Estes Park Farmers Market: A Look Inside A Vibrant Local Market [2023]

I am a big fan of farmers’ markets because they offer unique products for sale and provide an excellent opportunity to support small businesses and engage with the local community. If you happen to be in Estes Park on a Thursday, I highly recommend visiting their weekly farmers market.

Now, let me take you on a quick tour of the farmers’ market and introduce you to a variety of businesses that await your visit. I’ll also provide insights into some of the products we bought and share our impressions of them.

What is the Estes Park Farmers Market?

The Estes Park Farmers Market is a local market located in Estes Park, Colorado, that showcases a variety of vendors who offer fresh produce, locally sourced foods, handmade crafts, artisanal products, and more.

Visitors can explore the market and purchase items directly from the vendors, supporting local farmers, artisans, and businesses. It’s also an opportunity for the community to connect with local producers and enjoy a vibrant and diverse shopping experience.

When is the Estes Park Farmers Market?

The Estes Park Farmers Market typically begins at the beginning of June and will run until the end of September. It takes place every Thursday and runs from 8 AM to 1 PM, which is great because it allows the market to remain open for a few hours before those summer thunderstorms roll into the mountains.

It’s free to enter, and you can find it right next to the Estes Park visitor center at: 500 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. There is parking surrounding the farmers’ market near the beginning of the River Walk, but we chose to park at the large parking garage just on the other side of the river. Parking at this garage or the nearby lot is free, making it very easy to visit this market without having to pay anything out of pocket.

Keep in mind that the opening times and dates may be subject to change in the future. You can always check the website here for more details.

What can you find at the Estes Park Farmers Market?

The Estes Park Farmers Market is a pretty good sized farmers market considering the size of the town. They have a nice diverse mix of vendors, plenty of open space to roam around in, and lots of the vendors also take credit cards making your transactions easy to process.

We showed up to the farmers market around 10 AM and I was immediately surprised to see a tent selling tamales! We weren’t able to check them out but we will certainly be back.

Estes Park Farmers Market

One of the stands that caught my eye was Rinaldo’s Paris bakery, a mobile bakery ran by a European baker with over 30 years of experience. They had cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, cookies, and they also make “speciality breads” such as zucchini bread, banana nut bread, pumpkin bread, etc.

Estes Park Farmers Market

If you have not eaten breakfast yet, this would be a great place to stop at for some delicious pastries that will surely fill you up. Seriously, look how irresistible some of these looked.

Estes Park Farmers Market

Some of the cookies they had also looked delicious which included oatmeal cookies with or without raisins (thankfully), chocolate chunk cookies, and freshly baked meringue. Cross your fingers that this stand will be around when you visit!

Estes Park Farmers Market

Being an avid tea enthusiast, I constantly seek new methods to elevate my tea-drinking experience and experiment with diverse flavors. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by using various types of honey. As we frequently travel, we have made it a practice to exclusively procure honey from local vendors.

This not only adds a touch of adventure to our tea sessions but also hopefully aids in combating unfamiliar allergies that we may encounter along the way.

During our visit, we decided to check out the honey stand, with products from Honeyville, a third-generation beekeeping and bottling family business located in Durango, Colorado, known for its Cinnamon Whipped Honey.

Here, we discovered an array of new honey flavors, including one infused with the essence of whiskey barrel.

Intrigued, we purchased a bottle and I must say, I thoroughly relish the faint whiskey undertones it adds to my tea blends! Worth every penny.

Estes Park Farmers Market honey
Estes Park Farmers Market honey

Another stand that really caught my eye was Corey’s Chocolate, which has a mission that I think we can all be happy to support: “Spreading joy through chocolate.” At Corey’s Chocolate, you can indulge in a variety of meticulously handcrafted chocolate treats made in Niwot, CO, utilizing quality French and Belgian chocolate.

They were incredibly generous with their samples, which I truly appreciated. It’s not just because they delighted my taste buds, but it’s always a wonderful gesture when a business offers samples to customers. The particular samples they gave us were there elixirs which were essentially chocolate sauce is that could be great on lots of foods like fruits.

We didn’t really have good food candidates for the chocolate sauce and just downing that by itself didn’t seem like the best use of calories for us, so we ended up purchasing some handcrafted peanut butter cups, which they had available in both milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

And let me tell you, they were absolutely delicious. In fact, I might even go so far as to say they outshine Reese’s peanut butter cups — one of my all-time faves!

Estes Park Farmers Market chocolate

If you’re a coffee drinker, look out for a coffee stand which in our case was Redemption Road Coffee.

Estes Park Farmers Market coffee

Certainly, every farmers market needs to have fresh fruits and vegetables, and at this particular market, there was a big booth from Eden Valley, which is located in Loveland, Colorado. Eden Valley has been around since 1962 and their produce, although not officially certified as organic, is grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals.

To deal with pests on their farm, they use various methods including changing the crops they grow in different areas each year, which helps keep pests away. They also practice companion planting, where they grow certain plants together that naturally discourage pests. Additionally, if pests do appear, the farm workers take care of them by hand. So there’s definitely a personal touch to these plants.

Estes Park Farmers Marke produce

I thought this stand with “crushable hats” that supposedly stay on with winds up to 40 mph was pretty interesting. Who would’ve thought you could defy gale-force winds in style!

Estes Park Farmers Market

If you are a fan of bison, a true superfood of a protein, you may find a stand well suited for you.

Estes Park Farmers Market bison

They also had plenty of dips, salsa, and nuts for you to choose from along with olive oil. Here’s look at some of the other stands that were available.

Estes Park Farmers Market groumet dips
Estes Park Farmers Market
Estes Park Farmers Market
Estes Park Farmers Market
Estes Park Farmers Market
Estes Park Farmers Market
Estes Park Farmers Market
Estes Park Farmers Market cheese

Other snacks were available such as kettle corn and churros.

Estes Park Farmers Market kettle corn

And you can’t forget about the aptly named “Coloradough.”

Estes Park Farmers Market breads

Final word

I’m always down to visit a farmers market, especially when traveling. It’s such a great way to get beyond the tourist scene especially in a place like Estes Park which is geared so heavily towards the throngs of tourists that practically live along Elkhorn Avenue.

We certainly enjoyed our visit to the Estes Park Farmers Market and were also impressed with the variety of options and how friendly everybody was. It was nothing but good vibes and so I would highly recommend you give it a visit if you’re ever in town when it’s going on.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour Review: The Supernatural Birthplace of an Iconic Horror Film

Estes Park, Colorado, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, but it also holds a significant place in cinematic history.

The iconic Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, has a profound connection to one of the most legendary horror films of all time, “The Shining.” For visitors seeking a unique experience, the hotel provides an opportunity to delve into the origins of “The Shining” (both the book and the movie).

Below, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this tour, which is part Shining history and part ghost tour. I’ll tell you what to expect and ultimately help you decide whether or not it’s worth it, so be sure to keep on reading!

What is the Stanley Hotel Shining tour?

The Stanley Hotel Shining tour takes you back to the origins of the Shining story by Stephen King, providing fascinating and some might even say chilling insights into its creation.

You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Shining, whether that be getting extra familiar with the infamous room 217 or catching a glimpse of one of the most iconic horror movie props.

The tour also incorporates the eerie ghost stories associated with the Stanley Hotel, adding a touch of spookiness as it delves into the property’s historical background.

Stanley Hotel mountains

Booking the Stanley Hotel Shining tour

You can book tours online here and the prices are $30 per person. There is a limit of 10 people per tour and children under the age of eight are not allowed.

How to get to the Stanley Hotel Shining tour

As mentioned, the tour takes place on the Stanley hotel property.

In order to park anywhere on the property you need to pay $10 at the entrance gate so if you want to avoid that you may be able to find nearby parking and simply walk over to the premises.

After you park, you want to head over to the main building which is the building with the clock tower on top.

There will be a side entrance for tours which you can follow and as you make your way down the hall you’ll come across a desk where you can check in for your experience and get issued your special tour sticker.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour sign
Look for this sign on the right side of the hotel (when looking at it from the front).

I recommend arriving around 20 to 30 minutes early.

This will give you some time to explore the grounds of the hotel on your own time, including some of the art installations out front and of course the hedge maze (this was not used in the movie).

If you pay for parking you will also receive a special token that could be used to get a discount at the gift shop or one of the restaurants. Even if you don’t use the token, it’s still a really cool coin to hold onto.

Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel Shining tour

The experience begins in a little lounge area where you will wait for your animated tour guide.

Here, you may have scenes from the TV series of the Shining playing and you can also check out a number of different artifacts.

When your guide arrives, you’ll be briefed on the experience that awaits you.

One of the biggest things you find out from the beginning is the lack of cinematic footprints here: none of the scenes from the Shining movie were filmed at the hotel.

Don’t let that fact steal any of your enthusiasm though because the Stanley Hotel maintains a profound connection to the Shining

First, it was at this very place where the seeds of Stephen King’s iconic story were sown (which you will hear all the details about).

While I love seeing actual movie sets and sites used in movies, at the end of the day, it is the storytelling that truly imbues them with meaning. And you get to visit the grounds where this haunting tale first unfolded. With the help of your tour guide you’ll be taken back to what it must’ve been like when those first stories started to emerge in Stephen King’s mind as he stayed at this hotel, just as it was shutting down for the winter.

In addition to Stephen King’s personal experience, the hotel’s own ghost stories played a significant role in inspiring the chilling narrative of the Shining. These haunting tales — accumulated over the hotel’s long and storied existence — have left a lasting impact on numerous individuals throughout the decades. From premature room check outs to employees abandoning their posts, ghosts have caused quite a supernatural stir here.

During the tour, you will have the unique opportunity to step foot into the actual locations where these supernatural occurrences have been reported. Whether you choose to embrace the thrill or prefer to observe from a distance, you’ll be able to visit the very spots where these events unfolded.

Stanley Hotel front night

The tour began by taking us to the MacGregor Room.

Here, you will gain profound insights into the hotel’s story and its enduring struggle for survival throughout the 1900s. Through engaging narratives, you will learn about the challenges faced by the Stanley Hotel during harsh winters when heating was not yet available and reliable roads were absent, isolating this remote establishment in this mountainous valley.

As you immerse yourself in this room, you will uncover the evolution it has undergone, which included the influence of Stephen King himself.

Did you know? Some of the Shining TV series was filmed here and you can find some props from the series. Ask your tour guide about a QR code to find the TV series.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour

After the MacGregor Room, we moved to the outside.

It was from here that we had a view of the very room that Stephen King stayed in when he found inspiration for the Shining. This particular room holds immense significance and is known as Room 217. Interestingly, you may find the room number sounds roughly familiar, as it differs slightly from the room depicted in the movie adaptation, which is Room 237.

The difference in room numbers between the book and the movie adaptation stems from a creative decision made by Stanley Kubrick, the director of the Shining film. It is speculated that Kubrick intentionally altered the room number to 237 to avoid creating any potential controversy at the location where filming took place — the Timberline Lodge in Oregon.

