My Boyfriend, Jamie and I love road tripping and in September 2019 we decided to take our longest one yet – 20 hours from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Denver, Colorado! Here was our journey…
Thursday we left super early in the morning to begin our drive. We shopped at a random Cracker Barrel in Ohio for breakfast and then stopped in Indianapolis for lunch. I’ve never been to Indy but we decided on The Eagle for lunch. They have fried chicken, salads, sandwiches, etc. I got a chopped salad with a side of herb fries and it was so dang good! Jamie shared fries with me and also got a braised pork sandwich. If you ever find yourself in Indy, I do recommend! I grabbed a Starbucks and we headed back on the road.
The next place we stopped by St. Louis! We were pretty hungry but we mostly stopped here because Jamie wanted to see the Cardinal’s stadium. I must say, it was pretty cool! The city reminded me a lot of Pittsburgh actually. We walked to Ball Park Village which was directly next to the stadium. It’s an inside complex of restaurants and big screen TVs so fans can watch the games. It almost looked like Disney World for a sports fan lol, so many bright lights and big signs! We sat in the main lobby, watched a Cardinals away game on the TV and ordered some BBQ pulled pork nachos, our favorite.
Back on the road after dinner and headed to our Airbnb for the night. I booked us a super affordable place in Kansas City. I think it was $60 total with taxes — you can check it out, here! Let me tell ya, I was so impressed with this Airbnb host! Even though we were only there for the night, we had the best experience. If you ever need a place to stay in the Liberty Kansas, highly recommend. You can checkout my ‘Denver” highlight on Instagram for a tour of the space.
We woke up bright and early Friday to get back on the road. I believe that this point we were only 8 hours from Denver, so we drove about 12-13 hours on Thursday. We drove for a few hours before stopping for breakfast. Jamie wanted to see Kansas University’s stadium (go figure) so we stopped there to eat. I found THE CUTEST cafe ever! It was called Milton’s Cafe. It’s small but had really nice employees, delicious/fresh food, great coffee AND they had gluten-free options. I loved the campus too actually. I joked with Jamie and told him that our kids are going to go to college there lol. We got back on the road, ate something quick for lunch and arrived in Denver around 3-4pm.
The Airbnb we stayed at in Denver was amazing! You can read more details about the place and see photos towards the end of this blog post. After taking a few quick photos of me in the space, Jamie and I went to adventure!
First stop, River Rock Cannabis. Weed is recreationalized in Denver so of course we had to live like the locals a little. 😉 Next stop was a street that was on my list, Larimer Square. It’s full of cute restaurants and has string lights down the entire block. We decided on Osteria Marco for dinner and sat out on the patio. We got the most delicious seasonal bruschetta, a pizza and a big bottle of moscato – yum! After dinner we finished things off with a big ass chocolate cake from The Market, which was right next door.
We made sure to wakeup early Saturday because we had a ton on our bucket list! First up, Garden of The Gods, which is a national park that features different shaped orange rocks. We drove about 45-60 minutes to get here from downtown Denver. It was beautiful but we were a little confused on where to park once we got there. When you drive in, you’ll see a huge parking lot to the left that looks like the correct place to park. You can park here but if you do, you’ll be walking a lot. Instead, pass the parking lot and continue right to each landmark. You can park at any landmark’s parking lot, there will be a path to take you throughout each once you enter Garden of the Gods. It was stunning and one of the coolest parts of our trip if you ask me!
Next stop (or should I say drive) Pike’s Peak Mountain! Pike’s Peak is a 14,115ft mountain that you can drive up. We really wanted to take the doors off the jeep for the drive but someone nearby let us know that it’s illegal to drive without side mirrors in Colorado. It worked out though because the closer we got to the top of the mountain, the colder we were. It took us about an hour to get to the top and it cost $30 for the both of us. At mile 16, you have the option to park and take a shuttle due to the steep cliffs and windy roads but of course, we decided to drive it. The scenery driving to the top was much better than the actual top. To be honest I felt so sick and light-headed once we did get to the top due to the elevation change. They do have a gift shop up there that serves concessions and fresh baked donuts which were delicious!
