Denver is the capital city of Colorado, USA and the largest city in the state. Known as "The Mile-High City", Denver has an altitude of 5,280 feet/1,600 meters and lies where the Midwestern plains give way to the Rocky Mountains. The city has marked the exact "Mile High" point by a gold band embedded in the steps of the state capitol building.
Denver is a bustling city of over 579,000 people supporting a fast growing metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people. The city embraces its cowboy and mining past, but also looks toward the future with a vibrant arts and performing arts scene, dozens of great outdoor festivals, and distinct neighborhoods each offering a unique experience. You'll find everything a cosmopolitan city has to offer, plus easy access to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, which are only 15 miles west of town.
Denver does have its growing pains. Urban sprawl is becoming a problem, with the metropolitan area sometimes growing faster than the infrastructure can really handle, especially with public transportation. Denver is generally a driving city, and problems with pollution and traffic are a part of everyday life, including some pretty bad road-rage incidents. Large mass transportation and freeway expansion projects are underway to keep up with the city's growth, including the popular light rail system. Denver's street grid pattern is fairly efficient as well, though there is often confusion at the intersections of the NE-SW, NW-SE downtown grid, with the N-S, E-W grid of the rest of the city.
Denver residents enjoy a mild climate and tons of sunshine, but they are subject to four very pronounced seasons.
The winter months of December through March can and do bring biting temperatures and heavy snow to the region. While Denver does receive a major blizzard every 6 years on average, most snowstorms bring less than 8 inches of snow, and the foothills just west of Denver get a whole lot more. Winter is also when the Denver area gets pounded by a phenomenon known as the "chinook". That's when air flows over the mountains to the west and sinks on the leeward (eastern) slopes of the foothills and warms up. This raises air temperatures dramatically, bringing strong wind gusts and lasting for several days. If you're planning to visit Denver during the winter, be prepared with full winter gear, but consider packing a light sweater or t-shirt; you never know what you may be treated to (though it'll probably involve sun and blue skies).
Thunderstorms are common in late spring and fall
Spring in Denver is pleasant, though generally rather brief. Trees begin budding by late March and are in full leaf by late April to mid May. March, on average, is Denver's snowiest month. Severe weather is most prominent in Denver during June, so keep your eyes to the skies (and the local weather reports) if you're visiting during this time.
By mid-June, Denver enters its summer season. Temperatures typically rise in earnest at this time, with most heat waves beginning toward the end of June and continuing through July, usually Denver's hottest month. By mid-July, the southwest monsoon kicks in. Temperatures rise rapidly from morning through early afternoon, when thunderstorms develop over the mountains and foothills to the west and spread east over the Denver area. These heavy afternoon rains can bring those high temps down fast. This trend generally sticks around until late August. By then, there's a noticeable difference in evening and night time temperatures as the days get shorter and average temperatures begin to drop. Slather on that sunscreen all summer long; the rays are strong and the air is dry, with temperatures often reaching the upper 90s in July and August.
Autumn is a peaceful time to visit, with mild temperatures, little severe weather and lots of that famous clear blue sky. You'll get to see the trees display their fall colors, which usually peak around mid-September in the mountains and October in the city itself. October usually brings the first snowfall of the season to Denver, although it's not usually heavy. By November, it's clear that winter is on its way, with plenty of clouds, some snow and much cooler temperatures.
The Denver International Airport main terminal.
Denver International Airport, (IATA: DEN, ICAO: KDEN). Commonly referred to as DIA, it's about 20 miles east of downtown. Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines all maintain hubs in Concourses A, B, and C respectively. Most other major domestic carriers also have service here.
Frontier Airlines. Discount carrier with its hub at DIA's Concourse A and service to and from over 60 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America.
United Airlines. The largest carrier at the airport, with service across the nation and the world from Concourse B.
Southwest Airlines. The quintessential discount airline maintains its fastest-growing hub in Concourse C.
The airport is set amidst rolling plains, pretty far from any conceivable local destination. The public transportation service skyRide  offers 5 bus routes from the airport with several stops each, delivering you to many "Park and Ride" locations in the metro area for $6-$10 one way. Purchase tickets at the RTD desk in the main terminal. The airport can be crowded due to a post-9/11 security redesign that created a single central screening station, followed by a train that passengers must take to Concourses B and C. It can take up to an hour to get from the ticket line to the gate, so travelers should get to the airport at least 1.5 hours before their scheduled departure time. There are a number of airport shuttles  you can take from DIA to the city and beyond.
Private pilots mostly fly into Centennial Airport (ICAO: KAPA), south of town. On warm days the density altitude may make takeoffs difficult; Centennial has long runways for this reason, and to accommodate a large volume of private jet traffic. Flight visibility in the Denver area is often in excess of 100 miles; weather fronts tend to travel quickly N-S along the front range. For small planes, any direction but west is a good choice.
I-25 (north and south), I-70 (east and west), and I-76 (northeast) are the major interstates leading in and out of the city. I-225 and I-270 cross the Denver area.
U.S. Highway 36 connects to the northwestern suburbs and on to Boulder.
C-470 Connects to the southern end of E-470 (also accessible from I-25) leading to the south, southwest, and western suburbs.
Toll Roads There are a couple of major toll roads in the Denver area, and they can help you avoid some serious rush hour traffic on I-70 and I-25.
E-470 connects the airport to the southeast, east, northeast and northwest suburbs, C-470 at its southern terminus, and the Northwest Parkway at its northern terminus, leading to Boulder. Mainline toll plazas are staffed 24/7 and will make change, but ramp locations are unstaffed and require exact change. Tolls are $1-3.
Northwest Parkway connects to the north end of E-470 leading to north, northeast and northwest suburbs, and Boulder. Also accessible from I-25. Tolls are up to $3 each, and booths only accept cash. There's no attendant between 10PM and 6AM, so pay attention to the signs; though some booths still accept exact change, others require you to pay online or by mail. Visit the Parkway's website  for instructions.
