Denver Travel Guide [y]

[y] Denver Visitors Guide

Denver, also known as the mile-high city, is the capital of Colorado and the state’s most populous city. It was founded in the mid-1800s as a mining town for the nearby Rocky Mountains. Downtown was first constructed where Cherry Creek met the South Platte River in the South Platte River Valley. Since it’s mining days, Denver has grown into a robust modern city with jobs in finance, government, and entertainment. There are more than 30 buildings with a height of over 300 feet, creating an impressive skyline for the city. Source: denvermetromedia.com

Downtown Denver contains three professional sports stadiums that are home to all of Colorado’s sports franchises. The Pepsi Center hosts games for the Denver Nuggets basketball team, Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team, and Colorado Avalanche Hockey team. The Sports Authority Field at Mile High is home to the Denver Broncos football organization. Other entertainment attractions in the area include the 16th Street Mall, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver Art Complex, and Casa Bonita. In terms of business, the downtown area consists of 23 million square feet of office space with more than 100,000 workers. Workers from the surrounding metropolitan area make their daily commute to downtown by automobile or on light rail lines provided by the Regional Transportation District.

About Denver

The history of Denver begins in the year 1858. Just nine years after the California gold rush started a gold fever in the country, a group of prospectors from the state of Georgia happened upon gold in the Rocky Mountains. People from all over the country heard the news that gold had been discovered in the Rockies. When they heard the news, they rushed to beat the other prospectors there.

There was a sudden flood of people trying to make their fortunes in the shadow of Pikes Peak in the Platte River Valley. Some of these people tried to make their fortunes by buying land to create towns for all the new settlers to live in. One of these people was General William H. Larimer, who called the town he laid out Denver in honor of the governor of the Kansas Territory, James Denver. The Kansas Territory was a vast area of land that at the time included what would eventually become Colorado.

Denver quickly grew with the influx of more prospectors every month. The gold in the area quickly panned out, but many of the settlers decide to stay and make lives for themselves in the fledgling town.

Denver had its share of problems early in its history. The first crisis it faced was the invasion of a Confederate Army during the Civil War. A hastily slapped together band of volunteer soldiers valiantly fought off the Confederates in the Battle of Glorietta Pass in March 1862.

The very next year the majority of the young town burnt to the ground in a devastating fire. The next year, 1864, a flash flood rolled through town, swamping all the buildings and drowning 20 poor souls. That same year conflict with nearby Indian tribes broke out, leaving Denver residents facing cut supply lines that threatened them with starvation.

These early troubles only stiffened the resolve of the residents of Denver. They endured all the hardships until the railroad came to town in 1870, ensuring the survival of the town and its role as one of the great cities of the West.

Denver grew by leaps and bounds in the following years. Silver was discovered shortly after the railroad arrived, leading to a booming mining economy that brought thousands of people into town. By the turn of the 20th century, Denver had become the major distribution point for goods in the West.

This role as a transportation center is still vital to Denver’s economy today. It is also a very popular tourist town. Many corporations and manufacturers make their home in Denver. The town is also home to many US government entities, including a branch of the US Mint.

Denver Downtown Hotels

Downtown Denver, Colorado is the center of a hustling and bustling metropolitan area. With over 23 million square feet, you can find anything you are looking for. Visitors to the city can enjoy a haunted walking tour, amusement parks, shopping, great dining, and a wonderful atmosphere.

The entire downtown district is split into six or seven smaller districts. Each of these districts has distinct atmospheres and unique offerings. Downtown Denver is very diverse. Each district offers very different aspects of the community. Denver has something for everyone, whether you are there for a weekend or for years to come. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Denver that are quality hotels at an affordable price.

  1. Union Station is home to the central transportation hub for downtown and is the historic district of downtown Denver. Tourists and locals alike come to the district for the 16th Street Mall.
  2. LoDo, or lower downtown, is the historical part of Denver; it is home to many bars, restaurants, and other entertainment venues. LoDo is a large district and is the oldest settlement of Denver. It is home to 21,000 individuals and has a widely known, exciting nightlife scene
  3. Ballpark contains Coors Field where the Rockies play. The Ball Park district is home to the city’s best flea market and a large farmers market.
  4. Civic Center is aptly named for the presence of Denver’s large civic center. The Civic Center district holds numerous cultural and civic events throughout the year.
  5. Central Downtown is home to the Colorado Convention Center and Federal District.
  6. Upper Downtown contains the Denver Pavillons and a large selection of luxury hotels.
  7. Arapahoe Square, home to endless parking and dilapidated buildings, is named after the native language of the region used to name the city. Arapahoe Square is the residential district of downtown and is currently experiencing huge growth.

