Exploring Denver International

Exploring Denver International
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Image courtesy: David Basulto
 

[title type=”h2″ class=”title_blue”]Trip Review: PointsAway In Las Vegas[/title]
Part 1: Exploring Denver International
Part 2: Coworking Paradise: The New Gold Spike Las Vegas
Part 3: McCarran’s Best Secret: The American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS
Part 4: Flying Frontier: Cheapest Award to Vegas?

Inside Denver International

I’ve flown through DIA (airport code: DEN) in the past, but never had a long enough layover to explore. What I found was an airport with much to like, a few tricks and some truly beautiful sights along the way!

Denver International has three concourses in total, but be certain to note that concourse is the key word here. I made the rookie mistake of boarding the underground tram and following directions to Terminal. Upon exiting, I found myself outside of security. Thankfully, with plenty of time before my next flight, I was happy to have the chance to explore the main terminal before heading back inside security.

DIA is immediately recognizable by its fabric roof, which evokes a series of circus or fair tents joined together for an occasion. From the inside, the effect is fairly impressive:

A number of shops, restaurants and kiosks line the outer rim of the Terminal, with security taking up the majority of inside space. However, if you’re flying out of Concourse A, there’s a much better option available than wrestling your way through the crowd! A set of stairs opposite the main security checkpoint leads to a bridge to Terminal A with a smaller, faster security checkpoint line. On your way, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the mountains and runways and perhaps even walk above a taxiing plane! This bridge is the only one of its kind in North America affording such a view.

Each Concourse is home to a unique art installation, making them easily identifiable along the way. One concourse, for example, hosts this private jet that once belonged to the CEO of Cablevision and held the record for fastest round-the-world flight in the late 1990s:

Another hosts this impressive installation celebrating Denver’s heritage of railways:

If you’re looking for a good food option at DIA, the great news is there appear to be many. Personally, I chose to try Timberline Steaks and Grille in Concourse B. I had the nachos and a caesar salad with steak tips, both of which were surprisingly excellent. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something better than fast food but not overpriced.

If you’re looking for something on the high-end, the Denver ChopHouse in Concourse A or Lounge 5280 in Concourse B are good options. New Belgium Hub in Concourse B looks like a good choice for pub fare and a good craft beer, as well.

Generally speaking the better food is to be found in Concourses B and C, so don’t be afraid to hop on the tram in search of something yummy while waiting on your flight. DIA was recently ranked the #1 Airport for Healthful Food Options, so no matter where you eat outside of the fast food kiosks in the food court, you’re likely to find something good and good for you.

If you’re looking for a gift to bring home, DIA hosts a number of gift shops that sell trinkets and souvenirs fashioned after the spirit of the American West and American Indians. Spirit of the Red Horse in Terminal A, for example, has a nice selection of goodies to bring home.

Finally, if you need somewhere to rest, recharge your electronics or simply get away from the crush of people congregating near the gates, head upstairs. Each concourse features a second floor that’s largely unpopulated and has plenty of room to spread out, as well as ample power outlets to give your gadgets a boost. If you can fall asleep on the floor during a long layover, there’s certainly enough room to do so up top, as well.

I like DIA. While its layout was initially a bit confusing to me compared to airports I more typically fly through, it quickly came together. Less busy than other hubs, it’s a modern architectural beauty with enough ways to pass a few hours without getting too bored along the way.

Have you flown through DIA recently? What are your favorite stops in this airport if so? Let us know in the comments?

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About PointsAway
Casey Ayers is a consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for travel. After amassing enough miles and points to travel anywhere in the world for almost free in less than six months, he developed PointsAway as a way to help others make travel dreams big and small come true.
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