Family Friendly Cities: Denver for Outdoor Paradise - United Hub
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Family friendly cities: Denver for outdoor paradise

By Bob Cooper, August 23, 2017

There are few better ways to entice the family outdoors and away from all those screens—that means you, too, mom and dad—than to head to the mountains. But don't worry, you won't need to drag out the tent from your garage or take out a loan because, in the Denver area, free and low-cost outdoor fun can be enjoyed by day while nights are spent in a comfy family-suite hotel.

The Flatirons from the Chautauqua Park trailhead in Denver

Mountain hikes

The Mile High City is not that many miles from an abundance of mountain parklands. Dozens of trails surround the outdoor mecca of Boulder, 40 minutes from Denver, with the most popular paths heading straight toward the dramatic rock formations called the Flatirons from the Chautauqua Park trailhead. The trailhead is only blocks from the University of Colorado campus. Multiple trails for all fitness levels also branch out from Echo Lake Park, one hour from Denver on the road to 14,260-foot Mt. Evans, highest paved road in America.

View of the skyline and City Park in Denver

City parks

While Echo Lake Park is one of 22 Denver Mountain Parks located outside the city, families intimidated by the idea of high-altitude hikes can be content picnicking or enjoying recreational activities at one of Denver's city parks. Bike paths, boat rentals, horseshoe pits and massive Frisbee fields are among the options at sprawling Washington Park. Waterskiing in Denver's largest lake is popular at Sloan's Lake Park. And at City Park, there's a huge playground for younger kids, tennis courts and a public golf course for everyone else.

Lion resting at the Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo

If encountering mountain lions and bears in the Rockies sounds a little too real for your family vacation, City Park is where you'll find the Denver Zoo ($17/adults, $12/kids). There you'll see not only lions, tigers and bears, but also elephants, emus and eagles—and an adorable red panda—among the 4,300 resident animals. This was America's first zoo to replace cages with natural enclosures, including the 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage (giving new meaning to the idea of “trunk space" in a Yaris). Just for fun, mixed in with the real animals through Halloween are “Dinos!"—19 life-size animatronic dinosaurs.

Skyline view of Denver and the Elitch Gardens Water and Theme Park

Elitch Gardens

Elitch Gardens, America's only downtown theme and water park, isn't cheap ($40/adults, $35/children purchased online). But if you account for the number of hours you'll spend there with the family—probably all day—the math works out nicely. Daring kids and adults will get a rush from 13 thrill rides (the newest is a 17-story-high swing ride), little ones can choose among 13 pint-sized rides, plus there are dozens more family rides and water rides, four live-entertainment shows, and weekly free concerts and movies throughout the summer.

Front entrance of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The great indoors

When families need a break from the Great Outdoors, Denver delivers. The Denver Mint has been punching out coins since 1906 and remains the world's most prolific coin-maker; free tours are offered Mondays through Thursdays. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science ($17/adults, $12/kids), a Smithsonian-affiliated gem with an IMAX 3D theater and planetarium, was massively expanded in 2014 and features hands-on exhibits focused on everything from dinosaurs to outer space. Smaller children may prefer the Children's Museum of Denver ($13), where they can enjoy pint-sized zip-lining and boulder climbing; create masterpieces in the art studio and chef-supervised teaching kitchen, and pretend to be firefighters or veterinarians.

If you go

United Airlines offers flights to city of Denver from dozens of cities and MileagePlus Rewards can help pay for your car rental and a family-friendly hotel once you arrive. Go to united.com or use the United app to plan your vacation.

Why we fly

By The Hub team, November 27, 2020

In October 2019, we launched a first-of-its-kind airline miles donation platform, Miles on a Mission. In the inaugural year, MileagePlus members donated over 70 million miles, with United matching over 20 million miles, to 51 organizations. These miles have allowed for these organizations to do important, life-changing, life-saving work in the communities we serve around the globe.

United cargo connects products to people all over the world this holiday season

By The Hub team, November 23, 2020

Critical medical shipments – Check.

High-tech electronics – Check.

2.7 million pounds of lobster? Check.


