Since RTD began building out Denver’s light rail and commuter rail lines, people have both praised and criticized them. While Denver has one of the more expansive transit systems in the United States, metro Denver is also one of the more expansive urbanized areas, meaning that wide swaths of the Mile High City and surrounding suburbs still lack rail travel. With parking structures at nearly every station outside of the downtown area and many stations built along freeways, it seems that the goal of RTD was simply to bring commuters downtown in the morning and take them home again in the evening.
Despite this, many of the stations have become vital urban centers with apartments, restaurants, offices, and shops popping up all around them. While you still can’t take the train to Cherry Creek or Highland, there are plenty of options for dining and shopping along the 100 plus miles of rail lines throughout the Denver metro area. This is the first post in a short series of posts which will look at dining, drinking, shopping, and entertainment options along Denver’s train lines. Here are a few attractions within walking distance (half a mile) of each station which you might not have known about.
A Commuter Rail Line
Union Station to Denver International Airport. 23 miles, 8 stations. Service offered every 15 minutes during peak hours.
Union Station could be its own post, and for the most part, everyone in the city already knows what is there, therefore I have left it off of this list.
38th and Blake Station
This station opened Spring of 2016 along with the rest of the stations on the A Line. Aside from Union Station, this was perhaps the one station serving an already established neighborhood with attractions within walking distance. A new pedestrian bridge is being planned at 35th/36th Avenues which will make access to some locations even easier.
Hop Alley, 3500 Larimer Street. Modern Chinese restaurant, rated as Denver’s Best Restaurant in 2016 by 5280 Magazine.
Acorn (In The Source), 3350 Brighton Boulevard. Contemporary American Bar and Grill, rated as Denver’s Best Restaurant in 2015 by 5280 Magazine.
Walnut Room, 3131 Walnut Street (and admittedly .52 miles away from the station), pizza, beer, and music on select nights.
Mockery Brewing, 3501 Delgany Street. Self-proclaimed makers of “damn good beers.”
Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer Street. Urban Winery using grapes sourced mainly from Western Colorado.
The Urban Cyclist, 3434 Brighton Boulevard B. Urban bike shop offering ready to ride selections, accessories, and custom builds.
RiNoVELO Bicycle Workshop, 3525 Walnut Street. Urban bike shop specializing in custom bicycles built from repurposed vintage and new factory parts.
Plinth Gallery, 3520 Brighton Boulevard. Art studio featuring contemporary ceramics.
Ironton Studios and Gallery, 3636 Chestnut Place. Gallery and studio space for nearly twenty different artists from different styles.
Relax in Globeville Landing Park at 38th Street and Arkins Court.
40th and Colorado
Subway, Carl’s Jr., KT’s BBQ and Catering, and Starbucks, all located around 40th and Colorado (The intersection, not the station. They are about 1/3 of a mile apart.) Burger King and Wendy’s are at Steele Street and I-70.
Central Park Station
Buffalo Wild Wings, 7607 East 36th Avenue
Um….Walmart. Seriously, it’s nearly the only store within a half a mile of Central Park Station.
Several fast food restaurants on Peoria
THC Medical and Recreational, 12005 East 37th Avenue.
40th and Airport Boulevard
No services within a half a mile, but there are several fast food and fast casual restaurants just a little further past the half mile mark both East and West on 40th Avenue. There are also a number of big box stores about a mile away at Salida and Tower.
61st and Pena
Moonlight Diner, 6250 Tower Road. Classic American diner built in Florida in the 40s and moved to Denver in the 80s. A plaque on the wall proudly displays their 1999 Westword’s Best of Denver-Chicken Fried Steak Award. About .6 miles away.
Moonlight Diner, 6250 Tower Road. They offer beer and a happy hour.
Denver Airport Station
Any number of restaurants inside DIA The restaurants inside were just voted as the best airport food in the country.
One of the three hotel restaurants inside the Westin Denver International Airport.
Cru Food and Wine Bar, located inside concourse B.
New Belgium Hub, located inside concourse B.
Boulder Beer Tap Room, located inside Jeppesen Terminal West. Enjoy a drink without having to clear security.
The art inside Denver International Airport was rated as the best airport art in the nation in 2013.
Take an international vacation to Belize. Southwest just added a seasonal flight which started earlier this month.
The A-line is about to turn one year old, and it will take time for development to occur around stations. While there are still a number of stations which are isolated from restaurants, shops, and public spaces, development plans are in place for many of the stations to turn them into thriving economic centers and provide options for transit riders. In the meantime, here is a map of the A-line stations and all of the above locations.