Denver Weather

Denver, also known as The Mile High City, is a gorgeous city located in the state of Colorado. It is Colorado’s largest city and state capital, and it is one of the most significant cities in the western portion of the country. Denver is busting with economic activity, and it is home to the Denver Mint. The city is a transportation and business hub, so it is an excellent place to live or visit. Denver also possesses unique and varied weather conditions throughout the year.

Denver WeatherDenver is located precisely 5,280 feet, or one mile, above sea level. Visitors to the city discover that they need time to adjust to the obscure atmosphere. The weather in The Mile High City is mostly sunny for much of the year. In fact, on average, the city sees more than 300 days of sun each year. The nicest time of the year in Denver is in the summer. The warmest month is July as the average high temperatures are in the upper 80s and the average low temperatures are in the 60s. The weather conditions during the summer months span from mild to hot with thunderstorms periodically occurring in the afternoons.

Denver is mostly dry throughout the year. Only 7 to 15 inches of rain falls on the area each year. Golf courses and outdoor restaurants are permitted to remain open at all times of the year. The city is home to more than 200 parks, so people can enjoy a picnic or just relax in the park.

The coolest month of the year in Denver is December. The highs during the month are normally in the 40s, and the lows are in the teens. At times, the temperatures can even get down to single digits. Snow showers arise occasionally during the winter; however, because of the Chinook winds, the snow can disappear in an instant. The winter months can get bitterly cold, so it is important to wear proper clothing. The average snowfall in Denver during the winter is about 60 inches. The weather starts getting colder around the first part of December, and it begins to get warmer around the middle part of April.

Denver is an exciting city that possesses friendly people, exciting attractions and vibrant nightlife. The weather in The Mile High City can change in an instant, so if you are traveling to the area, make sure you check the weather conditions before you arrive.

Denver Transportation

Renting a Car

For visitors to Denver who will be heading outside the downtown area, renting a car makes a lot of sense. There are numerous car rental agencies available in the area, including both national and local companies. The local companies tend to offer more economical pricing for their rentals, but the national companies tend to have a much larger selection of vehicles from which to choose. There are many car rental companies that have a presence at the airport for those who are flying into Denver. Drivers should ensure they always keep the meter fed promptly when using parking meters downtown as the parking fines are vigorously enforced by Denver’s army of meter maids.

Denver Transportation

Light Rail

The RTD light rail system in Denver is very fast for those who need to get between downtown and the southern suburbs of Denver.

Buses

The best public transportation option in Denver is the city’s bus system. It is very convenient and efficient. The buses run all over town and into the suburbs as well. The buses are all clean and modern, and the drivers are very helpful for visitors who have questions about where they are going. The bus system has a line that runs between downtown and the airport that is very handy for travelers. There is also a free shuttle bus that runs downtown which makes stops at most of the major tourist attractions in the city.

Walking

Denver does have some cold weather during the winter, but it is one of the sunniest cities anywhere in the country. This means that visitors who enjoy walking can get around on foot in Denver for most of the year. The city has wide sidewalks and is very pedestrian-friendly. The downtown area, in particular, is very kind to pedestrians. It has lots of pedestrian-only areas as well as loads of beautiful architecture to enjoy.

Bicycling

Denver is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities anywhere. All of the main streets in the city have bike lanes, and most drivers are quite courteous to the bike riders who they share the road with. There are also lots of bike trails that run all over town for bike riders to explore the city. There is a very helpful bike share program in Denver that allows users who purchase a membership to take bikes from the bike share stations found around town. Rides of up to 30 minutes in length are free. Rides of more than 30 minutes in duration are charged a small fee. Anyone that is visiting Denver and likes to ride bikes should make use of this great service.