Did you know? The opening scenes were actually shot near Glacier National Park in Montana.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour

As you stand on the lawn in front of the property, a fascinating tale awaits you — one that revolves around one of the most renowned ghosts of the hotel: Elizabeth Wilson, the former head chambermaid. Prepare to be captivated as you delve into the stories surrounding her spectral presence and the interactions she has had with hotel guests over the years.

Through captivating narratives, you will learn about the type of guests she prefers and those who may not meet with her favor. You might be surprised to discover that even high-profile guests have encountered the mischievous antics of Elizabeth Wilson.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour room 217

While you find yourself outside, be sure to indulge in the breathtaking vistas that grace the property. The views from the Stanley Hotel are nothing short of phenomenal, offering a captivating panorama of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Among the awe-inspiring peaks that adorn the horizon, Long’s Peak stands tall, showcasing its snow-peaked grandeur.

If you opt for the nighttime tour, your mountain views might be limited, but the ambiance will be enhanced, creating a spookier atmosphere that adds to the experience.

However, choosing a later tour time may result in larger groups, potentially diminishing the intimate connection you would otherwise have with your tour guide. It also might make it easier for you to get lost or left behind in some of these haunted chambers…. Just kidding (hopefully).

After getting acquainted with one of the ghosts of the Stanley hotel, it was time for some more paranormal activity.

Our guide took us to one of the structures used for housing when the property was built. This smaller, two story structure is not in great condition but it safe to go into, at least safe for your physical safety.

Within the walls of this historic building, you will delve into the realm of recent paranormal events. The guide will share intriguing stories, shedding light on encounters with otherworldly entities. Brace yourself for a spine-tingling experience as you are even shown photographic evidence of the residence ghost.

If you possess the courage, you will have the opportunity to wander through the shadowy corridors where this ghostly presence has been sighted. The dimly lit passageways hold an eerie atmosphere, inviting you to explore the realm where the line between the living and the supernatural blurs.

Despite my reluctance to buy into ghost stories, this was the one spot where I couldn’t deny the goosebumps I felt. I was officially a little bit spooked, as much as I hate to admit it.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour haunted ghost hallway

Before you leave this haunted dormitory, make sure you get a photo op with the re-created door from the infamous “Here’s Johnnyyy!!!” scene, which Jack Nicholson actually improvised.

After turning up the spookiness, it was time for us to enter my favorite part of the tour: The Ground Keeper’s cottage.

This is a wonderfully restored building that will take you back in time with antique furniture that has revived its historical charm and elegance.

You’ll be able to walk through the old living quarters of the hotel’s grounds keeper. Learn about the family and their famous little dog as you take in the artifacts from a bygone era.

Once that’s over, it’s time to head upstairs.

As you ascend to the upper floors, get ready for two of the most captivating highlights of the tour, intimately connected to the Shining.

If you prefer to keep the surprises intact, I invite you to stop scrolling now. However, if you’re eager to build up even more excitement for your tour, allow me to give you a glimpse of what awaits you.

First, you’ll head upstairs where they will be three different rooms including the Shining Suite, the Twin’s Room, and the Caretaker’s Suite.

The Shining Suite is a cool bedroom where you can find some interesting artifacts like the infamous party that never ends photograph featuring Jack Nicholson and a rug that harkens back to the movie.

But what really is going to blow your mind is one of the axes from the filming of The Shining — a prop that has been valued in the six figures. This remarkable piece of cinematic history was generously donated by an anonymous benefactor and was recently obtained by the hotel.

Learn about the struggles Jack Nicholson faced with this axe and how he incorporated it into his performance as you look upon one of the most iconic pieces of horror film history.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour axe prop
An iconic piece of horror film history.

But that’s not all you’re going to see you. You’ll also be able to step into a re-creation of the infamous bathroom from room 237. Find out how the set was specifically designed to bring a chilling effect to viewers and then get your own re-creation of one of the most disturbing scenes from the movie.

Stanley Hotel Shining Tour bathroom
Care to find out how long do you think you will last alone in this bathroom?

You’ll find a couple of other little treasures up there that will pique your interest so make sure you snoop around and check out this unique and historic hotel room which apparently goes for something like $60,000 per night.

Final word

I was a little bit reluctant about doing this tour only because I knew the Shining was not actually filmed at this location and I actually considered doing a ghost tour over this one to take advantage of this paranormal location.

But the creators of this tour do an excellent job of filling you in with interesting insight about the movie and its creation that started at this property.

It also is essentially a ghost tour as well as you learn about the different ghosts that haunt the property and you even have an opportunity to have an encounter of your own.

So for anyone who is a fan of the Shining and/or ghost tours, I would definitely say that the tour is worth it.

The Estes Park Rock Shops You MUST Visit When in Town

I have to be honest a, I’ve never been one to visit rock shops in the past.

Don’t get me wrong, geology is fascinating and I’ve always been drawn to the unique rock formations found across the country, especially in the southwest. But I just never felt drawn to visit rock shops in the past.

However, I’m glad that I did recently at Estes Park because it’s home to two fantastic rock shops.

Estes Park Rock Shops: Must-Stop Sites

There are two main rocks shops in Estes Park: Red Rose Rock Shop and Ore Cart Rock Shop.

Both of the shops are worth visiting but they are also very different from each other.

Red Rose Rock Shop is more of a rock shop + road side attraction, boasting bulky portions of raw minerals, a wide range of fossils, and even boulders. It also has its fair share of beautifully polished gemstones and brilliant amethysts that will blow you away. It’s touted as a museum and it’s a place where you might spend more time wandering about with its spacious outdoor area located on the river.

The Ore Cart Rock Shop feels more like a premium gift shop with a large selection of jewelry, gemstones, and many beautifully polished minerals and rocks. If you’re looking to purchase a stunning piece of jewelry or a fine piece of gemstone this is probably the place you want to go.

Both of these shops have a fair amount of overlap but because each of these rock shops is a little bit different I highly recommend that you check out both of them when in Estes Park. To give you a sense of what to expect inside the shops, I’ll give you a little tour of both of them.

Red Rose Rock Shop

Inside the Red Rose Rock Shop

The Red Rose Rock Shop is located a four minutes away from the central downtown area by vehicle. Its address is: 490 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517.

You’ll find it along Hwy 36 and it’s hard to miss the sign for “Dicks Rock Museum.”

It’s a little confusing because all you see is a sign with “Rock Shop” on the outside in addition to the museum sign and you don’t actually see a sign that says “Red Rose Rock Shop.” But this is the spot.

Red Rose Rock Shop

As soon as we entered we found a brilliant amethyst geode standing a few feet tall.

Amethysts of course are known for their stunning purple coloration, which is a result of iron impurities in the quartz crystal. Amethyst is a variety of quartz and is one of the most popular and sought-after gemstones.

It’s believed to have spiritual and healing properties, usually associated with promoting calmness, clarity of mind, and protection against negative energies. You’ll be able to find plenty of these throughout the shop.

Red Rose Rock Shop

While there are a lot of raw minerals you can find here, there is also a good selection of fine polished rocks coming in all sorts of different shapes and sizes.

Red Rose Rock Shop

One of the most interesting items they had was a woolly mammoth tooth, which was found in the north sea! To get your hands on something like this, it’s going to run you $3,000.

Red Rose Rock Shop woolly mammoth tooth

If you are into fossils, you’ll find plenty of fish fossils and other marine animals of all different sizes. For the large fossils you’re looking at about $1,000+ but for the smaller ones you can find them for under $50.

Red Rose Rock Shop Fish fossils
Red Rose Rock Shop Fish fossils

They also have plenty of geodes and amethyst in the back so don’t miss those! For one of the large geodes like the one you see below on the very left of the top shelf, you’re looking at about $350.

Red Rose Rock Shop amethyst

After you wander through the shop (making sure not to miss any of the rooms), you can head outside where you’ll find some mini silos of rocks from various parts of the country and globe. You’ll find everything from seashells from the South Pacific to huge pieces of sharp black obsidian glass from Utah. You can touch and handle these rocks, but gloves might be required for some of the sharper substances.

Red Rose Rock Shop outdoor rocks
Red Rose Rock Shop seashells
Red Rose Rock Shop outdoor rocks

One of the most interesting rocks outside was the Yule Marble.

Yule Marble is a rare and highly prized type of marble known for its pristine white color and exceptional purity. It was named after the Yule Creek Valley in Colorado, where it was first discovered.

This marble has been used in numerous iconic structures, including the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is also used in the floor of the Colorado State Capitol building (along with other materials like a rare rose onyx).

Red Rose Rock Shop yule marble

If you’re in the market for huge chunks of petrified wood or boulders they have those for sale that you can find scattered around the premises.

Red Rose Rock Shop boulders

And did I mention the shop is located along the beautiful river?

Red Rose Rock Shop river

Inside the shop, you’ll find some food that you can use to feed ducks at the nearby pond.

It’s just a few steps away from the store in the back area and it’s a cool little stroll you can do where you’ll encounter dozens of ducks and geese. There’s also a coffee shop right on the pond so if you’re in the need of a pick me up you can grab some coffee and relax on one of the benches.

Red Rose Rock Shop pond ducks

Also, when you visit the the Red Rose Rock Shop, there’s another gift shop right next-door which has a lot of metalworks and souvenirs of all sorts, including a lot of different leather works. Since you’re in the area, you might as well stop by and check out what they have.

Inside the Ore Cart Rock Shop

The other rock shop worth checking out is The Ore Cart Rock Shop.

This shop is located in the middle of downtown so if you’re ever exploring the River Walk or just in the middle of Elkhorn Avenue where all of the restaurants and shops are, it’s really convenient to check out this place. It’s address is: 119 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517.

The Ore Cart Rock Shop feels like a more upscale gift shop compared to the Red Rose Rock Shop. Inside you’ll find shelves lined with stunning items like petrified wood, gemstones, and all sorts of beautiful crystals.

Ore Cart Rock Shop

From sandstone formations in Arizona to the labradorite specimens sourced from Madagascar, this rock shop offers a remarkable variety of materials that showcase the geological wonders of different regions.

Ore Cart Rock Shop snadstone

Labradorite, specifically, is a fascinating feldspar mineral known for its iridescent play of colors, often referred to as “labradorescence.” This optical phenomenon creates mesmerizing flashes of vibrant hues, ranging from blues and greens to golds and purples. View the stones from different angles and you may see how flamboyant the color hues can be. The larger book-ends cost around 1300.

Ore Cart Rock Shop Labradorite

Equally mesmerizing was the collection of Agate specimens from Brazil, exhibiting stunning shades of blue and purple. Agate is a variety of chalcedony known for its banded patterns and vibrant colors. The Brazilian Agate, in particular, is highly prized for its captivating hues and exquisite banding, which were brilliantly on display. You can find some amazing pieces for around $200.

