Monday, September 11, 2017

How to Be a New York Soccer Fan In Colorado -- 2017 Edition

The New York Red Bulls do not visit the Denver area to play the Colorado Rapids this season, but New York City FC do, this coming Saturday.

Before You Go. The Denver Post is predicting the high 70s for the weekend afternoons, but low 50s for the evenings. You may need to bring a jacket. But it doesn't look like there will be rain.

Denver is in the Mountain Time Zone, so you'll be 2 hours behind New York time. And there's a reason it's called the Mile High City: The elevation means the air will be thinner. Although the Rocky Mountain region is renowned for outdoor recreation, if you're not used to it, try not to exert yourself too much. Cheering at a sporting event shouldn't bother you too much, but even if the weather is good, don't go rock-climbing or any other such activity unless you've done it before and know what you're doing.

Tickets. The Rapids averaged 15,657 fans per home game last season, dead last in MLS, although it was about 86 percent of capacity, ranking them 13th out of 20. This season, they've actually dropped to 15,435, although that's not last, as Dallas and Columbus are averaging fewer. Tickets might not be hard to get.

Visiting supporters are assigned Section 100 and 101 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, in the stadium's northeast corner. Tickets are $32.

Getting There. It's 1,779 miles from Times Square in New York to downtown Denver, and 1,760 miles from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. You're probably thinking that you should be flying.

Usually, flights from New York to Denver International Airport (opened in 1995, replacing the former airport named for 1923-47 Mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton) are cheap. Not this time: It'll set you back over $1,100, about twice what it usually costs.

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited leaves Penn Station at 3:40 PM Thursday, arrives at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Frisday (that's Central Time). The California Zephyr leaves Chicago at 2:00 PM Friday and arrives at Denver's Union Station at 7:15 AM (Mountain Time) Saturday. The return trip would leave Denver at 7:10 PM Sunday, arrive in Chicago at 2:50 PM Monday, leave Chicago at 9:30 PM Monday, and get back to New York at 6:35 PM Tuesday. The round-trip fare is $458.

Union Station is at 1700 Wynkoop Street at 17th Street, which would be great if you were going to a Rockies game, as it's just 3 blocks from Coors Field. The front of the building is topped by a clock, framed by an old sign saying UNION STATION on top and TRAVEL by TRAIN on the bottom.
Greyhound allows you to leave Port Authority Bus Terminal at 4:00 PM Wednesday, and arrive at Denver at 10:50 AM on Saturday, a trip of just under 45 hours, without having to change buses. That 44:50 does, however, include layovers of 40 minutes in Philadelphia, an hour and a half in Pittsburgh, an hour in Columbus, an hour in Indianapolis, 2 hours in St. Louis, and and hour and a half in Kansas City; plus half-hour meal stops in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kansas and Colorado.

Round-trip fare is $502 -- more expensive than the train, which is better -- but you can get it for $412 on advanced-purchase. You can get a bus back at 7:10 PM Sunday and be back in New York at 3:50 PM Tuesday. The Denver Bus Center is at 1055 19th Street.

If you actually think it's worth it to drive, get someone to go with you, so you'll have someone to talk to, and one of you can drive while the other sleeps. You'll be taking Interstate 80 most of the way, through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, before taking Interstate 76 from Nebraska to Colorado, and then Interstate 25 into Denver. (An alternate route: Take the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes to Interstate 70 and then I-70 through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado into downtown Denver. It won't save you an appreciable amount of time over the I-80 route, though.)

If you do it right, you should spend about an hour and a half in New Jersey, 5 hours and 15 minutes in Pennsylvania, 4 hours in Ohio, 2 hours and 30 minutes in Indiana, 2 hours and 45 minutes in Illinois, 5 hours and 15 minutes in Iowa, 6 hours in Nebraska, and 3 hours and 15 minutes in Colorado. Including rest stops, and accounting for traffic (you'll be bypassing Cleveland and Chicago, unless that's where you want to make rest stops), we're talking about a 40-hour trip.

Get a hotel and spend a night. You'll be exhausted otherwise. Trust me, I know: Trains and buses are not good ways to get sleep.

