Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

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pl28
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Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by pl28 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:44 pm

Hi fellow Bogleheads, just wanted to ask for some friendly advice on any suggestions for place(s) to go check out while in Denver around downtown and beyond. We will be staying near the convention center for the first half of the week, wife is going there for a conference and me and couple of kids (2 and 4 year) are tagging along. We plan on getting a car later in the trip (second half of trip) when the conference is over, but for the first half of the week, we will be in around downtown area. Any advice on getting around without a car and places to go with and without a car. We are a pretty low key family who just enjoying walking around and checking out new places. We also like to hike, so we may drive out to the mountain area, any suggestions and recommendation are appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
PL

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yukonjack
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by yukonjack » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:47 pm

Getting around Denver is fairly easy. It is a relatively small area. I agree that you don't want a car while staying downtown. Uber is commonly used downtown. It is also possible to walk to many places although with two young children it might be a bit difficult. Denver does have a nice children's museum next to Mile High stadium. The Cherry Creek area just south of downtown is fun with lots of shopping and restaurants. The art museum district is another fun area just off of downtown. There are lots of great hikes just west of Denver but require a car. A visit to Red Rocks amphitheater is fun and most all of the jeffco open spaces west of Denver have very good hiking. Although many trails are either muddy or snowpacked that time of year. The local weekly paper The Westword is a good source for what's going on in Denver as is 5280.com. Hope that helps. The end of March is generally a good time to be here.

ColoradoRick
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by ColoradoRick » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:14 am

You will also be only a couple of blocks away from the FREE 16th Street Mall Bus. It'll take you from the City County Building down to Union Station and everywhere in between. Lots to see and do there (people watch at "The Market" on Larimar Square/Library/Art Museum/plays at convention center/comedy club (not for kids). We've lived here 20 years and still love it. Hop on the web for other ideas particularly if the ones above don't suit you. One caveat--because of the mountains the months of October/March/April can have freakish snow storms >24". Currently its 65 degrees and sunny (Feb 2017) Freak storms happen about every other year and with the sunshine, the city usually digs out in 24-36 hours. Don't let it freak you out though because you can have years where it doesn't happen. With high altitude & sunshine we find the temperature "feels" about 10 degrees warmer than the same thermometer reading in Ohio. You'll here if often DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND WATCH THE ALCOHOL as some people get pounding headaches. Welcome to Denver and have a great time.

atwood
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by atwood » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:21 am

If you like books, a visit to The Tattered Cover is in order.

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prudent
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by prudent » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:28 am

When we were in Denver we rode the heck out of that free 16th St. Bus. That and a little walking worked great for us.

If you are going to drive out of the city, and weather permitting, consider heading over to Colorado Springs and check out Red Rock Canyon - surreal landscape, lots of trails.

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mhc
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by mhc » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:31 am

My family and I have stayed at the Hyatt by the convention center multiple times. Here are a list of close by activities:

Easy walk
16th street mall: restaraunts, small Federal Reserve museum, free bus along mall area
Capitol
Art Museum
Mint (need reservations in advance)
Molly Brown House
Byers-Evans House
Pepsi Center if you want to see a basketball or hockey game

Short drive or long walk:
Children's museum
Aquariam

Not too far
Denver Museum of Nature & Science (highly recommend the fossil and gem displays)

Remember that Colorado gets a lot of snow in March. It melts quickly down low (Denver), but there will still be plenty of snow higher up. Rocky Mountain NP is close by. You could spend a few nights in Estes Park. It is beautiful and low key. There will be very few people there. It provides easy access to Rocky Mountain NP.

Colorado Springs would be a good option also for the second part of the trip. Lots of fun family activities there.

patngordo
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by patngordo » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:19 am

I did a couple of self-guided AVA walks in Denver last year. I do the 5Ks, but they have 10Ks too.

Go to the AVA website, and there's a search engine under the events tab (specify year-round/seasonal events)

Any time I visit a new city, I look for AVA walks as a way to explore.

http://www.ava.org/#

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JupiterJones
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by JupiterJones » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:24 am

atwood wrote:If you like books, a visit to The Tattered Cover is in order.
True. If only to show the kids an independent community bookstore. They're an endangered species.