Amtrak serves Denver's Union Station (DEN). The California Zephyr stops there once a day, continuing east to Chicago and west to Emeryville, California. The station is currently undergoing renovations. When they're complete, it will become the central terminal for bus, light rail, commuter rail, and Amtrak service for the region.
Greyhound The bus station is downtown at 1055 19th St, just a few blocks away from Coors Field and other central attractions. Serviced by Greyhound and skyRide buses, the station also has storage lockers which can be rented hourly.
Ditch the car
Visit the website  to learn how you can get around Denver without the benefit of an automobile. Denver's weather is perfect for walking and cycling, so take advantage of it if you can!
Map of Downtown Denver
Numbered streets run east-west in the north half of the metro area, including suburbs. Ellsworth Avenue is the "equatorial" street. Numbered streets increase as you travel north and are generally called avenues. Avenues south of Ellsworth are named.
Named streets run north-south. Broadway is the "meridian" street. Ordered alphabetically going up as you travel east or west away from city center. Addresses on named streets correspond to intersecting numbered streets, so "1701 Broadway" is at 17th and Broadway. North-south streets are generally called streets, not avenues.
Downtown streets: The diagonal layout of the downtown area can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors. North of Colfax and west of Broadway, the streets are canted 45 degrees from all other streets in the city. The transition between the two systems is confusing even for locals. Southeast-northwest streets are numbered, while southwest-northeast streets are named. As this was the original grid system of Denver, some vestiges of it exist outside of downtown, creating diagonal cuts in certain parts of the city. Some of those streets include Park Avenue, Speer Boulevard and Morrison Road.
With Denver's considerable sprawl, car rentals are the most convenient form of transportation for visitors. Local companies tend to offer better prices, but national chains might be more convenient as far as return policies and hours.
Rental companies include:
Alamo Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 462-5266), .
Avis Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 331-1212), .
Budget Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 527-0700), .
Dollar Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 800-3665), .
E-Z Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 277-5171), .
Enterprise Rent A Car, (toll free: +1 800 261-7331), .
Hertz Car Rental, (toll free: +1 800 654-3131), .
Meters are free on Sunday, and run until 10PM on weekdays. In the downtown area near Coors Field, The Pepsi Center, and LoDo, there is pretty much no free parking on weekdays. In some areas a few blocks from the city center there are a few non-metered spots within reasonable walking distance of downtown. However, just because you don't see a meter doesn't mean that parking is free. Denver is increasingly using "European-style" meters, where you purchase a paper ticket from a machine somewhere on the block and place it on your dashboard.
Areas outside of the downtown core (20th St, Speer, Wynkoop St, Colfax and Broadway) usually have meters that end at 6PM and are free on weekends, so parking is much easier during those times. The area just northwest of downtown, across the train tracks from Union Station, has free 2-hour parking spots.
By public transit
The light rail station at 16th and Stout in downtown Denver.
The RTD (Regional Transportation District)  operates public transit throughout the Denver area, including buses and light rail.
In 2004, voters approved FasTracks , a plan to significantly expand Denver's public transportation system. However, this plan won't be completed until around 2016, so public transportation is still somewhat sparse outside the downtown area.
Denver's existing light rail system, though limited, can efficiently get you from downtown to some south central and southeast suburbs. One light rail line travels parallel to I-25 from the southern part of the Denver metro area past the Tech Center, with a small spur on I-225. Another light rail line connects downtown Denver to Englewood and Littleton. Nearly all light rail lines get you to downtown Denver either through central downtown via the Convention Center or to Union Station past INVESCO Field and the Pepsi Center. Light rail tickets must be purchased (cash, Visa or MasterCard) from vending machines at the stations before boarding the trains. They cost between $2 and $4.50, depending on how far you travel.
There are also many RTD buses you can take throughout the city. Buses are $2 a trip with a free transfer that's valid for two hours. RTD runs a free shuttle along the 16th Street pedestrian mall, which is a little over a mile long and takes you close to most places downtown. More information about RTD can be found at the Market Street and Civic Center bus stations at either end of 16th street in downtown.
Denver is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for visitors, plus a diverse collection of neighborhoods that can be attractions in themselves. Many of Denver's older areas are the perfect density for exploration; you'll find an an interesting mix of apartments and homes with flowery front gardens, wide flagstone sidewalks, bright green lawns and big, shady trees. Capitol Hill, Highlands, Baker, Berkeley, Uptown, Sloan's Lake, Cheesman, Washington, City and Congress Parks are just some of the neighborhoods bustling with people and places to see.
Denver has many beautiful parks that are full of colorful gardens, meandering paths, crystal clear lakes, abundant wildlife and recreation opportunities. The city has a rich pioneer history, and there are plenty of museums where you can learn all about it. It's also a very environmentally conscious city, with one of the nation’s first municipal “Green Fleets”, public transit vehicles using hybrid and alternative fuel and a city tree-planting initiative. Hop on a green bus, grab a bike or just walk around to discover Denver.
Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, 3091 California St, ☎ +1 303 482-2242, . September-May: Tu-Sa 10AM-2PM, June-August: Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Set in the home of Dr. Justina Ford, Colorado's first Black woman doctor, this museum is dedicated to the contributions of Black pioneers in the Old West.$8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 children.
Byers-Evans House Museum, 1310 Bannock St, ☎ +1 303 620-4933, . Tu-Su 11AM-3PM (guided tours at 11AM, 12:30PM and 2PM). One of Denver's great historic homes, built in 1883 by Rocky Mountain News publisher Williams Byers and elegantly furnished with original turn of the (20th) century pieces. Tour the house or catch featured exhibitions in the gallery.$5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children (children under 6 free).
Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd, ☎ +1 303 322-7009, . Open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Exhibitions, planetarium and IMAX.
Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Dr, ☎ +1 303 433-7444 (fax: +1 303 433-9520), . This educational museum takes a fun, hands-on approach to learning.
Colorado Historical Society, 1300 Broadway, ☎ +1 303 866-3682, . Home of the Colorado History Museum and the Stephen H. Hart Library. Exhibits at the museum and historical sites throughout Colorado.
