Last year I attended the TBEX travel conference held in Keystone, Colorado. I flew into Denver and had the pleasure of spending two days there before taking part in a road rally up to Keystone. This large, bustling metropolis is known as ‘The Mile-High City’ because it is located at an altitude of 1,600 metres above sea level and lies at the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. I found it to be a very active city, with lots of opportunities to take to the outdoors or embark on a day trip in the surrounding area.
Places to Visit
Elitch Gardens- Elitch gardens is a 70-acre amusement park in Downtown Denver with various rides including a wooden roller coaster called ‘Twister II’. I’m a big scaredy cat but I went on it because it didn’t look that bad. I was wrong- it was terrifying!
Red Rocks Amphitheatre- This incredible open-air amphitheatre located in the hills above Denver makes for a fabulous concert venue. The rock formations provide excellent acoustics and the setting itself is magical. The likes of The Beatles, Sonny & Cher, U2 and Jimi Hendrix have all played here.
Where to eat & Drink
Wynkoop Brewery- While visiting Denver all the conference attendees were invited to Wynkoop Brewery for a spot of beer tasting. This brewery was the first brewpub to be established in Denver and is located in the trendy Lodo neighbourhood. It offers a warm atmosphere and plenty of great beers.
Biker Jim’s- This joint serves all types of gourmet hot dogs including bison, Alaskan reindeer, wild boar, elk, buffalo, rattlesnake and pheasant. This place is a bit of an institution and not to be missed. I ordered the bison with a side of deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese!
Where to Stay
If you’re traveling on a budget unfortunately there aren’t many great hostel options. I stayed at AAE 11th Avenue hostel but wouldn’t particularly recommend it.
Fortunately you can find some good deals on hotels; take a look at http://www.booked.net/hotels/us/co/denver
The Brown Palace- This historical hotel is the second oldest in Denver and past guests have included The Beatles, “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S Truman and Bill Clinton.
Hotel Monaco- The Hotel Monaco is one of the most luxurious in the city. It has a boutique feel, with playful touches such as animal-print robes and turquoise boudoir pillows embroidered with images of bucking broncos. If you’re traveling alone and need some company, you can ask the front desk for a goldfish to keep you company!
Warwick Denver Hotel- Located in Uptown Denver, the Warwick has recently undergone a $25 million renovation. The spacious rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views, while the rooftop pool is open year round and boasts breathtaking views of Downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains.
Getting Around Denver
Perhaps the easiest way to get around Denver is to use one of the city bicycles. You can pick up a bike at one of the bicycle stations and ride it all over the city, before dropping it off at another location. You can purchase a 24-hour pass at any B-station using a credit card, or purchase an annual, 30-day or 7-day access pass online.
If you don’t have your own car or vehicle rental, Denver also has a variety of public transport options including bus services and a light rail network. For a fun way to experience the city, you can also flag down a pedicab if you are looking to explore the Downtown area.