Recapping visiting Colorado Springs and Denver in Colorado!
I’ve only heard incredible things about Colorado, so I was extra, extra, extra excited about getting to cross it off of my list this year. One of Kyle’s college friends was getting married, so it was the perfect excuse for us to take a vacation. I ended up taking a few extra days off from work, and we spent three days in Colorado Springs and two in Denver. I seriously loved every second.
THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH: COLORADO SPRINGS
Our first stop after leaving the airport and getting our rental car was checking into our AirBnB. Kyle found the cutest place I could have ever imagined. We stayed in a small house that was behind the house of the woman hosting us. It had an old-timey feel. My favorite part was the jukebox. We used the jukebox as much as we could and had old feel good songs playing in the background while we were eating or getting ready. There was also a small glamper out back and a fire pit. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to use the fire pit, but the glamper was adorable.
For lunch, Kyle and I walked over to Poor Richard’s to get some pizza. It’s actually four businesses in one, and they have a restaurant (obviously), a toy store, a book store, and a cafe. They are all connected, so we wandered around the toy store and book store while we waited for our pizza. It’s such a fun concept for a business, and the pizza was also pretty delicious.
Since I had never been to Colorado Springs before, I had a laundry list of things I wanted to do. First up was hiking at Garden of the Gods. It’s one of the most popular hiking spots in Colorado Springs and for good reason. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it has relatively easy trails, which was perfect for me because I was super nervous about getting elevation sickness. We spent several hours here, and we found some fun trails. We saw some deer hopping around and trying to get away from some dogs. We got off the path and climbed up this rock that kind of reminded me of Pac-Man. It was the perfect introduction to the beauty of Colorado Springs.
After cleaning ourselves up and getting ready, we went to one of Kyle’s favorite restaurants from his college days. It’s a Greek restaurant called Jake & Telly’s, and it may have been my favorite meal of the trip. We weren’t super hungry, so we ended up sharing a few different appetizers, including dolmades (grape leaves are my fave), some hummus, of course, and sauteed mussels. I’m not even kidding when I say everything was amazing. I would go back to Jake & Telly’s in a heartbeat.
After dinner, we met up with a few of Kyle’s friends. I had so much anxiety because I’m me, but I genuinely enjoyed getting to meet some of his college friends. We met up at Jack Quinn’s, which was one of their favorite hangouts. I was super tired from traveling and the two-hour time difference, so I ended up going back to the AirBnB after just one drink and going to sleep, but Kyle went back out and caught up with his pals.
FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH: COLORADO SPRINGS/MANITOU SPRINGS
Our AirBnB host provided us with bagels and cream cheese, so after a lengthy search for the toaster, we had a light breakfast before heading out for another hike. We went to Mount Cutler, which was Kyle’s favorite hiking trail from his college days. I’m not gonna lie – I struggled. I’ve never been so aware of my breathing. It was a pretty good hike up the mountain, and I’m already not super athletic, but the elevation definitely made a huge difference. We had to make quite a few stops, but lucky for us, the views were breathtaking. We even saw Seven Falls in the distance, which unfortunately, we didn’t make it to during this trip, but it’s the perfect excuse to go back.
After our hike, we went to the United States Air Force Academy for a tour. I was so excited to get to see where Kyle went to school, and my step-dad is actually a USAFA grad too. We took a tour with two other couples, and one of the couples was in town to go to the same wedding we were going to. It was really neat to wander the school and hear about some of the history, but my favorite part was hearing Kyle’s stories and listening to his memories from the time he spent there.
We drove to Manitou Springs after our tour because we had plans to sign up for a cave tour at Cave of the Winds. We had lunch at Manitou Brewing, which was fine. I got some chicken wings that weren’t super great, but I’ve heard good things about the brewery, so I’d love to go back in the future when we’re not rushed. Downtown Manitou Springs reminded me a lot of downtown Gatlinburg in Tennessee. It was so cute, and I’d love to get to spend a little more time there on our next visit.
Cave of the Winds was such a random find and a fun addition to our trip. We wanted something in between the easy, lit family tour and the down and dirty adventure tour, so we opted to do the lantern tour, which was so cool. It was a “haunted” tour, and our tour guide was so into it. She made the tour so much fun. Everyone in the group had an old school lantern made from a tin bucket and a candle. The cave itself was beautiful and it was cool to hear some of the history about it, and then we also heard some cheeky ghost stories along the way. I only screamed twice haha.
For dinner, we met up with a couple of Kyle’s friends at Eim Thai. I got pad Thai, which was so good, but my anxiety stopped me from eating a lot, which was so unfortunate. It wasn’t the best Thai food I’ve ever had, but it was definitely a tasty meal.
