I have to admit that last year when we visited Denver on our anniversary weekend, I didn’t really have a ton planned, which is pretty much unheard of for me. Normally I have every day planned out down to the minute so we can see and do as much as possible, but since this was an anniversary trip and we had some bigger trips coming up later on that year (Seattle, Europe, Disney World, and Napa), we just decided to keep it low key. But just because it was a low key trip doesn’t mean that we didn’t have a blast and that I don’t have some recommendations on how you can spend a weekend in Denver!
Eat!- If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I love good food and love exploring cities by eating my way through them, so it should be no surprise that this is one of my top recommendations for you during your trip to Denver! Denver is known for being a foodie city and has a wide variety of restaurants for you to try out, and I’m being completely honest when I say that we enjoyed every meal that we had while we were in the Mile High City. Definitely bring some stretchy pants with you during your trip to Denver and be prepared to eat your way through the city!
Visit a brewery or two- Along with being known for a foodie city, Denver is also known for being a brewery city. With a wide range of craft breweries located throughout the city, you and your fellow beer lover will be in heaven with the amount of breweries that you can visit and brewskies you can try! If you’re an avid beer fan, you might consider booking a brewery tour with one of the many that are available around the city. These tours will take you to some of the more famous breweries, give you a tour, and give you a tasting as well! Just be sure to book well enough in advance! We waited too long and missed out on this opportunity!
Visit a winery- I know that it’s ironic to talk about visiting a winery in the state of Colorado, especially when you’re pregnant, but trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get your very own urban wine experience at the Infinite Monkey Theorem! Infinite Monkey Theorem is not only one of the first wineries to grow grapes in Colorado, but they’re also one of the first wineries to can wine as well! I’ll have a whole post about our visit to the winery later on, but trust me you don’t want to miss out on this fun experience!
Go to a sporting event- If you’re an avid sports fan, you definitely don’t want to miss out on your chance to see either the Denver Rockies or the Denver Broncos play while you’re on your trip. Both sports complexes are located right downtown, which makes it perfect to escape for an afternoon or evening of some American classics. Just be sure to buy your tickets in advance!
Go shopping along 16th Street Mall- To some, shopping while on vacation might seem boring or like something that they can do at home, but what makes 16th Street Mall so unique is the fact that it’s located right in the heart of downtown Denver, and that the mall is located completely outdoors. In Texas the weather is too hot to be shopping outdoors for over half the year, so we definitely enjoyed the cooler weather and walking up and down the 16th Street Mall.
Get out of the city and go hiking- While this isn’t truly in Denver, you can’t go to Colorado and not take some time to enjoy the mountains and go hiking! Thankfully, there’s plenty of parks and mountains around, so it creates the perfect opportunity for you to get out of the city and enjoy the great outdoors. Chris and I opted to spend our last day of our trip, which also happened to be our anniversary, hiking in Red Rocks Park, mainly so we could see the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater!
See a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater- Located just 15 miles away from downtown Denver, Red Rocks Amphitheater is probably the most iconic concert venue in the whole of the United States. Not only are you surrounded by these huge and beautiful red rocks that were created naturally by the earth, the amphitheater is supposed to be one of the best places to perform acoustically for performers. I will say that even if it’s somebody that you’ve never heard of before performing the weekend that you’ll be in Denver, make sure that you buy your tickets IN ADVANCE. Chris and I were debating about going to a concert while we were there and just decided to wait until we got there to buy tickets. Big mistake! By the time that we made it over to Red Rocks, the show was already sold out, which means that we had to head back to Denver, concertless. So definitely learn from our mistakes!
And there you have it, my suggestions for how to spend a weekend in Denver! Like I said, most of these items are pretty low key, but isn’t that half the fun sometimes when you’re traveling, just to have a trip that you’re not going at 60MPH the whole time? I’m very happy to be linking back up with these wanderful women for some Wanderful Wednesday- Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World!
Have you ever visited Denver? Is there anything that I missed for a fun weekend in Denver?
One of the things that Chris and I love the most about traveling is getting to experience the culture of the country or the feel of the city through it’s food. While we definitely will occasionally eat at restaurants that we have at home, our motto on trips is usually that we eat at places that we can’t visit at home.