Denver Art Museum, 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, ☎ +1 720 865-5000, . Tu-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon–5PM. Closed M and major holidays. A huge museum with art from all over the world. You'll want to give yourself several hours to properly explore the place. Free admission on the first Saturday of the month!
Denver Firefighters Museum, 1326 Tremont Place, ☎ +1 303 892-1436, . M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Historical and interactive exhibits, activities and special events celebrating Denver's firefighters.$6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children.
Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, 1880 Gaylord St, ☎ +1 303 322-1053, . W-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. Houses, trains, planes, circuses and more. Everything's tiny except the giant teddy bears!$6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children (children under age 5 free).
Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St, . This restored Victorian was once home to labor reformist, actress and Titanic survivor Margaret Brown. It now showcases that era of Colorado history through exhibits and special events.
Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Dr, ☎ +1 303 571-4401, . Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 12PM-5PM. Denver is home to a large and growing Latino population, and this museum focuses on their art and heritage. $4 adults, $3 students/seniors, children under age 13 free.
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 1485 Delgany St, ☎ +1 303 298-7554, . Tu–Th 10AM–6PM, F 10AM–10PM, Sa-Su 10AM–6PM. Housed in an ultra-modern building downtown, this innovative museum seeks to engage the community with workshops, films, lectures, and a relaxing, open environment. Visit the rooftop deck for 360-degree views of Denver, grab a quick bite in the cafe, and check out the functional public performance space called The Lane.$10 adults, $5 students/seniors, children under 6 free.
Denver Mint, 320 West Colfax Ave, . Thanks to this place, more U.S. money is made in Denver than anywhere else in the world. Fish a coin out of your pocket and look for the "D" on the face side (usually in the bottom right quadrant). That means the money was minted in Denver. Advance registration is required for all mint tours.
Platte Valley & Western Model Railroad Club, 1701 Wynkoop (Denver's Union Station) (basement of Denver's Union Station), ☎ 303-325-5143, . F 7PM-9PM. A room that was used in the 1900s as the historic station’s jail has been remodeled to house two model railroads depicting Rocky Mountain routes of the 1950s. Check the club’s website for a full schedule of dates and activities.Free.
Parks and Gardens
City Park, (between Colorado Boulevard, York Street, 26th Avenue and 17th Avenue). Enjoy the Denver sunshine at this 330-acre urban park east of downtown. Two lakes, numerous fields, playgrounds, and a golf course.
Washington Park. Beautiful and lush Denver park, with lakes, flower gardens, a recreation center, soccer fields and tennis courts.... Over 160 acres of natural beauty, surrounded by turn of the 19th Century homes. A favorite jogging destination.
Denver Botanic Gardens, 1005 York St, ☎ +1 720 865-3500, . Come for the array of flowers and plants from around the world, stay for the peace and quiet (and the free WiFi!), then check out the bonus attractions. Above the gardens' bistro, you'll find Denver's first public green roof, a living example of the benefits of green design. Space and science buffs won't want to miss the OmniGlobe exhibit, a spherical simulation of the Earth from space.
Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St, ☎ +1 303 376-4800, . Open every day of the year, hours vary by season. Denver zoo's pride is Bear Mountain, created using casts of actual Colorado rock outcroppings to simulate the bears' natural habitat. For a different way to watch the wildlife, hop on the Pioneer Train, the first train in a U.S. zoo to be powered by natural gas. Other exhibits include an indoor rainforest and the 7-acre Primate Panorama.$5-12.
Chamberlin Observatory, 2930 East Warren Ave, ☎ +1 303 871-5172, . Built in 1890, this working observatory is a historic landmark and a pride of the University of Denver. Star Parties and other events are open to the public.
Colorado State Capitol Building
Colorado State Capitol, 200 East Colfax Ave, ☎ +1 303 866-2604, . Stand on the step that marks the exact point where the Mile High City reaches it's one-mile elevation! You can call yourself the Mile High Person.
Late spring and early autumn are excellent seasons to do things outdoors in Denver. Besides the city's various lush green parks, there are plenty of outdoor festivals, sports, and gondola rides. (Yes, gondola rides.) In winter, the snow-peaked mountains in the distance and the crisp air on your cheeks make it the perfect time to tour Denver's famous breweries or check out the downtown arts scene.
Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 West 104th Ave, Westminster (12 miles northwest of downtown Denver), ☎ +1 303 469-5441, . 9AM-4:15PM daily. Learn about invertebrates, science and conservation through fun, interactive exhibits ideal for families with kids. All ages enjoy visiting their tropical conservatory, which is filled with 1,200 free-flying butterflies.$5-8.
Six Flags Elitch Gardens, . A huge amusement park with rides and family entertainment.
Waterworld, . Open last weekend in May through Labor Day. One of the largest family water parks in the U.S.
Colorado Avalanche, Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, +1 303 405-1100, . National Hockey League.
Colorado Rockies, Coors Field, 2001 Blake Street, +1 303 762-5437, . Major League Baseball.
Denver Broncos, Invesco Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant Street, +1 720 258-3333, . National Football League.
Denver Nuggets, Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, +1 303 405-1100, . National Basketball Association.
Colorado Mammoth, Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, +1 303 405-1100, . National Lacrosse League.
Colorado Rapids, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way, +1 303 727-3500, . Major League Soccer.
Coors Brewery, 17735 W 32nd Avenue, Golden, ☎ +1 303 277-2337, . Coors is brewed with Rocky Mountain water, and you can taste some after you tour the original brewery in Golden. Kids are welcome, if accompanied by an adult.
Great Divide Brewing Company, 2201 Arapahoe Street, ☎ +1 303 296-9460, . This celebrated local microbrewery is helping make Denver an international destination for beer-lovers. Learn firsthand how they do it. Tours happen Monday-Saturday.Free.
