So you're headed to Denver International Airport, along with about ten million other people. If you're lucky, the wait at security could be the shortest wait you encounter; bad weather in other parts of the country may snarl schedules. Fortunately, there's more to see and do than ever before when you're delayed at Denver International Airport. Here are our six favorite ways to waste time there (and as a bonus for people waiting to pick up loved ones, you don't need a ticket for most of them):
1. Enjoy the Public Art
Denver International Airport has an amazing art collection, much of it commissioned even before the airport opened twenty-plus years ago — but with the arrival of the Westin and the train, there's even more to see. You can wander around the facility and discover the works on your own (hint: some art is embedded in the floor, more is overhead), or find the complete roster at flydenver.com.
2. Shop at SkyMarket
Concourse B Mezzanine
New at DEN (yes, that's the official new nickname for Denver International Airport) is SkyMarket, a 2,600-square-foot retail store that offers fun retail items (pet pillows) and souvenirs (Broncos!) as well as healthy food and beverages to keep you going while you wait for a plane. The highlights include ice cream from Sweet Action, Huckleberry coffees and a large newsstand. But the real bonus is work by local companies and crafters — a welcome change from those made-in-Taiwan "Denver" T-shirts. The store is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, but remember: You must pass through security to reach it.
3. Call on the Canine Therapy Squad
Feeling stressed? CATS to the rescue. The airport's Canine Airport Therapy Squad program has been so successful that it's expanded. Volunteer pet owners wander the airport with their charges (outfitted in "pet me" vests), offering harried travelers a chance to take a break, take a selfie and pet a pooch.
Keep reading for three more ways to waste time at the airport.
4. Visit Westin Denver International Airport
South of the Terminal
You've marveled at the architecture of the Westin Denver International Airport — Pirate ship? Moustache? Wings? Now, since your plane has been delayed for six yours, you can cross the plaza at the south end of the terminal (where an ice-skating rink hosted by United Airlines just opened) and see the hotel, which just celebrated a very successful first year, up close and personal (just hope your plane isn't so delayed that you need to check in...though the rooms are very nice). If the weather's good, grab a cup of coffee at Ingredients Coffee, which even has a patio where you can watch the sun rise (coffee's on at 5 a.m.), as trains and traffic approach the airport.
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5. Ride RTD's A Line
If your plane is really late, this might be your chance to take the A Line to Union Station and back. The round-trip (including wait for the return train-to-the-plane) shouldn't take more than ninety minutes...as long as the jinxed route doesn't hit any more snags. If time is tight, just take the escalator from the plaza to the platform. It's a five-story thrill ride, free...and dependable.
6. Watch This Video
Yes, Denver International Airport accepted the mannequin challenge.