Words by Bev Malzard
Colorado’s capital is a cultural haven cultural haven, featuring 19th-century buildings, museums such as the Denver Art Museum, known for its collection of indigenous works, and the mansion of Titanic survivor Molly Brown.
Denver is also a jumping-off point for ski resorts in the nearby Rocky Mountains. It’s called the Mile High City because it is 5280 feet above sea level (1.6 kilometres).
Cowboys may have been the ones who galloped into town many moons ago to help make this city, but today it’s hipsters (who moseyed on in courtesy of their electric cars) that are giving Denver its edge.
The local Beer Trail boasts an extraordinary craft beer culture, including Colorado’s oldest pubs. If a beery brew isn’t your thing, there’s a slew of cafes serving caffeinated treats that even Aussie coffee snobs would approve of. If you’re a Super Bowl fan, this is the home of the Denver Broncos. Their base, the Mile High Stadium, is open for a walking tour.
The main drag is the 16th Street Mall – a pedestrian and transit shopping complex that’s 1.25 miles (just over two kilometres) long – which runs along 16th Street in downtown Denver. Stroll through and shop, stop, eat, drink or catch the free tram from one from end to the other.
At the mall’s end, in LoDo (Lower Downtown) cross the road to visit Union Station, a splendid example of 19th-century architecture. Once a bustling transit institution, the station is back in business as a bus and rail terminal complete with a lovely hotel, the Crawford, located in the original building. The main hall has been transformed into a cafe, bar and lounge area full of gentle buzzing conversation and good vibes.
Just outside town is the amazing natural amphitheatre Red Rocks, where everyone from Bruce Springsteen to U2 have performed. To see a concert here is an out-of-this-world experience. The sun goes down, the rocks surrounding you are in sharp contrast to the blackening sky, the lights go up and the music begins!
Culture rules here, from high to low, and you’ll find everything from rock to symphony, traditional art to an outdoor gallery of topical wall displays, or fast food to high table cuisine. In Denver, anything goes.
Best time to visit?
April through May and September through October. The city’s shoulder seasons are characterised by comfortable temperatures.