Our Curated List of Not-So-Tourist Attractions for the Idea-Seeking Event Marketer
Traveling on business? Have a half-day to yourself? In this series, we explore popular event destinations and mine our sources for lesser-known sites of inspiration. From unbelievable food and beverage adventures to immersive entertainment to, as you’ll see below… painting little “happy clouds,” consider it a dose of professional development for the full-time experience builder.
Seeing that some 1,500 marketers are headed to Denver for the Experiential Marketing Summit this month, we decided to explore all this host city has to offer. From the cannabis dispensaries to the Old West-style architecture to outdoor adventures sure to get your creative juices flowing, here’s what we uncovered in the Mile-High City.
Location: Lower Downtown District
What it is: Located in a redeveloped 19th century district filled with brick warehouses and storefronts is the “confluence” of South Platte and Cherry Creek, where you can walk, wade and kayak on whitewater chutes against the panoramic backdrop of the city. Lantern-lit Venetian gondola rides were even once offered in this urban park. There are free concerts every Thursday, and according to multiple sources, you can often find fire spinners performing on certain nights.
Experiential nods: Recreation, adventure, architecture, industrial cool
Denver Tool Library
Location: 555 Santa Fe Drive, Denver
What it is: Located in Denver’s Art District on Sante Fe Drive, an area that consists of more than 60 art galleries, the Denver Tool Library is a maker’s haven. This member-based shop (under $7 a month) features more than 2,000 tools which “DIY makers and do-ers” can borrow and share, in addition to sharing their skills and workspaces. It’s a hub of inspiration for the hands-on—and embodies the essence of the maker movement. Pop in while strolling the District and try your hand at something new.
Experiential nods: Arts, inspiration, maker culture, sharing economy
Puff, Pass & Paint
Location: 2087 S. Grant St., Denver
What it is: What’s a trip to Denver without a little recreational marijuana use? This cannabis-friendly, all-inclusive art class is a spin on “wine and paint” classes that have sprung up across the country. Led by Denver-based painter Heidi Keyes, students take part in a creative two-hour smoking session, while following her step-by-step instructions to create “mind-altering” masterpieces. The studio has locations in Seattle and Portland as well. Many reviewers say it’s even worth attending solo.
Experiential nods: New demographics, emerging markets, creativity, team building
More info: puffpassandpaint.com
The Stanley Hotel
Location: 333 E. Wonderview Ave., Estes Park
What it is: The Stanley Hotel is a historic venue about an hour north of Denver that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining after a spooky stay (the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation, which wasn’t filmed there, plays on a loop on the guest room TVs). It offers paranormal investigation tours, renown wine dinners and serves as a meeting venue. It also hosts the horror-themed Stanley Film Festival each spring. The State of Colorado recently awarded the hotel $11.6 million to build a world-class film center, archive and auditorium on the grounds to enable the Stanley Hotel to offer yearlong programming and become a global destination for the horror film genre.
Experiential nods: Suspense, history, film and content, cool venues
Location: 950 S. Birch St, Glendale
What it is: This sports stadium in the Glendale suburb of Denver is the only rugby-dedicated stadium in the U.S., and formerly the unofficial home stadium of the United States Rugby Union team. Rugby is entering the Summer Olympics for the first time this year, so it might be worth catching a look at this fast-growing sport. (Shout out to The Pineapple Agency, Denver, for this tip!)
Experiential nods: Alternative sports sponsorships, fan activations
More info: infinityparkatglendale.com