The Coolest Ways to Spend a Layover in Denver

Denver International Airport at dusk with a mountain background

 

Andy445/Getty Images 

If you’ve got a long layover in Denver, or, if you just like to get to the airport extra early, you’re in luck at Denver International Airport. The airport is actually a cool place to hang out, grab a bite to eat, and even enjoy some free entertainment.

Here are some of the coolest ways to spend your layover at DIA.

  • 01 of 04

    Enjoy Seasonal Entertainment

    DIA's Ice Rink outside of the terminal
    Denver International Airport

    The “Events at DEN” series offers a seasonal rotation of fun (and free!) events at the airport. In the spring, you can catch live jazz concerts. In the summer months, visitors can play putt-putt golf on a miniature golf course. A form of ID gets players a putter, golf ball, and scorecard. There’s also a zip-line, rock climbing wall and virtual flyfishing in summer months. For those flying into Denver in the fall, make the airport your first stop on the beer circuit. Coinciding with Great American Beer Festival and Oktoberfest, the airport holds its annual “Beer Flights.” Visitors can pay $10 and to taste 10, 2-ounce samples of beer from Colorado’s microbreweries, plus take home a souvenir glass. Past breweries that have participated have included Left Hand Brewing, Avery Brewing, Prost Brewing, Bristol Brewing, and Bootstrap Brewing. Then, come winter, the airport opens up a massive ice skating rink, which was in its second year in 2017-2018. The rink is 38 feet by 60 feet and is located just outside of the security lines. It gets decked out with holiday decorations, has music playing in the background, and offers additional entertainment, like screenings of holiday movies and carolers.

  • 02 of 04

    Do Yoga Before Your Flight

    Traveling can be stressful and hard on the body, especially when you get packed into a middle seat with hardly any leg room. Yoga on the Fly launched its first airport yoga studio in Denver, with more set to open throughout the United States in 2018. The studio offers yoga and meditation practices tailored for travelers prior to takeoff. In the studio, travelers will find easy-to-follow instructional videos, yoga mats and wireless headsets. Yoga on the Fly has private, mini studios for passengers and travel employees to escape from the hustle and bustle of airports.

  • 03 of 04

    Eat Like a Local

    Smashburger location in DIA
    Denver International Airport 

    DIA was ranked number one in the nation on the 2017 Airport Dining Scorecard released by RewardExpert, surpassing the other top 20 most-trafficked airports in the United States. In other words, you don’t have to settle for standard airport fare. Colorado burger chain Smashburger opened up a new concept in November 2017 in Concourse C, serving burgers all day (including a breakfast Smashburger) as well as cocktails and several Colorado beers from breweries like Oskar Blues, Great Divide, and Left Hand. A sprawling, two-level location will open soon in Concourse B. Other popular Denver outposts at DIA include Elway’s steakhouse and Root Down, a veggie-centric restaurant. In all, the airport operates about 80 restaurants, and many of them are local eateries, with several more opening up in 2018. Among the openings will be Denver Central Market, a popular food hall, that will open in Concourse A and include restaurants like Vero Italian pizza, SK Provisions with roasted meats and vegetables, Curio cocktails, Izzio Artisan Bakery, Sushi-Rama, Crema Bodega, Culture Meat Cheese. New Belgium Brewing Sports Bar is planned for Concourse B, and Snarf’s sandwich shop will open on Concourse A, as will a Breckenridge Brewery. A specialty coffee shop called The Roasting Plant recently opened on the train platform under the Westin Hotel and Transit Center.

  • 04 of 04

    Investigate a Conspiracy Theory

    Love a good conspiracy theory? DIA is home to several of them, including public art displays that hint at the apocalypse, underground bunkers, secret societies, as well as being a hub for alien communication and the Illuminati. It’s been featured on the TV show “Conspiracy Theory” and provides fodder for plenty of sleuthing conspiracy theorists in online forums. To have some fun with it, DIA has been known to play along with art exhibits exploring the most pervasive conspiracy theories and even guided conspiracy theories tours in the month of October. The airport has even thrown conspiracy-theory costume parties. “We decided a few years ago that rather than fight all of this and try to convince everybody there’s nothing really going on, let’s have some fun with it,” Heath Montgomery, senior public information officer for DIA told The Denver Post.