denver international airport

The Complete Guide to Denver International Airport (DEN)

Brittany Anas

Brittany Anas

November 16, 2023

12 min read

Table of Contents

If it’s your first time flying into Denver International Airport, you may feel a tad surprised during the descent. The third busiest airport in the world is smack-dab in the middle of a flat brown field —not exactly the best first impression of a state that’s nicknamed “Colorful Colorado” and renowned for its majestic snow-capped Rocky Mountains that kiss blue skies. 

But, even though it may feel as though you’re in the middle of nowhere, downtown Denver and its famed breweries, sports stadiums, and burgeoning arts and culture scene is just 25 miles away, those gorgeous mountains can be seen as soon as you step out of the airport, and the ski resorts are reachable within two hours. And, while you’re at DIA, you can get a taste of what the Mile High City has to offer, whether it’s with a scoop of ice cream at beloved dessert spot Little Man, a local craft beer, or by exploring some of the airport’s most secretive conspiracy theories.   

>> Read our guide to finding cheap flights from Denver.

Worth noting: DIA is a little bit of a mess right now due to ongoing construction. The airport, which originally opened in 1995, started undergoing massive renovations in 2018, and the construction is expected to continue until at least 2028. Denver locals and frequent fliers coming through DEN share an inside joke: “Be like DIA, never stop working on yourself.” But if you find yourself in need of directions, the airport has friendly volunteers in vests that are encyclopedias of DIA knowledge and who can point you to the right security line, Uber pick up zones, or, yes, the smiling gargoyles that help perpetuate the conspiracy theories.  

Ahead, everything you need to know about Denver International Airport:

  • Airport code: DEN
  • Distance from DEN to Denver: 25 miles
  • Transport options: Train / Bus / Taxi
  • Airlines served: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Boutique Air, British Airways, Cayman Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Denver Air Connection, Edelweiss, Frontier Airlines, Icelandair, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, Southern Airways Express, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, Volaris, West Jet
  • Hubs for: Frontier Airlines, United Airlines
  • Domestic nonstop flights to: 180 destinations
  • International nonstop flights to: 14 destinations
  • Terminals: One main terminal, Jeppesen Terminal
  • Concourses: Three concourses (Gates A, B, C)
  • Gates: Gates B and C are accessible from Jeppesen Terminal only via the Train to the gates. Gate A can be reached by walking the passenger bridge or by taking the train from the terminal.
  • On time departures: 84.9% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Transportation
  • On time arrivals: 83.7% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Transportation
  • Security wait times: Security wait times vary by time of day and year, however you can see real-time wait time data for all three security check points online at
  • Official website:

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About Denver Airport

inside DIA.

Terminals at DEN

The Denver International Airport has one terminal: The 2.6 million square-foot Jeppesen Terminal. Passenger ticketing, baggage claim, ground transportation, international arrivals, shops, restaurants, and three TSA security checkpoints are all located within the single terminal. 

As you approach the airport, the Jeppesen Terminal is a sight to see: Its white peaked roof is designed to mimic Colorado’s snow-capped mountains and also evokes the state’s early history when Native American teepees were located across the Great Plains. 

Getting between terminals at DEN

While there is just one terminal at DIA, there is an underground “people mover” train serving the terminal and the three gate areas, with signs directing you. Travelers can only reach Gates B and C by train. Gate A can be reached either by walking or by the train. 

Once you get through security, plan about 10 minutes for the people mover to get you to the gates. You rarely have to wait more than a couple of minutes for the trams to arrive, but sometimes they are too full and you’ll need to get in line for the next one. The first stop is gate A; second stop is gate B; and third stop is gate C. The train ride from the terminal to C gates is less than 10 minutes. The train stations are located in the center of the terminal and gate buildings.

If you’re flying out of an A gate, there’s a passenger bridge that spans the taxiway—i.e. a scenic walk for the aviation obsessed. By the way: All international flights arrive at A gates, which leads passengers straight to customs. 

For those who aren’t able to walk, there are electric carts that can transport you to the airline gates.

Airlines flying from DEN

A Gates: 

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Allegiant
  • American Airlines
  • Boutique Air
  • British Airways
  • Cayman Airways
  • Copa Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Denver Air Connection
  • Edelweiss
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Lufthansa 
  • Southern Airways Express
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • Volaris
  • West Jet
  • United Airlines

B Gates: 

  • United Airlines

C Gates: 

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines

Flying in, out, or through the Denver Airport 

tsa lines at Denver airport.

