An In Depth Travel Guide to Denver and Beyond

Colorado

Are you planning a trip out to Colorado to see a show at Red Rocks or Dick's Sporting Goods Park? We at DC Music Review  have all the key information and travel trips for your journey to Denver and the surrounding area.

Getting There:

Denver’s International Airport (https://www.flydenver.com/) is located approximately 25 miles to the East of Downtown Denver. This is a significant air hub, and most national airlines travel to Denver.

If you do not want to rent a car, or do not want to use a shuttle or taxi to your hotel, the Denver Light Rail System has a train that runs from the airport to downtown Denver and connects with other light rail lines.


Light Rail from from Airport to Union Station can be found here. 

Denver’s International Airport (https://www.flydenver.com/) is located approximately 25 miles to the East of Downtown Denver. This is a major air hub and most national airlines travel to Denver.

If you do not want to rent a car, or do not want to us a shuttle or taxi to your hotel, the Denver Light Rail System has a train that runs from the airport to downtown Denver and connects with other light rail lines.

Route from Airport to Union Station:

Traffic

You would not normally associate the word traffic with Denver, however, Denver is now ranked 21st worst traffic in America. With approximately 1000 new people moving to Denver each week, traffic is becoming a big reality in and around Denver. Please make sure to check traffic resources before heading out.

Beside your smartphone map applications you can use the following resources:

Public Transportation

Denver has nine light rail lines which service 53 stations throughout Denver’s Metropolitan area. The light rail line is a great way to get around downtown Denver and even get to and from the airport.

Denver's Regional Transportation District

Denver has a public transport system that can be found here.

Denver has nine rail lines which service 53 stations throughout Denver’s Metropolitan area. You can use the Denver RTD Rail's interactive system to help you figure out how to get to where you need to be.

Bike Share

If you are staying in downtown Denver one of the easiest ways to get around is to utilize the Denver’s Bike Share . This bike share is very affordable and convenient. Please check their interactive map to see of all the available stations.

Climate Tips:

Colorado has very low humidity. If you are coming from somewhere with higher humidity (like the swamp like weather of the Washington,D.C. region) you should remember to pack the following items just in case.

Lip Balm:

Make sure to bring along some lip balm. After several days of hiking, walking, dancing, you might notice your lips getting particularly dry. Make sure to bring some lip balm to prevent chapped lips.

Water Bottles:

Be sure to bring a water bottle for your days and nights. Water may be hard to come by in National Parks and hikes. Staying hydrated is critical and beer does not count as optimal hydration.

Altitude

Denver is "The Mile High City," and there are a few things that you should realize when going to altitude. First and foremost your alcohol tolerance does go down at altitude. If you decide to go further north into the mountains, do try to pace yourself and understand that despite whatever physical shape you are in, pace yourself and listen to your body especially if you exercise and exert yourself (like deciding to run up that 14er.)

Exploring Denver

Denver is undergoing a huge population explosion. In addition to new developments and neighborhoods being created, Denver has seen urban renewal with old aircraft hangars and brick factories being converted into food halls and arts centers. As former structures are transformed and redeveloped, the food scene continues to explode. 

In order to keep up with Denver's foodie scene we highly recommend Eater Denver which tries to highlight the latest food related news including new openings, closings, and reviews.

We fell in love with the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. Five Points is one of Denver’s largest neighborhoods which is shaped like a triangle. The area got its name in 1881 courtesy of the streetcar line that served the neighborhood: All the names of the final stop, Welton, 27th, Washington Streets, and 26th Avenue wouldn’t fit on the car’s sign. So the streetcar line simply called it “Five Points.”

All your best coffee, food, art, etc. Took many old warehouses and reconditioned them.

River North Art District (RiNo)

Within Five Points is one particular neighborhood that is exploding, River North (RiNo) Arts District. You will find craft coffee, delicious beer, fantastic food, vibrant street art, and independent retailers. This area is being revitalized so fast that at the time of this article (Editor Note: Summer 2017), new buildings were going up, streets were being restored & repaved. The two main arteries of RiNo are Larimer Street & Walnut Streets. You will want to explore these streets!

