Discovering Denver’s Vibrant Downtown Hub via The Limelight

Denver, Colorado, a city known for its stunning mountain views, outdoor adventures, and vibrant urban culture, has recently become even more enticing with the debut of the newly remodeled Limelight Hotel. Nestled in the heart of downtown, this new addition to the Limelight Hotels family combines the brand’s signature elevated yet rustic style with the sophisticated charm of the Mile High City.

No Parking

When planning a trip to Denver to experience its ever-morphing and improving downtown, one has no need to book a rental car. One of the easiest airport-to-city-center experiences in the USA is in Denver via a $10 Light Rail ticket from Denver International Airport to downtown’s Union Station.

This was my view as I left Denver and arrived back at the airport. The glass building is The Westin.

It’s a short, clean, and comfortable 40-minute trip and trains leave every 15 minutes. Once off the train, multiple hotels are within a very short, one of them being the Limelight.

Room To Help You Explore 

Located just steps away from some of Denver’s most iconic attractions (Union Station, Coors Field, Milk Market), the Limelight Denver offers travelers a centrally located hub for exploring the city on foot. The hotel’s prime location allows guests to immerse themselves in the city’s culture, culinary delights, and entertainment options without the need for a car rental or ride share.

Formerly the Hotel Born, the new Limelight Hotel Denver begins the next chapter of Aspen Hospitality. Mixing the elevated mountain vibe of our other hotel properties with the sophistication of the Mile High City, this 200-room hotel adjacent to Union Station offers the perfect escape in the heart of it all. Each room features knotty-pine headboards to evoke the coziness of a mountain getaway, while offering modern leather furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows revealing monumental city and Rocky Mountain views and carefully curated art to remind you of why you are visiting this dynamic city. Of course, our most important amenity is our location.

With its grey facade and staggered windows, visitors take note of the Limelight Denver (hotel photo).

The online imagery does not compare to the fresh and cozy feel of the lobby, hallways, and rooms. Going with what I would describe as a refined ski lodge feel, the Limelight wraps you in a welcome and warm hug as you enter, proceed through the halls, and enter your room. We had a corner Luxury King Room with an amazing soaking tub, spacious walk-in shower, and floor to ceiling windows that truly did add to the experience, letting in great volumes of light and allowing out 10th story view to be expansive and uninhibited.

Appetite Satisfied

One of the highlights of staying at the Limelight Denver is dining at the hotel’s celebrated restaurant, Citizen Rail. This modern American steakhouse offers a unique dining experience, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and innovative culinary techniques. Whether you’re craving a perfectly cooked steak or a creative cocktail, Citizen Rail is sure to impress even the most discerning foodie.

Satisfy your appetite at Citizen Rail where Chef Jared Becker’s grill-centric specials and modern American cuisine combine around an animated restaurant-bar environment. With a menu centered on aged cuts of local beef — as well as local pork, game, lamb and chicken and a variety of freshly sourced seafood dishes — this restaurant also celebrates the many farms and gardens of Colorado with carefully integrated produce.

My experience at Citizen Rail was a combination of opulence, rustic, comfort, refinement, thought provoking, all topped off with possibly one of the best desserts I’ve had the pleasure of trying to finish. The consumption of this meal began with Crispy Pork belly (with charred plum, fish sauce, herbs, long pepper), then a Coal Roasted Beet salad (maple-sherry vinaigrette, Australian feta, cara cara orange, hemp seed, petite greens), with the main dish being Smoked Short Rib (chermoula, fremont beans, field greens). The dessert was a Pistachio Olive Oil tart (olive oil cake, raspberry jelly, pistachio mousseline, raspberry gelato, crystalized raspberries). 

Playing with the Big Boys


For sports fans, the Limelight Denver offers easy access to Ball Arena, home of the Denver Nuggets. Catching a game here is a must-do experience for any sports enthusiasts well as for anyone looking for a great time, as the arena’s energetic atmosphere and passionate fans make for an unforgettable night out. We took the very short stroll from the Limelight to the Ball Arena to enjoy a Denver Nuggets vs. Atlanta Hawks game. The food was average and the drinks were as well for any sports stadium. Nothing stood out as their own unique thing. Be sure to check out not just the small gift store upstairs, but the larger one downstairs. Someone brought home a couple of souvenirs, even pride themed items.  

Denver is a great sports town. The Ball Arena is also home to the city’s professional hockey team, the Avalanche and they had a game the next night. We also happened to be in Denver at the same time as the Colorado Rockies Season Opener. The city was full of foot traffic all day for the mid-day baseball game. It put a smile on my face to see the city abuzz with people enjoying the great April weather and the restaurants and bars downtown, reinforcing that this is truly a wonderful and walkable city. If you are a sports fan, Denver is a great city for you.

Culture Club

In addition to its culinary offerings and sports venues, the Limelight Denver is also conveniently located near one of Denver’s most popular attractions, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, located just a short walk from the hotel. It regularly features new and exciting exhibits that showcase the best in contemporary art. Flash your Limelight key to get in for free, but also have a penny in your pocket, just in case they’re having a special in the gift shop there. 

