Dean's Denver

By: Dean Giem, Paradox Insurance Agency | Posted: 11/9/2021

I can’t wait to see you all in Denver. I’ve had my calendar marked for over a year, hoping we’d be able to return to an in-person Accelerate. As a Colorado native, I’m excited to share some of my favorite places and hope you’ll take time to enjoy some of what the Mile High City has to offer. 

Yes, I moved to Montana in late 2019, but Colorado will always be my home. I was born and raised in Cañon City, which is about 120 miles south of Denver. The Giem name is pretty well known in those parts as our family homesteaded in that area in the mid 1800s.

I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Denver area, and it’s tough to narrow the list of things to do and see. You could spend a year hiking the mountain trails, skiing and snowboarding on the slopes and camping in the woods. But if you only have a couple of days, here are some of the must-dos:

Red Rocks Amphitheater is a natural wonder that’s also a premiere entertainment venue. Even if you can’t take in a concert, walk the grounds and marvel at the colors and the rock formations. It’s a great place to stretch your legs and get some fresh air after sitting in meetings. About a half hour drive west of downtown and Uber-able.
Wings over the Rockies is an air and space museum located in the hangar of the old Lowry Air Force Base. It’s recognized as one of the top museums of its type by CNN and USA Today. There you’ll find 182,000 square feet of historic military aircraft, space vehicles and interactive exhibits. Less than a half hour from downtown. Also Uber-able.

Union Station is a timeless landmark smack in the middle of Denver’s vibrant business district, just a few minutes’ walk from the convention center. This jewel of a structure opened in 1881, when Denver was emerging as a hub of commerce and cattle trade as well as an important stopover on the way to the West Coast. I don’t know a lot about architecture, but the style is Beaux-Arts and Renaissance. Whatever, it’s easy on the eyes, a delight to the stomach (fine dining) and maybe a bit hard on your pocketbook, with the lure of shops inside. But you have to take souvenirs home to the family, right?

16th Street Mall is a pedestrian friendly shopping area designed by architect I.M. Pei. If shopping’s not your thing, keep walking to the north extreme which turns into a pedestrian path with three bridges connecting to the Commons Park and LoHi districts. The Mall is walkable from the convention center and if your feet get tired when you arrive you can hop the free shuttle. 

• If culture’s your thing, the Denver Art Museum is a can’t miss, with its extensive collections and traveling exhibits. Just across the street is the Clyfford Still Museum, which has an interesting story. When Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still died in 1980, his will directed that all of his work be given to a city that would display it in one place. Denver beat out about 20 other cities for the honor, and built a museum to house his paintings, photographs, drawings and archives.

And finally, here are some honorable mentions, if you have extra time:

Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Denver Central Market

I tried to give you a mix of indoor and outdoor activities because late March weather in Denver is unpredictable: it could be 20 or it could be 70. Regardless, pack a winter coat!