Blazing New Trails in Denver Denver’s and ASHA’s pioneering legacies continue. Here’s what to look forward to this year within and outside the walls of the convention center. Features
Features  |   August 01, 2015
Blazing New Trails in Denver
Author Notes
  • Elizabeth Thompson Beckley is a freelance medical writer in Evergreen, Colorado.
    Elizabeth Thompson Beckley is a freelance medical writer in Evergreen, Colorado.×
Article Information
ASHA News & Member Stories / Features
Features   |   August 01, 2015
Blazing New Trails in Denver
The ASHA Leader, August 2015, Vol. 20, 46-50. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR2.20082015.46
The ASHA Leader, August 2015, Vol. 20, 46-50. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR2.20082015.46
ASHA returns to a Denver that has matured since 1968 but retains its socially progressive spirit: For example, the city runs an innovative composting program and was on the forefront of the state’s marijuana legalization movement, the majority of its residents support same-sex marriage, and city mayors have a tradition of aiding the homeless.
In the same vein, since holding its convention there in 1968, ASHA has grown into an identity of valuing social responsibility. For evidence of this, look no further than its Strategic Pathway. Three of the pathway’s objectives seek to bolster diversity, international engagement and cultural competency—and this same spirit is captured in the convention’s theme, fittingly, “Changing Minds. Changing Lives. Leading the Way.”
Among the convention’s “trailblazer” sessions, focused on change leaders, are “Increasing Cultural Competence: Asking the Right Questions Without Trivializing Culture” and “Supporting the Modification of Voice and Resonance With Speakers Who Are Transgender.” A host of other sessions address cultural diversity, including (just to name a few):
  • Intervention Research for Bilingual Children With Speech and Language Disorders

  • Person-Centered Outcomes in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Contexts: International Application of the ICF

  • Psychosocial, Academic and Mental Health Considerations for Dual Language Learners With or Without Communication Disorders

  • Multilingual Assessments Across 30 Countries for Children With Specific Language Impairment

Denver itself offers the chance to sample and explore a variety of cultures through its art, museums, shopping and local cuisine.
Arts and culture
Public art is celebrated everywhere. Take a stroll around your hotel and you can’t miss it. Most of the convention hotels are in walking distance of the convention center, with its enormous Blue Bear peering through the glass at the goings-on inside, as well as 300 restaurants, nine theaters in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and shopping and retail outlets.
As luck would have it, Nov. 6–14 is Denver Arts Week. The program features more than 300 discounted and free events at a wide variety of art galleries, museums, theaters, concert venues and neighborhood art districts. Other special programming includes theater and dance performances, street festivals, and art competitions. Peruse a comprehensive guide to the Mile High City, including tips on how to navigate and plan the extensive Denver Arts Week.

Nov. 6–14 is Denver Arts Week. The program features more than 300 discounted and free events at a wide variety of art galleries, museums, theaters, concert venues and neighborhood art districts.

For movie buffs, The Starz Denver Film Festival will present about 200 films and host more than 175 film artists over 11 days, Nov. 4–15. The celebrated festival includes new international feature releases, independently produced fiction films and documentaries, animation, experimental works, children’s programs, and short subjects.
One of the great deals in town for visitors is the Mile High Culture Pass. For $52.80 (that’s the number of feet in our mile-high altitude), this single pass buys you admission over five consecutive days to seven outstanding museums and attractions:
  • Clyfford Still Museum

  • Denver Art Museum

  • Denver Botanic Gardens

  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science

  • Denver Zoo

  • History Colorado Center

  • Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

You can also use the Culture Pass for discounted tickets and deals for:
  • Denver B-cycle: 50 percent off the city’s bike sharing program

  • Molly Brown House Museum: Discounted admission

  • Byers-Evans House Museum: Discounted admission

  • Denver Firefighters Museum: Free admission for children 12 and under

  • The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (The CELL): 2-for-1 admission

