Election 2008

Ed Andrieski/AP

Denver Travel: Democratic National Convention

August 21, 2008
by Sarah Amandolare
The Democratic National Convention is coming to Denver for the first time in 100 years, and the city is prepared. But before you take off for the Mile High City, learn where to find attractions with historical intrigue, walking tours showing off amazing architecture, and find out how to fit barbeque and a bike ride into your trip. 

The Convention

Denver’s Pepsi Center, which hosts the city’s sports teams, will also host the Democratic National Convention (DNC) from Aug. 25–28. The massive structure seats 21,000 fans and has five parking lots on the premises. Access the Pepsi Center from route I-25, or off Line C or E of the Denver light rail system.

Denver Tourism and Itineraries

The Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau was created after the city hosted the DNC in 1908. In preparation for the 2008 DNC, the Bureau is promoting new art exhibits and presenting musical performances, as well as focusing on its historic relationship with the democratic party in exhibits around town, all detailed on the Bureau’s Web site.

If you’re looking for help creating an itinerary for a Denver trip, consult the site’s “What to Do” section for the itinerary maker, as well as information on day trips to the city, and specific advice for sports enthusiasts, spa-goers and art lovers. Hotel recommendations are also given, but check the findingDulcinea Travel Web Guide’s Where to Stay section for hotel search engines that may help you find a better deal.

The New York Times “36 Hours in Denver” feature recommends attractions and activities to fill a weekend in the Mile High City. The Times suggests lighthearted jaunts like finding the most juicy barbeque and most authentic Western fashions in town, as well as essential components to any Denver visit: the Capitol building and suffragette Molly Brown’s mansion.

The Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival is being held Aug. 22–24. If you plan to arrive before the DNC begins, be sure to check out the high-flying hot air balloons soaring above Chatfield State Park.

Getting Around in Denver

Denver’s bike-sharing program kicks off during the convention to “promote cycling, personal health and environmental sustainability.” Anyone attending the event will be allowed access to a bike (Denver will be outfitted with 1,000 bikes for the convention) free of charge. Volunteers will be on hand to make sure the rides run smoothly.

Denver also provides bus and light rail service around the city via the Regional Transportation District (RTD). Get passes online, view maps of the more than 160 bus routes and more than 30 miles of rail track, and view schedules on the RTD Web site.

Historic Denver

Denver boasts an eclectic history, strewn with tales of gold rushes and old West saloons, but grounded by magnificent Victorian architecture. To visit Denver’s historic attractions, contact Denver History Tours. The company has various tours, including the city’s haunted houses, art district, and a “Golddust and Traildust Tour” that features Union Station and Larimer Square. The “Victorian Denver” tour visits the Brown Palace Hotel, where U.S. Presidents and the Beatles enjoyed stays, and which featured an underground tunnel to the Navarre, a famous bordello.

The city has seen its share of changes over the years, including revitalization of entire blocks, such as Larimer Street, and the tearing down of classic structures like the Adam’s Hotel. The Denver History Tours blog is a thoughtful collection of photographs and entries with historical and architectural insights.

Denver also played a role in the lives of Jack Kerouac and his beat generation buddies. The city’s Beat Poetry Driving Tour travels through the city, making stops at a baseball field, the historic Curtis Park and Five Points neighborhoods, which hosted jazz greats Billy Holiday and Duke Ellington, as well as streets, street corners and hotels frequented by Kerouac and his beatnik crew.

Another fun stop on the tour is My Brother’s Bar, a sign-less pub at 15th and Platte streets, which has a photo of Kerouac and friend Neal Cassady hanging by the restroom and pay phone.

Most Recent Features