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  #1  
Old 04-22-2011, 02:59 PM
brossa brossa is offline
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Things to do in Denver when you're (not) dead?

I'll be tagging along with my wife while she attends a conference in Denver over the April 29- May 2 weekend. I'll be free for the whole time, while she'll be busy during the days but free in the evenings. We won't have a car. I've got a link to the Denver Westword calendar for events and I've found some interesting stuff in there.

Still, nothing beats the recommendation of the natives, so fire away. On past trips of this sort, I've spent a lot of time walking around whatever city I was in, trying to find things like farmers markets, historical sites, local crafts, art/history museums, parks, that sort of thing. As far as dining goes, we both like Indian food but local cuisine would be great too - I'm thinking Mexican or steak places?

How's the public transportation?
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  #2  
Old 04-22-2011, 03:17 PM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Downtown, right where the capital is there is the Denver Art Museum which is very nice, some chic places to eat in and around the central downtown area. For restaurants - I am not an Indian Lover - but for true eclectic cuisine with a great selection of local stuff City O'City is awesome. For Steak - Elways is awesome, [that would be John Elways ] steak house, a little pricey but it is Denver to the bone!

What do you like to do? Do you like Beer? Lot's of amazing brewerys, not to mention Coors Brewery is in Golden Colorado - 20 minutes from downtown with a car or Taxi.

If you are going to be here for a while, Golden is well worth the trip to spend the day, there are awesome little independent Colorado Stores and a stop at d'Deli for a sandwich is a necessity.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:21 PM
Zhen'ka Zhen'ka is offline
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Enjoy!

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...ghlight=denver
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  #4  
Old 04-22-2011, 05:06 PM
Lamar Mundane Lamar Mundane is offline
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The Rockies are at home against the Pirates that weekend. The area around Coors Field is called LoDo (Lower Downtown) and is full of bars, restaurants, and cool local shops. You can kill a lot of time there.

There is a free shuttle that runs the length of the 17th street mall all day and night, and that street is full of shops. I'd recommend taking it to the lower (west) end and going in to the Oxford Hotel. To your left as you enter is a small bar called the Cruise Room. It opened the day after prohibition ended and hasn't changed one iota since. You feel like you're in a Humphrey Bogart movie. The bartenders are uniformed and can make you any old-timey drink you can think of. Very cool place with art deco decor.

Also near the ballpark is a complete dive called El Chapultepec, one that turns into a great jazz club at night. Visiting musicians of all types like to drop in when they're in town.

A nice Mexican place downtown is the Rio Grande. It has a good varied menu (though primarily Tex-Mex and New Mexico) and great margaritas (lots of alcohol recommendations, aren't there?) There are some good Mexican Mexican restaurants in Denver as well. My favorite is Sabor Latino on 35th and Tennyson. Not walking distance but a cheap cab ride. You can get shrimp Veracruz and ceviche apps.

Denver is a great walking city, you'll enjoy it. In addition to the museums, there is the Denver Mint that gives tours. One last piece of advice - check the weather forecast the day before you leave - it could be 80 and sunny or it could be dumping a foot or two of snow.
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:13 PM
Nadir Nadir is offline
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Those are all great ideas above, and can easily fill more than a couple days. But If you are going to be in town for more than that, a stay in Denver would not be complete without a trip up to the mountains, IMHO. Rent a car and make the loop through Rocky Mountain National Park. If you are the outdoors type or nature lover of any kind you won't be disappointed.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:01 PM
brossa brossa is offline
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Thanks for the ideas so far. Does Denver have a place like Vancouver's Granville Island Public Market or Toronto's St Lawrence Market? Someplace that showcases the local food scene?

Where should I go to rent a bike/ride in the city?
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  #7  
Old 04-22-2011, 11:48 PM
Lamar Mundane Lamar Mundane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brossa View Post
Thanks for the ideas so far. Does Denver have a place like Vancouver's Granville Island Public Market or Toronto's St Lawrence Market? Someplace that showcases the local food scene?

Where should I go to rent a bike/ride in the city?
Denver does not have a big central marketplace. There are tons of small ones all over the city, but even they are just getting ready to open. The trees are just now starting to leaf out.

Denver has a B-Cycle program where you can rent a bike from dozens of locations in the city for $6 a day and drop it off at any other location. It is meant to be like a taxi service - you go from point A to point B, turn the bike in, and do your wandering around. You do the same thing on the return trip. It is not meant to be a daily rental type program. If you keep your trips to 30 minutes or less, you don't have to pay anything more than the six bucks.

http://denver.bcycle.com/home.aspx

I don't live in Denver, so I don't know of bike shops downtown, but suffice it to say that the Denver area does not lack for bike shops.
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:45 PM
brossa brossa is offline
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Sorry to hear that Denver doesn't have a central market - I've had great luck in finding great eats and gifts in other big cities that way, and had my culinary horizons expanded to boot (fiddleheads in Toronto, weird Asian stuff in S.F., etc.)