  • Butterfly Pavilion: 2-for-1 admission

Or you can spend $25 to visit three of the main attractions in three days. The passes can be purchased online or in person at Denver’s Tourist Information Center, located at 1575 California St. Take some time before your trip to poke around this website, which provides great details about the museums and attractions listed above, and also offers comprehensive information about the city’s history, tours, music, nightlife, restaurants, shopping, sports, day trips and more.
Heady heights
A 1968 Colorado Springs newspaper ran the headline “Legalize Pot!” Well, it actually happened 44 years later. Chances are you may have heard about Colorado’s passage of Amendment 64 in November 2012, which legalized the recreational sale, possession and use of marijuana for adults 21 and older. You can purchase the drug legally here, but the law does not permit public consumption, nor can you travel with it out of state. Colorado’s official website offers a helpful Q&A guide for details about the law.
You still can’t beat the natural Rocky Mountain high. Yes, the views from the city of those snow-capped peaks are stunning, but if you have the time, grab some pals, rent a car and go take a hike! Just remember, the air is indeed thinner and dryer at Denver’s one-mile altitude, with about 17 percent less oxygen than the air at sea level (and even thinner in the mountains). The most common complaints about altitude sickness are shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue. Following a few tips will help you adjust and feel good during your visit:

The views from the city of those snow-capped peaks are stunning, but if you have the time, grab some pals, rent a car and go take a hike!

  • Drink water. A lot of it. As in double what you drink at home.

  • Watch your alcohol intake because its effects can feel stronger here.

  • Take it easy on the exercise, maybe running about half the distance you do at sea level.

  • Wear sunglasses and slather on sunscreen and lip balm. Thinner air means less protection from the sun’s harmful rays, and Colorado gets about 300 days of sunshine a year. That sun can feel warm even in November, but the evenings cool down quickly, and the weather can change in an instant, so you might want to dress in layers.

Shopping and food
Phew! Still have any time or energy after all that, and your ASHA meeting sessions? Here are just a few more worthwhile downtown Denver diversions. Get outfitted at REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), Colorado’s flagship outdoor store, conveniently located across from Confluence Park, an urban oasis where Cherry Creek joins the South Platte River in Lower Downtown (LoDo). Continue up the river toward the roller coasters of Elitch Gardens and you’ll find the Downtown Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of Denver.
Also in the LoDo neighborhood are not one, but two branches of the incredible Tattered Cover, a large independent bookstore and café with the warmth of a small bookshop. Take in a show at the historic Paramount Theatre, a restored 1930s art deco concert venue near the famous 16th Street Mall, a mile-long pedestrian shopping mecca.
As for where to eat, the good and very good choices are almost endless. Denver is famous for its green chili, usually with pork, but there are some great vegetarian versions, too. Many establishments, fancy and not so much, have their own recipe and serve it up as soup or as a sauce for smothering other stuff (green chili is especially delicious on a breakfast burrito bursting with potatoes, eggs and cheese). And not much washes down the heat better than a locally brewed beer. Colorado takes rightful pride in its world-class craft brews, with notable breweries in Denver and statewide. My favorites are Dale’s Pale Ale, brewed by Oskar Blues (Longmont) and almost anything from Odell Brewing (Fort Collins).
With so many excellent sources already rating the options, I will point you to some of the guides so you can narrow it down based on your tastes, mood and budget.
  • For the local weekly paper’s take on food, with input from a poll of its readers, the eaters of Denver, check out Westword’s Best of Denver 2015 issue.

  • Denver’s magazine, 5280, also publishes a 25 Best Restaurants list, which includes luscious food photography along with its detailed reviews.

  • When planning for a night in the city, I often check Trip Advisor for restaurant recommendations.

  • And finally, Zagat helps you break it all down with several helpful categories, such as best décor, best service and most popular.

Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Comment Title

This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
August 2015
Volume 20, Issue 8