Colorado State Capital
Located 10 minutes west of the guest houses the Colorado State Capital with its golden dome is known both for its panoramic view of 200 mountain peaks to the west and its close access to the skyscrapers of downtown Denver. Sitting at exactly 5280 feet above sea level the capital looks down on the colorful Denver Civic Center Park. Tours of the building – except for the dome being renovated – are available free on weekdays.
The Denver Mint
There are only two places in the US that mint U.S. coins for general circulation and one is close to the Colorado State Capital . The Denver Mint churns out 50 million new shiny coins a day and free tours are available.! Popular, make a reservation. Free samples not included.
History Colorado Center
One of the newer attractions in Denver this modern center opened in 2012 to provide visitors with artifacts and hands-on and high tech exhibits highlighting important events in the history of the state. Periods as far back as 8000 B.C. are explored. Located 3 blocks from the State Capital and 10 minutes from the guest houses.
Denver Art Museum
The two buildings of the Denver Art Museum stand in sharp contrast to each other. The fortress like original building was created by the Italian architect, Gio Pointi. The newer structure, the Hamilton Building, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, was to be something radical and spectacular to capture the attention of people around the country and the world. The buildings dramatic and complex geometrical design consists of 20 planes, one of which extends 100 feet over the street and none of which are parallel or perpendicular to each other, covered with titanium shingles. This bold architecture becomes art and visitors are able to experience the artwork within in an entirely new and exciting environment in the dramatic, sloping, obliquely shaped galleries.
Explore the Museum’s galleries showcasing the worlds largest American Indian art collection, as well as art from around the world. Family programs, traveling special exhibitions, Museum Shop, on-site restaurants and spectacular event spaces.
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
This is a modern multifaceted complex for the performing arts – musicals, plays, comedy, opera, and symphony performances. This carefully laid out facility boasts both adequate parking and inviting spacious walking areas amongst the complex buildings. This complex is located downtown near the 16th Street mall and its restaurants.
The 16th Street Mall
This mile long pedestrian mall is a people oasis in the heart of downtown Denver. Closed to cars and trucks it is instead served by a quiet, free mall bus system. Its I.M.Pei designed walkway resembles a rattlesnake’s coloration and is both heavily treed and frequented with flower beds. Along the walk there are almost 30 restaurants to tempt you to stop your people watching and enjoy a meal on a patio. At night horse drawn carriages add to the relaxed atmosphere.
Colorado Convention Center and the Blue Bear
A short walk from the Performing Arts complex you’ll notice a very tall Blue Bear looking curiously into the wall of glass of a great hall. The bear is the clever and colorful creation of Colorado’s Lawrence Argent; walk underneath it and look up for an unusual view. The hall meanwhile is the very busy modern convention center which recently became the first such exhibit hall in the country to earn a new sustainability honor; it’s as “green” as they come. But the Bear is still all blue!
Since the 1970’s this has been a hip section of downtown: old Victorian buildings converted to restaurants known for their chefs, dance and comedy clubs, specialty boutiques. An energetic neighborhood with frequent special events in the streets. Where everyone goes to celebrate Super Bowl wins!
LoDo Historic District
Not that long ago this was a dingy neighborhood of small warehouses and occasional bars. But after Coors Field( The Rockies) was built this district quickly developed into dozens of brew pubs, sports bars, and other cafes. Visit a nationally ranked jazz club – El Chapultepec – or the famous Tattered Cover Bookstore. Drop in to the Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first brewpub in Denver, the brainchild of now Governor John Hickenlooper.
You may remember Molly Brown from the film “Titanic” and the musical ” The Unsinkable Molly Brown”. After her husband made a fortune in the silver mining business in Colorado they settled into a lovely Victorian home at 1340 Pennsylvania in Denver. She became an activist for women’s and children’s issues, and a major philanthropist . Much of her efforts and reputation developed after she survived the sinking of the Titanic. Her home now showcases exhibits from that era.
Forty years ago most of the land along the South Platte River that winds through Denver was a mess – garbage, weeds, ugly. But the local Greenway Foudation has transformed it into a picturesque green belt with long bike paths , parks, and fascinating destinations. Along the river take your little ones to the Children’s( highly interactive) Museum – fun for hours. Or ride the trolley to the city aquarium where sharks lie in wait and stingrays float by gracefully. Or take your teens to dare the exciting rides at the modern Elich Gardens Park. Or if you’re headed soon to the mountains stop at the REI Flagship store for gear.
Very near the guest houses is the immense Denver City Park, part of the nation’s most extensive city park system. One” must see” stop there is the 4th largest museum in the US, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Notice the huge T-Rex dinosaur staring down at you as you buy your tickets. Move on to see displays – some interactive – that lay out the cosmos, the natural history of Colorado, beautiful minerals, science experiments, etc. Don’t forget the Planetarium and the Imax theatre showing wondrous nature films on a giant screen.
Located in City Park near the science museum the city’s zoo is the 4th most visited in the U.S.
It has been greatly updated in recent decades to create more natural habitats for a wide range of animals: polar bears swim casually in Northern Shores; gorillas stare back in their Primate Panorama; a family of lions roam in a slice of African plain; gila monsters and crocodiles lounge in a seeming rainforest. And newest of all is a new 10 acre sanctuary for elephants, rhinos, and gibbon monkeys which winds through an apparent Asian village. The zoo is a welcome and richly landscaped park where the walks between exhibits are a pleasant memory.
Just a few minutes drive south of the guest house is an exceptional shopping meca within the city – Cherry Creek. Here lies the largest gathering of speciality and department stores between St Louis and the West Coast: Macy’s, Nieman Marcus, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie and Fitch, Brooks Brothers, Eddie Bauer, Coach and many more for fashions. Tiffanys, an Apple Store , an AMC movie theatre, and more than 10 restaurants like Elways round out the offerings in this spacious indoor shopping district. Plenty of parking on site.
Located in East Denver and set in a residential neighborhood the Botanic Gardens feature 45 gardens and over 30,000 flowers and plants set in a 23 acre facility. A celebration of nature and only a few blocks from the guest houses. Considered one of the top 10 conservatories in the US.with its Japanese Garden and Alpine Rock Garden. Summer concerts on the grounds enliven the atmosphere.
Situated in south central Denver in an attractive residential neighborhood Washington Park is known for its gorgeous floral gardens, its lake, and simply the expanse of its 160 acres. The park really comes to life on summer weekends when dozens of volleyball games are contested in the sweeping open areas and an endless stream of bike riders, roller bladers, walkers, and joggers pass by on the outer paved paths – often accompanied by their dogs. . Choose your own path: exercise or people/ dog watching.