Everyone loves a train ride, especially when it’s free, but this weekend’s debut of Denver’s new University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport offers more than an all-aboard moment. Opening-weekend free rides on the Train to the Plane begin today, April 22, from noon to midnight and continue from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 23 — but if you’re an urban explorer, you’ll want to sample the train between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow (unless otherwise noted), when arty parties with activities, performances and public-art dedications will be thrown. Here’s a handy guide to what you’ll find at each stop.
1. Union Station: RTD Experience
Commuter Rail Platform
1701 Wynkoop Street
Linger a while and check out the swanky downtown hub’s restaurants and shops, pick up schedules and learn about the new route before you climb aboard.
2. 38th and Blake Station: Where Art Is Made!
3737 Blake Street
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 23
Art dedications: Kelton Osborn, “Conflux|Redux,” 2 p.m.; Sandra Fettingis, windscreens, “Tumbleweeds Really Do Exist,” 2:30 p.m.
River North is throwing an all-out, six-hour street party celebrating all the RiNo Art District has to offer, with an emphasis on the burgeoning neighborhood’s artists, makers, eateries and entrepreneurs. The showpiece at the station will be a fiery and fascinating iron-pour performance, where you can carve your own sand mold and have it cast in metal for a $10 fee, but be sure to wander even farther afield to the nearby Backyard on Blake and the Denver Spring Flea, where you can peruse vendor booths and enjoy one craft brew on the house for a $5 entry fee. If you don’t know RiNo, you will — intimately — after making this stop. Learn more at the RiNo website
3. 40th and Colorado Station: Denver Active!
4220 Garfield Street
Art dedication: Erik Carlson, “Hands On,” 1 p.m. April 23
The Elyria neighborhood invites visitors to get moving and eat healthy with activities for all ages, live entertainment and food trucks galore.
4. Central Park Station: Global Arts and Culture!
8175 Smith Road
Art dedication: Sean O’Meallie, “Balloon Man Running,” noon April 23
Stapleton gets on board with a noon dedication for Colorado Springs artist Sean O’Meallie’s whimsical public-art sculpture “Balloon Man Running,” along with a global selection of eats and art, kids’ activities and information tables. Need to know: Central Park has 1,500 parking spaces — more than any other station along the route.
Continue reading for more station party info.
5. Peoria Station: Fun and Transportation!
11501 East 33rd Avenue, Aurora
Art dedication: Blessing Hancock, “Biota,” 11 a.m. April 23
Aurora gets in the game at the Peoria Station with food trucks, kids’ activities and a look at RTD’s future connecting R Line.
6. 40th Avenue and Airport Boulevard/Gateway Park Station:
Artistic Expression From Around the World!
3900 North Salida Street, Aurora
Art dedication: Molly Dilworth, “Time Present,” 10 a.m. April 23
Celebrate diversity and world cultures on the far edge of where Aurora and Denver meet at Gateway Park, with dance performances, a global fashion show and Mexican hot chocolate serving as introductions to the far-out ’hood.
7. 61st and Peña Station: Denver’s Corridor of Opportunity!
6045 North Richfield Street
On the last leg of the route before it pulls into DIA, kite-flyers will take advantage of wide-open spaces on the plains for a picture-perfect kite festival with kite-making activities, food, and live music and entertainment.
8. Denver Airport Station: Connecting the World!
Station Party on Open-Air Plaza, Level 5
8500 Peña Boulevard
Disembark at DIA and take a gander at the new Westin Denver International Airport and Patrick Marold’s stunning public-art installation commissioned to surround it before hunkering down for a taste of international food and live entertainment on the new hub’s open-air plaza.
Learn more about the University of Colorado A Line and Station Parties online. After April 23, riding the train costs $9.