Local PAs Guide to Denver

Make the Most of Your Time at AAPA 2019

April 26, 2019

AAPA 2019 is just around the corner! This year’s annual conference will be held in Denver, Colorado, and who knows what PAs would enjoy in Denver better than the PAs who live there? We asked Colorado Academy of PAs’ David Braun, Gary Sakryd, Kellie Lyons, and UC Denver PA student Maria Pavia to share their favorite spots in and around Denver so that AAPA 2019 attendees can make the most of their time there.

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Denver Union Station
Denver Union Station, a historic landmark and transportation hub also houses restaurants, bars, shops, and a hotel.

Food/Drink
David: The food hall concept has firmly taken hold in Denver. This offers a perfect option for diverse groups where one member might feel like pizza, another prefers to sample Columbian arepas, and yet another wants a fresh poke bowl. There are several easy-to-access options via public transportation or ride sharing including The Source, Denver Milk Market, Stanley Marketplace, and Denver Central Market. If weather allows, the outstanding view from the balcony at Avanti Food & Beverage is one of the best al fresco dining options in the city.

Gary: It really is hard to go wrong anywhere with dining or the bar scene in Lodo. Prices range from very affordable to ridiculously expensive. Also, the area around Union Station has a great night scene and great food options.

Maria: I’d recommend Señor Bear in Lohi and Super Mega Bien in Rhino. They serve tapas style and they incorporate a lot of ethnicity in their dishes.

Kellie: Colorado is home to countless micro, macro and nanobreweries and this number grows by the season. Although many famous brewers from around the country have made big names in Denver proper (one of my favs is 10 Barrel Brewing from Bend, Oregon), the majority are strictly local brewers that have wiggled into the very popular beer scene and sometimes struggle to hang on. Near the Convention Center, I’d recommend these smaller gems you’d be hard pressed to find on any restaurant menu:

  • Cerebral Brewing: food trucks Tuesday-Sunday, nerdy and fun
  • Black Shirt Brewing: great patio, pizza kitchen
  • Station 26: as an ex-firefighter/paramedic married to a current firefighter/paramedic, my husband and I are drawn to this old fire station brewery with great gluten reduced beers and AWESOME summer IPA selections
  • Crooked Stave: one of the few sour programs in the city (if you’re a sour beer fan, you know that’s a big deal) and in a co-op/warehouse-esque with a great atmosphere
  • Wynkoop Brewing: only because it was the first EVER brewpub in Colorado

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a popular concert venue, doubles as a recreational park for hiking, biking, guided tours, and more.

Attractions and Culture
Gary: Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison is hosting Florence and the Machine for two nights during AAPA 2019. Red Rocks is consistently named one of the top 10 outdoor amphitheaters in the U.S. It is genuinely one of the highlights of Denver and to catch a concert there is really cool. At the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA), right next to the convention center, Wicked, the Broadway show, is playing during AAPA 2019. We have season tickets and will be attending the show. Having lived in NYC for a few years, I would say that the DCPA is hands down just as amazing as Broadway!

Maria: The Denver Art Museum and Denver Botanic Gardens are great options. Depending on the day you go, both have special events most of the time. The Christian Dior exhibit was recently at the museum and Denver Botanical Gardens sometimes has live music.

David: If you really want a true Denver experience, stop into El Chapultepec, a historic jazz and blues club that has hosted free live music every night for decades. Jack Kerouac was known to have frequented the club during the beat generation of the 1950s. Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald played at “The ‘Pec.” The small dive bar has no parking and is cash only. Authenticity defined.

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Kellie Lyons with husband Preston Lyons and dog Zeus at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs
Kellie Lyons, PA-C with husband Preston Lyons and dog Zeus at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, CO.

Outdoors
Kellie: About a 45-minute drive straight south of Denver on I-25 you’ll find one of the most beautiful public parks you’ll ever see: Garden of the Gods. This land was donated to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909 under the provision that it would forever remain a free public park. It touts a great welcome center and museum where you can learn about the original Native American inhabitants and wildlife and even admire the bones of dinosaurs found in this very park. I recommend this excursion to any Colorado first timer for its beauty, accessibility, and for a great reason to enjoy the outdoors.

David: The place to be seen outdoors within city limits is Washington Park. The park hosts multiple lakes, trails, and outdoor space to make the most of your time outside. Walkers and runners will enjoy the three-mile soft-surface loop that follows the perimeter of the park while cyclists and roller skaters can find automobile-free asphalt here as well. Volleyball nets, tennis courts, ball fields, and picnic grounds offer a variety of ways for families and friends to enjoy ‘the Central Park of Denver,” too.

Maria: Pearl Street in Boulder and Vail Resort – I recommend going on the Gondola rides if you go to Vail and there are hikes you can do once you reach the top.

If you do find yourself with some spare time at AAPA 2019 or are just itching to explore, hopefully these recommendations can help you build your itinerary. See you in Denver for AAPA 2019!