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Driving from Denver to Summit Co Fri 1/23

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Our flight arrives in Denver around 5pm. When if traffic heaviest on I-70 to Summit Co? Should hit the road right away or eat dinner in Denver and start the drive later (~7:30pm)? Of course, this is assuming good driving conditions.
post #2 of 25

Eat East of the city

You will get stuck in rush hour traffic if you leave for the mountains right after you land. Find a restaurant in Aurora and take your time after 7P, assuming the weather cooperates.
post #3 of 25
Flight lands at 5... train to the main terminal, pick up bags, get on a shuttle to the car lot.. I'd be shocked if you could get that all done by 6. (It's possible, it just doesn't seem likely.) So, you're not hitting the Denver traffic till 6:15 or so at the earliest. I'd say go for it.

I can't think of any restaurants to recommend right off I-80. Arbusci's (sp?) in Arvada, but by the time you get there you're through the worst of it.
post #4 of 25
If you decide to 'go for it', I'd recomend stopping in Idaho Springs 'Buffalo Bar' for dinner, it's about an hour from Denver, easy + fast on/off from I80. Neat town, good microbrews and food. Taste of the old west.
http://www.buffalorestaurant.com/
post #5 of 25
I don't see traffic being much of a big deal given your arrival time and how long it will take until you are in your rental car and on your way. Where and when you stop might be dictated by when and if you want to eat before you get up there. If you absolutely need eat early there's plenty of places along the Denver section of I-70 - say the word and I'll come up with some suggestions.

However, if you want to immediately immerse yourself into the more "authentic" side of Colorado stopping in Idaho Springs or Georgetown would be the ticket (like Furball said the Buffalo Bar is a cool place, though Georgetown has an even more authentic mountain town feel, though I can't say that they have something as nice as the Buffalo Bar). BTW - one of my fondest memories of my first Colorado visit 35 years ago was stopping in Georgetown and feeling like I had stepped onto a Hollywood movie set of a western mining town with the restaurant playing the part well too - it was the inside of an old Victorian-style bank from the 1800's, what's there now I don't know.

Rushing up to Summit county to eat probably isn't worth it since you'll be up there every night on your vacation. Try something different.
post #6 of 25
Done it many times. You'll be lucky to get your rental car and be on the road by 7 and the traffic will still be bad but manageable if the weather is good. As for dinner, Idaho Springs is a good stop but hit Tommyknockers on main st. Great microbrews and good food. We usually just stick to the road and get food after we get to Summit Co. and settled in.
post #7 of 25
Don't know if BeauJo's is still there, but I'd heartily recommend it as a stop for something to eat in Idaho Springs.

CW :-)
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cardweg View Post
Don't know if BeauJo's is still there, but I'd heartily recommend it as a stop for something to eat in Idaho Springs.

CW :-)
Ate there last week. It's ok.

Mike
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info. I think we're going to try to stop to eat somewhere in Denver since we have young kids and they'll be hungry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post
I don't see traffic being much of a big deal given your arrival time and how long it will take until you are in your rental car and on your way. Where and when you stop might be dictated by when and if you want to eat before you get up there. If you absolutely need eat early there's plenty of places along the Denver section of I-70 - say the word and I'll come up with some suggestions.
I'd love a few suggestions for a good family friendly restaurant somewhere along the I-70 corridor. Thanks again.
post #10 of 25
If you don't want to stop and don't mind some fast food good times burger is pretty good and there several just off the highway as drive.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosper View Post
I'd love a few suggestions for a good family friendly restaurant somewhere along the I-70 corridor. Thanks again.
Need to do some research and will get back to you shortly - if you don't hear in 24hrs. PM me.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post
Need to do some research and will get back to you shortly - if you don't hear in 24hrs. PM me.
P.S. Do you want something the is "fast casual", "casual", or a bit nicer?
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Either fast casual or regular casual is fine. Something at the same level as Chili's or TGI Fridays would work.
post #14 of 25
www.casabonitadenver.com
As seen on The TV show South Park.
Fridays nights could be packed, but not because of the food!
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Vertical View Post
www.casabonitadenver.com
As seen on The TV show South Park.
Fridays nights could be packed, but not because of the food!
I was just about to mention this place. My daughter and I stayed in Golden a couple of years ago prior to heading up the mountains. This place was very close to there and my daughter LOVED it!!
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosper View Post
Either fast casual or regular casual is fine. Something at the same level as Chili's or TGI Fridays would work.
First my thoughts on "Casa Bonita" - it is a one-of-a-kind fun restaurant if you have a few hours to kill and don't mind terrible food. Other than that and the inconvenient location....

Secondly if convenience is what you're after I generally recommend fast casual restaurants (more on this in a moment) vs. casual dining (which is Chili's, TGIF, etc. - you can google your favorite and map it out).

Finally, the more unique (and better) restaurants in Denver are usually not right off of I-70 so you'll need to choose between convenient vs. unique. Enough of that, here's some tips:

Fast Casual - There are many good choices in this category given that a handful of Denver restauranteurs essentially invented it. Many/most may be familiar to you so there goes unique.... There's Chipotle @ 3294 Youngfield - take the "Youngfield/32nd Av" exit and go left under I-70 then left just past Youngfield, Noodles (right next to the Chipotle), Qdoba @ 14231 West Colfax - take the "Denver West" exit and go left over I-70 then immediately right into a shopping area, and Tokyo Joes (right next to the Qdoba).

