Your Valentine's Day Plan for Denver
No matter what stage your relationship is in, there's something for you this holiday in the Mile High City. You can't go wrong—Denver's hopping dining scene, nightlife, and cultural activities make any one of these plans ideal. The good news? If any one of them strikes your fancy, the work is done for you. Kick back and enjoy.
Hone your ice-skating skills downtown at Skyline Park, where the people-watching can be as good as the turns. The ice rink is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Valentine's Day before it closes for the season on February 15. The skating is free and you can rent skates for $2. Then catch a pedi-cab over to chef Jeff Osaka's newest venture, Sushi-Rama, a Kaiten sushi joint where guests choose their dinner from a conveyor belt. Order the garlicky spicy edamame from the à la carte menu, and then grab whatever sushi looks good as it rolls by. End the night at Rino's hottest new watering hole, Bar Fausto. This unpretentious neighborhood joint consistently delivers standout cocktails and prompt, friendly service.
If pure romance is on the ticket, head to Denver's quintessential small French bistro, Z Cuisine. The tight quarters and delicious food will make you feel like you've hopped a plane to Paris, and a well-curated wine list makes everything go down easy. After dinner, walk south and enjoy one of the best views of the city at the Speer Boulevard bridge. Finish the evening with a hard-to-score reservation at Williams and Graham, a speakeasy where the dim lighting and dark wood creates the ultimate romantic spot for a late-night cap. Pro tip: instead of choosing something off of the diverse menu, ask the accomplished bartenders to make something special with your favorite top-shelf spirit.
The Budget Conscious
Peruse the shelves at the Tattered Cover Book Store downtown before grabbing a burger at the well-priced Hopdoddy Burger Bar. All of the burgers hit the spot, but don't miss the truffle fries. Watch the crowds at Union Station (one of Denver's most underrated attractions), before finishing off the night with something sweet at Milkbox Ice Creamery. Feeling the need to move after all that food? Head to Larimer Square to walk under twinkling white lights and watch the world pass by.
The Big Spenders
If there's any time to go all-in on a special occasion restaurant, Valentine's Day is it. The French-inspired cuisine at Mizuna (pictured) has been a staple in Denver for more than a decade, and restaurateur and chef Frank Bonanno's founding restaurant always delivers on this holiday with a five-course prix fixe menu. Don't forget the wine pairings, handpicked by sommelier Kelly Wooldridge. After dinner, head to the Denver Performing Arts Center to see the musical mystery a Murder For Two. The comedy is a 90-minute crowd pleaser that involves pianos, crime, and plenty of laughs. Finish the night at the Peaks Lounge at the Hyatt, a bar on the hotel's 27th floor that's perfect for romantic city views and classic cocktails.
The Newly Dating
If you're in the throes of a budding romance and looking for a culinary aphrodisiac, head to chef Jennifer Jasinski's acclaimed Stoic & Genuine for a glass of bubbly and the best oysters in town. Then hit up Jazz at Jack's for live music and plenty of smooth tunes. Chocolate lovers shouldn't miss Uptown's D-Bar for the best chocolate cake you've ever eaten. If you're really looking for something special, order the Cake and Shake, and the aforementioned three-layer chocolate cake will come with a decadent vanilla, chocolate, or raspberry milkshake.