Last week’s trip to Denver, Colorado was excellent. It was our first time in Colorado, which many people find hard to believe. In 1995, when I was dedicated to my road cycling career, my parents encouraged me to go there. It is Mecca for cyclists, but I opted to start working at Horst Engineering, and never made it to the Rockies.
Despite traveling to a lot of places over the past 15 years, we kept missing Colorado. Thankfully, the YPO-WPO Global Leadership Conference brought us to Denver. Unfortunately, we only saw the Rockies from the 22nd floor of the hotel.
We need to return. The Mile High City was a really nice city. It didn’t feel big, and the people were very friendly. We explored a bit before our meetings started. Our kids got to see a little more. They visited the Denver Children’s Museum, the Aquarium, and the Denver Firefighter’s Museum. Together, we visited REI and Rockmount Ranch Wear.
REI was huge. We have been to the flagship store in Seattle, Washington, but they also refer to the Denver store as a flagship. It rivaled London’s Harrods in sheer size. The old mill building that houses it is beautiful. There was more gear in one place than I’ve seen. L.L. Bean’s store in Freeport, Maine is big, but this one store was even bigger. Cabela’s are also big, but they are just big box stores with no character. REI had a nice climbing wall made from fake stone. It even had a play area for the kids.
There were some beautiful art museums in downtown Denver. The architecture was very cool and the public art was interesting. We didn’t have time to tour the exhibits, but we got a sense that the city has a vibrant arts culture.
The convention center was massive. There was more than 550,000 sq/ft of space. You could easily get lost in that building. A light rail station was housed inside the structure. Much of the city’s infrastructure was modern. Denver was founded as a mining town, but a couple hundred years later, it has grown into quite a metropolis.
We read that in the 1990’s, Denver gained 1,000 new residents per week. That is fast growth. The population exploded then and it continues to grow now. There were cranes all over the skyline. They are even building a new train depot and the construction site was massive. It was the best thing that our 4.5 year old son saw all week.
So, we will have to make a return trip. Next time, we will get into those hills to the west of town.