Denver’s Happiest Hours

Everyone loves a good happy hour, right?
Whether it be to unwind after a long day at work, to socialize with friends & co-workers, to celebrate an accomplishment, or just because.
No one will turn down a good food or drink discount.

But, in order to truly enjoy Denver’s great happy hours, you need to know where to find them. As a deal hunter myself, I’ve visited several restaurants, breweries, and bars with exceptional happy hours, so I figured I’d list some of my favorites in and around Denver for you to enjoy as well!

  • Tokyo Joes ~ Perhaps some may not consider this a happy hour, but I do because it’s an amazing deal that makes me very happy. Every Monday after 4:00 PM, Tokyo Joes offers BOGO bowls and sushi rolls! This is one of our favorite deals because it makes a seemingly boring Monday 10x better.

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  • Ace ~ During the winter, I opt for Ace’s Lucky $11 deal, where you get a tasty, steaming bowl of ramen + a cocktail of choice for $11! 

  • Steuben’s Uptown ~ Partner of Ace, Steuben’s also has a Lucky $7 happy hour deal from 3 to 6 PM and 10 PM to close when you can get a grilled cheese, beer & fries OR a falafel wrap, beer & fries OR a cheeseburger, beer & fries for just $7! They also offer other drink deals during their HH, including $1 Miller High Lifes. 

  • Denver Milk Market ~ Whether it’s happy hour or not, this is a cool spot to go for the atmosphere and variety of options! They offer a HH with $6 classic cocktails & more at the Moo Bar from Monday to Friday, 2 to 6 PM AND all-day happy hour at the Stranded Pilgrim on Sundays!

 

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  • Lime ~ For quite a few months, Lime was my go-to for a good marg & delicious chips & salsa. During their happy hour, Monday, Wednesday – Friday, you can expect strong, refreshing $3 margs, discounted apps, and fluffy flour tortilla chips & salsa to go along with your dranks

 

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  • Otra Vez ~ This spot offers a cool atmosphere with music bumping, along with a great happy hour. Enjoy $6 16-oz margs or $15 bottomless margs + complimentary chips & salsa from 4 to 6:30 PM, Monday – Friday! 

  • Illegal Pete’s ~ One of my other go-to spots for a good marg in a laid-back atmosphere, Pete’s offers one of the longest happy hours from 3 PM to 8 PM every day, which I SO appreciate. Get their refreshing margs for $4.50 paired with a free side of chips & salsa. You can’t go wrong with that.

 

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  • Illegal Burger ~ To carry on the theme of ‘illegal’ and ‘margs,’ let’s talk about Illegal Burger’s all day Monday happy hour featuring $2 margs! We love going to this spot for a cheap marg paired with a nice spot to sit on the patio in Writer’s Square.

 

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  • HopDoddy ~ Located right next to Union Station, HopDoddy is in the perfect location for a happy hour right after work! & thank goodness for their happy hour – from 3 to 6:30 PM, they offer $5 specialty drinks, beer, wine, fries, and a seasonal specialty burger. I strongly recommend the Skinny Dip, which is basically a corona flipped over in a gigantic, delicious margarita (regularly $10.50!) 

  • Thirsty Lion ~ Also neighboring Union Station (as well as in Cherry Creek), the Thirsty Lion offers a great outdoor patio space for the summer, along with a great happy hour menu featuring a variety of bites & drinks like queso, sushi, beer flights & more! 

  • Lucky Pie LoDo ~ If you’re looking for delicious discounted pizza & beer, check out Lucky Pie’s happy hour from 4 to 6 PM daily. From $5 pizzas to $3.5 dollar beers, you won’t be disappointed. 

  • Panzano ~ Daily happy hours can be hard to find, but Panzano offers a great one from 2:30 to 6 PM (yep, even on the weekends!). I wouldn’t usually go to Panzano due to their higher prices, but I greatly enjoyed their discounted drinks and apps on their HH menu 

  • North Italia ~ Similar to Panzano, North Italia is a pricier Italian restaurant found in the premier Cherry Creek Shopping Center. I love their happy hour (M-F from 3 PM to 6 PM & ALL DAY Sunday!) consisting of a bottle of wine + a pizza or bruschetta for $20, $8 pizzas, $5 bruschetta, $3 zucchini chips, and $4 beers + $5 glasses of wine! 

