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Denver’s boom provides a lot of tourism sights

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In the last seven years, Denver’s population has grown by more than 100,000, a boom many new residents credit to the sunny weather, proximity to the Rocky Mountains and density of cultural attractions. With that growth has come construction cranes and improved transit systems, including a convenient light-rail line linking the airport to downtown over 23 miles away. Visitors using the train alight at the renovated Union Station in the heart of a city filled with new breweries, expanded museums, a burgeoning street art movement and an explosive culinary scene producing thematic food halls and destination meals from brunch through dinner. There’s always the chance to walk, cycle, run or ski it off over hundreds of miles of recreational trails. And if your flight is delayed, there’s a free ice-skating rink at Denver International Airport until Jan. 6.

Friday3 p.m. Cultural campus

The Denver Art Museum, with its distinctively angular Daniel Libeskind-designed wing, anchors what has turned into the city’s museum quarter now that the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art moved in two blocks away. The quirky Kirkland museum (admission $10 U.S.), which doubled its exhibition capacity, preserves the original studio of Vance Kirkland, who often painted suspended on straps above his canvases. Before reaching it, visitors pass through the encyclopedic collection of decorative pieces from art nouveau tapestries to postmodern sofas that crowd the walls and floors, salon-style. A moving union of art and architecture lies between the Denver Art Museum and the Kirkland in the Clyfford Still Museum (admission $10). Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture designed the minimalist, textured concrete building, with naturally lit galleries to house the nearly complete collection and archives of Still, the abstract expressionist painter.

6:30 p.m. Destination dinner

Denver’s culinary mania is evident in brunch queues and difficult-to-make dinner reservations. Make one of those reservations well in advance for Tavernetta, a new, sophisticated Italian magnet from the group behind Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder. To get to the tables, diners walk through the kitchen, a scenic appetizer to chef Ian Wortham’s regional and seasonal dishes, which recently included homemade garganelli pasta with mushrooms and asparagus ($32) and roast quail with farro, chickpea and prosciutto ($28). No reservation? Try Tavernetta anyway. There’s a spacious lounge with fireside tables as well as numerous stools around the bar.

9 p.m. Nightcap madness

Denver has a plethora of breweries, but beer isn’t the only drink in town. From the hidden to the see-and-be-seen, the selection of cocktail lounges warrants a nightcap or two. In Lower Downtown, a.k.a. LoDo, hit the rejuvenated Union Station and find the mezzanine to reach Cooper Lounge, where sofas offer great perches for admiring the grand 1914 station. In the polished Cherry Creek neighbourhood, look for a gold doorbell in an alley behind the Halcyon Hotel to find B& GC, a stylish subterranean lounge with carefully made drinks such as the bourbon-maple Distant Lover ($15). In the River North Art District, known as RiNo, New York’s cult mixologists Death & Co are newly spiking the cocktail scene in a clubby room with grand chandeliers and a menu the size of a novel.

Saturday9 a.m. Bike (or ski) the creek

Backed by the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Mile High City tends to draw outdoorsy types. Cycling the Cherry Creek Bike Path, a 40-mile path along the tributary, is one of the easiest ways to join the athletic crowds here. It links up with the nearly 30-mile Greenway Trail along the South Platte for more ambitious riding. Rent a Denver B-cycle from the citywide bike share system from more than 85 stations around town (from $9 for a 24-hour pass). Biking is a year-round sport in Denver, which tends to be dry, but on snow days the cross-country skis come out.

11 a.m. Brunch bunch

Perhaps because of all that early-morning exercise, brunch is a popular meal. In the LoHi, or Lower Highlands, area alone, choices include the butchery- and seafood-centric Old Major, the fried-chicken star Low Country Kitchen and the Latin American cantina Señor Bear. An atmospheric choice, Linger occupies the former Olinger mortuary, a vast space with multiple levels offering good views of downtown. Global brunch dishes include breakfast dosa ($16) and “hangover ramen” ($17), accompanied by bottomless mimosas ($15).

1 p.m. Maker mart

Denver has some nice neighbourhoods for boutique shopping, including Highlands and Berkeley, but the opening of the Source Hotel and Market Hall in RiNo next to the Source food hall has given patrons a place to do some concentrated browsing of wares from local artisans. The hotel’s second story serves as a retail market hall, home to shops and kiosks from Winter Session, a Denver-based leather goods maker; Vinyl Me, Please, a record dealer; and the sunglasses and ski goggles brand Native Eyewear, based in nearby Longmont. You’ll find them alongside carefully curated out-of-towners, including the street-art-focused Station 16 Gallery from Montreal and the design goods shop Poketo from Los Angeles.

