Denver at a Glance
Denver is the capitol and largest city in Colorado. Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver has more than 300 days of sunshine. Whether you are interested in outdoor activities, sports, music, shopping, food, or the arts, Denver has something to offer for everyone. That’s part of the reason why Denver was named the best place to live in the US in 2016 by US News and World Report (this year we got bumped to #2 – but maybe we will be back at #1 by 2018! https://realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-live). Below are some tips for visiting Denver (special thanks to Visit Denver for providing much of the information in this guide; www.denver.org)
Downtown & Beyond
Downtown Denver is home to a thriving business and convention district as well as historic buildings dating back to Denver’s founding in the mid 1800s. Denver’s surrounding neighborhoods each have their own unique character with small shopping and dining districts located throughout the city. More information about Denver’s neighborhoods can be found at: https://www.denver.org/about-denver/neighborhood-guides/
The RMPA 2018 Conference hotel is located in the Denver Tech Center, about 13 miles south of downtown. This area is well suited for business travelers, with a variety of options for dining, shopping, and entertainment within a short distance from the conference hotel.
Because the city is so spread out, cars are the main form of transportation. However, Denver’s public transit system does include a light rail train (http://www.rtd-denver.com/lightrail.shtml)that can be taken from the airport to downtown Denver and to the conference hotel. There are also bicycles available for rent around the Denver metropolitan area (https://denver.bcycle.com). Detailed information about airport transit will be posted closer to the conference date.
Union Station: Built in 1914, Union Station is the central transit hub in Denver. It is a perfect destination for dining (there is a range of fine-dining to casual options), coffee, drinks, shopping, or people watching in the central terminal or outside on the patios. http://unionstationindenver.com
The Denver State Capitol: Civic Center Park is home to the Denver State Capitol. You can take a free tour to check out the views from the observatory (https://www.denver.org/listing/colorado-state-capitol/3679/). On the steps of the Capitol building you’ll see the mark for 5,280 feet– the elevation that gives Denver it’s nickname as the Mile High City. While you are there, you can wander over to check out the Denver Library (that boasts interesting architecture and public art; https://www.denverlibrary.org/content/central-library). You may also want to wander over to the History Colorado Center (http://www.historycolorado.org) or the U.S. Mint (tour information can be found here: https://www.usmint.gov/about/mint-tours-facilities/denver/visiting-the-denver-mint).
City Park: Located east of Downtown, City Park is Denver’s largest park. Within the park, wander around the lake, rose garden, or check out the Denver Zoo (https://denverzoo.org) or Denver Museum of Nature and Science (http://www.dmns.org).
Denver Botanic Gardens: Covering 24 acres, the Denver Botanic Gardens includes samples of plants and garden types from around the world. Grab a casual bite at the Hive Garden Bistro overlooking the Monet Garden or explore the conservatory of tropical plants. https://www.botanicgardens.org
Art & Music
Denver Art Museum: The Denver Art Museum displays a wide range of art, with collections ranging from ancient artifacts to modern art. http://denverartmuseum.org
Santa Fe Arts District/MSU Denver Art Museum: The Santa Fe Arts District is home to a collection of independent galleries, breweries and restaurants (http://www.artdistrictonsantafe.com). While you are there, check out MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art (https://msudenver.edu/cva/).
Denver Center for the Performing Arts: Catch a play, opera, ballet, or Broadway musical at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. https://www.denvercenter.org
Red Rocks Amphitheatre: You can visit this spectacular venue for a walk during the day or a show at night. While you are there you can check out the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and Visitor Center. http://redrocksonline.com
Professional Sports: Denver is home to the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Avalanche. If you can’t catch a game, you can arrange for a tour of Coors Field (http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/col/ballpark/) or the Pepsi Center (http://pepsi.centerdenver.com).
Skiing & Snowboarding: If you have time, take a day trip to hit some of the top ski resorts in the world. There are almost a dozen within a few hours drive of Denver. http://coloradoski.com
Hiking & Biking: If you have half a day, you head out for a hike or bike ride on one of the many scenic trails located within a short drive from Denver. If you have more time, you may want to take a longer trip to check out Rocky Mountain National Park (https://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm) or the Garden of the Gods (http://gardenofgods.com). If you want to stay more local, check out the trails at Cherry Creek State Park (http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/CherryCreek), located just 2 miles from the convention hotel.
