Denver has the most vibrant LGBTQ+ scene in the Rockies, with citywide annual events and a busy club scene. The Mile High City is also home to one of the biggest Pride Fests in the country, held every June, as well as the Colorado Gay Rodeo and CinemaQ, held every July. Follow this detailed itinerary for the perfect LGBTQ+ weekend.
No matter what time you awaken on Saturday morning - well, at least assuming it's still morning - make it a point to sample brunch at one of the many Denver establishments that’s renowned for this festive meal. In the funky Highlands neighborhood, Root Down (1600 W. 33rd Ave.) is a sure bet for fresh ingredients from local growers with high-level service and a hip, casual atmosphere. Nearer to downtown, Snooze (1701 Wynkoop St.) is justly famous for its delicious sweet potato pancakes.
In the afternoon, you might plan a short trip just outside of town to get a sense of this beautiful area. It's just a 30-minute drive to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison), in foothills of the Rockies, just west of town. Here you can tour the stunning natural concert hall that has hosted countless superstar rock bands over the years, or hike the park's gorgeous terrain. Or, make the 45-minute drive up to the gay-friendly town of Boulder, whose historic downtown buzzes with lively shops, cafes, and restaurants.
If you'd prefer to spend the day in Denver, you can still get the blood flowing, perhaps with a bike ride around the enchanting Cherry Creek neighborhood. Or walk to your heart's content amid Cherry Creek's dozens of fine shops: upscale Cherry Creek Shopping Center (3000 E. 1st Ave.) and Cherry Creek North (1st-3rd Ave. at University Blvd.) are two of Colorado's premier shopping destinations, with a mix of top national brands and independent stores.
As the sun sets on Denver, you could remain in Cherry Creek and grab dinner at one of the neighborhood's fine restaurants, such as romantic Quality Italian (241 Columbine St.), a modern take on the Italian-American steakhouse tradition, or Chef Nobu's Matsuhisa (98 N. Steele St.), the world's premier name in Japanese cuisine. If you're returning to downtown from an excursion to Red Rocks or Boulder, plan a special meal here. Consider one of the restaurants operated by James Beard Award-winning local chef Jennifer Jasinki, such as hip and informal Euclid Hall (1317 14th St.), a source of adventuresome gastropub cuisine and an exceptional beer list, or Rioja (1431 Larimer St.), a long-acclaimed source of inspired Mediterranean-influenced cooking and Ultreia (1701 Wynkoop St.), the perfect patio destination for sangria and tapas.
Saturday night is a great time to check out Denver's most happening gay nightclub, the always-packed Tracks (3500 Walnut St.), a massive warehouse disco with two big dance floors, one spinning the latest house music, the other offering up classic '70s and '80s anthems, in River North Art District (RiNo), which also serves as a stop (38th and Blake Street) on the airport rail line, one stop away from the glorious Denver Union Station. RiNo is the hub for art studios, street murals and libations like Ratio Beerworks (2920 Larimer St.), served in an eclectic taproom, and even an urban winery with a rather crafty name, Bigsby's Folly Craft Winery (3563 Wazee St.). If you're looking for something laid back and unpretentious, check out Work & Class (2500 Larimer St.). Or treat yourself to one of Death & Co.'s (1280 25th St.) legendary cocktails.
This is also a good night to visit the city's artsy and diverse South Broadway neighborhood, which has a clutch of popular nightspots, including the Boyztown (117 Broadway), Denver's hottest male revue, and Punch Bowl Social (65 Broadway), a high-energy bar, bowling complex and modern diner.
Start Sunday morning off just north of downtown in Lower Highlands (LoHi), a very cool neighborhood whose star is rapidly rising, consider brunching at El Five (2930 Umatilla St.), where you might enjoy the sprawling skyline while enjoy Spanish and Mediterranean twists on brunch favorites - the bottomless blood orange mimosas will put you in a relaxed mood, too. For terrific lunch options, check out Avanti Food & Beverage (3200 Pecos St.), a unique concept with a selection of mini-restaurants inside a revamped warehouse building, or Linger (2030 West 30th Ave.), featuring farm-to-table selections in what was once a mortuary.
Sunday afternoons are a good time to explore some of the city's wonderful cultural diversions, or simply to curl up with a latte and read a book at the city's most famous bookstore, the Tattered Cover (1628 16th St.) which has a particularly atmospheric location in historic Lower Downtown (LoDo), a neighborhood where you'll find plenty of inviting shops, boutiques, and galleries. The Tattered Cover has an extensive selection of books with LGBTQ+ interest.
Fans of the visual arts should allow time to explore the fantastic Denver Art Museum (100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.), a dramatic contemporary facility that stages thought-provoking exhibits and installations. Grab lunch at Broadway Market (950 N. Broadway), a food hall featuring 10 different food vendors, a coffee shop, a chocolatier, a bar and even a magic robot beer wall! If you're a devotee of theater, opera, and music, see what's planned at the state-of-the-art Denver Center for the Performing Arts (1101 13th St.), which comprises several venues and hosts everything from touring Broadway shows to acclaimed opera at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.