Not all of us are lucky enough to live in Denver, so when we do get the chance to make a pilgrimage to an Avs game, the questions of "where should I say", "where should I eat", "what else is there to do in Denver" often come up. There have been a number of posts on this site dedicated to just that, so I've decided to take some of the common suggestions and put them all in one spot.
First of all, here's a seating chart for Avalanche games. It's a bit finicky, but you can hover over a section to see a picture of what the ice will look like from that location. The locations of the Upper and Lower bowl are pretty self explanatory, and they are separated by the smaller club and box seating sections. Club level seats are squishier and have more leg room, but even the standard seats aren't all that uncomfortable and much, much less expensive. There's not a bad seat in the house - even the upper bowl has a good view of the ice.
Just for reference, the press box is up around section 343. That's pretty close to the main view you get on television, which means it's the side that gets to see the Avalanche A right-side-up. It's also right below the retired numbers, whereas the Stanley Cup banners hang above the attack twice end in front of 134 and 140. The players sit in front of Sections 102 (home) and 148 (visitor).
Here's the seating chart showing retail prices off the Avs site. Also, keep in mind that there are a number of promotions throughout the year, like "Guys Night Out" and such. Those dates can be found here.
Now, as for getting tickets....
I use FlashSeats.com to get great deals on Av's tickets and other venues. The Av's website has a link for it as well. I have been able to bid on lower bowel tickets for as low at $32.50 a ticket before and got them. I sat 7 rows up from the glass in section 102 behind the Avalanche bench. If you're willing to gamble on bidding it's awesome! They also sell the tickets at low pricing too so bidding is just an option, you can also buy them outright and then all you need to do is show the credit card you used at the front door to get inside the arena. -LisaDyan01
Most of the best ticket deals are of course going to be online. FlashSeats.com has an area for Avs games as Lisa mentioned, so with a little luck, you can end up with some great seats for cheap. Also, I know I've personally had good results from stubhub.com. You don't bid on the tickets - it's just a pay and print type deal, but the selection and price range is usually pretty good. TicketHorse.com is the Avs official seller. This means that these tickets are going to be retail price, but they also have a link to Flash Seats if you're willing to test your luck a bit more. Also, don't forget to check what deals MHH may have. There's a tab at the top of this page, but here's the link anyway.
Now, if you find yourself in Denver without tickets, don't worry. There are still some deals available.
If you are still looking for tickets when you get to the CAN, the scalpers are all outside of Brooklyns [directly south of Pepsi Center across Auraria Parkway]. Deals can be had! However, don't look desperate. Most of the scalpers all seem to be working together. I usually walk by and casually inquire as to what someone may have, then walk on around the corner. It's usually pretty easy to spot a real fan trying to unload a season ticket, vs. a pro scalper. Most games lately have tons of tickets available. If you can wait until puck-drop, you'll get the best deal. Also easy to score singles for super cheap (like $10 at puck drop). Sometimes I'll pick up a cheap upper level seat, and spend the game at the "Tuaca Chill Zone" or whatever it is called this year - it's a lower bowl bar behind the goal, and a great spot to watch the game or scout-out empty seats to poach! -tele-mon
Also, keep in mind that doors open 60 minutes prior to puck-drop.
I usually Park in Lot C because it is the easiest to get out of. Cost for Av's game is $10. -LisaDyan01
Parking at the Pepsi Center really isn't terrible. Here's a handy map of the different lots located around the building. I've always parked in one of the B lots. It's $10 and a really easy walk. They even have crossing guards to help you easily get across the busier entry/exit points in the lot itself before and after the game. It can get a little crowded right after the game lets out, but even if you just find a way to kill 30 minutes (which can easily be done in Altitude Athletics downstairs), it's a breeze to get out. If you're interested in the other lots and such, this link doesn't provide prices, but it does give directions.
There are other places available though.
