High Tail it to Denver for a Rocky Mountain High

“Rocky Mountain High” means different things to different people.

Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. aka John Denver, penned the song after an inspiring camping trip in Colorado.

Colorado has long been considered Texans’ playground, the mountain part anyway. In the past few years, Denver has become the darling of Gen Z’s live-where-they-want, work-from-home movement, and after a recent long weekend there, I can see why.

Denver is an easy flight from Dallas Love or DFW, making a long weekend exploring the city a breeze, but there’s so much to do in the area you might want a few more days.


The Denver Art Museum is a striking architectural complex that’s an attraction on its own. The Hamilton Building, covered in 9,000 titanium panels, is an engineering marvel engaging at every angle, with serious and whimsical sculptures around it. The collections vary from Western art to textiles, plus a revolving lineup of exhibitions.

If you’re into a different kind of art, you can join a two-hour walking tour of Denver’s murals and graffiti, which ends up at the Denver Central Market, a lively food hall.

Even if you’re not outdoorsy, consider visiting REI’s Denver flagship store in a majestically transformed historic 1901 Denver Tramway Power Company Building alongside rapids where you can watch kayakers navigate the water.

Union Station is a functioning transportation hub updated in Western opulence with restaurants, retail, and bars nearby.


Denver’s impressive food scene includes three Michelin-starred restaurants and award-winning casual joints. One of the most influential people in American fine dining today is Bobby Stuckey, whose Tavernetta and Sunday Vinyl flank Union Station are must-go restaurants. Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery is great for a quick lunch and an introduction to Native American food, which is still a rarity on menus. The Cherry Cricket offers a sunny patio and an unforgettable green chile relleno burger.


Denver’s hotel accommodations lack an ultra-luxury brand. Still, Hotel Clio and Halcyon, both in Cherry Creek, are gorgeous, full-service hotels in a walkable district filled with retail and restaurants.


You can do Denver without renting a car, but there are fabulous places to visit within an hour’s drive. Boulder is a college town with a granola-chic vibe. Pearl Street Mall is a four-block stretch of downtown with unique retail, outfitters aplenty, and a cool vintage vinyl store called Paradise Found, whose owner is a delightful Neil Diamond savant. Restaurants in Boulder are creative and elevated, with SALT and Oak two standout restaurants. I ate one of the best meals of my life last year at Frasca Food & Wine, which has since earned a Michelin Star.

Southwest of Denver lies Golden, a historic gold rush town, where you can tour Coor’s Brewery and Stranahan’s Distillery or take in a concert at Red Rocks.

Denver’s great. I can see why John changed Deutschendorf to Denver. Besides the obvious, it’s a great town to be associated with and well worth a visit.

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Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig is the only DFW Food/Travel writer with luxury hospitality leadership experience and a former restaurant owner, employee, and chief marketing officer. Kersten's worked on the inside and has the insight and experience to tell the stories to the outside. She's a Park Cities resident, mom, wife and a decent cook. Follow her on Instagram @KerstenEats.

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