Tag Archives: Denver

Denver airfare sales

Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas Welcome Sign

Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines are having airfare sales for travel from Denver through the winter months.

On Frontier, travel to Las Vegas and Phoenix for as little at $58 one-way, travel to Dallas starting at $78 one-way. Check out the rest of the sale at Frontier Airlines.

Southwest Airlines is offering sale fares to numerous U.S. destinations. For example, fly Denver to Albuquerque for as little as $104 one way and and to Burbank starting at $94 one way. Find out about the other great deals at Southwest Airlines.

Getting around Denver, Colorado

Denver16thStreetMallAre you planning a trip to Denver? I’m going to a conference here in the city later this month. For folks not familiar with how to get around this area, here are some tips.

  • You don’t hail cabs in Denver. You call them and wait for them to come to you. The hotel may have a taxis at the stand – or not. Uber and Lyft are very popular here. You can also use a car sharing service such as ZipCar.

    Bike Rental


  • Denver was also one of the first cities to have bikes to rent – B cycle . You can rent a bike for $9 for 24 hours at any B Cycle station – but you must have a credit card. These stations are all over the city – you can rent at one and return at another.
  • In downtown, use the 16th Street Mall Shuttle to get around. It’s free and goes from 16th and Broadway all the way to the Union Station Transit Center. There’s also the light rail and traditional buses. During the week, there are plenty of trains and buses. However, on the weekends, there are often fewer buses and so time between buses is much longer. Light rail is the same, fewer trains on the weekends.

    Light Rail


  • At this time, light rail does not go to the airport. You can get around downtown, and get to some outlying areas, like the Federal Center. Light Rail is mostly used by locals to get to and from downtown for work and special events. In 2016, there will be light rail from the airport. We’re all looking forward to it! Check out RTD for routes and costs.
Denver, Colorado
Union Station, Denver, Colorado
  • Pedi-cabs are also available downtown. You can flag these down on the street and talk to each operator about the cost. These are particularly nice in the evening on the way to or from a nice dinner and show.

    Parking


  • Due to the a building boom here, many parking lots and garages have been replaced by new hotels and office buildings, so parking can be scarce during the week, not to mention expensive. Check out the Park Smart Denver lots first for the best rates. There are also garages and lots just outside the main downtown that can be much cheaper if you’re willing to walk a few blocks either to your destination or to the 16th Street Mall Shuttle.
  • Most of the garages and lots take credit and debit cards. You might check at the outlying lots just to make sure.
  • And finally, parking meters. These are all over the downtown area. They take credit and debit cards as well as Smart Cards (visitors probably don’t have these) and change. Each meter has different costs and time limits so you must read the meter! You don’t want your souvenir from Denver to be a parking ticket.

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Rifle, Colorado: A classic Colorado getaway that’s easy on the budget

Rifle Falls State Park
Rifle Falls State Park

Emerging from Glenwood Canyon, driving through yet another CDOT construction project we motored past the Hot Springs pool and kept going. I could almost smell the chlorine and sunscreen from the shiny bodies I saw through the fence as we passed by. This time our destination was not Glenwood Springs, but its closest neighbor, Rifle.

Glenwood Springs neighbor

Rifle, Colorado is about 30 miles west of Glenwood Springs along I-70. That puts it about 5 hours’ drive west of Denver. Earlier in the week, we had contemplated visiting Glenwood again, but lack of reasonable hotel rates for the summer weekend led us a bit further away. We decided it was time to visit Rifle – normally just a rest stop along I-70 for these weary travelers.

When one thinks of Rifle, Colorado what comes to mind are shoot’em up old westerns with slightly grubby cowboys snapping matches to flame for hand-rolled cigarettes, lots of cows, and bars serving whiskey. Downtown Rifle is actually quite updated, with a few relics of its old West past. However, as a nod to its name, visit the Shooter’s Grill on East 3rd Street. The wait staff carry weapons along with your burger and fries.