Venice on the Creek, Creekfront Plaza (Larimer St between Speer Blvd and 14th St), ☎ +1 303 893-0750, . June-August: Th-Su 5PM-10PM. It's just like you're in Venice. Only you're in Denver. Take a relaxing ride in a punt (very similar to an Italian gondola) on Cherry Creek. Your guide will tell you about city history while navigating the shallow waters around downtown. Tours leave every 15 minutes, and reservations are recommended.$20-75.
Arts and Entertainment
Festivals & Events
January National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Martin Luther King Parade, Indian Market
February Colorado Garden and Home Show, Denver Restaurant Week, Buffalo Bill's Birthday Party
March St. Patrick's Day Parade, Denver March Powwow, Starz Global Lens Film Festival
April Doors Open Denver, Colorado Rockies Home Opener, KBCO Kinetics
May Cinco de Mayo, Tesoro Indian Market and Powwow, Downtown Denver Festival of the Arts, Colorado Colfax Marathon also includes Denver's Navy Week.
June Colorado Renaissance Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, Comcast La Piazza dell’Arte, Do At The Zoo, PrideFest, The People's Fair, Highland Street Fair
July Cherry Creek Arts Festival, The INTERNATIONAL at Castle Pines, Colorado Irish Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Evergreen Jazz Festival
August Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival
September A Taste of Colorado, Brew At The Zoo, Annual Oktoberfest, Festival Italiano
October Fright Fest, Great American Beer Festival, Denver Mariachi Festival, Denver Marathon
November Starz International Film Festival, Denver International Wine Festival, Downtown Denver, Grand Illumination
December Mile High Holidays, Blossoms of Light, Zoo Lights, 9News Parade of Lights
Art Institute of Colorado,  1200 Lincoln Street, +1 303-837-0825 (Toll Free: 1-800-275-2420).
Central Library, 10 W 14th Ave., +1 720-865-1111, . Denver Public Library's Central Library was designed by acclaimed architect Michael Graves, was host to the G7 Summit in 1997 and has a wealth of information of all kinds. The library also offers free Internet access and its Western History collection is considered one of the best in the world.
University of Colorado Denver, 1380 Lawrence St, +1 303-556-5970, .
University of Denver, 2199 S University Blvd, +1 303-871-2000, .
Denver is the main business center of the Mountain West, with major industries in the Denver metro area including Technology, Telecom, Defense, and Tourism.
16th Street and the State Capitol during the holiday season.
There are a number of shopping areas in Denver. The two most prominent are the 16th Street Mall, and the Cherry Creek Shopping District.
The 16th Street Mall runs the near entire length of 16th St. in downtown Denver. It is home to a number of chain stores, as well as novelty shops. It is dominated by the Denver Pavilions, an "urban mall," on the southeast end of the street.
The Cherry Creek Shopping District sits southeast of downtown Denver, and hosts some of the most expensive stores in the metropolitan area. The Cherry Creek Shopping Mall is the epicenter of this district.
Larimer Square offers some of the best shopping districts in the city and was one of the first urban shopping concept, dating back to the 1960's. The area is full of all kinds of stuff from clothing to furniture. Check out the district's rich history, as well. It is a nice place because almost everything is very architecturally eye-pleasing, which is nice when shopping. Check the area between 14th Street and 16th.
The Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Ave, ☎ +1 303 322-7727, . The area's largest and best-known bookstore, selling new books. The bookstore hosts author readings and other educational programs.
Mexican food is abundant and satisfying and takes a local Denver flavor. Green Chili is the order of the day: a brown, chunky and spicy sauce made from pork and Pueblo or Hatch green chilies that works well on everything from chorizo and eggs to tamales. Denver is also known for "western" food using ingredients such as angus beef, buffalo, rattlesnake, cutthroat trout and Rocky Mountain oysters. Denver has most types of cuisine as other large cities and has several restaurants recently noted in top food publications. A recently passed bill had outlawed smoking in bars and restaurants statewide. However, some places with outdoor patios still allow smoking there.
The restaurant section of the weekly independent newspaper Westword (available for free every Thursday at newsstands and locations across the city) is a good place to find the food your interested in for your price-range and location. Below is a sampling of some consistently good choices.
Benny Blanco's Slice of the Bronx, 616 E. 13th Ave., +1 303-831-1346. Benny Blanco's is a classic hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, and in this case the phrase is literal. There's no seating, but big, New York-style slices fresh from the oven can be had for as little as $2 a slice.
Blue Bonnet, 457 S Broadway, +1 303-778-0147. A noisy bar featuring southwest/Tex-Mex in Denver with most items under $10. There is patio seating and two separate dining rooms that are a bit quieter than the main bar. Consistently rated a "Best Of" in various local polls.
Breakfast King, 300 W Mississippi, +1 303-733-0795. The Breakfast King is a late night staple of Denver, and one of the best greasy spoons. Open 24 hours and it's also walking distance from the Broadway LR station.
Buenos Aires Pizzeria, 1319 22nd St., +1 303-296-6710. An Argentinean-style pizza joint with unusual topping choices and plenty of $2 empanada (small savory turnovers) offerings.
Casa Bonita, 6715 W. Colfax, +1 303-232-5115 . A gargantuan (52,000 sq. ft.) Mexican restaurant in Lakewood known more for the entertainment than for the food. An inexpensive place to bring the family, the kids will love the cliff divers, trained "gorilla", video arcade and other entertainment.
Clancy's Irish Pub, Located a wee bit west o' Kipling and 38th Ave. Daily 11AM-10PM. Clancy's serves a variety of Anglo-Irish and domestic favorites, including Corned Beef and Cabbage, Fish n' Chips, (listed by Westword as the best in town.) Shepard's Pie, Rueben sandwitches and pint after pint Guinness Stout on tap.
El Taco de Mexico, 714 Santa Fe Dr., +1 303-623-3926 . This small Mexican lunch-counter offers many delicious food choices for the adventurous palate.