Ore Cart Rock Shop  agate

Lots of these rocks and minerals are polished very nicely and would make for a perfect gifts. If you need to ship an order from either one of these rock shops, that can always be arranged.

Ore Cart Rock Shop quartz

The display at the rock shop also showcased a variety of smoky quartz specimens, known for their distinctive brown to grayish-brown color resulting from exposure to gamma rays during their formation process.

Smoky quartz is a common variety of quartz and is widely found in regions such as Brazil, the United States, Switzerland, and Scotland.

Smoky quartz

I thought it was really cool that they had rare black amethyst, a unique variation of amethyst that takes on a black color instead of the traditional purple due to hematite & nickel inclusions along with a higher iron content. The beautiful piece below was going for $225.

Ore Cart Rock Shop Black amethyst

And I really liked the collection of chrysocolla, which bears a resemblance to turquoise but differs because it is a copper-bearing mineral rather than a phosphate mineral like turquoise.

Chrysocolla often displays vibrant shades of blue and green, and its unique patterns and swirls make it a favorite among collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike.

We had just seen the raw form of this substance at the other rock shop so it was cool to see it in such a beautiful, polished state. You can find beautiful pieces for under $50 although the large, striking pieces may cost you around $600+.

Ore Cart Rock Shop Chrysocolla

And like the Red Rose Rock Shop, you will also find a lot of fossils over at this rock shop. These include dinosaur bones, trilobites, fossil ferns, and mosasaur teeth.

The idea of having pieces that are millions of years old as decorations in your own home is truly fascinating. While the larger and rarer pieces may come with a higher price tag, costing a few thousand dollars, you can also discover smaller fossils available at more reasonable prices, including many for under $20.

Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils
Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils
Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils

Some of the fossils came from the Morrison Formation which was interesting because we had just spent some time checking that out at Dinosaur Ridge which is home to the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the US along with other fossils from the Cretaceous and Jurassic era. If you’re in the Denver area, I highly recommend checking it out!

Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils

Final word

Even if you are not an avid rock collector, when visiting Estes Park it’s a good idea to check out both of these rock shops.

They offer different experiences and have items designed for different crowds. But both of them house hundreds of beautiful rocks and fossils that make them feel like museums at times.

If you’re looking to purchase a unique souvenir or gift for someone, both of these places would be terrific places to start and give you a solid alternative over those cheesy souvenirs so many tourists choose to go with.

Buc-ee’s Ultimate Guide (Locations & Facts) [2023]

If you’ve ever been on a road trip in Texas chances are you or someone in your car has wanted to stop at Buc-ee’s. Over the years, Buc-ee’s has established itself as a distinctly Texan establishment.

But what exactly does Buc-ee’s have to offer that makes it so special?

In this article, I’ll give you the ultimate guide to Buc-ee’s.

You’ll see what exactly is so special about this oversized convenient store and what you can expect when you visit different locations.

What is Buc-ee’s?

Buc-ee’s is a chain of travel centers (convenience stores) that can be found throughout Texas and the South.

The stores are known for their enormous gas station facilities, wide range of food and snack offerings, and most of all: ultra-clean bathrooms.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Things to know about Buc-ee’s

The store that never sleeps (open 24 hours)

All Buc-ee’s locations are open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. So even on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas you can still experience a good ole Buc-ee’s visit.

What’s more, the stores are often well lit and with all of the security cameras (see below), they generally feel like pretty safe places to stop at.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Texas?

Crowds can be an issue

Even though some Buc-ee’s locations are absolutely huge and can cater to throngs of customers, crowds and traffic can still be an issue.

If traveling on a weekend, especially around the holidays, you might have to wait or get aggressive to find an open gas pump.

And when venturing inside, you could run into a madhouse as soon as you pass that little buck-tooth beaver statue outside.

These stores are designed to cater to massive amounts of people so big crowds are not always a problem. Hordes of people seem to move in and out without a lot of issues.

But if you’re expecting a quiet and peaceful visit to a gas station bathroom, you won’t always get that at Buc-ee’s.

For some, the chaos just isn’t worth it.

40+ locations (not only in TX)

To the dismay of many Texans, Buc-ee’s is no longer an exclusively Texan establishment.

In 2019, Buc-ee’s opened their first convenience store/gas station outside of Texas in Alabama.

And now you can now find 40+ locations in states all over the south including Georgia.

More states are being added to the Buc-ee’s roster and you’ll soon be able to find locations in states like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

Related: How Many Miles Do You Cover When Driving Across the US?

The eyes of Buc-ee’s are upon you

Some Buc-ee’s locations are known to have high levels of surveillance. For example, the Bastrop location has about 200 high-tech cameras.

These are those movie-like cameras that can zoom in and reveal fine details like the type of bill you used to pay for your purchase.

You could be tracked from the time you enter the parking lot to the time that you leave so you don’t want to test the beaver.

Hopefully you don’t ever have to worry about this but if something ever goes down you will need to file a police report and then request for the police to request the surveillance footage from the store.

There’s a Buc-ee’s credit card

The Buc-ee’s credit card, issued by TDECU (Texas Dow Employees Credit Union), will get you $.10 off every gallon and comes with no annual fee.

In terms of rewards, this is not the most rewarding travel credit card but for a true Buc-ee’s fan, it might be worth picking up. You can find out more details about the credit card here.

Not every one wants Buc-ee’s

Believe it or not, not every place on the globe is eager to add a Buc-ee’s.

 Efland, North Carolina did not want one.

Why not?

They worried it would “would worsen traffic congestion, pollute a protected watershed, and offend aesthetic sensitivities.” 

Those seem like some pretty legit concerns so you can’t knock the town but it all probably just comes down to the fact that not everyone outside of Texas will “get” Buc-ee’s.

Where the name came from

Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982 which means that it will turn 40 years old in 2022.

The owner and co-founder, a Texas A&M graduate (whoop!), went by the name of Arch “Beaver” Aplin III and he apparently always had a liking for the Ipana toothpaste mascot known as “Bucky the Beaver.”

One look at that logo and you can see where the inspiration came from for Buc-ee’s.

Not every Buc-ee’s is bigger in Texas

To give you a sense of how big the Buc-ee’s stores can be, consider that the New Braunfels, TX, location boasts:

  • 120 fueling positions
  • 1,000 parking spots
  • 64 ice freezers
  • 83 toilets
  • 31 cash registers
  • four Icee machines
  • and 80 fountain dispensers

The entire New Braunfels store is 66,335 square feet, which is more square feet than a football field.

Seriously, a gas station bigger than a football field.

Only in Texas.

But this may come as a surprise: not every Buc-ee’s location is the size of a small airport or shopping mall.

Several locations are actually quite compact and closer to the size of your regular convenience store.

Many of these smaller locations are in Texas so if you see an out-of-state Buc-ee’s, there’s a good chance that will be on the bigger side.

Bathrooms are NOT overrated

You’ve probably heard about the award-winning bathrooms at Buc-ee’s.

While some gas stations look like a scene from the movie Saw, Buc-ee’s stores are famous for being the cleanest bathrooms you’ll find on the road and in my experience it’s always true.

In fact, the pristine bathrooms found at Buc-ee’s are probably the number one reason why people stop at Buc-ee’s.

But they aren’t just spotless — the bathrooms also are usually huge and spacious.

I’ve never seen a wait for a urinal and only on a couple of occasions have I seen a real line for the stalls.

In the men’s room, you can find walls of urinals with deep floor to ceiling partitions that actually give you real privacy.

For people traveling with families, the consistently clean and private bathrooms are even more attractive.

Bottom line: if you ever need to go on the road, Buc-ee’s is definitely where you want to be.

And just in case you were wondering, you don’t actually have to buy anything to use the bathroom there.

Inside Buc-ee's

You’ll have plenty of food and drink options at Buc-ee’s

Buc-ee’s will have just about every type of snack item you could possibly be craving, including their famous “Beaver Nuggets” which are a sweet combination of caramel, sugar, and butter coated corn puffs.

Prices sometimes feel a little high but some popular items to pick up at the store include:

  • Jerky
  • Fudge
  • Kolaches
  • Dippin dots
  • Sandwiches
  • Tacos
  • Icees (lots of flavors)

If you’re looking for specific suggestions consider these:

  • Hill Country turkey jerky
  • Bohemian garlic jerky
  • Salted caramel covered pretzels
  • Rhino breakfast taco
  • Texas BLT
  • Mediterranean salad wrap

Some locations have a barbecue stand called the Texas Round Up where you can buy pre-made chopped brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, turkey, sausage, etc.

In my experience, the food is not always phenomenal but a solid notch or two above your standard gas station food.

It’s perfect when you’re looking for something quick and hearty on the road.

In terms of barbecue quality, you could certainly do better in Texas by hunting out a BBQ joint.

But the beauty of Buc-ee’s is that it’s highly convenient to pick up a hot BBQ sandwich while also filling up your tank and not having to gamble on the bathroom situation.

The shopping at Buc-ee’s goes well beyond food and drink, though.

You can find all kinds of apparel, souvenirs, and random items.

If your location is near a tourist hotspot with a particular type of attraction then you’ll find gear for your visit such as fishing rods, beach supplies, river tubes/shoes, hunting gear, etc.

Buc-ee's bbq

Buc-ee’s is NOT a truck stop

Buc-ee’s are not truck stops and so you are not going to find any showers or a lot of 18 wheelers hanging around.

In fact, you can often find “no 18 wheelers” signs posted at the entrances.

The reason for this is to keep Buc-ee’s like it is, a family friendly environment without some of the “hassles” that come with truckstops.

Many truckers are unhappy with being denied access to Buc-ee’s — after all, without massive shipments coming in from truckers how else could Buc-ee’s exist?

But one thing is clear, Buc-ee’s is serious about keeping out 18 wheelers and will even escort drivers out of the store who try to make their way in.

They pay great

Working at Buc-ee’s can be a lucrative job opportunity because their employees are well paid.

According to GlassDoor, “The average Bucee’s hourly pay ranges from approximately $16 per hour for a Cashier to $18 per hour for a Team Lead.”

That’s some really good money.

Meanwhile, the typical Circle K Cashier salary is earning $10 per hour and many convenient stores will be closer to $9 per hour.

These mega-convenience stores can get incredibly busy so it helps tremendously to have employees getting sufficiently compensated so that they can help keep things moving at a quick pace.

You may not have windshield cleaners

If there is one major weakness of some Buc-ee’s locations, it’s that they don’t have windshield cleaners or squeegees located at the pumps.

This means that your bug splattered windshield will have to remain dirty on your long journey to you next destination, unless you have some way to clean it yourself.

They have car washes

While you may not find windshield cleaners, some locations have car washes.

As you would expect some of these car washes are going to be quite large just like the one in Katy, Texas, which is the largest car wash in the world.

Gas may or may not be cheaper

I’ve seen gas at Bucee’s priced both a little bit lower and a little bit higher when compared to nearby gas stations.