The only problem with that is if you visit somewhere a little more remote, you might not be able to find those outstanding restaurants that you hoped for. Luckily for us, we ate at some pretty fantastic restaurants while we were visiting Kauai, and today I’ll be breaking them all down for you! For the most part everything was a hit, but there was a miss in the bunch. I’m going to go on ahead and apologize now if you all of a sudden are craving some fish or shaved ice after reading this post!
When I was doing research for Hawaii one of the blog posts that I first stumbled upon was this one from The Brave Little Cheesehead, which was must try food on Kauai. The very first restaurant that they talked about immediately caught my eye because it sounded like another noodle soup dish that I needed try, especially since I was obsessing over Pho at the time. The name of the restaurant was Hamura Saimin, which is known for their Saimin dishes, which is a spin off of ramen. So we made plans to stop by Hamura Saimin the day that we landed on Kauai, since it was located close to the airport in Lihue.
Driving up to Hamura Saimin, you definitely have no idea what in the world to expect because it really does look like a “dodgy” part of town, but we couldn’t say no to a bowl of noodle soup so we went into the restaurant and immediately sat down. We each ordered a bowl of Regular Saimin and were blown away by how delicious it was! It might have been hot and humid outside, but that Saimin was perfect for us. If you’re in the mood for noodle soup, definitely make plans to stop by Hamura Saimin, and don’t let the neighborhood scare you away!
One of the things that I’ve probably talked way too much about during these Hawaii recaps is how much I loved the Na’Pali Coast. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful areas I’ve seen, and I could literally just stare at it for hours! One of the reasons that it’s so beautiful is because of how rugged the mountains are. In fact, the mountains are so rugged that you can only access the Na’Pali Coast by air, by boat, or by foot.
After our amazing helicopter ride, Chris and I tried as hard as we could to make it over to the Na’Pali Coast for a hike, but unfortunately we just didn’t have the time before our luau to make the full hike and appreciate it, so we had to just enjoy our packed lunches and the beautiful beach literally at the end of the road! And that’s where Hanalei Gourmet comes in.
If you have plans to hike the Na’Pali Coast during your stay on Kauai, you’ll want to make sure that you go prepared with lunch for your trip since it’s a long hike. The perfect place to stop before your trip to take a lunch to go is Hanalei Gourmet. They have a great selection of sandwiches, chips and drinks that you can grab before you go, and they’ll even package them up for you for your trip. The best part is that the deli opens up early, so you won’t have any issues with having to delay your hike.
Location: 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy, Space 5
Hanalei, HI 96714
Price: $10-$15/person for lunch or picnics
$15-$25/person for dinner
After our morning spent checking out Waimea Canyon we were hungry and wanted to grab a quick bite to eat before our zip lining excursion. A place that kept on popping up when I was doing my research was Brennecke’s Beachfront Restaurant, and with it’s close proximity to where we’d be meeting up for zip lining we figured that it’d be our best bet for lunch.
Unfortunately for us, this was our least favorite while we were in Kauai. Maybe we just hit it at the wrong time, but the fish tacos that we ordered didn’t overly impress us, especially after having great fish tacos in Maui. It is a very family friendly restaurant, so there’s that, but I just felt like your money could be better spent elsewhere.
Although the food wasn’t our favorite, the location of this restaurant is perfect, since it’s right on Poipu Beach. We ended up going back there one night to walk around and actually had a sea turtle sighting, which was so incredible! I really wish that I would have been able to take a picture, but because the turtle’s eyes are so sensitive to light I didn’t.
Location: 2100 Hoone Rd, Poipu Beach
Koloa HI 96756
Price: $15-$25/person for lunch
$25-$25/person for dinner
Towards the end of our trip, we were kind of running out of places to try out that had been on my initial list, so we tried another tactic that can sometimes be hit or miss, we asked the locals what they would recommend. Our guide for our kayaking adventure suggested a new restaurant that had just opened up in the shopping center close to our resort in Poipu Beach called Eating House 1849. Since it was close, we decided that we’d give it a try, and we were so happy that we did!