Park Meadows Shopping Mall: This enclosed shopping mall is located about 5 miles south of the convention hotel and is home to nearly 200 stores. https://www.parkmeadows.com/en.html
Downtown Denver: The 16th Street Mall is an outdoor shopping area stretching several blocks. If you are looking for more of a boutique shopping experience, check out the shops in Union Station or Larimer Square. If there’s time, wander around the Tattered Cover Bookshop and browse their new and used books with a cup of coffee or tea.
Food & Drink
You can find any kind of food you want in Denver, from food-trucks to fast-casual options, to fine dining. There are also farmers markets (https://www.denver.org/restaurants/denver-dining/farmers-markets-denver/) and indoor market places that bring together artisanal food vendors (http://www.thesourcedenver.com). Look out for the restaurant guide as the conference date approaches!
Denver is known for its breweries (http://denverbreweryguide.com) and more recently, it’s craft distilleries (https://www.denver.org/restaurants/denver-bars-clubs/distilleries/). Many of these have taprooms and some offer tours.
See the list below for more details!
For more information about visiting Denver, check out these resources:
Restaurant Options Near the Hotel
YaYa's Euro Bistro (moderately expensive)
Celebrate the end of the conference here with a great Sunday brunch -- reservations encouraged for this. Good happy hour specials with nice outdoor seating. Food is Mediterranean inspired and includes meat, fresh seafood, and pasta entrees. The restaurant has an extensive wine list (under $40 per bottle).
Maria Empanada (inexpensive)
This cafe features Argentine empanadas, pastries, and coffee. It is a great spot to grab a savory or sweet snack and a solid cup of coffee.
Poke City (inexpensive)
Poke originated in Hawaii and is a deconstructed flavorful version of sushi. A poke bowl consists of a mix of raw fish in soy-sauce based marinades over rice, avocado, and greens. A quick and healthy meal option.
Ro-Jo's Hotpot (moderately expensive)
Try traditional Chinese hotpot where you make your own meal. You will choose from one of five savory broths as your hotpot base and then add in whatever combination of vegetables, proteins, and noodles you like.
Leather-accented space known for its steaks and seafood, plus a mingle-friendly bar and patio.
Chicken- focused fast food with chocolate frostys.
Los Chingones Mexican DTC (moderately inexpensive)
Edgy, graffiti-splashed Mexican eatery and lounge boasting a raw bar, innovative cocktails and a patio.
Panera Bread (inexpensive)
Counter-serve bakery/ café chain serving sandwiches, salads and more, known for its bread and free WiFi.
Fast-food chain serving Mexican-inspired fare such as tacos, quesadillas and nachos.
Classic, long-running fast-food chain known for its burgers, fries, and shakes.
QDOBA Mexican Eats (inexpensive)
Mexican chain for counter-service, custom burritos, tacos and more, including health-oriented options.
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks (expensive)
Upscale steak and seafood chain known for its clubby environment and happy hour.
Mali Thai Cuisine (moderately inexpensive)
Sleek but relaxed Thai eatery with bright décor offering traditional fare like Pad Thai.
Zane’s Italian Bistro (moderately expensive)
Down-to-earth spot for pizza, pasta, wings and other Italian and American staples, plus a full bar.
Lucy Restaurant (moderately inexpensive)
Colorful spot above a comedy club for home-style American daytime fare all week and dinner most nights.
FelFel Mediterranean, Fresh Rotisserie Grill, DTC (inexpensive)
Bright, busy counter-serve spot with a patio serving Mediterranean staples like kebabs and falafel.
The Original Pancake House DTC (inexpensive)
Breakfast chain serving signature pancakes and other American breakfast classics all day in a dinner-like digs.
Noodles & Company (moderately inexpensive)
Counter-serve chain offering international noddle and pasta dishes from mac ‘n’ cheese to Pad Thai.
Ready Fit Go Healthy Foods (moderately inexpensive)
Prepackaged meals for the healthy person on-the-go.
We hope to see you in Denver!