Things to Do in Denver; Most Skiers Simply Pass through. but There Are Many Reasons to Stay in the Capital of Colorado

By Bedding, James | The Evening Standard (London, England), March 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Things to Do in Denver; Most Skiers Simply Pass through. but There Are Many Reasons to Stay in the Capital of Colorado


Bedding, James, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: JAMES BEDDING

THE local paper could barely contain its excitement at the opening of the new hotel the first in Denver to offer a lock on every bedroom door.

"Guests may lie down to peaceful slumbers, undisturbed by the apprehensions of getting their heads blown off."

That was in Denver's gold-rush days, back in 1872. I wanted to know whether there was still any action 130 years on. Like just about every British skier to America which, for the majority, means Colorado - I had passed through Denver's vast, futuristic airport and wondered what went on in that cluster of skyscrapers dwarfed by the 14,000-foot Rockies.

I knew there was a film called Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, but that didn't make it sound too exciting. Maybe that's why the local tourist board feels the need to overwhelm visitors with upbeat statistics.

Down the road, for example, lies the world's biggest brewery, spewing more than 17 million barrels of Coors a year. Despite this, Denver is the thinnest of the top 33 cities in the US. Only 22.1 per cent of the population are obese, half the national average. Denver is also home to the world's biggest performing arts complex under one roof - it can seat more than 10,000.

I set off for LoDo - Lower Downtown, the recently restored Victorian heart of the city, its warehouses and shops now home to dozens of bars and restaurants. At Redfish, a woozy blues band was serenading a packed bar. When a barman leaned over and said, "Hey, you've been waiting a while, this beer's on me," I knew this was my kind of town.

By the time I had drunk my way through some of the town's six microbreweries, and a few cocktail bars including Sambucca's, where a woman in a little black dress was out-emoting Billie Holiday, I was discovering quite a few things I liked doing in Denver before being dead. …

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