Long story short, this summer was a whirlwind of difficult days, and worry-filled nights. It was startling when the leaves started to turn, before I got to enjoy the ocean, the rooftop bars, and the many woodsy adventures of my usual summers in New York. I needed to shake off the sad summer days. Lucky for me, I have a fantastic-amazing-wonderful-across-the-country best friend who saw this, and also needed an escape from the real world.
We consulted our airline miles, our partners, our bosses, and our cats, and a few days later, we were waiting at airports on opposite sides of the country (SFO + LGA), ready to meet up in the mile-high city for an intensive best-friend-cation.
Denver seemed like a reasonable mid-point, neither of us had been before, and the airline miles worked out. So, we went, and we explored. I am absolutely smitten with Denver – just spending two nights there has me dreaming of a simpler life in a smaller city rooted in nature.
Might I suggest, to anyone considering spending some time in Denver, some of my favorite places? If you know more about Denver than I do, please share your favorites in the comments - I am eagerly awaiting my next visit to the area.
I was so happy with the selection of both vintage and locally sourced shops in Denver. Our favorites were along Santa Fe and West 11th.
Sacred Thistle 1110 Acoma St
This was my personal favorite. A mother-daughter team, Sacred Thistle is part florist, part carefully curated shop. We were given a little look into the floral studio -- they have the most unique collection of brass planters that they use for centerpieces, and the most sophisticated, on-trend taste in flora. They sell a gorgeous selecti0n of jewelry, home accessories, and stationary.
Meek Vintage 39 W 11th Ave
Just around the corner from Sacred Thistle, we found great vintage clothing here. A bright, airy, plant filled space, Meek is full of treasures. Their website shows a stunning selection of their vintage bridal gowns.
Garage Vintage 776 Santa Fe Dr
An enormous vintage shop with furniture, clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, lighting... Just about everything you could need. I could have spent hours in here.
Candelaria 853 Santa Fe Dr
What luck that we came here on Saturday! The shop owners husband and toddler were in charge of the store while the owner was running a booth at the Renegade Craft Fair (which you can find nation wide in several cities). Renegade is amazing and we were overjoyed to hear it was one more day, and we could go before leaving! This candle and more shop was so pretty, and the products were priced really well for local hand made items. The shop hosts tons of classes in candle making, macrame, terrariums... aka instagram dream classes. You can even host a private party.
The Room of Lost Things 985 Santa Fe Dr
One of those stores you can't possibly not go into. Taxidermy, doll body parts, crystals, local art, jewelry, skulls, bugs, and all the oddities you can imagine.
Ninni & Foffa's 987 Santa Fe Dr
Just next to The Room of Lost Things, Ninni & Hoffa's has a sweet selection of vintage. I loved the milk glass and the brass selection -- she had a very unique duck shaped lint-remover and a basset hound shaped pipe rest.
16th St Mall 16th St between Union Stati0n and RTD Civic Center
Just kidding, do NOT go here, unless you really love the Hard Rock Cafe and/or homeless people following you. A girl we shared a lyft with recommended we go there, when we asked where the cool shopping was. Her boyfriend said he didn't think we would like it, and we should have listened to him. Major Times Square vibes.
Finally, I just wanted to list some of the most special vendors we met at the Renegade Craft Fair. They are mostly Denver based, and all really cool people, making really cool things:
Sydney and I were so lucky that a friend offered their place to us for the weekend. We got to our apartment in North Capitol Hill by Lyft (it seems like the most commonly used ride-share there), and it took about 45 minutes. North Capitol Hill had the charm of Tarrytown with a dash of Long Island City nightlife and dining -- almost suburban, but you could get by without a car. The neighborhood had a mix of larger, modern apartment complexes (we stayed in a place sort of similar to this) and gorgeous old victorians. Its not really a shopping area, but its a really compact city, so we never spent more than $10 on a car to other neighborhoods.
Knowing the city a little better now, I might consider staying in RiNo (industrial, hip new arts district) or along Santa Fe (the other main arts area, older with more vintage shopping). Both areas host "First Fridays" (Santa Fe + RiNo) and have great breweries. Some rental suggestions: Rino 1 2 3 4 / Santa Fe 5 6 7 8
The beauty of a trip like this is that we had literally no set plans, so there wasn't technically anything that we missed. However, we did get some of Denver's crummiest weather (roughly 50% of people we encountered cheerily told us "You know, Denver gets over 300 sunny days a year!", despite the cold misty rain we were experiencing), so we did not fit in much outdoors time. Next visit, I hope to hike to Lake Isabelle, and see a show at the Red Rocks. I would also love to rent a car and drive to Boulder for a day or two, and catch up with some special people I know there. My favorite chef-friend, Sara, teaches hands on cooking classes at Sur la Table that would be so fun to try. Next time!
Just a heads up, this post is content from about a year ago, when I was overseas last fall. I didn't head to China yet this fall, so this is posted with a bit of nostalgia. This dinner in Huangzhou was with the owner of one of the main mills we use. In what seems to me to be the Chinese way (though correct me if I'm wrong, please! Not complaining though, as someone suffering with decision fatigue by dinner time most nigra) Kirk pre ordered before anyone got there and each dish was a beatific surprise.