By Harriet Doyle | STC Student Member
Okay, so you’re in Denver and you have some free time. You’ve heard of Colorado’s mountains but don’t know where to start in the city. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Denver? The Wild West? Jack Kerouac? Whatever it may be, you probably have a limited amount of time and want to make the most of it. Whether you want to have a night out or simply visit an interesting site, below are some of the most historic and alluring places in the downtown area.
In May 1881, the first Union Depot station opened, connecting travelers to Denver from the transcontinental railway that runs through Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1914, the building we see today, Union Station, was completed, as the original building was partially burnt twenty years beforehand.
When you walk into the Great Hall of this historic station, it greets you with multi-story arched windows and stunningly gigantic chandeliers. Inspired by the original design, the recently renovated structure has become one of the most popular destinations in the city.
Grab a drink at the Terminal Bar, open until 2 am every day but Sunday, or sit down for a meal at one of the various restaurants on the property. Try a signature Colorado cocktail or choose from the famous Colorado craft beer list.
One of the most celebrated buildings in Denver is the Brown Palace Hotel. Built in 1892, this red stone structure is an honest stand-out from the rest. Just walking in makes you feel like you’re walking into high society in the early to the mid-20th century. Elegance is the word, and you can’t help but feel its striking presence. Look up through the atrium to the gigantic glass ceiling and you’ll understand what I am saying.
This historic hotel is home to multiple great bars and restaurants. Enjoy cigars and scotch in the cozy Churchill Bar. Grab a burger or prime rib at the nautical Ship Tavern. Snack on lemon poppy waffles while sipping tea at the exclusive Ellyngton’s. Or indulge in formal afternoon tea, served daily in the Atrium. Whether you go to see the architecture or choose to sit down for a bite, The Brown Palace is a sight you will be proud to have seen when you leave.
Indulge in one of Denver’s finest historically rich gems with a visit to the prohibition-era Cruise Room. Exhibiting a similar amount of elegance and class as the Brown Palace, this once hidden speakeasy was quickly turned to a bar once Prohibition was repealed in 1933. The room is housed in the Oxford Hotel near Union Station and was renovated to resemble a lounge on the Queen Mary cruise line. The walls are covered in Art Deco style depictions of traditions from all over the world and each panel design is illuminated by reflected neon on chrome to produce a remarkable red hue.
Sticking strictly to its original design, the cruise room is the perfect spot to grab your first drink or the last drink of the night. Famous for their Manhattans and Martinis, you can be sure a visit to this exquisite time capsule is one you will never forget.
Tivoli Brewing Company
Built in 1864 by German immigrant Moritz Sigi, the Tivoli Brewing Company has stuck to its roots. After the height of its success, the brewery temporarily shut down in 1969. The building re-opened in 1994 as a university student union on the Auraria Campus. The brewery re-opened in 2015 and still brews the original recipe. Enjoy an evening on the skyline-facing patio or eat inside the structure’s historic walls.
Authentically brewed via traditional German techniques, each beer is made over a 42 day period. Original brews such as the Sigi’s Wildhorse and the Helles Lager still run on tap along with a variety of other regional and national favorites. Working in partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver, Tivoli shares 21st-century ideas with the brewing students of tomorrow.
Though not as historically significant as the rest, the Peaks Lounge is one of the greatest views in the city. Located on the 27th floor of the Hyatt Regency, this sky-high lounge offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and shows off the energetic side of the city at night.
The only thing you’ll want to watch out for is if it has been reserved for a private event. Calling ahead of time will save you a trip up the elevator, and if it does end up being closed there is the 54thirty Rooftop across the street on the 20th floor of the Le Méridien hotel. This hangout is hopping and provides an outdoor seating area and fire pits. Whether you choose the lounge or the rooftop, both are ideal places to watch the sun set behind Colorado’s mountains.