Old train stations offer a glimpse of history, a quiet place to collect yourself before travel, and much more when a city invests time and money. Denver remodeled their Union Station, transforming it into a popular hangout for visitors looking for authentic meals, coffee, ice cream, gifts, and even a hotel. The renovation of the Union Station, which was founded in 1881, cost $54 million, according to the Denver Post. We spent an afternoon exploring the new station and loved having lunch at The Kitchen Next Door Community Pub, coffee at Pigtrain Coffee Co., two scoops in a waffle cone at Milkbox Ice Creamery, and craft cocktails at the Terminal Bar.
Even with all that eating and drinking, Union Station still had another six restaurants or bars available to try. There are only a few non-food shopping experiences inside the union, but each is unique, allowing visitors the option to shop without the cold feeling of poorly designed malls. Our favorite was the Tattered Cover Book Store. Less than a block away is the original and larger location, which was founded in 1971. Officials said they incorporated “shady trees, local Colorado plants, and water features” around the station to create acres of open green spaces.
If you can plan one fancy meal in Denver, make sure it is at Beast + Bottle. The Uptown restaurant is run by Paul C. Reilly, who creates seasonal New American cuisine menus and is our favorite formal dining option in the city. The flower boxes sprinkled on the restaurant’s patio feature herbs used daily in either dishes or the wonderful craft cocktails. The spot is small, so reservations are recommended. We were lucky enough to attend a Beast + Bottle pig’s head dinner, which is a unique culinary experience. We sampled their best appetizers, cocktails, wines, and desserts as well. Our favorite drink was the “your pear-sonal Jesus” and our favorite dessert was the mango paté de fruit.
Our favorite casual dining experience in Denver was Prost Fine Beers and Sausages. The restaurant offers a wide choice of sausages, including Smoked Beef Bratwurst, Prost Signature Oktoberfest Beer and Pork Brat, Elk Jalapeno Cheddar, Wild Boar with Apricots and Cranberry, and many more. Toppings and traditional German salads are also available. We recommend ordering a sampling of various sausages and sides with a large group to try as many options as possible.
Your meal wouldn’t be complete without a Bavarian Pretzel and beer. Prost has a full bar if you are looking for a different kind of beverage, but we highly recommend checking out their extensive beer collection from Bavaria and Belgium. We loved the Stiegl and the Houblon Chouffe. They also have a Highlands place if you find yourself in Boulder and craving sausages.
Another hidden gem in Boulder is the Dushanbe Teahouse. Stop in for a to-go tea or stay for a full service and meal. The building and rose garden are stunning. More than 40 artisans in several cities of Tajikistan created decorative elements, including Hand-carved and hand-painted ceiling pieces, tables, stools, columns, and exterior ceramic panels, owners said. The outdoor boards, pictured above, were created by Victor Zabolotnikov and feature “Tree of Life” patterns. Wander just a few feet, and you’ll find a sprawling park, pictured below, and Boulder’s library, which also features a café with coffee and a full art gallery. It is easy to spend the day snacking and strolling through this area of town.
What are your favorite places to eat and drink in Denver and Boulder?
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