4 p.m. Craft beer crawl

The home of the sprawling Great American Beer Festival each fall, Denver has long been a champion of the microbrewing revolution. While the Denver Beer Trail has over 100 entries on its map, several are clustered in RiNo making a progressive tour a pedestrian affair. At Our Mutual Friend, a friendly taproom, state flags on the menu indicate Colorado-grown barley and hops, including Colorado Pale Ale and Dad’s Brown Ale (pints $6). Down the street, the industrial Ratio Beerworks, which sometimes serves a refreshing Handwritten wit ($6), rolls up garage-style doors on its popular patio. Nearby, the beloved Fort Collins brewery Odell Brewing Co., opened a cosy two-story taproom in view of a mural depicting hops covering the side of its brick building.

6:30 p.m. Hip-Hop kitchen

The RiNo district also teems with culinary intrigue, from the new Super Mega Bien serving Mexican tapas dim-sum style to the contemporary wood-fired grill Acorn. Because reservations are hard to come by, hit Hop Alley early. The chef Tommy Lee, who also runs Uncle, a ramen-specialist in LoHi, serves regional Chinese fare with a focus on fine ingredients and the use of a wood grill in a former soy sauce factory where hip-hop commonly rings out across the lively dining room. Most of the vegetable, protein, noodle and rice dishes seem designed to share, including savory kung pao cauliflower ($15), grilled octopus with spicy gochujang sauce ($27) and garlic shrimp noodles ($23). Several of the cocktails come in large-format shareable sizes too.

9 p.m. Catch the late set

There’s a warm, slightly retro vibe to the Nocturne jazz club where an intriguing artist-in-residence arrangement books musicians for multi-week runs, encouraging them to explore the music of a legend, concentrate on a genre or produce their own original compositions. Brick walls and high ceilings with exposed ductwork don’t interfere with the sound quality coming from the raised stage that is the focal point of the music venue, which also acts as a supper club serving a full menu. Reservations include a cover fee (varies) and the bar is as careful with its cocktails as the musicians are with their playlists.

Sunday10 a.m. Street art stroll

To the casual pedestrian, Denver doesn’t appear rich in street art. Trust Erin Spradlin and James Carlson to show you the significant treasures on the walls and in the alleys of the River North Art District on their Denver Graffiti Tour. Inspired by a mural tour they took in Bogotá, Colombia, the pair started their tour this spring (it runs year-round). The two-hour itinerary introduces memorable works by Jeremy Burns and Gamma. The guides distinguish street art or murals from more haphazard graffiti in their thoughtful discourse that covers artwork mining topics from political to comic. The tour ends in a hidden alley covered in murals and popular with selfie shooters.

12:30 p.m. Musical fare

Food halls seem to be popping up everywhere, including the new Denver Milk Market in LoDo, and in new iterations, such as the micro-distillery-centric Booz Hall in RiNo. The beauty of the collection of food stalls at the new Zeppelin Station is management’s effort to fill the vast shedlike development on a light-rail line with ethnic foods not easily found elsewhere. The local favourite Vinh Xuong Bakery opened a stall in Zeppelin offering its signature banh mi sandwich served with house-made chile sauce ($8.75). There’s Indian street food at Namkeen, fried chicken at Injoi Korean Kitchen and smoked meats at Au Feu. Finish with a scoop of velvety chocolate from Gelato Boy ($4.45) while listening to live music on Sundays and, during football season, watching the Denver Broncos on a big screen.

Lodging

An urban resort in the upscale Cherry Creek district, the 154-room Halcyon Hotel features a rooftop pool and the subterranean cocktail lounge B& GC. Rooms from $325; 245 Columbine St., halcyonhotelcherrycreek.com. The Ramble Hotel in RiNo looks like a warehouse rehab with a handsome red brick exterior and double-height lobby. In addition to its 50 cosy rooms, the Ramble houses a theatre, the Mexican restaurant Super Mega Bien and a coffee bar. Rooms from $249; 1280 25th St., theramblehotel.com. Rent a loft downtown or an apartment in the Highlands, to name two central areas with ample inventory on HomeAway.com. Lofts in LoDo, walking distance to Union Station and other attractions, start at $87. A one-bedroom apartment in LoHi, or Lower Highlands, a mile from downtown, costs $111.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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