I'm usually racing east on 6 to I-25 north, and take the 1st exit on Auroria Pkwy. Go right at the first light, then right at the next light, and right into the Auroria [Campus] lot. It's $7 this year, and you are two blocks from the door. Easy out, too. -tele-mon
This is always my favorite. It is 2 dollars and you can avoid ALL the hassle of traffic after the game. Its a little bit of a walk, but really not that bad. -Aph
Parking (more): This is actually where I park, $5.50, but I'm also not heading towards downtown after the game. -Guitarpick8120
Also, although I have never tried it, the Pepsi Center site mentions that Elitch Gardens (the theme park directly north of the Can) offers parking as well.
Public transportation is also an option.
If you are staying downtown just walk/take the mall ride... outside downtown the train is way easier than parking. -lane1572
The "mall ride" are the free buses that run up and down the 16th Street Mall only a couple blocks northeast of the Pepsi Center. They're fast and stop every 5 minutes or so, but I'll have more on that later.
The train would be the Denver lightrail which has a station right at the Can. This is a map of the various stations - most of them are right along I-25 to the south and pretty easy to get to from the interstate. You'll want either the E (purple) line (which is the one that runs by I-25 and is probably the easiest to get to) or C (yellow) line (Littleton/Englewood spur). Fares are $2.25 to $5 one way depending on how far you travel. More information can be found here. While I've never tried this personally, I have passed the lightrail cars while driving home on the interstate. Judging by the number of burgundy, blue and white jerseys, I'd say it's a pretty popular option. Trains come every 15 minutes or so.
Denver also has bikes for rent.
If you’re traveling any time during the warmer months of the year, Denver has a public bicycle program that is awesome. The price is $6 for a day pass to check out bikes, and they can be checked in and out at tons of different bike racks scattered across the city [there is one right outside of the Pepsi Center]. It’s super convenient for traveling around the city. One warning though: you start getting dinged with penalties if you have a bike checked out for more than 30 minutes at a time, just because they want you riding to your destination and checking the bike back in for other people to use, then checking out another bike when you’re ready to move again. Check out more info at denver.bcycle.com. -centreice
Hotels downtown are pretty much universally expensive, there are LOTS of nice ones and some cool boutique ones, but if you’re looking for something cheap Pepsi Center is RIGHT on the light rail so stay a bit outside and take the train in. -lane1572
The Pepsi Center is right next to downtown Denver, so there are a number of hotels within easy walking distance. Here's a google map version, and here's another one I found that's a little easier to read. I personally have stayed at the Sheraton on the 16th Street Mall and the Brown Palace on 17th. The Sheraton is a very large complex (22 stories I believe) and is a pretty typical hotel, but the Brown Palace is more upscale and located in a historic (and really fun shaped) building. But, like mentioned in Lane's post, the public transportation is convenient enough that you can easily save a few bucks by finding one a little further outside of the city center.
Here's a map with all the suggestions on it.
I’ve recently become a fan of the Blue Sky Grille, which is between the entrances to the CAN. The food is reasonable, but the best part is that you can start a tab and go in to the arena through its own secret back door, get your hand stamped, and come back during the game. If you get in good with a bartender, this can lower your per-drink costs significantly! Plus, you can sneak out to your car if you really want and still get back in, an option not available at the front door. If you’re lucky, you may run into players of either team, or have Julie Browman blow you a kiss in the hallway that the back entrance shares with the locker rooms. -tele-mon
Old Chicago Denver Market Street: Super close, and always reliable. But then again, if you're here, there are plenty of other places right around 16th Street tat are just as good. -Guitarpick8120
H burger, Wazee Supper Club, Tavern Downtown are all great places to eat. Denver is an awesome city for foodies.. my suggestions for special dinners are Vesta Dipping Grill and Bistro Vendome and if you’re in the mood to drop a really pretty penny (you did come all the way to Denver after all) the Capital Grille is amazing. -lane1572
