Denver Car Rental
A few things to know about Denver
The capital of the US state of Colorado, the city of Denver has a population of around 730,000 in the city proper and 2.6 million in the metro area ̶ it sneaks into the top 20 most populous American cities at number 19. Nicknamed ‘Mile High City’ because of its lofty location on the South Platte River Valley in the High Plains to the east of the famous Rocky Mountains, this is the largest city in the Mountain states (those whose territories encompass the US section of the Rockies). Denver is a growing metropolis where stiletto skyscrapers are complemented by gorgeous green spaces and a wonderful climate is matched by a welcoming populace. You’ll find a brilliant bar and restaurant scene here as well as awesome arts and music, with surrounding natural scenery that oozes cinematic drama.
Hitting the open road under the big blue skies here is a driver’s dream and Enjoy Travel makes Denver car rental child’s play. Renting an economy car in Denver like a Ford Fiesta costs $28.52 per day if you book off-season, a compact Ford Focus is $30.60 a day, and a roomy Volkswagen Jetta ̶ ideal for scenic road trips ̶ is $33.88 per day. Book your Denver car rental with Enjoy Travel in a few minutes, pick up your ride on arrival and take the trip of a lifetime to some of America’s most awe-inspiring terrain.
Guide to Denver
From its roots as a rugged western town populated by gold prospectors, cowboys and gamblers to its development into a chic metropolis packed with distinctive neighbourhoods and diverse communities, Denver is an exciting city which spans the Old West and the contemporary world, the ancient and modern, and the rural and urban blend in endlessly elegant ways. Here’s a rapid rundown of the magical Mile High City.
Originally home to Arapaho and Cheyenne indigenous peoples, Denver was first settled in the modern era by a hardy group of prospectors hailing from Georgia, who trekked across the expansive plains of the Colorado Territory and struck gold at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Word soon spread and a makeshift community of tents, wagons and all manner of temporary abodes sprung up around the mining camp located to the north of the majestic Pike’s Peak, which became a landmark for the thousands who flocked here from across the nation seeking their fortune. The town subsequently spread out along the banks of the South Platte and property development became a booming business, with entrepreneurs claiming plots of land on a first-come, first-served basis, laying out streets and then selling lots to new arrivals. A certain General William H. Larimer grabbed land on a grand scale on the east side of Cherry Creek, laid out an entire city and named it after Governor James Denver, with the aim of currying favour with the powerful politico. The swashbuckling city survived fire and flood in the 1860s and flourished after its citizens raised $300,000 to construct their own railway that connected to the Union Pacific. The Kansas Pacific Railroad connected soon afterwards and a massive silver strike in Leadville in 1879 restored its glittering reputation as a metropolis built on precious metals.
Denver is a city that comprises a clutch of neighbourhoods, each of which harbour unique attractions. For instance, the Art District on Santa Fe boasts more than 30 art galleries and inspirational independent businesses, and the Hispanic influence is writ large with bright murals, interesting exhibitions at the Museo de las Americas and restaurants serving sizzling, spicy snacks. Another highlight is Capitol Hill and the Golden Triangle, which blends arty and historical attractions in a mesmerising mix. For instance, there’s the golden-domed Colorado State Capitol building with its famous Mile High marker on the 13th step, street food and live music venue Civic Center Park and the Golden triangle Creative District, home of the Denver Art Museum, and Clyfford Still museum. These two locations merely provide a tantalising taste of what’s on offer in the rest of Denver’s amazing neighbourhoods.
Modern Denver is a diverse, multicultural community and the city’s calendar is packed with eclectic ethnic events and festivals like the largest Cinco de Mayo festival in the US, the colourful Colorado Dragon Boat Festival which celebrates the Asian community, and the Denver March Powwow honouring many American Indian nations. Meanwhile, you can also experience different Denver communities in neighbourhoods like Five Points, a heartland of African American culture, and Sakura Square, which is the capital of Denver’s Japanese community and hosts a beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival every June.
Things to do in Denver
Denver is a city founded on epic adventures and you’ll be spellbound by its unique spirit as you explore its tourist hotspots and hidden gems that await a little off the beaten track. Whether you’re here for a weekend, a week or more, you’ll never be bored ̶ take your pick from iconic monuments, absorbing museums, breath-taking natural beauty and captivating arts and culture. Here’s our quick guide about how to get down with Denver.
From arresting architecture to art collections and archery, a day in Denver can be as action-packed or laid-back as you like. For starters, Denver Union Station isn’t just the city’s central transportation hub but it’s also a recently renovated Beaux-Arts building that’s absolutely beautiful and contains the elegant Crawford Hotel and 10 brilliant bars and restaurants. Alternatively, if you want to shop til you drop, stroll along 16th Street Mall, a mile-long strip of white, red and grey granite designed by top architect I.M. Pei, which dazzles like a diamondback rattlesnake and is lined with cool cafes, bijou boutiques, cinemas, restaurants and the D&F Tower, a downsized replica of Venice’s Campanile of St Mark’s. 16th Street also looks delightful after dark, when you can hop in a horse-drawn carriage and roll along admiring its stellar lights.
Arts & culture
There are almost too many arty attractions to choose from in Denver, but if you’re a real culture vulture, the Denver CityPass programme allows you to download discounted tickets to multiple attractions in and around the metropolis and see how many you can tick off and take in during your visit. The CityPass includes top-rated attractions like Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Art Museum, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Zoo, History Colorado Center, Downtown Aquarium and Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of sleuthing and detective fiction, you’ll adore taking in a production at Adams Mystery Theatre and trying to work out whodunnit while you enjoy dinner and drinks. And don’t miss Avada Center for the Arts & Humanities, a magnificent multidisciplinary arts venue with an exciting programme of theatre, concerts, dance and visual art exhibitions for all ages.
