The Park on the Plaza at the Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport is the fifth-busiest airport in the United States. With more than 61 million passengers traveling through the airport each year, DEN is one of the busiest airline hubs in the world’s largest aviation market. Denver Airport is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $26 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.FlyDenver.com.

Runway of the Denver Airport
Runway of the Denver Airport

Picture a gorgeous, expansive green oasis where you can go to unwind and de-stress while travelling. Is that even possible? Now picture it at the fifth-busiest airport in the United States. If it seems impossible, just wait until you lay eyes on Denver Airport’s newest addition. It is absolutely amazing, and such a nice place to relax while travelling from Denver to Vail, just pop in and get a breath of fresh air while before takeoff!

The new development is part of a growing trend of airports developing open-air spaces that offer a much-needed dose of fresh air and respite for travelers cooped up in stuffy terminals and cabins. We cannot wait to see more of these refreshing green spaces created in an effort to make air travel a healthier, happier experience for everyone.

The Park on the Plaza at the Denver International Airport

Is The Park on The Plaza open in 2021?

Absolutely! The popular Park on the DEN Plaza is open in 2021 from May 28-October 3. The Pop-Up Park is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through October 3, 2021 weather permitting. A relaxing outdoor space for all the airport passengers, the Park on the Plaza is a wonderful place to get out and get some air while at DEN.

Denver Airport is strictly following all state and federal guidelines closely and have many efforts in place to ensure passenger and employee safety. Read about those efforts here

What exactly is The Park on the Plaza at DEN? Where is it located?

The new Denver Airport Pop-Up Park launched in July 2018. The park features native Colorado flora and 9000 square feet of turf. The Pop-Up Park brings many features enjoyed in other Denver parks including lawn games, lunchtime fitness classes and lounge seating. A defining element of the Pop-Up Park is the potted gardens curated by students in the Colorado State University Landscape Design and Contracting Program. Students selected trees and plants native to Colorado’s Plains ecosystem, including displays of low-water consuming plants, giving passengers the opportunity to experience local flora without leaving the airport.

The 82,000-square-foot open-air plaza is located before security at the south end of the Jeppesen Terminal, connecting the terminal to the Westin Denver International Airport and Transit Center.

Denver International Airport
PHOTO: Denver International Airport

Is The DEN Park open to the public?

Yes and YES! Passengers visiting Denver Airport and community members alike are encouraged to stop by and enjoy free park activities. The plaza is located pre-security, is open to the public and is accessible just steps from the University of Colorado A Line station at DEN, or a short walk from the airport parking garages ($4/hour in garage parking, $5/short term parking).

Denver Airport Park
PHOTO: Denver International Airport

What a great idea! Is there anything similar to The DEN Park at the world’s famous airports?

Increasingly, airports are becoming healthy living hubs that actually contribute to rather than detract from our lives. With so much time spent in transit through terminals and in the air, we couldn’t be happier about these thoughtful transformations taking place.

Other great places to get some rejuvenating outdoor time include JFK’s rooftop terrace in Terminal 5, and Frankfurt Airport’s new rooftop terrace in Terminal 1. The latter even has a telescope so you can watch the runway activity in detail. There’s also an informational stand that tells you exactly what they’re doing down there.

What makes The DEN Park so Special?

Most passengers don’t expect ice skating, lawn games or beer tastings at the airport, but Denver International (DEN) provides them—and much more. For three years running, the airport has hosted an “Events at DEN” series, and the lineup is proving so popular it also attracts visitors not flying into or out of the airport.

The year-round schedule is designed to “surprise and delight” passengers, community members and staff, explains DEN Arts and Events Director Heather Kaufman. Most events are free and open to the public. 

The series was launched in 2016, shortly after DEN debuted the glass canopied open-air plaza that links its Jeppesen Terminal to the on-airport Westin hotel and transit center for commuter train and bus connections.

Wide-Ranging Activities at the Park on the Plaza at the Denver Airport

The DEN Skating Rink, a perennial favorite among non-ticketed guests and Denver locals, is open from November to January. Free ice-skating on the plaza, complete with complimentary use of skates, is now in its third year and continues to grow in popularity. Airport spokesperson Emily Williams reports that about 16,000 people laced up their skates at the airport in 2017, nearly doubling volume of the event’s inaugural year. 

United Airlines sponsored the event in 2016 and 2017, garnering high-visibility logo exposure on the roughly 40-by-60-foot rink and in marketing materials.

The airport’s fifth annual Beer Flights Beer Garden was scheduled to coincide with the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and Oktoberfest celebrations worldwide. Also held in the outdoor plaza, it features some of Colorado’s top microbreweries and brew masters, plus live music, trivia contests and table games. DEN partners with the Colorado Brewers Guild to organize the event, which costs $10 per person and is available to those 21 and older. 

Raising Expectations

As one of the first United States busiest airports to offer large-scale customer events and activities, DEN is helping set a new standard for the air traveler experience. “We want to provide something fun and lighthearted, to take the stress out of air travel and make it easier,” Kaufman says. 

According to feedback from in-person surveys and social media posts, DEN is accomplishing its goals. Kaufman reports that customer response is overwhelmingly positive and events are well attended. In 2018, more than 22,000 people attended events at DEN. Many were passengers, but some came to the airport just for the fun.  

The special series also has a positive effect on staff morale, adds Williams. Participants report that activities such as golf tournaments and lunchtime yoga sessions in the pop-up park leave them happier and better equipped to deal with stressful situations they sometimes encounter on the job. 

Of course, with the COVID in 2021, everyone has to follow the state and federal regulations and have masks on at all times while at the Denver Airport.

COVID-19 Mask Mandate at DEN

Turning Vision to Reality

Inspiration for DEN’s event series came from none other than Chief Executive Officer Kim Day, who saw a volleyball game being played on the public plaza at Munich Airport. Given her background in architecture, Day saw the opportunity to create a unique public venue in the open space between a soon-to-be built hotel and DEN’s existing terminal. 

Her goal was to provide customers with a breath of fresh air upon arrival or between flights and serve as a connection place for people and the community. Day’s vision was manifested in an 82,000-square-foot open-air plaza, just steps from DEN’s Jeppesen Terminal, the on-airport Westin hotel and commuter rail station. Since its debut, the airport has leveraged the space to win the hearts of customers, community members and staff.

The Park on the Plaza at the Denver International Airport

Information Sources:

https://www.flydenver.com/events

https://airportimprovement.com/article/denver-int-l-stages-year-round-special-events-passengers-community