Another decent place to grab a bite and drink before the game is Illegal Pete's. Within walking distance of the Can. Casual big burrito combined with a decent bar and good happy hours. This one is more of a sports bar than other similar establishments. -Bob in Boulder, seconded by Cole D Hamilton
Domo is likely my favorite Japanese restaurant in Denver. I should add that they have a fantastic garden to sit in as well as a mini Japanese museum. -lasersinyourdaycares, seconded by MalachiConstant and jd21
[About El-Chapultepec, a jazz club/burrito joint downtown]: I just loved the weird ‘one of these things is not like the other’ feel of that place. Decent jazz music with no cover, too. -Winter is Coming
Another small hidden gem is British Bulldog at 20th & Stout, not real near the Can but a short cab ride. Big time soccer bar, but they have a Pakistani section on the menu….. They have a lamb curry dish that will burn a hole in your colon….. One of my favorite things ever. -jd21
For great food, try Fogo de Chao. It’s right near the Wazee supper club. Brazilian steakhouse, go hungry. If you like meat, you will not be sorry, and if you don’t, you can pay a reduced rate and still get the salad bar, which is extensive. The chimmichurri sauce is fantastic. Just can’t rec this place enough. You’ll want to spend some time there though, so plan accordingly. -TheRed
Breakfast- The Delectable Egg on Market st. or MONAS on 15th. And right across the street is SASA, the best sushi place in the world. I lived in Orange County for 2 years and couldn’t find better sushi there. Say hi to Wayne if you do go. He’s the Chef, owner. He can tell you where your fish is from since he picks it up daily from the airport… real friendly guy. -Tyrannical
Denver has two of the best Diners around. Sams No. 3 is great in the morning or for lunch, great green chili and bloody marys (1500 Curtis St). Denver Diner is open all night and is a great stop for after hours (740 West Colfax Avenue). -AttwaterForHOF
I also have to add in the Chipotle right off the 16th Street Mall. It's a fast-food burrito chain, but they're originally from Denver and they source local and organic products. Plus, their burritos are AMAZING and reasonably priced. I go through withdrawls when I don't get them for a few months. There's a few throughout Denver (including the original one on Evans Ave.), so I'd highly recommend eating there at least once during your stay. -andidee15
Breweries, Bars, and Clubs:
The Tavern Downtown: Avs players have been known to hang out here after games... nice bar. -Guitarpick8120
Sobo 151: Great hockey atmosphere. Falling Rock: Great for beer geeks. Euclid Hall or Freshcraft: Close to the Pepsi Center and good selection of beer. [As for local beers,] anything from Dry Dock is awesome. Great Divide, Oskar Blues, Odell are all good ones and pretty easy to find. For smaller breweries check out Copper Kettle or Renegade or Wits End. All AMAZING. -Aph
If you’re as big a fan of craft beer as I am, I highly recommend Denver Beer Co if you’re in the city, andRenegade Brewery if you’re on the south side of Denver. Both have an always-updating menu of awesome local beer that can’t be found anywhere else outside of Denver. -centreice
...Find something cheap so you can spend your money on beer (Falling Rock, Cheeky Monk, Great Divide,Wynkoop) and Whiskey (Pints Pub-they also have awesome wings) -Naked Dave, with Pints Pub seconded by jd21.
I always go to Tailgates and the Trunk which is directly across the street from the Pepsi Center boxoffice and willcall area. Ask for Kristy who is a bartender there. She is a good friend of mine. It’s close by and you can walk from the bar to the Pepsi Center and back again after the game. -LisaDyan01
As for night life, always go to Market Street. -brabin
If you have some extra time before or afterwards (or just a day downtown) I like Breckenridge Brewery across the street from Coors field (good Ruben and a lot of good beer) and the Falling Rock Tap House (lots of really good beer). Also Great Divide Brewing Company is near the Buenos Ares Pizza Company. Have some empenadas, pizza then head over to the brewery. -Jibblescribbits
Things to do in Denver:
If you have a few hours to kill before the game, I highly suggest checking out the 16th Street Mall. It's a pedestrian street that runs right through the middle of the skyscrapers and has a bunch of cool little shops on either side of it. There's also a free shuttle that stops at every block and comes very frequently, so it's very easy to get around. However, despite occasional panhandler, the street performers that come out especially in the warmer months make walking worth it.
