A 1-Day Trip to Denver, Colorado!
Another work trip, this time to Denver, Colorado for a 24 hour trip. I flew in on a holiday, so had the rest of the afternoon to myself. I was unlucky in that there was a winter storm warning. It went from 10°C one day, to -20°C the next! It snowed overnight, but not enough to be treacherous driving conditions.
For the morning, head to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. I actually flew in in the morning, so did not have the opportunity to visit Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre (unfortunately). There are multiple trails in the area and of course, the trademark rock formations (Google the photos!). The amphitheatre is outdoors and has seating for over 9500 people. Many famous musicians have performed at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, including the Beatles, U2, and Earth, Wind, and Fire!
After the visit to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, head to the Dairy Block for lunch. I parked at the Music Garage across from the Dairy Block building. Parking is $4/hour, to a maximum of $19/day. There are tons of restaurants to pick from (down the alley and inside the main building) and is generally an interesting spot to walk around.
After lunch, take a walk in downtown Denver. First stop, Union Station. Union Station is the main railway station in Denver. In addition to being a central hub for trains and buses, it is home to cafes, shops, and restaurants. The architecture and the signage of Union Station reminded me of the Pacific Central Station in Vancouver.
I continued my walk and headed to Larimer Square. This is another popular spot for restaurants and shopping. The brick buildings provide a glimpse in to the past.
I headed to Civic Center Park using the 16th Street Mall street, which is lined with 250+ stores. I walked past the Denver Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The building was once an opera house. The streets were fairly quiet, and not too busy. As you get closer to the Civic Center Park, there are more homeless and unruly people.
Bordering the Civic Center Park are the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Art Museum, the Court House, and much more! The park itself is currently fenced off for improvements. From the news, it sounds like there has been issues with substance use and homeless living in the park. The Colorado State Capitol is easily distinguished by its gold dome. They offer free tours at select times as well.
I did not have much time left, so I headed back to the parkade. On the way back, I took the Free Mall Ride (identified by its red colour). This is a free bus that travels between Union Station and the Civic Center Park, stopping at every other block or so. The bus comes approximately every 5 minutes from 5am in the morning to 1am the next morning. Due to being a free bus, there are a lot of homeless people who take this bus.
For the evening, I headed to the River North Art District, which is nicknamed Rino. Its official logo is a rhino! The district is popular for its murals, artistic vibe, restaurants and breweries. I stopped by the Denver Central Market. The market is home to a variety of shops including a handmade chocolate shop, a butchery, a pizzeria, an oyster bar, and a lively cocktail bar. I picked up a wood-fired diavola pizza from Vero Pizzeria for dinner.
Next, I walked down the Rino Art Alley, which is the alley behind the Denver Central Market. The murals were very cool and had to snap a photo with my pizza!
This was the end to my 1-day trip in Denver as I had to make a one-hour drive to Greeley. If time permits, spend the evening going on a brewery tour! There are many to choose from in the River North Art District!
Complete Day 1 Itinerary
*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
9:00am: Visit the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.
12:00pm: Have lunch at the Dairy Block (21 minute drive from the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre).
1:00pm: Walk around Downtown Denver. Visit Union Station (7 minute walk from the Dairy Block), Larimer Square (10 minute walk from Union Station), 16th Street Mall (6 minute walk from Larimer Square), and Civic Center Park (16 minute walk from 16th Street Mall).
2:00pm: Go for a tour at the Colorado State Capitol (1 minute walk from the Civic Center Park). Visit the many museums in the area (Denver Art Museum, Molly Brown House Museum, United States Mint, etc.).
4:00pm: Visit the River North Art District (6 minute drive from the Civic Center Park). Walk down the Rino Art Alley (near 26th Street and Walnut Street). Check out the many breweries in the area!
7:00pm: Have dinner at the Denver Central Market (1 minute walk from Rino Art Alley).