Thursday, March 29, 2012

Train to Denver Trip: Day 4 - Denver

We spent our first day in Denver exploring the downtown area.  Denver has done a really wonderful thing and closed off a two mile stretch of 16th Street and turned it into a pedestrian mall.  The only vehicles allowed are shuttle buses that run continuously from one end to the other, stopping at every cross street and best of all, it's free.  16th Street runs through the heart of Downtown Denver and is full of shops, restaurants, and offices and businesses.
16th Street Mall
 Many of the restaurants have outdoor seating on the Mall which is great for people watching and just having a relaxing meal.  The weather was great by the way, with temperatures in the low 70's and clear blue skies.
Lunch on 16th Street Mall
We took some time to walk a block off of 16th Street to an area called Larimer Square which is an old historic area of Denver.  The area has many shops and restaurants.
Shops in Larimer Square
One of the great things about the 16th Street Mall is that it is alive with activity.  Unlike many of the downtown areas in today's cities, there were people everywhere, eating, shopping and walking up and down the mall.  I think it's a really great idea.

After lunch we worked our way down to the end of the mall and walked up to the state capitol building.
State Capitol
From the we walked to the "Molly Brown House" of "Unsinkable Molly Brown" musical and Titanic fame.  We took a tour and it actually turned out to be quite interesting.  Molly Brown was nothing like she was portrayed in the musical or movies and was never even called Molly Brown until the musical came out.
Molly Brown House
 By this time, our feet were getting pretty sore from all the walking, so we headed back to 16th Street and caught the shuttle to the hotel.  After resting a bit, we decided it was time for dinner so we caught the shuttle and headed back to Larimer Square where we had dinner at one of the many restaurant choices.  The streets were full of people and the restaurants all seemed busy.  It was a beautiful, balmy evening and we really enjoyed ourselves and it seemed everyone else was too.
Larimer Square at night
16th Street at night
Our first day was great, Val and I are very impressed with Denver.  Tomorrow we're picking up a rental car and heading to Estes Park outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

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