Buc-ee’s locations



  • 2328 Lindsay Lane South, Athens, AL 35613


  • 2500 Buc-ee’s Blvd., Auburn, AL 36832


  • 6900 Buc-ee’s Blvd., Leeds, AL 35094


  • 20403 County Rd. 68, Robertsdale, AL 36567



  • Expected to be the largest convenience store (and largest Buc-ee’s) in America


Daytona Beach

  • 2330 Gateway North Drive, Daytona Beach, FL 32117

Saint Augustine

  • 200 World Commerce Pkwy, Saint Augustine, FL 32092



  • 601 Union Grove Rd. SE, Adairsville, GA 30103

Warner Robins

  • 7001 Russell Parkway, Fort Valley, GA 31030



  • 1013 Buc-ee’s Boulevard, Richmond, KY 40475

South Carolina


  • 3390 North Williston Road, Florence, SC 29506



  • 2045 Genesis Road, Crossville, TN 38555



  • 780 Hwy-35 N Byp, Alvin, TX 77511


  • 2299 E Mulberry St, Angleton, TX 77515
  • 931 Loop 274, Angleton, TX 77515
  • 2304 W Mulberry St, Angleton, TX 77515


  • 1700 Highway 71 East, Bastrop, TX 78602


  • 4080 East Freeway, Baytown, TX 77521


  • 801 N Brooks, Brazoria, TX 77422
  • 1101 S Brooks St, Brazoria, TX 77422 (Closed)


  • 27106 US-290, Cypress, TX 77433


  • 2800 S Interstate 35 E, Denton, TX 76210

Eagle Lake

  • 505 E Main St, Eagle Lake, TX 77434


  • 1402 South IH- 45, Ennis, TX 75119

Fort Worth

  • 15901 N Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76177


  • 4231 E. Hwy 332, Freeport, TX 77541
  • 1002 N Brazosport Blvd., Freeport, TX 77541


  • 2375 E Austin St, Giddings, TX 78942


  • 27700 Katy Fwy, Katy, TX 77494

Lake Jackson

  • 899 Oyster Creek Drive, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
  • 101 N Hwy 2004, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
  • 598 Hwy 332, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

League City

  • 1702 League City Pkwy, League City, TX 77573


  • 10070 West IH 10, Luling, TX 78658


  • 205 IH-45 South, Madisonville, TX 77864


  • 1550 Central Texas Expressway, Melissa, TX 75454

New Braunfels

  • 2760 IH 35 North, New Braunfels, TX 78130


  • 2541 S Main St, Pearland, TX 77584
  • 11151 Shadow Creek Pky, Pearland, TX 77584

Port Lavaca

  • 2318 W Main, Port Lavaca, TX 77979


  • 1243 Crabb River Rd, Richmond, TX 77469

Royse City

  • 5005 E Interstate 30, Royse City, TX 75189


  • 4155 N General Bruce Dr., Temple, TX 76501


  • 506 W. IH 20, Terrell, TX 75160

Texas City

  • 6201 Gulf Fwy (IH 45), Texas City, TX 77591


  • 40900 US Hwy 290 Bypass, Waller, TX 77484


  • 10484 US 59 Road, Wharton, TX 77488

Find locations here.

Final word

Buc-ee’s is a must stop for millions of people every year when traveling through Texas and now through the South.

Beyond the broad food selection, spotless bathrooms, and absurd number of gas pumps, there’s just something special about the store that gets a lot of people excited.

Estes Park River Walk Guide: Don’t Miss Out on The Best Parts

Estes Park is one of the most beautiful mountain towns you’ll find. It’s known for being a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, but the town itself is also incredibly scenic. One way to get a great dose of nature is to embark on a journey on the Estes Park River Walk.

However, many visitors to Estes Park often only get to see a part of the River Walk. So, below, I’ll guide you on how you can fully experience the River Walk, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of its scenic views, artwork, hidden quirks, and some of the best restaurants.

What is the Estes Park River Walk?

The Estes Park Riverwalk is a picturesque walking path that runs alongside the Big Thompson River and Fall River in Downtown Estes Park, Colorado.

The main section of the Riverwalk stretches from near the Estes Park Visitor Center to Performance Park, covering approximately 1.1 miles one-way. It provides a leisurely and accessible pathway for taking a peaceful stroll, exercising, or making your way to some of the many tempting restaurants and shops.

How to get to the Estes Park River Walk

There are numerous parking lots located along or very close to the Estes Park River Walk.

Some are free while others require you to pay. You can pick up the free Discover Estes book at the visitor center to find a breakdown of all the parking options but I would recommend using the free parking located near the Estes Park Visitor’s Center.

There, you’ll find a parking garage as well as a small parking lot which includes a few EV charging spaces, which are free to use.

Not only is this parking nice because it’s free, but it also marks the beginning of the River Walk so it’s a logical place to begin your exploration.

Estes Park River Walk parking

From the parking garage, you’ll follow along the sidewalk and then cross the Big Thompson River via one of the two bridges.

I suggest crossing the first one which is the one that goes above the dam because that’s truly the beginning and it takes you right to the visitor center if you want to go there.

Estes Park River Walk

Then you’ll follow the sidewalk through an underpass (under Hwy 36) which is full of artistic pieces of tile hand painted by community members of Estes Park.

Estes Park River Walk

Once you make it out of there then it’s just a matter of following the sidewalk as it takes you over the confluence of Black Canyon Creek and the Big Thompson River.

Estes Park River Walk

After about .3 miles, you’ll eventually arrive at George Hix Riverside Plaza which is the location of yet another confluence. This one being where the Fall River and Big Thompson River join.

In the park you’ll find a series of different bridges which can be a little bit confusing but simply stay along the path along the back of the Elkhorn Ave businesses, then cross Moraine Ave (seen below), and then you’ll be walking along the Fall River on a pretty clear path.

Estes Park River Walk

At just under 1 mile you will need to cross Elkhorn Avenue so that you’ll be on the other side of the river and you will eventually encounter the The Water Wheel and end up in Performance Park where the riverwalk officially ends.

If you’d like, you can continue on the “unofficial” Riverwalk which still runs along the Fall River in front of the Fall River Village Resort. This area can be very quiet and peaceful since it is more removed from the crowds and if you continue on this path your round-trip will be about 2.6 miles and probably take you 1 to 1.5 hours.

As mentioned, lots of people aren’t aware of the full extent of the Estes Park Riverwalk so by following this route you’ll be able to experience all of it!

Estes Park River Walk map

If you head to the visitor center, you’ll be able to get a hold of a lot of different maps of the Estes Park area. Surprisingly though it’s difficult to find a map that clearly shows you the path of the River Walk as it makes its way through downtown.

But you can check out the GPS map that followed our journey along the River Walk below. (We took a couple of small detours but for the most part we stayed along the established River Walk path.)

What is there to see on the Estes Park River Walk?

There’s a lot to see on the Estes Park River Walk even though it’s only about one mile long.

First, the sights and sounds of the flowing water running through the emerald landscape full of towering pine trees, quaking aspens, and other conifers is stunning. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

Estes Park River Walk

You’ll find many benches along the river where you can relax and breathe in the crisp mountain air, letting your worries float away like leaves on a river. It’s one of my favorite parts of the River Walk and a great way to slow down and be present.

Estes Park River Walk
Estes Park River Walk

Along the way, you’ll also encounter a lot of art installations.

One of the funnest things to do is to try to find all of the hidden pika statues.

Pikas are fluffy little mountain-dwelling critters that look like a cross between a bunny and a plump mouse and come with the attitude of a pint-sized mountaineer ready to conquer the world.

There are 12 somewhat hidden pika bronze sculptures that you can find which were installed in 2017. If you choose to do the scavenger hunt, stop by the visitor center and you can get some guidance on where roughly these are located along with some clues to help you find them. You could also just use the online guide.

Estes Park River Walk pika

If you begin your journey from the very beginning of the River Walk, you first come across the beautiful Estes Park Veterans Monument dedicated to all of the men and women who have served in the US military.

An eagle’s outstretched feathers atop the monument commands your attention and there are large stones honoring each branch of the military in well executed tribute.

Estes Park River Walk veterans monument

Additionally, along the Estes Park Riverwalk, you’ll discover a variety of interactive exhibits that cater to the musically inclined.

Take a moment to indulge your inner musician with the outdoor xylophone and the “Contra Chimes.” Installed in 2015, the chimes stand up to a whopping 93 inches and are had to pass up without giving them a try.

Estes Park River Walk instruments
Estes Park River Walk instruments

Along the way, you will encounter the Women’s Monument which is a collection of 12 bronze sculptures created by famed artist Jane DeDecker. Each statue tells the story of a woman who contributed to Estes Park over the decades, dating back to the pioneer times. It’s very well done.

Also nearby is the Estes Park Playground.

Estes Park River Walk Women’s monument
Estes Park River Walk Women’s monument

By the way, if you ever want to cross over to the main road (Elkhorn Ave) from the Riverwalk, there are plenty of alleyways and intersections allowing you to do that, so you’re never “trapped” on the riverside.

With the water temperature so low in the rivers, you may find walking along the River Walk to be a lot cooler than on the street.

Once you cross Riverside Drive you’ll hit George Hix Riverside Plaza. This area is brimming with delightful features, including bridges, statues, and captivating water elements.

Feel free to hop on the bronze saddle, a tribute to George Hix’s love for the West, but watch out because this thing can become quite hot to the touch in the summer!

George Hix Riverside Plaza

Take a moment to wander around and relax in this spot, checking out the Sensory Garden home to an array of flowers, butterflies, and humming birds. But don’t leave before finding one of the hidden pikas nearby!

After crossing Moraine Avenue, you’ll see the gazebo plaza area along the Estes Park Riverwalk. Here, you’ll discover a charming space with steps that lead you closer to the river’s edge. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to get a firsthand experience of the river’s presence.

Put your hand in the water just to see how cold it is but don’t fall in!

Estes Park River Walk gazebo
Estes Park River Walk

Then continue along and cross Elkhorn Ave and you will find the famous water wheel, which will hopefully be in action whenever you visit.

Estes Park River Walk water wheel

Continue on and just a few steps away you’ll encounter Tregent Park, with an interesting art installation placed in the middle of the river. It also has a great view of the water wheel.

Estes Park River Walk sculpture

If the water wheel isn’t spinning, don’t rush off just yet! Stick around and keep an eye out for those enchanting hummingbirds, zipping around like like nature’s own mini-helicopters.

By the way, if you ever need to use the bathroom you can find some public bathrooms located in multiple spots along the way.

Estes Park River Walk bathroom

Continue on right along the river for about .2 miles and you will arrive at Performance Park, which has a wall used for rock climbing. Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s best to just admire the rock face from the ground but this is the official ending point of the Riverwalk.

Estes Park River Walk performance park
Estes Park River Walk performance park

As mentioned earlier, you can continue on for a little while and walk along the nearby resort which tends to be a pretty quiet spot.