Now two years ago, this was a relatively new restaurant that had opened, so we had to wait for a table, but I think that it’d still be safe to say that you’d probably end up having to wait because of it’s location in the shopping center that’s close to a lot of resorts. If it’s just two of you, I’d try my luck at the bar, which is exactly where Chris and I ended up.
The theme of the restaurant was “plantation cuisine inspired by Hawaii’s past” and pretty much whatever you could want, you will be able to find at Eating House 1849. Hawaii is a melting pot of many Pacific Island and Asian nations, and Eating House 1849 does a good job of highlighting those different countries, and also Hawaii itself. Like I said, we were obsessing over noodle soups at the time, so we had to go for the Spicy Ramen bowl, and Chris couldn’t bypass the fried chicken. Everything was delicious, and I would definitely recommend a stop here, especially if you’re staying in the Poipu Beach area!
Location: 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Road, #A-201
Koloa HI 96756
Our trip to Hawaii was a celebration trip for us because it was our 5 year wedding anniversary, so we knew that we wanted to treat ourselves to some fancier dinners out. When I started researching for our trip, Plantation Gardens was a restaurant that kept popping up, and when I looked into it, I found out that it was right across the street, within walking distance, from our hotel. I obviously immediately booked our reservations!
Like most places in Hawaii, Plantation Gardens is a great mix of indoor and outdoor dining, which makes for a relaxing and beautiful setting for your dinner. To be honest, I can’t remember what exactly we had for dinner that night, but I know that we loved it! I can’t recommend a trip to Plantation Gardens enough, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion! If you visit for dinner, I would recommend going back sometime during the daytime for a short visit to walk around the gardens. Literally the entire restaurant is surrounded by beautiful flowers, and Chris and I loved getting to play with our cameras while taking in all the beautiful scenery!
Location: 2253 Poipu Road
Koloa HI 96756
Price: $30-$50/person (depending on how many appetizers or drinks are ordered)
Besides trying to see as much as we could during our stay in Hawaii, one of my other main goals was to see as many sunsets as we could, because let’s face it, with the beautiful setting a sunset was just going to make everything more perfect! During my many research settings, one place that kept on popping up as a great restaurant, but also a great place to see a Kauai sunset was The Beach House in Poipu. The day that we arrived on Kauai, we decided that would be the perfect place for us to go for a relaxing dinner, so we left everything at the hotel and drove the quick couple of miles to The Beach House.
The restaurant itself is directly on the water and all of the tables and even the bar area faces out to the ocean so you don’t miss out on those incredible views! Chris and I had arrived a little early for dinner, but not quite in enough time for lunch, so ended up sitting at the bar and having some cocktails before ordering our dinner. Another advantage to us arriving early was that all of the surfers were still out, which means that Chris got some incredible pictures while we were waiting. I’m definitely not one to say no to Lobster Mac & Cheese or Ahi Tuna, so those two items were definitely ordered, along with the Argula & Goat Cheese Salad with Macadamia Nuts.
We enjoyed a quiet evening at The Beach House, ate at our leisure before paying our bill and heading outside to watch the sunset. The area around this restaurant is well known for being a wonderful place to watch the sunsets, so be prepared for crowds of people, although it definitely didn’t feel too overwhelming. The sunset was incredible, needless to say, and we loved it so much that we drove back another night so we could watch another incredible Hawaiian sunset!
Location: 5022 Lawai Rd
Koloa HI 96756
Price: $25-$40/person for lunch
$50-$60/person for dinner
There’s nothing like the heat and humidity of a beautiful tropical island to make you start craving a cool and refreshing dessert like ice cream. Luckily for us, in that shopping center near our hotel, there was a Lappert’s Ice Cream located there so we could cool down with an ice cream cone!
Lappert’s was actually founded in Kauai, when the owners dreamed of one day not just vacationing on the island, but actually living there full time. In all of their ice cream, coffee, and baked goods, they use premium ingredients, so that you receive the best ice cream cone or cup of coffee that you could want. There are a wide variety of flavors to choose from at Lappert’s, from the traditional flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to some more Hawaiian like flavors like Nene Tracks, everybody in your group is sure to find something that they’d enjoy. Definitely don’t pass up the opportunity to try out Lappert’s while you visiting Kauai, especially since they have multiple locations!
