By Public Transportation
The Regional Transportation District, or RTD (tel. 303/299-6000; www.rtd-denver.com), calls itself “The Ride.” It operates bus routes and a light-rail system, with free transfer tickets available. It provides good service within Denver and its suburbs and outlying communities (including Boulder, Longmont, and Evergreen), as well as free parking at more than 60 Park-n-Ride locations throughout the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. The light-rail service is designed to get buses and cars out of congested downtown Denver; many of the bus routes from outlying areas deliver passengers to light-rail stations rather than to downtown.
The local one-way fare is $2.25, seniors and passengers with disabilities pay $1, and children age 5 and under travel free. Regional bus fares vary (for example, Denver to Boulder costs $5. Day passes are $6.75. Exact change is required for buses, and train tickets can be purchased at vending machines beneath light-rail station awnings.
Depending on the route, the departure time of the last bus or train varies from 9pm to 2am. Maps for all routes are available at any time at the RTD Civic Center Station, 16th Street and Broadway, and the Market Street Station, Market and 16th streets. RTD also provides special service to Colorado Rockies (baseball) and Denver Broncos (football) games. All RTD buses and trains are completely wheelchair accessible.
Free buses run up and down the 16th Street Mall between the Civic Center and Market Street, daily from 6am to 1am.
The light rail is also useful for exploring downtown and the greater metro area. The C Line diverts from the main north-south D Line at Colfax Avenue, and it veers west and stops at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Pepsi Center, and Six Flags Elitch Gardens before chugging into Union Station at 17th and Wynkoop streets in lower downtown. The D Line continues along northeast through the east side of downtown before its terminus at 30th Avenue and Downing Street. The E Line runs along I-25 from Broadway to Lincoln Avenue in the south suburbs. The F Line connects 18th and California streets downtown with Lincoln Avenue. The G Line runs from Nine Mile in Aurora at I-225 and Parker Road to Lincoln; the H Line connects Nine Mile and 18th and California. New in 2013, the W Line connects downtown Denver and Golden. Projects are underway for lines to DIA and Boulder, but they will not open until 2016.
In 2010, the city installed numerous B-Cycle kiosks (http://denver.bcycle.com), which rent bicycles for a $5 daily fee plus fees for how long you use the bike before returning it to another kiosk. Check on the website for the kiosk locations—they are often right in front of prominent attractions, making this a viable means of getting from one place to another in the city.
The open-air Platte Valley Trolley (tel. 303/458-6255; www.denvertrolley.org) operates year-round. From May to October between noon and 3:30pm Friday through Sunday, there’s a 25-minute “Riverfront Ride” ($5 adults, $2 children under 13), which operates from 15th Street at Confluence Park, south to the Denver Children’s Museum along the west bank of the Platte River.
The main companies are Yellow Cab (tel. 303/777-7777; www.yellowtrans.com), Union Taxi (tel. 303/922-2222; www.uniontaxidenver.net), and Metro Taxi ([tel] 303/333-3333; www.metrotaxidenver.com). Taxis can be hailed on the street, though it’s preferable to call for a taxi or to wait for one at a taxi stand outside a major hotel.
Because cars are not necessary downtown, visitors can save money by staying downtown while in Denver, and then renting a car to leave the area. Most major car-rental agencies have outlets in or near downtown Denver, as well as at Denver International Airport. These include Avis, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National/Alamo, and Thrifty. Per-day rentals for midsize cars typically range from $40 to $100, although discounts are often available, and weekend and multiday rates can also save money. Four-wheel-drive vehicles, trucks, and campers cost more.
Parking Downtown parking-lot rates vary from around $1 per half-hour to $20 or more per full day. Many meters now accept credit cards, but not all.
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.