1-day Itinerary in Denver
Explore the best things to do in Paris in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.
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In 1858, a group of American Indians and settlers struck gold at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Their discovery soon spread back to the East Coast, prompting people to pick up and move west. The site of the original pioneer camp (known back then as Auraria) soon grew into the charming area now known as Larimer Square. Although the city has since expanded, this historic neighborhood remains the heart and soul of the Mile High City, and according to some, it's the place to start your Denver experience. Recent visitors attest that Larimer Square is always buzzing with life, thanks to the area's numerous restaurants, shops and nightlife venues.
Before venturing to Larimer Square, you may want to pay a visit to the Larimer Square website. Here, you'll find a listing of all the local businesses and upcoming events, not to mention maps that can help orient where specific dining, shopping and entertainment options are.
Occupying the block of Larimer Street between 14th and 15th streets, Larimer Square can easily be reached on foot from downtown and LoDo. Alternatively, visitors can hop on the Free MallRide, getting off at the 16th Street Mall & Larimer Street stop. You can visit Larimer Square at any time of day, though businesses adhere to their own hours of operation.10 minute walk
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Denver's Union Station is a two for one: it's a working public transit station and a highly praised dining and shopping center. The station was a huge success when it first opened to the public in 1881, providing railroad service until the center of the building caught fire in 1894. The architecture from the 1917 redevelopment remains and today, it's home to an Amtrak hub and a bus concourse. Located in the hip Lower Downtown neighborhood (aka LoDo), with multiple dining options and boutiques, and The Crawford Hotel, Union Station is a newfound entertainment center.
To learn more about the art, history and retail space of the station, as well as the luxury hotel, consider taking a tour. The Crawford Hotel offers tours of Union Station for $20 and the proceeds benefit the hotel's Dollars For Dreams nonprofit partners. The tour culminates at the Terminal Bar for a complimentary drink, so visitors can get the full Union Station experience.
Travelers say the best way to experience Union Station is by relaxing in the comfortable couches and chairs for some people-watching. This pastime has helped the train station earn the nickname of "Denver's living room." Visitors point out that the facilities are very clean for a working transportation terminal, and note that while the station is not as large as train stations in other cities, such as New York and Washington, D.C., it exudes charm. The bars and restaurants can be pricey, though, so travelers suggest grabbing a drink during happy hour.
Union Station is situated in LoDo and about 26 miles west of Denver International Airport; travelers can easily get from the airport to the train station for $9 one-way via the A Line in less than 40 minutes. There is valet parking in a secure lot available on-site and an app that accompanies the service for easy car retrieval. The attraction is also accessible by light rail and it's within walking distance of the 16th Street Mall. For additional information, such as details on shops and eateries, head to the Union Station website.10 minute walk
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The 16th Street Mall is to Denver what Rodeo Drive is to Los Angeles. This mile-long pedestrian thoroughfare, which stretches across the southern end of the LoDo district and bypasses Larimer Square, is lined with a variety of stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, making it a popular place to visit at nearly all hours of the day (although some travelers note that the area can feel a bit dicey at night, despite a heavy police presence). Even if you're not looking to give your credit card a workout, recent visitors recommend taking a stroll along the 16th Street Mall, as it leads to some excellent people-watching.
If you're not up for walking, hop aboard the free MallRide shuttle bus, which passes by every few minutes and stops at every street corner. After sundown, you might skip the bus and opt for a horse-and-carriage ride instead. Travelers say this is the place to window-shop, grab a bite to eat and pick up souvenirs.
The 16th Street Mall can easily be reached on foot from downtown and LoDo, or you can hop aboard the MallRide bus from either end of the street. You can access the 16th Street Mall at any time, and there's no entrance fee; however businesses adhere to their own hours of operation.10 minute walk
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With galleries showcasing more than 70,000 works by famed artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Winslow Homer, the Denver Art Museum houses one of the most impressive collections of art between Chicago and the West Coast. Spread across two buildings, the museum's holdings range from pre-Columbian artifacts to contemporary displays with such mediums as painting and sculpture represented. One of the highlights of a visit to the Denver Art Museum is its extensive assembly of western American art, which includes paintings, sculptures and works on paper related to the West going back two centuries.
Past visitors raved about the Denver Art Museum, praising its diverse and varied collections and the museum's ability to appeal to kids through interactive activities. Reviewers also recommend perusing the museum's gift shop for some unique and interesting finds.
You'll find the Denver Art Museum just south of Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, a few blocks from the United States Mint. You can easily walk to the museum from the downtown and LoDo districts; the Nos. 9 and 52 buses both stop nearby. The museum is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., remaining open until 8 p.m. on Friday. General admission costs $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students; children 18 and younger enter for free. Note that entry to special exhibits will cost extra. For more information, visit the Denver Art Museum's website.10-15 minute walk
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Nestled among the contemporary architecture of the Capitol Hill district is the Molly Brown House Museum, an eccentric example of Victorian life and design that no history buff should miss. Once the home of the "unsinkable" Margaret "Molly" Brown (Kathy Bates' character in the film, "Titanic,"), this museum offers a glimpse into Denver's history and the life of one of its most fascinating residents. On a guided tour of the house, you'll learn about Brown's experience aboard the Titanic, as well as her role in the women's suffragette movement and her endeavors in Colorado's mining industry.
Recent travelers described the tour guides as friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about history. Along with the personal history of Brown, you'll also hear about the house's renovations and artifacts.
The Molly Brown House Museum sits in downtown Denver's Golden Triangle area, just a short walk from the State Capitol building and Civic Center Park, or you can hop on bus No. 15. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. From June to August, the museum welcomes guests starting at 9:30 a.m. Tours start every half hour; admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $8 for children ages 6 to 18. To learn more, visit the Molly Brown House Museum website.
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