Our 18 wishes—ranging from realistic to far-fetched—for making Denver an even dreamier place to live.
Budget-friendly accommodations in our hippest neighborhoods
Although I love playing tour guide for friends and family, my patience wears thin on day five of them crashing on my couch. But the alternatives—asking them to spend $150 or more nightly for a hotel downtown; commute from the more affordable lodging clusters near DIA or the DTC (where rooms average a more wallet-friendly $75 per night); or sleep across the street from Shotgun Willie’s in Glendale (as my parents did for $100 per night on a recent trip)—make me feel like a lousy host. Sure, there’s sightseeing to be done, but my city is one of walkable urban neighborhoods—Highland, Wash Park, City Park, RiNo—and that’s the Denver I want my guests to experience.
However, a glance at the current distribution of the Mile High City’s hotel rooms (around 8,500 downtown) shows glaring lodging voids—especially rooms under $150—in those trendy locales. According to Visit Denver communications director Rich Grant, the reasons are varied: hotels needing weekday bookings to survive (i.e., business and convention travelers), the relatively recent rise of these residential areas, and lack of easy transit options from these pockets to tourist attractions.
While I’d like to see more geographically varied options that wouldn’t cost an entire paycheck—and that would get guests off my couch—local hospitality industry consultant Robert Benton says it’s not likely to happen in the near future: “In some of the bigger cities, like New York City or San Francisco, they have more established neighborhoods where hotels were built years ago and were woven into the fabric of the neighborhood.” Those properties just don’t exist in Denver, and, according to Benton, demand from typical tourists—not people visiting their daughters—for that kind of experience is still too low. For now, I think I’ll invest in a nice air mattress. —JF
Lose the glossy corporate names on our stadiums
We like to think of Denver as a down-to-earth, genuine city. But the names of our sports stadiums? Not so much. (Yes, Coors Field is corporate, but it’s cool, so we’ll let it slide.) Starting everything with “Mile High” would be overkill, but we need a little more character. If we had naming rights, here’s what we’d do:
Sports Authority Field at Mile High » Mile High Stadium
We were thankful for the venue revamp in 2001, but we still can’t get over the name change that happened when Invesco came on board. Mile High Stadium just had that old-school ring—like Fenway Park—that our newer monikers sorely lack.
Pepsi Center » Denver Coliseum
We get it: The Nuggets and the Avalanche needed an updated place to play. But “the Coliseum” just sounds so much more intimidating.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park » Centennial Park
As far as corporate sponsors go, Dick’s isn’t the worst of the bunch, but the name is just too drawn-out (and don’t get us started on the nickname “the Dick”). Instead, something like Centennial Park imparts that Colorado vibe we want for all our professional teams.