After dinner, we met up with some more of Kyle’s friends at a brewery called Lost Friend Brewing Company. Unfortunately, they only served beer, so I didn’t get to indulge in any alcoholic beverages, which I definitely felt like I needed at the time. They closed less than an hour after we got there, so the people who still wanted to hang ended up at Jack Quinn’s again.
SATURDAY, JUNE 8TH: COLORADO SPRINGS
Since the wedding was at 2:30 in the afternoon, we took it easy and decided to sleep in. We got Chick-fil-a delivered for breakfast and put some music on the jukebox to get ready. Kyle got a surprise invite to be a part of the wedding and hold a sword, so we had to get to the church a little earlier than originally planned.
The wedding was beautiful and short and sweet. Afterward, we hung around the USAFA campus, and Kyle took some pictures with his friends. The reception was a bit of a drive away at Flying Horse Ranch, so I ended up falling asleep, which is a shame because when driving anywhere in Colorado Springs, the views are always gorgeous. I had an absolute blast at the reception. The food was incredible. Kyle and I always get compliments on our dancing when we go to weddings, and this was no exception. We just have so much fun on the dance floor. They also had karaoke at the end, and y’all know I love me some karaoke. I didn’t sing, but I had fun watching everyone else, especially when Kyle and his friends did their rendition of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan.
SUNDAY, JUNE 9TH: DENVER
I was so sad to leave Colorado Springs, but also excited to explore another city in Colorado. We drove to Denver, and we met up with one of my Louisiana Tech friends. Jordan and I were both in the college of business at LA Tech, and we knew of each other before we officially met because we had a mutual friend from high school. We ended up taking a lot of the same classes and partnering up for group projects. Right after graduation, he moved to Denver with a friend with no plan, and he’s been thriving and living there ever sense.
The three of us had brunch at Waffle Brothers, which I 10/10 recommend. I’m a waffle gal myself, and it took me forever to decide what to order because literally everything on the menu sounded so good. I ended up getting chicken and waffles, and Kyle and I shared a carafe of mimosas. It was definitely the perfect way to start the day.
After breakfast, Kyle and I went to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Kyle was pumped to see some dinosaur bones. It was literally rooms full of taxidermy, and it was all so fascinating and well done. We ended up being a little rushed because we made a super last minute decision to try and get tickets for the Wicked show that night. Tickets were sold out online and at the box office, but they were doing a ticket lottery and selling discounted tickets afterward, but you had to be there at a certain time. We got to see a lot of the museum, but I wouldn’t mind going back and taking the time to look at everything.
On the drive to brunch, I spotted a sign for Wicked, and it happened to be the last day that it was showing. After seeing the sign, I had it in my mind that I wanted to go because I’ve been wanting to see this musical for as long as I can remember. While we didn’t win in the ticket lottery, we did end up getting the very last two seats for the show. They were limited view seats because they were so close to the stage, but honestly, it was still super cool. I would love to go see it on Broadway. I can only imagine how incredible that would be. Seeing the show was one of the highlights of the trip, and I’m so glad that it worked out for us to go. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack ever since.
MONDAY, JUNE 10TH: DENVER
Our original plan for Sunday was to go see a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Since that didn’t happen, we started our Monday with a hike at Red Rocks. While we didn’t get to experience a show, I’m so glad we still made time to go see the park and amphitheater. While Denver is beautiful and there’s a lot to do, what I loved about Colorado Springs was the beauty of seeing mountains and landscapes everywhere you go. Denver is a little more commercialized, and you see a lot more city comparatively, so getting to go to Red Rocks made me fall in love with Denver a little more. I would love to go back and see a show there.
Our last meal in Denver was to get some Korean food. If y’all know me, you know I love me some Asian food, and Korean is at the top of that list. We went to DAE GEE for lunch, and it was so good, y’all! One of my favorite things about Korean restaurants is that they come with lots of sides. Pork bulgogi is definitely one of my fave Korean dishes, and DAE GEE didn’t disappoint.
For dessert, we went to Voodoo Doughnut and got the Bacon Maple Bar and the Homer. We decided to take the donuts to a park we saw when we were on our way to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and enjoy them outside. Both donuts were amazing, but the Bacon Maple Bar was my favorite.
We still had some time to kill, so our last stop before heading to the airport was to an arcade called FTW. We played some of our favorite games, including skee ball and that one game where you knock down all the clowns. I don’t know why I’m so good at that game, but it’s my favorite. We ended up giving our card to a family that had about four kids so they could use the tickets. They had won a ton of little squishy toys from a crane game, and they insisted on giving us one as a thank you.
Colorado was an easy state to fall in love with, and I feel so grateful that I finally got to cross it off of my list this year. I’m so jealous of the four years that Kyle got to spend there while he was going to school, but I loved being able to learn more about him while he shared some of his memories from the Academy and also being able to make some new memories with him there. Colorado Springs has easily become one of my favorite cities, and I fully plan on making several trips back to visit and do even more exploring.
Have you ever been to Colorado?