There is even more sidewalk that continues along Elkhorn Ave, so if you wanted an extended stroll or work out you could definitely continue on. Some of that sidewalk does run in proximity to the river at times but you’ll mostly just be going along the roadside at that point.

Estes Park River Walk

Restaurants on the Estes Park River Walk

The Estes Park River Walk runs largely behind many restaurants and shops along Elkhorn Ave.

You can access some of these from their rear entrance but one reason I like walking along the Riverwalk is that it’s less tempting to simply hit up every ice cream and fudge shop along the way!

If you’re looking for a place to eat near the Riverwalk, there are a ton of different options. To help narrow down your choices, we put together a list of some of the top rated restaurants that are found along the vicinity of the Riverwalk.

Estes Thai RestaurantThai Food
The Egg of EstesAmerican
SEASONED – An American BistroAmerican
Mile High Coffee HouseCoffee House
Kind CoffeeCoffee House
Mangia Mangia PizzeriaPizza
Inkwell & BrewCoffee House
Hayley’s Ice CreamSweets
The Sundae SaloonSweets
River Walk CaféCoffee House
Rosas Tacos Food TruckMexican
Chester`s PhillySandwich
Raven’s Roast Coffee LoungeCoffee House

In addition to these, some other dining establishment you may want to check out include:

Estes Park Pie Shop & Diner (You Need Pie!)American/Pie Shop
Ed’s Cantina & GrillMexican
Poppy’s Pizza & GrillPizza
Mama Rose’s RestaurantItalian
Claire’s Restaurant and BarAmerican
Nepal’s CafeNepalese
Elevations Eatery and BarMix of everything
Munchin’ HouseSweets
Sweet River + SageMexican
Himalayan Curry & KebobNepalese
The Sandwich MafiaSandwich
The Grubsteak RestaurantSteak House
Danish Cone FactorySweets
Penelope’s Old Time BurgersAmerican
Big Horn RestaurantAmerican
The Wild Rose RestaurantAmerican
Flavors of The RockiesSweets
THE BARREL – Estes ParkBeer Garden

Final word

I’m a huge fan of the Estes Park River Walk.

It’s incredibly scenic, full of some interesting art pieces and installations, and you’ll find no shortage of restaurants and shops in the area.

It’s also just long enough to give you a little dose of exercise. I think visitors should try to walk the entire length at least one time during their stay so that they can fully appreciate everything it has to offer.

Dining at the Original Chipotle Location in Denver: Where a Food Empire Began

Virtually anywhere you go in the US, it’s not hard to find a Chipotle nearby.

However, this colossal chain had quite humble beginnings. If you ever find yourself in the Denver area, it’s worth considering a visit to the original Chipotle location, where it all began.

Below, I’ll discuss visiting the original location and provide you with a glimpse into the history of Chipotle’s remarkable ascent.

Where is the original Chipotle location?

You can find the original Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant nestled in the University of Denver neighborhood at 1644 E Evans Ave, Denver, CO 80210. It’s right next-door to one of the well-known marijuana dispensaries, Starbuds.

Related Denver articles:

Original Chipotle Location in Denver

A brief history of the quick rise of Chipotle

You could say the Chipotle story started in San Francisco in 1993.

There, Founder Steve Ells, donned the apron of a line cook, and amidst the tantalizing aromas of the Mission District restaurants, witnessed the popularity of the taquerías and legendary San Francisco burritos.

In 1993, drawing inspiration from his experiences in San Francisco, Steve Ells ventured into the heart of Denver, Colorado, to bring his own culinary vision to life. Little did he know that this humble endeavor would ignite a wildfire of success. The inaugural Chipotle Mexican Grill burst onto the scene, becoming an instant hit.

Originally, Ells had grand aspirations of utilizing the proceeds from his maiden Chipotle venture to establish an upscale dining establishment. However, as the masses flocked to savor the flavors of Chipotle, he shifted his focus entirely to his Mexican grills. Just two years later, in 1995, a second Chipotle store emerged, signaling the rapid expansion to come.

Chipotle quickly spread its influence beyond Colorado’s borders. In 1998, the first Chipotle restaurant outside of Colorado opened, to the pleasure of diners in Kansas City, Missouri.

But the big turning point for Chipotle came in 1998, when the fast-food giant McDonald’s recognized the extraordinary potential of the burgeoning Mexican grill concept. In a transformative move, McDonald’s made a significant investment in Chipotle, soon becoming the company’s largest investor.

McDonald’s injected a surge of momentum into Chipotle’s expansion plans. In the span of just seven years, from 1998 to 2005, the number of Chipotle restaurants skyrocketed from a mere 16 to an astonishing 500 and beyond.

By 2005, McDonald’s reportedly had a 90% stake in Chipotle’s business. 

Eventually, McDonald’s would divest its ownership, citing its side ventures like Chipotle as a distraction. They wanted to put all of their efforts into the McDonald’s brand.

But there also appears to have been differences between Chipotle and McDonald’s. McDonald’s had its own vision for Chipotle’s future, which included implementing changes such as adding drive-thrus, introducing a breakfast menu, and potentially altering the brand name to “Chipotle Fresh Mexican Grill.”

The contrasting approach to food between Chipotle and McDonald’s played a significant role in the eventual separation of the two companies.

Chipotle operates in a category known as “fast casual,” which sets it apart from traditional fast food establishments. The fast casual segment places a stronger emphasis on utilizing high-quality, fresh ingredients and prioritizing sustainability, distinguishing it from the typical fast food model.

Chipotle’s commitment to sourcing high-quality ingredients and its “food with integrity” philosophy resonated with a growing number of consumers seeking healthier and more sustainable dining options.

The brand’s emphasis on responsible sourcing, such as using naturally raised meats and organic produce, appealed to customers who valued transparency and environmentally-conscious practices.

In contrast, McDonald’s (as we all know) operates within the realm of true fast food, which focuses on quick service and affordability. While McDonald’s had its own successful model and practices, the differences in food philosophy and approach ultimately led to a divergence between the two companies.

In the end, McDonald’s missed out on some serious guacamole. Some estimate that McDonald’s lost out on around $50 billion in earnings by getting out.

Chipotle has faced a lot of challenges over the years. From the notorious foodborne illness outbreaks in 2015, famously associated with cases of E. coli and norovirus, to legal battles concerning labor practices, they have had their fair share of controversy.

Indeed, like many large companies, Chipotle has had to face up to its own imperfections. However, it’s hard to deny the sheer impressiveness of the empire they have built. Today, Chipotle’s presence extends far and wide, with over 3,100 restaurants in the United States.

Chipotle burrito bowl

Visiting the original Chipotle location

We pulled up around noon and easily found street parking. There are a couple of parking spots just outside the restaurant and some along the street but be sure to note the one hour limit (not that you need one hour to scarf down those tantalizing burritos, bowls, and tacos.)

As you walk up to the restaurant, you’ll notice how it looks nothing like any other modern Chipotle, as its vintage charm remains well intact. The original building was a Dolly Madison ice cream shop which you can kind of get the vibe of when you step inside.

Original Chipotle Location in Denver

One peculiar quirk about Chipotle is its opening time, set at the rather unconventional hour of 10:45 AM. It stays open late until 10 PM.

Original Chipotle Location in Denver

Step inside, and you’ll find that the original Chipotle restaurant retains much of its traditional appearance, albeit in a more compact form.

The space is limited, with only four cozy barstool areas and a handful of chairs for dine-in customers. Don’t expect any fancy outdoor patios or sprawling seating arrangements here. It seems like many people opt for takeout from this location, given its modest size.

In our case, being in the presence of the first-ever Chipotle establishment, we couldn’t resist the urge to dine in. To our delight, the restaurant wasn’t crowded at all, allowing us to enjoy our meal without any hassle.

Original Chipotle Location in Denver interior
Original Chipotle Location in Denver interior
Original Chipotle Location in Denver interior

I know Chipotle workers have a reputation for being extremely efficient but the workers that were on duty at the time we visited were insanely efficient and seemingly working with laser precision. They probably could have made my burrito blindfolded.

Original Chipotle Location in Denver interior

There is a drink station for soda water and some lemonade and other juices and a couple of bathrooms towards the back but that’s about all that you’ll find inside this smaller venue.

Original Chipotle Location in Denver interior

After a considerable hiatus from munching on a chipotle burrito (my usual go-to being the beloved bowls), I knew that visiting the original Chipotle required a throwback to the classics. So I went with a good old-fashioned burrito. Just like old times, it hit the spot.

Chipotle burrito

Before you head back to your vehicle, make sure that you stop by the official plaque near the door so that you can take your picture in front of the original Chipotle, “where a revolution wrapped in foil began.”

Final word

Back in the day, I went through a passionate chipotle phase, with their burritos becoming my frequent choice of sustenance during countless law school meals. So I thoroughly enjoyed being able to set foot in the original establishment. The Chipotle story, in my opinion, is a captivating success narrative full of class entrepreneur challenges, obstacles, and plot twists and one full of valuable lessons.

Residence Inn Breakfast: What’s in Store for You? (Hours & Menu Options)

Are you considering a stay at the Residence Inn and curious about the breakfast arrangements? You may be wondering what to anticipate.

Will it be a grand feast that fills you with delight, leaving you gleefully strolling down the hallway with a contented stomach? Or should you brace yourself for a disappointing start to your day?

In this exploration of the breakfast experience, I will share everything you need to be aware of regarding breakfast at the Residence Inn. I’ll cover the different types of menu options and also go into details on the hours as well.

Is the Residence Inn breakfast free?

Yes, the Residence Inn breakfast is included in the cost of your room, so you don’t have to pay extra for it.

Related: What Hotels Have Free Breakfast?

What to expect with a Residence Inn breakfast

You’ll be pleased to know that Residence Inn properties often offer a breakfast spread that goes beyond the basics of a simple continental breakfast.

A typical Residence Inn breakfast is buffet-style, allowing you to savor a range of offerings.

Residence Inn properties usually provide a comfortable and inviting breakfast area where you can enjoy your meal.

Some locations may offer spacious dining areas with cozy seating arrangements, including TV screens so you can catch up on the latest news or weather forecast in the morning as you prepare for the day.

If you don’t want to eat breakfast out with everybody else, or you are struggling to find an open table you can always take your meal up to your room.

Residence Inn breakfast dining area

What will be included?

At a Residence Inn, you can usually find an assortment of both cold and hot breakfast options.

For the cold options, you can expect a selection of bagels, croissants, and muffins/pastries. The specific types of pastries may vary depending on the property. Don’t expect highest quality in the world but sometimes you can get by with some decent options.

Residence Inn breakfast pastries
Residence Inn breakfast breads
Residence Inn breakfast muffins

Condiments such as jelly and different butter options will be available for your bread. To toast your bread or bagel, a 4-slotted toaster should be provided for your convenience.

Residence Inn breakfast toaster

In addition, you’ll likely find a range of cereals like Cheerios, Froot Loops, Rice Krispies, and other popular choices such as Frosted Flakes.