Once In the City. Founded in 1858 as a gold rush city, and named for James W. Denver, then Governor of the Kansas Territory, from which Colorado was separated, Denver is a State capital and a city of 700,000 people, in a metro area of 3.4 million -- roughly the population of Brooklyn and Staten Island combined. It's easily the biggest city in, and thus the unofficial cultural capital of, the Rocky Mountain region.
The State House

Broadway is the main north-south drag, separating East addresses from West. But the northwestern quadrant of the street grid is at roughly a 45-degree angle from the rest of the city, and this area includes the central business district, Union Station and the ballpark.

The sales tax in the State of Colorado is 2.9 percent, however, the City of Denver adds a 3.62 percent sales tax, for a total of 6.52 percent. ZIP Codes in Colorado start with the digits 80 and 81, with the Denver area running from 800 to 810. The Area Code for Denver is 303, with 720 overlaid.

The Denver Post is a good paper, but don't bother looking for the Rocky Mountain News: It went out of business in 2009. Bus and light rail service in Denver is run by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), and goes for $2.25 for a single ride, and $6.75 for a DayPass. Denver switched from tokens to farecards in 2013.
Don't worry, the weather isn't forecast to look like this during your visit.
I chose this picture for the look of the train, not for the snow and wet streets.

Going In. The Denver area's Major League Soccer team was named the Colorado Rapids, for the State's "rushing rivers," suggesting that the team would be "fast" and "free-flowing." They play at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, about 8 miles northeast of downtown. It is distinctive because of its paneled triangular roof.
The official address is 6000 Victory Way. If you're going in by public transportation from downtown Denver, Number 48 bus to 60th Avenue & Dahlia Street, then Number 88 bus to 60th & Monaco. Then they make you walk 10 blocks on 60th to get to the stadium.

If you're driving in, parking is free! Yes, free: According to the team website...

For Colorado Rapids home games, the parking fee is already included in the price of each Rapids ticket, so no additional parking fees are required when arriving at the stadium for Rapids games. Parking attendants will be on site for directional purposes only.

Visiting Supporters have a specific tailgating location. This location is located between Lot BB and the West side of field 19. At this location you will be able to park and set up on the sidewalk while utilizing the restrooms located just north of your location.

Visiting Supporters are encouraged to meet at gate "A" 30 minutes prior to kick. During this time Argus Security will scan tickets and approve above cheering items.

Some fans call Dick's Sporting Goods Park by its initials: "DSG Park" or "DSGP." Better than its other nickname, "The Dick." It opened in 2007. The field is natural grass, and is aligned north-to-south. The West Stand is known as the Western Ridge. The East Stand is known as The Range.

The U.S. national team has played there 3 times: A 2-0 win over Guatemala in a World Cup Qualifier on November 19, 2008; a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in a World Cup Qualifier on March 22, 2013; and a 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in a World Cup Qualifier this past June 8. The Costa Rica game was The Snow Classico, where snow fell throughout. The Ticos complained about the weather, but since when have we complained about the heat and humidity when we play in Costa Rica?

The women's team has played there 3 times, all in friendlies: A 2008 win over Brazil, a 2012 win over Australia, and a 2016 draw with Japan. It's also hosted football, rugby, lacrosse and concerts. It hosted the 2007 MLS All-Star Game, and the MLS All-Stars defeated Glasgow side Celtic.
It's also hosted football, rugby, lacrosse and concerts. The band Phish always spends Labor Day weekend there.

Food. Being a "Wild West" city, you might expect Denver to have Western-themed stands with "real American food" at its stadiums and arenas. Being in a State with a Spanish name, in a land that used to belong to Mexico, you might also expect to have Mexican food. And you would be right on both counts.

There are 9 separate concession stands around the stadium, including a food court at the South End, called The Cantina. and another at the North End, called The Canyon. There's also a Picnic/Party Area outside at the northwest corner, similar to The Bullevard outside the west entrance to Red Bull Arena.

Team History Displays. The Rapids won the MLS Cup in 2010 (and, as a result, wear a star on their club badge). The sign honoring this is behind one of the goals. They were also Finalists in 1997, and were also defeated Finalists for the U.S. Open Cup in 1999.
The Rapids Gallery of Honor is on the West Stand, and serves as a team hall of fame. However, their numbers are not retired:

* Defender Marcelo Balboa, Number 17, was an original Rapid from 1996 to 2001, and a member of the 1990, '94 and '98 U.S. World Cup teams.