  • Crazy Mountain ~ It’s hard to beat dollar beers, and that’s exactly what Crazy Mountain offers every Monday from 12 PM to 1 PM. The challenge is finding time to sneak away from work to enjoy this incredible deal!

 

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  • Chicken Rebel ~ Parked at Finn’s Manor, the Chicken Rebel Food Truck offers BOGO sandwich deals on a random basis – and let me tell ya, their fried chicken is no joke. Follow them on Instagram to be the first to know when they offer deals! 

  • Work & Class ~ Talk about some tasty cocktails & yummy bites. Work & Class offers a HH featuring foods & drinks like chicken pot pie & unique cocktails from 4 to 6 PM, Tuesday – Friday & 4 to 5 PM on the weekends. + they have a ‘happiest hour’ during their Tuesday – Friday HH that takes another 20% off happy hour food! 

  • City O’ City ~ Vegan or not, City O’ City has some awesome food AND a bomb happy hour that anyone can enjoy. Every day from 3 to 6 PM & from 11PM to close, choose from multiple food & drink specials at this hip spot. 

  • Earls ~ If you’re looking for a great brunch deal, Earls is the place to go. Up til 12:00 pm on the weekend, enjoy brunch meals like Steak & Eggs and Chorizo & Mushroom Hash for just $9! Earls also offers discounted drinks and food during their weekday, after-work happy hour. 

  • iFish + Ramen ~ If you’re in the mood for sushi, why not get it on the cheap? on Monday – Thursday, 3 to 6 PM and Friday – Saturday, ALL DAY, iFish offers discounted drinks, appetizers and sushi rolls! 

  • Yard House ~ Half off select appetizers & all pizzas + discounted beers makes for a good happy hour from 3 to 6 PM, Monday – Friday! Also enjoy their late night happy hour from 10 PM to close, Sunday – Thursday!

 

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  • Linger ~ Get city views with your happy hour at Linger, an old mortuary turned hip restaurant in Denver’s lower Highlands. Dine on the rooftop overlooking the city while sipping $6 cocktails and chowing down on $5 eats found on their HH menu from 4 to 6:30 PM, Monday – Friday.

 

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  • Adelita’s ~ On Taco Tuesday, there’s no better place to be than Adelita’s on South Broadway, where you can scarf down $1 tacos & $5 house margs. They also have daily specials every day of the week that are worth checking out! 

  • Wash Park Grill ~ After walking around Wash Park, head to this Italian grill, where their HH (3 – 6:30 PM, Monday – Friday) features discounted happy hours and drinks. They also offer daily specials AND a free $30 tab on your birthday!

 

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  • Pub on Pearl ~ Also down by Wash Park, Pub on Pearl offers $3.50 wells all day, every day, along with daily specials including $6 all-you-can-eat wings on Thursdays! 

  • Humboldt Farm, Fish, Wine ~ In Cap Hill, 17th St offers a plethora of restaurants, including this one with a daily HH from 3 to 6 PM. Enjoy Smoked Trout Dip, Crispy Broccoli, tasty cocktails & more at a discounted price! 

  • McCormick & Schmick’s ~ If you happen to find yourself in the DTC, check out the happy hour at McCormick & Schmick’s offering discounted meals from $3 to $9, $4.5 well spirits + $4.75 local & craft draft beers. I recommend the Crispy Baja Fish Tacos and the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl (pictured above).

