I truly believe that spontaneous trips are the times you make the most memories. Last week, my best friend Juliana from Tourist to Local, texted me letting me know her uncle who works for Southwest Airlines is giving her a round trip standby ticket and she wants to come to Denver. Of course I immediately said come to Denver, I will plan a fun weekend for us. A couple days later, my boyfriend Paul got a text from his friend who owns an AMAZING condo in Winter Park, asking if we wanted to place for the weekend. We stayed at the condo last year and had a blast, plus he only charges us the cleaning fee since he rents it on VRBO. Juliana was all for adventuring to Winter Park, so we said we would love to condo for the weekend!
How to get there:
We picked up Juliana from Union Station in Denver at 6pm Friday evening. She was super lucky and flew standby on the flight she wanted. Juliana took the RTD train (A-line) from the Denver airport, which was a good call taking into consideration Friday afternoon traffic in Denver. Side note, I highly recommend taking the train from the airport if you are traveling to Denver. Because the airport is way out in the middle of nowhere, Ubers are easily $35 to downtown. After we picked up Juliana, we hopped on I-70 and made our way to the mountains. There is a train you can take to Winter Park, which is especially nice if you are planning on skiing or snowboarding. More details on the Winter Park train can be found HERE.
On the way up to Winter Park, we stopped at Tommy Knockers in Idaho Springs for dinner. Idaho Springs is a popular destination, especially during ski season and attracts a lot of people stopping for a bite to eat. I wasn’t a huge fan of my chicken sandwich at Tommy Knockers, but Juliana loved the grilled cheese she got!
Where to stay:
As I mentioned, we stayed at Paul’s friend’s condo in Winter Park. This place is BEAUTIFUL! When we stayed in it for the first time last year, I wasn’t expecting how nice the condo was. This particular condo, is situated right next to a lot of the restaurants and businesses in Winter Park. We easily could walk to Hideaway Park brewery and Deno’s restaurant. I recommend staying in an VRBO place or Airbnb to make the most of your trip to Winter Park. You have the flexibility to make your own meals when you want and I think it is way more cozy feeling. Plus, if you want to hit the slopes, there are buses throughout Winter Park to take you to the resort!
What to do:
Ski/Snowboard: I feel like this is obvious… but if you go to Winter Park when it is not ski season (or don’t like skiing or snowboarding like me), there are definitely other things to do. I want to mention that when we went (10/20-10/22) the Winter Park resort was a ghost town. I believe they are closed for a month or so before the snow season. The shops and resort opens on 11/6 and then you can start skiing and snowboarding on 11/15. Nevertheless, there is plenty to do outside of the resort area.
Tubing: There are a handful of fun tubing locations in Winter Park. Some even have a tube lift so you don’t have to carry your tube up the hill!
Hideaway Park Brewery: Located right on the main road in Winter Park (U.S. 40), Hideaway Park Brewery is a popular spot. It is super tiny, so it gets packed really easily. If you like beer paired with a cozy mountain location, you will love Hideaway. They even have games like cards, Trival Pursuit and more you can play while you drink your beer.
Explore the surrounding areas: On Saturday, we decided to take a drive to Grandby and Grand Lake, Colorado. We didn’t have any concrete plans for the day so we just drove and came across so much Colorado beauty. I highly recommend taking a drive to Grand Lake. It is another hidden gem of a town and the lake with the mountain backdrop is breathtaking.
Relax: We honestly didn’t do a whole lot during our weekend trip. I was getting over a cold so we drove around, had dinner at Deno’s, stopped by Hideaway Park Brewery, and sat in the hot tub at the condo complex. We saved money by stocking up on breakfast food and a frozen pizza for lunch on Saturday. Even though we weren’t exploring non stop the entire trip, I was more than content relaxing and spending quality time with Juliana and Paul.
Have you been to Winter Park before? Comment down below if you have and your favorite thing to do!