* Midfielder Paul Bravo, Number 9, played with the Rapids from 1997 to 2001, was an assistant coach the next 2 years, and since 2009 has been the club's technical director, partly responsible for building the 2010 MLS Cup win. He and Balboa were the 1st 2 players honored, in 2003.

* Midfielder Chris Henderson, Number 19, was an original Rapid, playing from 1996 to 2005, and closed his career with the Red Bulls in 2006. He represented the U.S. at the 1990 World Cup, the 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup (winning it), and the 1992 Olympics.

* Scottish forward John Spencer (the only 1 of the 5 honorees not trained in the U.S.), Number 7, was a Rapid from 2001 to 2004.

* And Argentina-born, Arizona-raised midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, Number 25, starred for the club from 2002 to 2013, including the Cup win. He was their manager from 2014 until last month. He helped the U.S. win the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2002, 2005 and 2007, and was on the 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads.
From left: Balboa, Bravo, Henderson and Spencer.

Since the 2005 inception of their arch-rivals, Real Salt Lake, the Rapids and Real have competed for the Rocky Mountain Cup. Counting this season, Real have won it 9 times, the Rapids 4.
The Rocky Mountain Cup

Stuff. The Rapids' Team Store is on the West Stand, behind Section 127. In addition, Altitude Athletics has a store located in the Grand Atrium at the Pepsi Center arena's west end. It sells merchandise for the Rapids, as well as the teams that call the arena home: The NHL's Colorado Avalanche, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, and the Arena Football League's Colorado Mammoths. These stores may sell cowboy hats with team logos on them, to tie in with the State's Western heritage.

Despite being a charter MLS franchise having celebrated its 20th Anniversary, and with a title to their credit, the Rapids have no books or team videos telling their official (or even unofficial) story, not even for the 2010 MLS Cup win. Maybe on their 25th, they'll produce them.

During the Game. Coloradans love their sports, but they're not known as antagonistic. Although the Jets came within a half of derailing a Bronco Super Bowl in 1999 (1998 season), and the Devils came within a game of short-circuiting their Stanley Cup run in 2001, the people of the Centennial State don't have an ingrained hatred of New Yorkers, despite the 2006 brawl between the Knicks and the Nuggets at Madison Square Garden.

Rapids fans will be fine, especially seeing as how the Red Bulls and NYCFC aren't regional rivals Real Salt Lake or Sporting Kansas City, or the L.A. Galaxy. As long as you don't wear Kansas City Chiefs or Oakland Raiders gear, you'll probably be completely safe. (But, as always, watch out for obnoxious drunks, who know no State Lines.)

Three separate supporters groups -- the Pid Army, Class VI and the Bulldog Supporters Group -- united in 2013 to form a single Rapids' supporters group, Centennial 38, named for Colorado's entry into the Union as the 38th State in the Centennial year of 1876. They sit in the South End, and are known for their Colorado State Flags and their graffiti-inspired tifo.
Like Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, they have adapted "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and sing, "Glory, Glory, Colorado!" And like many an English team, they've adapted Doris Day's "Que Sera Sera" to taunt their rivals:

When I was just a little boy
I asked my mother what will I be?
Will I be Rapids
or be Salt Lake
Here's what she said to me:

Wash out your mouth, my son
and go get your father's gun
and shoot the Salt Lake Scum
shoot the Salt Lake Scum

Admittedly, in poor taste, considering both the Columbine and Aurora movie theater massacres have happened since the Rapids' founding. Then again, even after the Sandy Hook Massacre, not that far from New York, Red Bulls fans still sing Cock Sparrer's, "Take 'em all, take 'em all, line 'em up against a wall and shoot 'em!" So who are we to talk?

Here's one I like, another adaptation of an English hooligan song, to the tune of "Seasons In the Sun" by Terry Jacks:

We had joy, we had fun
we had Salt Lake on the run
but the joy didn't last
'cause the bastards ran too fast!