Heaven Dragon 16255 W 64th Ave, +1 720-898-9909. Though not in Denver proper (rather, it's in the suburb of Arvada) this often-overlooked Chinese restaurant may be among the best in the entire state of Colorado. With prices that will feed even a large family for under $40, its food is consistently ranked by reviewers as spectacular, to the point where visiting politicians (congressmen, governors, even President George W. Bush) often go out of their way to stop there. The atmosphere is superb--very formal and elegant, despite the low prices. A bit of a hike from the city, however--20 or 30 minutes from downtown on a good day.
Illegal Pete's 1530 16th St. #101, +1 303-623-2169, . A local favorite hangout with great, cheap burritos! Its patio is located directly on the 16th St Mall, making it a great place to people watch.
Jerusalem, 1890 E Evans Ave., +1 303-777-8828. Open until 3AM, and within walking distance of the University of Denver, this small but excellent Middle Eastern restaurant offers great no-frills food in a laid-back and hip atmosphere.
Leela European Cafe, 820 15th St., +1 303-534-2255. Leela's is a combination bar/coffeehouse/cafe which is a favorite among the college crowd. There's good Italian coffee, great music (live on some nights), and great panini sandwiches. Leela's is open 24 hours as well, and free wireless internet is available, so you can be productive (or not) while waiting for your friends to arrive.
Pete's Kitchen, 1962 E. Colfax Avenue, +1 303-321-3139.  This combination Greek restaurant and short-order diner is open 24 hours a day and boasts a great Greek salad and French toast. It's a favorite of local celebrities as well.
Taqueria Patzcuaro, 2616 West 32nd, +1 303-455-4389. This neighborhood favorite boasts the most amazing tacos and green chili.
Tommy's Thai, 3410 East Colfax, +1 303-377-4244.
Two-Fisted Mario's Pizza, Market and 16th, +1 303-623-3523. Two-Fisted Mario's has excellent East-coast style pizza on the cheap ($2 a slice, and it's a big slice), and is open until 3AM, so you can grab a pie after drinking microbrews into the wee hours of the morning.
Racine's, 650 Sherman St ., +1 303-595-0418. THE restaurant for both Denver's power brokers and proletariats with its simple yet elegant American menu and casual yet sophisticated decor.
Jack n Grill, 2524 Federal Blvd., +1 303-964-9544. Excellent New Mexico-style food with heaping portions usually soaked in your choice of a green or red chili or for the indecisive, both.
New Saigon, 630 S Federal Blvd., +1 303-936-4954, . Denver is home to a sizable Southeast Asian population that shows off its unique culinary talents at this great Vietnamese community institution.
Empress Seafood, 2825 W Alameda Av., +1 303-922-2822. Empress has long been the queen of dim-sum and affordable yet flavorful seafood selections from all over Asia.
Le Central, 112 E. 8th Ave., +1 303-863-8094. A surprisingly affordable French restaurant in central Denver offers Provence-style French food such as moules et frites (mussels and fries). A great choice for the fancy dinner without the fancy check.
Imperial Chinese, 431 S. Broadway. +1 303-698-2800, . Simply put, The Imperial is Denver's premier Chinese restaurant and has been for the over 20 years it's been in existence. Dinner entrées range from $10-$30, with all but the Peking Duck and various specials under $22.
The 9th Door, 1808 Blake Street, +1 303-303-293-2111,  Spanish tapas and wine, desserts and atmosphere.
Barolo Grill, 3030 E 6th Av., +1 303-393-1040. Decadent Italian.
The Black Pearl, 1529 S Pearl St, +1 303-777-0500, 
Buckhorn Exchange, 1000 Osage Street, +1 303-534-9505,  The oldest continuously operating restaurant in Denver, noted for its "western" menu and decor. Right next to the 10th and Osage light rail stop. Famous for offering game meat such as elk, bison, and venison.
The Fort, 19192 Highway 8, Morrison. Though a bit of a drive, The Fort is possibly Denver's most famous restaurant. It sits just on the edge of suburban Denver and is perhaps most famous for hosting a dinner during the G7 conference in 1997. Reservations highly recommended.
Luca d'Italia, 711 Grant St., +1 303-832-6600, 
New Belgium, maker of the very popular Fat Tire, is based to the north in Fort Collins.
Rock Bottom, a national chain of brewpubs, is based in Louisville (near Boulder).
One should keep in mind that the effects of alcohol are magnified at higher elevations, so people may find themselves inebriated more quickly and with greater effect than they would at lower altitudes. Moderation is probably a good idea until you understand your body's reaction to alcohol and can acclimatize to its effects at higher elevations.
That said, the following are some of the best bar-hopping locales in the city:
Bars in Lower Downtown (LoDo)
LoDo is the name Colorado locals have given the Lower Downtown district of Denver. It's a great place for meals, entertainment, and nightlife, where restored Victorian buildings now house more than 90 sports bars, brew pubs, jazz clubs, and restaurants.
My Brother's Bar (Brother's), 2376 15th St, +1 303-455-9991. Brother's is the oldest bar in Denver and steeped in the history of the Beat movement; Jack Kerouac was a regular here during his years in Denver. Massive selection of premium choices and a fantastic single-malt scotch selection. Classical music plays, but don't expect to hear it on a really busy night. Good food, including the JCB: a cheeseburger featuring Jalapeno Cream Cheese. There's no sign on the bar so don't look for one, but it's right on the southeast corner of 15th and Platte streets. This is where the locals go and regulars abound.
The Cruise Room, 1600 17th St, +1 303-825-1107, . 1930's Art Deco Martini Bar inside the Oxford Hotel. Best Martinis in Denver! You can also order fresh seafood from McCormick's Fish House.
Double Daughter's Salotto, 1632 Market St, +1 303-623-3505. A modern and slightly goth bar for all the cool kids to hang out. The bar features some of the oddest and best ambiance in the city and is connected to Two Fisted Mario's, a pizza place that is open late so you can grab some grub after the bars close.
Falling Rock Tap House, 1919 Blake St, +1 303-293-8338. The Falling Rock is a beer snob's dream, with over 70 excellent beers on tap. The selection changes from week to week, too, keeping the locals entertained and tipsy off of fine Belgians and microbrews. It gets crowded after Rockies games, but during the offseason, it's a great place to eacape from the cold and warm up with a well-poured Belgian trippel.