After our long day of exploring, we went back to our Airbnb to freshen up and meet some friends for dinner. One of my best girlfriends from college moved to Colorado about a year prior with her boyfriend, so it was a lot of fun to see them and hang out downtown. They took us to a place called, View House and it was super fun! We ate some dinner and then went down to the bottom area where people were playing corn hole and watching a game on the projector screen. We grabbed an open cabana with a fire pit, drank wine and relaxed. Once the game was over, we took Bird scooters to the Art District and had a few drinks over that way. I really like downtown Denver, it’s poppin’ with people!
Sunday we went to Union Station for breakfast at a recommend spot called, Snooze Eatery. HOLY MOLY! My new favorite restaurant! The first question they ask you is “Do you have any allergies?” Which I appreciate so much! I got coconut milk in my coffee with gluten-free break and I was a very happy girl! By the way, Union Station is freaking stunning! I wish that I looked cute cause I would have asked Jamie to snap a photo lol.
After breakfast we checked out out of our Airbnb and headed to Red Rock Amphitheater for a quick workout. Jamie put myself and my friend Jenna through a few circuits and we admired all the views! I really wish I could have caught a concert here while we were in town, I can only image how cool that would be! The amphitheater is open to the public whenever there isn’t an event and it’s only about 20 minutes outside of Denver.
After the workout I freshened up in the restrooms and we headed to another bucket list area, The Dairy Block! Specifically The Milk Market, which is a 12- concept food haul. This place was SO COOL and honestly the food was amazing. We ordered a little bit of everything from each restaurant including: lobster roll, a turkey club, pasta and some dessert of course. Each restaurant had different decor too so it would be a really fun place for photos! 110% recommend stopping here for a bite and some shopping!
After eating we headed to our next Airbnb which is a tiny home near Boulder, about 45 minutes away. I was so dang excited for this Airbnb. It was a tiny mobile home parked on a farm that had donkeys, chickens and a llama all of which we were allowed to play with. We were promised fresh eggs however, there was none waiting for us. We also didn’t have any direction with the animals. There was a gate but it was open so Jamie and myself, both being from the city, had no idea if we could go in or how to even approach them. It’s actually pretty humorous. I was a little disappointed with this Airbnb, as the host wasn’t very welcoming but whatever I got to pet a donkey so i’m happy. If you’re curious, you can checkout the Airbnb, here.
After I made friends with the donkey, we drove to boulder for something to eat. Boulder is such a laid-back town and we loved it! We ate at a small brewery called Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery. It was good but we didn’t stay long because I had an edible prior and I was way too high to function lol.
We woke up Monday morning and headed out. Stopped at a cute little dinner outside of Boulder called Village Inn. I loved it there! It was so good! We drove the rest of the day until we got to Chicago. We made it just in time (literally with like 20 minutes to spare) to try some deep dish from Pequod’s Pizza. It was good but I could only eat one piece because of how thick it was. We decided not to book a place to stay that night and save some money by sleeping in the jeep. It worked out well! We put the seats down, blew up an air mattress and passed out in a corner of a motel parking lot about 2 hours outside of Chicago.
The next day, we got back on the road to finish what we had left of our road trip. We stopped in Toledo, Ohio for some brunch. I found the cutest gluten-free restaurant, farm to table, called Fowl and Fodder. Highly recommend this place, it was so good!
When in Denver we stayed at the cutest Airbnb owned by The Sursy. The host went above and beyond to make sure we had an awesome experience. She even provided us with a Denver travel guide! You can checkout the exact listing, here!
A little background.. The Sursy is a full-service interior design studio that offers short-term rental consulting services while also building an experience destination and curating a collection of shoppable short-term rental homes aka Airbnbs!
The coolest part about The Sursy’s properties is that they are shopable! The space is filled with beautiful artisan finds from emerging makers, brands, and artists mostly local to Denver. Everything is for sale, creating a super unique experience for anyone traveling.
We stayed at the Lincoln Park location, which was a short 5-10 minute drive from basically everything downtown. The space sleeps 6 but I would recommend it for 4 guests or less due to room for luggage. The inside was very aesthetically pleasing and so fun, designed with different pattern, textures and even neon signs! The backyard included an adorable glamping tent that would be perfect for photos or fun for the kids! Book, here. I hope this helps you plan your next trip to Denver! We will for sure be back!