Residence Inn breakfast cereal

The cereal can come in different forms including individual boxes, individual sealed plastic bowls, and from the dispensers. Sometimes the Residence Inn might even switch up how they offer the cereal every few days. And you usually have a choice of skim milk or whole milk for your cereal.

Residence Inn breakfast  milk

You can also enjoy yogurt and possibly some fresh fruit like oranges and bananas. However, the quality and variety of fruit may vary.

Oatmeal is another staple you can expect to find. This may come in a large container or an individual packs such as apple cinnamon and plain. Often times, you have a lot of condiments to choose from, which could be things like brown sugar, nuts, and chocolate chips.

Residence Inn breakfast oatmeal

Moving on to the hot items, you may find traditional breakfast options such as scrambled eggs, potatoes (hash browns, tater tots, home fries, etc.), and proteins like sausage, bacon (US or Canadian). There may also be a container with French toast, French toast sticks, or mini pancakes.

Residence Inn breakfast eggs

In terms of the quality of the eggs, they are pretty much your standard bulk-made scrambled eggs but not those terrible, inedible eggs you may have encountered at cheaper properties.

Sometimes the Residence Inn switches up how they serve their eggs but I’ve seen some that simply serve basically the same scrambled eggs every morning. If you’re on an extended-stay, this can start to go old really fast so it helps if you get creative.

For one, always look for some salsa or picante sauce to spice up your eggs a little bit. Throw on some shredded cheese if it’s there and salt and pepper as all of that will help give you some unique flavor.

You can also turn to the breads to make things better. Try to make your own egg sandwich with some of the bread selections and you likely won’t be disappointed.

Some hotels will switch the type of sausage they serve and rotate bacon, pork sausage, and turkey sausage patties or links throughout the week. But I’ve seen some properties that simply randomly alternate this so it makes it really difficult to predict what will be down there in the next morning.

Residence Inn breakfast bacon

Typically, a potato dish is commonly included. You can expect choices like hashbrowns or house fries, among others, although there may be occasions when no potato dishes are available.

Residence Inn breakfast  potatoes

You can expect to find biscuits and gravy on certain days. For example, they may be available every Saturday offering you a nice country-style breakfast option. Some properties may do something special like offer omelettes, breakfast burritos, croissant sandwiches, or other special items but that’s never a given.

One of the perks of staying at the Residence Inn is that sometimes you can have a waffle or pancake maker to enjoy your own fluffy creation. Butter and syrup will also be available.

Residence Inn breakfast waffle maker

Always make sure to spray down the waffle maker before using it to prevent your batter from sticking (assuming they offer you that option, of course)!

When it comes to the beverages available at the Residence Inn, rest assured that you’ll have a diverse selection to satisfy your morning thirst. You can indulge in freshly brewed coffee, tea, and the refreshing flavors of a variety of juices.

Orange juice is pretty much a given but you also may be able to choose from other types like a cranberry juice and apple juice. Sometimes, a juice may go out and not be replaced for quite a while.

Coffee lovers will be delighted to discover a choice of regular and decaffeinated options, and there might even be a variety of roasts available, ranging from light to dark. All the cream and sugar you require will be conveniently placed next to the coffee canisters, ensuring you have everything you need to personalize your favorite cup of coffee.

It could be just bad luck but the Residence Inn hotels that I’ve stayed in have not had the best tea selection. Often, you can find a wide variety of tea flavors down in the breakfast area at a hotel but at the Residence Inn this has not been the case in my experience.

Sometimes extended-stay properties get busier quicker for breakfast.

I think it may have to do with the routine people get into at extended stays where they get ready for breakfast quicker or perhaps the business workers travelers who are staying there that need an early start. But just be prepared for the breakfast area to get busy in a hurry at some locations.

The good news is that there will be a staff member there to make sure the breakfast area remains kept well.

A good Residence Inn will have someone constantly replenishing all of the items so that you’re never left hanging or dealing with things like overflowing trash cans. Sometimes there is also a tip a jar for them which you can use to show your appreciation.

Departures from the standard

It’s always possible that a Residence Inn property will depart from the ideal breakfast experience. For example, they may have limited hot items during the week or offer grab and go options.

Lots of these instances have been due to the pandemic as some properties have not fully adjusted back to normal.

For that reason, if you are going to settle down at a Residence Inn for a while, it might be a good idea to call ahead and ask about the breakfast options.

Residence Inn breakfast hours

As for the Residence Inn breakfast hours, typically breakfast will begin at 6 AM or 6:30 AM on a weekday and last until 9 AM or 9:30 AM.

On weekends, breakfast usually begins a little bit later such as about 30 minutes later and remains open until about 9:30 AM or 10 AM. (On occasion you’ll find a property where are the hours remain the same during the weekday and on the weekends.)

To give you a sense of some real world breakfast hours at the Residence Inn, we’ve supplied the breakfast hours for various properties across the country below.

Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Times Square6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Midtown East6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Weehawken Port Imperial6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn New York Downtown Manhattan/World Trade Center Area6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn New York Downtown Manhattan/Financial District6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Jersey City6:00am – 10:00am6:30am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Secaucus Meadowlands6:00am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn New York JFK Airport6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Los Angeles L.A. LIVE6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Los Angeles Glendale6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Los Angeles Pasadena/Old Town6:00am – 9:00am6:30am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Beverly Hills6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Los Angeles Burbank/Downtown6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Los Angeles LAX/Century Boulevard6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Los Angeles LAX/El Segundo6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Los Angeles Redondo Beach6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Marina del Rey6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Los Angeles LAX/Manhattan Beach6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Loop6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/River North6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Chicago Midway Airport6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Chicago Wilmette/Skokie6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Chicago Oak Brook6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Chicago O’Hare6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Houston Downtown/Convention Center6:00am – 9:30am7:30am – 10:30am
Residence Inn Houston-West University6:30am – 9:30am7:30am – 10:30am
Residence Inn Houston Medical Center/NRG Park6:00am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Houston by The Galleria6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Houston Westchase on Westheimer6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Houston West/Beltway 8 at Clay Road6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Houston Pasadena6:00am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Houston West/Energy Corridor6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Houston Sugar Land/Stafford6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Houston Northwest/Willowbrook6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Phoenix Downtown6:00am – 9:00am6:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Phoenix Airport6:00am – 10:00am6:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Tempe Downtown/University6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Scottsdale Salt River6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Phoenix Glendale Sports & Entertainment District6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Phoenix West/Avondale6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Phoenix Mesa6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Phoenix Chandler/Fashion Center6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Scottsdale North6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Phoenix Glendale/Peoria6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Philadelphia Center City6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Philadelphia Bala Cynwyd6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Philadelphia Airport6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Deptford6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Cherry Hill Philadelphia6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Philadelphia Conshohocken6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Mt. Laurel at Bishop’s Gate6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Philadelphia Willow Grove6:30am – 9:00am6:30am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Philadelphia Montgomeryville6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn San Antonio Downtown/Market Square6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn San Antonio Airport/Alamo Heights6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn San Antonio SeaWorld®/Lackland6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn San Antonio North/Stone Oak6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn San Antonio Six Flags® at The RIM6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn San Marcos6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter6:00am – 9:00am6:00am – 9:00am
Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayfront6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn San Diego Downtown6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn San Diego La Jolla6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn San Diego Chula Vista6:30am – 9:00am6:30am – 9:30am
Residence Inn San Diego Sorrento Mesa/Sorrento Valley6:30am – 9:30am6:30am – 9:30am
Residence Inn San Diego Rancho Bernardo/Scripps Poway6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn San Diego Del Mar6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Jacksonville Downtown6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Jacksonville Butler Boulevard6:00am – 10:00am6:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Jacksonville Airport6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Jacksonville-Mayo Clinic Area6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Jacksonville South/Bartram Park6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Columbus Downtown6:30am – 9:30am6:30am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Columbus OSU6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:00am
Residence Inn Columbus Airport6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:00am
Residence Inn Columbus Easton6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Columbus Dublin6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Columbus Polaris6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte City Center6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte Uptown6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte Airport6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte SouthPark6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte Northlake6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte Steele Creek6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte Piper Glen6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte Concord6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Charlotte Lake Norman6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Seattle Downtown/Convention Center6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Seattle Downtown/Lake Union6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Seattle University District6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Seattle Bellevue/Downtown6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Seattle Bellevue6:30am – 9:30am6:30am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Denver South/Park Meadows Mall6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Denver City Center6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Denver Downtown7:00am – 10:00am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Denver Cherry Creek6:30am – 9:00am7:00am – 9:30am
Residence Inn Denver Central Park6:30am – 9:30am7:00am – 10:00am
Residence Inn Corpus Christi6:30am – 9:30am6:30am – 9:30am
Residence Inn by Marriott Tucson Airport6:00am – 9:00am7:00am – 10:00am

Final word

Overall, you can assemble a satisfactory breakfast at the Residence Inn, particularly when there are special items like biscuits and gravy on the menu. If you’re staying for an extended period, it’s advisable to get creative and mix up the items to avoid getting tired of eating the same things consecutively for several days.

The Denver Trolley Review: Relive The Glory Days of the Streetcar

Like many major cities in the US, the streetcar played a vital role in the progress and growth of the city of Denver.

Today, you won’t hear the clickety-clack of the tracks echoing through the city streets, but there is one place where you can get a taste of history, and that place is the Denver Trolley.

Below, I’ll provide you with all the information you need to know about the Denver Trolley before your visit, including some intriguing historical background that will enhance your experience even further.

What is the Denver Trolley?

The Denver Trolley is a remodeled trolley found in Downtown Denver that takes visitors to various stops along a 25-minute journey.

The trolley or “street car” is not one of the original street cars used in Denver. Instead, it is a replica built in 1986 that is meant to look like a 1903 Brill open streetcar.

The frame and steel components of the car were originally taken from Melbourne, Australia, but it was made by the Gomaco Trolley Company in Ida Grove, Iowa.

Denver Trolley

Tip: If you want to step inside of a vintage closed street car used in Denver then be sure to visit the Aurora History Museum where they have a 100+ year old beautifully preserved streetcar that you can step inside of.

The rise and fall of the Denver Trolley: a brief history

Stepping onto the Denver Trolley is like a time-traveling adventure and fun in it’s own right. But it’s even better when you understand how street cars were the lifeblood of cities in the early 20th century.

In 1871, Denver introduced its first horsecars, marking the beginning of the city’s public transportation journey. Over the next decade, Denver ventured into experimenting with steam dummies and storage batteries as alternative propulsion systems. However, these early attempts faced several challenges that deterred public interest.

The horsecars, while a significant advancement at the time, had their limitations. They relied on horses for propulsion, which restricted their speed and range. Additionally, the use of horses meant dealing with waste management and maintenance, which could be a nuisance in the growing city.

The introduction of steam dummies was an attempt to harness steam power for transportation. However, these steam-powered vehicles had their drawbacks. They were noisy, emitted pollution, and required a dedicated infrastructure for steam generation, making them less desirable for urban environments.

