Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Day in Downtown Denver

First plan though, was to figure out how to get there. Kent and Lynn's house is about 3.5 miles (5.5 kms) from the downtown core. They have a bus stop really close by, but the fare is $2.25. With the two of us going round trip, it would be $9.00, which is about the price of parking downtown for the day. Unless I could find free parking!

So I figured we could maybe park on the outskirts of downtown and walk in.

We left the house around 10:00am and drove towards downtown. As we got close, I spotted a muffler shop! Why is this important?

The little blue car has performed flawlessly over the past six months. But about a month ago, I noticed a little bit of exhaust noise. I checked it out, and it was coming from a clamp where two pipes join together. I figured there's a gasket in there, and the gasket has probably gone. It probably wasn't going to get any worse, but it should be fixed anyhow. So I pulled in to Bud's Muffler to have the little blue car checked out.

And, told them we wouldn't be back until late afternoon. That was fine with them, and so we got free parking close to downtown!

The day started off really nice. Notice that the snow they got at the beginning of the week is totally gone.

First thing we wanted to see along the way was a building we had seen pictures of. Turns out it's the Denver Art Museum. We didn't go inside, but really got a kick out of the building itself!

But I couldn't get a decent picture of it from the ground. Across the street is the Denver Public Library, a seven story building. I figured there's got be be a window up there with a worthwhile view, and I was right!


So we're wandering around inside the library, which in itself is worth a visit. We went upstairs to the administration and offices and there was hardly anybody around. But you could still go anywhere unless the doors were marked "staff only". Hey, it's a public building, right?

So we came across a nice looking meeting room.

Turns out they held a very important meeting in this room back in 1997. Attended by eight heads of state, including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Boris Yeltsin, and Canada's own Jean Chretien, this three day meeting was called The Denver Summit of the Eight.

Ruth, looking awfully important in the spot labelled for the Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien!

A bonus for coming across this special room, is the beautiful view it afforded of downtown Denver...

Downtown Denver, Colorado!

Leaving the library, I had to make a phonecall back to the muffler shop to find out their price. Turns out it was going to cost $80.82, tax included to repair the little blue car and I told them to go ahead and fix it.

Outside the library, we came across an odd statue. Modern art, I suppose, but there's got to be some kind of meaning behind it. we don't quite get it...

A giant red chair with a horse standing on the chair. Things that make you go "hmmm".

Perhaps he was looking at his horse buddies being ridden by Denver's finest across the road in the park.

We were looking for an aerial view of Denver, so we figured we'd go in to some of the taller buildings and see if we could find a view higher up. We went into the 56 story "cash register" building, actually the Wells Fargo building, but they said all of the floors were private.

Wandering downtown.

We came across a fancy restaurant. I'm sorry, but I don't care how fancy a restaurant is, there is no way you can justify $38 for a pork chop. Seriously? $38??

Ummm. No.

A long time Denver institution is the U.S. Mint. They been making coins here since 1863! You have to make an appointment for a tour, but we figured we'd just show up and see if they have any open space for a quick tour. Unfortunately, it's only open for tours from Monday to Thursday, and closed on  Friday.

The gates are locked on Friday!

In our quest for a higher up view, we found an open seven story parking garage at the Convention Center and went up to the top. Still couldn't get a decent view, but there was a bit of a worthwhile picture of the Denver Performing Arts Complex...

Funny statue of skinny white people. Okay.

There's a giant blue bear peering into the lobby of the Convention Center. Couldn't get a decent picture because they're cleaning it. Someone had dumped green paint on the bear! Apparently the bear has had it's share of practical jokes pulled on it. Kent was telling us that one time, someone made a huge paper mache bear poop and placed in under the bear!

The giant blue bear, getting a bath.

Finally, we found a view. The fancy Hyatt Hotel has 37 floors and sure enough when you get off the elevator on the top floor there's a huge picture window. Tough to get a view looking back at downtown, but you could see a nice panorama of the mountains.

Looking west from Denver.

Interesting art in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel. See now, we thought this was pretty cool! Much better than a giant chair with a horse on it.

Next up, a walk down 16th St. pedestrian mall. It's one mile long and has a free shuttle bus running the length of the mile. We walked all the way down to one end, and then took the free bus back to the other end.

