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Goeun Park: Denver is good with a green muffin by your side

I’m sitting on a bench in downtown Denver, eating a green muffin I bought from Central Market the night before. I think it’s pistachio.

In a shocking turn of events, I’m on my way back to California, where I’ll stay for most of the summer. The wonderful and awful thing about living so far away means that there’s a lot of traveling.

Not even traveling, more like making pit stops and layovers in crowded airports. It’s not very glamorous unless you’ve been obsessed with the idea of traveling since you were a fetus. Then it’s pretty exciting.

Fortunately for me, I have an 11 hour layover in Denver. While the moving walkways will never not be the coolest thing ever, I decided to spend most of my day exploring the city. With a backpack and carry-on in tow, I left Denver International Airport and took a RTD bus to Union Station. From there, I searched my phone for “Things To Do In Denver.” 

Usually, I would have a plan. A younger Goeun would definitely have an itinerary for an excursion like this. But then, I never imagined I’d one day get to fly on planes by myself to cities I don’t know and eat green/possibly pistachio muffins next to the Colorado State Capital Building.

From Union Station, I went down 16th Street Mall, a street lined with enough shops and restaurants to make my head spin. Today is apparently a really good day to be in downtown Denver because I stumbled right into a Chalk Art Festival in Larimer Square. There, a lady handed out free granola bars, which I thought was very Denver of her.

Denver reminds me of Minneapolis without the cold. The people seem nice and the public transportation is better than LA (but then, all public transportation is probably better than LA) and there are things. Things to do, things to see, things to search on Google.

After walking around the Chalk Art Festival for a while, I took the free shuttle down to the Civic Center. The Civic Center is very…civilized, for a lack of a better word. The state capitol building looms over the park and across the street lies the Denver Art Museum and Public Library. When I walked into the library, a man at the front desk asked if I was on vacation. I said yes.

I’m starting to think that 11 hours is not enough to wander through a place like Denver. I won’t be able to do this city justice in such short time, so I won’t try. I’m perfectly content with this, sitting on a bench and trying to write about how thrilling it is to just sit and watch and admire a city a mile high.

Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends college in California.