Storage batteries were another avenue explored to power the streetcars. While they offered a cleaner alternative compared to steam, their limited range and frequent need for recharging posed practical challenges.

The technology of the time simply couldn’t provide the necessary speed, efficiency, and convenience demanded by the growing city.

 Denver cable car, 1895.
Denver cable car, 1895.

Soon, the Tramway and the Denver City Cable Railway Company introduced cable railway technology to the Mile High City in 1888. And it didn’t take long for Denver to boast “one of the most comprehensive networks in any city,” including the longest recorded individual cable line spanning approximately 7 miles.

Indeed, cable railways represented a significant improvement over horsecars in terms of speed and operational costs. These innovative systems allowed for faster travel, approximately twice the speed of horsecars. They also eliminated the expenses associated with feeding, stabling, and maintaining a large number of horses.

However, cable railways did have their own set of drawbacks.

Installing the infrastructure, including the underground cables, grips, and pulley systems, was a costly endeavor. Maintenance also wasn’t cheap.

And their safety record wasn’t exactly flawless. For example, grip mechanisms could malfunction making it impossible for streetcars to stop! The Denver winters weren’t so kind to cable cars, either.

So cable cars were phased out in 1900, as a new invention spread across the country: electric streetcars.

Finally, after years of experimentation and dealing with the shortcomings of horsecars, steam dummies, and cable cars, electric street cars came into existence in Denver in 1889, shortly after their invention.

In fact, with over 250 miles of trackage in the Denver metro area and 40 miles of interurban rails Denver had one of the most comprehensive networks in the country!

Initially, there were several street car companies but they were eventually consolidated into one company, the Denver Tramway Company, which would dominate public transportation in the city for over 60 years.

The trolleys were the architects of urban expansion, fueling the growth of cities and nurturing economic development. Along their tracks, new neighborhoods sprouted, businesses flourished, and the heartbeat of the city grew stronger.

For a long time, streetcars served as a sort of a status symbol for cities like Denver who were trying to show the rest of the country that they were more than just “cow towns.”

The catalysts of progress, streetcars helped to propel cities forward into a brighter future.

However, as time went on, particularly from the 1920s to the 1950s, they gradually became outdated due to the emergence of buses and automobiles.

Unlike the streetcars bound to fixed tracks, buses were free spirits, able to weave through the urban maze at will. And once automobiles started to become affordable nothing could compete with the personal liberation and the thrill of the open road.

The last streetcar bid its farewell in 1950, marking the closing chapter of a transportation legacy.

Many people were very sad to see them go. After all, they had helped take the city to unimaginable levels of growth and prosperity.

As the tracks disappeared, either removed or hidden beneath layers of asphalt, the physical presence of the streetcars faded. Yet, their impact on the city’s identity and collective memory remained.


Where is the Denver Trolley?

It’s very easy to find the Denver Trolley.

All you need to do is head to the REI Flagship store near Confluence Park since it’s located right next door. It’s a big store but if you head to the side with the Starbucks, you’ll see the signs pointing you towards the Denver Trolley.

Follow the signs to the tent where you will purchase your tickets which you can do with cash or credit card.

Denver Trolley

The trolley typically runs from 10 AM to 5 PM. There are some sources online that state the trolley opens at 11 AM but when we visited it was up and running at 10 AM. Also, keep in mind that it only runs on Thursday through Monday and usually only between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Here are the prices for the trolley as of 2023:

  • $7 Adults (ages 13 and older)
  • $3 Children (under age 13)
  • Free children under age 4

As for parking, we usually just find parking on Platte Street (around the corner from the REI store), which will give you two hours.

Visiting the Denver Trolley

We arrived about 10:15 AM which was 15 minutes after opening. This gave us enough time to pick up our tickets and then head to Starbucks for a quick snack while we waited on the trolley to return.

They allow you to bring drinks and food on to the trolley so you can enjoy the sites along with your drinks or snacks.

Denver Trolley

The trolley departs about every 30 minutes so you can time your visit so that you don’t wait around very long, especially if you are arriving in the morning times. But even if you do need to wait around, you can explore the waterways of Confluence Park, check out the huge REI store, or hang out at Starbucks.

When you arrive, you will have your ticket punched and then you can board anywhere you find an open seat.

There’s a couple of things to know about boarding though.

Denver Trolley

First, you can flip the trolley seatback so that the seat row faces the opposite direction. This allows bigger groups to sit together facing each other as long as one side is okay with traveling backwards.

If you’re seated in the back, and the row in front of you decides to face each other this means that you will likely be forced to ride backwards on the way back so think twice about using the back row.

Another thing you might want to think about is sitting in close proximity to the speakers so that you can hear all of the information. Most of the seats are lined up well with the speakers but some towards the back are perhaps not the best for those hard of hearing.

Denver Trolley

Once everybody is situated, the staff will put up the safety guards, and then the trolley will take off. The entire journey is not very long and takes about 25 minutes round-trip. From Confluence Park, you’ll make a stop at the Aquarium, Children’s Museum, and at Mile High Stadium.

There is some talk in the works to add additional stops on the journey, including stops at the Denver Transit Museum and Decatur Street where you will be able to transfer to RTD’s West Side Light Rail line to and from Lakewood and Golden, but those were not in service at the time of our visit.

Denver Trolley

On the southbound journey, you’ll be able to disembark at any one of those stops. As long as you have your ticket punched, you’ll be able to reboard and complete your journey. However, on the way back, there will be no stops.

If you’re looking straight ahead, I’d recommend you sitting on the right side of the street car in order to get some of the better views of some of the main sites although both sides can offer you some decent views.

With that said, be prepared because there is quite a bit of foliage/ overgrowth blocking your view at times so it’s not quite as scenic as I would have preferred.

Denver Trolley

As you depart from the Confluence Park area, you’ll have impressive views of the Denver skyline on the left side. This vantage point showcases some of the city’s more contemporary buildings, including the remarkable 1144 Fifteenth tower, which happens to be my favorite skyscraper in Denver.

Denver Trolley View of Denver skyline

You’ll then pass Elitch Gardens on your left which is a theme park that’s been around for a while.

Elitch Gardens

As you stroll along the water ways, you’ll likely encounter people exercising or just going for leisurely walks by the river. Some might even give you a friendly wave.

Denver Trolley

Your first stop will be the Aquarium although a lot of the view is heavily obscured by trees. Next, you will stop by the renowned Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus.

Denver Trolley View of children's museum

Throughout your trolley journey, your conductor will be giving you some insight into the history of these sites.

The crew is very young which is very fitting.

Back in the day, many of the streetcar conductors were students themselves. They jingled their way through the city, not just to punch tickets and collect fares, but to fund their college dreams.

Denver Trolley

As you continue on, you’ll see Meow Wolf on the left which is a very fascinating immersive art experience. We really enjoyed our time exploring it’s psychedelic corridors and I’d highly recommend it for anyone looking for something to do that is way out of the ordinary. Be sure to read our helpful guide before you make your visit!

Meow Wolf seen from the Denver Charlie

On the other side you’ll see Empower Field which of course is home to the Denver Broncos. During football season on game days the trolley runs to Empower Field which is a popular way for some people to get to and from the stadium so that they don’t have to deal with parking.

Empower Field seen from Denver Charlie

Once you get to the turnaround point, the crew will get out in order to flip the seat backs around if you prefer to not sit backwards.

At that point, it’s a nonstop journey back to where you started. When you finish up, a popular treat for kids is being able to blow the whistle or the horn so make sure you don’t miss out on that opportunity.

Denver Trolley

Final word

Overall, the trolley is a pretty short ride of only around 25 minutes. For $7 for an adult, it’s not a bad value although I do wish that it could’ve been a little bit more scenic or at least a little bit longer.

This is the type of attraction well suited for families with small kids but it’s also a great experience for people interested in getting a taste of the ways that people get around back in the day and to pay a little bit of tribute to the streetcar.

Don’t Want to Use Hotel Housekeeping? Here’s What to Do

The world of travel has changed significantly over the past few years, largely due to the pandemic.

In the realm of hospitality, the landscape of housekeeping has undergone a transformative shift, bringing with it a mix of blessings and curses for discerning guests like yourself.

If you’re a hotel guest who prefers not to utilize hotel housekeeping services, I will provide you with some guidance on how to approach this to ensure a seamless hotel experience.

Can you decline hotel housekeeping service for your entire stay?

The first question you might want to know is whether or not you are allowed to completely decline hotel housekeeping.

Every hotel is going to have its own housekeeping policy, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific hotel you’re staying at.

But the general trend that you’ll find at properties here in the US is that you can turn down daily housekeeping without an issue.

You can do this by simply placing a “do not disturb” sign on your door or just by talking with the housekeeping staff and letting them know you would like to decline housekeeping services.

You can also arrange this at the front desk although there are often miscommunications that arise when not dealing directly with housekeeping. Using the do not disturb placard is usually your best bet.

Housekeeping workers

Tips for going without housekeeping

If you choose to go without housekeeping, below are some helpful tips you might want to consider.

The maximum amount of time you can go without housekeeping

At many hotels, it should not be a problem to turn down housekeeping for a few days. What I mean by that is that you will not face any kind of resistance if you have a three-day stay and you do not allow housekeeping into your room during that period.

However, some properties may have a maximum amount of time that you can decline housekeeping. For example, they may specify that housekeeping “must enter your room after every seven days.” It’s worth noting that based on my personal experience, these maximum time frames may or may not be enforced.

If no personnel from the hotel is following up on this and it is up to you to schedule the housekeeping, then chances are the property will let it slide for quite a while. This can make life a lot easier for those on extended stays.

Receiving a benefit for turning down housekeeping?

If you decline housekeeping at some hotels, it’s possible that they may offer you some kind of benefit, such as a free drink at the bar, a dining credit, award points, discounted room rate, gift shop discount, or even an upgrade.

Usually, if this is offered it will be mentioned at check-in but on occasion you could bring it up to see if there is any perk that was not brought to your attention.

How to handle your trash and dirty towels

Even if you are a well-organized hotel guest, if housekeeping doesn’t come to your room to take out the trash or replace your dirty towels, things can get messy quickly, especially when dealing with the minuscule dimensions of those Lilliputian trash cans.

So, what can you do?

The best approach is to talk to the front desk and ensure that your plan is acceptable. In my experience, most front desks are okay with the steps I’ll outline below, but it’s always good to check with them as some hotels may have different policies.

For dirty towels, you can simply ball them up and place them outside your door, signaling to housekeeping that they are dirty and need to be taken. However, they may not automatically replace them, so you might need to call the front desk and make a request.

If you happen to catch housekeeping on your floor, you can also just approach them and ask or signal to them about taking your towels.

To manage towels more efficiently, you can do two things.

First, reuse your towels multiple times, as it’s more energy-conscious, and if you hang them up on the back of the door or somewhere else, they will usually dry quickly. If you’re worried about sanitation, HealthLine states that “[i]t’s sanitary to reuse a bath towel two or three times between washes.”

