Destination Colorado Focus On: Denver, The Mile High City
By: Rachel Benedick, Vice President of Sales and Services at VISIT DENVER
Denver is Colorado’s booming capital, a 21st century metropolis where a rustic Western spirit blends seamlessly with a progressive, urban feel. The Mile High City was named the No. 1 convention city in the world by the Toronto Globe & Mail and one of the top 10 meeting destinations in America in the 2012 Watkins and Metropoll studies. Discover why Denver is the perfect spot for your next event.
ACCESSIBLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD: Denver is located 340 miles from the exact center of the Continental U.S. and is served by the fifth busiest airport in the nation, with more than 1,700 daily flights and nonstop service to 175 destinations worldwide, including new nonstop flights from northern Europe (Icelandair), Japan (United) and Mexico City (Volaris). A new rail line from the airport to downtown (service begins in 2016) will add a fast, affordable option for event attendees.
A WORLD-CLASS CONVENTION CENTER AND UNIQUE VENUES: Built by meeting planners for meeting planners, the Colorado Convention Center is the ultimate meeting and convention facility. The state-of-the-art facility, with 584,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space on one level and 63 meeting rooms providing 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space on the other, is located in the heart of downtown Denver, within walking distance of more than 8,400 hotel rooms. The Center is now the largest LEED-certified building in Colorado and one of the three largest convention centers in the nation to receive this certification. It also just opened the Blue Bear Garden, a first-of-its-kind urban garden that will provide more than 5,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, herbs, fruit and honey to event-goers. Unique venues like the Denver Art Museum, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre and Coors Field ensure you’ll never lack for creative offsite space.
DOWNTOWN APPEAL: Denver’s downtown is clean, safe, lively, compact and walkable, filled with museums, pro sports stadiums, brewpubs, nightclubs and farm-to-table restaurants all centered around the 16th Street Mall, a mile-long pedestrian promenade. Denver’s thriving downtown offers a wide array of experiences for every inclination. See the Colorado Rockies play at Coors Field, try a handcrafted ale at Wynkoop Brewing Co., shop at independent boutiques on Larimer Square and discover countless masterpieces at the Denver Art Museum. All that and more is within easy walking distance – or, if you don’t feel like walking, hop on the free, alternative energy shuttles that stop on every corner of the Mall. Or try out Denver B-cycle, the nation’s first large-scale bike sharing program, an easy and healthy way to get around.
AN AFFORDABLE OPTION: Visitors don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot in The Mile High City. Corporate Travel Index ranked Denver as one of the least expensive cities for business travel (21st – lower is better!), including 61st in food cost and 29th in car rental cost. Also, roundtrip fares to Denver International Airport have dropped 22 percent over the last decade, the fourth steepest drop in the country.
MAJOR ATTRACTIONS: There’s no shortage of fun activities in The Mile High City. The Denver Zoo’s new $50 million, 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage houses the nation’s largest bull elephant habitat, as well as rhinos, acrobatic gibbons and Malaysian tapirs. Next door, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is filled with treasures of the earth – dinosaur fossils, dioramas, space exhibits, science experiments, a digital planetarium, IMAX theatre and touring shows. The Denver Performing Arts Complex is the second largest arts complex nationwide, with 10 venues seating 10,000 people for theatre, symphony, opera and dance. Additional new cultural attractions include the History Colorado Center and the fascinating Clyfford Still Museum.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES: The Rocky Mountains are Denver’s big backyard, offering outdoor adventure, natural beauty and Old West history all within a short drive. Rocky Mountain National Park, just 71 miles from Denver, features 440 square miles of scenic splendor. Central City and Black Hawk, 34 miles west of the city, are two old gold mining towns that have come to life with 24-hour casinos. Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved auto road in North America, snaking its way to a 14,260-foot summit. Sixty miles south of the city, discover Pikes Peak Country, featuring more than 40 attractions, including the magnificent Garden of the Gods.