My Colorado Experience

Cara’s Recommendations
Cara Hlad, AIA, and other AIA Colorado members share their favorite experiences to have in Denver.

Cara Hlad, AIA
Member Since 2006

  • Catching a concert or “Film on the rocks” at Red Rocks Amphitheater
  • Enjoying a cold drink on the rooftop patio at Tomayo in Larimer Square
  • Catching a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coors Field
  • Seeing the city skyline lit up at night from Peaks Lounge on the top floor of the Hyatt Convention Center Hotel
  • Purchasing food from a street vendor on the 16th Street mall and enjoying it in a “rickshaw” ride around LoDo

More Recommendations from AIA Colorado Members

Amanda Fitzjarrald, Assoc. AIA
Member Since 2007

  • Walking down 16th Street Mall on a sunny summer day listening to the street performers
  • Visiting the Denver Art Museum after a food truck lunch in Civic Center Park
  • Spending a relaxing Saturday at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, then hiking in the Flatirons
  • Rafting the Arkansas River through the Royal Gorge on a sunny summer day with a light rain falling
  • Taking an historic tour of the Capital Hill neighborhood in Denver while sipping hot chocolate in December

Ernest Joyner, AIA
Member Since 2005

  • Relaxing with a nightcap at Copper Mountain on a Friday night while the snow outside buries the deck furniture
  • Hearing distant thunder echo off the rock walls at Red Rocks while Lyle Lovett’s Large Band does a sound check
  • Seeing over one hundred miles from the top floor of the Daniels and Fisher Clock Tower
  • Mountain biking next to dinosaur footprints at Dakota Ridge at the same time a Peter Gabriel concert echoes off of Ship Rock just across the small valley
  • Evening summertime regattas at Cherry Creek Reservoir

Cynthia Fishman, AIA
Member Since 2010

  • Having the best of the “indoor life” and the “outdoor life” in one city—visiting multiple art districts, eating any kind of cuisine imaginable, listening to amazing local and national live bands all within an hour and a half drive from a spectacular hike
  • Partaking in a tour and taste at one (or more) of Colorado’s 140 microbreweries
  • Having lunch at the Civic Center EATS Outdoor Café with Michael Grave’s library, Elijah Myers’s gold-domed Capital Building, Daniel Libeskind’s Art Museum, and Philip Johnson’s Wells Fargo Building in the background
  • Visiting the Colorado History Center and taking a virtual ride in the Model T through the town of Keota, Colorado in 1918
  • Clearing my sinuses while walking through the Mint Room during the Celestial Seasonings Tour in Boulder

Jeff Daigle, Assoc. AIA
Member Since 2008

  • Riding down the Platte River bike trail to grab a microbrew at the Denver Beer Company
  • Watching the sun set over the desert at Mesa Verde
  • Live music and farmers markets on South Pearl Street
  • Hiking through snowfields in June to the Continental Divide

Chris Vandall, AIA
Member Since 2010

  • Walking around Denver’s arts districts on a warm summer’s night, seeing artists in action at galleries like Ironton Studio and stopping at food trucks along the way
  • Visiting GrowHaus, a non-profit food producer, which educates the community on producing health and affordable foods, and dining on the patio at Fuel Café, enjoying local foods on a crisp fall night
  • On a late spring day with the wild columbine in bloom, hiking the Fourth of July Trail outside of Nederland and camping by the lake just across the Continental Divide; then waking up in six inches of snow
  • Walking around Fort Collins on a cool autumn afternoon, stopping for lunch at Choice City Butcher and Deli for a Colorado Buffalo Reuben and visiting local microbreweries for tours and tastings
  • Warm summer evenings of outdoor music at any number of venues such as Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings at Red Rocks or Girl Talk at the Westword Music Festival in a Golden Triangle parking lot

Kitty Yuen, AIA
Member Since 2001

  • High Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel Lobby. Enjoy English tea served with linen napkins in an eight story atrium with stained glass skylights, cast iron railings dating from 1890s
  • Be a kid or bring your kids to the Museum of Contemporary Art by Adjaye Associates. Head straight to the third floor for MCA Café/Rooftop with unique views of Denver. Stay and enjoy the art
  • Get the local experience by heading to Civic Center Park on Thursdays. Enjoy an urban summer lunch with fresh farmers market finds or try the array of ethnic local food trucks
  • Grab drinks at Green Russell which evokes a prohibition era-speakeasy. Try the cocktails with a slice of homemade pie, and enjoy the lounge atmosphere
  • Head to Vail Village, and enjoy the European inspired town. Do a quick hike up booth Falls. Book a round at the Vail Golf club. You can’t imagine being in the valley surround by mountain views

Steven Schonberger, AIA
Member Since 1983

  • Finding the perfect all-white albino columbine in an Aspen grove while climbing Sheep Mountain early on a summer day
  • Driving through the Colorado prairie on a crisp winter morning with frost on the trees in front of a perfect blue sky
  • The sound of autumn in an Aspen forest, walking on gold coins and listening to the quaking flutter of the leaves still hanging on
  • Getting off the ski lift to discover three feet of powder

Dedia H. Hart, AIA
Member Since 1992

  • Listening, night and day, to the best jazz station on the planet, KUVO, 89.3 FM
  • Taking in the amazing 360-degree views on the “Dam” Road at Cherry Creek Reservoir
  • Living in a place so full of sunshine and big blue sky
  • Finding niches of culture from all places imaginable fitting into our metropolitan fabric
  • Participating in the mix of professional activities organized and supported by the fabulous staff at AIA Colorado

Alan Ford, AIA
Member Since 1997

  • Listening to the band Wilco, framed by sandstone at sunset in the WPA-built Red Rocks Pavilion, city lights twinkling in the distance
  • My favorite public hang-out is the West addition of the Denver Museum of Nature, designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, which offers inspiring views of the city and mountains beyond
  • It only takes 30 minutes to travel from feeling the coal and passenger trains that lumber by the rusted walls enclosing my Denver office to skipping stones across a mountain lake
  • Walking the streets of LoDo (lower downtown) with its vibrant night life




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