I hope this list assists with your happy hour search!
& feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to share your go-to happy hour spots – I’m always searching for more!

frugal & free,
Claire

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35 Frugal & Free Things to Do in Denver

Whenever I travel somewhere new, I find myself searching for lists of free & cheap things to do in the city I’m in. So, I figured it’d be helpful to have a similar list for Denver visitors to refer to when coming to our city.
Listed below are just a few of my favorite frugal things to do around here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  1. Grab a Groupon for a brewery or 2 + restaurants!
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  2. People watch and window shop on 16th Street. You can even take the free Mall Ride if you don’t feel like walking!
  3. Rent a B-cycle or Lime/Bird/Razor/Lyft electric scooter to get around the city
  4. Have a picnic or simply hang out at a park – City Park, Wash Park and Cheesman are some of the most popular!
  5. Check out City Park Jazz every Sunday night during the summer in City Park!
  6. Ride bikes, walk, or run along the Cherry Creek Trail, stretching from northern downtown Denver to the southern areas of Denver and beyond
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  7. Wander around REI – right off the Cherry Creek Trail!
  8. Walk, bike or run around Sloan’s Lake, where you can also fish or go boating
  9. stmarks_latte&cookie1Sip some coffee while people watching at one of many hip coffee shops in Denver ~ St. Mark’s, Thump, and Fluid are some favorites!
  10. Book lovers – find some good reads at the Tattered Cover Book Store downtown!
  11. Tour the U.S. Mint for free Monday – Thursday
  12. Tube down the South Platte during the summer
  13. Window shop in Denver’s premier Cherry Creek Shopping Center
  14. Go bar hopping downtown ~ start at 1-UP if you’re into classic arcade games!
  15. Check Front Porch’s Name Night Calendar to see if your name is on the list to drink for free all night!
  16. Go to one of Denver’s restaurant happy hours! [frugalandfree post to come!]
  17. Visit Union Station and grab a bite to eat or a drink to sip while people watching or reading a book
  18. Go to the Santa Fe Art Walk every First Friday of the month. While you’re there, check out Denver Open Media for free food and entertainment starting @ 6!
  19. Peruse the Clyfford Still Museum for free on one of the listed free days on their website
  20. Every first Saturday of the month, get into the Denver Art Museum for free!
  21. Learn about Denver’s art history at the Golden Triangle free walking tours during the summer
  22. Check out Denver’s unique street art in the city’s hippest area, RiNo!
  23. Find yourself exactly 1 mile high on the 13th step of the Capitol building in Civic Center Park. While you’re here, take a tour of the Capitol for free Monday-Friday
  24. Go to Tennyson Street, where you’ll find galleries, popular restaurants, unique shops and the Denver Cat Company!
  25. Head into the Highlands – the northern part of Denver – where you’re guaranteed great views of the city at Linger & Avanti (catch their happy hours for better prices!)
  26. Catch the sunset from the top of downtown Denver’s highest open rooftop bar, 54thirty (the drinks aren’t cheap but the views are priceless)
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  27. rockiesgameCheer on the Rockies at Coors Field or the Avs and Nuggets at the Pepsi Center – you can usually find good deals for these!
  28. Walk around the University of Denver’s campus & support the DU Pioneers hockey team at one of their games
  29. Watch a rugby game in “Rugby Town USA,” Glendale!
  30. Take the light rail to your destinations!
  31. Grab 3 brews & keep the locally decorated glass at Keep the Glass Night every Tuesday night at Our Mutual Friend Brewery in RiNo
  32. Wander away from the city and into Golden to go on the free tour at Coors Brewery. Sip 3 free brews after the tour!
  33. While in Golden, go hiking on one of the several trails, including Chimney Gulch, North Table, and Mount Galbraith Park
  34. Keep wandering away from the city and out to the mountains, where more hiking trails, like challenging 14ers, await!
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  35. & most importantly, simply enjoy Colorado’s beautiful blue skies & sunny weather!

I hope this list helps you enjoy your Denver adventures even more!

frugal & free,
Claire

Cheers to the Deals of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, I thought it’d be fun to reflect on some of my favorite frugal & free moments of the year.

1. Yelp Elite Status

After writing countless reviews on Yelp, I was awarded the Elite title, making me eligible to attend multiple events featuring great local food and services all around Denver. From a memorable 4-course dining experience at Courier, to a food & music-filled party supporting Youth on Record’s FEMpowered program, and many more great events, I quickly learned that Yelp sure knows how to treat their Elites well!

