Denver in a Day
September 28, 2009 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Boulder? Denver? Help me day-trip to Colorado *THIS* Saturday!

So I snatched up an interesting offer: Frontier Airlines had PHX->DEN same-day roundtrip for $59, inclusive. (No add'tl taxes or fees, available ONLY for this Saturday, and only for an hour, at that!)

We arrive in DEN at 9:24am and we depart at 9:20pm.

We *may* have a ride from the airport, but what's the cheapest way to downtown Denver (or Boulder) if not? Where's best to land if we want to get around the city relatively easily once we do, assuming no car?

What's there to see and do for fun eating on a Saturday? Which would you recommend to make the best use of our time? We probably need to be back at the airport by 8:15 at the latest, so take that into account. (No checked bags, clearly.)

I like photography, museums, good food, fun art, cool people, markets, fairs, weird off-the-beaten path stuff, and anything else going. I'll have my brother in tow, who's also down for pretty much anything.

Help plan my one-day itinerary, and understand that very little is a bust for us; it was a $60 thing, so why not, right?

posted by disillusioned to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sweet deal!
RTD is a great way to get downtown: they have a desk at the airport (you'll be using their skyRide service), and a ticket is $10 each way. The bus drops you off at a very convenient downtown location.

For museums: the Denver Art Museum is excellent, and there's a relatively new, lesser-known Museum of Contemporary Art.
posted by elder18 at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2009

Cheapest way to downtown is definitely the RTD SkyRide. You'll want route AF to get downtown Denver. If you get off at Market Street station it will put you right in the middle of downtown. SkyRide fares are I think $10 per person, each way on that route. Cabs and SuperShuttle etc would probably be about twice that (the Denver airport is pretty far from downtown).

From downtown Denver it is easy to get to Boulder also via RTD (possibly even on a transfer? not sure about that), via route B or BX.

People who get out more than I do will probably have better suggestions about what to do in Denver or Boulder, but it's worth noting that since it will be the first Saturday of the month, admission is free at the Denver Art Museum. The history museum nearby is also free. Downtown Denver is a pretty active, interesting place.. lots of restaurants, etc.
posted by everybody polka at 10:58 PM on September 28, 2009

Oh, and to save your feet walking around downtown, there is a free bus (the "Mallride") down 16th street... a bus arrives pretty much each light cycle and stops at every block. It's pretty cool. It's a good way to get from one end of downtown to the other.
posted by everybody polka at 11:03 PM on September 28, 2009

Since you don't have a car, RTD is your friend. If you can't get a ride from the airport, you'll especially need to check out the skyRide (routes AB and AF, depending on where you want to go). Boulder is definitely within reach, but I'd pick either Denver or Boulder, given your limited time.

Regarding what to do, I'll stick to my expertise: Falling Rock Taphouse has a huge array of beer selections, the Great Divide brewery has a small array of good beers, and Vine St. Pub is pretty much my favorite place in all of Denver. Pints Pub has the largest selection of single malt whiskies this side of the Atlantic.

Bah. I'm not modifying this because people are faster than me.
posted by McBearclaw at 11:25 PM on September 28, 2009

Response by poster: Fantastico--keep them coming!

If there are three of us splitting a cab, would the cab be cheaper than skyRide for each of us r/t?

Many thanks!
posted by disillusioned at 12:48 AM on September 29, 2009

Most likely not--you're looking at about $50 for a cab one way from the airport to downtown, plus tip if you're so inclined.

As for food, I'd recommend Bayou Bob's. It's Cajun-style food (jambalaya, gumbo, etc.), and I used to go there as often as I could back when I lived in Denver.

I've been living in England for two years, and I miss Denver sometimes. I'd commit a minor felony for some decent Mexican food, for one thing.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:50 AM on September 29, 2009

Best answer: Splitting a cab is going to be more expensive. Taking the Super shuttle will be about $5 more per person, but if you happen to get dropped off early it'll save you about half an hour over the bus. It's also worth noting that sometimes the bus only leaves once per hour. Check the schedules.

Do the free day at the denver art museum. You're just missing first friday in the santa fe art district, but there are a lot of galleries down along santa fe near 6th if you're looking for more art. Falling Rock has some of the best beer selections anywhere, though it's a bit dear. The Mercury Cafe is good if you're looking for local hippie (though not necessarily vegetarian) food and beer, and City O' City and Watercourse are both great if you're vegetarian. If you're looking for fine dining, check out Mizuna, business-casual fantastic food, look at Potager, and for affordable french food, Le Central. A step on the state capitol building is exactly 1 mile above sea level; it's well-marked. Pint's pub for scotch, especially since it's right next to the art museum.

I wouldn't go to boulder, especially on your timeline, since it's another half hour away from the airport, maybe more on RTD. Plenty to do in Denver proper. Also, it'll be tough to get out to the mountains, though if you go to the lake in City Park you'll have a great picnic spot with a view of downtown and the front range.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:14 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you do go to downtown Denver take a walk west from LoDo (lower downtown) to the river, the Platte, and take a pleasant stroll up or downstream. Nice parks and all. You might see some kayakers playing in the river at the confluence (w/ Cherry Creek) or even more likely loads of tubers and others playing in the water if it is warm enough out. Also, REI has a flagship store right there if you need any outdoor gear and it is an old historic trolley building or something which is pretty cool. Northward along the river is a huge public skatepark that is great for shooting photos.

Also in Downtown: I'm a big fan of the Denver Art Museum (DAM) as mentioned above, the MCA (museum of contemporary art) mentioned previously is a handful of blocks away and much smaller but I love its feel. [the rooftop deck is great]. South Santa Fe arts district, also mentioned, is a good option, too, if you like the artsy and you can take lightrail there easily from downtown. I don't know why but I have trouble finding good places to eat downtown (I'm cheap) so I'd suggest eating whilst down there.

I think Sputnik is a cool bar and it has sweet potato fries with banana ketchup and good hipster watching. There are numerous great shops (think independent book stores and such) along South Broadway (near South Broadway and First for reference). This area is an easy bus ride from downtown and Broadway is nearly adjacent to the DAM.

Have a great trip!
posted by fieldtrip at 9:54 PM on September 29, 2009

Alternatively, I love Boulder, too. If you want more of a nature, beautiful views sort of experience I would take the bus up there. You can get some urbanness on their Pearl Street mall (pedestrian mall) and take a bus up into the foothills and see some nature and take some great shots. I have to agree with above that taking the bus to Denver then Boulder than back to the airport would be a pain in the ass. DIA, the airport, is kind of in the middle of nowhere 45 minutes to downtown Denver....45 minute bus ride to Bouder....45 minute bus ride back to DIA. all times approximate.
posted by fieldtrip at 9:57 PM on September 29, 2009

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