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." Here’s how you can do that!)
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.
In honor of Valentine's Day, here’s the 10 most romantic things you can do in this Mile High City, whether you’re here on vacation or you're a local planning a date night downtown. But, if you're a year-round romantic, feel free to pull out these ideas throughout the rest of the year, too!
01 of 10
Tear a page from a fairytale by booking a horse-drawn carriage to give you a tour of 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, which range from $130 to $343. (The most expensive ride lasts up to 1.5 hours).
02 of 10
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 with an “Oysters & Pearls For Two” plate, $48, 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.
(Reservations are definitely recommend, and can be made by calling 303-796-0100).
03 of 10
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.
04 of 10
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. The Orchid Showcase is happening from now until Feb. 20, 2017 inside the Orangery and Marnie’s Pavilion. 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. You can also purchase the flowers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 11, 2017 and Feb. 18, 2017. Plus, if you snap a photo and share it on the Botanic Gardens Facebook wall with the hashtag #dbgcontest you could win a orchid plant of your own. 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.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
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, and trust ous on this one. 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.
06 of 10
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. Afterwards, 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.
07 of 10
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. When you call the spa concierge at 303-312-3830, 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. The package costs $450. You can also stick around for dinner at Elway’s (yes, as in the the legendary Bronco’s player). If you get a reservation on a Sunday or Monday night, you can enjoy a sparkling wine toast for two, salads, New York Strip steaks with peppercorn sauce, two glasses of red wine, sides and a chocolate dessert to share.
08 of 10
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.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
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 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). Among the winter drink specials, including a “Jam Juice” made with syrah, Grand Marnier, vanilla simple, cinnamon and clove. Or, the Bee’s Knees is made with Old Forester, which is a bourbon, and Colorado honey, lemon and mint.
10 of 10
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. Native Roots is running sales on their chocolates and intimate oil during the month of February as a nod to Valentine’s Day.