Anyhoo, yes, downtown Denver is quite easy to get around. Last time we were there (last Oct.) we just parked the car and walked everywhere. Saw the 16th St. bus, but never wound up using it.

The Money Museum at the downtown Federal Reserve is convenient. Not to be confused with the actual Mint, but still an interesting, quick, free diversion if you're looking for something to fill a half-hour downtown. Good for kids.

Scavenger hunt time: Try to find the "One Mile Above Sea Level" inscription located somewhere on/around the Capitol. 8-)
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Brian2d
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by Brian2d » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:27 am

A day trip to Boulder is not a bad idea either, and there are frequent buses leaving from Union Station.

srmach05
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by srmach05 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:32 am

Check out the LoHi area, easy 15-20 minute walk from downtown. Have quite a few restaurants, ice cream shops, etc. 16th street shuttle is definitely very convenient to use getting from one side of downtown to the other, but the 16th Street Mall has seen better days and I wouldn't spend too much time hanging out there.

RiNo is an up and coming arts district with lots of breweries, restaurants, etc. It is walking distance from downtown, but with kids probably better to Uber -- it's still just a bit rough around the edges if you're not familiar with the area. Union Station is a must as well.

Have a good time!

Yiewsley
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by Yiewsley » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:10 am

If you're going to the mountains on the weekend, be prepared for ski traffic!

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Flobes
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by Flobes » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:20 pm

I've hoteled in downtown Denver many many times for many years. As recently as a couple of weeks ago. Adding to above urban tips: Most downtown hotels offers complimentary rides around downtown. Arrange with the concierge, and tip generously.

My suggestion for exploring the mountains: take the train. Amtrak California Zephyr from Denver to Glenwood Springs is one of the most scenic rail routes in the world. Across the Continental Divide, along the headwaters of the Colorado River, through Glenwood Canyon. You will see deer and elk and eagles and foxes and coyotes and beaver and otters, with grand vistas of mountains and rivers.

Little kids love!! the train. They can freely move about. "Train" people are friendly and civil. It's the antithesis of the confinement and hostility of air travel. FWIW I did this very trip with my nephews when they were 2 and 4, and they thought I'd hung the moon.

Train leaves Denver Union Station @8; breakfast is served in the dining car; spend time in the "view" car with floor-to-ceiling windows; go to the cafe for a snack; play games and run around; lunch is served; take a nap in oversized reclining seats (think LazyBoyLounger, complete with pop-up foot rest); get off in Glenwood.

Book a room in Glenwood. Rand McNally and USA Today named it the most fun town to visit in America, and it's very family friendly. Enjoy soaking in the hot springs. (At night, in the snow, is a truly wonderous experience.) Enjoy the tram up to Glenwood Caverns, rent bikes, hike, steam in vapor caves. RideGlenwood will bus you all about town for $1/day (kidsfree). Catch public RFTA bus to Aspen, and watch the beautiful people ski down Ajax.

A day (or 2 or 3) later, Amtrak back to Denver: Get on at noon; lunch is served; watch the scenery; take a nap; dinner is served; arrive Denver.

Or ride Bustang, the statewide bus service, leaving Glenwood @7am, arriving Union Station @11.

Notes about Union Station: you can take a train from Union Station to the airport. Or have your downtown hotel fetch you. Or call Uber/Lyft. Or grab a taxi from the cab line. Also, Union Station itself is a lovely hotel, The Crawford.

You will not need to rent a car your entire trip. More ease and enjoyment and quality time with your family. The worse the weather, the more you'll enjoy your train decision. The train always runs, everyday (albeit late). As noted above, March weather is very fickle: it might be warm and gloriously sunny or it might be snowing and blowing, and you can get all four seasons on any given day.

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dm200
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by dm200 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:09 pm

It has been a few years, but I seem to recall a streetcar line in some part of Denver as well.

JCrack
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by JCrack » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:49 pm

I was in Denver in November for a week without a car. Between Uber and the light rail system I didn't feel like I needed one. Their light rail network has been expanding to keep up with the influx of people into Denver over the last 5 years or so.