Getting There:

You have many options to get RiNo. You can very easily drive to RiNo and street parking is plentiful, although at the time of this writing, streets have been closed temporarily due to construction but there are many detours available. If you are staying in downtown Denver, you can also rent a bike share. Another alternative is you can take the to the Light Rail - D Line 38th / Blake Station. 

Foodie Highlights

Pick up some fresh food, coffee, prepare for a pre-game on the lot. We saw some delicious looking Italian sausage stuffed jalepeno’s that would look amazing on a grill at your next concert tail-gate.

This large building was a former brick foundry built in the 1880. It hosts a wide array of restaurants, bars, and food vendors and can easily accommodate most food needs.

Some of the best coffee you will try in RiNo. Two locations, one in the Denver Central Market, and one independent store.

Some of the tastiest and affordable Mexican street food you will find. We loved it so much we ate there twice!

Entertainment Highlights

This venue hosts an amazing variety of shows on it's calendar. Most importantly, this venue will host many pre and post-show events. 

Additional Resources / Reading:

Denver's Five Points Neighborhood: 5 Things You Don't Know About 'The Harlem of the West'


Additional Attractions around Denver:

You will be able to find many delicious food options in this historic and still active train station (Think of the food options in this station similar to Washington DC's Union Station or New York City's Grand Central Station) You can also pick up a wide variety of tail-gate supplies at the Union Station Farmer's Market held each Saturday from June to October in the plaza outside the station.

We explored the 16th Street Mall & Promenade. Despite the multiple recommendations, we found this part of Denver littered with big chain stores and restaurants. 

We would highly recommend other attractions over this one unless you prefer chain restaurants and stores.

Attractions Close to Dick’s Sporting Goods

Just a few miles down the road from Dick’s Sporting Goods Field, you will find Stanley Marketplace tucked behind a small residential neighborhood. The neighborhood is new, mostly because it lies on the former Denver Stapleton Airport and Stanley Aviation sits where Denver’s original airport main runway was. Now, more than 50 independently owned Colorado owned businesses operate out of this former airplane hangar right off of Runway 26. Come to Stanely for some coffee, refreshments or food before your concert or pick up some food for your tailgate party here.

Places to Go / Day Trips:

  • TO The South
  • POINTS WEST DENVER
  • POINTS NORTH
  • POST SHOW

Colorado Springs CO


In August 1859, two surveyors who helped to set up Colorado City explored the site. One of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden." His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”

About 40 miles south of Denver in Colorado Springs, lies Garden of the Gods. Words cannot express the beauty of this park. You can easily explore the park all day visiting the many sights in the park including Balanced Rock. If you are rushed for time you can drive the loop around the centerpiece rock formations. However, if you have more time to explore we highly recommend you parking your car and walking around the garden.

Note: We experienced heavy traffic on our way back from Garden of the Gods to Downtown Denver on Labor Day Friday. Please factor in traffic when planning your return to Denver.

Hotel Recommendations

No Hotel Experience is Complete without a Surrender To The Flow left outside your door!

Embassy Suites Denver Stapleton

4444 North Havana Street

Denver, CO 80239


Hytatt Regency Denver Convention Center

650 15th Street

Denver CO 80202



Additional Resources

  • We are big fans of Thrillist City Guides that points out some of the best that a city has to offer.  Please check out their Denver Guide.
  • For food enthusiasts, we really like Eater.com. This website focuses solely on the food scene in different cities around the globe. Please check out their Denver Guide.
Venue Review – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Commerce City, Colorado (Denver)
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Disclaimer: DC Music Review, nor any of it’s staff were paid to endorse the stores mentioned in this article. The mention and recommendation of these entities are based purely on our personal experience or those of friends of the staff.

About the author

Jason Herman

A 24x7 member and Photo Editor of DC Music Review. Jason has been a passionate about music since his earliest days and is especially passionate about the music scene around his adopted hometown, Washington DC. With over 35 Grateful Dead and 70+ Phish Shows under his belt, you can find him at concerts around the country but especially in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. Before turning his lens to music, Jason followed professional cyclists around the U.S. Domestic Circuit to the tallest mountains in Europe.