Denver

7 Reasons to Drive to Georgetown, Colorado Right Now

Rain or shine, it delivers.

Visit Georgetown, Colorado
Visit Georgetown, Colorado
Visit Georgetown, Colorado

Located just about an hour’s drive west of Denver via I-70 is the quaint village of Georgetown, a former mining town at the base of Griffith Mountain that also marks the northern end of Guanella Pass. A place where time seems to move a little slower (certainly more so than the fast-paced city of Denver, anyway), Georgetown has all the charm of a small mountain town in Colorado-the natural beauty of the mountains and nearby lake, a vibrant community of makers, sellers, and residents, and art and history in abundance. It’s an easy drive, worth every mile, and perfect for your next day trip.

Georgetown Loop Railroad
Georgetown Loop Railroad
Georgetown Loop Railroad

Ride Along the Georgetown Loop Railroad

This is undeniably one of the biggest draws of Georgetown, especially for folks who have never visited the area before. This steam train track dates back to the late 1880s and now serves as a historical attraction for those looking to see incredible mountain views, several mine sites, and the chance for a wildlife sighting of bighorn sheep. In addition to being one of the largest mountain town attractions during its main season (spring through late summer), the Loop also hosts several seasonal and holiday events like its Autumn Fest, Halloween Trick or Treat Train, and Santa’s Lighted Forest.

Spot Some Bighorn Sheep

Say you experienced the Loop Railroad and didn’t see any bighorn sheep like you were hoping to; your luck has not entirely run out just yet. Just east of the center of town is a stone structure offering both picturesque views of Georgetown Lake with its mountain backdrop as well as tower viewers looking up and across I-70, giving you the chance to spot some sheep hopping around mountain ledges. Take a peek at the various plaques for extra history of Georgetown and even more information on the sheep that roam the surrounding mountain peaks.

Georgetown Lake
Georgetown Lake
Georgetown Lake

Hang Out at Georgetown Lake

Technically a reservoir and still-operating hydroelectric power plant, Georgetown Lake is useful in many ways aside from just idly taking in its unperturbed beauty. Bring your paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and fishing gear along if making the trip here, but don’t expect a day of swimming and beach-lounging. Of course, hiking trails can be found around the area, including the Tom Bennhoff Lake Trail, an easy, two-mile walk that loops around the lake as well as the Saxon Mountain Trail that leads from town up into the mountains.

Historic Happy Cooker
Historic Happy Cooker
Historic Happy Cooker

Enjoy Good Eats…

Whether you’re stopping into town after a lengthy hike or just looking to sample the local fare, there are a few different options to fill you up and get you back on the road (or maybe even convince you to move to town). Happy Cooker Restaurant is family-owned and operated and has been around since 1974, serving home cooked breakfast and lunch, with most dishes the result of original recipes. The exterior of Pho Bay may look like an alpine ski lodge, but the food inside is full of Vietnamese flavour. Enjoy a refreshing basil cocktail alongside a hot bowl of pho and let any winter blues melt away. The Alpine Restaurant and Bar is another hometown haunt serving cozy meals, cold beer, and wood-fired pizza if you’re looking for a casual and comforting meal. Lastly is the more elevated Cooper’s on the Creek that not only has a tantalizing menu featuring baked Brie, duck pot pie, and venison osso bucco (to name a few) but you can dine creekside for the ultimate mountain dining experience.

Guanella Pass Brewing Company
Guanella Pass Brewing Company
Guanella Pass Brewing Company

…and Equally Good Sips

One of the most popular spots for an ice cold craft beer is the Guanella Pass Brewing Company, the first of its kind in this old mining town. Have a post-ski-day pale ale, a frothy after-dinner stout, or just something refreshing to wet your whistle any time of day. Mother’s Saloon is also a local favorite and has been for a while-a good place to grab a drink and some pub grub (we recommend trying the Philly Cheesesteak) with creekside views, too. Sweet Easy is the local lounge spot to relax, sip a handcrafted cocktail (or cup of coffee), and enjoy the company of friends. A self-titled “before or after dinner spot,” there are also light food offerings by way of pies, charcuterie, cookies, and truffle popcorn. Newly opened this year, 511 Rose is the new spot right off Sixth Street, boasting classic cocktails, an extensive bourbon list, and a wide selection of other spirits, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages, with executive chef Travis Smith serving lunch, dinner, and brunch on Sundays. In need of a caffeine fix? Check out one of Georgetown Coffee and Tea’s two locations for good coffee and a truly lovely atmosphere. And don’t miss Mountain Mamas’ Needful Things, a small cafe featuring handmade jams, candies, and small gifts.

Sabel Home
Sabel Home
Sabel Home

Spend the Day Shopping

Georgetown is also one of those places that has small, curated shops that make for finding the perfect gift or a just a little something for you to take home as a souvenir. Find homewares at Mountain Kitchen or Sabel Home (or both), and peruse seasonal fashion at the Buckskin Trading Company. Get your sweet tooth fix at the ice cream shop inside the End of the Line gift shop and get yourself a souvenir sweatshirt while you’re at it, or make a pit stop at the Georgetown Valley Candy Company to stock up on treats for the road. The Barking Loop has all your pets’ needs covered whether you’re a resident or visiting from out of town with your furry friend. Be impressed not only by the exterior of the Trading Post but all the handcrafted items inside, like artisan soaps, leather goods, woven apparel, jewelry, and a ton of decor and trinkets that speak to the Old West energy that still lives in Georgetown.

Georgetown Gallery
Georgetown Gallery
Georgetown Gallery

Immerse Yourself in the Art and History

Many artists appreciate Georgetown for its breathtaking beauty and therefore endless inspiration. The supportive community of artists, galleries, buyers, and sellers is an added bonus. The Colorado Mountain Art Gallery is a co-op featuring the works of over 30 local artists, which you can view in person or shop for online. There’s also the Georgetown Gallery, where you can find a plethora of paintings and other artworks by local artists, as well as Grizzly Creek Gallery and its many sculpture and functional home pieces that you can shop for in person or online also.

For the history buffs, Georgetown’s Energy Museum still stands over 120 years later, as does the Hotel de Paris Museum (which is even older). The Hotel de Paris was once a French inn and is now a museum honoring original owner and French immigrant Louis Dupuy, once titled “one of the best cooks in the Colorado territory.” The museum also celebrates the craftsmanship of the inn as well as Dupuy’s collection of historical artifacts, books, and other notable items throughout his lifetime.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

Denver

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Denver This Year

For a successful St. Patrick's Day, hit these parades, barcrawls, parties, and festivals.

VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER

Grab your green and your Guinness-St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, and there’s fun to be had. In addition to being the first big celebratory holiday after New Year’s, St. Paddy’s is also a signal of spring; more hours of sunshine, T-shirt temps, and filling Blake, Market, and Larimer with drunken revelry make up a particularly Denver type of equinox. However you plan to celebrate-with family friendly activities or for those over the legal drinking age only-there are parades to be watched, playful drinks to be sipped, and a whole lot of shamrock-ing to do.

Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits

Dance a jig or two at Mile High Spirits’ Shamrock Shenanigans

March 17
If you’re ready to put your dancing shoes to good use, wiggle your way on over to Mile High Spirits-doors are opening at 12 pm and there’s no cover ‚Äėtil 10. Enjoy MHS’ drinks, big dance floor, and even bigger outdoor patio for all the Irish pride and shenanigans you can handle.

Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

Whip up steak for a St. Paddy’s Date Night

March 17
Cook Street’s special St. Paddy’s Day class involves making the perfect steak while sipping on Irish whiskey. On Friday only, learn about proteins, cooking methods, and choosing side dishes carefully while cooking up traditional Irish cuisine.

Crawl around town. You know, figuratively…

March 17 – 18
Is it a drinking holiday in Denver if there aren’t a handful of bar crawls happening? Probably not. St. Paddy’s Day is no different; you can start crawling from a number of bars, but a few in particular have everything plotted out for you (for a small fee). Start at the Ginn Mill and receive a map of over 10 pub locations you’ll be crawling to either Friday or Saturday, plus drink special vouchers. There’s also a crawl departing from Nola Jane (Friday only) with its own food and drink specials, plus a scavenger hunt and some St. Paddy’s merch, too.

The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat

Visit one of Denver’s Irish Pubs

March 17 – 18
If you can’t think of a better place to spend St. Paddy’s Day then at a local Irish pub, we salute you-just be prepared to throw a few elbows making your way to the bar. Denver’s got several good ol’ pubs from Broadway to Larimer Square that’ll be in full swing this weekend, pouring fresh pints as far as the eye can see. Check out Scruffy Murphy’s, Nallen’s, The Irish Rover, Finley’s, The Celtic on Market, or the Fainting Goat for that SPD revelry you know, love, and trekked out for.

Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square

Sip and savour St. Paddy’s themed bevvies

Through March 17
Everyone pulls out the green food dye and mint flavouring for St. Paddy’s, but there are some other creative drink specials to sample, too. The OG’s got a boozy milkshake for the occasion, aptly named “Who’s Your Paddy,” a mix of vanilla ice cream, Cr√®me de Menthe, Tullamore Dew, Bailey’s, and whipped cream. BEZEL’s Irish Matcha Man is pretty unique, with Teeling Small Batch whiskey, lime, thyme-infused honey, and matcha powder. And then Slater’s 50/50 takes it to another level (unsurprisingly) with its Lucky Mint Green Shake: mint-flavored ice cream in a frosting-rimmed glass with Lucky Charm marshmallows, rainbow stripe sour strips, whipped cream and green sprinkles. Other notable specials can be found at Poka Lola Social Club, Dairy Block’s Moo Bar, and Seven Grand.

Sing along and cheers to live music

March 17
Denver’s The Monkey Barrel is known for its regular live performances, and this St. Patrick’s Day you can tune in to Elijah Petty & The Part-Times and other musical guests if you’re in search of a chiller spot to sip your Guinness. Or, have one of the best burgers in town while relishing the shenanigans and live music of Cherry Cricket Cherry Creek this St. Paddy’s Day. Food and drink specials will also be available through the holiday weekend, so leave extra room or wear your stretchy (green) pants.

HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series

Show your St. Paddy’s spirit by‚Ķ running?

March 18
Feeling restless? Or maybe you’re itching to get a few laps in before hammering down several pints this Saturday? Either way, Highlands Ranch is hosting its St. Patrick’s Day 5K where finishing the race gets you St. Patrick’s Day merch, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, and of course, a complimentary pint courtesy of Living the Dream Brewing.

Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company

Drink and do good at Holidaily Brewing Co.

March 17
This St. Paddy’s Day, Holidaily and the Gluten Intolerance Group are putting on their Raise a Pint, Lend a Hand fundraiser. A special glitter and green Firkin tapping is happening at 4 pm at both taprooms, with special (and gluten-free) treats available at the Golden location, thanks to Farmhouse 5280 and Waive the Grain bakery. 10% of all St. Patrick’s Day sales will be donated to the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery

Party at a local distillery

March 17 – 18
Talnua Distillery is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day bash to remember this year, featuring food trucks, live music, special themed cocktails, and more. Limited bottles of Talnua’s exclusive Olde Saint’s Keep whiskey will be available for purchase, which you can hang onto while you dance along to pipe bands or eat a brat or two from El Jefe’s.

Watch some Irish step dancing

March 17
Head on over to Stanley Marketplace to witness the talent and skill of the students at the Wick School of Irish Dance at 12 pm, and follow it up with a green cerveza at Cheluna Brewing Co. Of course, plenty of tasty lunch and dinner options are available around the marketplace so you can soak up a bit of that beer.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

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