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dm200
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by dm200 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:57 pm

JCrack wrote:I was in Denver in November for a week without a car. Between Uber and the light rail system I didn't feel like I needed one. Their light rail network has been expanding to keep up with the influx of people into Denver over the last 5 years or so.
Oh yes! "Light rail" is the more "modern" term for street cars and trolley cars :)

HIinvestor
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by HIinvestor » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:31 pm

By the way, when you do have a car rental, be sure you have coverage for hail damage as it can really beat up a car. Sapphire Preferred CCard provides primary CDW, including hail damage, so I always book my cars using that. Agree that trains are excellent and have nice dining cars and lots for little ones to explore--the earlier you book, the better your prices.

Last time I was in Denver we enjoyed the transit and busses. Really easy to get around downtown walking and with the free bus. Since your kids are young, probably require car seats in private vehicles.

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JupiterJones
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:39 am

HIinvestor wrote:By the way, when you do have a car rental, be sure you have coverage for hail damage as it can really beat up a car.
...and watch out for toll roads that don't look like toll roads (i.e. don't have any toll booths or gates or anything... just FastPass cameras). Denver is notorious for that. Your rental company will wind up getting the toll bill, which they will pass on to you, along with a hefty surcharge!

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WhyNotUs
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:00 pm

What time of the year? That would affect advice. I will assume during winter/early spring. Summer offers more options.

Carless outings with you and kids- the amenities in downtown that are convenient and interesting are better suited for adults that a 2 and 4 year old IMO. There are things to do but will require some transit or uber/taxi rides.
1.) Denver Aquarium and/or Children's musuem- take bus or uber/taxi as it is a bit too long of a walk along a busy street
2.) City Park/Museum of Natural History- bus or uber/taxi

When you have a car
1.) If you can relocate after the conference, I would consider a couple days in Boulder. The Pearl St. Mall offers nice walking, great people watching, buskers, interesting stores and good dining.
2.) There are lots of trails on open space for exploring
3.) Boulder Creek trail would be good with little ones
4.) Day trip to Rocky Mtn National Park
5.) Day trip to Red Rocks/Dinosaur Ridge
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by BUBear29 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:28 pm

take an uber to Washington Park (Wash Park) for a nice stroll and play time if the weather is nice. It is about 4 miles from downtown close to Cherry Creek Mall.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Visiting Downtown Denver in late March without car.

Post by BolderBoy » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:37 pm

Flobes wrote:My suggestion for exploring the mountains: take the train. Amtrak California Zephyr from Denver to Glenwood Springs is one of the most scenic rail routes in the world. Across the Continental Divide, along the headwaters of the Colorado River, through Glenwood Canyon. You will see deer and elk and eagles and foxes and coyotes and beaver and otters, with grand vistas of mountains and rivers.

Little kids love!! the train. They can freely move about. "Train" people are friendly and civil. It's the antithesis of the confinement and hostility of air travel. FWIW I did this very trip with my nephews when they were 2 and 4, and they thought I'd hung the moon.

Train leaves Denver Union Station @8; breakfast is served in the dining car; spend time in the "view" car with floor-to-ceiling windows; go to the cafe for a snack; play games and run around; lunch is served; take a nap in oversized reclining seats (think LazyBoyLounger, complete with pop-up foot rest); get off in Glenwood.

Book a room in Glenwood. Rand McNally and USA Today named it the most fun town to visit in America, and it's very family friendly. Enjoy soaking in the hot springs. (At night, in the snow, is a truly wonderous experience.) Enjoy the tram up to Glenwood Caverns, rent bikes, hike, steam in vapor caves. RideGlenwood will bus you all about town for $1/day (kidsfree). Catch public RFTA bus to Aspen, and watch the beautiful people ski down Ajax.

A day (or 2 or 3) later, Amtrak back to Denver: Get on at noon; lunch is served; watch the scenery; take a nap; dinner is served; arrive Denver.

Or ride Bustang, the statewide bus service, leaving Glenwood @7am, arriving Union Station @11.
Second this suggestion! I try to do this each winter that the spirit moves me.
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