A local hangout


Our very nice room in Rifle was under $100 per night, including a delicious breakfast. Lucky for us, our hotel was right across the street from the Sonic, where everyone was hanging out in the early evening when we arrived. A little ice cream really helps to top off a long drive in the mountains. The next day we would play the Rifle Creek Golf Course for a very reasonable rate. We were intrigued.

Rifle Creek Golf Course

Rifle Creek Golf Course
Rifle Creek Golf Course Hole #2

RifleCreek (1 of 1)-2

Rifle Creek Golf Course
Rifle Creek Golf Course
Rifle Creek Golf Course
Rifle Creek Golf Course

We showed up the next morning, ready to hit the links. The staff at the Pro Shop were very nice, and since we’d paid earlier through GolfNow at about a 40% discount, we were ready to go. The greens fees here are very reasonable, even if you don’t get a discount at $33 for 18 holes during the week. It was a Thursday morning, and we were playing mid-morning as a twosome.

This is a great course to play, even for a high-handicapper. It’s got some beautiful views, particularly from the back 9. The course really fits well into natural landscape of the Hogback Range. We had a blast, and decided that we wanted to come back and play again.

Rifle Falls State Park

Rifle Falls
Rifle Falls

Golf isn’t the only activity we found around Rifle. Rifle Falls State Park is a well-known in the area, and everyone we met asked if we’d been there. The park is easy to find, and visiting Rifle Falls is an easy walk. Visitors can explore the caves beneath the Falls if you like dark and spooky places, complete with bats. Folks can also walk up to the top of the Falls and look out over the park, with the roar of the water in their ears. The campground seemed very full the weekend we were there, so you might need to make reservations if you want to stay.

Rifle Gap State Park

We took a drive to Rifle Gap State Park, not far from Rifle Falls. This beautiful reservoir was being enjoyed by water-skiers, visitors on jet skis, fishermen, and boats just puttering lazily around the reservoir. There was plenty of room for everyone and for a Friday, didn’t look that busy.  There’s a campground not far from the beach that didn’t look too full on this Friday afternoon. But again, I’d check and make reservations if you want to stay the weekend.

Rifle Gap State Park
Rifle Gap State Park

The Rifle Arch

Before we set off back to Denver, we scouted out the Rifle Arch trail. This hike starts out pretty tame, and quickly advances into a steep climb. Once you get to the top, it levels out again. You can see the Arch from the trail early on, the trail ending just below the Arch. You can hike through the boulder field to get up to the Arch if you have the energy. As you hike, be sure to take in the views of the Grand Mesa and the Hogback Range.

The Rifle Arch
The Rifle Arch

The hike took us about 2 hours round trip. Take water and snacks and decent hiking footwear. There are no amenities along this trail and some steep inclines. We did see families with small children hiking the trail though I’m not sure I’d bring children under the age of eight on this hike.

Find the trail by driving north on Highway 13 out of Rifle. The trailhead is on the east side of the road several miles outside of town. For more information on hiking in the Rifle area, including the Grand Mesa and the White River National Forest, visit the Rifle Information Center, 200 Lions Park Circle, Rifle, Colorado.


A surprising number of activities


Rifle really surprised us. We have traveled through and past Rifle over the past twenty years, often stopping at the rest stop but never venturing further. For those folks that prefer fewer crowds and less chlorine, plan to spend some time discovering this old West town and the surrounding area. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the number of activities you can find to keep the family busy as well.

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Castlewood Canyon: Discover Cherry Creek

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak

The late afternoon is warm, with the requisite clouds over Pikes Peak providing that late day storm to the top of the mountain. The pine scent is heavy – it seems much richer than any fragrance you can buy. The hummingbirds are providing their buzz, sounding like a slightly off-key piper making a weak attempt at musical scales. The path to the overlook is busy, but not with people.

Castlewood Canyon State Park is a small slice of wilderness an easy drive from the big city.  It’s just a bit over an hour’s drive south of Denver, Time stops here for the deer, fox, coyote, birds and other creatures that can handle close proximity to people. It’s a popular location for day hikers, cyclists, and rock climbers as well as families enjoying picnics overlooking the creek.

