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Colorado September 6-Day Itinerary With Visual Impairment

My husband and I just booked flights to Denver for our anniversary: Sep. 14-22. I am sighted; my husband is fully blind. Obviously, long scenic mountain drives aren’t what we are coming to Colorado to experience, although we enjoy being outside. We each have been to Colorado separately for business, and we both believe Colorado has a lot to offer for vacation that we both will enjoy—we would love ideas and opinions on what those things might be!

We get in to Denver in the evening, then have 6 full days to explore (see below), plus a half day at the end before our flight home. I will rent a car for as much of the trip as needed, but we are comfortable with public transit when available. (I haven’t booked lodging yet and am well aware that I am cutting it close for booking.)

Three regions we’d like plan to see, but may cut back to two:

  • Denver area: several days. Neither of us have spent much time here.

  • Colorado Springs area: should this be a day trip from Denver, an overnight, or several days? Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, possible tour at the Air Force Academy, etc. Anything else you think would be appealing and show off the area? I’ve been before (2006?), but he has not. We would’ve enjoyed the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway but they are closed for the foreseeable future.

  • Boulder/Estes Park/RMNP: an overnight or several days?

Your knowledge of hands-on activities, narrated or planned tours/hikes, and other ways to experience your favorite bits of these regions would be much appreciated. We aren’t planning on an intense outdoor trip, as we need rest and rejuvenation, but we do want to spend time outdoors. We enjoy history, theatre, classical music, wine, sensory experiences that aren’t overcrowded, etc. We would like to experience some of city/town life, possibly a quiet cabin/lodge experience for a few nights, and some light to moderate day hikes/excursions.

Suggestions of favorite lodging (not too rustic) and restaurants are also appreciated!

Posted by
2560 posts

We lived in Denver for 18 months recently helping to care for our granddaughter and visit often. Denver is great as is much of the places we visited in CO. We lived in Stapleton, a planned community that used to be the airport. Our granddaughters pre-school is next to the Anchor Center for Blind Children a place that does great work (and may be worth a tour). The Colorado Center for the Blind is in Littleton. Although primarily a training center they and Anchor might be resources for activities. Denver has a great light rail. If you are planning on staying in the city center the light rail goes from the airport right to Union Station. Many hotels, restaurants, shops nearby. In Denver between the light rail and Uber you really don’t need a car, but you’ll want one for Boulder, Estes Park. Denver has a great nature and science museum http://www.dmns.org. It can get overrun by school trips so getting there at opening is the key. Lodging-many options in Denver, depends on where you want to stay and budget. In Boulder the high priced spread is The St. Julien, which has a splendid spa and is just off of Pearl St. The pedestrian only (for several blocks) heart of Boulder. Boulder is worth an overnight or two. Estes Park is the gateway to RMNP and fun to stroll. The place to stay is The Stanley, famous for the movie The Shining, but there are many cheaper options. Dining-where to begin? There are so many options. In Downtown Denver our favorite is Rioja. Right in Union Station are two very good places Mercantile Provison and Stoic&Genuine. Root Down and Linger, both owned by the same company are also good, casual and have great brunches. In Stapleton the Stanley Marketplace is fun browsing and has a Rosenberg Deli and Annette, maybe our favorite in all of Denver. Boulder has Frasca, a hard table to get, pricey, worth it. Corrida is new, upscale tapas, steak, inventive cocktails. Brasserie 1010 never fails to please. Next Door American Eatery is casual and good. PM me if you have any questions.

Posted by
794 posts

The Botanical Gardens in Denver are a good place to unwind. I've spent time just sitting there, and it was wisely spent. Not sure if it's what you're looking for, but the Fourney Automotive Museum is very interesting. You might enjoy the Museum of Outdoor Arts. There are a number of antique shops and galleries on S Broadway. It's hard to know what your husband would enjoy. I wish I could give you some places to eat, but I usually just hit a hole in the wall when I get hungry.

I70 west, out of town, towards Breckenridge, is beautiful, and there are some nice places to hike out of Breckenridge.

Posted by
1763 posts

Please tell us where you live. It has bearing on recommendations. I lived in Colorado for about 50 years. My first reaction is that Denver and Colorado Springs could each use 6 days!

Posted by
3 posts

Janet, we most recently live in Arkansas, but have lived in other states (Texas, Ohio, Virginia), both in metropolitan regions and in smaller towns.

Posted by
1763 posts

My recommendation would be four nights in Denver and two in a mountain location. Estes Park is great. You might also look at Silver Lake Lodge outside of Idaho Springs. I have not been there, but it looks wonderful and the drive is a bit shorter from Denver. I second the recommendation for the Botanical Garden. The Colorado Symphony is playing what sounds like a great concert on your arrival weekend, and Boettcher concert hall is a very interesting "in the round" experience. Look at the Denver Post's event calendar to find other things that will be going on while you're there. Denver's light rail is great for getting around. You can supplement with buses if needed.

Posted by
6624 posts

There is the silver mine railroad tour in Georgetown, just west of Denver, that might fit the bill.

Posted by
914 posts

I really enjoyed having a drink and appetizer in the main lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. Check for evenings when they have piano music. It’s nice ambience you both can enjoy. They also have afternoon tea.

I also had a great Italian meal at Odyssey Bistro and Grill. Believe it’s E. 6th Avenue It’s outside downtown but you could take a taxi if you aren’t renting a car until you leave Denver.

Posted by
1763 posts

I'll add that it's been a few years since I've been to Denver, but a few of my favorite downtown restaurants that appear to be still going strong are Vesta, Osteria Marco and Bistro Vendome.

Posted by
6478 posts

The Denver Art Museum, which is a great museum, can arrange special 'tactile' tours for the blind and sight impaired.

Posted by
2018 posts

Janet, those particular restaurants are still alive and well in Denver and I must say the Botanic Garden is the best overall sensory experience in the entire city of Denver. I would spend at least one night in the Springs as the places you have listed are all visit worthy and you should enjoy each site/sight. You could splurge for the Broadmoor, an experience unto itself! If you love the mountains, Rocky Mountain Natl Park is wonderful and you could have a delightful stay in Estes Park, just a short drive into the Park. The Dunraven Inn in Estes used to be a good restaurant but I haven't been there in ages. Maybe check for reviews? My friend and I just had brunch at the Baldpate Inn in Estes. Gorgeous views and definitely rustic. You can sit in the rocking swings on their wide, shaded deck overlooking Estes Lake and the Natl Park, watching and listening to the hummingbirds at the feeders-peaceful, restful. I believe they also have rooms to let. The food is whatever Grandma is fixing that day, plentiful and delicious. Homemade pies.... Ah, and then there's Boulder....2 of my 3 children graduated from CU, my grandson begins there this month and and daughter and her family live 10 minutes east. I spend a lot of time there. These are a couple of my favorite restaurants-The Kitchen, Oak at 14th, Salt; all on the Pearl Street Mall, a pedestrian mall full of entertaining buskers. For a (very) special occasion, the Flagstaff House up on Flagstaff Mountain is my favorite. You have received some wonderful recommendations already so just adding my support to those! I live halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs so if you have questions not already answered here, please let me know.

Posted by
3 posts

You all are wonderful—thank you so much! I’m working through the suggestions and figuring out our itinerary this weekend. :-) I really think we will need to make plans to make additional trips!