Second, you can request your towels in bulk. We usually ask for four towels at once, although I think we’ve requested even more than that on occasion.

Sometimes, you may receive peculiar looks when making a request that appears as if you’re creating your own mini Bath and Body Works store in your room, but if it results in fewer inquiries or trips to the reception, does it truly matter?

If a hotel is very slow to honor your request or tends to be forgetful, you can go down to the front desk and request for the towels at that moment, sometimes even following the front desk agent to the laundry room to pick them up on the spot.

You can follow a similar approach with your waste management — just put it out by your door.

When it comes to managing your trash, be sure to give it the “tight bag treatment” before placing your trash in the hallway. If you’re lucky enough to score some grocery bags, they make excellent makeshift trash bags. Or if you have access to hotel-provided trash bags, you can use those as well. To-go bags from restaurants can work as well.

Aside from room service trays, it’s important not to leave loose items in the hallway. That can unleash a medley of unpleasant smells that quickly tarnish the sweet ambiance of the hotel. It can also be an extremely unsightly appearance.

Even if you have bagged something up, if the food is very smelly it’s best to just throw that right into the bin somewhere.

Some hotels have larger trash cans on each floor, usually located next to the vending machine or ice machine.

Additionally, there is usually a trash can located right outside the front entrance or a side entrance. Typically, the hotel dumpster out back is off-limits but that doesn’t always stop people.

Remember, do not disturb does not always keep people out your room

If you were relying on the do not disturb sign to always keep people out of your room, be aware that that sign is not a full proof measure.

Hotels handle these signs differently but it’s possible that someone could come into your room based on different circumstances.

Don’t deny housekeeping if you can’t stay on top of things

As a hotel guest, be honest with yourself. If you are not going to be able to keep your room in order over the span of several days, let housekeeping in to straighten things up so that things don’t get out of hand.

It’s rather disrespectful to let your room descend into a state of utter disarray and then expect housekeeping to magically restore order in a timely manner. In some cases, you could get hit with a cleaning fee.

Simply put, opting out of housekeeping services is not the right choice for everyone.

Is it ethical to decline housekeeping?

There is an argument to be made that by turning down housekeeping you are making a bad situation worse for those who are largely immigrant, low-wage workers. Since the pandemic, their job opportunities have gone away in a lot of cases and NPR reports that “the number of people working in hotel housekeeping is down more than 20% compared to before the pandemic.”

By refusing housekeeping you could be contributing to the loss of jobs for a vulnerable segment of the population.

While it is easy to be sympathetic to this argument, it’s hard to force people to request a service that they don’t need or want. This is especially true if people have additional privacy, security, or health concerns or just don’t want people snooping around their room.

So while I do admire people who actively seek out housekeeping in order to help create steady demand for housekeeping jobs, I fully understand those who choose not to.

Related: Should You Tip Hotel Housekeeping?

Final word

In today’s world, you can often refuse housekeeping for the entire duration of your stay without an issue, specially if you are on a shorter stay.

The key thing is to make sure you are keeping your room in order especially when it comes to your towels and trash.

I would suggest verifying your management plan with the front desk just to make sure you are on the same page but if you follow some of the steps above, you should be able to keep your room in order without the help of housekeeping even for extended amounts of time.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Review: Discover Musical Legends [2023]

Situated near the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame is a museum that showcases the state’s rich musical heritage.

From exploring the legacies of renowned artists like John Denver and the studio haven of Caribou Ranch to delving into the pioneering AAA format, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the artists and institutions that have shaped the Colorado music scene over the decades.

Below, I’ll provide you with an overview of what to expect when you visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, including a glimpse of some of the highlights.

What is the Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame is a small museum dedicated to recognizing and honoring the remarkable contributions of musicians and institutions who have made a profound impact on the Colorado music scene.

Through captivating exhibits and prestigious inductions, the Hall of Fame showcases Colorado’s rich musical legacy, enlightening and inspiring the public with its storied music history.

Where is the Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame is conveniently located within Red Rocks Park, just a brief stroll away from the renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater. Situated in the Trade Post building, which also houses the Red Rocks Theater gift shop, the museum is a must-see for music lovers when visiting Red Rocks Park.

It’s open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas from 10 AM to 6 PM but you might want to check for the latest hours just in case. The address you want to put in your GPS is: 17900 Trading Post Rd, Morrison, CO 80465.

When it comes to parking, numerous large lots are available throughout Red Rocks Park. However, there is a parking lot situated directly outside the museum, offering added convenience. There’s also a handful of electric vehicle parking spaces, which we were able to take advantage of.

Standard parking is free and there is no admission fee to the museum, so this can be a 100% free experience.

However, if you’d like to support the museum, consider making a donation. Every little bit helps!

Colorado Music Hall of Fame parking

Visiting the Colorado Music Hall of Fame

Arriving a couple of hours before the museum opened, we embarked on the Trading Post Trail, a picturesque 1.5-mile round-trip loop hike with an elevation gain of approximately 357 feet. This scenic trail proved to be a perfect way to kick-start our day, offering breathtaking views and a refreshing dose of nature.

The hike struck a delightful balance, providing an easy to moderate challenge that got our blood pumping without pushing us to the limits of exhaustion.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame trail

As we ventured along the trail, we were greeted by the sight of deer peacefully grazing below us.

Along the way, we also delved into the captivating geology of the area, a journey through 300 million years of geological history. Discovering the ancient forces that shaped the landscape kept us in awe of the immense timescale involved in this tectonic artistry.

Moreover, we learned about the distinctive names given to the iconic rocks that comprise the park. From the intriguing “Sinking Titanic” to the majestic “Creation Rock,” each name infused the landscape with a sense of wonder and character, highlighting the geological features that make this place so special.

As we neared the end of our hike, we couldn’t resist the allure of the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater, an iconic landmark we were visiting for the first time. So we took a detour to check out the amphitheater.

Following this route, you may find your legs put to the test as you ascend to the amphitheater, especially if you’re not acclimated to the high elevation. Though the hike + ascent may challenge you some, the experience and breathtaking views are well worth the effort, so just take your time!

During the morning and early afternoon, Red Rocks Amphitheater becomes a bustling hub for fitness enthusiasts. You’ll witness people from all walks of life engaging in invigorating workouts, jogging up and down the steps, and traversing the expansive area.

Because the museum highlights a lot of Red Rocks Amphitheater, I think it’s a good idea to check out the amphitheater before you visit the museum as it gives you a better sense of appreciation for the venue.

red rocks theater

Finally, after some nice moderate exercise in the outdoors, we arrived at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

It’s housed in the Trade Post building, a historic structure built in 1931 in a Pueblo Revival style to “commemorate the Native American form of architecture and to harmonize with the surrounding landscape.”

red rocks Trade Post building

Upon arrival, you’ll likely enter through the main doors of the Trade Post building, leading you directly into the Red Rocks gift shop. Inside, you’ll discover a wide array of souvenirs, ranging from magnets and postcards to an assortment of T-shirts, catering to every taste. Some cozy beanies and socks could be had too.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame gift shop
Colorado Music Hall of Fame gift shop

From inside the gift shop, you’ll see some exhibits for the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

You’ll find exhibits for the various classes inducted into the Hall of Fame over the years since 2011 and you can always just look to the top corner of the exhibit to see which class you’re looking at.

Of course, the main exhibit hall at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame is dedicated primarily to the one and only John Denver, known for his music that celebrated the natural beauty of Colorado. Learn about his rise to prominence with various exhibits and artifacts including some of his plaque awards, wardrobe pieces, and a custom-made guitar.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame john denver

In this room, you’ll also find a dedicated feature on the Red Rocks Amphitheater, which holds the distinction of being the second member of the inaugural class.

Delving into its history, we uncovered intriguing facts about the park’s beginnings, unveiling its earlier identities as the “Garden of the Angels” and the “Garden of the Titans.” It seems that the name transition was believed to carry a certain curse, though the current status of this belief remains uncertain.

A noteworthy coincidence was our visit on May 30, coinciding with the date of the first recorded concert at the park way back in 1906! Pretty cool.

red rocks theater

You’ll be able to get a sense of the evolution of the park and the insane amount of work that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) “boys” put into constructing the theater while working for $1 a day and room and board.

They blew up rocks, and worked mostly with picks and shovels, as they built out the amphitheater with seating for more than 9,000 over the span of 12 years.

After checking out the inaugural class, we made our way to the other side of the museum which goes into a lot of different classes spanning the different decades.

We discovered pioneering concert promoters such as Chuck Morris, who successfully lured established performers like AC/DC, Bob Dylan and Metallica, and U2.

I appreciated learning the history of KBCO, which helped to pioneer the Adult Album Alternative (or Triple A) format — a radio format tailored for adults and characterized by expansive and diverse playlists that transcend the confines of mainstream hit stations.

Equally captivating was delving into the annual Studio C series, a tradition that showcased electrifying live recordings by highly esteemed visiting performers including the Goo Goo Dolls, Jeff Buckley, the Doobie Brothers, and many, many more.

These hall of fame museums have exhibits that are fun to check out but they are also great for discovering new artists and styles of music you might enjoy. I enjoyed getting familiar with oldies bands I had never heard of like The Astronauts, the “premier landlocked Midwestern surf group” of the ’60s. They were huge in Japan.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Museum

Finally, it was also really cool to learn about Caribou Ranch, part of the class of 2017.

It was a studio tucked away in the mountains near Nederland, Colorado, where artists did not have to deal with a lot of the distractions during recording sessions such as going to get food, getting to and from the hotel, etc. The thin air at nearly 9,000 feet also reportedly allowed artists to produce a unique sound.

This idyllic setting served as a catalyst for creativity, attracting renowned musicians such as Michael Jackson, Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, Joe Walsh, Chicago, the Beach Boys, and numerous others, who found inspiration and produced memorable works within its walls.

Unfortunately, it went down in flames in the 1980s but it’s legacy lives on!

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Museum

After checking out all of the Hall of Fame exhibits, we ventured outside onto the beautiful patio area with some amazing views of the red rocks.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Museum

You can also venture down to check out a cool water feature and more views.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Museum

After that, we decided to do a little bit more exploring of the red rocks and so we drove up to the geological marker where there are fantastic views of the surrounding foothills and even the Denver skyline.

We had a really good view of the west side of Dinosaur Ridge which we had just explored the week prior. I’d highly recommend you give it a stop because you can see the best dinosaur track site in the nation along with other cool fossils and track sites. They offer tours but you can also see all of it for free on foot.

Dinosaur Ridge

Final word

If you ever plan on visiting the Red Rocks Amphitheater, you might as well spend about 30 minutes to one hour checking out the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

For people like myself who don’t know a lot about the Colorado music scene, it’s a very interesting museum to explore, and you’ll come away with a wealth of knowledge about the artists and various institutions that have played a major role in shaping the music legacy of the state.

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