Denver CO - International (DEN)
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Sprawling 53 square miles across the eastern outskirts of the city, Denver International Airport (DIA) (+1 303 342 2000 http://www.flydenver.com
) is one of the largest (and 10th busiest) airports in the world housing 89 gates and 21 airlines. It is situated about 25 miles from downtown, depending on where you are going or coming from. It contains the Jeppesen Terminal and three concourses (A, B, C). All concourses access the main terminal via an underground train, which runs approximately every two minutes on a good day. A walking bridge also accesses Concourse A. Restaurants, shops and ATMs abound throughout the airport, and Colorado's second largest display of public art is on exhibit. A business center is located in Concourse B.
The Jeppesen Terminal is comprised of six levels and an east side and west side. Ticketing and check in is on level six. Baggage claim is on level five. Parking is available on both the west and east sides on multiple levels.
PCA Parking (Park 'N Fly)(+1 800 763 6895 / http://www.pnfnetwork.com
The majority of ground transportation (+1 303 342 4059) is currently located on the east side level five due to construction on the west side. Here you will find the usual array of hotel shuttles, rental car shuttle buses (all major companies are represented), taxis, limos and commuter vans, along with the mountain carriers that skip the city and head straight for the high country resorts. A taxi ride to downtown takes about 35-45 minutes. Commuter vans like SuperShuttle (+1 800 525 3177/+1 303 370 1300; http://www.supershuttledenver.com
), and BlueSky (+1 303 300 2626 http://www.blueskyshuttle.net
) are usually a bit cheaper but may take longer to reach the destination depending on your number in the drop off queue.
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) (+1 800 366-7433/+1 303 299 6000; http://www.rtd-denver.com
) provides public transportation in the form of the "luxury" SkyRide, which stops at 29 transfer points across the metro area. The bus leaves about every 15 minutes and can be accessed on level six through door 613 on the east side of the main terminal.
Complete ground transportation information is available at booths in baggage claim on Level 5.
Amtrak (+1 800 872 7245 http://www.amtrak.com
) has daily service to and from Denver via the California Zephyr to points west (San Francisco/Reno/Salt Lake City) and points east (Omaha/Chicago). The train docks at historic Union Station in the bustling LoDo (lower downtown) district, which is within walking distance to major hotels, restaurants and Coors Field. Union Station has access to numerous bus routes and links with the C Line on RTD's light rail.
Greyhound (+1 303 293 6555 http://www.greyhound.com
) arrives and departs to and from various locations across the US and Canada at the central bus station located at 1055 19th Street in downtown.
Interstate 25 running north/south and Interstate-70 running east/west intersect just north of downtown and are the major traveling arteries through the city. Although the city's grid street set up is easy to pilot, like many major cities traffic congestion can be a problem. During the peak summer months the roads fill with campers and RVs heading to the hills and in the winter the highways bog with ski traffic. If you are planning on driving south of the city to the DTC vicinity utilizing I-25 beware of the massive highway and light rail expansion aptly known as T-REX (+1 303 786 8739 http://www.trexproject.com/
). The project is going to drag out until sometime in 2006. Until then lane and road closures, detours, and slow-downs are routine.
RTD (a.ka. The Ride) is Denver's public transit service and offers a variety of options for hobnobbing around town including regular bus service, light rail and shuttles. City bus service varies widely by route and schedules but is generally available from the wee hours of morning until around midnight. Route 0, which runs north/south on Broadway and Route 15 moving east west on Colfax are the only 24-hour lines. Bus fare is USD1.15; USD.55 for seniors. Regional buses offer service to various mountain towns and Boulder for an extra fee.
If you are simply trying to get from one end of downtown to the other you can hop aboard the free 16th Street Mall Shuttle. It slogs a mile from the edge of Civic Center Park to LoDo passing outdoor cafes, theaters and shopping malls, stopping at every intersection (16 in all) along the way. It is not the fastest ride, but it beats walking for many people.
Light rail features two lines. The 13-mile C line (orange) snakes from Union Station in LoDo to the southern suburbs with 12 station stops including Elitch Gardens and the Pepsi Center. The 14-mile D line (green), with 20 stopping stations, wanders through the heart of downtown before following the C line into the depths of the south burbs. Light rail fares are USD1.15 one-way and USD2.30 roundtrip.
Gray Line's Cultural Connection Trolley (+1 800 348-6877/+1 303 289 2841; http://www.coloradograyline.com
) runs daily 8:30am-5:30pm (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and stops at Denver's numerous attractions, including the zoo, Ocean Journey, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Cherry Creek Mall and the Botanic Gardens. A boarding fee is good for 24 hours and allows you to hop on and off at any location along the route. Passes are available on-line and at various hotels and attractions along the route.
Although it is possible to explore the Denver using many forms of transport, like most western cities the car is king (or the SUV in this case). With a good map it is easy to navigate the city and mountain roads, but parking in the downtown vicinity and especially LoDo is difficult and expensive, so if you are headed that direction you might consider public transit or a taxi.
One of the better ways to get around town is by bicycle. Denver is one of the friendliest pedal power environments on the globe, and it has a network of urban and designated street trails that is the envy of many a town. The main segments are the east/west Cherry Creek Trail and north/south Platte River Trail. Both trails meander by popular attractions, and are paved, well lighted, safe and easy enough for the entire family. All of the city buses have bike racks if you plan to venture further a field.