Resident of the Canyon
Resident of the Canyon

This State Park was born of disaster. In 1890, the Castlewood Canyon Dam was completed by the Denver Water Storage Company, holding back Cherry Creek. The dam leaked from the day it opened.

Once the dam was in place, homesteaders started populating the area. In 1901, the Lucas family’s application for land was approved. The family lived in an area inside what is now the park for many years. Visitors to the park can visit the original homestead and see the walls of the house near the West entry to the park.

Homestead in Castlewood Canyon
Homestead in Castlewood Canyon

In 1933, during a heavy rain the dam gave way. A wall of water 15 feet high flowed down through the Canyon and towards the town of Denver. Luckily, the dam operator made it the 12 miles to reach the nearest phone operator, who could then warn the residents downstream. The wall of water pushed into Denver down Cherry Creek, flooding streets, demolishing bridges and  causing havoc in the city.  It took months to dig out from the mud and debris, and begin repairs to roads and bridges.

The ruins of the dam.
The ruins of the dam.

The dam was never replaced. Visitors to the park today can see the remnants of the structure in the center of the park. The Creek Bottom hiking trail along Cherry Creek is where visitors can retrace the path of the flood and sit on the rocks near the waterfall. For those not so ambitious, there is a road that goes through the park, passing the top of the dam. There is a parking area for access to the Westside Trail area, picnic area and restrooms.

Castlewood Canyon State Park
Castlewood Canyon State Park

The main entrance to the park is on the East side, off Highway 83. Day passes are $7. Holders of a State of Colorado parks pass get in free. The Visitor’s Center provides an overview of the area and a short video that describes the history of the area. The rangers are very knowledgeable about the park, and can point you to the latest birding spots or trails to suit your abilities.

The Canyon Overlook trail is one of the most popular. It’s a short easy hike that ends in a gazebo and overlook. The layers of rock across the canyon are home to birds and small animals. At the bottom of the Canyon, you may see hikers following the creek around to the remains of the dam. The hummingbirds provide the background soundtrack, along with the raptors that nest in the park.

The Overlook
The Overlook

There is no overnight camping in the park, and rock climbing is reserved for a few areas in the park. The rangers can point you to the climb sites. For great views of Pikes Peak, follow Castlewood Canyon road out of the park. Dogs are welcome in the park, as long as they are kept on six-foot leashes and keep to the established trails.

The falls at Castlewood Canyon
The falls at Castlewood Canyon

The East Canyon Preservation area welcomes hikers on the established trails, but no dogs or other pets are allowed. This area is fragile.

For more information on Castlewood Canyon State Park, visit State of Colorado. For more information on the history of the dam, visit CherryCreekBasin.org for personal accounts of the night the dam failed.

 

Escape to Athens, Greece, party in the Dominican Republic, spa day at the Four Seasons

Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado

Today’s travel deals include a wonderful escape to Athens, an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic and a spa day at the Four Seasons in downtown Denver.

Gate 1 Travel is partnering with Groupon Getaways to offer a great deal to Athens, Greece with travel dates in late 2015 and early 2016. Packages for a seven night stay start at $899 per person, double occupancy including airfare from New York, five nights hotel accommodations in Athens, daily breakfast in Athens, and all airline fuel taxes and fees. Stroll through the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon, ride the funicular to the top of Mount Lycabettus for great views of the city or take a tour of Delphi for an additional fee. Visit Groupon.com by June 8 for more information, including available dates and prices. Book by June 16 and travel by March 2016.

If the beach is more your style, Livingsocial.com has partnered with Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic to offer a six day stay starting at $560 for two. That package includes all meals, domestic alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks, non-motorized sports, daytime activities, nightly entertainment, and taxes and fees. Relax by one of the 12 pools or on the beach. There is an on-site spa and a movie theatre. Golf is nearby, as well as kiteboarding and waterfall climbing. Visit Livingsocial.com by June 9 for more information and to book your Caribbean getaway.

