Home Control Center How to Spend One Day In Denver
The Control Center

How to Spend One Day In Denver

Recently I had the pleasure of flying into Denver for a few days of meetings. I love spending time in Colorado, not only because of the lovely mountain views, but also because of the overall healthy atmosphere. My meetings were near the end of the week, so I decided to stay an extra day after my meetings were over to explore.

I realized when I booked my car that I had earned enough points with National Car Rental to get one day of free car rental. Being a member of National’s Emerald Club loyalty program has many perks, especially for business travelers.

As a health conscious person, I love all the healthy restaurants and activities in Colorado. Colorado has an average of 300 sunny days per year, so even in the cooler months it is enjoyable outside if you are dressed appropriately. I wanted to take advantage of all that Colorado has to offer a healthy traveler like myself. Here is what I did with my 24 hour bonus day.

Flat Iron Steak Salad at Mod Market in Denver.
Flat Iron Steak Salad at Mod Market in Denver.

Evening: 16th Street & Dinner Downtown Denver

After I returned to my hotel following my last meeting, I put on some walking shoes and headed to the 16th Street Mall. The 16th Street Mall is about 1 mile long, so I took a leisurely stroll around the mall doing some window shopping until I got to Mod Market. Mod Market is a Colorado-owned restaurant chain that offers simple, made from scratch ingredients. The menus change seasonally. I was tempted by gluten-free pizza, but made a healthier choice with the flat iron steak salad – the salad even included roasted potatoes! (Mod Market is also conveniently located at DIA in concourses B & C.) After dinner I continued my stroll until I had completed the two mile walk around the mall.

Morning: Bike Ride & Breakfast in Downtown Denver

I rented a bike from one of the Denver B-Cycle bike sharing stations. The company has 700 bikes located at 87 stations across Denver. The website has an interactive map that shows you locations and availability. For $9 you can have bike access for 24 hours.

I rode the bike to an organic restaurant called Olive & Finch. It was a nice 15 minute ride through the downtown area to get there. I highly enjoyed my breakfast, which was served on a wooden board along with a fresh juice from their juice bar.

Breakfast at Olive & Finch in Denver
Breakfast at Olive & Finch in Denver.

Mid-Day: Hiking and Lunch in Boulder

I really wanted to get some fresh mountain air, so I returned to the hotel and dropped off the bike. I jumped into my rental car and headed to the Chautaqua Trailhead in Boulder. It is a quick 38 mile drive from downtown Denver straight into the foothills. I chose to do the Royal Arch Trailwhich was a challenging 3.2 mile roundtrip hike that took about 90 minutes. The Flat Irons trail loop is an easier 2.1 mile hike that is also very scenic.

Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, Colorado.
Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, Colorado.

Following my hike, I drove about 10 minutes to Salt- the bistro. SALT is located immediately west of the Pearl Street Mall, and is a farm-to-table restaurant that has a 99% GMO free kitchen. The lunch menu has a great variety of healthy options. I devoured my grass-fed beef Tom’s Tavern Burger- it was amazing. I also order polenta on the side, which was very good (and gone quickly). After lunch, I took a stroll down the Pearl Street Mall. Pearl Street Mall is a four block pedestrian mall featuring a wonderful combination of retail, restaurants, art, street entertainment and people watching. It is a great place to stroll after lunch.

Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.
Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.

Airport Bound

After I was done walking off my lunch (and doing a little shopping), it was about time to head to the airport. It took me about 50 minutes to get to the airport from the Pearl Street Mall using the Northwest Parkway and the E-470 toll road to DIA. After logging over 7 miles of walking in the last 24 hours (plus my bike ride!) I was ready to sit on the plane for my flight home. Admittedly, this is one of the first times in a long time I have looked forward to sitting for two hours on the plane. I think I will be adding an extra day to more business trips in my future!

With National Car Rental and The Emerald Club, Green Means Go ®. Join the club that puts you in control wherever you go.

Enroll Now