courtesy Visit Denver
Published August 01, 2017
Which would your group members more likely remember: a generic city walking tour or an adrenaline-pumping scooter tour? The Guided Scooter Tour of Denver introduces groups to the Mile-High City with fast-paced motor scooters for a safe but unforgettable experience.
If your group prefers a more relaxing outing, let them discover Denver via a public-art tour or a historic-trolley tour. Both add an edge to the typical city tour, with one focused on explaining the larger-than-life downtown art and the other allowing guests to participate in a historic mode of transportation.
Other groups might want to eat their way across the city with a food tour to revel in Denver’s thriving culinary scene.
Denver offers a variety of standout city tours. Your job is to decide if your group would rather indulge their desires for thrills, art, history or food.
Guided Scooter Tour in Denver
The Vespa-style Guided Scooter Tour is a breezy, exciting way to experience Denver on two wheels, without the pedaling and sweat that comes with a bicycle tour. Your group will return smiling with wind-blown hair from this thrilling sightseeing experience.
The guided tour starts with an in-depth, one-hour tutorial with one-on-one training to make sure everyone feels confident driving the scooters. Other than the ability to ride a bicycle, no previous experience is required.
The route depends on the group, but all tours travel along Denver’s scooter-friendly streets. Tours begin at the Colorado Convention Center and proceed to several stops at Denver’s tourist locations, such as Confluence Park, the Denver Highlands, Coors Field, Denver Union Station, the Molly Brown House, the Governor’s Mansion and Washington Park, among others.
Guides emphasize the aspects of the city that interest the group, with wide-ranging focuses such as architectural features, history and oversized public art. The participants ride together as a group to each stop, pull over on the sidewalk and then spend two to 10 minutes talking about what’s interesting about each site.
The number of stops is adjusted to the ability of the group, so every tour is different. Riders will hear stories about Denver’s history, dating to 1858, with all the intriguing historic figures that led to the current modern city.
Platte Valley Trolley
At the height of the trolley operations in Denver, approximately 250 streetcars ran along more than 160 miles of track. Locals used the trams to traverse the entire city and neighboring cities. In the 1950s, the city shut down the trolley system, as the prominence of automobiles made the trolley method obsolete.
Participants can relive this piece of Denver history on the Platte Valley Trolley’s 30-minute ride along the South Platte River. Trolley operators narrate stories of the city’s past along the way. They help guests imagine the city at the beginning of the 20th century, when guests could pay 50 cents for a two-hour, 25-mile trip.
The trolley route runs by many of Denver’s top attractions, such as the Downtown Aquarium Denver and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where the Denver Broncos play. Travelers can either jump on these public routes on their own or reserve a chartered group excursion for customized 30- to 60-minute rides. All tours start at the Confluence Park behind REI, which used to be the Denver tramway powerhouse.
The 18-ton trolleys run from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Visitors can also catch the railcars during Broncos games for a traffic-free way to arrive at the stadium.
Taste of Denver Food Tours
Samplings of handmade sausage, high-quality olive oil and the city’s most popular ice cream ensure participants will enjoy a sensory-engaging experience on one of the Taste of Denver Food Tours. Delicious flavors combined with a history of the dishes, how they are prepared and how they relate to Denver’s broader culinary scene stimulate both the mind and the taste buds.
The company’s three-hour Downtown Denver Tour focuses on food, but it also gives an overview of Denver’s history, architecture and culture. Tour creators chose restaurants based not on tourist reviews but on which restaurants reflected the authentic flavors of local life.
Groups walk along Denver’s historic downtown streets and learn about the area’s recent renovations that restored the district to its former grandeur, with sites including Larimer Square, the Oxford Hotel and Union Station. Guides also give a culinary history of the city, from its humble beginnings with grittier Wild West fare to its current world-class offerings.
The Downtown Denver Food Tour stops for six tastings both savory and sweet. The restaurants vary in style with such diverse offerings as the decadent American fare of the Milk and Honey Bar Kitchen Denver and the farm-to-table dishes at Mercantile.
The tour company also offers a Boozy Bites tour for sips of Denver’s best handcrafted cocktails. Groups learn the history of cocktails, mixology secrets and the significance of each drink at five tasting locations.
The whimsical, 40-foot-tall blue bear peeking through the window of Denver’s convention center has won the hearts of many locals and visitors. One of the most-photographed pieces of Denver art, the bear illustrates the grand scale of many of Denver’s public artworks.
Thanks to the city’s 20-year-old Public Arts Program, more than 150 sculptures, murals and statues have turned the city into an outdoor gallery of sorts. Groups can admire these works on their own or on guided tours with companies like Art Hack Tours, which provides background details about notable works like the big blue bear, officially called “I See What You Mean” by Lawrence Argent.
One of the many several-stories-tall works of art is at the Denver Art Museum. An enormous art museum with several floors of art collections spanning nearly every style and era, the museum itself could take a day of touring. Outside, onlookers can easily spot “Big Sweep,” a huge broom sweeping scraps of paper into a dustpan.
Nearby, pedestrians can also gawk at the reddish steel sculpture called “Lao Tzu” and the pony atop a 21-foot-high red chair called “The Yearling.” Continuing the route, guests can stop for dining, shopping and people watching at the 16th Street Mall. Public art can be seen throughout the complex and includes a herd of brightly colored cows.
Whether groups theorize on the meaning of these pieces on their own or listen to the behind-the-scenes stories of how the works were created, the towering artwork will catch their attention.