Jet Bar, 1612 Wazee Street, +1303-572-3300, . The Lobby (main bar) is a retro and contemporary design of lighting, shag rugs, and comfortable lounge seating, and Club Twenty is Jet Hotel's private club.
Lodo's Bar & Grill, 1946 Market St, +1 303-293-8555
Nallen's Irish Pub, 1429 Market St, +1 303-572-0667. A little piece of the Old Country in Denver, Nallen's has great nightly drink specials, authentic Irish ambience and a great Tuesday night pub quiz.
Capitol Hill is the neighborhood directly east and south of the Colorado State Capitol, located on Colfax Avenue and Grant Street. It has long held as place for young people, sub-cultures and the gay and lesbian community. Currently, it rivals LoDo as the place to party, no matter what your scene is.
Bender's Tavern, 314 E. 13th Ave. +1 303-361-7070, .
Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill, 980 Grant Street, +1 303-860-1655. Charlie Brown's in another beat era hangout located at a hotel where Ginsburg and the gang used to stay. Has great happy-hours, a mostly local crowd, good food, and an agile piano player belting out tunes while you drink.
City O City, E. 13th Ave. You will find a changing handful of unusual brews on tap. Grab a blueberry muffin or the vegan buffalo wings (which are excellent - and you can eat them without having to worry about a bone!) and people watch.
Funky Buddha Lounge, 776 Lincoln St, +1 303-832-5075.
Govnr's Park Restaurant & Tavern, 672 Logan St, +1 303-831-8605. Practically the after work bar for all of the state workers and lobbyists at the capitol, this comfortable place has great happy-hour specials and tasty food.
Park Tavern, 931 11th Ave.
Cricket on the Hill 1209 E. 13th Ave, +1 303-830-9020. Denver's preeminent punk bar/club offers almost nightly live music, great specials and some of the best clientele to people watch in the city.
The Church, 1160 Lincoln St., +1 303-832-2383, part of the "SoCo" (South of Colfax) club district, the Church is one of the most popular dance clubs in the city, and as its name suggests, is housed in a former Episcopalian church. That however, does not prevent hundreds if not thousands of people from descending on the dancefloor every night to shake what God has given them.
Bars On Colfax
Colfax Avenue, described by Playboy Magazine as the "longest, wickedest, street in America," stretches 26 miles through Denver and its suburbs. Colfax has long had a "gritty" reputation for being home to prostitution and drug peddlers. However, through much urban development work, Colfax has shed its past and emerged hipper, cleaner and more popular than ever. The many bars, restaurants and nightspots along the street give it a 24/7 ambience.
The Bank Bar & Grill, 2239E Colfax Ave, +1 303-320-9494 Check out their 2 for 1 drink special daily from 10pm til close. Bear Fights!!!!!
Charlie's, 900 E. Colfax Ave. +1 303-839-8890. Charlie's is simultaneously a gay bar and cultural landmark catering to the old west spirit and/or disco diva in all of us. Charlie's has a friendly clientele, a mix of country, pop, and dance music, and inexpensive drinks.
Goosetown Tavern, 3320 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-399-9703, .
Irish Snug Restaurant & Pub, 1201 E Colfax Ave # 100, +1 303-839-1394. The Snug (to the locals) is the best place in Denver to down a pint of Guinness with your mates. Excellent fish and chips will fill you up (if the Guinness doesn't first).
Lion's Lair, 2022 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-320-9200.
Mezcal, 3230 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-322-5219, Mezcal is a hip Mexican-themed bar/restaurant serveing excellent and cheap Mexican food along with its plentiful selection of great drinks, particularly tequilas.
Sancho's Broken Arrow, 741 E Colfax, +1 303-832-5288. One of the four Don Quixote themed bars in Denver, Sacho's is the best place in Denver to relive your old days with its Grateful Dead come alive decor and live rock and roll every Monday.
Streets of London Pub, 1502 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-861-9103. The closest thing to England you can get without a 10 hour flight, Streets of London has an abundant selection of ales, draughts and other favourites.
The Squire Lounge, 1800 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-333-9106.
Pablo's Coffee, sw corner of 6th and Washington. Fresh roasted coffee roasted in the store, excellent barristas and a nice patio, no wi-fi so the number of student "campers" is a minimum, a great place for people looking for a great cup of coffee.
The Market, at Larimer Square. THE place for coffee shop people watching in Denver. Wifi/Laptop friendly. Outstanding pastries, hot from the oven every day at 6:30AM. Also a great full service deli.
St. Mark's, 17th and Race (20 blocks east of Broadway). Quintessential coffeehouse ambience. House made pastries. Lovely neighborhood block with a nice collection of restaurants.
Fluid, 19th and Pennsylvania. Modern. Wifi/Laptop friendly. Gourmets: order an Artisan coffee made with the Clover machine. Light pre-packaged eats available.
Daz Bog, 9th and Downing. Formerly Diedrich's. Wifi/Laptop friendly. Lovely tree lined street. Nice selection of pastries and light bites. Significant portion of patrons are gay.
Common Grounds Downtown, 17th and Wazee. Wifi/Laptop friendly. An old mainstay in Denver. Between Union Station and Market Street RTD station.
Metropolis, 11th and Cherokee and 17th and Champa. Modern. Wifi/Laptop friendly.
15th St. Tavern, 623 15th St, +1 303-572-0822, 
Bender's Tavern, 314 E. 13th Ave. +1 303-361-7070, 
Bluebird Theater, 3317 E Colfax Ave, +1 303-322-2308, 
Melbourne International Hotel & Hostel, 607 22nd Street, ☎ +1 303-292-6386 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A pretty decent place with private rooms and dorms available. Doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it is actually quite nice. Not exactly in a great part of town, but the rooms are well protected and it is very close to downtown, just two blocks away from a light rail station.
Microtel Inn Denver International Airport, 18600 E. 63rd Avenue, ☎ +1 303-371-8300, .
