It’s tough to get lost in Denver--just remember that the mountains, nearly always visible, are to the west. Nonetheless, getting around a city of half a million people can be a challenge. One element of confusion is that Denver has both an older grid system downtown, which is oriented northeast-southwest to parallel the South Platte River, and a newer north-south grid system that surrounds the older one.
The Official Visitors Guide, available free of charge from the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, contains a good map.
Main Arteries & Streets
It’s probably easiest to get your bearings from Civic Center Park. From here, Colfax Avenue (U.S. 40) extends east and west as far as the eye can see. The same is true for Broadway, which reaches north and south.
Downtown Denver -- North of Colfax and west of Broadway is the center of downtown, where the streets follow the old grid pattern. A mile-long pedestrian mall, 16th Street, cuts northwest off Broadway just above this intersection. (The numbered streets parallel 16th to the northeast, extending to 44th; and to the southwest, as far as 5th.) Intersecting the numbered streets at right angles are Lawrence Street (which runs one-way northeast) and Larimer Street (which runs one-way southwest), 12 and 13 blocks north, respectively, of the Colfax-Broadway intersection.
I-25 skirts downtown Denver to the west, with access from Colfax or Speer Boulevard, which winds diagonally along Cherry Creek past Larimer Square.
Outside Downtown -- Outside the downtown sector, the pattern is a little less confusing. But keep in mind that the numbered avenues that parallel Colfax to the north and south (Colfax is equivalent to 15th Ave.) have nothing in common with the numbered streets of the downtown grid. In fact, any byway labeled an “avenue” runs east-west, never north-south.
Finding an Address
North-South Arteries -- The thoroughfare that divides avenues into east and west is Broadway, which runs one-way south between 19th Street and I-25. Each block east or west adds 100 to the avenue address; thus, if you wanted to find 2115 E. 17th Ave., it would be a little more than 21 blocks east of Broadway, just beyond Vine Street.
Main thoroughfares that parallel Broadway to the east include Downing Street (1200 block), York Street (2300 block; it becomes University Boulevard south of 6th), Colorado Boulevard (4000 block), Monaco Street Parkway (6500 block), and Quebec Street (7300 block). Colorado Boulevard (Colo. 2) is the busiest street in the whole state, intersecting I-25 on the south and I-70 on the north. North-south streets that parallel Broadway to the west include Santa Fe Drive (U.S. 85; 1000 block); west of I-25 are Federal Boulevard (U.S. 287 N.; 3000 block) and Sheridan Boulevard (Colo. 95; 5200 block), the boundary between Denver and Lakewood.
East-West Arteries -- Denver streets are divided into north and south at Ellsworth Avenue, about 2 miles south of Colfax. Ellsworth is a relatively minor street, but it’s a convenient dividing point because it’s just a block south of 1st Avenue. With building numbers increasing by 100 each block, that puts an address like 1710 Downing St. at the corner of East 17th Avenue. First, 6th, Colfax (1500 block), and 26th avenues, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (3200 block) are the principal east-west thoroughfares. There are no numbered avenues south of Ellsworth. Major east-west byways south of Ellsworth are Alameda (Colo. 26; 300 block), Mississippi (1100 block), Louisiana (1300 block), Evans (2100 block), Yale (2700 block), and Hampden avenues (U.S. 285; 3500 block).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.