Denver, Colorado is a walkable, outdoor city offering urban adventures with 300 days of sunshine, brilliant blue skies and breathtaking mountain scenery. Getting into the city center is easy with direct rail service from Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station, just steps from the 16th Street Mall free shuttle. Visit the Golden Triangle Creative District, home to famous Western and American Indian art collections at Denver Art Museum and interactive exhibits about the Rocky Mountain West at History Colorado Center. See the giant blue bear public art sculpture, colourful street art in RiNo (River North) or catch a game of one Denver’s seven professional sports teams.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, just 30 minutes from Denver, is famous for its one-of-a-kind outdoor concert venue that is surrounded by giant, ancient rock formations. During the day, Red Rocks is a free city park with easy hiking trails and a visitor center that includes a Performers’ Hall of Fame. The blockbuster summer concert series from May through September, seeing a concert under the stars is a magical experience.
Denver’s City Park, just 15 minutes from the city center is home to family fun attractions. Explore the Space exhibit, Exhibition Health, gems & minerals exhibit, IMAX theater, a planetarium and the Dinosaur exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The Denver Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals including rare amur leopards, okapi, black rhinoceros, elephants, vampire bats, orangutan, Komodo dragons and more! The Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit is the largest bull elephant habitat in the world.
Elitch Gardens & Children’s Museum at Marsico Campus
Since 1890, Elitch Gardens has been America’s only downtown theme and water park. The park is open May through October with 54 rides and attractions, live shows, thrilling roller coasters, an entire water park, and Fright Fest in October. Nearby, the Children’s Museum at Marisco Campus offers one-of-a-kind interactive exhibits, daily activities and year-round special events.
Best time to go to Denver
Denver, Colorado is a walkable, outdoor city offering urban adventures for all ages, spring, summer fall and winter. The moderate climate and 300 days of sunshine makes Denver a perfect stopover on winter ski trip to America’s best skiing in Colorado. Family-friendly music and food festivals and special events fill weekends in Denver in the spring, summer and fall.
All visitors from abroad who are planning to visit the USA must have a passport valid for at least six months longer than their intended stay in the U.S., unless they are exempted by country-specific agreements. For families traveling together, each member of the family must have his or her own passport, including infants and children.
For more information on passports click here.
A U.S. consular officer will issue a visa after determining that the applicant is eligible under a specific visa classification. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries and markets to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less when they meet all requirements. These visitors still are required to have a passport. Click here for additional information on the new data elements and ESTA system.
For more information on visas click here.
Denver International Airport (DEN) is a major air hub and one of the country’s busiest facilities. It is very spread out, so make sure to give yourself some extra time to find your way around. If you do get to your gate extra early, then there are an array of art exhibits to peruse to help you pass the time.
There are currently no direct flights from Australia to Denver, however, multiple airlines fly from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne via Los Angeles International Airport, including United, Qantas and Virgin Australia.
Taxi and rideshare (Uber and Lyft) are available in Denver. Taxi from the airport to downtown costs around $55 USD.
Food and drinks that kids will love
Denver’s farm-to-table dining scene is heating up in places like Larimer Square where Victorian buildings are now home to boutique shops, wine bars and restaurants, or in historic Denver Union Station which has become a hotspot for innovative cuisine and old-fashioned elegance. The station is a fun gathering place for locals and visitors – eat a breakfast burrito at Snooze, sip a Colorado craft brew at the Terminal Bar or sample the locally sourced cuisine at one of the unique restaurants. Explore unique eateries and food markets in neighborhoods like Highlands and RiNo.
Cherry Creek Shopping Center is home to more than 160 restaurants and stores including Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi’s, Michael Kors and Hugo Boss. Head across 1st Avenue to find the charming, tree-lined streets of the Cherry Creek North neighborhood. Here you can explore galleries, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, spas and more. In the city center, Denver Pavilions offers a movie theatre, bowling alley and 40 restaurants and shops including H&M, Uniqlo and Forever 21. Or stop by Rockmount Ranch Wear in LoDo (Lower Downtown), home to the original Western snap-button shirt.
Tips are customary and not typically included in prices. For sit-down service in a restaurant 15-20 per cent of the bill is customary for good service. Small tips for counter service restaurants are the norm and tips for taxis, tour bus drivers, tour guides and outfitters are usual at the end of the trip, tour or excursion.
What to wear
Dressing in layers is key and recommended, adding or taking off as temperatures (which can change quickly) vary. Diversity of elevations also affect temperatures. Essentials range from snow/ ski gear to warm weather resistant coat or parka in winter, to light jacket and or fleece in summer over lighter layers – plus a hat/gloves/swimsuit and rain jacket deopending on the season.
Colorado locals live by the principles of ‘Leave No Trace’ which aims to keep our beautiful places looking their best for generations to come: plan ahead to limit waste; know where to travel and camp to protect plants and wildlife; Dispose of waste properly; leave what you find- do not touch, take or ‘decorate’ historic sites, wildflowers etc; minimise impact from campfires; respect our wildlife – don’t approach or feed them; be considerate of other visitors.
You may need an adaptor to fit the US electrical receptacles and a power converter to change the voltage from (US) 110 volts to 220 volts for any electrical appliance from AU.
Denver has a mild climate with 300 days of sunshine each year and sits at an altitude of 1.6 kilometres above sea level. Because of the high altitude and lots of sun, drink a lot of water and wear sunscreen.
Colourful Street Art in RiNo
Discover RiNo (River North) Art District, which is rapidly becoming the hotspot for artists, foodies and designers. While retaining its industrial character, RiNo is filled with colorful street art murals and art galleries, plenty of cafes, innovative restaurants and craft breweries featured on the Denver Beer Trail.
Denver is home to seven professional sports teams that offer behind-the-scenes tours of their venues. Colorado Avalanche hockey team and Denver Nuggets basketball team play in downtown Denver’s Pepsi Center in the winter months. During the summer, catch a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coors Field in LoDo (Lower Downtown) with perfect views of the Rocky Mountains.
Blue Bear Sculpture
Denver’s Colorado Convention Center is home to the 12-meter-tall blue bear sculpture welcoming visitors to The Mile High City with a spirit of fun and curiosity! The sculpture, titled “I See What You Mean” is the creation of local artist Lawrence Argent. It was installed in 2005 as part of the city’s public art program. The blue bear has quickly become a treasured Mile High City icon –and a can’t-miss photo opportunity.
Main image © Bryce Boyer