The first weekend of November, my son Arlo and I jetted off to Denver on a four-day trip! We were traveling as guests of Sun Country Airlines as a part of its Sun Country Explorers program and were asked to help show off the Mile High destination city, so naturally we were happy to oblige. Join us:
Last spring, Sun County announced its Hometown Lakes Project. It named and decorated more than 20 planes as a way for Minnesota’s Hometown Airline™ to pay homage to its home state, Minnesota, and its 10,000+ lakes! Each plane is named after a well-known Minnesotan lake and has custom artwork in the interior created by Mark Herman. Arlo and I were excited to see that we were riding the plane named Lake Harriet on our way out to Denver. That is the lake closest to our home.
When we arrived in Denver, we were greeted with balmy beautiful weather. We took a long walk through the city and were surprised to see that the fall colors were still prevalent. Doesn’t matter which city or state we are in, Arlo’s top priority is always playing football in a park! We ended our long walk with pizza at Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria (which I definitely recommend) and headed back to our hotel to get some rest. We stayed in the lovely Magnolia Hotel located in the heart of Denver.
The staff was especially charming with Arlo and made him feel like a very special little guest. The next morning, we took our time and grabbed some coffee and hot chocolate to go. Merely one hour later, the skyscrapers of downtown Denver were a distant memory and we were up in the mountains breathing in that magical mountain air.
Lucky for us, Loveland Ski Area had opened for the season earlier that week. It had two lifts open and plenty of terrain that was just right for Arlo and I. If you are ever contemplating skiing out west with young kids, Loveland is a great destination to consider. It is smaller than the more well-known resorts like Aspen, Breckenridge, and Vail. Loveland is great for families that like to cruise the greens and blues and save money on lift tickets. It is also one of the closest hills to downtown Denver. It was a perfect fit for Arlo and I. Fabulous weather that day as well. Arlo was SO proud to say that he skied in “real mountains!”
That night we relaxed back at our hotel in downtown Denver. I had my favorite meal of the trip at Magnolia’s Harry’s Bar. Pumpkin ravioli in brown butter sauce topped with pecans and scallops. What a great end to a memorable day.
Arlo and I spent the next few days exploring.
We enjoyed the street art in Denver.
A day trip up to Boulder.
Chautauqua Park in Boulder provided a stunning backdrop for more football tossing. It also was a great place to hike.
We drove up the mountains a little farther and came upon a snowstorm in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Overall, we had a wonderful time! Besides the day of skiing, most of our time in Denver was unplanned. I think we ended up doing a lot more activities spontaneously than we would have if we had planned everything out. For example, when we were in Boulder, I asked Arlo if he’d prefer to walk down Pearl Street to shop and eat or see more mountains. His feet were tired from football and a big hike so he chose to ride in the car and see the mountains. Off we went on an adventure to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. That’s a lot in one day! However, the car ride to Estes (only about 30 minutes) provided some nice downtime after a long hike in the sun in Boulder. It all worked out so great! After a nice rest in the car and some lunch, Arlo was recharged! It seems that we tend to cover a lot more ground and feel that great sense of adventure on days when we are spontaneous and free of expectations.
My favorite part of Denver is the proximity to a wide range of adventures! Art museums, shopping, fine dining, skiing, a college town, and a national park all within an hour or two of the city.
This was a special experience for my youngest son and me that we will remember for a long time. I’ve already got some of these photos hanging on our walls. So happy to have Sun Country as Minnesota’s Hometown Airline™!
Makes for a magical trip! A big thank you to Sun Country for sponsoring this trip!
I received airfare, hotel accommodations, and a stipend from Sun Country Airlines as compensation for the post, and Sun Country Airlines did not influence my opinion of this experience. All views and opinions expressed in the post are my own and no other compensation was provided.
In our ongoing mission to connect people and make memories that matter, our Sun Country Explorers program engages travelers and their stories. Local influencers and Instagram gurus are jet-setting with us and bringing home travel tidbits, local finds, and stories they’re excited to share with our community.