Downtown Orientation Walk, Denver (Self Guided)

The capital of Colorado is a bustling metropolis that has been in place since the Old West period. Today's Denver appeals to guests in many different ways. Downtown Denver is replete with both contemporary and historic sights, such as Denver Art Museum and Larimer Square, the city’s oldest block, featuring landmark 19th-century buildings. To explore these and other attractions of Denver, follow this orientation walk and enjoy!
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Downtown Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: Downtown Orientation Walk
Guide Location: USA » Denver (See other walking tours in Denver)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 19
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Author: Caroline
1
Denver City Hall

1) Denver City Hall

Denver City Hall, also known as the City and County Building, was established in 1932. Its temple-shaped architecture was designed in the Neoclassical style. The building has two huge columns, bronze doors and a big clock at the top of the tower. Denver City Hall is one of the most impressive landmarks in the city. Facing the State Capitol, City Hall is famous for its fabulous Christmas lights that are on display during the holiday season.
2
Denver Mint

2) Denver Mint

The Denver Mint is a branch of the United States Mint that struck its first coins on February 1, 1906. The mint is still operating and producing coins, as well as mint sets and commemorative coins, for circulation. Coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mint mark (not to be confused with the mark of the Dahlonega Mint). The Denver Mint is the single largest producer of coins in the world. The predecessors of the Denver Mint were the men of Clark, Gruber & Company. During the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, they coined gold dust brought from the gold fields by the miners. For almost three years, they minted gold coins (1860-61) and ingots (1862). They were formally bought by the US Treasury in 1863. Established by an Act of Congress on April 21, 1862, the United States Mint at Denver opened for business in late 1863 as a United States Assay Office.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Byers-Evans House

3) Byers-Evans House (must see)

The Byers-Evans House Museum is a historic house museum in Denver. It was built in 1883 by William Byers, the founder of the Rocky Mountain News and was sold to William Gray Evans in 1889. It is an Italianate style house which had several additions made to it over the years. The house was donated to the Colorado Historical Society in 1981, along with the entire contents of the house. The house has been restored to the 1912–1924 period and includes approximately 90% of the original furniture, glassware, china, and other household items belonging to the Evans family.

Operation hours: Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm; Sunday: 1 pm- 4 pm.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Denver Art Museum

4) Denver Art Museum (must see)

Denver Art Museum is located in Denver's Civic Center. It is known for its collection of American Indian art, and has a comprehensive collection numbering more than 68,000 works from around the world. The museum has nine curatorial departments: architecture; design & graphics; Asian art; modern and contemporary; native arts (American Indian, Oceanic, and African); New World (pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial); painting and sculpture (European and American); photography; Western art; and textile art. The museum's Asian art collection, the only such resource in the Rocky Mountain region, includes four main galleries devoted to the arts of India, China, Japan and Southwest Asia. Additional galleries offer works from Tibet, Nepal and Southeast Asia, while thematic galleries display religious art and traditional folk crafts.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm; Friday: 10 am - 8 pm.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Denver Civic Center Park

5) Denver Civic Center Park

Civic Center is a Denver neighborhood and park. The area is known as the center of civic life in the city and is located near several government and cultural institutions. Numerous festivals, parades, and protests are held here throughout the year. The park is home to many fountains, statues, and formal gardens, and includes a Greek amphitheater, a war memorial, and the Voorhees Memorial Seal Pond. It is well known for its symmetrical Neoclassical design. Civic Center was an idea that originated with former Denver mayor Robert W. Speer. In 1904, Speer proposed a series of civic improvements based on the City Beautiful Ideas shown to him at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Speer hired Charles Mulford Robinson among others to develop plans for the area. Robinson proposed extending 16th Street to the Colorado State Capitol and to group other municipal buildings around a central park area. However, the plan was defeated in a 1907 election.

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6
Colorado State Capitol

6) Colorado State Capitol (must see)

The Colorado State Capitol Building, located at 200 East Colfax Avenue, is the home of the Colorado General Assembly and the offices of the Governor of Colorado and Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. The building is intentionally reminiscent of the United States Capitol. Designed by Elijah E. Myers, it was constructed in the 1890s from Colorado white granite, and opened for use in November 1894. The distinctive gold dome consists of real gold plate, first added in 1908, commemorating the Colorado Gold Rush. The building is part of Denver's Civic Center area. Serving as the beginning of the Capitol Hill district, the historic building sits slightly higher than the rest of downtown Denver. The interior of the building uses copious amounts of Colorado Rose Onyx, a rare rose marble from a quarry near Beulah, Colorado. Many of the windows are stained glass, depicting people or events related to the history of Colorado.

