“While many people joke that because of Denver’s 5,280-foot elevation, the city is a ‘mile closer’ to heaven, the truth is, Denver has always attracted people of faith. Pope John Paul II selected Denver as the site for the first World Youth Day in North America in 1993, and he enjoyed several walks in the nearby mountains,” said Rich Grant, communications director at the Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Denver has become a very popular destination for church youth groups because, while it offers the amenities and cultural attractions of a major city, Denver also offers the opportunity for river rafting, hiking, horseback riding and contemplating nature – all in one of the most beautiful spots in the nation, the Colorado Rocky Mountains,” added Grant.
Religious Attractions in Denver
Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the most beautiful, natural amphitheaters in the world, holds a non-denominational Easter morning sunrise service every Easter. Red Rocks, seating 9,000 people in a bowl created between two 300-foot-high red rocks, provides acoustic perfection. Groups can watch the first rays of sunlight hit the rocks during Easter services or attend a musical performance during concert season. Group tours of the amphitheater and park grounds are available June through October.
For almost a century, Mother Cabrini Shrine has been one Colorado’s
most popular religious sites and attractions. Located beyond the foothills of Golden, just 20 miles west of Denver, Mother Cabrini Shrine was established by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini originally for the purpose of spreading the gospel and providing a peaceful atmosphere for orphan children. Today the Shrine provides retreat and meeting facilities, where groups can take self-guided tours. They discover the large white stones in the shape of a heart, surrounded by a smaller stone cross and crown of thorns that Mother Cabrini arranged, and the Stairway of Prayer, leading to a 22-foot statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, adorned by the Stations of the Cross, the mysteries of the rosary and the Ten Commandments. Mass is celebrated daily in the main chapel.
Denver’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in the City Park area, was founded over 150 years ago. The Cathedral houses the kathedra, or chair, from where the Archbishop carries out his service to the Church of Denver as Teacher and Shepherd. Breathtaking architecture with twin spires, a cavernous interior seating more than 1,500 people and beautiful stained-glass windows can all be viewed by groups during guided tours or Sunday services.
Trinity Methodist Church, an impressive example of the Gothic Revival style in downtown Denver, was designed in 1887 by Robert Roeschlaub, Colorado’s first licensed architect. Constructed entirely out of rhyolite from Castle Rock, Colorado, the church features a stained-glass window by the Tiffany Company. Head inside for a look at the enormous Roosevelt Pipe Organ or get a listen during Sunday morning services.
Mountain Retreat for Religious Travellers
Sunrise Ranch, an hour north of Denver, is a spiritual center in the pine-covered foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is the ideal location for religious groups to learn, reflect and transform. Take part in the many spiritual programs offered or use the natural setting for your private group retreat. The center hosts groups from 12 to 200, and prepared meals are available.
Religious Groups Discover Denver
Learn about the production and distribution of currency on a tour of the United States Mint. Advance reservations are required and tours are always free. Nearby, the neoclassical Colorado State Capitol building, built of locally quarried rose onyx, or red marble, sits exactly one mile above sea level and is adorned with a golden dome. Tours are offered every 45 minutes and reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.
The 16th Street Mall, a tree-lined pedestrian promenade stretching through the center of downtown, has cafes, retail shops, historical buildings and towering skyscrapers. Fountains and plazas decorate the mile-long mall, making it a fun and pretty stop for your group to explore.
Four Mile Historic Park is the site of Denver’s oldest house. This rustic 12-acre oasis offers tours of the Four Mile House Museum, and groups can stroll the gardens and grounds, see antique farm equipment and enjoy the outdoor summer concert series.
Denver Botanical Gardens offers a 23-acre urban oasis just 10 minutes east of downtown. Group tours are available.
LoDo, or the lower downtown area of Denver, is a friendly, hip neighborhood full of vibrant shops, dining and entertainment housed in historic buildings. Groups can take a guided walking tour, offered by the LoDo neighborhood district, and learn about Denver’s rich past and the restoration efforts that keep it thriving. Their Civic Center Tour, which takes about three hours, leads groups to the Denver Public Library, Denver Art Museum, U.S. Mint, Civic Center,
Colorado State Capitol, Our Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Central Presbyterian Church, Trinity Methodist Church and the historic Brown Palace Hotel.
Home to baseball’s Colorado Rockies, Coors Field sits in the heart of the LoDo district. Whether visiting on a game day or taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the field, groups won’t want to miss out on the celebrated Denver ball park experience.
Denver Festivals and Events
Denver celebrates the Cherry Blossom Festival in the summer. Enjoy Japanese dance, drum performances, art exhibits, an Asian marketplace and food at this annual event, at the Denver Buddhist Temple.
Mile High Holidays makes Denver sparkle during the Christmas season. With spectacular lighting displays, great shopping and theater shows like A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker, this celebration runs from November through January and is sponsored by the Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau, VISIT DENVER.
Denver is both high in elevation and high on the lists of group travel planners. With countless destinations that enrich and entertain, Denver offers lasting memories and faithful encounters.