Ramada Gateway Downtown, 2601 Zuni St. (Located across the I-25 from downtown Denver), ☎ +1 303-433-6677 (fax: +1 303-455-1530), .
Crowne Plaza Denver - City Center, 1450 Glenarm Place, +1 303-573-1450, . Rooms are reasonably spacious and have free broadband internet access and a desk. Breakfast is modestly priced and modest in style. The lobby is typical Holiday Inn. Given the size of the hotel, reception and concierge staff numbers are small but there still seem to be no queues for their services. Stay high in a room on the Glenarm St side if you want a mountain view. Airport shuttles ($21 to international) serve the hotel.
Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport, 15500 East 40th Avenue, +1 303-371-9494, .
Drury Inn, 9445 E Dry Creek Road, near the Tech Center. Low cost, solid rooms and free breakfast and dinner of pizza and salad.
Embassy Suites Denver Airport, 7001 Yampa St. +1 303 574-3000, . Full-service hotel six miles from the airport. Complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Denver Cherry Creek, 1680 South Colorado Blvd, +1 303-691-2223 (toll-free: 1-800-690-9799, fax: +1 303-691-0062), .
Four Points by Sheraton Denver Southeast, 6363 E. Hampden Avenue, 1-866-716-8133, . Rooms with mountain views, free Internet access, free bottled water and in-room movies. Heated indoor and outdoor (seasonal) swimming pools, two on-site restaurants and a fitness center.
Holiday Inn - Denver North Coliseum, 4849 Bannock Street, +1 303-292-9500, .
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 7010 Tower Road, +1 303-373-4100, .
Holiday Inn Select, 455 South Colorado Blvd, +1 303-388-5561, .
Hyatt Regency Tech Center - Denver, 7800 East Tufts Avenue, .
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place, 1-866-716-8134, . On the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown, 3 1/2 blocks from the Denver Convention Center.
Sheraton Denver West, 360 Union Boulevard, 1-866-716-8134, .
Sheraton Denver Tech Center, 7007 South Clinton Street, 1-866-716-8134, . At the Denver Tech Center, near the Inverness and Meridian office parks as well as shopping at Park Meadows Mall.
Sleep Inn Denver Tech Center, 9257 E. Costilla Avenue, +1 303-662-9950 (fax: +1 303-662-9951), .
Wingate by Wyndham Denver Tech Center, 8000 E Peakview Ave, Greenwood Village, CO 80111, ☎ 303-221-0383, .
Brown Palace Hotel, 321 17th Street, 1-800-321-2599, . An elegant, historic hotel in downtown Denver, the Brown Palace has catered to congressmen, US presidents, and countless foreign dignitaries.
The Burnsley, +1 303-830-1000, , Luxurious hotel right in the heart of downtown and offering 80 suite accommodations.
Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street, +1 303-297-1300 (toll-free: 1-800-228-9290, fax: +1 303-298-7474), ,a beautiful hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado offering panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the city skyline.
Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse, +1 303-779-1100 (fax: +1 303-740-2523), .
Embassy Suites - Downtown, 1881 Curtis St., . An all-suite, full service hotel.
Grand Hyatt Denver, 1750 Welton Street, ☎ +1 303 295 1234 (fax: +1 303 292 2472), . Luxury downtown Denver hotel. 512 elegant guestrooms with city views. Features the Hyatt Grand Bed, free 24 hour fitness facility, indoor pool, room service around the clock, well-lit work stations and high-speed internet access.
Hotel Monaco, 1717 Champa Street, +1 303-296-1717, .
Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th Street, (fax: +1 303 486 4450), . New thirty-seven story downtown hotel, adjacent to the Colorado Convention Center. 1,100 spacious guestrooms, with views of the mountain and downtown.
The Inverness Hotel & Conference Center, 200 Inverness Drive West, Englewood, 1-800-832-9053,  This hotel provides a number of meeting venues available for meetings, weddings, conferences and other events. Other amenities include a championship golf course and a luxury spa specializing in a variety of traditional pampering treatments.
The Oxford Hotel, . The historic hotel provides a romantic retreat located in the midst of Denver’s lively LoDo district.
Jet Hotel,  1612 Wazee Street, Denver, +1 303-572-3300 (fax:+1 303-623-0770),Special Rates November & December In the heart of Lower Downtown. Has a private night club and a bar.
JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek, 150 Clayton Lane, +1 303-316-2700 (fax: +1 303-316-4697), .
Loews Denver Hotel 4150 East Mississippi Ave., +1 303-782-9300, .
Summerfield Suites Hotel by Wyndham, 9280 East Costilla Avenue, +1 303-706-1945, . Within Denver Tech Center's corporate park and just a short drive from the Rocky Mountains' finest resort cities.
Wyndham Denver Tech Center Hotel, 7675 East Union Avenue, +1 303-770-4200, . In the heart of Denver's most prestigious business center.
The Westin Tabor Center, 1672 Lawrence Street, 1-866-716-8137, . Four-diamond hotel in downtown Denver.
The Westin Westminster, 10600 Westminster Boulevard, 1-866-716-8137, . Spacious guest rooms with beautiful décor.
16th Street Mall, . Free Wifi along the pedestrian 16th Street Mall in the heart of Downtown.
Cherry Creek North, . Entire area has free WiFi provided by the Cherry Creek North Business District.
Common Grounds, 3484 W 32nd Ave, +1 303-458-5248 or 1601 17th St, +1 303-296-9248. Both locations in the West Highlads and LoDo neighborhoods respectively, offer wireless Internet as well as a wide selection of coffee and coffeehouse food. The LoDo location also offers pay internet terminals.
Peaberry Coffee, . Multiple locations. Free WiFi, but you have to ask the barrista for username and password. Use your browser to log in.
Paris on the Platte, 1553 Platte St, +1 303-455-2451. A funky little coffee shop down in LoDo. Good food, good art, great coffee. Free WiFi and even tables where you can plug in for power and even ethernet for those that lack wireless.