Okay, one last question - where could I find good local arts and crafts? I'm thinking of original prints and things in the native (or just local) crafts tradition, not airport souvenir stuff. Textiles, ceramics, glass, prints, metalwork; that sort of thing.
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  #9  
Old 04-25-2011, 04:58 PM
Lamar Mundane Lamar Mundane is offline
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Wazee street in LoDo is where all the galleries are, but they are mostly fine art, expensive stuff. Still, cool to visit. There are about ten of them in a three block stretch.

I really don't know where the "Arts and Crafts" places are. It's a little early yet for the outdoor exhibitions to start. There's a huge outdoor arts festival every year in Denver, but it is over the July 4th weekend.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:12 AM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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If you are into any sort of outdoorsy stuff, make time for the Downtown REI store. Trust me.
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  #11  
Old 04-26-2011, 09:58 PM
St. Urho St. Urho is offline
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Originally Posted by Lamar Mundane View Post
I really don't know where the "Arts and Crafts" places are. It's a little early yet for the outdoor exhibitions to start. There's a huge outdoor arts festival every year in Denver, but it is over the July 4th weekend.
There's quite a few places on Santa Fe between 6th & 11th. They do an art walk on the first Friday of every month that's quite well attended.
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2011, 06:52 PM
Lamar Mundane Lamar Mundane is offline
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Well, after a couple of great warm days, it looks to turn shitty for the weekend with a rain/snow mix each day. Not the best weather for biking/walking around. Bring a coat and you'll be fine.
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  #13  
Old 05-04-2011, 10:54 PM
brossa brossa is offline
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Well, to tie this up and for the benefit of anyone in the future who searches for this topic, we had a great time in Denver. Here's the report:

My wife and I arrived Friday afternoon, checked into the hotel a few blocks from the convention center, and did a bit of exploring on foot, going up the 16th Street Mall (not interesting), hitting the Tattered Cover bookstore (nice decor but seemed much more like a Barnes and Noble than a Powell's) and REI (very nice; nicer than the big REI's I've seen in Portland and the Twin Cities) before having an early dinner at Rioja. While expensive, this was easily the best meal I've had in the last couple of years. On the other hand, some other folks we know went there over the same weekend at a peak time and had terrible service, with missed orders, long waits, etc. But, as I said, we had a great experience.

I spent much of Saturday at the Denver Art Museum, which was excellent; I could have spent a whole additional day there. I also made extensive use of the city's B-cycle system, where you pay $6 for 24 hours of access to bikes at kiosks scattered around the downtown and adjacent areas. If you take a bike and return it to another kiosk within 30 minutes, there is no additional cost. The longer you keep it out, the more you are charged. I was able to make longer trips by stopping and trading bikes at convenient intervals, and I got to see a lot of Denver trails, architecture and neighborhoods that way while on the way to somewhere else. I would definitely recommend at least trying them out. I also went to the Cherry Creek North shopping district (lots of spas and galleries). We had a quick dinner at the Market deli in Larimer Square; better than many delis I've been to.

Sunday I went to the Denver Botanic Gardens; still a bit early in the spring and many areas were being redone/replanted, but also well worth the visit IMHO. Rode back downtown in the afternoon to hit some outdoor stores and check out other urban trails.

Monday I rode down to Denver University en route to an artist's studio; bought a woodblock print by an artist whose work I had seen in the Denver Art Museum. The afternoon was spent at the Museum of Nature and Science, which was good but geared more toward children, as I had expected it would be. Had dinner at Euclid Hall, a restaurant run by the same chef as at Rioja. This place had 'upscale pub food' which was also very, very good. The service was good but the place was busy and quite loud - it's basically a bar with fancier food and beer.

Things I wanted to see but didn't get a chance to:
Kirkland Museum
the Club Workshop
Colorado History Museum (closed for construction of a new building)

Things I noticed:
Central Denver has a lot of one-way streets
55 degrees in Denver feels like 65 degrees somewhere with humidity.
B-cycles are heavy, ugly, and really fun to ride.
If you are a skateboard punk who didn't stick his landing, don't angrily bounce your skateboard off the sidewalk and into the whitewater of the South Platte near REI; you won't get the board back and you won't like the dunking you take looking for it. Also, your friends won't help you because they'll be too busy capturing your antics on videophones.
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  #14  
Old 05-04-2011, 11:08 PM
Lamar Mundane Lamar Mundane is offline
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The weather last weekend turned out to be quite a bit better than the forecast indicated. The Tattered Cover downtown is the B location. The main store used to be in Cherry Creek, but moved a few years ago. No, it is nothing like Powell's. Barnes and Noble copied what the Tattered Cover was doing for years, not the other way around.

Rioja is excellent.

Glad you enjoyed the city.
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