Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Denver, Colorado, USA

Denver, Colorado, USA  -North America

By Alexey Churchwell

If you’re coming from a bustling city, the first thing that you’ll notice about Denver is the pace we walk at. We don’t move at a crawl or anything; we just walk casually. Automatic doors are timed a little differently, and people aren’t in as much of a rush.
Denver’s a major city, full of large office buildings and busy highways; it’s just also relaxed. There’s as much to see in the city around you as there is in the place you’re trying to get. In the suburbs, you’ll see open spaces and parks every few streets. In the inner city, you’ll see gorgeous architecture, street art, and a thousand local shops that you’ll miss unless you’re walking.
If you’re looking for something to do, the first place you should head to is Downtown Denver. Take a walk down 16th street mall – depending on the time of day, you’ll see a street performer or two, smell delicious food wafting from the restaurants, or catch one of the city’s latest art installations. If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the free shuttle bus from one end of the mall to the other.
From the mall, it’s a short light rail ride to the Denver Art Museum; on the first Saturday of the month, you can actually get in for free. Once you’re done perusing the mixture of Renaissance artwork and modern sculpture, you can head next door to the Denver Library, or cross the street to City Park. On Sundays over the summer, you can catch a free jazz concert in the park - but be prepared for a crowd.
No description of Downtown Denver would be complete without a mention of Coors Field, located off of Blake Street, right by the 16th street mall. Unlike most baseball field, you can get bleacher tickets for only $4 apiece. Lovingly dubbed the Rockpile, the cheap seats in Coors Field are high up and right behind center field – it’s one of the best views in the stadium, and you can drop in whenever you like.
If you’ve got an entire day to spend (and enough cash to spend on tickets), consider visiting Elitch Gardens, the local amusement park. There are enough rides to keep you busy from open to close, and enough variety to suit both the bold and the relaxed. While there are restaurants within the park, savvy visitors leave a picnic in their car, and exit the park over lunchtime, before returning for some more fun.
Lower Downtown Denver, dubbed LoDo by the natives, should be your next stop on your city tour. On the first Friday of every month, local artists set up exhibits all along the streets. Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, then listen to the local music as you browse paintings, sketches, sculptures, and more.
After you’re done visiting Downtown, don’t forget to take a drive through the rest of the Denver Metro Area. Although Lakewood, Westminster, Arvada, and other districts are technically cities of their own, the entire city sprawls into one. If you head east and south of downtown, you can check out the Museum of Nature and Science, or swing by the
Denver Zoo. There are also hundreds of small local attractions, from movie theaters to farmer’s markets to free concerts, as long as you know where to look. Check the street corners for newsstands, and try to pick up a free copy of the Westword; you’ll have a complete list of restaurant ratings, upcoming concerts, and more.
Denver doesn’t settle for one kind of cuisine; instead, you can eat pretty much whatever you’re in the mood for. Although there are plenty of chain restaurants, you’ll have more fun trying a small, local place, from Mexican food to Vietnamese Pho. Take a walk down to any shopping center; you’re bound to find something delicious to eat.
Most of Denver drives, but a large part of the population also takes public transit. Depending on what area you’re in, RTD (short for Regional Transport District) can be worth your while. Downtown Denver is connected by a strong system of busses and light rails, which show up every 15 minutes to a half hour. You can usually get to any part of the city by public transit. But if you’re planning on going from one end of the Denver Metro area to another, consider driving until you get there – you’ll save yourself a headache.
Finally, no trip to Denver would be complete without a drive to the surrounding mountains. In the winter, you can drive up to one of the many ski resorts for a day on the slopes. However, there are also plenty of regional parks that aren’t more than an hour’s drive from the city; Genesee Park, Lookout Mountain, Bear Creek Reservoir, and Mount Falcon are all local favorites. You can hike, bike, and even camp in some areas. If you love the outdoors, you’ll have plenty to do – and most parks are free to enter, or cost no more than $5 per vehicle.
The most important thing to remember about Denver is to relax. There’s no way you’ll see the whole city in a day; some residents still haven’t seen a fraction of what the city has to offer. Local events and attractions are always changing, meaning that you never know what will be happening when you arrive. Instead of rushing, take your time getting to your destination, and enjoy the local charm of each area. You’ll be surprised by what you can find.

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