No longer a Western outpost, Denver is an internationally recognized community of arts, culture and culinary adventure.
Here are five family favorites:
1 Union Station: Recently opened, this historic transportation center has been reinvented as a gathering place that is also home to bike, taxi, rail and bus lines that connect the city center to outlying areas. Stay in one of the Crawford Hotel’s rail-themed guest rooms and choose from an array of dining options and shops, including the Tattered Cover, a famed indie bookstore. The station’s Grand Hall is a vibrant scene where visitors play shuffleboard, enjoy a snack, conversation and a parade of people passing through.
2 Denver Botanic Gardens: Bold hues and striking silhouettes dazzle families who visit celebrated glass artist Dale Chihuly’s stunning extravaganza at the 24-acre urban oasis. Expect a boatload of brightly colored glass baubles afloat amid the garden’s lily pads, a 30-foot neon tower and red glass reeds that rise among the prairie grass. The world-renowned, Venice-trained artist’s work is on view through November.
3 Indulge in art: From art classes and kid-focused camps to clever create-and-takes, the Denver Art Museum welcomes families into the artistic fold. Family backpacks, available for use during a visit, are full of art supplies, games and puzzles. Children will also enjoy the Mile High City’s extensive public art program. Don’t miss a photo op with Blue Bear, a 40-foot sculpture peering into the Colorado Convention Center.
4 Foodie fun: Introduce the kids to the world’s best street food at Linger, a trendy establishment that overlooks the city. The founders searched the world for fare that defines regions from Mumbai to Manhattan. Built in an old mortuary, Linger’s quirky interior is made up of cleverly recycled items, including tables constructed from rail cars, formaldehyde bottles for water service and specials printed on toe tags. Stop by the adjacent giant milk can, the original Little Man ice-cream shop, for a sweet treat.
5 Bikes abound: Denver’s environmental focus and commitment to health and affordable transportation are just a few of the reasons the city supports an extensive bike-share program.
Residents and visitors can pick up a bright red bike at any B-station and ride to their destinations. When it’s time to move to the next museum, park or restaurant, grab another bike and go.
The Cherry Creek Bike Path, a 15-mile path along the creek, provides a great way to see the sites while avoiding traffic.