Romance is one of the easiest things to find in the Mile High City. Denver's setting is romantic all on its own, with the dramatic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and sunsets that can take your breath away. There are also plenty of activities for a couple to experience together, activities that bring romance front and center to boost the heart power you already share.
For couples who love to cook, there are date-night cooking classes at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. Washington Park, City Park and Denver Botanic Gardens offer perfect places to meander and watch a sunset, and there are indulgent treatments for couples at The Woodhouse Day Spa. Balistreri Vineyards, just 10 minutes north of downtown Denver, offers wine tasting and a stunning setting for a wedding or proposal. And whether you merely want to stroll hand-in-hand, shop or find an intimate spot to share a creative cocktail, such as The Crimson Room, Larimer Square delivers. What’s your heart’s pleasure?
The Winter Park Express, operated by Amtrak, carries skiers, snow lovers and other day-trippers between Denver's Union Station and Winter Park Resort during ski season. The express runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in January, February and March. A train first started running on this route in 1912, giving the line plenty of history behind it. Trains depart Union Station at 7 a.m., arriving at Winter Park Resort at 9 a.m. All tickets are one-way only, so passengers can spend the day at Winter Park before boarding the train at 4:30 p.m. for the return trip, arriving at Union Station at 6:40 p.m. or stay overnight or even a week for a romantic getaway. Ticket sales for the following season typically start in August. Reserve seats as far in advance as possible as the train can sell out.
City Park's Ferril Lake is a sweet spot for a couple to rent a pedal boat or kayak and spend an afternoon or summer evening out on the water. Created in 1882, City Park was once 320 acres of windswept prairie. Today, it is acres of green and gardens, lakes and home to the Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature & Science, including the IMAX Theater and planetarium. The park lies within five miles of 85 percent of all Denver residents and is both a local destination and prime destination for visitors to the Mile High City. In addition to kayaking and pedal boating, couples can also stroll along the park's bucolic pathways and through its gardens. And if you want to pair your romance with a good workout, there are water trikes to rent.
Cooking together can be a fun and romantic activity for couples, and the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts is just the place to learn how to make that happen. The school offers a series of Culinary Date Night classes specifically for couples. They'll teach you and your sweetie to create foods of different regions of the world including always romantic France and Italy as well as Germany and the American Southwest. There are also classes focused on pizza, pasta and tapas, and Wake Up & Bake is guaranteed to add warmth and deliciousness to your intimate weekend breakfasts. The school's roster of classes changes so it's easy for a couple to find a class with romantic and culinary appeal. Classes typically end with students eating the food they prepared, paired with a wine or other beverages. Bon appétit, romantics!
Stylish and decidedly romantic, The Cooper Lounge is a sophisticated retreat set high above the more frenetic activity of the Great Hall in Denver's Union Station. Here couples can enjoy high-end cocktails, an extensive wine list, beer and chef-created bites in a cozy space that, like Union Station itself, evokes all the romance of the long-ago Golden Age of train travel–, especially late in the evening when daylight has faded and the lounge takes on its most intimate ambiance. Love to spice up the weekend with a pre-brunch cocktail? The lounge opens at noon for drinks but food service doesn't start until 4 p.m. Cooper Lounge is a compact space so reservations are required for the public. And even though it's always available to guests of the equally romantic Crawford Hotel, also inside Union Station, reservations are still recommended.
One of Denver's oldest carriage companies, Irish Rose Drafts uses different breeds of draft horses, notably Belgians, Clydesdales, Percherons and Suffolk, to pull its signature white carriages along routes through downtown and LoDo. Popular for proposals, anniversaries, Valentine's Day and other celebrations, the company's horses and classic European carriages are also frequently booked for weddings. Consider the Romantic Mini Ride, just 25-35 minutes and perfect before a romantic dinner. Snuggling together in one of these carriages is also an especially romantic way to view Denver's famous holiday lights display during the winter season. Look for special rides just for Valentine's Day. The management of Irish Rose Drafts is dedicated to providing the best care for its horses. Though carriage rides are available year-round, the horses are not sent out if the weather is deemed dangerous for them.
For many couples, wine tasting is an inherently romantic activity. There's an intimacy and sophistication to it while also being relatively inexpensive and fun. Denver isn't known for its wineries but Balistreri in North Denver stands out. The wines are purposefully natural, approachable and easy to drink, made using a combination of traditional and modern techniques. Handcrafted one barrel at a time, Balestreri wines have deservedly won awards. The Balistreri family arrived from Sicily in the early 1900s, and though they started as "truck farmers" producing vegetables, they also continued their homeland tradition of making wine for the family. In 1998, that family tradition became a thriving business. In addition to tours and tastings, the winery is an idyllic location for a proposal, wedding, anniversary or photograph setting with its ballroom, sweeping staircase and lovely gardens.
Housed in a Victorian beauty built in 1886, The Woodhouse Day Spa is about creating experiences. As noted on the spa's website: "We believe your day at the spa should be more than just a great spa treatment; it should be a great 'experience' from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave." The treatment list is creative. Examples include a wild lavender and seaweed sugar glow, a warmed spice mud wrap and warm agave nectar pedicure, for example. Best of all, the spa offers an indulgent selection of treatments for two. Among the options are the Duet Massage at 50 or 80 minutes, and Two's Company, a two-and-a-half hour combination massage, facial and pedicure for two. If rejuvenating together is your idea of romance, this is your place.
"Wash Park" is a 155-acre expanse of gorgeous gardens, lakes and green lawns–and arguably the most beautiful spot in the city to watch a sunset. Smith Lake in particular, at the park's northern end, draws a multitude of lovers and others each evening as the sun sinks behind the mountains, turning the lake and sky above it brilliant shades of red, rose and gold. If working out together seems romantic, couples can walk, run, skate and cycle here, and for those who find a quaint romance in croquet, there's a court and lessons provided by a local club each week in summer. Summer also offers surrey bikes and pedal boats for rent, and the boathouse is a romantic wedding venue. If strolling through formal gardens sounds romantic, Washington Park's flower gardens are among the city's most beautiful; one was modeled after the gardens at George Washington's Virginia home, Mount Vernon.
The Crimson Room is downtown's sweet spot for a romantic rendezvous with someone you love– or maybe just want to flirt with. It's romantic at any time of year, but perhaps even more so in the heart's special season, February. Come here to sip Champagne cocktails, classic cocktails or a variety of wines and sparkling wines before or after dinner or the theater. Pair your drink with chocolate truffles, chocolate-dipped strawberries or heartier snacks such as a charcuterie or cheese board. A romantic mood is set nightly by live piano, jazz or acoustic guitar. Selfies? By all means, sit together in the "throne" chairs and commemorate your evening. Before or after, stroll hand-in-hand under the lights of Larimer Square.
Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street is a 24-acre oasis just a few minutes from downtown. Any part of the gardens would be a fine destination for a romantic stroll, but Denver Botanic Gardens has three gardens that together are called the Romantic Gardens, making them especially appealing to couples. The Fragrance Garden, El Pomar Waterway and Schlessman Plaza, all within the Ornamental Gardens, provide idyllic settings for a wedding or vow renewal as well as pretty paths for sauntering hand-in-hand and benches where couples can sit, lost in each other and the profusion of color and fragrances around them. Lavender, lilies, narcissus, oregano, roses and clematis are among the plants and blooms that make these gardens so special.