Denver Attractions

Denver, Colorado has one of the most beautiful and scenic landscapes. From the lush green vegetation to the majestic Rocky Mountains set against the open blue skies, the Mile High City is rich with aesthetic beauty and breathtaking views of natural wonder. Once you do catch your breath, there are a variety of ways you can further explore this gorgeous city.

Elitch Gardens

Denver AttractionsDenver’s Elitch Gardens amusement park has been enchanting visitors for over 120 years. It has over 50 rides, including a water park, and live entertainment. One of the rides is the Tower of Doom, from the top of which you can take in a thrilling view of the city before plunging 200 feet to the ground below. Alternatively, you can go up 20 stories to the top of the Observation Tower to see the city from steadier ground.

History Colorado Center

The History Colorado Center is a real treat, a place where you can both step back in time and glimpse the future. You can participate in programs and trace our progress through history via interactive exhibits that use some of the most developed modern technology. One interesting exhibit is “Denver A to Z: Adrenaline to Zombies and (almost) Everything in Between.” Here you can learn about Denver Broncos fan Tim McKernan, also known as the Barrel Man who for 30 years straight, from 1977 to 2007, showed up at every Broncos home game, regardless of weather, wearing only an orange barrel and matching cowboy hat and boots.

City Park

The City Park is a wonderful place to go for a walk or enjoy a picnic. You also take a detour to some of Denver’s famous attractions within the Park, such as the Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Zoo. The latter houses over 4,000 animals, including rare and exotic species. Amur leopards, vampire bats and Komodo dragons are some of the featured animal exhibits. If you need a more vigorous activity to burn off energy, you can avail yourself of the Park’s tennis courts, playgrounds and fields for baseball, football and soccer.

Colorado State Parks

For an outdoor woods or camping experience, you can visit the Colorado State Parks. These 42 State Parks might as well be heaven for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. You can hike, fish, engage in a variety of water sports, and, at the end of a long day you can cozy up in one of the 58 cabins on site. If you prefer to sleep in your own tent, you can pitch it on one of the over 4,000 campsites.

16 Street Mall

Finally, a trip to Denver cannot be complete without a stroll along the 16 Street Mall. A little over a mile long, this tree-lined Pedestrian Mall offers trendy outdoor cafes, a variety of street performances, countless restaurants and, of course, an endless shopping experience. A free shuttle bus can save you some walking, especially if you’re weighed down with shopping bags.

Denver Dining

Known as the “Mile High City,” Denver has a stunning skyline during the day that is dazzling at night under the starry sky. The fast-developing metropolis has a population of over 600,000 people. The exciting city is also visited by thousands every year. For visitors and residents who love good restaurants, Denver has many dining establishments to enjoy. The largest number of these options serves American food. Southwestern and Mexican cuisine are the 2nd and 3rd largest number. Then, a wide range of International and specialty restaurants are also available. Here are 6 of the top most popular places to dine in Denver:

Denver Dining

Fruition Restaurant

Serving American and Mediterranean cuisine with contemporary style and class, Fruition Restaurant is the place to come for delicious and beautiful dishes. Chicken Cacciatore with velvety polenta, Grouper with broiled cauliflower and duck breast with braised asparagus are a few of the menu options. Every plate is artistically presented. The dining room is small and intimate so reserving tables ahead of times is wise.

Rioja

Mediterranean cooking with local and seasonal foods is served at Rioja for brunch through dinner. Colorado Lamb, venison and salmon are a few of the main dishes offered. The gourmet food does not outdo the fancy and phenomenal desserts like baklava made with a carrot marmalade filling and cheesecake with blackberries and white chocolate. The Sorbet and ice cream are also made in the restaurant kitchen.

Root Down

Serving only American cuisine, Root Down uses gourmet ingredients that are known to be grown using sustainable methods. Salmon, beef tenders and barbecue tofu are a few of the main dishes served. The restaurant provides brunch and dinner. Crowded in the evenings, those planning an evening meal should make reservations.

Tocabe – An American Indian Eatery

As the name tells, Tocabe serves Native American cuisine. Still, traditional foods are combined with a contemporary flair. Frybread is stuffed like tacos and bison ribs are on the menu. Pieces of fry bread to dip in beans and cheese is a snack or side. Different fast food with delicious flavors, Tocabe has many options and cold drinks as well.