And they've adapted another English standby, "Ten Men Went to Mow (Went to Mow a Meadow)":

One man went to war! (War!)
Went to war with Salt Lake! (Scum!)
One man and his baseball bat
went to war with Salt Lake!

It's all in good fun. There is no record of a brawl between Colorado and Salt Lake supporters -- which is no longer the case between the Red Bulls and any of their regional rivals, thanks to the idiots at Man City NYC.

The Rapids do not have a regular National Anthem singer, instead accepting auditions. They have not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 mascots, all representatives of animals naturally found in the adjoining Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge: Edson the Eagle (named for Edson Arantes do Nascimento, a.k.a. Pelé, and wearing the great man's Number 10), Marco Van Bison (named for Marco Van Basten and wearing his Number 9), Franz the Fox (named for Franz Beckenbauer and wearing his Number 5), and Jorge El Mapache, a raccoon wearing a Number 1 goalkeeper's shirt.
Top, left to right: Jorge El Mapache, Edson the Eagle, Marco Van Bison.
Bottom: Franz the Fox.

After the Game. As long as you don't antagonize anyone, you should be safe. To be sure, the Rapids state on their website, "After the game, visiting supporters are encouraged to stay in their seats until the bowl clears out. Once the bowl is cleared out please exit the stadium via gate 'A.'"

If you're looking for a place to get a postgame meal, you'll have to get back downtown: Commerce City is mostly residential, and there's no restaurants or bars within walking distance of the stadium. The Rapids are one of several MLS teams that fell into the stereotype trap that American soccer fans are suburbanites, and thus made the same mistake that teams in our other sports made in the 1950s, '60s and '70s: They abandoned the city for the suburbs, and watched their attendance rise at first, then plateau, and finally rise again after building downtown stadiums/arenas. Considering how expensive it is to build stadiums now, don't expect a new, more convenient stadium for the Rapids anytime soon.

Denver has had crime issues, and just 3 blocks from Coors Field is Larimer Street, immortalized as a dingy, bohemian-tinged, hobo-strewn street in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road. But that scene was written in 1947. oDo (Lower Downtown) has become, with the building of Coors Field and the revitalization of Union Station, a sort of mountain Wrigleyville, and thus the go-to area for Denver nightlife. So you'll probably be safe.

LoDo is loaded with bars that will be open after the game, including Scruffy Murphy's at Larimer & 20th, and an outlet of the Fado Irish Pub chain at Wynkoop & 19th. The Sports Column, at 1930 Blake Street, 2 blocks from the ballpark, was rated as the best sports bar in Colorado in a recent Thrillist article. The only baseball-named place I can find anywhere near Coors is Sandlot Brewery, at 22nd & Blake, outside the park's right-field corner.

Perhaps the most famous sports-themed restaurant near Denver is Elway's Cherry Creek, a steakhouse at 2500 E. 1st Avenue in the southern suburb of Cherry Creek. Bus 83L. It's owned by the same guy who owns John Elway Chevrolet in another southern suburb, Englewood.

About a mile southeast of Coors Field, at 538 E. 17th Avenue in the Uptown neighborhood (not sure why a southern, rather than northern, neighborhood is called "Uptown"), is The Tavern, home of the local New York Giants fan club. Jet fans gather at Chopper's Sports Grill, possibly named for Chopper Travaglini, at 80 S. Madison Street at Bayaud Avenue, 3 miles southeast of downtown, in the Pulaski Park neighborhood. Bus 83, then a mile's walk.

Since this game is on a Saturday night, it won't interfere with your viewing preferences if you're a fan of a European soccer team:

* Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Watford, Aston Villa, Fulham, Barcelona, Bayern Munich: Three Lions, 2239 East Colfax Avenue. Number 15 bus from downtown.

* Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid: The British Bulldog, 2052 Stout Street. Downtown.

* Liverpool: The Abbey Tavern, 5151 E. Colfax. Also Number 15 bus.

* Manchester United: Fado, 1739 19th Street, across from Coors Field. Light Rail to Union Station.

* Tottenham Hotspur: Esters Neighborhood Pub, 1950 S. Holly Street. Number 15 Bus to Colfax & Monaco, then transfer to Number 65 bus.