Location: Poipu Beach
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka, Suite K-160
Koloa, HI 96756
1-3555 Kaumualii Highway
Hanapepe, HI 96716
5-4280A Kuhio Highway
Princeville, HI 96722
Now if you’re looking for a more traditional Hawaiian treat to cool yourself down while in Kauai, look no further than Uncle’s Shaved Ice. We had some amazing shaved ice when we were on Maui, and Uncle’s definitely lived up to those expectations. What made it even better, was that a location was in that same Poipu Beach shopping center, so grabbing a quick dessert after our zip lining adventure was super easy!
Like with most shaved ice locations in Hawaii, you’d better expect to wait in line, but don’t worry the line goes quick, plus it’ll give you more time to decide out of their tons of flavors which flavors you have to try! We loved Uncle’s and definitely recommend that you stop by one of their locations before you leave Kauai!
Location: Poipu Beach
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka, K158B
Koloa, HI 96756
4454 Nuhou Street, Ste 419
Lihue HI 96766
And there you have it, all of the places that we tried during our time on Kauai, while we did have a miss, for the most part the food was actually pretty good! Like I said in my Maui post, expect to pay a lot of money for food while you’re on the island. It is an island after all, which means that they’re having to ship all of this in from the mainland, so naturally prices are going to be high.
You might have noticed in this guide and my Maui guide that I didn’t list out any breakfast locations for you to try, and that’s because we didn’t eat out for breakfast during our trip, well except for McDonald’s one time on our way to our helicopter ride.
In my opinion, breakfast is the most expensive meal to eat out, and you really don’t get that much for it. Plus if I’m being completely honest, I’m more of a lunch person anyways, so if I had to choose, I’d always opt for a light breakfast and heavier lunch. Chris and I packed protein bars with us for the trip and would eat that for breakfast before setting out on our adventures for the day. In my opinion, that’s the best option, especially if you’re looking to save some money.
Anyways, I hope that this is helpful if you’re planning a trip to Kauai sometime in the near future. And if you are, I’m definitely jealous of you! Writing these posts has definitely started to give me the itch to make another trip out there soon! I’m linking up with these Wanderful Women from some Wanderful Wednesday- Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World!
Have you ever visited Kauai? Are there restaurants on this list that you’d want to check out?
When people think of Kauai, probably the #1 thing that comes to mind is the beautiful Na’Pali Coast. The Na’Pali Coast is literally the most beautiful and majestic coastline I’ve ever seen, with it’s perfect mixture of rugged mountains, green foliage, and crystal clear ocean water, it literally takes your breath away. Like I’ve mentioned before, there are only 3 ways to access this incredible sight, by land, by foot, or by air because the mountains are literally too rugged for roads to be built so you can drive there.
On our trip to Kauai, I was determined to see the Na’Pali Coast as much as possible, and hoped that we would be able to check all three off the list: air, boat, and hike. We managed to check off the by air on our trip when we did a helicopter ride over the island of Kauai, but ultimately we ran out of time for the by foot because we just didn’t have enough time to actually hike the Na’Pali Coast Trail. I knew that I’d want to see the Na’Pali Coast one more time before we left Kauai, so I decided to book a sunset cruise around the Na’Pali Coast for our last night on the island, so we could see it from the ocean.
My parents had been to Kauai earlier that year, and they happened to do a sunset cruise as well, and couldn’t stop raving about how amazing Captain Andy’s was, so we decided to book the same cruise. We opted for the Star Na’Pali Sunset Dinner Sail on a Catamaran that would sail us around the island, serve us dinner, and then sail back at sunset. At $149/person it was a little bit more expensive than the Classic, but we thought that it would be totally worth it!
The dinner cruise left earlier than I would have thought from Port Allen Harbor, but before we knew it we were checked in, lathered up with sunscreen, and boarded our catamaran to see the Na’Pali Coast one final time before we headed home.
