Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 31: Summer Vacation in Colorado

“Vacation all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away. Vacation meant to be spent alone.” – Vacation, performed by The Go Gos

I love this 80s tune. However, I disagree on one point. Vacation is certainly NOT meant to be spent alone. Recently, my husband and I returned from vacation in Denver, Colorado. We had a blast. Neither of us had ever visited Denver or the state of Colorado for that matter. I absolutely LOVE going to places I’ve never been before, and it’s even more fun to explore a new city with the one you love.


Ok, ok so I want to share a few highlights from our trip just in case:

A.     You’re from Denver and enjoy seeing others shout out your city.

B.     You’ve never been to Denver and may want to add it to your list of places to visit one day.

Here are my top 9 things we did in Denver, Colorado on summer vacation:

9.     16th Street Mall – Whether it’s or any number of “things to do in Denver” websites, they all list the 16th Street Mall as a place to visit in the city. So visit we did – a couple of times. According to The Mall Blog (which sadly hasn’t been updated since 2012), “The 16th Street Mall in Denver is a pedestrian and transit mall … It is two kilometers long and runs along the 16th street in Denver. It houses more than three hundred chain stores…the Denver pavilions and more than fifty eating joints.” A few of other really cool things about the 16th Street Mall are:

a. The Paramount Cafe: We ate our first meal in Denver on the Paramount Café’s fabulous patio, overlooking the 16th Street Mall. We people-watched over a skillet of nachos

Skillet nachos

Skillet nachos

and listened to a vocalist cover 80’s tunes by Air Supply, complete with piano accompaniment. It was so cool.

b. The FREE mall bus: Yes, I said “free.” Just finished eating at the Paramount Café and need to go a few blocks up to TJ Maxx? No problem. Just make your way to the nearest intersection and hop on the next Free Mall ride to come along. Get off wherever you want and start all over again whenever you need.

c. Street musicians – If the food, shopping and free rides aren’t enough, the 16th Street Mall offers a host of street musicians (maybe not on purpose, but they’re there) – from pianists and vocalists, to horn players and guitar players. There was even a dude playing a ukulele. I think I was so excited I forgot to take pictures. But I did get a picture of this super cool piano – one of at least two I saw while in the mall area.

Now that's one cool upright

Now that’s one cool upright

8. Sports Authority Field at Mile High stadium

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium - home of the Denver Broncos

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium – home of the Denver Broncos

My husband is a big, no I mean a HUGE, fan of the Denver Broncos football team. So, when planning the trip I reserved us a spot on one of the official stadium tours. We saw places like the United Airlines Suite, the club level amenities and the Writing Press room (my personal favorite). We even walked out to the field through one of the stadium tunnels. SWEET!

7. Downtown Aquarium – Did you know the Denver Downtown Aquarium is also home to tigers? Uh, yeah it is. There may have been more than one, but this is the only one we saw. The aquarium was fabulous, but it was kinda weird seeing a tiger in it. photo 1It got even weirder when he (or she, I forget which) started staring at me.

Creepy, right?

Creepy, right?

“Ok baby, time to go,” I said, and we skedaddled pronto. But the tiger was quite striking to behold.

6. Garden of the Gods

One of the trails through the Garden of the Gods park

One of the trails through the Garden of the Gods park

A little "rock climbing..."

A little “rock climbing…”

I have no words to describe the beautiful rock formations in this tourist attraction in Colorado Springs, CO. Click here to learn more about the park, nature and visitors center and to even watch a movie that tells the story of “How Did These Red Rocks Get There.”

5. Outlets at Castle Rock – What’s a vacation without just a little shopping, right?

4. Dressy dinner downtown – No matter the city, the state, the day or the time, there’s just nothing like getting dressed up and having a wonderful dinner out on the town. It seems doing all of the above out on somebody else’s town is somehow just a little more magical. I went all out, makeup (courtesy of a sweet makeup artist at the Nordstrom M.A.C counter) and all. Don’t we look nice?

A night out on the town

A night out on the town

Oh and peep the purse. You can’t see it well, but I snagged this sweet leather cutie on our trip to the outlet, and at a fraction of its original price.  Umm hmm, what’s a vacation without just a little shopping? 🙂

3. Denver Broncos Sunday night football game

Game day! Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

Game day! Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

Like I said, my husband is a huge Denver Broncos fan. Attending their season opener was icing on the cake, for sure. We arrived almost 6 hours before game time. I thought I’d be stir crazy by kickoff, but time flew by and I had a great time. Seeing my husband surrounded by fellow fans of his favorite football team and stomping my feet in the stands alongside him, making that “rocky mountain thunder” sound they’re so proud of – well that was just priceless.

2. NBC Sunday Night Football bus – Prior to the game we toured the NBC Sunday Night Football bus.

NBC Sunday Night Football bus

NBC Sunday Night Football bus

NBC is the television home to Sunday night football games. The bus travels from coast to coast making stops at stadiums hosting Sunday night football games. The Broncos vs. Colts game was the first stop of the season. Yay us! And yes, this is a picture of the official 2015 Super Bowl trophy. Cool, huh?

2015 Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy

2015 Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy

1. Spend time away from the rat race, together – Like I said in the beginning, vacation is certainly not meant to be spent alone. At least not for me. The absolute best part of our vacation was spending time together – away from work schedules, meeting schedules, class schedules, school books, volunteer hours, errands, house cleaning, meal making, schedule coordinating, etc. No friends, no family, no schedules, no stress – just the two of us navigating the unfamiliar territory of Denver, Colorado, some 1,400 miles away from home base.

2014 summer vacation

2014 summer vacation

We had a wonderful time in the mile high city, and I’m already looking forward to our next adventure. I hope you had a great summer as well.

Did you take a summer vacation this year? If so, where did you go? Share in the comments. Who knows you may just help me find my summer vacation destination for next year.

Until next time….

Be completely you!