A few weekends ago we finally ventured down to the newly remodeled Union Station in downtown Denver to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Though admittedly we never saw the inside of the old Union Station, we were quite impressed with the remodel! Eventulally (early 2016) there will be a light rail that connects Union Station to Denver International Airport. One of our biggest Denver pet peeves is that the airport is a good 30-40 minutes from downtown and there’s currently no good transit option, so the light rail will be very convenient for travelers.
For dinner we ate at the Thirsty Lion, a large gastropub. Our food and drinks were good and the prices were average for the LoDo neighborhood, but our service was sub-par. Granted, we had a large group, but it took well over half an hour to even get a drink.
After dinner we wandered over to the adjacent main terminal. I loved that they have lots of tables and lounge seating available, and that guests can order food or drinks from the surrounding restaurants, bar, coffee shop and ice cream parlor, and enjoy it in the ‘Great Hall.’ The old ticket window is used as a walk-up bar, with bar seating on the opposite side. There were also servers coming around taking drink orders.
One of my favorite parts about the new Union Station is that in included several Denver “institutions.” There is a Tattered Cover Bookstore, Snooze (a popular brunch spot), and Milkman, which serves Little Man Ice Cream (try the salted oreo!). There are 13 total Colorado restaurants and retailers.
There is also a new boutique hotel at Union Station, The Crawford Hotel, but unfortunately they are not associated with any of the major chains so there are no options for free nights on points, though a front desk employee told me they did have their own loyalty program for frequent guests.The hotel is named for Denver urban preservationist and Denver Union Station partner Dana Crawford, and contains 112 rooms.
IIf you’re still looking for New Year’s Eve plans, the first annual Bootlegger’s Ball will celebrate Union Station’s 100-year history with a 1920′s theme, complimentary bubbles and a countdown to midnight. Tickets are a steep $150 per person, but include:
- Access to the Terminal Bar and Great Hall
- VIP access to the underground Speakeasy
- Appetizers and desserts
- Three drink tickets including wine and beer, additional cash bar
- Complimentary bubbles toast at midnight
- New Year’s gear
- DJ and dancing
- Access to Denver’s free busses and light rail all night, provided by RTD
More local transportation information from denverunionstation.org:
RTD began service on the Free MetroRide in May 2014. With limited stops between the new bus concourse at Denver Union Station and Civic Center Station along 18th and 19th streets, the Free MetroRide is the perfect option for downtown commuters. This free bus service runs during weekday rush hours (6:00am – 9:00am and 3:30pm – 6:30pm) and provides convenient connections to bus, light rail, and the future commuter rail.
East Rail Line connecting downtown Denver with DIA opening 2016: The East Rail line is a 22.8-mile commuter rail transit corridor that will operate between Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport (DIA). The rail line will connect these two important areas while serving adjacent employment centers, neighborhoods and development areas in Denver and Aurora. The East Rail Line is being constructed as part of the fully funded Eagle P3 Project.