More Unique but Less Convenient - Jack n' Grill (killer New Mexican food @ 2524 N. Federal - take the Federal exit and go south 1 to 2 mi., though worth the extra driving), Big Hoss (great BBQ and steaks @ 3961 Tennyson - take the Lowell/Tennyson exit and follow the frontage road to Tennyson and go south about 1mi., though you'll need to ask how to get back to I-70 which won't be the same as how you got there), Swing Thai (nicer place with good Thai food @ 44th & Tennyson - it's about 1/4mi. before you get to Big Hoss), Parisi (OK casual Denver Italian - cattycorner from Swing Thai), and Sabor Latino (fairly unique South American & Mexican @ 4340 W 35th about another 1/2mi. south of Big Hoss).

There are others, but I tried to limit it to a few geographic areas to make life easier. Enjoy!
post #17 of 25
Great info skira, but my experience over the years has smartened me up to the point where the Traffic from DIA all the way past the Westminster exit is bad enough that I certainly wouldn't drive around looking for a way to get indigestion and having gas cramps all the way up I70 to Summit County. I also want to get out of it before the masses of skier traffic head up the hills also. You'd be better off grabbing a snack at the Airport while you are waiting for your luggage. That might take an hour anyways. Otherwise, there's a Bennigans just a couple miles down the Airport access road, over by all the hotels on the left. Or just wait. The quicker you get out of traffic and into the mountains, the better off you will be.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
Great info skira, but my experience over the years has smartened me up to the point where the Traffic from DIA all the way past the Westminster exit is bad enough....
YMMV (Bennigan's just ain't my kind of place) - the only thing I know is that there is no Westminster exit off of I-70....
post #19 of 25
That would be Wadsworth Ski-ra. Which takes you to Westminster.
post #20 of 25
I think Lars has an idea- since you have hungry kids, I might think you could get served faster at the Airport chain stops. Turn off Pena Blvd on Tower Rd, and go South (Mtns on the rt). If you wait till you are further in town, you will not only have traffic rush hr, but also prime time in the restaurants themselves, being Friday night. (After you leave the restaurants, go South on Tower again, till you hit 56th? st. turn right, and it takes you right back onto Pena.)


If you want to get past most of the in-town traffic first, then consider the restaurants around the Colorado Mills. This is easily accessible from I-70, just before you start the climb out of the city up into the mtns. The shopping area is about 2 minutes off the interstate.
Pretty much all of the national chain places are there, ranging from PeiWei to On The Border, etc.
post #21 of 25
EVERY casual dining place on the planet is within 10 miles of DIA - that's why my list of unique restaurants focuses on the west side of Denver (Aurora is home of the chain restaurant). Anyway if the OP wants one of them then you are absolutely right, and all he has to do is google his fave and map it....
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro View Post
If you want to get past most of the in-town traffic first, then consider the restaurants around the Colorado Mills. This is easily accessible from I-70, just before you start the climb out of the city up into the mtns. The shopping area is about 2 minutes off the interstate.
Pretty much all of the national chain places are there, ranging from PeiWei to On The Border, etc.
That's right across the street from the Qdoba and Tokyo Joe's that I mentioned (I intended to mentioned that there were lots of other choices there).

But the OP is probably already in bed ready to get up first thing for his trip, so I'm just blowing hot air here....
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 

We made it after 4+ hours

Our flight landed on time at ~5pm and after 2 trips to the Alamo so we could switch out our minivan for an Ford Expedition we were on the road by 6:30pm.

Because of conditions in the mountains (snowing) and the kids falling asleep in the car we decided to try to get as far as possible before they woke up. We made it to just past Idaho Springs in ~1 hour and then hit pretty much a standstill. We inched along for about an hour and half and decided to get off to get a bite to eat in Georgetown. One of the restaurants we called, the Raven Hill Mining Co, said there did such good business that they ran out of food. We ended up going to Red Ram which was pretty good. In talking with the waiter we learned that they closed the expressway for a few hours due to heavy snow and lots of other folks stopped in Georgetown to wait it out. We got back on the road at around 9:30 and made it to Breck from there safe and sound in another hour and 15 min. Thanks to all for the suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Vertical View Post
www.casabonitadenver.com
As seen on The TV show South Park.
Fridays nights could be packed, but not because of the food!
Quote:
Originally Posted by gores95 View Post
I was just about to mention this place. My daughter and I stayed in Golden a couple of years ago prior to heading up the mountains. This place was very close to there and my daughter LOVED it!!
Funny thing...I was at Casa Bonita about 30 years ago when I was a kid and though it was the absolute coolist restaurant I'd ever been to. I haven't been back since but do have fond memories. Glad to hear it's still around.
post #24 of 25
Looks like you are in store for a few powder days.

Enjoy them, and glad you made it ok.
post #25 of 25
Yeah, you definitely hit a bad night last night. There were a mess of problems yesterday starting with an entire herd of elk being decimated (16 of them) by a single truck at 1:30am. It seem to just get worse from there through the day and last night was one of those really bad drives. Glad you made it safe though and from my day at Copper today I'm guessing you will have some awesome skiing.
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