Today is Wednesday, and that means today's MoFo post is all about sightseeing and what to eat while you're doing it. I'm pumped (PUMPED!) to be doing a downtown Denver roundup, because a) I lub this city, and b) I'll have a link to send when people tell me they're coming here and they don't know what to do.
Anyways. Denver is great. It's not too big, not too small, not too hot, not too cold, and there's a 40 foot tall bear perpetually trying to break into the convention center. And there is plenty eat and plenty to do.
First things first: Food
- Biker Jim's started out as a hot dog cart, and now has a restaurant location that offers not one but two varieties of house-made vegan hot dogs (herby or spicy). They're big, delicious, and served on a big grilled bun with your choice of toppings. They've got Boylan soda on tap, amazing french fries, and charred cauliflower as a side.
- City, O' City is technically in Cap Hill, but it's easy walking distance from downtown. City O is an all vegetarian restaurant and bar, with tons of vegan options, including the best buffalo seitan wings you've ever had (more on those later this month). Bonus: they open early and close late.
- Hi Rise is a bakery on Larimer that features tofu scramble as an option on breakfast sandwiches, homemade cashew spreads for bagels, and a daily vegan sandwich for lunch.
- Illegal Pete's is Denver's hometown burrito joint. They don't offer a vegan protein (besides black beans), but their guac is killer and they have a great patio.
- Linger is just outside of downtown, across the river. It's worth the trip if you're looking for an incredible view of the city and some fancy pants vegan food.
- The Mellow Mushroom might be the only national pizza chain that offers tempeh, and we've got one right on the 16th Street Mall. Go here for a quick bite, and Daiya, tofu, and tempeh on your pizza.
- Mercury Cafe, also known as The Merc, is a Denver institution that features at least one vegan item on every menu.
- Tokyo Joe's is a local Japanese fast food chain that does a pretty great job with tofu. Think Chipotle, but with noodle bowls instead.
- The Wynkoop is Denver's oldest brewpub! They've got several vegan and veganizable dishes on the menu, including a great hummus plate, Vegetarian Chicken Cacciatore (ask for no cheese), Quinoa Vegetable Salad, a house-made veggie burger, and Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake. Bonus: there's lots of great Colorado beer on tap.
- If you're in Denver in the spring or summer, be sure to check out Civic Center Eats, a twice-weekly gathering of food trucks in Civic Center Park. There are plenty of vegan options, including Quiero Arepas and their plantain/avocado magic, and Cows Gone Coconut, locally made vegan ice cream that comes in killer flavors like Salted Caramel and Walnut. Check out our Food Truck Roundup for more vegan food truck options.
- Get yourself some culture at the Denver Art Museum (it's huge), The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Colorado Ballet, or the incredible downtown library, which has an impressive and creative schedule of workshops and classes. My top pick is the Museum of Contemporary Art, because it's always a crowd pleaser, and they've got a beautiful rooftop cafe where you can sometimes find vegan croissants.
- See a Rockies game at Coors Field, even if you don't like baseball. The stadium is beautiful, and rockpile tickets are cheap cheap cheap. Plus, they have veggie dogs.
- Lay around in a park. Denver has largest park system in the nation, so you can barely throw a rock without hitting one. Visit the giant kale, chard and flower beds in Civic Center Park, have a beer picnic by the river at Confluence Park, or roll down a perfect green hill at Commons Park.
- Spend some money on the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, visit bookstore heaven at the Tattered Cover, or head up to great shopping with quirky, independent stores on Platte Street and 15th.
- Drink! Denver is known for its beer, and you can get the good stuff at Great Divide Brewing (amazing beer and a great patio), The Wynkoop (plenty of vegan options), Falling Rock Taphouse (75+ beers on tap; 130+ in the bottle), 1Up (arcade for grownups; giant Jenga), or City, O' City (home of the nation's best vegan buffalo wings).
- Get around on the Free Mall Ride, the light rail, or Denver B-Cycle.
Denvertopians: Did I miss anything? Lemme know.
P.S. The lovely South Broadway (vegan shoes and ice cream, you guys) happens about a mile and half outside of downtown, and Lauren covered all the best parts last week.
P.P.S. You can see the complete Denver restaurant guide here.