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Denver, CO. What to see and do!


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#1 dlagrua

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 03:32 PM

Our summer vacation destination for 2015 will be Denver, CO.   Its a mile high city and a big metropolis (like many other big cities) but the allure of big mountains, ghost towns, ancient Indian ruins and great scenery seems very attractive.

We will arrive via the California Zephyr at the renovated Union Station and hope to stay somewhere at the Northern edge of Denver at a nice 4* hotel. We will have a rental automobile and hope to do some driving to see sites and points of interest in and around the city.

Since we have never visited Denver, we are looking for suggestions for lodging , dining and points of interest. We want to take the Pikes Peak Railway to the top, see the city sights and hopefully get a side trip in on "roads less traveled". Any an all suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.



#2 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:11 PM

Nederland's worth a visit. Rocky Mountain National Park. Maroon Bells if you make it that far. Royal Gorge. Closer, I think Lookout Mountain, Red Rock Amphitheater.


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#3 SubwayNut

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:19 PM

I'm assuming you already know that the Cog Railway is over an hour south of Denver in Colorado Springs, and Swandian's suggested sites are in the Mountains even farther away. The Royal George is near Cañon City about two hours south of Denver (an hour south of the Springs)

 

Since your staying in hotels anyway, I'd recommend planning more of a road trip and stay in different places for different nights instead of trying to see all of the just over 100,000 square mile rectangle that is Colorado with Denver as a home base. Remember 12 New Jerseys could fit in the size of Colorado.

 

Stuff to do in Denver itself: The Botanical Gardens, the Denver Art Museum. If you want to do something completely off the beaten track to do in Denver try the Bunkport Theater Company.

 

In terms of a fancy place to stay the Brown Place Hotel is an old grand hotel (I don't know of any youth hostels in Denver).


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#4 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 01:04 AM

You can get some great hotel deals in Hotwire. That's what I like to do. Priceline doesn't seem as good. Then again, this is solely for hotels.


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#5 dlagrua

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for the tips people. Please keep them coming.  We always rent a car, like to visit cities but make it a point to always venture outside, visiting National Parks, ghost Towns, historic sights etc. We don't mind driving but set the limit at 2 1/2 hour trips and usually add overnight lodging when we go that far. 

When we go to any city we prefer staying on the edge of the city, in nicer residential neighborhoods where possible. For instance when we visited Chicago, we stayed in the Gold Coast/ Magnificent Mile area, and in the Queen Ann district in Seattle. These areas tend to be quieter, more residential than the heart of the busy downtown areas and offer free parking. In Denver, perhaps the same thing can be had in the Cherry Creek neighborhood but having never been in Denver we don't know much about it.

As for Hotwire, use it often and we have gotten some really good deals there but if you check directly with some hotels they sometimes offer pre-paid deals as well. Next years travel by rail journey to Denver certainly takes some planning!!!!!!!

Anyone have any suggestions on our ideal area for lodging in Denver?

 

Ok we are going for it. Booked on 10/18 Bedroom accommodations PHL to DEN and back for next August 2015 via the Cardinal and California Zephyr both ways. The on time performance for these two trains is not that great so we just hope that the  PHL-CHI-DEN and DEN-CHI-PHL connections go well. Coming off this years trip to Seattle on the EB (12 hours late into CHI) ; it was pleasant, but we don't want to spend another overnight in CHI.  


Edited by dlagrua, 18 October 2014 - 01:57 PM.


#6 dlagrua

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 11:44 AM

Being that thread went cold; I have been doing extensive research on the Denver area and came up with a couple of things within a hour drive and would like to share them.

  The Manatou Cliff Dwellings, The Coors Brewery Tour in Golden, Mt.Evans auto road.  



#7 chakk

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 07:44 PM

There is a fancy drag strip on the southwestern edge of Denver.  Also, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the same westside area has lots of evening music concerts in the summer months.  Georgetown Loop Railroad (about 45 minutes west of Denver on Interstate 70) can be an enjoyable hour or two.   Rocky Mountain National Park an hour northwest of Denver has many scenic vistas.

 

Be aware that the Pikes Peak Cog Railway takes you up to an elevation exceeding 14,000 feet.   Do not visit until you have spent at least a couple days in the Denver Front Range getting some basic altitude adjustment.   Even then, you might find yourself getting quite lightheaded on Pikes Peak.



#8 dlagrua

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 09:38 AM

More great tips and I thank you for that. As for the drag strip at the Southwestern edge of Denver; cars are a hobby of mine but I won't have my race car with me. Wish that I did as I love that type of high energy competition.

