If the ever-growing crowds at Denver PrideFest are any indication, then Denver is rolling out the rainbow carpet like never before. Some 425,000 people turned out in 2018 for the city’s LGBTQ pride festival, which takes place in June, and more are expected this year.
“Denver has become well-known as an open, welcoming city with a strong local LGBTQ community, an abundance of great offerings, and customized marketing that caters to the LGBTQ traveler,” said Jayne Buck, vice president of tourism for Visit Denver, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. “With a nationally renowned gay rodeo, one of the largest annual PrideFest celebrations in the country, hot culinary and craft beer scenes, unique live music venues, and amazing arts and cultural attractions, the mile high city continues to generate rave reviews as an LGBTQ-friendly destination.” Here are 5 Great Places to Eat, Drink, Play, and Stay in Denver, Colorado.
I found myself enveloped in a very different vibe at The Curtis, a DoubleTree by Hilton, a decidedly imaginative property where every floor is dedicated to a different pop culture theme. It’s guaranteed to be the only hotel in Denver where you can check in to a Big Hair Floor, a Superhero Floor, and a Chick Flick floor, to name a few of the 13 themes.
Triangle Bar relaunched in 2017 in a new venue, complete with bar and restaurant. With part of the bar’s energy derived from wind power, Triangle calls itself “Denver’s eco-friendly LGBTQ bar,” and uses compostable plasticware as well as recycled paper products.
Among Denver’s newest independently owned galleries is Mirus, which opened in 2018. The venue, which has a sister gallery in San Francisco, focuses on contemporary art, curated by art dealer Paul Hemming.
COLORADO SPIRITS TRAIL
In early 2018, the Colorado Distillers Guild launched the Colorado Spirits Trail, which showcases more than 50 distilleries around the state, including Denver venues like Bear Creek, Laws Whiskey House and Ironton Distillery and Crafthouse. The trail map, available online and also at tourism offices, makes it easy to plan your own drinking tour. The Colorado Spirits Trail is a great complement to the Denver Beer Trail, which highlights brew venues in downtown Denver as well as in the Highlands, South Denver, RiNo and Five Points. Denver, in fact, now claims to brew more beer than any other US city, with about 200 different varieties.
MY 420 TOURS
Tourism options in Denver have boomed in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Since the state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, Denver has become the regional hub for the growing world of cannabis tourism. The company with the widest variety of tours is My 420 Tours, a company that offers everything from walking tours and classes to vacation packages that include accommodations in 420-friendly hotels. Among its most creative offerings is the “sushi and joint rolling” class, as well as cannabis massage and “cooking with cannabis” classes. My 420 Tours also offers guided visits to greenhouses and one of the city’s dispensaries. It’s an ideal way to learn more about the many uses of marijuana.