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7
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

7) Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (must see)

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is a cathedral serving Roman Catholics. It is home to the Archdiocese of Denver, and holds three daily masses and six Sunday masses. It can accommodate up to 800 worshipers at a time. The church also serves the community, providing between 50,000 and 60,000 lunches to the poor every year. Construction of the cathedral started in 1902, but was not completed until 1911, at a final cost of approximately $500,000. Its inaugural mass was held on October 27, 1912, and it was consecrated in 1921. The cathedral's architect was Leon Coquard of Detroit, who designed the cathedral in the French Gothic style. The building features two 210-foot spires and is made of limestone from Indiana and granite from Gunnison, Colorado. The altar, statuary, and bishop's chair are all made of marble from Carrara, Italy, and the 75 stained glass windows are from the F.X. Zetter's Royal Bavarian Institute in Munich.

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8
Wells Fargo Center

8) Wells Fargo Center

Wells Fargo Center resembles a cash register or mailbox and is known locally as the "Cash Register Building", "Milk Carton," and sometimes as the "Mailbox Building." Designed by architect Philip Johnson and completed in 1983, it is the most recognizable building in downtown Denver. As it was originally designed for a downtown area in Texas, a heated roof is necessary to prevent snow from accumulating and sliding dangerously off the curved crown. Located at 1700 Lincoln Street, a skybridge over Lincoln Street connects the Wells Fargo Center to the building at 1700 Broadway which houses among other things, a food court, a small museum featuring artifacts and memorabilia from Wells Fargo history, and the Downtown Denver branch of Wells Fargo Bank. Both buildings have large atriums constructed in the same cash register style.

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9
Brown Palace Hotel

9) Brown Palace Hotel

The Brown Palace Hotel is the second-oldest hotel in Denver and is the first atrium-style hotel ever built. It is now operated by Quorum Hotels and Resorts. It was built in 1892, one year after the Oxford Hotel. It was named for its original owner, Henry Brown, and was designed with its odd triangular shape by architect Frank Edbrooke. The hotel is located at 321 17th St, between 17th street, Broadway and Tremont street/Pl in downtown Denver behind Republic Plaza. The main entrance door is on Tremont Street. Guests have included entrepreneurs, legislators, foreign officials and presidential guests Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bill Clinton.

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10
Republic Plaza

10) Republic Plaza

Republic Plaza rises 714 feet (218 m) and currently stands as the tallest building in Denver, the state of Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain region. It was built in 1984, and contains 56 floors, the majority of which are used as office space. Republic Plaza currently stands as the 109th-tallest building in the United States. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built of reinforced concrete clad in Sardinian granite, Republic Plaza includes 1,200,000 square feet (111,000 m2) of office space and three retail levels containing shops, restaurants, and service businesses. The building has a three-story marble lobby that hosts a quarterly "Art in Public Places" program featuring Colorado and regional artists. On October 27, 2007, the building's top 20 stories were backlit in purple with giant white letters "C" and "R" to celebrate the Colorado Rockies' World Series debut.

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11
Trinity United Methodist Church

11) Trinity United Methodist Church (must see)

Trinity United Methodist Church is a historic building designed in the Modern Gothic style in the 19th century. Some architectural details have since been added. The first thing you will notice about the church is its medieval iron gates and its copper cross that rises up in the sky. The church's tower used to be highest in the city, and its Victorian-era pipe organ was once the envy of the city.
12
Paramount Theatre

12) Paramount Theatre

The Paramount Theatre is a concert venue located on Glenarm Place near Denver's famous 16th Street Mall. The venue has a seating capacity of 1,870, but is a popular destination for large acts looking for a smaller concert setting. The Paramount opened in 1930 as a movie theater, part of the Paramount-Publix Theatre Circuit, the exhibition arm of Paramount Pictures. The theater itself was designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp, with decorations by designer Vincent Mondo. The original main entry to the theater was at 519 16th Street, where an entrance lobby was cut through an existing commercial and office building. The three story office and commercial building on Glenarm Place was designed by local architect Temple H. Buell. Buell's design is a modernized, art deco interpretation of the Gothic style, executed largely in cast concrete and white terracotta.

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13
16th Street Mall

13) 16th Street Mall (must see)

16th Street Mall is a pedestrian and transit mall in downtown Denver. The mall, 1.25 miles long, runs along 16th Street from Wewatta Street (at Union Station) to the intersection of 16th Avenue and Broadway (at Civic Center Station). It is home to more than 300 stores and 50 restaurants, as well as the Denver Pavilions. The original 16th Street Mall opened in 1982, which ran from Market Street to Broadway, opened in 1982 and was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Traditionally, street performing has been very popular on the mall, with many local folk, country, and vocal musicians gaining recognition in pop culture. Other types of performers, such as dancers, actors, impressionists, and comedians have also used the popular location as a prime venue for discovery. 16th Street Mall also has its share of unique performers, such as the robot man, who greets shoppers dressed in silver boxes and face paint.

