City Nights: Activities After Dark in Four Colorado Cities
While we can't dispute that all of the activities that take place in our beautiful sunlight deserve to be highlighted, there's still plenty to do in Colorado when the moon and stars shine brightly.
Fort Collins, Colorado State University's home and surrounded by the plains and foothills of the Rocky Mountains north of Denver, has a lot to offer: access to the great outdoors, craft beer, and a buzzy creative community. Entertainment by Starlight: An outdoor movie on the large screen shouts summer, and the Holiday Twin Drive-In Theatre has been providing the enjoyment to the Front Range for more than 50 years. Get ready for a drive-in experience like no other by ordering popcorn and hot dogs from the retro snack bar, reclining your seats as the sun sets over the mountains, and preparing for a drive-in adventure like no other.
Crowd-pleasing Bites: At The Farmhouse, the elevated country cafe at historic farmstead-turned-artisan-village Jessup Farm, a wide selection of farm-to-table deliciousness is the name of the game. Bison chicken-fried steak and golden beet carpaccio are two past seasonal menu favorites. If your group is in the mood for Italian, head next door to Cacciatore at Heller's Kitchen for fresh-made pizzas and pastas. Late-Night Cravings: The fine cocktails, delectable menu, and stylish, industrial-chic ambiance of Social will make you want to put on a little black dress or dinner jacket. The basement bar, on the other hand, is ideal for a post-dinner catch-up with friends. Order the large cheese and charcuterie platter to share, as well as a round of the featured cocktail, a rotating combination created by one of Social's bartenders.
Make yourself at home at the Elizabeth Hotel, a chic boutique hotel that pays homage to Colorado's natural beauty, local artists, and Fort Collins' thriving music culture (each room has a Crosby record player and a lending library with over 1,000 vinyl records). Alternatively, stay at the Armstrong Hotel, which has been welcoming travelers since 1923. Bonus: There's a jazz lounge, chocolate cafe.
Fort CollinsFort Collins, CO, USA
Boulder, affectionately known as "the city perched between the mountains and reality," is a community linked by a love of nature, a fondness for delicious food, and a forward-thinking attitude as the home of the University of Colorado and several tech businesses. Band on the Bricks (Wednesday evenings, June–August) is a fantastic opportunity to experience the colorful neighborhood at its peak. No visit to Boulder would be complete without a trip down Pearl Street, the city's core for dining, shopping, and people watching. Local artists will perform, and you may drink a marg, brew, or glass of wine in the beer garden while showing off your best dances under the stars.
Rayback Collective aced the backyard-party atmosphere, complete with a fire pit, dog-friendly environment, corn hole games, and community-style seating. At the bar, there are more than 30 taps (many from local breweries) and a rotating menu of popular food trucks with flavors from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Syria, New Orleans, and Scandinavia. Cravings in the Late Hours: Do you have a hankering for a burger after midnight? The Pearl Street Pub is on your side. Any of the burgers on the menu, as well as the fried-chicken club and fried mac 'n cheese, are sure to please. Kiss the stuffed buffalo at the entryway — a collegiate custom — then find a seat in the dive bar's basement to consume your feast after some alcoholic courage (we salute you if you don't need it).
Basecamp Hotel's inexpensive adventure-themed rooms are minutes from Pearl Street and come with a slew of entertaining features (climbing wall and sauna, anyone?) without breaking the bank. Alternatively, reserve a hotel at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa, a lovely Boulder institution famed for its sophisticated yet pleasant ambience, with a view of the Flatiron mountains.
BoulderBoulder, CO, USA
From natural wonders like 14,115-foot Pikes Peak to ever-evolving cultural and food sectors bolstered by a Colorado Creative District and a rising supply of well-reviewed eateries, Colorado's second-largest city has it all. Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society hosts Jazz in the Parks (Wednesday evenings, May–August) in several green spots around the region. Bring a picnic, a few drinks (and your best jazz hands) for an evening of jamming and dancing to live melodies performed by respected local and national artists.
Crowd-pleasing Bites: Ivywild School, which was built in 1916 as an elementary school, today contains the Bristol Brewery & Pub as well as an on-trend marketplace. Ivywild Kitchen serves soft pretzels with beer-cheese sauce and Colorado-raised-beef burgers, while The Principal's Office serves coffee, tea, and cocktails (request the Bikini Bottom: rum, almond, and lemon). Late-Night Cravings: The Rabbit Hole is well-known for its inventive late-night fare. Pair hefty meals like the bacon-wrapped rabbit meatloaf or Colorado striped bass with a Buffalo Bill drink (Colorado apple whiskey and apple juice – we think the frontiersman would approve).
The Garden of the Gods Club & Resort, which offers amenities like access to the 27-hole Kissing Camels Golf Course and a lavish spa, has views of Garden of the Gods Park's gravity-defying red-rock formations that steal the show. Are you looking for something a little more rustic? Rent a glamping tent from Royal Gorge Cabins in nearby Caon City to enjoy views of the mountains from the comfort of your own fire pit, as well as amenities like climate control and Wi-Fi. There are also luxury cabins available.
Colorado SpringsColorado Springs, CO, USA
In Denver, where exquisite cuisine and craft-beverage offerings are the standard, the wilderness is easily accessible, and bustling districts are packed with activity alternatives, urban sophistication meets Rocky Mountain cool (think: gallery and brewery hopping, boutique shopping and more). During Dive-In Movies at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, forego your typical recliner seat in favor of a floating cinema experience. These al fresco events, which take place on Friday evenings from late June to August, are the ideal way to cool off after a hot summer day. Make your way to the wave pool for the 7:30pm movie. Please don't bring any popcorn.
Zeppelin Station, a mix of unusual food and beverage ideas and quirky merchants in the affluent River North (RiNo) area, is one of Denver's many stunners in the food-hall scene. Soy Pinoy has Filipino-style adobo fried chicken, East Side King has Katsu Chicken Sando, and La Rola has arepas (we recommend one stuffed with sweet plantains). Cravings in the Late Hours: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an easy addition to any Denver foodie's bucket list, with more than 90 whiskeys, 30 beer taps, and lots of artisan cocktails — as well as a culinary menu featuring Buffalo cauliflower and chimichurri steak.
Cool Accommodations: The Ramble Hotel, a newcomer to the RiNo district, exudes sophistication. Linger in the lobby, where the design pays homage to 17th-century French salons, and grab a drink at Death & Co., the renowned New York City cocktail bar that recently launched an outlet at the hotel. Alternatively, stay at the equally opulent Jacquard Hotel in the posh Cherry Creek district. Watch the sunset from the rooftop lap pool and bar, and let their attentive Service Curators assist you with everything from organising a designer shopping trip to obtaining tickets to a hot show.
DenverDenver, CO, USA
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