[LoDo is] where Forsberg lives when he’s in town. Tons of fun. Not terribly inexpensive. But fun. -Andy_
LoDo (Lower Downtown) is the area at the northwest end of the mall (here's their website). This is the neighborhood directly east of the Can and Denver's most historic district. While it's not exactly the cheapest place, it's worth a stop. And if you find yourself in LoDo along the Mall, you have to check out the Tattered Cover Bookstore. I think it's been rec'd by everyone on this site. It's in a really cool historic building and stocks books and magazines on just about every subject, then provides a bunch of chairs so you can curl up and read for a while. LoDo also is home to the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art.
The middle of the mall is considered the Theater District. Just to the west on Arapahoe St., you can find the Denver Preforming Arts Complex, a series of halls and theaters that house different events throughout the year. The Colorado Convention Center is there as well, and even if you don't want to attend any of the upcoming events, there's still a giant blue bear outside that is worth a look. To the north of the Mall on Glenarm Pl. is the Paramount Theater, which hosts quite a few different events. It's owned by KSE, so you can get tickets at the Pepsi Center if you're so inclined.
The southeast end of the Mall dead ends at the Colorado Capitol Building. They offer free tours (click the link for reservations), including one that goes up inside of the golden dome when it's not under restoration. Directly to the west and just behind the City and County of Denver building is the US Mint. They also offer free tours, but by reservation only.
Go to the art museum. I can spend days in there. -Stachi
To the south of the Capitol and mint is a cluster of museums. The Denver Art Museum is especially good - I highly recommend it. If you're interested in learning more about Colorado, I've heard good things about the nearby History Colorado Center, although I've not been since they remodeled it earlier this year. There are also a couple really well-restored historic Victorian mansions you can visit as well. The Byers-Evans House Museum is right by the Art Museum, and the more famous Molly Brown House (yes, the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown) just a few blocks to the east.
If you're feeling a bit more outdoorsy, Confluence Park is directly to the north of the Pepsi Center and is one of a series of parks that run along the South Platte River. The REI flagship store is also right there if you feel like doing a little shopping or checking out the climbing wall. The Downtown Aquarium is nearby as well, and even though I've not been in a while, the flash flood room is great if they still have it. And if you happen to be coming to a game in October, May, or June, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park will be open.
On top of that, if you get there early enough, the Pepsi Center itself offers tours. You have to get tickets before hand, but they'll take you down into the back hallways and nooks and crannies of the building. I went with a class a few years back, and even though they didn't let us in the Avs Locker room (you could still see it through a crack in the door), they did take us inside the hockey visitors' locker room and equipment area and let us sit in the stalls. It's easily worth the $7.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Home of Broncos Football) also offers tours that include the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies Baseball) does as well. Both are within easy walking distance of downtown and the Pepsi Center.
Greater Denver Area
Denver’s Nature and Science & the Zoo are both top notch compared to other cities. -Jibblescribbits
If you've got a bit more time to spend in Denver and don't mind driving or using public transit, there are a number of really great things to do outside of the downtown area. Just to the east of the city center is the Denver Zoo and theDenver Museum of Nature and Science. Both are incredible and very family friendly. I also know that the Zoo goes all out with Christmas lights in December, but they host a number of other events throughout the year. The Museum of Nature and Science is massive and has a really great planetarium, nature IMAX, and dinosaur collection, along with a bunch of other exhibits that are worth a look. The Denver Botanic Gardens is nearby, and Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is a bit further out.
If you are a music fan, I would head over to Red Rocks, the most famous outdoor amphitheater in the world. Its a beautiful place to see, and they have a mini museum for all the artists that have played there. I think it's worth the trip. -brabin
Red Rocks Amphitheater is a ways to the west of town, but if you can get there, do it. It's an outdoor theater built into a hillside and has excellent acoustics. It's also typically where all the big name concerts are held. Dinosaur Ridgeis close to it and is a great place to see some fossils and dino tracks.
