Several attractions are located within a short walk of Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) light rail service and commuter rail system, so it's easy to see a lot of the city without needing to rent a car. From Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies, to the trendy restaurants and boutique shops of South Pearl Street, there's no shortage of attractions that are easily accessible from the nearly 90 miles (145 kilometers) of rail and nine distinct rail lines crisscrossing the city. Simply hop on the train (or bus) for a day tour of the city.
The famous Coors Field is home to the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team, and you can get to it via rail lines A, B, C, E, and W at the Union Station stop. Once you arrive, head north out of the station until you see the baseball stadium.
It's always best to purchase Rockies tickets in advance to make sure you get a seat, particularly on special event weekends, although you can often buy them closer to game day. Additionally, the Rooftop section offers a fun way to mingle on the deck; all ticketed Coors Field guests can enjoy the area with the purchase of standing room tickets. Some games will have general admission seating on a first-come, first-served basis to be announced on the day of the game.
For a behind-the-scenes look at this famous Major League Baseball stadium, you can also book a tour of Coors Field any day but Sundays. Tours are conducted year-round, last approximately 80 minutes, and cover many sections of the stadium including the dugout, field (not during the off-season), visitor's clubhouse, Press Level, Toyota Land Cruiser Club, Wells Fargo Right Field Club Level, The Rooftop, and the Main Concourse areas.
The 16th Street Mall is a pedestrian-friendly, 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) shopping area packed with boutiques, restaurants, and other entertainment destinations also conveniently located within walking distance of Union Station. In addition, you can access the mall by taking the D, F, H, and L lines to the 16th Street and California station.
Featuring national chain stores like H&M as well as a host of local retailers, the 16th Street Mall is closed to traffic with the exception of the free buses that travel the length of the shopping center, which are known as MallRide buses. Near the south end of the mall, you'll find Denver Pavilions, a shopping and dining complex, the Regal UA Denver Pavilions 4DX & RPX movie theater, and over two dozen shops and restaurants.
The Pepsi Center, which opened in 1999, is a more than 675,000-square-foot (62709.6 square-meter) music, entertainment, and sports venue that's home to the Colorado Avalanche hockey team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team, and the Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team. Located just across Cherry Creek from the 16th Street Mall and accessible via the C, E, and W lines to the Pepsi Center / Elitch Gardens station, this unique venue is a great place to catch a show or a game year-round.
Walk-in and reserved group tours are available all year and last approximately 90 minutes each. For groups of 10 or more, reservations are required.
There is a Grand Atrium sculpture that cost $75,000 and weighs 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms). The Pepsi Center website has a full line-up of upcoming performances, sporting matches, and special events.
Serving up summer fun at its downtown location, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park is right off of lines C, E, and W and close to the Pepsi Center just steps away from the Pepsi Center / Elitch Gardens station. This Denver institution offers roller coaster and thrill rides, water slides, and cabanas for family chill time.
Elitch Gardens is usually open on select dates from mid-April through the first of November and open daily from mid-May through mid-August each year. Day and season passes are available, and special group rates are for sale on the website throughout the year.
Denver's transit hub, Union Station, received a facelift in 2014, bringing the 1880s building up to date with restaurants and shops but still maintaining its historic components. Accessible by the C, E, G, and W lines on the light rail, Union Station offers connections to Denver's bus and Amtrak services and provides a stately backdrop for shopping and dining.
Locally-owned stores at Union Station include 5 Green Boxes, BLOOM, Mercantile Dining & Provision, and the Tattered Cover Book Store. Similarly, dining options available at Union Station feature a variety of local Denver restaurants including ACME Delicatessen and Pizzeria, Milkbox Ice Creamery, Next Door American Eatery, Stoic & Genuine, Terminal Bar, and Ultreia.
Home of the Denver Broncos football team, Empower Field at Mile High also hosts concerts and other events that draw Super Bowl-like crowds throughout the year. Although the regular season for the Denver Broncos runs from early September through the end of December, the NFL regular season sometimes ends in early January. This massive sports arena is accessible via lines C, E, and W to the Empower Field at Mile High station, but visitors hoping to catch a game or show should plan extra time for walking since the light rail stop is located all the way across the parking lot from the stadium.
Empower Field holds public tours of the stadium guided by professionals from the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Each tour lasts between 75 and 90 minutes and includes access to a variety of areas including the Team Field Entrance Tunnel, the TV & Radio Broadcast Facilities & Writing Press Center, the United Club Level, and even a few luxury viewing boxes.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) houses nine venues, including the Boettcher Concert Hall, Buell Theatre, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, and Garner Galleria Theatre. Visitors can enjoy touring Broadway musicals, concerts by the Colorado Symphony, shows staged by Opera Colorado, and the DCPA Theatre Company hosts original dramatic works here as well. Check out their schedule for showtimes, and then hop on lines D, F, or H to 14th Street and Curtis Street at the Colorado Convention Center.
If you're visiting Denver for a work convention, the Colorado Convention Center (which hosts more than 250 events each year) is conveniently located within walking distance of several downtown hotels. Visitors staying directly outside the city can also take the light rail lines D, F, and H to the Theater District and Convention Center stop.
This multi-purpose convention center encompasses 2.2 million square feet (200,000 square meters) and is one of the largest convention centers in the U.S. Originally built in 1990, the Colorado Convention Center hosts various events such as the Denver Boat Show and performances of kid-friendly productions like PAW Patrol Live throughout the year.
The Park Meadows Mall, a "retail resort" built in the architectural style of a ski lodge, is located in the south Denver suburb of Lone Tree, Colorado. Inside, you'll find upscale national chain stores as well as full-service dining options. The light rail stop, County Line station, is located across the parking lot from the mall and accessible by the E, F, and R lines.
Park Meadows features name-brand national brands like JCPenney, Dillard's, Nordstrom, Macy's, and Dick's Sporting Goods alongside a total of 185 stores and restaurants. Park Meadows is open seven days a week.
The tree-lined South Pearl Street offers bucolic shopping and eating experiences at boutique shops and high-end restaurants. Enjoy dinner at Denver's acclaimed Sushi Den (with their seaside-fresh fare) or grab something quick at one of Pearl Street's trendy coffee shops and pizza parlors. From the light rail stop off of lines E, F, or H, head south on Pearl Street a few blocks to reach the heart of the shopping district.
A true hunter's paradise accessed by the C, D, E, F, and H lines at 10th and Osage station, the Buckhorn Exchange, featured on the television show Man V. Food, serves up steaks and wild game dishes like buffalo and elk. Known as Denver's oldest restaurant, the eatery which opened in 1893 displays Colorado's first liquor license on its walls decorated with stuffed animal trophies.
Stop by for lunch of lighter fare including Grandma Fanny's pot roast sandwich, buffalo burgers, bratwurst platters, or the Buckhorn's famous bean soup, and for dinner, sample prime grade beef steaks, elk, salmon, game hen, or succulent baby-back pork ribs.
Aspen Grove is an outdoor shopping center that can be accessed by taking the C and D lines to Littleton, Colorado. Home to specialty stores like Talbots, Eddie Bauer, and Pottery Barn as well as several chain restaurants and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, visitors can shop, dine, and catch a movie all in one outing. Featuring more than 50 stores in a pet-friendly, open-air mall with gorgeous mountain views as a backdrop, this shopping center may be a little off the beaten path for many visitors, but it's well worth the trip to Littleton.