Session Details

Paris on the Platte: The City Beautiful Movement in Denver with Happy Haynes


The City Beautiful movement of the latter half of the 19th century, popularized by the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893, had a profound influence in many growing American cities at that time, including Denver. Join Denver Parks and Recreation Director Happy Haynes on this historic parkway tour to each of Denver's premier parks. You will visit some of Denver's best known historic parks including Civic Center, City Park, and Cheesman. These parks were influenced by the Beaux Arts and Neoclassical principles based on symmetry, balance, and splendor that brought a new-found culture and sophistication to this booming frontier town. This motor coach tour will travel the city's historic parkways and chronicle some of the famous designers and their key contributions to making Denver the "Paris on the Platte."

At the stop in Civic Center Park, you will learn the story of parks as connectors of civic spaces and current centers of events and civic expression. You will also enjoy learning the history of the parks statues and legacy tree. Civic Center Park is a 12-acre urban oasis anchoring one of the grandest architectural campuses in America. Join the Civic Center Conservancy in learning about their work in reclaiming the park as the vibrant community asset its founders intended and the community deserves.

After Civic Center, explore the spooky past of Cheesman Park while meandering through the rose garden and rustic pavilion. Your stop at City Park will include a bike tour of the Denver Parks and Recreation greenhouse and iconic City Park pavilion, bandstand and fountain.

Bike through the Sopris Garden to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science terrace for the best view in the city. Get your camera out; you won't want to leave without capturing the view.

Note: Participants are strongly encouraged to have acclimated to altitude for at least 24 hours. Sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended.