If the news is to be believed (it’s fake, after all), the pot industry in Denver is thriving. Perhaps it was meant to be: it is the Mile High City. This success is especially relevant to the tourism industry, cannabis tourism to be accurate. Denver (and the surrounding areas) is a place where visitors can dab in social lounges, kick back poolside with pipes, visit cannabis concierges, and stay inside marijuana-friendly hotels.
For people who’ve never been to Denver, the city itself is not that overwhelming. Maybe I see it a bit differently as a Colorado native who knows the area well. There are some things that’ll get you: 16th Street is not something you can drive on, for instance. And the man who dresses up and pretends to be a robot – spoiler alert, he’s not one. But when compared to bigger cities, Denver is pretty easy to navigate.
Maybe this is part of the reason cannabis tourism has taken off. Or maybe it’s luck rolled up with open-mindedness. Whatever the reason, if you like pot, Denver is worthy of a visit. It’s worthy if you like micro-breweries too.
The Hotels to Stay In
Despite recreational acceptance, marijuana consumption is prohibited on hotel balconies when those balconies are visible to the public. And some hotels are very serious about this:
They have signs up warning people of cannabis use and fine you if you leave any sort of evidence…like an empty bag of Funyuns
Some, like the NATIV Hotel, were once pot friendly but have gone back on the bud: visitors are now asked to sign a waiver saying they won’t imbibe.
Still, there are a handful of places that welcome cannabis and all those who consume it. Per The Cannabist, one of these includes the Adagio Bud and Breakfast (1430 Race St). The Colorado Pot Guide also offers a long list of marijuana friendly lodging, but without the hotel name included. And places on AirBnb (as well as its sketchier cousin Craigslist) feature many private homes where people don’t care if you smoke pot as long as you don’t use their fine china for bongs.
The Places to Go
If you’re looking for somewhere you can legally smoke pot in public, iBake Lounge (6125 Washington Street) gives you that option. It prides itself on being the first “private membership head shop” that allows people over 21 to smoke cannabis in plain sight. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a safe place to toke up if you’re out of edibles.
Mary Jane’s Pizza (32nd and Tejon) is another place worth your patronage, particularly if you have the late-night munchies.
They’re open to 4:20 a.m., making them one of the few restaurants in Colorado that stay open past two a.m. (sans fast food)
They deliver too, good news if you’re stuck on your couch or otherwise busy with your Uncle Herb.
If you’re hungry during normal hours, some of Denver’s better known restaurants include the Blue Bonnet (457 S. Broadway), Denver Union Station (1701 Wynkoop St.), Table Six (690 Corona St.), Root Down (1600 W. 33rd Avenue), and Elway’s (1881 Curtis St.) (hmm….I wonder who owns that).
For lunch or lighter ending, My Brother’s Bar (2376 15th Street) is fun. It’s not at all upscale (it’s the oldest saloon in the Denver), but great for a quick bite. It’s also famous for being one of Jack Kerouac’s old haunts.
Denver doesn’t have a subway (unless you count the sandwich shop), but we do have the Light Rail, an over ground system that goes throughout downtown and into the burbs. Other modes of transportation: the 16th Street MallRide (it takes you up and down the mall free of charge), Uber or Lyft, Taxis, the bus, and Denver B-cycle. The latter started in 2010 and features pickup and drop off stations throughout the downtown area.
You only get the bike in thirty minute increments, however, before additional charges incur. In other words, peddle faster
You can use travel specifically designed for cannabis consumers as well: 420 Rides picks you up from the airport, takes you to a dispensary, and then drops you off at your hotel.
Of course, you don’t have to create your own cannabis tour – you can pay someone to do that for you. There are variety of tour companies that offer private group tours with exposure to different products and educational information. The Colorado Cannabis Tours, for example, takes sightseers to dispensaries (where they learn about making edibles) and grow houses. 420 Tours aims to combine the “best of Denver” and provide an “exclusive insider experiences of cannabis.”
Colorado High Life Tours offers full service cannabis vacations including guided tours, luxury limos, and the booking of your hotel. Cultivating Spirit Tours combines food, wine, and weed (they offer grow tours and dinner parties) while High Country Cannabis offers everything from condos to classes (learn to make your own hash!), bachelorette parties to pot tours.
Tips on Staying in the Mile High City
If you’re a first-timer, Colorado is welcoming: people here are friendly. But there are a few things you should know. First of all, traffic is awful – not LA awful – but it still sucks. There’s a million one-way streets downtown and they’re not always marked. It’s can be seventy degrees one minute and twenty degrees a half an hour later; in short, layers are your friend (but Colfax Avenue is not). And people take their beer very seriously. Also, don’t say anything bad about the Denver Broncos…the Rockies are fair game.
One last thought: Casa Bonita is a neat place to go. But, you wouldn’t want to eat there (except the sopaipillas…those are awesome).