Discovering Denver

It was a warm and sunny Sunday morning and traffic around Denver, Colorado, was light; one of the main reasons we chose a Sunday to explore downtown Denver.  We didn’t have any real set schedule in mind, just a desire to meander around the city.

Cathedral BasilicaEven though we’ve called Colorado home for nearly twenty years, doesn’t mean we’ve spent much time in Denver.  As a matter of fact, we’ve spent very little time in this lovely city.

Having lived a two-hour drive south of Denver, traffic conditions and a firm schedule always kept us from slowly exploring this city.  It was always hurry up, tend to business, and get back on the road before rush hour traffic or before the weather turns for the worse making traffic that much more challenging.  Yep, always in a hurry.

The beauty of staying camped in one location for a while is we get to slow things down.  If the skies are threatening to let loose, we can stay put in our cozy little RV and move the plans to the next day.  Fortunately, Colorado offers up plenty of gorgeous sunshine and thus opportunity to explore.  With our home parked only a twenty minute drive from downtown Denver, we have no excuse not to explore this city in a leisurely manner.REI flagship store

After reviewing my trusty little book – Moon Colorado (Moon Handbooks)I chose REI to be the first stop of the day. The REI Denver Flagship store can be easily seen from Interstate 25 and is located across from Confluence Park where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte River.  The 90,000 square foot building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.REI flagship store Denver

REI flaship store
REI flagship store

The building was once home to the Denver Tramway Powerhouse.  The Denver Tramway Company built electric streetcar lines in Denver.  The Denver Tramway Powerhouse was built-in 1901 to house boilers and engines used to generate electricity for the rail system.outdoor recreation in Colorado

As the automobile gained popularity, electric rail lines were removed from the streets of Denver and the Denver Tramway Powerhouse was closed in 1950.  The building was then used as a warehouse and later as a museum.  In 1998 REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) purchased the building and after an extensive renovation the store opened to the public in 2000.REI Denver The REI Denver Flagship Store includes bike trails, a 45 foot tall indoor climbing wall, outdoor climbing features, and outdoor trails that wind through native plants and water features.  On the main floor there’s a huge Starbucks with indoor and outdoor seating and the third floor offers a cute jungle gym to entertain kids.  And let’s not forget about all the great products an outdoor enthusiast could ask for.REII would not normally classify a store on a sightseeing list, but this REI is an exception.  Al and I found ourselves meandering around the REI store; inside and outside, for a couple of hours.REI

views to admire!

While I was admiring the architecture, Al was admiring the views.

Yep, I’d say this REI has something for everyone and is a must see stop for anyone visiting Denver, Colorado.

And on another note ….. It’s obvious Coloradans love their outdoor activities.  The Rocky Mountains offer a beautiful backdrop to the city of Denver and are a short drive away offering endless recreational possibilities.  Colorado also offers plenty of festivals, 5K’s, professional sporting events, concerts, and abundant breweries to entertain just about anyone’s interest.

But above all are the folks that love living in Colorado and appreciate all that it has to offer.  That said, these folks discovered a unique way to commute to work.  Instead of bike to work day, they’ve come up with Tube to work day. (be sure and click on the blue link for more photos and a video)  How funny is this?  Hope those suits were machine washable!REI
TETON Sports Trailrunner 2.0 Hydration Backpack w/ Bladder (16.5″x 10.5″x .7″, Black)