If you’re headed to Colorado, this winter, you’ll be in good company: Texans love packing off to our favorite northern neighbor for wintertime fun. And why not? It’s a quick direct flight from DFW.
How about a combo Colorado vacay — spending a few days enjoying downtown Denver, then taking the Ski Train for more fun and excitement on the slopes in Winter Park?
With the train linking Denver International Airport to Union Station, it costs less than $12 and takes less than 40 minutes to get to the center of Denver.
The Airport Train delivers you steps away from Denver’s historic Union Station. Often called Denver’s Living Room, the renovated 1914 Beaux-Arts Train Station is a must-see. Hang out in the gorgeous lobby with soaring 65-foot ceilings and admire the historical details of the working train station. It’s warm and cozy inside, with several restaurants and bars for food and libations. And you won’t need a car to get to Lower Downtown (or “LoDo,” as the locals call it), which is walkable or convenient using a shared ride service or a cab.
Denver in winter has a bustling scene filled with fun activities. It’s a hit destination for both outdoor adventurers and culture seekers. Plus, there are heaps of indoor happenings when it’s just too cold to be outside.
Where to stay?
Two of my favorite places are steps from where you depart the train. The first is the Crawford Hotel, right in Union Station. Perched above the iconic Great Hall, the hotel creates a luxurious oasis within a storied landmark captivating the magic of train travel and the Victoria era. The Great Hall is the hotel lobby and main entrance, serving double duty as a waiting room for rail passengers.
Another option is the nearby Oxford Hotel. The elegant hotel dates back to 1891. In bustling Downtown, step through those doors into a comfy cozy lobby with a roaring fireplace. It might be hard to pull yourself away.
Looking for the best of Denver’s winter activities? Here are a few non-ski activities bound to delight any Denver visitor during the winter months.
Perfect your skills at Skyline Park Ice Skating Rink. Weather permitting, this Downtown Denver rink is open every day from November to February. Skate rentals are available for a small fee. Otherwise, skating is free for all.
Other great experiences include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The museum lets you explore the cosmos, uncover gems and minerals, and get close to a T-Rex.
Then there’s Meow Wolf Convergence Station, an unforgettable, transformational, and not-to-be-missed experience. Discover immersive mind-bending art as you take a journey of discovery into a surreal science-fictional epic.
The 16th Street Mall is a pedestrian-friendly tree-lined promenade designed by famed architect I.M. Pei. Grab a bite, shop, or engage in people-watching.
Afterward, head over to the charming Larimer Square with its historic Victorian-style buildings; it’s fun to walk and pop into shops as you check out the terrific restaurants under twinkling lights. Visit the Green Russell Speakeasy for handcrafted cocktails — a perfect place to unwind after a day in LoDo.
Downtown Denver and the mountain slopes are yours to enjoy
It can be tricky, cumbersome, and slow to drive yourself to the mountains rom Denver, and rental cars can be expensive. An alternative is riding the Ski Train that departs from Union Station seasonally on weekends. It’s a beautiful ride to Winter Park Resort, one of the state’s most popular and family-friendly ski resorts.
While in Winter Park, live on the wild side and experience the exhilaration of tubing. Feel like a kid as you slide down the mountain with the wind in your face and joy in your heart.
The Ski Train ties together the area’s rich skiing and railroad history, carrying passengers through some of Colorado’s most beautiful landscapes. The double-decker Amtrak Superliner leaves Union Station and heads north and west as it climbs toward the Rocky Mountains, offering scenic mountain views. Service runs early January through early April 2023.
While the Mile High City is fantastic all year, it sparkles during winter. With the mountain-bound Ski Train from Denver, this combo-Colorado winter adventure works for the entire family.