2. Chicken Fight Fest

For my 24th birthday, I won tickets to Chicken Fight Fest (best birthday present ever). Although I had the worst stomach ache the following day, I had absolutely no regrets after tasting some of the best fried chicken & cocktails in the city!

3. Denver Milk Market

If you live in Denver, you’ve likely been to the Milk Market at least once or twice. Before it opened, there were several sneak peeks locals could attend to get a taste of the Milk Market. Matthew and I went to a sneak peek at Osteria Marco, and for $5 each, we enjoyed a delicious Italian meal, along with a $50 certificate each for being 2 of the first 25 people in line!

4. BOGO Beer Books

2018 was also the year of BOGO books for Matthew & I, as we won a Denver Passport and Brew Denver Book for BOGO beers and cocktails throughout the city! On top of that, I won a $50 certificate to one of our favorite breweries, Intrepid Sojourner – all on Instagram!

5. Chick-fil-A Calendar Card

Chick-fil-A played a bigger part in our year than we could have imagined. Although Chick-fil-A is sooo much more popular in Georgia, we were still able to indulge in that familiar fried chicken in Denver – for free, thanks to the Calendar Card!
**Since the Calendar Card is gone forever, be sure to download the Chick-fil-A app for random freebies throughout the new year!

6. Groupon

Okay, so Groupon has always been a big deal (haha) for us, but we really went hard with scooping up all the Groupons we could get this year! From the delicious sandwiches at Smiling Moose (softest bread ever) and fresh smoothie bowls at Superfruit Republic, to some of our newfound favorite beer at Desteeg Brewing & Mockery Brewing, Groupon really pulled through for us in 2018!

7. MealPal

Finally, my lunch routine changed for a bit this year when I discovered MealPal, a membership offering discounted meals from restaurants in your city! I’m not one to pay for memberships, but MealPal offered me 50% off of its original plan, making my meals less than $3! I greatly enjoyed trying several restaurants – new & old – throughout the city. Plus, it was a great way to get out of the office for a nice walk to pick up my food during my lunch break. I definitely suggest giving MealPal a try!

After a successful, deal-filled 2018, I’m looking forward to what 2019 has in store!
Happy New Year, everyone!

frugal & free,
Claire

Aloha, Hawaii!

As I sit here in our Denver apartment, snuggled up in sweaters and blankets as we watch the snow fall rapidly outside our window, it’s hard to believe that we were basking in the tropical sunshine of Hawaii a little less than 3 months ago.

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I don’t think I’ve been anywhere as tropical as Hawaii (save for Brazil, but that’s a whole other world in itself). From the bluest ocean water with the most colorful fish, to the waterfalls spilling over lush mountains, Hawaii has some of the most unrivaled scenery I’ve ever seen.

Due to its location and the large amount of tourists who want to get to the beautiful Aloha State, Hawaii isn’t the cheapest place to travel to. But my parents had a timeshare with some extra room on the Big Island and they wanted to meet up for a big family trip. So, we thought, why not. With my parents taking care of lodging, the only thing we had to do was find a reasonable flight during the September dates they set.

Flights from Denver to Hawaii were way too expensive to consider, so instead we looked for flights with layovers in cities we had never been, like Portland and Seattle. Using Google Flights, we tracked our flights and hoped for the best. In the end, we were able to get our tickets from Denver –> Portland –> San Francisco –> Hawaii and then Hawaii –> Seattle –> Denver for about $360 each. We were also able to spend a day in Portland & Seattle ~ 2 cities that we definitely want to return to in the future (blog posts to come)!

It’s hard to sum up our week-long trip in just one blog post, but I’ll give it a try.

