If you’re flying to, from or through the Denver International Airport, expect delays. With nearly 28 percent of their flights delayed, it’s no surprise that DEN came in at no. 3 on Travel + Leisure’s list for worst airports for flight delays in America in 2014.
The experts suggest leaving before 9 a.m. when possible to avoid delays, because after 2 p.m. just about a third of flights will likely leave later than planned. To help you survive your delay, we put together the need-to-know information for your 2 hours in DEN.
Since the worst time of day for delays is between 8 and 10 p.m., your food options might be limited when you need them most, so we’ll start with the options that are open 24 hours. When the late night hunger sets in at DEN your choices are limited to Burger King in the Jeppsen Terminal (east side of level 6) and McDonland’s located in the center core of the A Gates. We know, we know, not great—but it’ll have to do.
Luckily, there are a lot of nicer, table service options—and quite a few that stay open fairly late. We’ll break down some of your dining and drinking options by location:
A Gates: Denver ChopHouse is a pricier spot that offers lots of options for those with dietary restrictions or those looking for a healthier option. It’s open daily until 9:30 pm and is located at the center of the A Gates.
If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, Mesa Verde Bar & Grill is another great option. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Both of these places are good options to grab a drink. While in the A Gates you can also head to the airport go-to, Vino Volo.
B Gates: Elway’s is a higher end spot that serves up Colorado-themed eats. Open until 11 p.m., it’s a great spot for those hit with late night delays.
Catina Grill is a good spot for made-to-order Mexican food; however, it’s only open until 8 p.m.
Both of these spots have a full bar, but if drinking is your priority, you can head to one (or both) of the sports bars in the B Gates. Aviator’s Sports Bar & Bar-B-Que is located by the mezzanine and Colorado Sports Bar can be found by gate B30.
If sports bars aren’t your thing, you might be able to find a more relaxed setting at Lounge 5280 Wine Bar, where you can choose from a hand-picked wine selection, cocktails and local craft beer.
C Gates: At Timberline Steaks & Grille you can find organically raised, natural beef and buffalo burgers, kosher dessert options and Haagan Daz ice cream. A few healthy, gluten free, and vegetarian items can also be found here. Timberline is open until 9 p.m.
Root Down is the go-to spot for those with dietary restrictions or simply looking for healthy choices. This restaurant is nationally acclaimed, award-winning, locally-sourced, and serves up field-to-fork, raw foods, and drinks. Open until 9 p.m., you can find it in the center core of the C Gates.
For those is search of a drink to take the edge off, the aforementioned restaurants as well as Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery have full bars to help you cope with your delay.
Jeppesen Terminal: Red Rocks Bar & BBQ offers lots of options for the meat-lover. And to wash it down they serve up hand crafted beers from a local micro brewery.
For those in search of their daily dose of coffee, you’ll never be too far. In the A Gates, head to the center core, where you’ll find Caribou Coffee and Dunkin’ Donuts.
In the B Gates, you’ll find another Caribou Coffee spot as well as two Starbucks—one near B83 and one near B90.
If you’re hanging out in the C Gates your options include Dazbog Coffee near C47, Einstein Bros. Bagels at the center, Happy Cakes Café near C24 and Woody Creek Bakery & Café near C46.
Finally, for those in the Jeppesen Terminal, you’ll also be able to find a Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. on level 6. Additionally, on level 5, you can head to CofTea Shop or Rocky Mountain Café for your caffeine fix.
First things first—let’s address the Wi-Fi situation. Luckily for you, DEN offers free Wi-Fi. So, as long as you can keep your devices charged, you can watch all the Netflix your heart desires during your 2 hours in DEN.
Beyond binge watching a new series, you can pass the time by strolling around and checking out some art the airport has on display. DEN might not be known for timeliness, but at least it was named “Best U.S. Airport for Art” by USA Today in 2013.
If you’re at the airport during sunset or sunrise you’re in for a show. Head to the west end of concourse C to take in the best view of the Rocky Mountains—you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re driving to the airport, DEN has long-term lots for as low as $8/day. They also offer a valet service for those willing to pay more. Before you go, check your desired lot’s capacity on their website.
For those visiting, check to see if your hotel offers a shuttle. Here’s a full list of nearby hotels that offer this service.
Taxis are readily available, but can be a bit pricey. Here’s a list of average fares for popular destinations in the Denver area:
- Boulder: $88.57
- Downtown Denver: $55.57
- Denver Tech Center: $61.57
- Broomfield and Louisville Area: $70.57 (Yellow Cab only)
If you’re looking for more affordable transportation, consider looking into the public bus routes to and from the airport.