You don’t have to go far to travel out of this world.
This fall, Denver opened an interactive art experience like nothing else on Earth. Meow Wolf has landed.
Meow Wolf is a massive museum of psychedelic, colorful, mind-bending art centered around a fun, fiction story. As the narrative goes, a crazy cosmic event merged four different worlds; the result is called Convergence Station, Meow Wolf’s third permanent installation and the biggest yet. It’s set up like an intergalactic bus station (complete with the actual bus that helped spark the Americans with Disability Act years ago).
And what better way to step off at this otherworldly stop than to make a full transportation-centric trip out of it? Stay at historic Union Station (where you can also grab a Meow Wolf glittery cocktail and a flight of pancakes in the morning), and indulge in dinner at Citizen Rail, named after its proximity to Denver’s big train station.
This trip is all about being transported: to Denver’s past, and far beyond your trippiest imagination.
How to do Meow Wolf
Plan at least a few hours to walk through this wild installation, and don’t be afraid to touch, play and explore. Try doors, look up, look down, you never know what you’ll find. Uncover secret rooms through tunnels and secret doors (hint: the laundry room is more than meets the eye). Follow your curiosity through wormholes and portals, through strange staircases and inside lockers and a massive, glowing, indoor castle; wander through glowing hallways and a labyrinth of mirrors. Sit in vehicles. Open drawers.
Get the most out of the experience by reading up on the storyline before you start, and don’t be afraid to ask the costumed actors questions and for tips. Meow Wolf is the combination of one-of-a-kind artwork created by more than 300 creatives (more than 100 of which are local), so take time to read the signs and dive deep.
Meow Wolf is fun for people of all ages, and it spans four different floors. You could spend all day there.
Where to stay:
It’s only fitting to stay in Denver’s only train station hotel, the luxurious Crawford Hotel at Union Station.
In fact, the Crawford is offering a special Meow Wolf package. After you get your tickets directly from Meow Wolf Denver, then book the Meow Wolf Experience at the award-winning, quirky hotel. This package includes a night’s stay; two Tropical Vertigo cocktails at the Cooper Lounge, also located inside the bustling station; transportation to and from Convergence Station in a Tesla; and free valet parking.
The Crawford is a scenic destination, in and of itself. Each of the 112 rooms is uniquely decorated with interesting details. And the view from the hotel balcony is hard to beat.
Bonus: If you’re visiting Colorado from out of town, you can take a shuttle (or the actual train) directly to Union Station and not need to rent a car or drive at all. Take the Tesla to Meow Wolf, and Union Station itself is always hoppin’, with on-site bars, restaurants, shops and tons of people-watching. It’s located in the heart of downtown, so you can find plenty of other entertainment in walking distance.
What to drink:
After a brain-breaking experience at Convergence Station, head back to Union Station for the special Meow Wolf-themed cocktail, the Tropical Vertigo, served at the Cooper Lounge. This swanky bar overlooks all of Union Station from above.
The rum drink is sparkly, colorful and pretty sweet; like Meow Wolf, it’s unexpected and packs a big impact. You probably only need one.
What to eat:
You can walk from Union Station to the best place to fuel up on your Meow Wolf trip. Citizen Rail, named after its proximity to the train station and the region’s rich history, serves up delicious, rustic, wood-fired, locally sourced food. The meat is the star here; the restaurant butchers meat in house and even cures it on-site. (Ask about the 65-day dry age.)
Definitely start with a charcuterie board, stacked with meat cured on the spot.
While the beef is drool-worthy, don’t limit yourself by steak, though. Citizen Rail will surprise you with its Miso Glazed Dry Aged Duck Breast served with rice, confit duck porridge, cured yolk, Asian broccoli and plum reduction. Also consider the sage and aleppo pepper gripped Mary’s Chicken, served with sourdough, tomatoes, bee pollen, amaranth and a charred scallion puree.
Citizen Rail is located inside Hotel Born.
After a good night’s sleep, the best way to do breakfast is right in front of your eyes. Union Station is lucky to house one of Colorado’s favorite local breakfast chains, Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. Not sure what to order (and looking for an unexpected ride for your tastebuds)?
Forget a flight of beer; get a flight of pancakes. With the classic flight, you’ll get three different flavors: a pineapple upside-down pancake (Snooze is famous for this one), a blueberry danish pancake and a pumpkin pecan pie pancake. Not digging one of those flavors? You’re wrong, but you can still swap them out for any three other pancake flavors. Peep the fall menu for inspiration.
It goes without saying, but wash the pineapple upside-down pancake down (that’s a tongue-twister!) with a mimosa and toast to the most epic, exciting staycation ever.