When you find a really cheap ticket, you don’t think twice about who you know there, or what you are going to do when you get there. You buy it immediately and then figure out the logistics later. This may not work for everyone, but it definitely works for our family.
Our family loves to travel, and we also love to do so without breaking the bank. Sometimes we may not have any plans of going to a certain place, but a cheap ticket is enough motivation for us to go and explore.
Frontier Airlines had a sale last week (may still be going on now) for $20 one way, to and from several cities. I immediately went to their website and was excited to find one from Los Angeles, CA to Denver, CO. I immediately sent my husband a message with the screenshot below and said, “Denver next week?” He responded with “Why not?” As you can see, the round trip ticket price person actually came up to $38.20.
When you think about how you spend eating out (especially those who eat out for lunch everyday), this is almost nothing. This was a no-brainer for us and tickets were immediately bought. Frontier is considered a budget airline. This mean that they charge a fee to choose seats, check in a bag, take a carry on bag, as well as meals/snacks on the plane. This is where packing light comes in very handy, eating before you board or buying snacks and taking on the plane with you come in handy. We also did not choose any seats, so our seats were assigned at the gate. If you get to the gate early and tell them you as travelling as a family, they will do everything to keep you seated close to each other.
I flew into Denver from Salt Lake City, and my husband, sister and Aiden flew in from Los Angeles. My flight arrived before theirs, so I made my way to National Car Rental, picked up a rental, and then drove to arrivals and picked them up. The timing worked out perfect. I checked the weather before going to Denver so I knew it was going to be hot; 80 degrees to be exact. I thought this was surprising for October in Denver, so I took this opportunity to pick a rental car that I knew we would all enjoy (2016 Ford Mustang Convertible).
The evening we arrived in Denver, we had dinner at African Grill and Bar. We actually ordered our food to go so we could relax and eat the hotel. The owners are just amazing, and had all our food ready for us in no time. We all enjoyed our meal.
We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Denver. We have lots of points with Hilton, and the Doubletree is our favorite brand, so that’s where we usually stay. They offer warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in and they are delicious.
Beignets and Coffee
After brunch, we drove to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater. It was a nice scenic drive up there. We parked and explored.
going up hill
First rock at the entrance after parking
entrance to Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheater
who doesn’t love a jumping pic
view from the top & kisses for Mom
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is a great place to workout. We ran into a lot of workout groups as well as people who were working out solo. There were working up a sweat. My number one recommendation, dress appropriately! Workout gear is the best, especially if you want to go all the way down the stairs and back up. This will allow you get a better view as well as explore better. I didn’t know about this prior to our visit there and did not have on the right shoes so we only went down half way.
view from halfway down the stairs
view of the amphitheater seating from the bottom
When it got dark, we left Red Rocks. We looked and looked but just couldn’t find a place that had something each of us would enjoy We finally decided on Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs.
none of us was brave enough to try the rattlesnake dog, lol
alaskan reindeer, wild boar, all beef and southwest buffalo
After dinner, we took a short walk around the restaurant. Aiden loves taking walks. We noticed lots of street art. It was dark so I wasn’t able to get a good photo.
After dinner, we drove back to our hotel. We had some issues with the management there so we decided to check out and check in to the Curtis, a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. The management at this hotel was much better. It was also much nicer and in downtown Denver. The only thing is, they don’t offer free Hilton Honors breakfast and parking is $36. Very understandable based on it’s location; close to the train station, Colorado convention center, night life etc.
mom, it’s a globe
We woke earlier the next morning because we had lots to do. For breakfast we ate at the highly rated Snooze an A.M. Eatery located downtown Denver, just a few minutes from our hotel. There was a 30 minute wait, and the hostess informed us that she will text us when our table was ready. We took this opportunity to walk around the block. Aiden saw street art, ran to it and asked me to take a photo of him.
people waiting to be seated, photo taken from across the street
best way to wait
look mom, it’s street art
hazelnut latte (30 minutes later)
Aiden was in a hurry to finish his breakfast. He knows that any trip we take isn’t complete without a trip to the children’s museum. We visited the Denver Children’s Museum. It was smaller than the other museum’s we’ve been to, however it did have an outdoor play area as well. They had a trick or Treat/Costume dress Up event on the day we visited and Aiden was ready in his astronaut costume.
3, 2, 1 blast OFF
There were several booths set up inside and outside the museum for the kids to trick or treat. He got a toothbrush and toothpaste at this boot which was nice. I don’t allow him to have candy, so it was nice to know that he wasn’t getting any of it. Now that he’s getting older, I am sure he would have asked to try it. He got yogurt, string cheese, toys, stickers etc from the booths. It was great!
trick or treat
fire fighting astronaut
After a fun afternoon at the children’s museum, we made the 1 hour 50 minute drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. We got there about 5pm, which wasn’t great as it was already getting dark. The drive there was scenic and amazing. We stopped at Estes Lake on our way there. We also saw a few animals along the way which we all thought was awesome. When we got to Rocky Mountain, we drove straight to Bear Lake and did a short family friendly hike.
My suggestions if we had to do it again –
- Get to Rocky Mountain National Park early in the day.
- Rent a cabin or stay the night in Estes Park (closest city to Rocky Mountain)
- Find more trails to hike
- Enjoy the outdoors, maybe even camp
elk on the loose
funniest photo of the day
aiden got cold and asked for my scarf (remember to dress warm due to the elevation)
rocky mountain national park
finally, Bear Lake
the simple joys of completing a short hike and making it to the lake
he strongly believes his hiking shoes helped him make it to the top of that rock (it did though)
After Bear Lake, we drove to Estes Park to find dinner. It was cold, and so the best option was Thai. We ate at Cafe De Pho Thai. My sister and I ordered Pho, my husband had Curry Soup & white rice, and Aiden ate plain white rice. The food was great and so was the service.
After diner, we drove back to our hotel and still had energy (not sure how, lol) so we took a walk downtown to the famous Denver Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center. It was only a few minutes away. Great way to catch some fresh air and get a feel of downtown in the evening.
We all went straight to bed that night, we were exhausted. We woke up in the morning and made it on time for our 6.30am flight which was awesome. We got breakfast from Mod Market before boarding. Aiden ate and then slept the entire flight. It was a smooth flight.
Making it to our flight on time means we also made it home on time for Aiden’s soccer game and for him to play with his trains !! Those two things are equally as important to him as travelling is.
Click HERE or See Below to watch the highlights of our Denver trip.