On the Big Island, Kona, we:

  • We swam in the bluest water on some of the most beautiful beaches
    • Manini’owali Beach (Kua Bay) is where we spent most of our time laying out and snorkeling with sea turtles
  • Went to a luau
    • We went to the Island Breeze Luau – He ‘Ohana Kakou in Kailua-Kona, which featured a Hawaiian buffet (complete with alcoholic beverages) and Polynesian dancing for about $75 each – check their website for discounts!
  • Saw a bunch of feral cats
    • I love cats so I thought it was the greatest thing, but apparently they’re an invasive species in Hawaii
  • Watched the sunset at Kuana’oa Bay
    • We also got to swim with some giant manta rays here as well!
  • Checked out Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
    • We were lucky to be there on the first day it opened since the eruption this past summer, so it was free!
    • Note: because of the eruption, the park was dried out, meaning there was no flowing lava. Check their website to find out more
  • & of course, walked on a ton of old lava
    • Nearly all of Kona is covered in it! Truly a unique sight to see

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To get to Maui, we took a very small flight – we’re talking 8 people on the plane, so practically private for our group of 6 – above the ocean and the islands. That $90 Mokulele Airlines flight was a memorable experience in itself.

In Maui, we…

  • Watched the sunrise from Haleakalā Crater
    • Hint: you must make a reservation online either 60 days in advance or be one of the few to get a last-minute reservation 2 days in advance @ 4PM sharp to see the sunrise from the crater)
  • Survived the Road to Hana
    • Plan your stops ahead of time – there are mile markers along the way & so many cool things to see!
    • Be sure to stop at Wai’anapanapa State Park for hiking trails to scenery like no other, including a black sand beach and sea caves!
    • Remember to bring cash, as most all vendors along the road don’t take credit card
  • & hiked to the most beautiful & highest waterfalls I’d ever seen
    • One of the last stops on the Road to Hana, Wailua Falls was one of the most impressive, as it cascades 80 feet down the jungle wall

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Hawaii is truly another world that I am so happy I had the chance to explore.
Now my only question is – where to next?

frugal & free,
Claire

Telluride

“Ever been to Telluride?”
Last year, Matthew and I were riding the lightrail back home from a day in downtown when a mobility-impaired man asked us this unexpected question.
“No,” we replied. “But it’s on our list!”
He then went on to tell us about how amazing Telluride was and how we needed to go. One of his biggest regrets was not being able to ski as much as he wanted to in Telluride before the incident.
“Go. And you guys will love it. You seem like two people who would really love it,” he said.
Before he got off the rail, he left us with one request. “Just, don’t tell anyone about it, okay? Because once too many people know about it, it won’t be as special anymore.”

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I think the word has been out for a while, so I’d like to think I’m not breaking my promise by sharing a little bit of our Telluride experience with you all ~ it’s just too beautiful not to share.

Nearly a year after our lightrail conversation, we, along with 2 other friends, finally made the trek to Telluride.
& I don’t think we’ve ever been anywhere like it.
A former Victorian mining town engulfed by mountains. Hiking trails sprouting from the streets and up into the trees overlooking the town. A 4-stop gondola that connects Telluride to Mountain Village and offers views like no other (oh, and it’s totally free). Beautiful camp sites throughout the surrounding Rockies, like Alta Lakes (also free to camp here!). Oh, and let’s not forget the charming shops and impressive array of highly reviewed restaurants, including Brown Dog Pizza with the most delicious Detroit-style pizza I’ve ever had.

We spent only one day in Telluride, but it truly lived up to the hype.

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Thank you to the man who told us to go to this beautiful place.
We’ll be back.

frugal & free,
Claire

My Golden Year

Apparently, this year is my golden year, as I just turned 24 on the 24th of May.
I actually didn’t know what a golden year was until my friend told me that it was mine this year… but apparently it’s supposed to be my “lucky year.”

I’m not sure if I’ve ever believed too much in luck, but based on the several giveaways I’ve won lately, perhaps it truly is my “lucky year.” Whether it is or isn’t, all I know is that I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to attend some of Denver’s best events for free recently!

IMG_2119For my birthday, I won 2 tickets to Chicken Fight Fest in an Instagram contest (best birthday present ever). Never did I ever think that I could be overwhelmed by free fried chicken until that night.
From the delicious slider at FNG and the Nashville Hot with ranch at Chicken Rebel, to the chicken waffle cone at Fire on the Mountain and the tasty cocktails from several other vendors, not to forget the refreshing beer from 10 Barrel & Wicked Weed AND the 30+ other fried chicken and cocktail samples ~ all while Buckstein was playing some country hits ~ I was happily overwhelmed.

