Shopping ‘Way Out West’ at Denver International ....
If there is one thing you can say about Denver International Airport, (DIA) it is that there is room to move. Covering a massive 53 square miles of land, the airport is in fact so large that the US’ four busiest airports (Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles and Dallas Fort Worth) could all fit easily within its enormous footprint. Passengers fed up with queues and crowds elsewhere appreciate this sense of space, as well as the airport’s stunning design features such as its peaked white roof, which is meant to resemble the nearby Rocky Mountains.
What gets DIA marked down, however, is its isolation. Unlike its predecessor, Stapleton international airport, which closed back in 1995, DIA is some 25 miles from downtown Denver. In bad weather getting to the airport can be a struggle. Mind you, once at the airport travelling around is a cinch thanks to the sleek automated trains which whizz passengers back and forth from the main Jeppesen Terminal, which houses check-in, ticketing and baggage claim, and the airline gates, which are located on three concourses, A, B and C.
The airport boasts over 50 shops in total but in this part of the airport the retail offer is fairly restricted. However, if the strap on your shoulder bag has gone or you simply need some baggage tags in a hurry, a good place to look out for is the Airport Baggage Center (East Side, Level 5), which sells everything from suitcases and totes to purses and passport holders.
As the name suggests, Way Out West (West Side, Level 5) sells Western-themed gifts and souvenirs such as hats, belts and native American jewellery, but a more intriguing store to find a unique gift in our opinion is the Images of Nature outlet at the same location, which showcases the beautiful photos of Thomas Mangelsen, one of the world’s foremost wildlife photographers. A selection of his photos are available at the store as limited-edition prints.
Also recommended at this location is the Boulder Beer Tap House, which features many of the Colorado micro-brewery’s beers in a relaxed setting. Located right next to the security lines, it is good place to say goodbye to friends and family before your flight.
Located in the centre of Concourse A is the Liberty Tax & Duty Free store (open 07.00-20.00 hours), which sells a solid range of duty-free liquor, tobacco, fragrances and cosmetics. It is worth noting the same firm runs the duty-free concession in Concourse B, where the store is located near Gate B39.
Souvenir hunters have at least three options at Concourse A in the shape of Colorado Crossroads (Gate A33); Greetings from Colorful Colorado (A Center Core), and arguably the pick of the bunch, Spirit of the Red Horse (also A Center Core), which specialises in attractive Native American jewellery, handicrafts, pottery and artworks.
If you need to buy some reading material for the long flight ahead, Hudson have multiple outlets in Concourse A, selling newspapers, magazines, books, while InMotion Entertainment (A Center Core) is the place to find rent DVDs and buy MP3 players and mobile phone accessories.
It is not to everyone’s tastes, but the colorful plastic footwear brand Crocs is undoubtedly one of Colorado’s most successful exports of recent years (www.crocs.com). See what all the fuss is about at the Crocs shop on the Mezzanine level, where you will find rubber clogs, flip flops, slippers and sandals in just about every colour of the rainbow.
If you are in need of a chocolate fix, you will be pleased to learn that Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has two outlets at Gates B23 and B52. With most lines priced under $10, you will find everything from milk and dark chocolate, to pralines, truffles and Rocky Mountain’s famous candied apples. To whet your appetite, check out the company’s full product range at https://rockymountainchocolatefactory.com/rmcf/control/portalHome.
Meanwhile Brookstone (B Center Core) is always a fun store to browse for the latest gadget or travel accessory, while on a similar theme, I-Tech X-Perience (Mezzanine), is the place for gamers to check out the latest releases and software, as well as to find MP3 and DVD players.
Landside DIA prides itself on offering a pet relief area, where pampered pooches can answer the call of nature discretely. So perhaps it is no surprise then to find a pet-related store on the other side of security. Jet Pets Boutique (on the B Mezzanine) claims to “make travel safe and stylish for your pet”, stocking everything from pets, leashes and collars to travel carriers and toys.
Those looking to pamper two-legged friends or perhaps spruce themselves up will find plenty of fashion stores in Concourse B. Denver Pizzazz (ladies’ silk scarves, fashion accessories and handbags), Johnston & Murphy (smart/casual menswear) and Judith Collection (Indian and Latin American fashion and accessories) are all located in the centre of Concourse B.
The shopping offer is a little less broad here, but the Body Shop (C Center Core) is a good place to pick up cruelty-free, fairtrade beauty lines such as soaps, body lotions, shower gels and body butters for men, women and kids. Helpfully, many of the most popular products are available in smaller sizes, which meet TSA travel restrictions.
Also in this central location is Gifts in Flight, which sells local Colorado gifts, as well as t-shirts, bags and calendars, while Gifts at Gate C47 sells much the same sort of merchandise. For souvenirs of a more handcrafted, ethnic nature, look out for Earth Spirits (C Center Core), which sells jewellery, pottery, wooden jewellery boxes and metal made by regional artisans.
When you’re done shopping, why not head to the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (Gate C32) for micro-brewed beer and a bite to eat? Alternatively, if you want a clear head, Dazbog (Gate C47) get a thumbs up from travellers for its coffees and customer service. A Denver-based company started by two Russian ex-pats, Dazbog serves excellent coffees from around the world.