If you don't see your club listed, your best bet is to try the Three Lions.

Sidelights. Sports Authority Field at Mile High, formerly Invesco Field at Mile High, has been the home of the NFL's Denver Broncos since 2001. Everyone just gives it the same name as the old facility: "Mile High Stadium." It includes the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, and the Broncos' Ring of Fame.

It was built on the site of the McNichols Sports Arena, home to the NBA's Denver Nuggets from 1975 to 1999, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche from 1995 to 1999, and the first major league team called the Colorado Rockies, the NHL team that became the Devils, from 1976 to 1982. The Denver Dynamite played there from 1987 to 1991, made the Arena Football League Playoffs every season, and won the 1st ArenaBowl in 1987. But the cost of running the team was too high, and it folded.

It hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1990, with UNLV (the University of Nevada at Las Vegas) clobbering Duke. (The University of Colorado, in Boulder, made the Final Four in 1942 and 1955, although it wasn't yet called the Final Four. No other Colorado-based school has made it, and none has won a National Championship -- not in basketball, anyway.)

When the time came to play the final concert at McNichols, the act that played the first concert there was brought back: ZZ Top. This fact was mentioned on a Monday Night Football broadcast, leading Dan Dierdorf to note the alphabetic distinction of the long red-bearded men, and say, "The first one should have been ABBA." Which would have been possible, as they were nearly big in the U.S. at the time. However, the fact that the arena only lasted 24 years, making it not that hard for the act that played the first concert there to also play the last, says something about America's disposable culture.

The old stadium was just to the north of the new stadium/old arena. The current address is Mile High Stadium Circle, but the old intersection was W. 20th Avenue & Bryant St. (2755 W. 17th Avenue was the mailing address.) It was built in 1948 as Bears Stadium, an 18,000-seat ballpark.

When the American Football League was founded in 1960, it was expanded to 34,000 seats with the addition of outfield seating. The name was changed to Mile High Stadium in 1966, and by 1968 much of the stadium was triple-decked and seated 51,706. In 1977 – just in time for the Broncos to make their first Super Bowl run and start "Broncomania" – the former baseball park was transformed into a 76,273-seat horseshoe, whose east stands could be moved in to conform to the shape of a football field, or out to allow enough room for a regulation baseball field. The old-time ballpark had become, by the standards of the time, a modern football stadium.

The biggest complaint when the Rockies arrived in 1993 wasn't the thin air, or the condition of the stadium (despite its age, it was not falling apart), but the positioning of the lights: Great for football fans, but terrible for outfielders tracking fly balls. But it was only meant to be a temporary ballpark for the Rockies, as a condition for Denver getting a team was a baseball-only stadium. What really led to the replacement of Mile High Stadium, and its demolition in 2002, was greed: The Broncos' desire for luxury-box revenue.

At Bears/Mile High Stadium, the Broncos won AFC Championships in 1977, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1997 and 1998, winning the Super Bowl in the last 2 years after losing the first 4 in blowouts.  (They've now won an AFC title at the new stadium, but not a Super Bowl.) The Denver Bears won Pennants while playing there in 1957 (as a Yankee farm team), 1971, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1991 (winning the last one under the Denver Zephyrs name).

The old stadium also hosted the Denver Gold of the United States Football League, the Colorado Caribous of the original North American Soccer League, and the Rapids from their 1996 inception until 2001 -- in fact, they played the stadium's last event, before playing at the new stadium from 2002 to 2006. The U.S. national soccer team played a pair of games at Mile High Stadium in the 1990s, and beat Mexico at the new stadium in 2002 (the only game they've played there so far).

While the 2008 Democratic Convention was held at the Pepsi Center, Senator Barack Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech outdoors in front of 80,000 people at New Mile High Stadium.

The Red Lion Hotel Denver and the Skybox Grill & Sports Bar are now on the site of the old stadium. At McNichols, the Nuggets reached the ABA Finals in 1976, and the Avalanche won the 1996 Stanley Cup (albeit clinching in Miami). Elvis Presley sang at McNichols on April 23, 1976.

The new stadium, and the site of the old stadium and arena, are at Mile High Station on the light rail C-Line and E-Line.