Operation hours: 24/24

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14
Denver Performing Arts Complex

14) Denver Performing Arts Complex

The Denver Performing Arts Complex (sometimes referred to locally as "The Plex," "The DCPA" or simply, "Denver Center") is the second largest performing arts center in the world after New York City's Lincoln Center and is the largest "of its kind" in the Western Hemisphere. The DPAC is a four-block, 12-acre (49,000 m2) site containing ten performance spaces with over 10,000 seats connected by an 80 ft (24 m) tall glass roof. It is home to a Tony Award-winning theater company, Broadway touring productions, contemporary dance and ballet, magnificent chorales, a major symphony orchestra, internationally-acclaimed opera and more. The City and County of Denver’s Theatres and Arenas Division owns and operates the three largest theaters in DPAC, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Buell Theatre and Boettcher Concert Hall. These and the other facilities of the Complex are managed and booked by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA).

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15
Daniels & Fisher Tower

15) Daniels & Fisher Tower (must see)

The Daniels & Fisher (D&F) Tower is a distinctive Denver landmark. Built as part of the Daniels & Fisher department store in 1910, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi at the time, at a height of 325 feet (99 m). The building was designed by the architect Frederick Sterner and modeled after The Campanile (St. Mark's Bell Tower) at the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. The 20-floor clock tower has clock faces on all four sides. Daniels & Fisher were later bought out by the May Company in 1958, and the store vacated the tower. When the store was demolished (ca. 1971), the tower was saved and renovated into lofts and businesses in 1981. It stands today in downtown Denver. The basement level of the D&F tower now hosts Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, Lannie Garrett's own entertainment venue. The tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. A 2½ ton bell occupies the top two floors of the building, above the observation deck.

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16
Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret

16) Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret (must see)

Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret is the perfect spot to let loose. Situated in central Denver, it is surrounded by hotels and shops and is always busy. Lannie's Cabaret is located in the D&F Clocktower, a historic building designed in the Italian Renaissance style. Come here to enjoy talented performers and entertaining shows.
17
Denver City Cable Railway Building

17) Denver City Cable Railway Building

The Denver City Cable Railway Building on Lawrence Street in Denver opened in 1889. Originally built to house power and maintenance facilities for Denver's cable car system, it now houses a restaurant and office space. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The building was bought by Jim Judd and a partner in 1972 in the hopes of saving the building from being torn down in an urban renewal project. In 1973 the Old Spaghetti Factory opened on the first floor.

In March 2007, the sale of the building from Mr. Judd to Central Development was announced. Central Development plans a $35 million hotel and retail project that will include the current building. Designed by the Buchanan Yonushewski Group the new hotel will have a glass facade and will wrap around the current building.

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18
Sakura Square

18) Sakura Square

Sakura Square is a small plaza located on the east side of the intersection of 19th Street and Larimer Street in Denver. The square contains busts of Ralph L. Carr, Governor of Colorado from 1939 to 1943, Minoru Yasui, a Japanese-American lawyer, and Yoshitaka Tamai (1900-1983), a Buddhist priest who lived in Denver. Sakura Square also has a small Japanese garden and it serves as the entrance to the 20-story Tamai Tower apartment building that occupies most of the block. There are several shops and restaurants on the ground and first floors of the apartment building. Denver's annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in late June in and around Sakura Square and the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple.

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19
Larimer Square

19) Larimer Square

Larimer Square is an amazing old part of Denver located in the first downtown area. Now it is a fascinating place to shop, enjoy great food and see sights and other organized events along the year. It also presents an outstanding architectural view.

Walking Tours in Denver, Colorado

Create Your Own Walk in Denver

Create Your Own Walk in Denver

Creating your own self-guided walk in Denver is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Tour of Denver's Religious Buildings

Tour of Denver's Religious Buildings

Denver has a wide variety of religious buildings, including churches, temples and cathedrals, each of which is interesting in its own way. Many of Denver's churches date back to the 18th century. Take this tour to admire Denver's most beautiful places of worship.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Tour of Denver's City Parks

Tour of Denver's City Parks

Denver is a city that embraces nature like nowhere else in the U.S. On this tour you will walk through some of the most popular gardens and parks in the city. Also, be sure to notice the beautiful buildings you will pass along the way.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.4 km
Family Entertainment Tour of Denver

Family Entertainment Tour of Denver

In addition to Denver's numerous historic attractions, the city is also a great place to spend time with your family. Denver has a great variety of attractions to entertain both kids and adults. Take this tour to explore the best family-friendly spots in the Mile High City.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Tour of Denver's Skyscrapers

Tour of Denver's Skyscrapers

Denver has some of the most elegant and beautiful skyscrapers and high-rises in the U.S. Take this tour to view Denver's inspiring towers, from the elegant 1920s era buildings to today's architectural giants made of glass and concrete.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Tour of Denver's Art Museums and Galleries

Tour of Denver's Art Museums and Galleries

Denver, situated near the Rocky Mountains, is a beautiful city that has a vibrant art scene. Art connoisseurs will enjoy visiting Denver's many museums and galleries. Take this tour to view some of the most memorable and noteworthy art in the city.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.3 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Denver for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Denver has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Denver, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.