We spent a week in Colorado and used Denver as our home base. Denver is fairly central and we knew that by having it as our starting point, we could go on a few day-trips to nearby cities and states. Typically on a trip like this we like to plan at least one day in our home base city and in this case that is exactly what we have done! Denver being the awesome city that it is, has a ton of stuff to offer for all members of our family.
Stop #1: The Colorado State Capitol Building
We started our morning by taking a quick self-guided tour of the Colorado State Capitol Building. If you have been reading along you know that Paul is in politics and I work in architecture. So for us, a historic capitol building is the perfect meeting of our nerdy minds.
We totally geeked out on our 30 minute self-guided walking tour (free guided tours are available as well) through the halls of this beautiful building made of granite that was quarried nearby. When you walk in, you are first greeted by the main grand staircase.
Make sure to look up into the 272 ft gold dome gilded from 200 ounces of pure Colorado gold. Make your way to both he House and Senate viewing chambers for a birds eye view of the legislative floor. Lastly, don’t forget to look up, the most beautiful architecture often happens well above your head.
A heads up, you do have to go have to go through security but, that didn’t seem to cause any issues with the stroller or our snack filled diaper bags. Make sure to ask one of the amazing guards for a Colorado State Patrol Badge. If you have a stroller make sure to look for the accessible entry on the side of the building on the basement level.
Tip:While touring this space, and any other government building, please remember that people are working. This may be hard with children and this is why we chose to do a self-guided tour versus a group guided tour. Know your children’s limits but at the same time don’t limit yourself. Be creative and find an alternative that works best for you.
Before you leave, don’t forget to walk outside and go to the main steps at the front of the capitol to see the token “one mile above sea level” marker.
Stop #2: A Union Station Snooze
Knowing that our next few destinations were close together we decided to park our car centrally, bring out the stroller and walk through downtown. We started at Union Station, a historic landmark, with a delicious breakfast at Snooze an AM Eatery.
I had read a ton of reviews about Snooze and it was located perfectly for this leg of the trip. The restaurant is located in Union Station and it was fairly busy with about an hour wait. They had a great outdoor plaza set up with cornhole to entertain the kids, and flowing coffee for the adults. The location is a bit snug and it was a tight squeeze trying to fit the stroller (fairly compact once folded) and a highchair among the very narrow, luggage filled walkway but we made it work.
That being said, the food was delicious, the was service was great and the coffee was hot! Paul had a MASSIVE breakfast burrito and I had the build-your-own hash topped with spinach, tomatoes, scrambled eggs and feta. I must say that I was quite jealous of their signature “pancake flight” that I saw pass by my table a few times, I’ll get that next time!
Like I mentioned earlier, don’t forget to look up and admire all of the ornate details on the ceilings and the massive chandeliers.
Stop #3: A Tour of Coors Field
After fueling up on on delicious eats and strong coffee (taken black, no cream, no sugar) we walked the half mile to Coors Field for a guided tour of the ball park. If you read my earlier post you would know that we were scheduled to go to a baseball game earlier in the week but due to a canceled flight, multiple layovers and a bunch of different delays we missed the game. My baseball fanatic five-year-old was heartbroken and this was our way to try to mend his broken heart and I think this did the trick!
There is a fee for the guided one hour tour and you must buy tickets in advanced. Our guide was great and was very interactive with Liam. Coors Field is one of the newer baseball parks and it has some family friendly amenities. On our tour I noticed a few nursing pods, family restrooms and there was even a small kids playground near the kid friendly concession stand.
This by far is not one of the most kid friendly parks that we have been to and if you are interested in more Kid Friendly Baseball Parks make sure to click here (Coming Soon).
Stop #4: The Dairy Block & the Milk Market
After our tour of Coors Field we set off walking back to our car when we stumbled upon the Dairy Block hidden among the downtown brick buildings. The unique signage at the entrance to the district really caught my eye and the milk jug string lights drew us further in.
Walking down the well-shaded alley we decided to pop into the Denver Milk Market and I am so glad we did! The Milk Market is a unique open market concept of different LOCAL venues with a modern upscale take on the traditional food court. Liam and I enjoyed a cone of locally made gelato while Paul enjoyed a local craft beer at a pub. There were so many different options to choose from with central shared seating and such a funky, vibrant interior design.
Stop #5: The Denver Children’s Museum
And to think this was just the first half of our day! After relaxing and refueling at the Denver Milk Market we surprised Liam and Nolan with a trip to the Denver Children’s Museum. One of our absolute favorite things to do on vacation is to visit local children’s museums and I have dedicated a post to all of our favorite ones, click here (Coming Soon).
Tip:Pack a lunch and eat at one of their patio tables. You could be here for a while so I suggest bringing snacks too 🙂
We could have spent all day at the children’s museum! It had so much to offer from imaginative dress-up play, science, engineering, outdoor activities, a huge climbing obstacle and Liam did each and everyone of them, twice. Liam is at the age (5) where he loves to be challenged both mentally and physically and is always asking questions. He really excels in an environment like this! There is an admissions fee for everyone over the age of one but it is well worth it!
Having a 5 year old and an infant can be challenging because of their age difference. We typically don’t let that hinder us in our travels but when we find a place that offers something for both boys we celebrate!!!
The museum has an entire section called the Center for the Young Child dedicated to itty bitty babies 0-3 years old. They even have a quiet low-sensory room for smaller infants and nursing mothers. They truly thought of every detail from a sock dispenser so you don’t contaminate the space with dirty shoes, to rubbery and soft floor surfaces, plush toys, vibrant colors, storage lockers, stroller parking and a huge family restroom. The space was also cleaned by staff twice in the time Nolan and I were there.
Nolan and I hung out in this area the entire time while Liam and Paul explored the rest of the museum. It was so nice to have somewhere that Nolan could roam freely that geared just for him. He had a BLAST!!!
Stop #6: Green Valley Ranch Beer Garden
My mother and younger brother joined us for the second leg of our trip and today was their arrival. Exhausted from a jammed packed day in Denver, we wanted something simple and low-key for dinner and while also being fun for my mom and brother who had just flown for 6 hours straight. I had done some quick, on-the-fly research for kid friendly places near the Denver Airport and we found the hidden jewel that is the Green Valley Ranch Beer Garden.
The GVR Beer Garden had open air indoor seating with over-head garage doors, tons of outdoor seating, an incredible amount of craft beers, mile high bison burgers and a kids PLAYGROUND. I repeat, a kids playground!!! The play area was fenced in and had a few climbing features and miscellaneous toys. The outdoor turf lawn also offered a plethora of “adult drinking games” like corn-hole, jenga, boccie and it was trivia night.
That sure was a jam-packed day but I’m glad we decided to stay with in the Denver city limits and enjoy everything that the Mile High City had to offer.
Please check out some of the links throughout this post for more information on the amazing places that we visited.