While this year's holiday gatherings will look a little different, millions of people around the world will still carry on the tradition of celebrating the holidays with a meal.

As the appetite for different types of food from all over the world increases, so does the need for safe and reliable transport. Fish caught in the United Kingdom can depart at breakfast and arrive in Washington D.C. in time for dinner. Thanks to United Cargo's expansive network, we are longer constrained by global distance or the seasonality of a product,

United Cargo plays a big role in transporting shipments with a limited shelf life around the world. Packed in between the latest electronics from Asia and the hottest fashion items from Europe, our aircraft carry a variety of perishable shipments like flowers, fruit, meat and vegetables, where speed and careful handling keeps them fresh. Whether it's cherries from Washington State or vegetables from Peru, our temperature-controlled shipping processes and vast global network helps move these commodities all over the world.

While the holidays are an exceptionally busy time of year for shipping perishable items, United Cargo transports these critical goods for people all over the world year-round. Earlier this year, United Cargo moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to support communities impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, with the holiday season here, we anticipate the cargo holds of our aircraft to be full of grocery store replenishments, including staples like turkey and ham, hitting shelves across the globe.

We take pride in our role to make sure perishables and produce arrive on time and at the peak of freshness. These products sustain, feed and nurture the world, and consumers around the globe depend on them every single day.

Since March 19, United has operated nearly 8,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 272 million pounds of cargo on those flights alone. United Cargo is proud of the role we play maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access commodities from all over the globe.

Bon appetit!

10 travel tips for the holiday season

By The Hub team, November 19, 2020

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your holiday travels, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, payments and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check and touch-free onboard payments.

2. Read and sign the Ready-to-Fly checklist

Before completing check-in, all United travelers will need to read our Ready-to-Fly checklist and confirm that they understand and agree to our policies. These include:

  • Acknowledging that you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Agreeing that you will not fly if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days
  • Confirming that you will follow all policies regarding face coverings, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted

3. Get familiar with CleanPlus

United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading* cleanliness, plus putting health and safety at the forefront of your experience, in partnership with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic. We've implemented CleanPlus in a number of ways that you'll notice throughout your trip, as well as with some behind-the-scenes enhancements like:

  • Disinfecting high-touch areas on board and in the terminal
  • Using electrostatic spraying, Ultraviolet C lighting wands and more advanced measures to clean aircraft cabins before boarding
  • Redesigning our mobile app to allow for touchless check-in and contactless payment, along with enhanced travel assistance features

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use, so you can rest assured that the steps we've taken to keep you safe truly make a difference.

4. Don't forget essential documents

We've made a list of travel requirements and restrictions for every destination that you can check twice, or as often as you need before your trip. Just visit united.com/travelrequirements to get the details on COVID-19 testing, health documents and other things you may need before you fly.

5. Wear your mask

You may not notice our smile behind our face covering, but you can be sure that we're appreciative of all our travelers who arrive to the airport with their mask on, and continue to wear it over their nose and mouth at all times in the airport and on board. Make sure you review our requirements for face coverings, including what an acceptable face covering looks like. Bonus points if your mask infuses some holiday cheer!

6. A better boarding process for your safety

If you haven't flown with us in a while, you might want to get familiar with our new boarding process. To make boarding even safer, we now have travelers board their aircraft from back to front. At the gate, just listen for your row number to be called – we'll ask a few rows at a time to board, starting with the last row of the plane. This helps everyone maintain a safe distance from each other during boarding without slowing things down. As you step onto the plane, flight attendants will hand each passenger a sanitizing towelette, which you can use to wipe down your seat to ensure it's extra clean.

7. Pack smart

Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. You can also copy your confirmation number into our Baggage Calculator tool to learn about the bag allowance included with your reservation, as well as the cost of checking any additional bags.

8. Check your flight status, important notices and weather

Check the United app regularly for the latest updates, weather conditions, flight status, gate and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important Notices page to find essential information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.

9. Arrive early; avoid the stress

Airports can be busy, especially during the holidays. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.

10. Relax and enjoy your flight

Once you're on board, it's time to sit back and enjoy your flight. Our flight attendants will be happy to help you with anything else you need.

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