iImage via Wikipedia
Denver is on the up and up. Seriously on the up and up. Colorado’s population jumped by over 100 thousand people in 2015, which is the biggest surge since the tech boom of the late-90s. Despite slowing job growth, increasing oil and gas prices and a nearly impossible-to-navigate housing market, Denver is the place to be. And it’s easy to see why: Denver has every major sports team; the stargazing is out of this world (yes, pun intended, sorry); the year round outdoor recreation options are bountiful; and there is. no. humidity. As New Yorkers in July, that fact makes us want to pick up and move right now. Maybe we will…
Below is our list of the best places to celebrate and take advantage of your health in the Mile-High City.
Image via Parsley
Opened in 2008 with “organic vegetable juice, salad, soups from scratch, and sandwiches,” Parsley “began with only three tables and six chairs,” says the restaurant’s website. In the past eight years, Parsley has become known around Denver as the place to get your juice fix, and for good reason. With sandwiches, soups and drinks made with at least 60% organic ingredients – a number the restaurant is constantly trying to increase – Parsley offers the freshest bang for your buck meal in the city.
We recommend Kim’s Legacy. It’s almost completely organic (with the exception of the apple) and it is the perfect precursor to a hike or just a stroll around the Golden Triangle (make sure to hit up the art museum!). With spinach, carrot, apple, cucumber, parsley, lemon and ginger, it’s the most nutrient-packed food in Denver.
Image of Flatirons Vista via Boulder Colorado Hiking
Ok, so, this may sound trite but Denver’s actual best gym is The Great Outdoors. With a myriad of hikes just a half hour outside the city, staying active in Denver is absurdly easy.
- Flatirons Vista Loop Trail: this flat 3.3 mile loop is perfect for a run or a bike ride, and it’s even wheelchair accessible. Best part? It’s just 30 minutes northwest of Denver in Boulder.
- Chimney Gluch Trail: This one’s a tougher one for more experienced hikers. At almost 7 miles, this beautiful back trail features mountain vistas and stunning wildflowers. The climb to the top of Lookout Mountian will wear you out, so make sure to pack lunch and plenty of water. If you’re visiting Denver, allow yourself to acclimate to the high altitude for a few days before trying this hike.
- Sloan Lake Park: An expansive 177-acre park within city Limits, Sloan Lake Park is the ideal place to get outside whether you’re a Denver resident or you’re just stopping in. It’s the perfect spot to take the kids, go for an afternoon bike ride or brush up on your tennis.
APEX Movement Denver
So maybe you’re visiting Denver in the dead of winter, and snowboarding and skiing aren’t really your thing. We suggest testing your parkour skills (yes, you heard right) at APEX Movement of Denver. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, seriously. Parkour gyms are full of ripped, lean and flexible athletes who use nothing but bodyweight and a punch of obstacles to get from point A to point B. If you’re in the mood for trying something new APEX Movement can’t be missed. Parkour is one of the most fun ways of exercising, and you really get in touch with your inner-child when practicing these moves (um, hello tree climbing and rock hopping).
We recommend Taking an eight-week intro to parkour class for adults. “Students will learn basic skills including quadrupedal movement, landings, rolls, basic gymnastics, jumps, cat leaps, vaults, underbars, tic tacs, wall runs, and basic freerunning tricks. Additionally, students will apply these skills to complete longer movement combinations and obstacle courses,” days the gym’s website.
Image via Indian Hot Springs.
Indian Hot Springs
Hot springs are worth the drive, trust us. The super hot water contains a ton of dissolved solid minerals, such as silica, calcium, sulfur just to name a few. And at only 40 minutes outside the city, Indian Hot Springs are the most convenient hot springs to Denver.
We recommend relaxing for a couple hours in the geo-thermal caves. At less than $25 a person, this is an experience not to be missed. The caves were created in the early 20th century specifically for the purpose of creating therapeutic hot springs. The naturally hot mineral water ranges in temperature from 104 to 112, and it’s just an absolutely cool experience. Pro tip: we don’t really consider Indian Hot Springs an awesome place to stay the night – the rooms are adequate, but nothing special for the price, but it’s an awesome place to just relax in amazing mineral water for a few hours.
Image of Bear Lake via Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park
We mean, you really can’t go to Colorado without visiting the RMNP. Located in the Front Range of the Rockies, it’s just under two hours from Denver, and let us tell you, Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful.
We recommend spending ample time planning what you want to see before stopping in. There’s just so much to do and you simply can’t pack even a fraction into a weekend stay. However, we love Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road for scenic drives. Take a stroll around Bear Lake, hike Alberta Falls and Longs Peak round out our list of best hikes.
We recommend staying at Glacier Basin Campground. This spot offers amazing views of the mountains and wildlife abounds. It’s centrally located and truly beautiful. You could stay in a hotel or cabin, but camping is really the best way to experience this amazing campground.