and ever-changing light display that’s so pleasing to the eyes it just might hypnotize you. Unique art pieces can be found at every turn, even in the elevator. Next door, at the The Denver Art Museum, the Claude Monet exhibit is in town until Feb. 2.
Or, head to the swanky Cherry Creek neighborhood and slumber at The Jacquard. The patio will spoil you with some of the best views of the city (and the Rocky Mountains). Narrative, the on-site restaurant, has an especially delicious Happy Hour menu. Snack on burrata caprese and caesar salad deviled eggs. Plenty of boutiques are within walking distance.
Where to Imbibe
Try your hand at bartending at Que Bueno Suerte, where you can build your own margaritas. The flavor list, which you can mix and match, includes strawberry, raspberry, basil, cucumber pureed mango, pureed prickly pear and jalapeno. A strawberry-jalapeno strikes a perfect sweet and spicy balance.
At Tamayo, in Larimer Square (you’ll know you’ve arrived once you spot a hammock of white lights draped over the block!), tequila enthusiasts can find a collection of more than 100 tequilas and agave-based spirits behind the bar. The Richard Sandoval-led restaurant offers tequila and mezcal flights that showcase different regions of Mexico and bar experts can explain how aging affects the change in flavor. Every year, on National Tequila Day (July 24), Tamayo serves tequila popsicles.
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If you love a good spicy tequila cocktail, you’ll want to find a bar that serves Tanteo Tequila, which are infused with either jalapeno, habanero or chipotle. D Bar Denver makes a great cocktail with the chipotle-infused tequila, grapefruit, lemon, served with a chile lime salt rim and called “This Girl is on Fire.” At Lola, the Fuego Verde is a margarita made with jalapeno tequila and a cilantro simple syrup.
What to Do
Enjoy a comedy show at Comedy Works. The basement comedy club draws both local talent and national acts. A lot of comedians come here to record their sets because the Denver crowd is known for being so congenial.
Tacos and tequila are a known dream team. Indulge in both with a taco and tequila tour and visit a trio of Denver taquerias with Local Table Tours.
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If you’re a kid at heart, check out 1UP, a Denver arcade with a few locations that has classic arcade games, Skee-Ball and giant Jenga. We double-dog dare you to join a pinball tournament.
Worth a photo for the ‘gram is a snap at one of the “Mile High” markers, spots that are exactly 5,280 feet. Consider this a Denver-centric scavenger hunt. You can find one of the spots on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol building; it’s marked with a bronze plaque. In Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies play baseball, there are 865 seats in the upper 300s section that are exactly a mile high.
Where to Eat
You’ll definitely want to save room for dessert at Otra Vez Cantina, which has churro doughnuts served with a tequila chocolate sauce.
While in town, definitely visit one of Jennifer Jasinski’s restaurants. A James Beard Award winner, Jasinski has four restaurants in town, including Rioja, which has a Mediterranean-inspired menu with fresh fish, local meats and pasta; and Bistro Vendome, a French restaurant with a charming garden patio.
If Colorado had an official state postcard, Red Rocks would be a top contender. The famed amphitheater is cradled by crimson-colored rocks, and definitely worth a visit. In warmer months, it’s worth catching a concert or a movie here, or even doing “Yoga on the Rocks.” But even if there’s nothing on the Red Rocks schedule, you can visit the amphitheater, hike around in the park and visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
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