Vesta Dipping Grill

Grilled meats and vegetables are matched with sauces and dips that compliment them. Diners can select snack sizes or complete meals. The unique dining experience allows for relaxed enjoyment for small or large groups. The food is grilled to perfection and the choices are fabulous, but the sauces and dips are the standout stars of the menu.

Denver Events

National Western Stock Show and Rodeo

Even in chilly winter weather, the people of Denver can find an opportunity to celebrate. Denver starts its bountiful event year with the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. The kick-off parade features a full herd of Texas Longhorn cattle being driven through downtown Denver. Of course, marching bands, performers and floats get in on the act, too, but the Longhorn spectacle is like no other. In the two weeks following the parade, cowpokes enjoy the Stock Show and Rodeo, a 100-year-old Denver tradition. With more than 15,000 horses, cattle, alpacas, bison and just about every other livestock, there’s something for everyone here. Rodeo competitions, a trade show, countless performances, a Western art show and a variety of farming/ranching demonstrations delight the crowd of about 650,000 attendees.

Cinco de Mayo

Denver EventsDenver’s festival season really takes off in the spring, beginning with the country’s largest Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Nearly half a million people celebrate the holiday with a Mariachi Mass, a downtown parade, plenty of live entertainment, food and drink in abundance and delightful children’s entertainment. Three live music stages offer live Latin jazz, salsa, Notena, and Tex-Mex music. The festivities last all weekend long.

Capitol Hill People’s Fair

The historic Capitol Hill neighborhoods celebrate their community’s diversity with the popular Capitol Hill People’s Fair each June. The festival began more than 40 years ago and now draws more than 250,000 visitors to Denver’s Civic Center Park. Held the first weekend in June, the People’s Fair showcases art and crafts, delicious food, a Wine Pavilion, live entertainment, and a kid’s carnival. Admission is free.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

Visual, performing and culinary arts take center stage at the annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival every Independence Day weekend in Denver’s Cherry Creek North Shopping District. More than 350,000 visitors join in the celebration, visit with international artists, appreciate live music, taste scrumptious culinary delights and explore interactive art activities. Admission is free.

A Taste of Colorado

Edible delights are showcased to more than half a million visitors at A Taste of Colorado each year. The Labor Day Weekend event features more than 50 area restaurants, seven entertainment stages, 250 artisans and vendors and a number of cultural and Western heritage demonstrations.

Great American Beer Festival

After the eating, comes the drinking . . . beer, that is. Denver residents and visitors have many opportunities throughout the year to celebrate Denver’s status as the largest beer producer in the country, but the premier event is the October Great American Beer Festival. More than 2,700 beers and 578 U.S. breweries are featured at the Colorado Convention Center event. A variety of other beer events occur throughout the year, as well, including Summer Brew Fest, Denver Beer Fest and a variety of local beer/pub crawl. The events are fitting tributes to the city that is home to the world’s largest single-site brewery and dozens of microbreweries and brewpubs.

Family Fun near Downtown Denver

Children’s Museum of Denver

If you have children, you definitely will want to take them to the Children’s Museum of Denver where they can have fun and learn something new at the same time. There are so many interactive exhibits and daily educational programs at this museum, so your children will definitely find something fun to do. Some of the most popular exhibits at this museum include Bubbles, Alphabet Soup, Just Add Water and Kinetics.

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Denver Zoo

Spending a day at the Denver Zoo equals fun for the entire family. The Denver Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in the United States and contains animals from all over the world. Whether you want to see a polar bear or cheetah, you will find it at this zoo. Make sure to take a train ride through this zoo with your family and have your kids ride on the carousel before you leave.

Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys

The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys is definitely one of the more interesting places you can visit with your family in Denver. This museum has been around since 1981 and contains many permanent exhibits including full furnished miniature horses, Japanese dolls, artisan miniatures, and a miniature circus. There are also plenty of special events held throughout the year that you can go to with your family members. For example, there is a show held in January that showcases different bears, dolls and other toys.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

One of the leading nature and science museums in the U.S., the Denver Museum of Nature and Science boasts over one million objects in its collection. The collection includes important archeological artifacts such as the original Folsum arrow point, dinosaur and fossil exhibits, the renowned Crane Native American collection, extensive bird and mammal collections from the Western U.S., Egyptian mummies, and gold and minerals from around the world. In addition, there are numerous temporary exhibits. Major exhibits in 2007 are “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” on the Tercentenary of Franklin’s birthday and “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition”. Also located within the facility are the Phipps IMAX Theater and the Gates Planetarium.