The Four Seasons Hotel Denver is offering a luxury spa day, including a facial or a massage and your choice of a massage add-on (collagen eye treatment, scalp treatment, or hand or foot scrub) or facial add-on (lip enhancement, scalp treatment or hand or foot scrub) for $119. You’ll also get a glass of sparkling wine or a mimosa and access to the pool and all other spa amenities.  This package is available Monday through Thursday starting on June 1. An automatic 18% gratuity will be added on to the total cost of the services. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information,  follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Airfare deals for Black Friday, La Fondue in Denver, rail car resort

Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas Welcome Sign

Today’s deals include Black Friday airfare sales, half price on dinner for two at a popular restaurant in the Denver area, and a great deal on lodging with the Featherbed Railroad.

Southwest Airlines is having an airfare sale to celebrate Black Friday, with one way airfares from Denver as low as $87 one way to Las Vegas and $124 one way to New York (LaGuardia). Book these deals by November 27 for travel between December 6 through December 16, 2014 and January 6 through February 11, 2015. Visit Southwest.com for more information and to book your warm weather vacation.

For those staying in town, La Fondue is partnering with Travelzoo.com to offer a four-course dinner for two with wine for $59. This is a 45% discount from the regular price. La Fondue is within easy walking distance to the Colorado Convention Center as well as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Dinner includes two salads and any cheese fondue with veggies and bread, a main course and chocolate fondue for dessert. The meal also comes with two glasses of beer or wine. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher.

For those who like to getaway to unique destinations, the Featherbed Railroad Bed and Breakfast in Nice, California might fit the bill. This resort is about 120 miles north of San Francisco near Clear Lake and is comprised of nine renovated railcars. For $99 per night, the accommodations for two include the Wild Wild West Caboose, with western décor and a claw foot tub. If you prefer the tropical atmosphere of the Florida Keys, check out the TropiCaboose with its white wicker furniture and hardwood floors. The cars are air-conditioned and feature queen-size featherbeds and flat-screen TVs. Visit Livingsocial.com by December 9 for more information and to buy your voucher.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information,  follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Lakeside living in Las Vegas, Cozumel, the Moscow Ballet tickets

Beach
Caribbean beach

Today’s deals include a resort in Las Vegas, fun in Cozumel, and tickets to the ballet in Denver.

The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa is offering a stay in a King room with a resort view starting at $69 per night. Guests can upgrade to a premium King lake-view room for $99 per night, with a two-night minimum. The resort is located in Henderson, just south of the Strip, and these packages include breakfast for two or a $50 resort credit. The resort has exclusive access to the Southshore Golf Club, a private Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Relax at the pools, or go into Las Vegas to shop or see a show. Visit Groupon.com by August 27 for more information and to book your getaway. Dates are available through October.

If ocean beaches are more your style, the Park Royal Cozumel in Cozumel, Mexico is offering an all-inclusive stay, starting at $399 for three nights. Packages include all meals, drinks, taxes, and gratuities as well as access to the gym and water areas and a 50% discount on spa services. The resort has Wi-Fi access, and three restaurants to choose from, as well as the Bikini Shack poolside bar. Guests can plan vacations of three, four, five, six, or seven nights. Travel through December 20. Two children under 6 stay and eat free, children 7 – 12 are $40 per person per night. Visit Livingsocial.com by September 4 for more information and to book your Caribbean adventure.

