What’s the best way to get from Denver Airport to downtown?

Denver International Airport (DEN) is one of America’s major airports. It opened its doors in 1995 and has received accolades and awards from various publications. In 2021, it was named “Best Large Airport” by the USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards. Denver’s airport is filled with amenities like WiFi and technology, nearly 200 shops and restaurants, and top-tier customer service, you won’t be disappointed with a layover here or flying in or out of Denver.

Whether you’ve got a long layover in Denver or visiting the city, you’ll probably want to get from Denver Airport to downtown Denver. There are many ways to get downtown from the airport, and this article will help you understand your choices for getting to Downtown Denver and enjoying all that it has to offer.

Rental car

One of the simplest and fastest ways to get to Downton Denver is to locate car rental Denver Airport and drive yourself wherever you’d like to go. Keep in mind that if you rent a car, you will have to return it and you’ll have to pay for any parking fees associated with garages, lots, or meters.

If you’re traveling with a larger group you can rent a shuttle or passenger van to ensure that everyone is comfortable and there’s enough room for everyone’s luggage.

You’ll find more than 10 major companies, and the best part is that they’re conveniently located in the airport, making pick-up and drop-off a breeze. To access the car rental center, shuttles pick up and drop off from Jeppesen Terminal at Level 5, Island 4, just outside Doors 505–513 (Terminal East) and 504–512 (Terminal West). Ask your agent if they have a sightseeing map so you can create an itinerary that gets you to all the hot spots you’re interested in exploring.

transit denver airport to get in denver center
Walking to Denver Airport Rail to get to the city center

Denver Airport Rail

Riders can pay $10 a day for transport using the Denver Airport Rail. The A Line is part of Denver’s public transport, Regional Transportation District (RTD). It has six stops, and the 23-mile ride takes about 37 minutes.

The Airport Rail runs every 15 minutes between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. and every 30 minutes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. It transports passengers between the airport and Denver Union Station at the heart of downtown. From Union Station, you’ll be able to access the other modes of public transport, including the light rail, Amtrak, and regional and local buses.

You’ll also have access to some free rides like the free 16th Street Mall shuttle and free MetroRide buses that can take you to most downtown hotels. The rail cars on the A Line have overhead luggage storage and luggage towers, and all passengers need to be able to handle their luggage.  

Ride-Share services

Ride-share services like Uber and Lyft are popular choices for getting downtown in Denver. All you need is the rideshare servicer’s app on your mobile device, and you can have a ride in no time. Drivers can usually get you downtown in about 30 minutes. Rates will vary according to the time of day and the company, and you can request the vehicle type you will need to handle your party and your amount of luggage.

You can find rideshare drivers at Level 5, Island 1, outside Doors 505, 507, and 511 (Terminal East) and Doors 506, 510, and 512 (Terminal West).

Taxi cab

Taxi drivers typically are located at Level 5, Island 1, outside Doors 505, 507, and 511 (Terminal East) and Doors 506, 510, and 512 (Terminal West). No matter the taxi company you choose, the prices are uniform. You should expect to pay a flat rate of $66 alongside a $5.03 gate fee. There is a $5 fee for each additional drop.

Taxis do not have a gate fee for travelers going into Denver International Airport, only those departing from the airport.

Other modes of ground transport

You can order a limousine or private car as well. The cost of private cars and limousines depends on the number of trips and wait time. Some companies have minimums while others offer all-inclusive rates. You’ll find limousines and private cars at Level 5, Island 2, outside Door 511 (Terminal East) and Door 506 (Terminal West). Many downtown hotels have free shuttles to and from the airport. You’ll find them at Level 5, Island 3.

downtown denver from the airport
Getting to downtown Denver from the airport

Downtown Denver

Now that you know how to get from the Denver Airport to downtown, you need to know what there is to see and do while you’re in Downtown Denver. It’s a wonderful and vibrant city that’s very walkable. You’ll find a variety of excellent adventures awaiting you once your feet hit the pavement.

If you’re a foodie, the Denver Beer Trail will delight you. You’ll have the opportunity to visit 20 of Denver’s top breweries. With so many chef-driven restaurants and craft beer breweries to explore, it will be a fun-filled flavor festival.

You’ll also find many family-friendly activities for people of all ages. Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park offers you 70 acres of big fun. It’s a 130-year-old park with fantastic rides and attractions. There are thrills and leisure around every corner to give you and your family an unforgettable day of fun.

You can also go for a round or two of mini golf at Urban Putt, visit the Downtown Aquarium, or explore the interactive Denver Firefighters Museum.

The Downtown Aquarium holds over 1 million gallons of marine exhibits including more than 500 species, and it hosts the Aquarium Restaurant, which boasts a 50,000-gallon tank as its centerpiece. There are self-guided tours that take you through the Colorado River habitat and the Indonesian River habitat.

At the Denver Firefighters Museum both children and adults will enjoy learning about Denver’s firefighters and fire safety. Because this museum is interactive, children can get involved and explore fire safety and firefighting history more engagingly.

If you’re a fan of art and culture, you’ll enjoy the many museums and theaters that adorn the city. The Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House  Museum, MCA Denver, the Colorado Ballet, and the Denver Performing Arts Complex are just a few. Shows will vary according to the time of year you’re visiting, but there’s always something amazing to see.

There’s shopping at the Denver Pavillions and lots more at many of the boutique shops spotting the city.

Don’t forget to visit Larimer Square. Here you can marvel at the Victorian architecture and shop in the boutiques that these vintage buildings house. This single picturesque city block was the absolute beginning of Denver, Colorado. In the late 1800s, Larimer Square became the city’s first block, its first commercial district, and the birthplace of Denver’s first residence and first city hall.

Depending on the time of year you choose to visit, you may find an annual event in progress. The Denver Chalk Art Festival, Denver PrideFest, Oktoberfest, and Denver Cinco de Mayo Festival are just a few of the annual festivals that occur in the city. And don’t miss the various sporting events. Ball Arena is home to the NBAs Denver Nuggets, the Denver Broncos home games play out at Empower Field at Mile High, and Coors Field is where the Colorado Rockies play baseball.

Once you leave Denver’s airport there’s a whole world of adventure awaiting you in Downtown Denver!

About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe. Creator of unique free travel guides and local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

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