Navigating Denver Without Driving: Your Guide to Getting Around When You’re Seeing Double

By Julia Yugel and Lisa Bongiovanni

You’ve been on your feet for hours and there’s probably one of three things racing through your mind: hunger, sleep, or more beer. Whether your focus is one, two or all three options, you need a way to get there, and after about 20 minutes at the Great American Beer Festival, driving is out of the question. Here are some great alternative modes of transportation to get around the city (or get back to the suburbs) during GABF.

 

Cabs

Bet you didn’t think of this one! You can find cabs all around Denver, and you can bet that there will be dozens parked outside of the Convention Center the nights of GABF. The prices can range, based on how far you want to go, and most cabs takes both cash and credit card for payment. If this is your planned transportation mode, plan ahead, because it can get pricey. Go with friends and share a ride, and choose to stay somewhere close to downtown to help with cost.

MetroTaxi – 303-333-3333
Yellow Cab – 303-777-7777
Freedom Cabs – 303-444-4444

Photo courtesy of infotaxi.org

Don’t want to wait for a taxi? Download the Taxi Magic app, or visit their website. This app can’t make hailing a cab any easier. You can find nearby taxi services, request a ride, get fare estimate, pay online, and then track the cab as it gets to your location. If that wasn’t enough, you can also send special directions to your driver, and turn your phone into a flag so that the driver can spot you in a crowd.

If you’re allergic to the color yellow or of plasticity, vinyl seats you can also opt for the classy black version of a cab known as Uber. It’s a little bit more expensive, but when your driver shows up in a clean Lincoln Town Car, holds the door for you and your friends, gives you a bottle of water for the ride, and there’s no hassle over cash or credit or tip, you’ll be happy you pressed “Set Pickup Location” on the app. Remember to set up your account before going out.

Photo courtesy of http://www.milehighpedicabs.com/

 

Pedi-Cycles/Cabs

These are the 3- wheeled rickshaw type bicycle carts you see carting multiple people around at speeds most bicycle riders couldn’t even imagine reaching while only pedaling their own weight. The price of these is usually fairly negotiable but is roughly $2 per block. You can flag them down if you see them riding by and tell the driver where you want to go, or you can call one of the several companies to request a ride.

Colorado Rickshaw – 720 -629-2599
Mile High Pedi Cabs – 303-733-4222

 

Light Rail

Ranging from $1.10 to $5.00 depending on how far you’re going, this is an easy option to get in an out of Denver, and is an inconsequential amount of money compared to what you paid for your ticket. Many stations have adjacent parking, but this is NOT a good idea as you will still end up driving from the station to your home after the festival and you will still be drunk.

The closest station to the Convention Center is aptly named “Theatre District/Convention Center Station” and can be accessed with the H, F, or D lines. Here’s a handy map to help you navigate the trains: Light rail map.

 

RTD Bus

Without a doubt, riding the RTD bus is the best option for long distance travel to and from the burbs. Chances are if you’re in the Denver Metro area there’s a bus stop fairly close to your location and it’s just a couple bucks depending on distance. As with the Light Rail, its NOT a good idea to park your car at the station since you will then be faced with the tempting idea to drive from the station to your home after you’ve drank probably double your body weight in 1 ounce increments.

You can use the RTD Website to plan out your trip in advance and download it to your smartphone so that future drunk you doesn’t have to bother with reading signs and navigating routes. The closest stop to the Convention Center is Market Street Station, which is just a couple minutes to walk to then get your drink on. If you venture from the Convention Center you can use the RTD App, “Denver RTD: Anystop” to find stops near you and bus schedules. Google Maps (note to IO6 users, umm, enjoy) has great public transit routing for Denver.

 

Free MallRide

The 16th Street FREE MallRide is a completely free bus that runs down 16th street (2 blocks from the Convention Center) and is great for navigating the span of fun things on the outdoor mall and getting between other helpful locations such as Union Station or the Market Street Bus Station. These buses run continuously, stopping every block on 16th street from Union station to Civic Center Station until 1:30 a.m.

 

Horse Carriages

Looking to woo the lady you met 10 minutes ago? Consider taking a horse-drawn carriage through downtown Denver. They run daily at most times, so you can arrive or leave GABF in style. The pros to this include possibly getting to pet a horse, and RIDING AROUND IN A HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE. However, think carefully before deciding on this mode. Do smells, like those of horse poop or barn animals, cause nausea when you’re drunk? Most of the carriages prefer to have reservations, so book early. You can find more information on the Downtown Denver website.

 

Bikes (B-Cycle)

While you’re more than welcome to ride your own bike and lock it up outside the festival, for out-of-towners or non-bike owning individuals, there are many many places around Denver where you can rent a bike for just $8/day. The Denver B-Cycle program has a gazillion stations around the city, two on either side of the Convention center (14th and Welton) and (14th and Champa), and over 10 within a mile of the Convention Center. Simply find a station, pay, take a bike and return the bike to any B-cycle station. Be aware that riding a bike while heavily intoxicated can be very dangerous and can actually lead to a BUI. Also, you cannot check a bike out after 11pm, so plan accordingly.

 

Walking

First check to make sure you can stand. Once you’ve checked that off the list, you can make your way to the numerous bars, restaurants, and hotels within walking distance of the Convention Center. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, and check out the Visit Denver app for things to do that are nearby for when you need a rest.

 

Photo courtesy of http://coloradocruisersinc.com/

Golf Cart Cabs

You may have seen these with giggling girls, or alcohol laden men on them driving around Denver and wondered how to use them or what they are. You simply call 303-242-9788 to reach the Colorado Cruisers, or flag them down as they drive by. You can fit six (6) people on these carts in seat belts, so you don’t have to worry about holding on (too much) as you zoom through the streets of Denver. Please note that this service is only available for Friday and Saturday of the festival AND that it is “technically” a free service (drivers work and live on tips) with an awesome mission to provide fast, cost-effective and FUN transportation in the Denver area. They also don’t tolerate frowning while riding on the cart.

 

Bribing Friends

Have some friends that don’t drink beer or did not make the cut to get a ticket? What about someone who is pregnant and can’t drink anyway? Scope it out and see what the cost would be to get them to come and pick you up. Depending on how much they like you, it might be cheaper than getting a cab. Again, consider carpooling options, as it’s cheaper for everyone and your driver gets a bigger profit for being so nice. Siblings who are under 21 but over 16 are also a fantastic option, as they generally need money and you can threaten your mom that unless they do it, you’re driving home.

 

Limo/Party Bus

Are you sitting around looking at your piles of money and wondering what you can do with it? Are you tired of swimming through them like Scrooge McDuck? Then getting a limo or party bus for GABF might be a good option. A 42 passenger party bus can cost upwards of $1,500 for a 6 hour span. Limo services can range from $75/hour to over $100/hour depending on what type of service you choose.

 

The real takeaway from this is ABSOLUTELY no driving. One night of fun is not worth the endless DUI consequences. Luckily, Denver offers a lot of alternatives to make sure that you can get where you need to go AND be responsible. Besides riding a Bull Mastiff home, what methods of transportation did we miss?

About Lisa Bongiovanni


A Colorado native with an obsession for everything Colorado, beer, booze, more beer, and of course, my dog who is obviously named after an alcoholic beverage.