We had a lovely five-day visit to Denver, Colorado during the first weekend of July.  We were there for the GALA Festival event (for more, check out those pages) and we stayed in the heart of downtown at the Hampton Inn & Suites.  The hotel was contemporary and comfortable, with a friendly staff (we'll excuse the clerk who told us our room would have a view), right across from Pavilions, an outdoor mall with a great mix of places to eat, drink and shop.  The hotel was also just a couple of blocks from the Colorado Convention Center and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, where all parts of the event were held.  I loved the Blue Bear sculpture peering into the beautiful glass building!

Besides exploring the 16th Street corridor and taking the city's free bus service, we also had enough extra time to squeeze in a trip to the Contemporary Art Museum and Botanical Gardens.  The Museum had a wonderful deck area with views of the area, and the gardens are an older part of town, with shady streets lined with charming brick homes.  It offered a lovely, quiet reprieve from the busy downtown space.

We were amazed to hear from one of our drivers that 10,000 people are moving to Denver every month.  We don't know if that is true or not, but we did see lots of new construction in the downtown area, and beautifully remodeled older buildings.  The downtown area has a great vibe, with a penchant for beers and brewing (we highly recommend Rock Botton), lots of charming pedicabs, and fantastic evening temperatures for sitting outdoors and soaking it all in.  There is so much we did not get to see, but I did try to capture some of the interesting and special details that Denver had to offer during our visit.