Denver Firefighters Museum

If you want your children to have an educational but fun experience in Denver, you should take them to the Denver Firefighters Museum. They will learn everything about firefighting at this museum and learn important fire prevention lessons. Your children can also try on firefighter gear, slide down a pole and learn how to dial 911. Make sure to take them up to the second floor where they can tour the living quarters of firefighters.

Denver Botanic Gardens

If you and your family members have an appreciation for nature, you should visit the Denver Botanic Gardens, which includes a historical farm, beautiful gardens, and nature trails. When you are there with your family, you can hike along the trails, look at birds through binoculars and just appreciate the beauty around you. There are plenty of picnic tables around, so you and your family members can rest and have a bite to eat.

Shopping near Downtown Denver

Cherry Creek Shopping Center

This popular Denver shopping center features several premium stores for the affluent shopper. Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue offer a full selection of high-end clothing and fashion accessories. Chic apparel and furnishings for the home can additionally be found at Macy’s. This shopping center also caters to shoppers who are looking for casual and outdoor clothing.

Denver Shopping

Belmar Shopping District

Located just a few minutes from the downtown section of Denver, this outdoor shopping district allows shoppers to partake in some retail therapy while taking in the fresh Colorado air. Popular shops include Nordstrom Rack, Victoria’s Secret and Chico’s. Staples and Best Buy are stocked with complete inventories of high-quality electronics and office products. Many different types of athletic gear can be found at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Park Meadows

Also known as Colorado’s only retail resort, this shopping mecca boasts many well-known stores such as Armani Exchange, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer. The finest jewelry pieces are for sale at Ben Bridge Jeweler, Zales and Helzberg Diamonds. Children can also find what they are looking for at the Disney Store, GapKids and OshKosh B’gosh.

16th Street Mall and Denver Pavillions

This bustling pedestrian mall in the heart of Denver offers shoppers many options. Affordable fashions are available at Ross, T.J. Maxx and Players Clothing Company. Denver Pavillions, which is a part of the shopping district, features notable stores such as Forever 21 and Blue Bridal Boutique. The MallRide shuttle service offers free rides to many local intersections and transit points.

Flatiron Crossing

Many shoppers enjoy coming to this renowned shopping center to find deals on apparel at shops like American Eagle Outfitters, Dillard’s and Hollister Co. Clothing and accessories with an eccentric flare are for sale at Hot Topic. Other popular stores include Old Navy, Ann Taylor Loft and Gymboree. GameStop and the Apple Store carry state-of-the-art electronics. Shoppers can also find what they are looking for at Foot Locker, Hallmark, and Kay Jewelers.

Colorado Mills

Huge discounts on high-end merchandise are featured at this shopping center. Guess, Levi’s and Motherhood Maternity outlet stores offer fashions at a fraction of the normal retail cost. Terrific deals can additionally be found at RadioShack, Sports Authority and Quicksilver. A Super Target store offers bargains on clothing, electronics and housewares. Perfumania and Perfume X feature fragrances for men and women as well as other types of bath and body products.

Map of Hotels in Denver

  1. Denver International Airport – Find hotels near Commerce City & Barr Lake State Park
  2. Denver Downtown – Find hotels Near College Park and Chillum
  3. University of Denver – Find hotels near Englewood & Goldsmith
  4. Denver Zoo – Find hotels near Clayton & City Park
  5. Denver Union Station – Find hotels near Commons Park & Elitch Gardens
  6. Denver Botanic Gardens – Find hotels near Congress Park & Cheeseman Park
  7. Denver Aquarium – Find hotels near Elitch Gardens & Jefferson Park
  8. Colorado History Museum – Find hotels near Civic Center & Capitol Hill
  9. Red Rocks Park – Find hotels near Morrison & North Dinosaur Park