Day trips from Denver
Denver is your gateway to the Rocky Mountains and it’s easy to hop in your car, strap on your seatbelt and hit the road to see many natural wonders within easy reach. For instance, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is around 40km away and you can see and hear live music like you never have before, in a natural venue with unique acoustics which has evolved over 70 million years. Alternatively, Dinosaur Ridge is only 37km away and located near Morrison, Colorado, at the Front Ridge of the Rockies. Here you’ll see a mind-blowing selection of dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous period, as well as Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus Jurassic dinosaur bones. Meanwhile, another must-see for fans of the Old West is the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave, the final resting place of the famous William F. ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody. Buffalo Bill’s burial site is on top of Lookout Mountain and there’s also a museum with fascinating exhibits including firearms, Western art and Sitting Bull’s bows and arrows.
Eating out in Denver
There’s something tasty to satisfy every palate in Denver, from heart American classics to elegant European cuisine and amazing Asian delights.
Place your napkin gently in your lap and prepare to feast on our recommendations for dining out in Mile High City.
If you’re yearning for Gallic haute cuisine in a swish setting, there’s nowhere better than Mizuna at Governor’s Park, where master chef and renowned restauranteur Frank Bonanno holds court. The signature dish here is the beautiful butter-poached lobster with macaroni and cheese, but you can also try authentic escargot, wonderful beef wellington and divine desserts like mixed berry cobbler, baked Alaska and home-made sorbet and ice cream. Whether you want a romantic meal to remember or to simply experience French fine dining at its very best, Mizuna exceeds all expectations.
Two partner establishments in suave surroundings in Platt Park in Old South Pearl Street, Sushi Den and Izakaya Den serve sushi so fresh and fierce that you’ll think it has jumped right out of the sea onto your plate. This is the domain of the deft Kazaki brothers, two of whom oversee the preparation of immaculate sushi and sashimi in these hip Denver hotspots, while another brother based in Japan sources and ships the fish. Short of flying over to the land of the rising sun to dine, this eating experience couldn’t be more authentic.
Streetfood with a view
Fancy chowing down in an industrial-chic entertainment complex in Denver’s trendy LoHi (Lower Highland) district and sampling the food and hospitality in an establishment that includes two food halls, a laid-back lounge and rooftop patio with panoramic views? Avanti F&B: A Collective Eatery comprises seven restaurants in a cool shipping container city and choices include everything from succulent loaded burgers and fresh craft beers to oven-bakes pizza and handmade pasta. When you want a social spot to relax, refuel and people watch, this fits the bill fabulously.
Transport in Denver
Denver International Airport (DEN) is closest to the city, at just 18.5 miles away and the City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS) is 66.25 miles away. Enjoy Travel work with world-class car rental providers at these airports such as Budget, Avis, Alamo and Enterprise. Pre-book for peace of mind and pick up your ride when you land.
The Denver public transport system is pretty reliable, and several different modes whisk you across, around and beyond the city. The Light Rail travels for 35 miles, right through the Denver suburbs, and it’s a terrific way to get to top destinations like Denver Union Station, Elitch Garden Theme Park, Pepsi Center, Coors Field, and Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The 16th Street Mall Ride is a fab free bus line that runs the length of this famous retail thoroughfare and drops you off near the shops of your choice. Meanwhile, Bustang is a distinctive purple bus which will take you north to Fort Collins, south to Colorado Springs and west to Grand Junction ̶ with free Wi-Fi and air conditioning making your journey as pleasant as possible.
Other exciting transport options include the RTD City Bus which covers all the metro area, pedi-cars which can be rented downtown, scooters and bicycles which can be rented across the city, and horse and carriage rides – find these downtown too.
Always drive on the right-hand side of the road in Denver. The Colorado state speed limit is 20mph on winding mountain roads and blind corners. 25mph in business districts, 30mph in residential buildings, 40mph on open mountain highways, 55mph on open highways that are not four-lane freeways, and 65 mph on expressways or four-lane highways that form part of the interstate system. Don’t drink and drive and always wear a seatbelt.
The Rocky Mountains are to the west of Denver and since they’re visible throughout the city, they serve as a landmark should you lose your bearings. Most of the city streets operate on a grid system running north-south and east-west, which makes them reasonably easy to navigate.
Denver is the perfect launchpad for scenic road trips and there are plenty of destinations to choose from. The Rocky Mountain National Park might naturally be your first port of call and its 415 square miles of vertiginous mountain terrain and 300km of walking trails are picture perfect. Longs Peak is a challenging climb for experienced enthusiasts, plus you can camp under the stars and take the Trail Ridge Road, which offers preternaturally beautiful views of the Rockies. You’ll really feel like you’re in another world here, but it’s only around and hour and a half from the city.
Alternatively, the Pikes Peak region is an hour and 30 minutes south of Denver and it’s bursting with natural attractions too. There’s a huge network of caves to explore (under the watchful eyes of guides) at Cave of the Winds, and the 14,500-foot Pikes Peak is a test even for experienced climbers , while the nearby Garden of the Gods offers meditation and mindfulness classes, jeep adventures, boking and hiking. Don’t miss Cheyenne Mountain Zoo either ̶ you can feed giraffes here and take the Sky Ride Tram to the top of the mountain in order to let you embrace the outstanding vista.
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