Romantic Route in Denver to Hike
Grab your honey and take an urban hike through Denver to some of its most romantic and, perhaps, hidden spots right under your nose. From clock towers to clock views, you can meander for a good couple of miles in the Central Business District hitting all the romantic places you could possibly imagine. By the way, you can do most of this walking date for free. Getting to the top of Daniels and Fisher might cost you, but everything else is free access. I wouldn’t go bragging to your Valentine that it’s a free romantic date, unless, of course, that’s your thing. 🙂
The Daniels and Fisher Tower, A Denver Landmark
First up on your romantic walk through Denver is someplace you probably walk by often. Next to Skyline Park on the corner of Arapahoe and 16th Street is the historic Daniels & Fisher tower. Originally the go-to place for all things shopping in downtown Denver, what remains is the original clock tower. Here, you can make a reservation to climb the historic circular stair case and get behind the clock faces that front downtown. You’ll find many romantic inspirations on the way up the steps. From chandeliers to candelabras, many a proposal have been asked here. You’ll even get to see the clock’s inner workings! After taking the elevator for 17 floors and stepping to the top for another 5 floors, you’ll view 360 degrees of downtown including the Rockies and Sports Authority field.
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Nothing says romance like great views and the ticking of time. The Daniels & Fisher tower, built to promote the now-defunct Daniels & Fisher, nee May Stores, was restored just in front of the wrecking ball in the 1980s. With doors from the crumbled Ford building in Detroit, this clock tower beauty gives stunning views of downtown and romantic thoughts of proposals and weddings.
Union Station, Don’t Pass It Up
Leave Daniels and Fisher, and walk on 16th Street toward Union Station. Stop and pick up some chocolate from Rocky Mountain Chocolate, and then enjoy a 6-7 block walk on 16th Street Mall to arrive at Wynkoop and Union Station. Built in 1880 and then remodeled in 1911, this throwback to rail heydays still stands in glory. Once over 150 trains came through a day, and now just a measly few.
Union Station returned to train travel in Denver in the early 2010s with new Amtrak service and an increase in transit service. Dana Crawford lovingly restored the train station in 2013, and now it invites all comers. The Regional Transit Denver maintains rail travel to Denver International Airport.
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Enter the station and meander about. Some super romantic spots are the basement (really!) and the Cooper Lounge on the second floor. Go upstairs and see if you can find the old historic suitcases and then grab Brandy Alexander in the bar while viewing the grand hall or looking up 17t St. While at Union Station, stop through Bloom for a rose, buy your favorite romance novel at Tattered Cover and then possibly grab a plush room at the Crawford Hotel allowed us a secret peek from the second floor.
Need confirmation that your love is real? If necessary, make a quick stop through the Union Station bathrooms, then exit out back of the station toward Dagney and 15th Street. Walk toward Cherry Creek until you front the Museum of Contemporary Art. With an ode to the cynic or the toxic-;y weird romantic side of flashing lights and decorated daggers, take in the heart-shaped and well-lit contemporary art piece called Toxic Schizophrenia.
Street Art along Cherry Creek
Whether it’s night time or broad daylight, put on your romantic strolling attitude and head towards Cherry Creek. Head east along Cherry Creek, taking the ramp down from street level to walk along the Cherry Creek. Let the Creek sooth your thoughts as you promenade along the Creek toward the Convention Center, eyeing some of the gorgeous street art along the banks, including The City of Sun. At the Convention Center, take the ramps back up to the street level, and get a glance at the giant, white Dancers.
Dancers with Music!
In an interview with the artist, Jonathan Borofsky, I got some insight from him about his giant sculpture of two dancers. Although I had seen this sculpture many times, he advised me that there is audio attached to the Dancers. A bit skeptical, I approached the Dancers and then the speakers on the ground. Surprise, “Let’s Dance!” was playing in a continual loop. And why are they white? To connect Denver visitors with the white tents out at Denver International Airport!
Onward to the Blue Bear
No romantic walk downtown is complete without a chat with a big blue beer. Continue from the Dancers to the front of the Convention Center. Denverites call the giant sculpture in front of the Convention Center, “Blue Bear.” Actually, it’s “I See What You Mean”, which is a giant blue bear sculpture looking into the Performing Arts center. Why is it blue? When the artist, Lawrence Argent, presented his idea to the arts committee, he had made the bear out of blue modelling clay. The committee loved the blue bear idea and commissioned the project as it showed in the model.
Stop in the Original Love Nest of Denver, Brown Palace
Since you’re now at the top of 16th Street mall, scoot over to 17th Street and pop into the Brown Palace. If it’s debutante season or during the Stock Show, you might catch the giant chandelier with its 60,000 lights hanging in the atrium. It’s gazillion crystals are a sight to see. Stand under it and smooch your honey. Or, if it’s been taken down for the season, enjoy the Palace. If you’re adventurous, see if can find the famous underground tunnels!
Returning on 16th Street
After soaking in the Palace’s glamour, return to 16th Street and continue your walk down the mall. Find a piano and serenade your pal or the public at large. You might even want to grab a seat in the Botanic Gardens block of the mall and enjoy a beverage or a snack. If you’re enjoying the mall at night, you’ll see a light show reflected (weekends only) on the Daniels and Fisher Tower as you approach where you started the walk.
To see an interactive map of this walk, download it here. interactive map of this walk, download it here.
A Romantic Walk in Denver and Supporting Denver By Foot
If you’ve enjoyed this walk, maybe you’ll enjoy some other walks curated by Denver By Foot. Get the 52 Hikes 52 Weeks Denver Calendar, which recommends a hike a week, subscribe to the YouTube Channel to hear about weekly hiking suggestions in Denver, and buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. The Challenge is 30 activities in Denver to do by foot where you’ll uncover treasures throughout Denver. It’s a great thing to do with friends and family.
Finally, please support Denver By Foot by purchasing Chris Englert’s books, The Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Discovering Denver Parks. Thank you so much!