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Quick Colorado Vacation- Boulder & Denver

Quick Colorado Vacation- Boulder & Denver

Hi! As promised, I am breaking down our recent trip to Boulder & Denver that we took over the 4th of July.

First off, we planned this trip the week before we left and did it on a major budget.

Flights: We took advantage of the Frontier Airlines direct flight to Denver out of Lafayette. This flight only flies on Wednesday & Saturday out of Lafayette. The flights can be extremely affordable if you are okay with packing light. Since you have to pay for a carry on, we each packed for our entire trip in our personal items (18x14x8). Tip: purchase reusable compression bags from TJ Maxx for around $5.

Car: We rented a car from Expedia. They were running a flash sale and it was the best deal. Although, if we go back I may look at a shuttle and just use public transportation and bikes for getting around town.

Hotel: We used points from our Hyatt Card and they didn’t charge us to park our car. Our hotel was about 1.5 miles from the start of the Pearl Street area with restaurants & shops. Luckily, they had a Boulder Bike stand at the hotel. It was $8 to hop on & off for 24 hours. This is how we got around for the most part.

Alright, now to the fun part! Here is our 3 night itinerary:

day 1

8:45am Fly Frontier Airlines from LFT to Denver

10:45am Land in Denver, Take shuttle to Hertz, Pick up Car

11:30am Arrive in Boulder, CO check into Hyatt

12:30pm Lunch at Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery (Pearl Street Location)

  • there was a wait so we sat outside

  • We started with a couple of local beers, chips, & guacamole

  • for lunch we ordered the Junk Burger & Date Night burger. Both were delicious, but date night was our favorite of the two.

2:00pm afternoon hike Sunshine Canyon Trail

  • parked at the Sanitas Canyon lot

  • picked this trail because a park ranger said it was the only one with shade- it was HOT

  • weird ending at a private home, not sure I would do this one again

4:00pm grabbed beers from Twisted Pine Brewery

5:30pm walked around the Boulder Creek & Pearl Street Mall (not a shopping mall, brick road for foot traffic & shops)

8:00pm Dinner at Black Belly Company

  • made reservations via Open Table to sit at the kitchen counter

  • We LOVED this place- service was excellent and the chef in front of us was very personable. Next door is the butcher shop where all of their meat is sourced. The chef was also on a season of Top Chef.

  • We started with the steak tar tar, split the NY strip, and ordered a side of broccoli and potatoes. Only thing I’d skip next time would be the potatoes, a little too over cooked for me.

day 2

8:00 am Coffee & a bagel from The Laughing Goat… we wanted BoxCar coffee, but they were closed for the 4th. Our coffee was good, but still want to try boxcar.

9:00 am Hike the Mesa Trail

  • flat terrain and an easy hike

  • beautiful scenery of the flat irons

11:00 am Lunch at Rayback Collective

  • cool indoor/outdoor venue with lots of beers, a couple of food trucks (change each day), and yard games

  • we did the beer flights and grabbed an order of loaded fries & some Greek food

1:30 pm Boulder Reservoir

  • a beach in the middle of the mountains!

  • $7/person and you need to bring an umbrella, chairs, towels, ice chest- whatever you will need

  • I would love to come back, but not on July 4th . It was very crowded on the beach area.

6:00 pm Strolled around Pearl Street Mall

  • Stopped into a couple of shops like Pop Fizz to play some old school video games & then the Book Store

7:00 pm Dinner at Next Door

  • I had the spicy marg- good and not too spicy at all. Petey & our friend Ben split a bottle of wine. All of their wine is on tap. They save a lot (can’t remember) glass bottles because of this

  • I ordered the bolognese & Petey had the shrimp bowl. His was better than mine and would have gone great with my marg

8:30 Fireworks at Folsom Field- AMAZING & MUST SEE firework show

day 3

8:00 am Boulder Dushanbe Tea House

  • another great stop!

  • the building has a really cool story behind it and is a fabulous piece of art

  • tried the biscuits, Anda Bhurji sandwich, Vietnamese coffee for me, vanilla latte for petey, & a chai latte to go. All absolutely delicious

9:00 am Scenic Drive towards golden & stop at the Big Easy Trail for a quick hike

10:00 am Walk around Golden, CO then drive to Denver

  • We attempted to tour the Coors Brewery, but it was a 3 hour wait!!!

12:30 pm Carbon Knife Co

  • super cool store in Denver recommended to us by the chef at Black Belly Co. They have a ton of cookbooks & other kitchen gadgets as well

1:00 pm Lunch at Lou’s Italian Deli

  • The cutest counter service Italian deli. The manager was so helpful when ordering- it was his family’s place.

  • We went with the arancini & meatball sub. SO FREAKING GOOD!

  • No indoor seating, only a few tables outside

5:00 pm Drinks & Apps in RiNo with our friends

  • Blue Moon Brewery - ordered a few flights

  • Denver Central Market- just walked around here, but a great spot for food & drinks

  • First Draft- Beers per ounce, Charcuterie, & Fried Pickles

  • Avanti Food Incubator- Petey fried the Arepas & I had the Pizza. Don’t forget to checkout the food upstairs too! We didn’t realize 2 restaurants were up there

  • Inside Scoop- delicious ice cream to finish off an amazing vacation!

Saturday morning we enjoyed coffee on our friends patio and then a nice stroll on the walking trail in their neighborhood before heading to the airport.

I hope that you enjoy this itinerary and put it to good use sometime soon! Until next time, don’t forget to follow along on Instagram @thevintagefork.

Happy Eating (& traveling) ,


Quick Panzanella Salad

Quick Panzanella Salad