ANC Denver: Mile High Must Dos

April 12, 2012 – As SNA shared last week, there are a multitude of reasons why this summer’s 2012 Annual National Conference (ANC), July 15 to 18, is the place to be for professional development… but with a breathtakingly beautiful city at your disposal, you’re also encouraged to take time to discover some ‘Mile High’ fun while in town.

For starters, the Colorado Convention Center is one of the most walkable convention centers in the nation and it is located in the heart of downtown Denver. All seven of the official ANC hotels are a short walk to the Convention Center, and 300 restaurants are also within walking distance. Once inside the Convention Center, all ANC sessions and events are located in close proximity to one another, making it easy to get from one session to the next.

ANC12 must dos article
Photo: Colorado Convention Center

You could easily spend a month exploring Denver, but to help you hit the ground running, here is a guide to several of the city’s “must dos,” courtesy of

Soak Up Some Sun
With 300 days of sunshine annually (more annual hours of sun than San Diego or Miami Beach), Denver is the place to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. City Park, Denver’s own version of NYC’s Central Park, boasts 314 acres of outdoor fun, with panoramic views of the Denver skyline, and one of the most popular zoos in the country.

Head for the Hills
No other city has a backyard quite like Denver’s. Within an hour drive you can leave the high plains and enter the scenic and historic foothills of the Rocky Mountains. From a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, to a trip to check out all the attractions nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak, there are countless adventures to be found. For high-altitude tips, click here.

Hug the Blue Bear
The 40-foot high Blue Bear (officially known as “I See What You Mean” by local artist Lawrence Argent) in front of the Colorado Convention Center is just one of many public art sculptures to be discovered around town.

16th Street Mall
This mile-long pedestrian promenade in the heart of Downtown Denver is lined with 200 trees, 50,000 flowers, public art, 28 outdoor cafes and a wide array of shopping options. Free shuttles leave either end as often as every 90 seconds, making everything in downtown easy to reach.

Take a Thrill Ride
Denver’s Elitch Gardens is the only downtown theme park in America and is really two parks in one: on one side, there are 48 thrill rides, while the other side offers a complete water theme park with tubes, waterslides and wavepools. Of course, you can also get your thrills by braving the rapids with a trip to nearby Idaho Springs for a whitewater rafting adventure.

Borrow a Bike
Denver’s B-cycle is the first large-scale bike sharing program in the nation. 500 shiny red bikes are available at more than 50 stations around town. Swipe a credit card for a $6 daily pass and hop on board. All rides under 30 minutes are free; rides of one hour are just a dollar. Denver has 850 miles of paved, off-street bike trails.

Join the Mile High Club
Climb to the 13th step of the Colorado State Capital and you are 5,280 feet above sea level—one mile high! Or, cheer on the Colorado Rockies baseball team at Coors Field from the row of purple seats—the best “mile high” seats in the city.

These are just a few of the many sightseeing adventures and things to do in Denver. There’s so much more to see and discover! What will your individual ‘Mile High City’ experience entail? That’s up to you! For more ideas, visit Denver’s Convention & Visitors Bureau website at

To register for ANC 2012, or to learn more about the superior education programming and events that make ANC the school nutrition event of the year, visit


Related Links:

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Denver’s Convention & Visitors Bureau

50 Free Summer Activities in Denver

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