The altitude adjustment is something that I didn't consider. We've been on Mt Rainier, flown in smaller private planes at 5,000 ft but at 10,000 ft the air starts to get much thinner and its very noticable.  We will plan to make the gradual adjustment.

Further reading reveals that there is much to see and do in the Royal Gorge area and around Colorado Springs. The Royal Gorge Route RR line is on the list. The 1950's consist that they run looks very nice and well maintained.

Would like to add some historic mining and/or ghost towns to the list and still looking to find them.



#9 PRae_Train

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 11:33 AM

 

Would like to add some historic mining and/or ghost towns to the list and still looking to find them.

 

Probably way too far for you, but Ouray is a magnificent place to visit. "The Little Switzerland of America" is spectacular, charming, and historic, and much of it is all about mining. I took a couple of Jeep Tours there that were hair-raising. They also rent jeeps for self-guided tours.



#10 dlagrua

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 12:01 PM

Checked out Ouray, Durango, Silverton and they are a bit too far of a drive (5 1/2 hrs)  from Denver one way. Nice places, good info and there is always a next time. Meanwhile I found this site that features 55 attractions in the Colorado Springs area and videos where an industrious group visited them all in 5 days.

www.visitcos.com/55in5

 

The Royal Gorge seems to be where many of the tourist things are.......scenic RR, incline, aerial tram, Gorge bridge etc. Then there is Manitou with the cliff dwellings, and Pikes Peak nearby.

From all of the info online/you tube we are starting to get a feel for the area. Hopefully this thread can also be used to  guide others. Lets hope that the CZ runs close to on-time next August. We don't want to miss a Chicago connection again. 



#11 Rail Freak

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 06:18 PM

May not be a popular response, but on my recent visit to Denver, I found the POT SHOPS to be interesting!!!!

Have Fun


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#12 Bob Dylan

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 08:38 PM

May not be a popular response, but on my recent visit to Denver, I found the POT SHOPS to be interesting!!!!
Have Fun


Cue John Denver singing " Rocky Mountain High"! LOL
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#13 dlagrua

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 07:07 PM

As for pot, we are not into taking narcotics, so we stay away from those places, especially since new scientific evidence has shown that long term use of pot shrinks the brain. The smoke is also as bad for the lungs as common cigarettes.

It looks like our 2015 vacation will be in the  Denver area, then in Colorado Springs, Manitou, Canon City (Royal Gorge), Leadville and Cripple Creek. Lots to see and do in those areas.



#14 dlagrua

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 04:04 PM

I have been researching the Metro Denver area for several months and would like to share our itinerary. . We will arrive in Denver on the CZ then spend the day there, see the museums, hit the gourmet food spots and shoot over to Golden to tour the Coors brewery.

We will head South to the Colorado Springs /Manitou area for days two and three.  Points of interest  Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods state park, Miramont Castle, Cave of the winds, and the Pikes Peak Incline railway. We will start day four in Divide (we rented a house in the Mountains there) and drive to the Gold Mining district at Cripple Creek. There the Mollie Kathleen mine takes you 1000' feet below for a mine tour. We will spend the day  (hard to find good food there) and that evening arrive in Canon City. Maybe have time to see the Prison Museum and the Abbey Winery. Day five its the Royal Gorge bridge and park and a ride on the Royal Gorge Railroad that takes you on a 2 hr scenic ride through the gorge. The following day (day 6) we head back to Manitou to get in the remainder of things up that way. On day 7 we depart Manitou and arrive in Denver to catch the California Zephyr home that evening.

Should be a busy trip with loads of things to do.



#15 Rail Freak

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 05:12 PM

Didn't go there to purchase, just to expand my narrow mind!!!!!

Have Fun


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#16 dlagrua

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 04:23 PM

I would like to add a final comment for those visiting Denver and looking for an exciting place to visit close by, The town would be Manitou Springs.  Its a small historic town, 1 1/2 hr drive from Denver, but loaded with attractions , restaurants, shops and all. Pikes Peak Cog RR,  Miramount Castle, The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and Cave of the Winds arew there. These are all great places to see. In nearby Colorado springs there is 7 falls park, a great zoo, some historical sights and really nice museums.

We liked vacationing in Colorado so much that in 2016 we will be back, this time visiting the front range area North of Denver around Boulder and the area to the West near Idaho Springs and Leadville. .



#17 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 06:31 PM

I will be visiting Colorado this year for Christmas and the day after, but I am still undecided where to stop in. I was hoping for snow on the ground, but also a place with activities that can be accessed easily without a car. Would Denver, Fraser, or Glenwood Springs be the best city given these preferences?

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#18 Bob Dylan

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 07:22 PM

Glenwood Springs is your Huckelberry!
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