Coors Field has been home to the Rockies since it opened in 1995. It also hosted hockey games this past February: The University of Denver beating Colorado College in the "Battle On Blake," and the Avalanche losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL Stadium Series. 2001 Blake Street (hence the team's nickname, the Blake Street Bombers) at 20th Street, 3 blocks from Union Station, accessible by light rail.

The Nuggets, known as the Denver Rockets until 1974, played at the Denver Auditorium Arena, at 13th & Champa Streets, from their 1967 inception until McNichols opened in 1975. It was also the home of the original Nuggets, who played in various leagues from 1935 to 1948, and then in the NBA until 1950.

It opened in 1908, and its seating capacity of 12,500 made it the 2nd-largest in the country at the time, behind the version of Madison Square Garden then standing. It almost immediately hosted the Democratic National Convention that nominated William Jennings Bryan for President for the 3rd time – although it's probably just a coincidence that the Democrats waited exactly 100 years (give or take a few weeks) to go back (it's not like Obama didn't want to get it right the 1st time, as opposed 0-for-3 Bryan).

The Auditorium Arena hosted Led Zeppelin's 1st American concert on December 26, 1968. It was demolished in 1990 to make way for the Denver Performing Arts Complex, a.k.a. the Denver Center. Theatre District/Convention Center Station on the light rail's D-Line, F-Line and H-Line.

The Pepsi Center is across Cherry Creek from downtown, about 2 miles northwest of City Hall. The intersection is 11th Street & Auraria Parkway, but the mailing address is 1000 Chopper Circle, in honor of Robert "Chopper" Travaglini, the beloved former trainer (and amateur sports psychologist) of the Nuggets, who share the arena with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. It is 1 of 10 current arenas that is home to both an NBA team and an NHL team.

Chopper was actually a Jersey Boy, albeit from Woodbury on the Philly side. He died in 1999, age 77, right before the new arena opened. Chopper Circle is an extension of Wewatta Street.

Pepsi Center/Elitch Gardens station on the RTD light rail. If you're coming in that way, you'll probably enter from the west gate, the Grand Atrium. If you're driving, parking starts at just $5.00. The rink is laid out east-to-west, and the Avs attack twice toward the east end.

In addition to hosting the Avs and the Nugs, the Pepsi Center has also hosted NCAA Tournament basketball games, the 2008 edition of NCAA's hockey "Frozen Four," and the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The Beatles played Red Rocks Amphitheatre in suburban Morrison on August 26, 1964. It is still in business, and a Colorado Music Hall of Fame is a short walk away. 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, 10 miles west of downtown. Sorry, no public transportation.

Elvis played 2 shows at the Denver Coliseum on April 8, 1956, and 1 each on November 17, 1970 and April 30, 1973. Built in 1951, it still stands, seating 10,500, and is best known for concerts and the National Western Stock Rodeo. 4600 Humbolt Street at E. 46th Avenue, off Interstate 70, 3 miles northeast of downtown. Apparently, no public transportation to there, either.

Denver has some renowned museums, including the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (their version of the Museum of Natural History) at 2001 Colorado Blvd. at Montview Blvd. (in City Park, Number 20 bus), and the Denver Art Museum (their version of the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History), at 100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway at Colfax Avenue (across I-25 from Mile High Stadium, Auraria West station on the C-Line and E-Line).

Denver's history only goes back to a gold rush in 1859 – not to be confused with the 1849 one that turned San Francisco from a Spanish Catholic mission into the first modern city in the American West. The city isn't exactly loaded with history.

There's no Presidential Library – although Mamie Doud, the eventual Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, grew up there, and her house is now a historic site. Mamie and "Ike" were married there, their son John (a future General, Ambassador and military historian) was born there, and the Eisenhowers were staying there when Ike had his heart attack in 1955. The house is still in private ownership, and is not open to the public. However, if you're a history buff, or if you just like Ike, and want to see it, it's at 750 Lafayette Street, at 8th Avenue. The Number 6 bus will get you to 6th & Lafayette.