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IMG_2426Another recent event I’ve attended, thanks to an Instagram giveaway, was the Wings & Whiskey Festival! Hosted at Ace, this festival was full of great wings from Cho 77, Hop Alley, The Highland Tavern, Osage Cafe, GQue BBQ and more. + there was some great beer from Lefthand Brewing and mixed whiskey drinks from Ace! Oh, and you can’t forget the amazing Choco Taco. Altogether, the Wings & Whiskey Festival was another overwhelmingly delicious experience where I was able to try a bunch of great local spots.

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Aside from winning Instagram giveaways, I also just recently became apart of the Yelp Elite Squad. As a Yelp Elite member, not only do I get to rave about local businesses via my reviews, but I also I get invited to some fun Yelp events where I’m exposed to even more local businesses. A couple weeks ago, I attended Yelp Rocks Out, in support of Youth on Record‘s Fempowered Program. Here, we were able to enjoy so many free goodies from Denver restaurants and companies, all while listening to great music and crossing our fingers to win some sweet giveaways.

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Another fun Yelp event was the Cherry Creek Arts Fest Kick Off Party at Moxy Denver, where we enjoyed free tasty bites, refreshing drinks and a social, cool atmosphere all in celebration of the Cherry Creek Arts Fest!

I sincerely hope that my luck continues throughout my golden year, as every single event I’ve been to has been a great experience, exposing me to great local restaurants, unique people and good times in Denver.
Here’s to 24!

frugal & free,
Claire

Downtown Living

I may be a little late on this, but I figured I should still fill you all in ~ we moved.

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We decided we wanted a change from the slow-paced life of the Tech Center; so, we headed straight for the action & now we’re living in downtown Denver!

No, this was not an easy decision. We knew we wanted to get out of the DTC, and we knew we wanted to be closer to the city, but we didn’t know how close we wanted to be. Since Matthew works in the Tech Center and I work downtown, we were of course trying to find a place somewhere in the middle, hopefully somewhere near a park and bike trails (not too hard to do in Denver) and most importantly, somewhere by a lightrail station for an easy commute.

At that time, we knew quite a bit about Denver’s crazy high rental prices (they’re still rising, folks!), so we knew what to expect, and set a higher budget (we decided we didn’t want to go above $1,400/month) than what we had originally anticipated when we first moved to Denver a year and a half ago (when we thought we could get a nice place for under $1000/month).

After touring multiple apartments, we were not sold on any of the ones located between our work places, mostly due to the unreasonable price we’d have to pay for what we were actually getting. We were definitely discouraged when nothing automatically stood out, but we were also determined to find something.

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It was Matthew who insisted we visit the high-rise in the middle of downtown. I was hesitant, but figured I’d give it a look. At the time, the 1-year-old apartment complex was trying to fill their units, as they had originally set their prices too high; so, lucky for us, they were offering 6 weeks free, bringing the rental price below $1,300/month. We were interested in 1 bedrooms and studios (yeah, I guess Matthew & I still love each other enough to share a studio together), and truly loved the studio layout much more than the 1-bedroom, as the windows were so much more prominent, letting in so much more light (& if you know me, you know I thrive off of sunshine). After the tour, we were sold.

Fast forward 3 months and we love this place.

 

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From the rooftop pool, fitness center & terrace, to the younger crowd and community events, this apartment has everything we need for where we are right now. No, it’s not perfect – there have been minor issues with the complex, struggles with fitting our stuff in the new space (even though the studio is a bit larger than our last, there isn’t as much closet space – IKEA furniture was our solution), and the commute, while ideal for me, (3-block walk to work ayyyyyyy!) isn’t the best for Matthew (though we are just 3 blocks from the lightrail station – check!).

Despite the small imperfections, we are incredibly happy with our decision to move downtown.
There’s SO much more to do here at all times – from the nearby parks and events, to the wide variety of restaurants and breweries – and we’re just soaking it all in.

And of course, I’ll try to be better about sharing everything we experience on here too!
Until then…

frugal & free,
Claire