To the north of downtown is the Denver Coliseum, the new home of the new Denver Cutthroats (Central Hockey League). The Coliseum hosts a number of other events too, including the rodeo and some of the exhibits of theNation Western Stock Show in mid-January. 1st Bank Center is even further north, but it's a KSE venue, so tickets for those events are available at TicketHorse and possibly at the Pepsi Center. Dick's Sporting Goods Park(Colorado Rapids Soccer) is another KSE venue to the northeast of downtown that offers tours, soccer, and other events.
Two of my favorite places in or around Denver are the Hammond’s Candy factory just north of downtown not too far off of the freeway and the Butterfly Pavillion in Westminster. Make sure to check both of them out if you get a chance! -burgundyRainbow
But if you just want more hockey, the Avs practice at the South Suburban Family Sports Center in Englewood, one of the southern suburbs of Denver (the link is to the google map). Practices start at 10:30 or 11 on non-game days, are free and open to the public. If you're lucky and head out to the parking lot afterwards, you may even be able to get an autograph and picture with some of the players.
Oh, and one more thing.
Things to do in Colorado:
If and when you do drive to the mountains… Take Loveland pass, instead of Eisenhower tunnel… its about a 30 minute detour in all… but there’s nothing like the view from 12,000 feet. I do this drive en route to the airport every time I leave home, just cause it’s worth it. -Tyrannical
Hockey season coincides pretty closely with ski season (who'd have thought?), and Colorado is of course known for its resorts. Here's a pretty decent website showing the different locations throughout the state and some prices. Just a word of caution though - skiing in Colorado is expensive, especially if you're traveling from Denver or have to rent equipment. The nearest area (Echo) is 35 miles away, and its lift tickets are cheap at $49 a person. Certain ski areas (like Vail and Beaver Creek) can run you $99 a person per day, and that's before lodging, transport, ski rental, and lessons (if you need them). Another thing to keep in mind is that the resort towns at the base of the slopes charge top-dollar for just about everything, including hotels and food. Don't get me wrong - skiing or snowboarding in Colorado is a blast and there are deals to be had, but it's not exactly the most budget-friendly option out there. It can get pretty crowded too, especially on weekends. If you're going to do it, aim for early in the week.
Just as a note: The weather in the mountains is EXTREMELY unpredictable and can change at any moment. Before heading up, it's always a good idea to check for road closures. No matter what time of year it is, dress for anything - sun, snow, rain, fog, and wind. Also, even if you don't typically sunburn, sunscreen is a really good idea if you'll be outside for more than 30 minutes, especially at elevations of over 7500ft. Less atmosphere means more UV radiation, and the reflection off snow and water only makes matters worse. Bring lots of water as well and try to avoid salty or highly caffeinated foods/drinks. You'll dehydrate faster up higher, and that mixed with the lack of oxygen is not a good combination. Altitude Sickeness is a real thing, and the headaches and nausea only get worse if you're dehydrated.
Great Sand Dunes NP is one of the least-visited NPs in the Lower 48, and is incredible and beautiful in all seasons. -chases3
Rocky Mountain National Park. Punch an elk in the face. -Paul X
....until the Rangers catch you. ProTip, Many fewer rangers on the West side ;) -gl avsfan
If skiing is not your cup of tea, there are other ways to get out into the mountains even in winter. Rocky Mountain National Park is about an hour and a half northwest of Denver and is open year-round. Trail Ridge Road runs through the park is the highest continuous paved road in the US, reaching a peak elevation of 12,183 ft. The Great Sand Dunes National Park is located a bit further away, around 4.5 hours south of Denver but has the highest sand dunes in North America. Pikes Peak is located right by Colorado Springs (1 to 1.5 hours south of Denver). You can either drive to the summit or ride a Cog Railroad up, but just know that it's not exactly cheap. If you decide against it,Garden of the Gods park is a good nearby alternative and is free. It's home to some massive sandstone slabs that you can climb (after you fill out a quick form at the visitors center), or just walk/jog between. West-bound I-70 itself is a beautiful drive, and all it costs is a little gas. If you happen to find yourself 3 hours into that trek, check out the Hot Springs Pool in Glenwood Springs. It's the largest hot springs pool in the world and is always warm, even when it's snowing. Further along is Colorado National Monument right outside of Grand Junction, home to some pretty amazing rock formations. If you're really committed to making a cross-state trek, be sure to see Mesa Verde down around around Cortez. It has cliff dwellings dating back to 600AD. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is also pretty cool - it's so steep and narrow that the cliff faces are almost always in shadow. If you're into canyons but not willing to make the 5.5 hour drive, check out the Royal Gorge in Canyon City. It's only 2.5 hours away from Denver and has a nice bridge that you can cross and look down 956 feet to the river below.
