When it comes to romance in Colorado, the City of Loveland tends to get a lot of loving 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 say "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.
Here are the 10 most romantic things you can do in this Mile High City, whether you’re here on vacation (for your honeymoon perhaps?) or you're a local planning a date night downtown for Valentine's Day.
Take a Carriage Ride Through Downtown Denver
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. (Visitors, 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.
Slurp Some Oysters at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House
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 study that was presented by the American Chemical Society. Pro tip: Don't let any locals point you to "Rocky Mountain Oysters" unless you have an adventurous palate. (Ahem, for the uninitiated, those are roasted bull's testicles and you'll occasionally find them on Colorado menus).
Rather, point your GPS towards Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, 8100 E. Orchard Road. 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.
Book a Table for Two at Vesta
Looking to hit the mark with a date-worthy restaurant? Aim Cupid’s arrow at Vesta, a LoDo restaurant, which, in a word, is sexy with its warm lighting and barrel-aged craft cocktails. The executive chef Nicholas Kayser has a Valentine’s menu in store with some romantic dishes, like east coast oysters served with rose water and champagne granita. Vesta, 1822 Blake St., is a great date night spot year-round, though. Special props to their innovative menu, where you can order dishes like a Colorado rack of lamb or a bone-in ribeye and then customize it with gourmet “dipping sauces” on the side. We’re talking barrel-aged hot sauces, jalapeño remoulades and fig jams.
Traipse Through the Denver Botanic Gardens
Why give a dozen roses when you can give your date an entire garden? Escape the cold and head to the Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St. in Denver. The charming gardens have a knack for brightening up a winter day. Orchids get an exhibit to call their own because the flowers are extremely diverse, with more than 25,000 different types. The Botanic Garden's winter exhibit showcases both common orchids and more obscure ones. Bonus, if Denver gets an early spring day and it’s balmy enough, pack a picnic and enjoy lunch in the nearby Cheesman Park, which borders the Botanic Gardens.
Clink Champagne Glasses at Corridor 44
Already, Larimer Street is romantic, with the canopy of lights that give it a warm glow year-round and the high-end restaurants that line the street. Whether you spent a night at the nearby theater district or went out for a nice dinner, it’s worth ducking into Corridor 44, 1433 Larimer St. At this intimate champagne bar, you can get a glass of bubbly and order caviar service. Sure, you could go with a classic champagne order. But the bartenders here are wildly inventive, and they put some unexpected twists on the sparkling wine. The “Raspberry Truffle” is made with a raspberry vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur, and champagne. (Swoon!) Beer drinker? Try the Black Velvet. It's mix of Guinness and champagne. Another fave is the Italian Twist that blends champagne and limoncello, a lemon liqueur, and is garnished with a twist of lemon.
Tour Hammond's Candy Factory
Did you know that just north of downtown, Denver has its own mini-Candyland? For a sweet date—quite literally—you can tour the historic Hammond’s Candy Factory, 5735 Washington St. in Denver. (P.S. We won’t even tell your date that admission is free and you didn’t even have to make a reservation). 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. Valentine’s candies include heart-shaped cherry or bubblegum flavored lollipops. 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.
Book the Entire Spa at the Ritz-Carlton
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 for dinner at Elway’s (yes, as in the legendary Bronco’s player).
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. 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.
Book a Room at The ART Hotel
Right in the middle of Denver’s museum district is the ART Hotel, which, with an abundance of art throughout it practically doubles as a museum itself. If you and your date love checking out museums, check into the hotel and you’re surrounded by them, with the Colorado History Museum on one side at 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 on cocktails from the restaurant's seasonal menus. (If it’s chilly, FIRE will throw out some wool blankets for you and your date to cozy up with).
Address2645 S Santa Fe Dr Ste D & E, Denver, CO 80223, USA
Yes, 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 that you typically find in lubes. You can find both at Native Roots, a popular Colorado dispensary that has 19 locations throughout Denver.