Christmas will be here before we know it, and it’s time to start planning to get tickets for your holiday entertainment. Travelzoo.com has partnered with the Moscow Ballet to offer tickets to the Company’s performances of the “Great Russian Nutcracker” on Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13 at the Paramount Theatre. Rear orchestra tickets are $36.50, rear mezzanine & middle orchestra are $53.50, and front orchestra tickets are $68. This production includes handmade costumes and classical choreography, honoring the original ballet. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and for instructions on buying your tickets. Additional fees of up to $15 per ticket may apply.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information,  follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Holiday in Los Cabos, play in the flight simulator, enjoy a Florida vacation

Florida Hibiscus
Visit Florida

This week’s deals include a great deal on a Mexican holiday, pretending to fly a fighter jet, and rooms close to Disney World in Kissimmee, Florida. An easy getaway from Denver, Los Cabos is all about the ocean breezes and relaxing by the pool. Spend four nights at the Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos starting at $629 per person, including flights from Denver with dates into October. Stay in a junior suite overlooking the ocean, with unlimited meals and drinks, Wi-Fi, and taxes. This resort offers a beach-centric vacation with beach parties, activities and conservation programs. Visit Travelzoo.com by July 16 for more information and to book your getaway. For the adventurous among us, the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is offering a turn in their flight simulator and a day at the museum. For $24, one person gets 30 minutes in the WWI or WWII fighter jet flight simulator and museum admission. Pretend to pilot a P-51 Mustang on a war-time mission as part of larger computerized network, allowing friends to join you. The Air and Space Museum also has a collection of 48 aircraft and exhibits on space technology. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to buy your vouchers. Summer is only half over, but school will start soon enough and then folks will start planning their Fall break vacations. Direct flights between Denver and Orlando make Florida an easy vacation spot. Livingsocial.com has partnered with the Legacy Vacation Club Florida to offer discounts on one and two bedroom suites in Kissimmee. For a week in October, a one-bedroom suite sleeping four averages $72 per night, and a two bedroom unit sleeping six averages $87 per night. These units include full kitchens, complimentary Wi-Fi, washers and dryers and multiple televisions. The parks are a 15 minute drive away, and for those days when Disney World or Universal Studios are not on the itinerary, the resort can keep you busy with swimming pools, volleyball, and mini-golf. Visit Livingsocial.com soon to book your vacation in the Florida sunshine. Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, go to www.debtalkstravel.com and follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel. These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Denver, Colorado and the new Union Station

On Saturday my husband, a friend, and I went downtown on the light rail to see the new Union Station makeover. It was a nice Saturday afternoon, and we headed downtown to be among the first to see the new hotel built at Union Station.

Union Station Denver
The outside of Union Station in Denver, CO
UnionS tation Inside
The interior of Union Station in Denver Colorado

Union Station in downtown Denver has been a hub of Amtrak activity for about 100 years. The California Zephyr pulls out at about 7 a.m. most days, headed West to San Francisco. If you’re headed to Chicago, the train leaves around 7 p.m., headed East. This building used to be in the worst part of town and had become neglected and avoided.

In the past few years, developers have been working  redevelop the property around the train station and create a consolidated transportation hub. They have succeeded admirably.

The refurbished train station has a Victorian charm with a current twist. The the chandeliers invoke an old-world elegance, while the new vendors work in updated spaces. This building is now a centerpiece of lower downtown, a finishing touch to the years of work rebuilding and re-imagining the City of Denver.

The Oxford Hotel
The Oxford Hotel

Within a few blocks of the train station is Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies. Down the block from the front door of Union Station is the Oxford Hotel, one of the premier boutique hotels in Denver. Great restaurants and bars are also nearby, particularly if beer is your beverage of choice. Denver is home to many great breweries and we stopped at one of the most popular, the Rock Bottom Brewery on the 16th Street Mall. With a bit of the brew and some nachos consumed, we were refreshed enough to ride the mall shuttle to Union Station and head for home.

The official grand opening of the new building, including the transportation center, will be at the end of July 2014. We can’t wait to go back and join the party!

It’s time for whitewater!

Livingsocial.com and Breckenridge Adventure Tours are offering deals on trips through Brown’s Canyon. One person spends $38 for a half-day ride down the rapids. Get your friends together and spend $230 for all six of you to go together. Trips leave from Breck at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and all equipment is included – you’ll just pay the river fees.

Don’t delay. This deal is over soon! Check it out at Livingsocial.com.