You could almost spend the whole afternoon just exploring 16th St!

The Denver location of the Federal Reserve Bank is located here, and they've got a free "money museum". Good thing it's free, because it's a little lame. You have to go through a security check the same as if you're getting on a plane. Almost not worth the effort, but we did get a free bag of money! Yep, a free bag of money, containing $165 worth of cold hard cash. Shredded cash, that is!

Souvenir cash from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

A fun stop was the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Worthwhile for the free samples alone, but we were almost tempted to actually buy something. Their fudge was delicious, but we exercised some restraint!

Ruth, with her friend at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!

The employees were having fun as well. Too much sugar perhaps!

Chocolaty treats!

At the far end of 16th St., there's a huge construction project on the go to modernize the original train station.  We wanted to go in to the old Union Station just to see it, but it looked like it was closed due to the construction.

Construction at Union Station.

We made our way to the State Capitol Building in order to get a photo. Not of the building, which is undergoing renovations, but of a sign on the steps of the building...

Can you read what it says under my feet? You might want to click on the picture to enlarge it.

There's a reason they call Denver the "mile high city". Yes, the altitude at this spot is exactly 5,280 feet!

From there, we went to the Molly Brown Museum. Molly was a rich lady who survived the sinking of the Titanic and she lived in a nice old house in Denver. Not sure it was worth the $8 per person admission, but our tour guide was good and it was something to do. No photos allowed of the interior, so can't really show you very much.

The Molly Brown Museum.

We had a great day in downtown Denver. There's lot's to see and do just wandering around exploring. We had to pick up the car before 5:00pm and so we had to walk pretty fast to get there before the muffler shop closed! Made it just in time, and the little blue car is nice and quiet again.

What's on the agenda for today? More exploring, but this time we'll see some things outside of the downtown core. Stay tuned!


  1. Welcome to Denver. A great place for lunch with a taste of the west is "The Buckhorn Exchange".( Denver's oldest restaurant) For the those on a budget keep to the Mon-Fri lunch specials. Under no circumstances go to "Casa Bonita"

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Mark. Don't worry we won't be going to Casa Bonita, not really our thing.

  2. It's cool that you found the meeting room at the Library. Most visitors would not venture into those areas.

    1. We love trying to find the out of the way kind of places. The library as Kevin mentioned in the blog post is a place that visitors should check out. They have a small art display upstairs as well. People need to walk into hotels, and other buildings as there are quite often hidden gems that would be otherwise missed.

  3. Replies
    1. Yep, we sure did. Not sure how many miles we walked but we definitely got a good look at downtown Denver and we know we still missed things. We will certainly be coming back for another visit.

  4. It sounds like a great time! Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Many years ago when I was a trucker I hauled money from the Denver Mint - semi tractor trailer full - no lock on the door - no armed escort - hauled to Federal Reserve Banks in New Orleans, Dallas, Los Angeles - these were regular hauls of coins.

    At night on the 16th Street Mall you can see buskers performing their art - jugglers - musicians - tight rope walkers - and be sure to ask if The Zip Code Man is still around as he is the most amazing act you may ever see - he has memorized every zip code in the world and can tell you where you live by your zip.

    The walk along the river in you picture has many of those bridges and at one time many homeless people lived up in the ledges of those bridges - don't know if they still do - but can be a little scary at night.

    1. There is no way a semi tractor trailer would be hauling out that money unescorted these days!

      Unfortunately we didn't make it to 16th Street Mall at night on thi visit but there is always next time.

      We did see some homeless people around the bridges in the day time so I would be staying away from the bridges at night.

  6. Albuquerque New Mexico should have gotten the title "mile high city" as it's altitude is higher than Denver. The elevation of the city ranges from 4,900 feet (1,490 m) above sea level near the Rio Grande (in the Valley) to over 6,700 feet (1,950 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills. At the airport, the elevation is 5,352 feet (1,631 m) above sea level.

    1. We had talked about that on our drive from Albuquerque to Denver. Most people don't realize that Albuquerque is that high because it is in the desert.

  7. Another interesting city to visit, thanks for the tour.

  8. Leadville CO is the 2 mile high city.


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