Welcome to Denver!
You’ll probably hear these words as you fly into our Mile High City and ride the tram from terminals at Denver International Airport. The words spoken by Mayor Michael Hancock are a genuine reflection of the spirit that makes up this wonderful city. We hope you have a great time as you visit the GFOA Conference, and that you enjoy a fun cultural experience being in the heart of the Rocky Mountain region. So don’t lock yourself away in your hotel room—explore! There’s a lot of friendly adventure that awaits, should you make room in your schedule.
Before you start your visit, though, be aware of the symptoms and remedies of Altitude Sickness. Check out our free Infographic to make sure your visit remains safe and fun.
Otherwise, slip on your walking shoes and have a fun look around:
THE FEDERAL RESERVE MONEY MUSEUM (DENVER MINT)
Not just for the coin collectors among us, the Federal Reserve is open to the public four days a week. They conduct tours that last about 45 minutes and run from 8:00 to 3:30 Mountain time. This mint is responsible for producing over 10 billion coins a year. If you take out your pocket change and see a capital D stamped on the Heads side of the coin, you’ll know it was minted in Denver.
And here’s a quirky bit of trivia. The Denver mint is the one mint in the US system of four locations that’s ever been robbed. This happened in 1922 when about $200,000 worth of coins were stolen in a shoot-out. While one robber was killed in the escapade, and $80,000 worth of coins were recovered in Minnesota, the rest remain a mystery.
If you want to visit, the Mint is a short walk from the Convention Center to Cherokee Street between Colfax and West 14th Avenue. Tip here is to go to the ticket window as close to 7:00am as possible, Monday thru Thursday. While tickets are free, they go fast, and with 5,000 plus GFOA conference attendees, you may face a little competition to see this museum.
STATE CAPITAL & CIVIC PARK
Gold! That’s right. The State Capital building’s dome is covered in real gold, mined here in the Rocky Mountains, and forged in Italy to create the authentic gleam of golden hopes. In fact, this look was adopted specifically to commemorate the gold rush of the 1860s and the brave (or crazy) folk that forged west in the hopes of striking it rich. The dome was originally covered in copper, but oxidization led to the more precious metal being applied in 1908. The newest application of the gold leaf came in 2013, so you have every opportunity to see it at its finest. If you visit the capital building be sure to walk up the steps on the west side. There is a marker where you will see that you are precisely one mile high. Tours of the capitol are offered 10:00 – 3:00 Monday through Friday. Book a tour of the Capital
And if you stroll across Lincoln Avenue into Civic Park you will be standing in a place surrounded by immense cultural opportunities – just steps from the Denver Public Library, the Denver Art Museum (affectionately referred to as DAM), government buildings and scenes of the civic life in our city. Civic Center
THE PERFORMING ARTS COMPLEX
Denver has a big commitment to the arts, from galleries up and down Broadway to a lively fiction writing community to the performing arts. And right next door to the Convention center, you can step a world away to enjoy a variety of theatre experiences. The Performing Arts Complex (the Plex) boasts 10 theatres with a multitude of shows going on all year. Here’s a list of what’s playing during the GFOA conference:
- Through May 21 – Travelers of the Lost Dimension – Stanley Marketplace (360 degree experience)
- Through May 28 – The Secret Garden – Stage Theater
- Through May 21 – The Illusionists- Live From Broadway – The Ellie
- Through May 22 – The Last Five Years in Concert – Seawell Ballroom
- So, if you’re looking for more live entertainment than the lectures and workshops of the conference, check out the Performing Arts Center: Performing Arts Shows
DENVER SCAVENGER HUNT
My friend and I love a good mystery and with the help of a few good companies, you can enjoy being your own city sleuth while visiting Denver. Learn history, see interesting sights, challenge your friends. Here are a couple of sites to check out the opportunity to have some educational fun: Denver Scavenger Hunt Tour, or Denver Scavenger Hunt II.
Good luck, and good fun!
STROLL DOWN COLFAX
Want to say that you’ve been walking on the “longest, wickedest street in America?” You’ll find that street right here in Denver. Colfax Avenue, named after Ulyses S. Grant’s Vice President, Schuyler Colfax, has also been called the Golden road, the longest commercial street in the United States, and “home” to many westward bound dreamers and travelers.
For over 26 miles, you can experience the liveliness of all sorts of Denverites. The street is filled with mom & pop stores, diners, good, bad, and ugly of Denver all at once. This is the one street where caution is recommended when traveling. Take off your conference badge, keep your wallets safe, and travel with a group.
And if you want a real ‘local’s look” at the street, you might check out Crossing Colfax: Short Stories by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Book on Amazon . Published in 2014, this is a collection of a wide range of story genres, the only requirement being they have something to do with Hugh Hefner’s wickedest street.
And if this isn’t enough, stop by booth #814 at the GFOA conference. We’ll be happy to chat with you about other local things to see and do as well as talking through your accounting software needs.