Denver International Airport, or DIA, as it is known serves Denver and the surrounding areas.
The most important thing to know about the airport, is that it is nowhere near Denver. Many locals joke that that airport is actually in Kansas. That is an exaggeration, of course, but it is not without merit.
DIA is technically in Denver, but only thanks to the kind of boundary gerrymandering that is unconstitutional if used for anything other than artificially including airports inside of city limits.
To find DIA on Google Maps, type in Denver, CO. Then, zoom out. Zoom out again. Zoom out again. Now scroll to the right. Look for a big gray area to the Northeast of Denver. That is Denver International Airport. You can’t even see the Rocky Mountains from there.
The airport is 40 minutes from downtown in good traffic, but can take significantly longer to reach during rush hour. If you are not going toward downtown, Denver’s only toll road E-470 can get you to the northernmost or southernmost ends of the Denver metro area much faster.
Don’t bother with it for anything close to the center of the metro region. E-470 is a “loop” that doesn’t connect up on the West side that runs around the OUTER edge of the metro area. They say, that in Denver, the only thing further East than E-470 is DIA.
The good news is that parking is relatively easy at DIA compared to other airports at all times except the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It is also cheaper than a lot of other metropolitan airports with close-in garage parking going for $18 a day and further out, but still walkable parking lots costing $10 for parking.
Unless you are going downtown and staying downtown the whole duration of your trip, rent a car. With the exception of a 15 block area downtown, this is not a walking city.
Every downtown Denver motel and hotel has parking of some sort, and while the locals will complain loudly about the rates, they are much lower than in other major cities. Valet parking at most hotels is about $30 a day with self-park costing $15 to $20 depending upon the hotel.
Taxis are not common except at hotels and a couple of other spots. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a phone call and then wait for one to show up. Cab fare from the airport will typically pay for a full-day of car rental, with a round trip costing you at least what a 2-day rental would cost.
Plan ahead and get a discount car reservation and you might be able to rent a car for the whole week for the same price as a rountrip taxi cab ride to the airport.
If you have ever driven in another metropolitan size city, you can handle driving in Denver.