Nevadaville gold mines west of Central City are DIY and only slightly dangerous, but incredibly cool and lots of history/exploring with no commercialism whatsoever. Many, many times better than the tours in Idaho Springs, and only ten minutes away. If you have 4×4 and half an hour, take the "Oh-my-God" road from Idaho Springs to Nevadaville. It’s an old miner’s route that has definitely not been updated for the 21st century. -chases3
Colorado also has a really rich mining and railroad history. Idaho Springs is close to Denver (about half an hour on I-70) and has a number of gold mines that you can go down inside. Georgetown (an hour from Denver) has a pretty cool train that takes you into the back country and past some old mine shafts. Leadville (2 hours from Denver) was a mining mecca back in the day and still has some operating mines, but most are tourist attractions now. Theirmining museum is one of the best there is, and the Victorian mansions up there are incredible. It's also the highest incorporated town in the US at 10,200ft. Cripple Creek (also two hours from Denver) has it all - mines, trains, and is one of only 3 towns in the state that allows gambling and casinos (Central City and Black Hawk are the others).
Another highly recommended stop is the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder.
Pearl St. mall in Boulder – A pedestrian mall with lots of food/shopping. It’s especially fun in the summer when all the buskers show up. You can get some ice cream and watch some cool performances. -Winter is Coming
If you'd prefer to stay a little closer to home or concentrate on hockey, there's still plenty to do. Colorado has a surprising number of decent teams. The Denver Cutthroats are a brand new CHL team based at the Denver Coliseum (schedule, maybe), and the Colorado Eagles ECHL team plays at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, around 50 miles north of Denver (schedule). But if you'd really like to see some good hockey outside of the Avs, college is the way to go. The Denver University Pioneers play at Magness Arena on the DU Campus, just south of downtown Denver (schedule). Their rivals, the Colorado College Tigers, are down in Colorado Springs (50 miles south of Denver) and play at the World Arena (schedule). If you can catch a CC-DU game, it's worth it. These two teams have won a combined 9 NCAA titles since the start of Division 1 hockey in 1948 and are typically both in the tournament every year. The Air Force Academy Falcons have a pretty decent team too and appeared in the tourney last year. They play at the Cadet Ice Arena on the AFA campus (schedule). This is a military base, so the security is pretty tight, but just make sure you have your ID on you and you'll be fine. The Avs' Burgundy and White game is also typically held at this rink. USA Hockey is based out of Colorado Springs as well. It's not somewhere you can go visit (it's mostly offices), but during Olympic years, the team training events are held at the World Arena. However, the Olympic Training Center in downtown Colorado Springs is worth the trip. It's geared more to summer Olympics, but I highly recommend the tour.
Colorado is also known for its breweries. Denver has its share (including the Coors Brewery in Golden (free tour) and Stranahan's, a whiskey distillery (tour)), but Ft. Collins is the place to be. Heck, they even have the Budweiser Clydesdales there! You can tour the Anheuser-Busch brewery, but the really hot ticket in town is the New Belgium Brewery tour. Why? Free samples of their mircobrews. Just make sure to reserve a tour in advance since it's free and very popular. Also, here's a list of quite a few of the microbreweries throughout the state. Many of them are within a couple hours drive from Denver, so you'll probably be able to sample their work at the local bars.
Another note: If you're coming from a lower altitude, be warned - alcohol packs a little more punch up here because of the altitude. A good rule of thumb is to take what you can drink at sea level and cut it in half. Lots of water is also advised - between the alcohol and the dry air, dehydration is going to happen and could come back to haunt you in the morning.
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