For $26, the trip in the world's highest cog railway (14,110 feet) is not to be missed. Never mind if I suffered from altitude nausea and temporary snow blindness. For fear of becoming a frozen delight, I had to drink up my hot chocolate upon reaching the summit.
Two moral lessons:
Bring your winter jackets and mittens/gloves as it's 30 degrees colder in the peak than in the depot.
Take your snack/lunch before the 1.5 hr ride up the summit.
In the summit, there's a souvenir shop and a cafe but it easily gets full of people. You only get to stay for 30-40 minutes. Since I'm a vegetarian, I can only eat the pretzel and drink hot chocolate. Going down takes another 1.5 hr and you can't eat in the cog.
Stay on the two-seat side of the cog as that's where the most scenic side of the trip is.
The steps of the capitol are engraved with the "One Mile Above Sea Level" marker. There are two markers on the steps, one golden circle and the "One Mile Inscription." If my memory serves me right, it is the lower maker that is the most accurate, i.e. exactly one mile above sea level.
Sitting/standing on this step exactly one mile above the sea level while enjoying the view of the Rocky Mountains in the background is a must do when visiting the "Mile High City"!
Take a stroll down this central street. The street, which is only open to pedestrians and the free mall-ride (look at transportation tip), is the very heart of Denver. Here you will find restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, ESPN Zone, etc and several small little souvenir shops. At the south end of the street, you will find the capitol, and at the north end, you will find yourself in historic lower downtown (LoDo), which houses, Larimer Square, Market Street (where many of the bars are), Union Station, and Coors Field.
This is the house of the TITANIC survivor Molly Brown. This is a must see for anyone travelling to Denver. There is also a small TITANIC exhibit in the back of the house containing items Molly had with her on the fateful voyage. Ms. Brown died in 1932. Her house was bought by the historical society and was preserved. Prices are $6.50 for adults, $5.00 for seniors over 65 and $3.00 for kids 6-12 years old.
I forgot I had this photo! This is a pretty cool memory. I worked in this building for quite a while. My office was on the 38th floor, and, in the picture, it's about 4 stories from the top, and over on the left. This is the place where the TeeVee software company had space. The thing that's so neat about it is, it wrapped around a turn-of-the-century Church. The building actually had to buy the 'air-rights' from the Church to build it.
So this is my 'hood.
Technically Washington Park is split into two neighberhoods - East Wash Park and West Wash Park. Okay, so West Wash Park (where I live) isn't as nice but I can't afford the price of renting a 300,000 dollar home.
And making gang hand signs for West Wash Park is a lot easier. Note - Wash Park is the second whitest neighberhood in Denver behind Cherry Creek. Therein lies the joke.
The centerpiece is Denver's Washington Park. Formally this park was a cow pasture for Robinson's Dairy, which is still down the street. You will see dozens (nights), hundreds (days), or almost thousands (sunny weekends), of people walking, running, and biking around the park.
It's a very pleasant park for an after dinner stroll in a very safe neighberhood.
When I lived in Denver, I visited the steps of the Capitol several times in order to show my visitors the one mile marker, however it wasn't until my last visit to downtown Denver that I actually walked into the Capitol. (open during business hours). I was so surprised to see how much there was to look at just inside the front door: wall paintings, portrait paintings, and dedications. It's well worth your time to walk inside for a little bit (for the enthusiast, there are also tours). A plus is also that if you go downstairs, there is a small cafeteria and free (and CLEAN) public restrooms.
At the center of Denver's "Golden Triangle" is the Denver Museum of Art. The Golden Triangle refers to the portion of Denver that holds the cultural treasures of the city. The Denver Museum of Art showcases works of modern art, classical, asian, and a floor devoted to the "Western Art," that I am admittedly not too fond of. All of this is spread over about fve floors in the building (I don't know my architectural styles) that looks like a castle.
When Denver is under siege by Wyoming you will know where to find me.
Directly South of the current museum you can witness a little bit of construction under way. This is the Fredrick C. Hamilton buildng museum expansion project. Slated to be completed in 2006 this is scheduled to be the first Libeskind designed building completed in North America. He is the designer of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the winner of the competition for the building design on the site of the former World Trade Centers.
