When it comes to romance in Colorado, the City of Loveland tends to get a lot of attention for some not-so-subtle reasons. (Psst, you can even route your Valentine’s cards through Loveland’s post office and get a sweet postal stamp on the envelopes that says "With Love from Loveland.") But, Denver, like its sweetheart city neighbor to the north, also makes some grand and chivalrous gestures—complete with flowers, chocolates, fancy dinners, and horse-drawn carriage rides.
Whether you’re here on vacation, a honeymoon, or you're a local planning a date night, there are tons of romantic things to do in the Mile High City.
Tear a page from a fairytale by booking a horse-drawn carriage to give you a tour of Downtown Denver, clip-clopping down the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall and looping around Larimer Square. (You’ll know you’re on Larimer when you see a hammock of pretty white lights draped over the block.) Irish Rose Drafts leads downtown carriage rides and tours with its fleet of horses, which include Belgian, Clydesdale, Percherons, and Suffolks. You can choose different packages and routes; the most expensive ride lasts up to 1.5 hours.
Legend has it Giacomo Casanova ate oysters by the dozen. Turns out, the famed Italian lover may have been onto something because raw oysters are packed with zinc, which can boost your sex drive, according to a study that was presented by the American Chemical Society.
To test the theory for yourself, head to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House for an amazing meal in a lovely setting. The restaurant doubles up on the romance for Valentine's Day with an “Oysters & Pearls For Two” plate that comes with chilled oysters on a half shell topped with a caviar mignonette, plus two glasses of either Veuve Clicquot Champagne or Grey Goose VX Vodka.
Pro tip: While in Denver, don't let any locals point you to "Rocky Mountain Oysters" unless you have an adventurous palate. For the uninitiated, those are roasted bull's testicles and you'll occasionally find them on Colorado menus.
Aim Cupid’s arrow at Vesta, a LoDo restaurant, which offers a sexy vibe with its warm lighting and barrel-aged craft cocktails. The executive chef Nicholas Kayser is the mind behind an innovative menu, which includes dishes like a Colorado rack of lamb or a bone-in ribeye that you can customize with gourmet “dipping sauces” on the side. We’re talking barrel-aged hot sauces, jalapeño remoulades and fig jams. If your special someone has dietary restrictions, Vesta has specialty menus for foods without gluten, lactose, nuts, and shellfish.
Why give a dozen roses when you can give your date an entire garden at the Botanic Gardens? Don't miss the orchids which get an exhibit to call their own because the flowers are extremely diverse, with more than 25,000 different types. The Botanic Garden's exhibit showcases both common orchids and more obscure ones. If you are visiting during warm weather, pack a picnic and enjoy lunch in the nearby Cheesman Park, which borders the Botanic Gardens.
Clink Champagne Glasses at Corridor 44
Corridor 44, an intimate champagne bar, is located on Larimer Street, a romantic setting with the canopy of lights that give it a warm glow year-round. It’s worth ducking into Corridor 44 for the caviar service. While you could go with a classic champagne order, the bartenders here are wildly inventive, and they put some unexpected twists on the sparkling wine. The “Raspberry Truffle” is made with raspberry vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur, and champagne. Beer drinker? Try the Black Velvet. It's a mix of Guinness and champagne. Another fave is the Italian Twist that blends champagne and limoncello, a lemon liqueur, and garnished with a twist of lemon.
For a sweet date, tour the historic Hammond’s Candy Factory. The iconic candy factory was opened nearly a century ago by Carl T. Hammond, who got his start in the business working as a candy apprentice. At the time, he had invented Honey Ko Kos, which are chocolates topped with shredded coconut.
During the tour, you’ll get to watch workers at the factory pull, twist, and shape handcrafted candy canes, ribbon candy, and lollipops. The technique has been in place since the Hammond’s opened in 1920. Afterward, stop in the candy shop and pick out some sweet treats like heart-shaped cherry or bubblegum flavored lollipops.
Admission is free and you don't even need a reservation.
Insider tip, you can book the last spa treatment of the day at the Ritz-Carlton spa, 1881 Curtis St. in Denver, and you and your loved one will enjoy the entire spa to yourselves, a totally rare opportunity. Ask about the “Couple’s Spa Escape.” The package includes 50-minute, side-by-side massages in the spa’s couple’s room and full access to all of the facilities, including the whirlpools, steam room, and relaxation lounges. Plus, you’ll get complimentary valet parking.
You can also stick around the hotel for dinner at Elway’s (as in the legendary Bronco’s player) that combines the casual tone of a sport's bar with the dining quality of a high-end restaurant.
Spend an Evening in the Theater District
Denver has a thriving theater district, with the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1400 Curtis St., which is home to Colorado Ballet, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, theatre, and Broadway shows put on by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Opera Colorado. You can make a night of it by grabbing show tickets and getting downtown early to enjoy dinner and drinks across the street inside the Curtis Hotel at the Corner Office. As a must-do while you’re there, head into the restroom and leave a love note on the wall. The eccentric bar bathroom leaves out colorful Post-It notes that make for fun reads.
Right in the middle of Denver’s museum district is the ART Hotel, which features enough canvases on the wall to practically double as a museum itself. The hotel is perfectly located to visit the best museums in Denver, with the History Colorado Museum on one side and the Denver Art Museum on the other.
But one extra that we love about this hotel is FIRE Lounge, which has open fire pits that you can cozy up to and sip cocktails from the restaurant's seasonal menus. If it gets really chilly, the staff will throw out some wool blankets for you and your date to cozy up together under.
Even Colorado’s pot shops know how to get romantic. If your date enjoys cannabis, you can make it a night in with some cannabis-infused chocolates and EVOS intimate oil, which is infused with THC rather than petroleum and synthetic parabens. You can find both at Native Roots, a popular Colorado dispensary that has 19 locations throughout Denver.