With its close proximity to the Rockies and High Plains of Colorado, many people know Denver for being a premier corridor to the great outdoors. But it also has, within its city limits, roughly 200 parks and about 80 diverse downtown neighborhoods that make it one of the best places in the world for urban recreation and libation. Within walking distance of many Denver residents' favorite road running routes, there are a handful of pubs, taverns, and breweries all with their own distinct local feel. Here are three of the best city park runs and post-run watering holes in the Mile High City..
1. City Park & Atomic Cowboy
City Park is Denver's largest park and certainly one of its most special. Not only is it home to the Denver Zoo, the Natural History Museum, and a golf course, but it also has miles of paved paths that are great for running and cycling. These paths meander around lakes and ponds, through groves of giant trees, and past plenty of other like-minded people enjoying the Denver sunshine. And only a mile away is the Atomic Cowboy , a neighborhood hangout that serves up huge portions of pizza, excellent happy hour specials, and an overall awesome atmosphere.
2. Washington Park & Handlebar Tavern
Washington Park, or Wash Park as it's known to the locals, is one of the nicest, most well-manicured parks in Denver. When they said the grass was greener on the other side, they were referring to this place. It's a wonderful place to bring a blanket and lounge in the sun, and the 2.5 mile external loop delivers a pleasant run as well. Afterward, head to the nearby Handlebar Tavern to enjoy the local-est hotspot in Denver. You can be sure everyone there calls it Wash Park.
3. Cherry Creek Trail & Wynkoop
The Cherry Creek Trail has to be one of the nicest semi-urban runs in the country. Stretching from the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek all the way out to the Cherry Creek Reservoir , this route is flat, friendly, and truly serene. It takes you on a wonderful tour through some of Denver's nicest neighborhoods, including nearby LoDo, which is an historic district that is now home to a thriving community and the first small-craft brewery in Colorado: Wynkoop . Located in a beautiful old warehouse from the late 19th century and featuring craft beers, delicious foods, and the best pool hall in Denver, Wynkoop is an absolute must-visit.