Denver, CO, USA - January 12th, 2016: A night time photo taken of Union Station and the Crawford Hotel in downtown Denver Colorado at the corner of 17th Street and Wynkoop Street.

Getty Images

Union Station

Top choice in Denver

Gorgeously restored, historic Union Station is Denver's main transportation hub, used by RTD light-rail lines, commuter buses and Amtrak. But it's way more than that. It's more of a central gathering place for downtowners and visitors alike. Inside, the main hall doubles as a waiting area and lounge with leather couches and chairs, shuffleboard and free wi-fi. Its the perfect place to find a spot to work for a few hours. Denver's famed Tattered Cover book store has a small outpost here and there is even a flower cart selling the most beautiful seasonal blooms. 

Swanky restaurants and coffee shops line the building inside and out along with boutiques and bars. Even one of Denver's best hotels – the Crawford – calls it home.

In summer, a farmer's market sets up outside every Saturday from 9am-2pm which draws a huge crowd. Just beyond, a pop-up fountain comes to life, enticing kids (and kids at heart) to run and play through the urban sprinklers. 

Visiting Union Station

As the main transportation hub, its easy to take the light-rail from nearly anywhere in the city right into the station. Once there, you can take a tour, offered by The Crawford Hotel on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and most other days at 4pm. Tours are $20. You can also wander around, have a coffee or cocktail and just enjoy the ambiance. Don't forget to venture outside where there is plenty more to enjoy.

Where to stay

The Crawford Hotel of course. Set right in the station, the Crawford is an example of Denver's amazing transformation. Rooms are luxurious and artful, with high ceilings and throwbacks such as the art-deco headboards and claw-foot tubs. Service is impeccable. There is light-rail service to Denver's International Airport just steps away and the hotel shuttle, a Tesla, provides door-to-door service for guests within a 2-mile radius.

Where to eat and drink

From scoops of artisan ice cream to James Beard Award winning chef prepared meals, Union Station has some of Denver's most sought after tables. Check out Snooze, Denver's favorite spot for pancakes, if you're into the brunch party. The Terminal Bar and The Cooper Lounge have classy, cool cocktails while Ultreia, Stoic & Genuine and Mercantile have up-market, award winning dishes for a variety of eclectic tastes. There are also sandwich shops and pizza spots and a coffee shop for lunches and on-the-go meals. 


Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Denver attractions

1. David B Smith Gallery

0.16 MILES

David B Smith’s taste for progressive American and international artists has made this space one of the most engaging small galleries in Denver.

2. Robischon Gallery

0.17 MILES

Robischon operates with a focus on emerging dialogues in art. Rotating exhibits take you to the cutting edge and you'll be able to dig art by some of the…

3. Museum of Contemporary Art

0.22 MILES

This four-story museum was built with interaction and engagement in mind, and Denver’s home for contemporary art can be provocative, confusing or…

4. Millennium Bridge

0.23 MILES

Allow us to be geeky for a second: this is the world’s first cable-stayed bridge using a post-tensioned structural construction. If the technical jargon…

5. Commons Park

0.37 MILES

Affording views of downtown Denver and the Rockies, this spacious, hilly patch of green has bike paths, benches and plenty of people-watching. A lyrical…

6. Confluence Park

0.47 MILES

Where Cherry Creek and South Platte River meet is the nexus and plexus of Denver's sunshine-loving culture. Thousands of outdoorsy Denverites flock here…

7. National Velvet

0.57 MILES

This much-maligned public pile of 'art' by John McEnroe appears to be a big red lingam-inspired mound of beans or sandbags. It lights up at night.

8. Elitch Gardens

0.62 MILES

If you’re finding all the museums a bit too serious, loosen up at this amusement park near downtown Denver – your kids will love you for it. There's a…