After his heart attack, Ike was treated at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in nearby Aurora, 12 years after Senator John Kerry, nearly elected President in 2004 and now Secretary of State, was born there. It's not a Presidential Birthplace, because Kerry narrowly lost. It is now the University of Colorado Hospital. The Fitzsimmons Golf Course is across Montview Boulevard – it figures that Ike would be hospitalized next to a golf course! 16th Avenue & Quentin Street. Number 20 bus from downtown.

The University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts hosted a 2012 Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. 2344 E. Iliff Avenue, about 5 miles south of downtown. The University's Magness Arena hosted the Frozen Four in 1961, 1964 and 1976. 2250 E. Jewell Avenue. Both can be reached via H Line light rail to University of Denver Station.

Byron "Whizzer" White was a star football and basketball player at the University of Colorado in the late 1930s, a Rhodes scholar, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions, a Bronze Star-winning Navy officer in World War II, one of Colorado's finest lawyers, the chairman of John F. Kennedy's Presidential campaign in the State, and one of the longest-serving Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is buried at the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness, 1350 N. Washington Street at 14th Avenue. Bus 6.

Denver doesn't have as many tall buildings as the nation's bigger cities, nor are they as interesting, architecturally. The tallest building in the State of Colorado is Republic Plaza, 714 feet high, at 17th Street & Tremont Place downtown.

The University of Colorado is in Boulder, 30 miles to the northwest. At Market Street Station, 16th & Market, take the BV Bus to the Boulder Transit Center, which is on campus. The ride should take about an hour and 20 minutes. Colorado State University is in Fort Collins, 65 miles up Interstate 25 north, and forget about reaching it by public transportation.

The U.S. Air Force Academy is outside Colorado Springs, 60 miles down I-25. As with Fort Collins, you'd need Greyhound. Unlike CSU, you might not be able to just go there: Some of the area is restricted. It is, after all, a military base.

Colorado Springs was also home to the Broadmoor Ice Palace, which hosted what's now called the Frozen Four every year from its inception in 1948 until 1957, and again in 1969. The 3,000-seat arena at The Broadmoor Resort & Spa was home ice to Colorado College from 1938 to 1994. 1 Lake Avenue, across Cheyenne Lake from the main hotel. Its 7,750-seat 1998 replacement, the Broadmoor World Arena, is 4 miles to the east, at 3185 Venetucci Blvd.

A few TV shows have been set in Denver, but you won't find their filming locations there. The old-time Western Whispering Smith and the more recent one Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman were set in old Colorado, but filmed in Southern California.

Probably the most famous show set in Colorado is South Park, and that's a cartoon, so forget seeing anything from that. Not quite as cartoonish was Mork & Mindy, set in Boulder. The McConnell house actually is in Boulder, at 1619 Pine Street. But don't try to copy the opening-sequence scene with Robin Williams and Pam Dawber on the goalposts at the University of Colorado's Folsom Field. You could fall, and end up saying, "Shazbot!"

The most famous show ever set in Colorado was Dynasty, ABC's Excessive Eighties counterpart to CBS' Dallas, starring John Forsythe as Blake Carrington, an oilman and a thinly-veiled version of Marvin Davis, who nearly bought the Oakland Athletics from Charlie Finley in 1978 with the idea of moving them to Mile High Stadium, but the deal fell through. Right, you don't care about Blake, all you care about is the catfights between the 2nd and 1st Mrs. Carrington's: Krystle (Linda Evans) and Alexis (Joan Collins). The Carrington mansion seen in the opening credits is in Beverly Hills, but the building that stood in for the headquarters of Denver Carrington is at 621 17th Street, while the one that stood in for Colbyco is at 1801 California Street.

Movies set in Denver or its suburbs include The Unsinkable Molly Brown, the original Red Dawn, and, of course, Things to Do In Denver When You're Dead. Films involving skiing often take place in Colorado towns such as Aspen or Vail. City Slickers, a film with loads of baseball references, has a cattle drive that ends in Colorado, but there's no indication of how close it is to Denver. Flashback
takes place on the Pacific Coast, but Denver's Union Station stands in for a train station in San Francisco.

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Like the Red Bulls, the Colorado Rapids are a charter MLS franchise that has celebrated their 20th Anniversary. It could be a fun roadtrip, especially if you have a car and take it from anywhere in or around Denver to the suburban stadium.

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