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) is paving a new path for a 21st century museum that is both/and: We are both advancing the field of contemporary art and providing a platform for creative expression, in the broadest sense of the term. We present both world-class exhibitions and quirky events, serious lectures and epic parties. We are both sophisticated and unpretentious. 

Where the Boys Are


Denver’s LGBTQ scene is vibrant and diverse, offering a variety of bars and clubs that cater to the community. Here’s a review of some of the top LGBTQ bars in Denver that have weathered the pandemic and are still open for business:

  1. Tracks Denver – Tracks is a legendary nightclub that has been a staple of the LGBTQ community in Denver for over 35 years. With multiple dance floors, bars, and a large outdoor patio, Tracks offers something for everyone. The club hosts themed nights, drag shows, and live performances, making it a lively and entertaining spot to visit.
  2. X Bar – X Bar is a popular LGBTQ bar located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Known for its friendly atmosphere and strong drinks, X Bar is a great place to unwind with friends or meet new people. The bar features a spacious patio and a jukebox, creating a laid-back vibe that keeps patrons coming back for more.
  3. Charlie’s – Charlie’s is a country-themed gay bar located in the heart of Denver. The bar is known for its energetic line dancing nights, drag shows, and friendly staff. Whether you’re a seasoned cowboy or just looking to try something new, Charlie’s offers a fun and welcoming environment for all.
  4. Blush & Blu – Blush & Blu is a lesbian-owned and operated bar that prides itself on its inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. The bar features a full bar, live music, and a cozy outdoor patio. With its focus on community and acceptance, Blush & Blu is a favorite among Denver’s LGBTQ community.
  5. Boyztown – Boyztown is a well-known gay bar and nightclub located in Denver, Colorado. It’s been a staple of the city’s LGBTQ nightlife for over three decades. Boyztown is known for its lively atmosphere, male dancers, and drag shows. The club often hosts themed nights and special events, drawing in a diverse crowd of locals and visitors. Boyztown offers a fun and welcoming environment for those looking to dance, enjoy a show, or simply have a good time with friends.
  6. Tight End Bar – The Tight End Bar is a popular gay sports bar located in Denver, Colorado. Known for its friendly atmosphere and sports-themed decor, the Tight End Bar is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The bar offers a wide selection of beers, cocktails, and pub fare, making it a great spot to watch the game or hang out with friends. The Tight End Bar often hosts events and game watch parties, creating a lively and welcoming environment for patrons. Whether you’re a sports fan or just looking for a fun place to socialize, the Tight End Bar is worth checking out in Denver’s LGBTQ scene.
  7. Trade – Trade is a trendy gay bar located in Denver’s RiNo (River North) Art District. Known for its industrial-chic decor, innovative cocktails, and welcoming atmosphere, Trade has become a popular destination for Denver’s LGBTQ community. The bar features a spacious indoor area with a large bar and plenty of seating, as well as an outdoor patio for those looking to enjoy the fresh air.

    Trade is known for its diverse crowd and welcoming vibe, making it a great place to socialize and meet new people. The bar often hosts events such as drag shows, dance parties, and special guest DJs, adding to its appeal as a lively and dynamic nightlife spot.

    Overall, Trade offers a unique and stylish setting for patrons to enjoy a night out in Denver. Whether you’re looking to sip on craft cocktails, hit the dance floor, or simply relax and enjoy the ambiance, Trade has something for everyone in Denver’s LGBTQ scene.

  8. Denver Eagle – The Denver Eagle is a popular gay leather bar located in Denver, Colorado. Known for its rugged and masculine atmosphere, the Denver Eagle is a favorite among those in the LGBTQ community who are interested in leather and fetish culture. The bar features a dark and intimate interior, complete with leather-clad patrons, dim lighting, and a no-nonsense attitude.

    The Denver Eagle offers a range of events and activities, including leather nights, bear nights, and themed parties. The bar also features a patio area where patrons can relax and socialize outdoors. With its welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, the Denver Eagle has become a staple of Denver’s LGBTQ nightlife scene, attracting a diverse crowd of locals and visitors alike.

Overall, Denver’s LGBTQ bars offer a diverse range of experiences, from high-energy nightclubs to laid-back neighborhood bars. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or just relax with friends, Denver has something for everyone in its LGBTQ nightlife scene. One thing to note, unfortunately, none of these spaces are right in the center of town so it may be best to explore a map and hit a couple or three up one night that are in a similar direction so less Ubers are needed.

Limelight was Lit

The Limelight Denver is the perfect base for exploring all that downtown Denver has to offer. Whether you’re looking to indulge in fine dining, immerse yourself in the local culture, or simply relax and enjoy the city’s vibrant atmosphere, this newly remodeled hotel is sure to exceed your expectations. So why not pack your bags, lace up your walking shoes, and discover the best of downtown Denver on foot?

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