Panera Bread, Multiple locations . Free Wifi at most if not all locations.
Denver is pretty safe for a city its size. Use your common sense when traveling, particularly in downtown and some of the other inner-city neighborhoods. Denver does have a higher than usual population of homeless people, but the city has strict laws about accosting for money. In general, they are not really harming anyone. Downtown has a fairly active 24/7 population, especially in LoDo, so it's generally safe. Still, it may be a good idea to not travel alone, especially at night, and especially in some of the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. Unlike some larger cities, there are really no neighborhoods where one should not travel at all. Violent crime is fairly low in Denver for a such a large city. Muggings and theft are not nearly as common in Denver as other cities, but common sense dictates that you should be careful with your money and valuables. Probably the most common theft in Denver is stealing from cars, especially around busy shopping districts. Take extra care with valuables in your vehicle, and consider either keeping them in your posession or keeping them at the hotel. At the least, keep valuables out of sight in your trunk.
Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness is an ailment that potentially anyone can have when they visit areas with higher altitudes than they are used to, due to decreases in barometric pressure (though not oxygen content). Denver is called the Mile High City for a reason -- at an altitude of a mile above sea level, one can start to experience some of the effects of altitude sickness, though generally this condition becomes more pronounced at elevations around 8,000 feet (2,500 meters) and above. Some normal changes may occur when people travel to higher altitudes that are not altitude sickness. These include:
Hyperventilation (breathing faster, and/or deeper than normal)
Shortness of breath after exertion
Changes in nightly breathing
Awaking at night
The above are generally nothing to worry about, though problems with breathing may be helped by a drug called acetazolamide. If you think you may have problems, get advice from your doctor before traveling to Denver.
Some people get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which can be serious, at the higher elevations you will experience if you are touring through the Rocky Mountains. A diagnosis of AMS is usually given if a person has a headache accompanied by one of more of the following symptoms:
Loss of appetite, vomiting and/or nausea
Fatigue or weakness
Dizziness or light-headedness
Insomnia, difficulty sleeping
Some people liken AMS to a bad hangover or worse. It occurs because your brain tissue swells at higher elevations than it is used to. If you are feeling unwell at high altitudes assume that you are suffering from AMS unless there is another logical explanation that would be accompanied by other symptoms (food poisoning or a viral infection). To avoid AMS, try to get to a lower elevation until your symptoms subside, drink lots of fluid to avoid dehydration, and avoid traveling at high rates of ascent. If the symptoms continue or worsen, travel to a lower altitude. AMS can turn into High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a potentially fatal condition where the brain swells so much that it ceases to function properly. Symptoms of HACE include confusion, inability to think clearly, lethargy, ataxia (walking staggerdly, as if one was drunk), and changes in behavior. The person may not recognize they have HACE, but if you or a person you are with experiences any of these symptoms (especially ataxia), they need to immediately be taken to lower elevations for medical treatment.
Another very serious condition, called High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) causes fluid in the lungs. If someone suffers chest tightness, congestion, gurgling breaths, blue or gray fingers or lips, cough producing frothy or pink liquid, and difficulty breathing even at rest, they should be taken to a lower elevation and receive medical treatment immediately.
Although not particularly common, keep in mind that these illnesses are possible, and that anyone is susceptible to them, even if you have traveled to high elevations before. For more information about AMS and related illnesses, see .
Another medical concern at higher elevations, particularly those in Colorado and Denver, is sunburn and skin cancer. The higher elevation means that there is less atmosphere protecting the skin from harmful solar radiation. This is especially true in Colorado, with both dry air that saps the skin of protective moisture and with the beautifully sunny days we have in the state. Colorado actually has the highest rate of skin cancer in the country, so it's always a good idea to wear a lot of high SPF sun-screen, hats, long sleeve shirts and pants. Don't think that you are protected from the sun in the winter either. The sun's rays can actually be reflected by the snow on the ground, still causing skin damage, so when in Colorado, do as the locals do, and wear sunscreen on any exposed skin surface at any time of the year.
Avalokiteshvara Meditation Center , 1081 Marion Street, +1 303-813-9551, . Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.
The Acupuncture Resort , 700 and 750 E. Ninth Ave, +1 303-477-9256, . Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver, Capitol Hill and Wheatridge.
There are many ski resorts about 1 1/2-2 hours west of Denver along I-70, but weekend traffic to them can be very slow, especially in inclement weather. Steer clear of the crowds by skiing during the week or planning your trip outside the busy season (Thanksgiving to New Year's). There are also plenty of mountain trails for snowshoers and cross-country skiers, which are generally free. You can also take the RTD  Ski-n-Ride service from Boulder to Eldora Ski Resort west of Boulder, which is the only resort with scheduled bus service.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, . InMorrison, Colorado on the western edge of Denver, this is a gorgeous outdoor concert venue set in a red sandstone paradise. There's a great view of Denver below. From Igor Stravinsky's North American debut of his 'Rite of Spring' at the park's opening in the '40s to the Jethro Tull, Grateful Dead and Phish riots of the '70s, '80s and '90s, Red Rocks's history is quirky and storied. It was also a stop on The Beatles famous British Invasion tour of America. But if you pay and visit Red Rocks only during a concert, you're seriously cheating yourself. Check out the Rock and Roll Museum at the top of Red Rocks, eat in the restaurant, hike the red sandstone and scrub oak trails for their scenic beauty and wildlife. It is illegal, however, to climb on the rocks themselves. If you can't bear to leave after the show, book a room or stay in a campground next to the amphitheater .
Travelers in Colorado often use Denver as a home base for forays into the neighboring mountains, to places like Rocky Mountain National Park.
Boulder is a laid-back university town about 25 minutes northwest of Denver. Snow-capped mountains can be seen for miles from the town.
Winery tours - Visit a Front Range or mountain winery, or even the vineyards themselves in Colorado's Wine Country. Various Wine Trails have been organized by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board , a promotional entity funded by the state. The Wine Trails can be driven or biked.
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