The Denver population grew 20 percent over the last decade, and its ever-increasing intrigue brings in more than 13 million additional visitors each year. From Red Rocks to the Denver Beer Trail, with world-class art, bountiful nature and an explosive marijuana tourism industry in between, the reasons to visit Colorado’s capital diversify as rapidly as its population itself, and the city spends billions to accommodate the growing interest.
Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO, Visit Denver, sees the city’s enormous self-investment as a symbol of Denver’s pandemic recovery. “The tourism and convention industries are among the largest industries in Denver, and they are currently rebounding in a big way,” he said, adding, “Our leisure visitors have returned to a pre-pandemic level.”
Like most major cities, Denver has plenty of development underway aimed at mixed-use spaces, from the 13-story Populus coming to Downtown to the 25-year, multimillion-square-foot reimagining of The River Mile. Both the hotel and arts industries keep pace, but the upgrades to tourism basics may prove to have the greatest impact on the city.
Scharf expresses optimism the “massive redesign and expansion of Denver International Airport and a major expansion of the Colorado Convention Center, on track to be completed in late 2023, will only add to the comeback story,” and there’s little reason to doubt him. Denver International Airport already ranks as the third-busiest in the world, not far behind second-place Dallas/ Fort Worth. DEN’s current concourse expansion plan holds a $1.5 billion price tag and will add 39 gates to all three of its concourses, some of which already opened. An additional $2.4 billion is headed toward other airport upgrades, including restroom refreshes and vastly expanded security facilities as the airport gears up for an estimated 100 million annual arrivals within 10 years.
As for Colorado Convention Center, which you may recognize by the enormous and wildly popular blue bear peering in from the sidewalk, the nearly quarter-billion-dollar project packs a number of impressive stats that will position Denver as a leader in the conventions and events industry. The expansion supplements the already impressive facility with an additional 80,000-square-foot ballroom (the largest ballroom in Colorado); 35,000 square feet of pre-function space; and 20,000 square feet of outdoor terrace with sweeping views of the city skyline and mountains … all seamlessly integrated with the existing building. All told, the redesigned convention center expects to generate $4 billion in gross regional product when it reaches its completion.
Conventions and festivals already returned from the pandemic freeze, and CCC’s calendar continues to book throughout its renovation, thanks to clever logistical planning that allows the convention center to remain open and operational throughout the two-year process. Organizations and acts are eager to return. After canceling its 2021 edition, the Great American Beer Festival returns to the convention center this fall for its 40th anniversary, expecting a gate of 50,000 for its three-day beer bash; and acts like Alicia Keys and Chris Rock already marked summer returns to grateful Denver audiences. To close for renovation directly on the heels of a prolonged COVID shutdown would have spelled economic disaster for the city. Instead, the tourism forecast for Denver is sunny … as is the weather, 300 days of the year.
To experience one of the most beautiful highway drives in America, head to Golden, Colorado, and take Route 6 W to Idaho Springs. This path takes you through the impossibly scenic Clear Creek Canyon, though GPS will often try to divert you to Route 70 W, instead, to save 20 minutes; ignore this “advice.” Along this stretch you’ll follow Clear Creek (of course), and find mature trees, granite cliffs, abandoned mines and beautiful old homes. You may even catch sight of some wildlife, especially if you stop at any of the many pull-offs or take a hike on Mayhem Gulch Trail.
If you’re visiting in fall, set aside an afternoon for the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. The first and favorite of Colorado’s 26 scenic byways covers a 55-mile stretch of Rocky Mountain Front Range splendor, especially when autumn leaves turn the route into a golden passage. It’s about an hour outside of Denver and will take around 90 minutes each way, without stops. To roundtrip it in a single journey, allow at least five to six hours from start to return in Denver. Add more time for pitstops in mountain towns like Estes Park and Nederland, or any of the state parks and national forests you’ll pass along the way.
When American travelers make plans to visit Portugal, Lisbon is usually their first stop.
Lovango Resort + Beach Club is the first newly built resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands in more than 30 years and prepares to return for its second season. Welcoming guests back Dec. 20, the resort will sport some new accommodations and guest experiences.
At nearly 30,000 square feet, United Airlines’ newest United ClubSM now welcomes Newark Liberty International Airport travelers with its modern design, enhanced amenities, culinary offerings, locally sourced art and furniture and Manhattan skyline views. Seek airport solace at the new location in Terminal C3, near Gate C123.
The world-renowned Italian fine-dining group with eight Michelin stars to its name, Da Vittorio debuts its new two-story restaurant, Da Vittorio Saigon in the hotel Reverie Saigon. The new restaurant reshapes Vietnam’s high-end culinary industry through its blending of contemporary and sophisticated design with traditional Italian food.
Hyatt recently announced plans to open more than 20 luxury and lifestyle hotels and resorts in Latin America and the Caribbean through 2024. Some of these new openings include expansion of Hyatt brands into new markets.
Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …
Hotelier Ash welcomes its fourth hotel, Ulysses, to its collection. Situated in Mount Vernon, Baltimore, the 116-room hotel features an all-day café and late-night drinking parlor. The new hotel lies within the historic, nine-story Latrobe Building, a former 1912 apartment building with an early Italian Renaissance design. The hotel earns its name, Ulysses, from a ship that brought Bavarian immigrants to Baltimore at the turn of the century. The name also pays homage to James Joyce’s legendary and revolutionary novel and to the Greek hero, Odysseus.