Nature Nicole strikes again! This time in Colorado. ⛰
If there's one thing I love as much as my family and dessert, it's nature. 🌎🌻 After my all time favorite trip to the Philippines last year, I decided to make #naturenicole a thing. When I say "a thing" I really mean traveling and enjoying the great outdoors in different locations throughout the US and overseas. Although, it does make for a catchy Insta and Twitter hashtag too.
My most recent trip occurred last month in the lovely state of Colorado. I'm not a person that has a bucket list or a 30 before 30 list, however, it's definitely one of my goals to not only have more international travels, but to actually explore more areas within the United States. This past June was the first time I've been to Colorado and I had a great time!
The entire duration of the trip lasted four days, which doesn't seem long, but it was actually a good amount of time. My family and I stayed in an area called Stapleton, about 20 minutes away from downtown Denver. Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Colorado. We were able to do a fair amount of sightseeing, hiking, and trying out a couple of local, popular restaurants.
Read on for a few highlights of my trip, including recommendations on where to go, what to see, and do if you ever decide to visit the Mile High City and state in general.
Snooze | Breakfast/brunch: A great spot if you're looking for a brunch location with multiple locations throughout Denver and the surrounding areas. The portion sizes are good and it's fairly priced! Thank you Joy for the reco!
Next Door | Union Station: Located in downtown Denver inside Union Station, Next Door is an American eatery with multiple restaurants and local shops. It's perfect if you're looking for something quick and on the go and also if you're interested in dining in. The aesthetic was more on the sleek, transit station vibe and was not overwhelmingly packed. If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, visit Milkbox Ice Creamery, they have over 16 flavors!
Avanti Food & Beverage | Restaurant & rooftop: This spot was recommended to me by my favorite "Lumpia Lady" Kathy, who owns "A Taste of the Philippines" food business in Chicago! Avanti is essentially a food hall or collective eatery on the first level with choices ranging from pizza, arepas, poke bowls, and more. The second level has a couple of bar areas and a nice, outdoor patio + rooftop overlooking the downtown Denver. The rooftop area was pretty crowded when I visited, so plan accordingly!
Garden of the Gods | Colorado Springs: Aside from all the walking we did in downtown Denver, this location was our first true hike in Colorado. Garden of the Gods is located in Colorado Springs and is a national natural landmark. There are about 1,300 sandstone formations and various routes for hiking. The visitor center was nearby the start of the trail and offered a nice cafe area and gift shop. The trip from Stapleton to Colorado Springs took about an hour and a half, so definitely have snacks handy!
Rocky Mountain National Park | Estes Park, CO: This was my favorite hiking destination in Colorado! The drive to the rocky mountains was a bit on the lengthier side, but it was well worth it! The mountains and scenery in general are beautiful and almost look surreal. We took a shuttle from the visitors center that had an option to drop us off on three different hiking trails. Let me tell you...the elevation is really real in Colorado. Our ears were popping the entire drive up the mountains! No pictures truly justify the natural beauty.
Red Rocks Park Amphitheatere | Morrison, CO: This was our last destination on our trip before going back home to Chicago. West of downtown Denver and around 35 minutes away, Red Rocks Park Amphitheatere is built into a rock structure in Morrison. This outdoor area is a great destination for concert goers, fitness enthusiasts, and just a nice place to go when visiting Colorado. There wasn't an event or anything going on when we stopped by, however, one day I'd love to go back for a concert to enjoy the live music and beautiful scenery!
Colorado is definitely a place to visit if you love nature, small, but well maintained downtown areas, or are looking for a fun, active adventure!