Denver was not always pretty. In the beginning it was a dusty town on the high plains that was hot in the summer and windy and cold in the winter.
Most Denverites don't know how much of a thanks they need to give to former Mayor Speer's "City Beautiful Movement," that occured in the early 1900's. Many of the old trees that you see around and the abundent parkland are a testiment to his legacy. The "City and County of Denver" building was the crowning glory of this movement. Planned and completed over a 26 year period by 39 local architects in 1932, the city and county building "balances" the State Capital building.
In 1862 the Colorado Territorial legislature convened in Denver but were enticed to move to Golden by the offer of a free building and free firewood. Denver countered and the legislature shifted backed to Denver. Hence, until 1867 both cities claimed to be the capital of Colorado - this was still 8 years before statehood.
Imagine if Golden had upped their offer? Golden might be the center of a 2.5 million citizen metropolis and Denver would be a mere suburb.
How about those Golden Broncos?
The Capital Dome is covered with 200 ounces of gold leaf. From miles away you can see the sun shining off of the dome. That's only 60,000 dollars worth of the stuff. I wonder if more people realized how cheap it is to cover your house in gold leaf, would we see more houses covered in gold?
The "Bronco Buster," a bronze statue by Alexander Proctor was presented to the city of Denver in 1920. The statue is near the center of Civic Center Park and is worth a gander if you are walking from the City Hall building to the State Capital building.
Behind the statue you can see a portion of Denver's Skyline. Denver has three buildings in the downtown over 200 meters in height with the tallest being the 218 meter tall Republic Tower. Denver is the largest city in a 600 mile radius so don't expect to see anything man-made as tall in the vicinity.
Alright, let's face it. The best hockey in the world is played in the NHL, that's where all the big stars play, because that's were the money is. Unfortunately, for us hockey fans, that means that tickets to the games are rather expensive. A "nosebleed" ticket watching the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center will set you back $25. However, if you have never been to an NHL game, you will not be traveling to the East Coast of the USA or to Canada, and you are a hockey fan, you need to check this "must do activity" of your list to do in life (Those of you going to the East Coast or Canada, save your money and spend it on a ticket to Madison Square Garden, the Fleet Center, or the Air Canada Center in Toronto). Always remember that the earlier you buy the ticket, the cheaper it will be (+ the Avs have sold out all of their home games - so there probably will not be any tickets left if you wait until the last minute)
This is a pretty large building. There is a step on the front with a geographical marker stating it is "1 mile high." The inside is very nice. There are large painings all over the walls showing people and history. Admission is free.
We started our day in Denver at the state Capitol. Colorado's Capitol is built in the style of the nation's Capitol. The short tour was informative and interesting. You will be shown the exact step on which you can stand to be a mile above sea level.
15th and Larimer is the nexus for Old Town Denver, a place of mostly 3 story brick buildings built during the late 19th century. The gold from the various mining camps flowed back to Denver, and so the city architecture was fairly opulent right from the start. Beginning in the 1950's preservationists pushed for restoration of the Larimer Square and the neighborhood of 19th century commercial buildings, a project that continues even today.
Whereas the 16th Street mall caters to the corporate franchise and shadowy high-rise, I like Larimer as a place to casually walk and talk with friends, while looking for a decent locally owned place to eat for lunch or dinner. Culinary standards are higher here than along 16th street mall. The quaint and ornately restored low rise red brick buildings allow the sun to shine on the sidewalks, where very often lunch is served.
This is also an excellent place to visit with friends before or after a Rockies baseball game because it's within walking distance of Coors Stadium. Music and drinks are common here at night, although the established sports bars are more commonly found a little closer to the stadium. Curbside parking anywhere downtown can be tricky, so expect to walk a block or so from the metered spot found to wherever you're going. Alternatively, Larimer is within a block or so of all 5 lines of the RTD Light Rail System.
There's a movement afloat to bring back the original 19th century Denver Streetcar system, and although the proposals seem to focus a track laid along Colfax Street, which is also business loop I-70 and US40, which is not very close to the Larimer Historic District, it seems to me more wise to push the trolley around this downtown area, and put another light rail line out toward Aurora and the Denver Airport. Oh well, what do I know. I'm from out of town. An old time trolley running up and down Larimer would be a good way to reduce automobile traffic and restore the historic ambiance.
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