I think that this was actually my first time out on a catamaran, so I was surprised at how big it was. There were plenty of seats all around the boat, and Chris and I decided to sit at the front of the boat so that we could have an uninhibited view of the Na’Pali Coast and the ocean during our trip. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the wisest idea because if you know anything about catamarans, you know that there’s a spot at the front that you can lay on that is literally just a net, which means that water can get through. So on very windy days, like the day that we were sailing, if you’re sitting behind the netting, like us, you are more than likely going to end up drenched by the time you make it to the Na’Pali Coast.
We immediately set sail, and even though the boat was going very fast, our captain made sure to stop anytime he saw wildlife swimming near us. During our trip we were able to see some dolphins and even a sea turtle swimming. Earlier in the year (November-May), you can also see Humpback Whales on your cruise, who make their way back to Hawaii every year to mate and birth their young. My parents were there in March and saw whales when they were on this very same trip!
After we saw the animals the captain would start the boat up again and we’d be on our way. During this time of the trip, the wait staff was walking all over the place and delivering us cocktails or whatever drink we might want, and we were all just enjoying the scenery. Just as a warning, this cruise is family friendly, so if you’re looking for something that’s purely adult you won’t find it here. We had a ton of kids on our cruise and they really enjoyed hanging on the netting at the front and being bounced around while we were cruising. Let me just say that while they really enjoyed it when they were bouncing around, they all looked really green after dinner and we were just sailing back to port. I think that the combination of the bouncing and then the sailing after dinner made them all a little bit queasy.
Before we knew it, we had reached the Na’Pali Coast and the captain shut off the engine, the staff served us our dinner, and we started to sail back. From what I remember of the food, it was good, but nothing super exceptional. It was food that you’d expect from any operation that was trying to serve that many people at once, but it wasn’t bad either. What was truly incredible about this trip, and really the whole reason why we booked this cruise, was so that we could get our last look at Kauai before we left. The views of the Na’Pali Coast from that sunset cruise are forever ingrained in my mind, and I’ll never forget how beautiful it was!
Once dinner was complete, Chris and I decided to move to the back of the boat to hopefully get away from the wind and water for a little bit, and we were a little bit disappointed that the view from the back of the boat was just as incredible as the front! We definitely would have saved ourselves a lot of grief, or at least wetness if we’d sat there first! Oh well, our night ended perfectly because we were dry and with the most incredible sunset over the Na’Pali Coast.
I hope that I’ve convinced you that you need your own sunset cruise around the Na’Pali Coast, and if you decide to go on one, definitely check out Captain Andy’s. The staff was excellent, and we really did have the best time! Also, if I have convinced you to go on a sunset cruise, here are a few things to remember for your own trip:
Wear sunscreen: You’ll be leaving early in the afternoon when it’s still very sunny outside, so sunscreen is key. Like I’ve said multiple times, nothing kills a vacation more than a sunburn.
Sit at the back of the boat: Chris and I were literally soaked by the time we reached the Na’Pali Coast because of all the water flying up around us. I had literally spent so much time getting ready and doing my hair and makeup for this trip, and it was all ruined before dinner! Granted we went on the cruise on a really windy day, but we got just as great of views and pictures at the back of the boat, so I wish that we’d just sat there to start.
Take motion sickness pills before you leave: There were several people that were looking very sick during our cruise, and besides a sunburn, that’s definitely a way to end a trip on a bad note! If you’re prone to seasickness take some pills before you leave so that you don’t even chance it.
Enjoy the memories: I find myself going back and forth between being a beach person and a mountain person, so maybe this is why the Na’Pali Coast is so incredibly beautiful to me. It was stunning by air, but being able to cruise around it at sunset, was an experience that I’ll never forget. I totally need to go back now!
And if you can believe it, I’m almost done recapping our 5th Anniversary trip to Hawaii, it only took me 2 years! I have one more post left about where to eat on Kauai, and then it’s onto another trip! Be sure to check out some of my other Hawaii posts below! I’m linking up with these Wanderful Women for the first anniversary of Wanderful Wednesday- Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World!
Have you ever visited the Na’Pali Coast? Have you ever taken a sunset dinner cruise?