The Mile High City is smaller than its title when measured horizontally and its center can be leisurely explored by foot in less than a day. Despite the method of arrival, downtown and LoDo are the first places to visit since they contain all the urban attractions. As a big regional center, Denver hosts a plethora of cultural events, and a visit there should be preceded by a check of any coinciding festivals. I wasn't lucky with that, but downtown kept me busy enough.
Downtown Denver and its LoDo (Low Downtown)contain the main urban attractions and are small enough to explore within a few hours. The main public buildings of interest are arranged along the Civic Center and the main commercial area is nearby along the 16th Street Mall, which leads to the LoDo, the main nightlife zone.
State Capitol Building was built in 1894 and as a golden dome and an impressive onyx interior. The tours are free on weekdays and from the top there are awesome views of the Rocky Mountains. It is located at the Broadway and Colfax Avenue junction.
Nearby, two blocks away on 1340 Pennsylvania Street, is the Molly Brown House. It stands amidst many elegant buildings dating back to the 19th century and is easily spotted due to the two sculpted lions guarding it. Margaret Tobin survived the Titanic Catastrophe and became famous due to her courage while helping other survivors; later, a musical telling her story was named the Unsinkable Molly Brown and the named stuck to her home.
Colorado History Museum, at 13th Avenue and Broadway, has a fine collection of Anasazi pottery and exhibits detailed dioramas of the life in the west, including mining, frontier forts and buffalo hunting.
In front of it is the Denver Public Library, a post-modern attraction worth of a careful inspection and just across it, at 13th and Bannock streets is the Byers Evans House and Denver Museum, built in 1883. The guided tour there shows the life in the area just after the World War I. Nearby, the Denver Art Museum, of Italian design and finished in 1971, occupies a 10-story structure at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. The structure reminds a jail and it houses a large Native American art collections, arranged geographically, showing thus the intercultural connections. Artists from the rest of the world are also featured. (Tue-Sat 10:00am-5:00pm, Wed 10:00am-9:00pm, Sun 12:00pm-5:00pm)
Further around the Civic Center is the US Mint, on 320 West Colfax Avenue and Cherokee Avenue, an Italian Renaissance solid building that offers free tours on weekdays and expensive souvenirs.
The 16th Street Mall is a long pedestrian zone hosting the main commercial center of the city; it has a free shuttle bus, restaurants, fountains, coffee shops and trees.
The D&F Tower Clock overlooks the 16th Street Mall, at its junction with Arapahe Street, and was the tallest structure (almost 100m) west of the Mississippi upon its completion in 1910. The structure is a close replica of the campanile at San Marco in Venice.
Larimer Square - 1400 block of the same name street - hosts many commercial institutions on beautifully restored Victorian buildings.
LoDo (Low Downtown) is bounded by the Union Station, Larimer Square, Coors Field and Cherry Creek and is the hottest spot in town. It has two main attractions, the Six Flags Elitch Gardens amusement park and the Coors Field, amidst a former warehouse district full of shops galleries and nightspots. Coors Field at 20th Street and Blake Avenue is the home of the Colorado Rockies, a baseball team.