Establishment neighborhood
Guard & Grace
1801 California St., Downtown
Named after chef Troy Guard (and his daughter, Grace), this 9,000-square-foot space tucked into the street level of the fifty-six-floor CenturyLink Tower is home to the best steaks in the city. Bright, airy, and sleek, with just enough touches of warmth to keep it from being too corporate, Guard & Grace offers everything we’d want from a modern steakhouse: elevated, fresh seafood (plus a raw bar), amazing charcuterie, perfect martinis, and of course, local grass-fed cuts of beef offered in 4 to 22 oz. portions. There’s no official dress code, but it is definitely dressed-up for Denver.
Clyfford Still Museum
1250 Bannock St., Downtown
Clyfford Still sold very few of his paintings when he was alive, believing that they were best shown only alongside his other paintings, under very specific conditions. When he passed away in 1980, he left his entire estate (which represented more than 95% of his total output) to whichever city would mount a permanent museum devoted to his work. The city of Denver was selected to receive the collection in 2004, and in 2011 opened a Brad Cloepfil-designed building to house the collection and rotating exhibitions of Still's artwork. Strolling through the rooms filled with Still's toweringly big pieces is unlike anything else—and something you truly can only experience in Denver.
Hotel Teatro
1100 14th St., Downtown
Hotel Teatro, so-named for its location around the corner from the Buell Theatre (Denver's major performance venue), is located in one of LoDo's oldest buildings. Key architectural details from the building's original construction as a mansion for the Evans family, like pink and green marble flooring and marble wainscoting, are fully intact. Though the original upgrade was in 1997, the 110 rooms, plus the lobby and bar, enjoyed an update a few years ago, and though the rooms run a bit on the small side—we recommend Teatro for couples and singles more than families—they're well turned out with marble bathrooms, leather headboards, and crisp white linens. The downstairs restaurant, the Nickel, is a great place to grab a drink before seeing a show.
Sacred Thistle
1110 Acoma St., Downtown
Sacred Thistle is a joint venture of mother/daughter duo Sydney and Cornelia Peterson; Sydney was a visual manager at Nieman Marcus for years, so putting her creative skills to use arranging flowers was a natural transition (this is a creative family—Dad/husband Richard, a talented photographer, is a fixture in the local arts scene). Arrangements here take inspiration from the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which emphasizes that beauty is found in quirks and imperfections, which means each piece is wholly unique. If you're not in the market for flowers, the shop also carries some selected odds and ends, like jewelry, Pendleton blankets, sage, incense, candles, and more.
The Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Downtown
Denver's big encyclopedic museum (which has more than 70,000 works in 10 permanent collections) is one of the biggest museums between Chicago and the West Coast. The museum itself is made up of two architecturally significant buildings: the 1971 Gio Ponti-designed North Building, covered in more than one million shimmering gray tiles and the modernist designer's only completed work in North America, and the dramatic and iconic Daniel Libeskind building, reminiscent of the Rocky Mountains, with sharp angles jutting out from the center in every direction. They always have a few selections on display from the permanent collection, but you can also see major traveling exhibitions here—a few of their recent blockbusters have included an exhibition of Star Wars costumes, a exhaustive collection of vintage Cartier jewelry, and a selection of Van Gogh works in an exhibition titled Passport to Paris.