Denver: One day three ways

PENNY PINCH

No matter your station in life, this former Wild West mining town will take you in and treat you like gold. After breakfast at American-style diner Sam's No. 3 (samsno3.com; $11), explore 16th Street Mall using the MallRide bus (16thstreetmalldenver.com; free). Uncover the truth about Titanic's "unsinkable Molly Brown" (mollybrown.org; $9), then find comfort food in Steuben's Food Truck (steubens.com; $17). Beer is king in Denver so tour Wynkoop Brewery and do try the bull testicle-flavoured Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout (wynkoop.com; free). Roll on for happy hour at repurposed mortuary Linger (lingerdenver.com; $6) and after you've sampled the "street food" dinner menu, you'll never want to leave ($17). The city's longest running hostel, Denver International, is centrally located and only moderately dodgy (denverinternationalhostel.com; $22).

TOTAL $82

EASY DOES IT

If you're in Denver on a summery Saturday then rise early, drive to Red Rocks amphitheatre and "downward dog your tail off" with more than 1000 others at Yoga on the Rocks (avis.com; from $63/day, redrocksonline.com; $11). On any other day of the week, hit snooze before heading to Beast + Bottle in a city that really knows how to do brunch (beastandbottle.com; $27). Spend the rest of the day roaming art galleries and museums on your Mile High Culture Pass (denver.org; $42), then drive over to American bistro Table 6 for its innovative meat-rich menu (table6denver.com; $49). Have a nightcap at Prohibition-style speakeasy Williams and Graham, concealed behind a bookshop facade (williamsandgraham.com; $14). Hit the hay at Capitol Hill Mansion B&B, which is run by a charming Texan cowboy (capitolhillmansion.com; $226).

TOTAL $432

SPLASH OUT

It's hard to blow the food budget in Denver, but you can try by over-ordering on sides at Edge (edgerestaurantdenver.com; $40). Walk your elk sausages off on the way to Rockmount for genuine cowgirl and cowboy clothing (rockmount.com; $200 for shirt, belt and hat). Have a post-spree lunch at nearby Rioja (riojadenver.com; $44), but save room for afternoon tea when you check into the city's oldest functioning hotel, Brown Palace (brownpalace.com; $57). Spend the rest of the afternoon meeting chefs and licking plates at Denver's top restaurants on a Culinary Connectors tour (culinaryconnectors.com; $113). From front row seats, enjoy a Colorado Ballet performance at Ellie Caulkins Opera House (coloradoballet.org; $176). Before retiring to your royal suite (brownpalace.com; $647), puff on a cigar in the hotel's Churchill Lounge . . . because you still can.

TOTAL: $1277

The writer was a guest of Visit Denver.

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