Though I was only in the Denver area for a few days, by just walking around heading to other destinations, I got to see a ton of stuff in the downtown area! Here are a few of the highlights:
16th Street Mall
16th Street really was like the Times Square of Denver. My first night, I happened to take a stroll down the street after an evening show on a weeknight and it was bustling with people walking, random performers and musicians playing. There are lights strung along the street, and plenty of restaurants and street vendors selling goodies to buy.
I walked the same area during the day multiple times and it seemed pretty much just as busy no matter what time of day you visit. There’s also a convenient Free Mall Bus that runs up and down 16th street, though I walked the strip instead of the bus because it’s only about a mile.
I’ve never seen such a beautiful transportation hub in my life! There are some great restaurants and quick-casual type of restaurant spots here, as well as gift and flower vendors. It’s also just a nice spot to sit and people-watch or work, with plenty of seats and tables open to anyone to use.
Union Station was a brief stop during the Denver Food Tour, and I visited an additional time just to walk around and check out the shops.
This seemed to be the prime place to eat near the convention center if you’re looking to avoid the standard chain restaurants on 16th street. At least three of the potential restaurants I’d bookmarked to try for dinner fell in this area, and I ultimately ended up dining at one in a courtyard here that I’d spotted during the Denver Food Tour.
I knew I’d have a tight timeline from the time I arrived in Denver to get to the Buell Theater to see Aladdin, so I made my choice of hotel one near the convention center, which wasn’t far from the theater. Hyatt House ended up being the cheapest option in the area during the time I visited.
I never really figured out the significance of the giant blue bear at the convention center, but it was a great landmark to help me figure out when I was getting close to my hotel, and made me smile every time I saw it.
Hyatt Place is in the same building as Hyatt House, but from what I could tell, the difference was that Hyatt Place didn’t include full service and was missing some amenities – like there was no room service available and no microwaves in the rooms there. There’s a very nice lobby area that both hotels share, and free breakfast provided in the mornings. The breakfast wasn’t terrible, but I did tire of it after a couple of days.
The only complaint I had was that I saw crumbs in the corner of the room when I arrived and worried that if those were there, it’s possible that none of the room had been vacuumed after the previous guest left. That was fairly minor and didn’t really affect how I felt about the place overall.
I’d stay at Hyatt House again if I ever come back by myself and it’s the cheapest option, but if you’re traveling with more than 1 person and don’t need the accommodations of a full-service hotel, it would probably be more economical to get an Airbnb instead.