Denver is one of the hippest big cities that you can get to from any major airport in Texas, typically on a nonstop flight (a treat we all love). Whether you are just stopping in on the way to a nearby mountain town or if Denver is the main event, this is one dream destination.
STAY: The Maven
Once a Windsor Dairy, The Dairy Block is home to The Maven, a boutique hotel, plus many restaurants, retailers, and cocktail creators. When you walk into the eclectic and industrial themed lobby, you are met with warmth and handcrafted hospitality. The Maven wants their guests to feel important and they do this in several ways: complimentary drinks from their funky airstream in the lobby + courtesy coffee from a coffee shop located in the lobby. With an excellent location in downtown Denver and mountain hospitality that makes you feel at home, The Maven is the central location for your Denver adventures.
The Beer Spa
Started by a husband and wife who spent 14 months traveling through 25 countries to find the business that they wanted to bring back to the United States, Jessica French and her husband looked at various options (including hedgehog cafés!) throughout Eastern Europe. They found the concept of a beer spa in Poland and Prague and brought it back, Americanized it, and now is one of three beer spas in the United States.
What is a beer spa? You schedule an appointment, just like you would at any other spa and yes, it is for the beer connoisseur. Once you leave your shoes at the door and check in, you hang out in the tap room. There, you will help yourself to a set of 10 taps, to include 5 taps from a local brewery (such as SKA in Durango, Colorado), which include an IPA, typically a pilsner or a blonde and a darker choice, such as a red ale. Taps 6-10 are permanent and include their house beer called the “Spa Sidekick” which is a cucumber lemon brew, a hard cider, a red wine and rosé. A 16-ounce pour is approximately $9.
Enjoy a few local complimentary snacks or pay extra for a charcuterie board.
When it’s time for your appointment, you will be guided back to a beer therapy room for a 90-minute session to include an infrared sauna, a shower and a beer bath for up to two people. The tub is filled with actual water but it has what looks like a large tea bag filled with beer hops to infuse the hot water with all its goodness.
After your 90-minute session, you can enjoy a massage chair, customized from NASA-level technology. As you sit in the chair for a 30-minute session, enjoy pressurized massage all over your body and a personalized stretching session.
This is a great option for first-time spa goers and especially males who enjoy beer because it’s a self-guided spa experience. The clientele runs 60% female and 40% male and it does make a great date night as they are open until 10:30 p.m.
Stepping into Meow Wolf is like walking into another world. You are fully immersed in the creativity of 300 artists that created an interactive experience for the enjoyment of their audience. This unique experience was three years in the making and is a 4-story interactive art exhibition with 70+ unique installations, rooms, and portals. This is something that the whole family/ group can enjoy and an opportunity to open up your imagination to experience a cathartic tale of converged worlds.
Housed in the lobby of The Maven, Kachina Cantina features flavorful twists on Mexican cuisine; and this place is anything but boring. Their drink menu ranges from tequila flights to sangria to margaritas and house cocktails. When it comes to placing the food order, there’s the option for tacos, but if you are feeling adventurous, their main dishes take you on a culinary road trip from enchiladas to Chicken Milanesa Torta, a twist on a fried chicken sandwich. Bonus: Kachina has a “bottomless brunch” on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 to 2.
Located in the private alley of the Dairy Block is a hidden gem, Deviation Distillery. This 1800’s firehouse turned lively patio and cocktail lounge is home to downtown Denver’s only gin distillery. Deviation is the place if you are looking for a cozy, intimate setting for drinks and apps in the winter, but also accommodates very nicely for a summer evening out on the patio. Their cocktail menu is always changing with new seasonal drinks. The Apple Spice Mule is a seasonal drink that brings cozy fall vibes but also gets you into the winter spirit. If you aren’t a gin fan, you’ll find classic cocktails like cosmopolitans and negronis, but also fun renditions of Old Fashions and Mules. Small plates span a classic charcuterie board to a variety of chocolate truffles made at Deviation Distillery.
Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She began her travel writing career in 2002 with Austin Woman Magazine and now writes their “Texas Traveler” section. She can be seen as a contributor on TV shows across Texas, offering travel tips and spent five years as the voice of the “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.
A lover of all things travel, pretty running trails and good coffee, Analise Flatt is a Senior at Stephen F. Austin State University studying Mass Communications with a minor in Travel and Tourism. Check out her Instagram to stay updated on her latest travel adventures.