Security and customs at DEN

Airport officials recommend arriving two hours prior to your departure time to give yourself enough time to check in, get through security, and make it to your gate. Wait times can vary at Denver International Airport, but passengers can get a sense of how quickly the lines are moving with real-time updates at

DIA has three security checkpoints: North Security Checkpoint, South Security Checkpoint, and an A-Bridge Security Checkpoint. The airport has recently made changes to its security checkpoints, funneling TSA Precheck passengers to the North Security Checkpoint. Here’s what to know about each of the checkpoints:

  • North Security Checkpoint: This is the checkpoint that TSA Precheck passengers and TSA Precheck passengers with Clear should use. The checkpoint also has a lane for premium or premier travelers. There are a limited number of standard screening lanes available at the North Security Checkpoint, however this checkpoint isn’t recommended for standard screening and you may have difficulty accessing this checkpoint if you don’t have TSA Precheck or a premium boarding designation. It’s open from approximately 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • South Security Checkpoint: In general, this checkpoint is for standard screening travelers. There is a Clear lane available at this checkpoint for travelers that have Clear subscriptions, but don’t have TSA pre-check. The South Security Checkpoint is the 24-hour checkpoint that remains open overnight and may be the only checkpoint open from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. 
  • A-Bridge Security Checkpoint: This checkpoint is dedicated to standard screening travelers. It is open from approximately 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

TSA Precheck at DEN

Passengers with TSA Precheck should use the North Security Checkpoint, which is open from approximately 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you’re going through security at DEN between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., you may not have access to Precheck screening. To find up-to-date TSA Precheck hours, visit

Global Entry at DEN

Global Entry program members are processed by biometric identification in less than five minutes at kiosks in DEN. While this program is intended for frequent international travelers, there’s no minimum number of trips to qualify for the program. 

The airport has a Global Entry application center that’s located on Level 5 of the Jeppesen Terminal, adjacent to the international arrivals area on the north end of the terminal. To apply for the Global Entry Program, you’ll need to create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account and pay a $100 non-refundable fee. If your application is conditionally approved, you will schedule and interview at the Global Entry Enrollment Center. Applicants must bring a valid passport and one more form of identification, such as a driver’s license or permanent resident card, to the interview. 


Passengers with CLEAR and TSA Precheck should use the North Security Checkpoint. Passengers with just CLEAR can access the expedited lines at the South Security Checkpoint. For those interested in enrolling in CLEAR, you can do so at DEN without an appointment. 

Mobile Passport Control at DEN

International passengers entering the United States through DEN can use Mobile Passport Control, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection app that can expedite the process of going through customs. Android and iPhone users can download the Mobile Passport Control app for free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. 

The app allows U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via a smartphone or tablet prior to going through customs. Upon landing, travelers will complete the “New Trip” section by selecting their arrival airport and airline, taking a photo of themselves, and answering the series of custom declaration questions. DIA has eight specialized scanning units in the international arrivals area that can read the QR codes generated by the app. 

Parking at Denver Airport

When it comes to parking at (or near) Denver International Airport, you’ve got lots of options from parking garages that are close to the terminal to off-site lots that run shuttle services to the airport. 

If you plan to park at DIA, however, check out  beforehand because the lots do fill up. 

Here are some of your options for parking at the airport: 

  • Garage Parking: While this is the closest you’ll get to the terminal, you’ll still want to factor in 5-10 minutes for walking. The garage parking has East and West lots. Cost: $28 a day or $5 an hour. 
  • Economy Parking: This lot is slightly further from the terminal. While you can walk (it takes 5-10 minutes) there’s also a shuttle that runs between the lot and the terminal. Economy parking has East and West lots. Cost: $17 a day or $5 an hour. Daily rate drops to $15 after the third day.

Here are some of your off-site options close to the airport: 

  • Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot: This is the primary shuttle lot and DEN’s best-priced parking option. Travelers should expect it to take 30 minutes from the time they enter the lot to the time they arrive at the terminal. Shuttles depart every 7 to 10 minutes. Passengers can pick up the shuttle to return to their cars in Pikes Peak on the East side of DIA, Level 5, Island 3. The number for pickup is (303) 342-3492. Cost: $8 a day or $2 an hour. Location: 24300 E. 75th Ave., Denver, CO.

(Note: DEN’s other shuttle lot, Mt. Elbert, 6975 Valleyhead St., Denver, CO is closed until further notice). 

  • 61st and Peña Blvd.: This lot is $6 a day and an A-Line ride away from DEN. Parking, however, is available on a first-come, first-served basis and may be limited during the holiday season or other busy travel times like Spring Break. The parking lot is managed by the City and County of Denver, Denver International Airport. It’s located at RTD’S A Line commuter train. There are not shuttles or bus services from this location, but the commuter rail is available for $10.50 (transit time is 11 minutes and you can find A-Line information here). Cost: $6 a day or $3 for $12 hours. Pre-pay only. If you need to stay parked at this location longer, you can extend from anywhere by using the PayByPhone parking app. Visit or download the PayByPhone app in the App Store in Google Play and enter Parking Zone number 91905. You can also pay online at or by calling 888-680-7275.  Location: 6195 N. Panasonic Way, Denver, CO.

Here are the off-site lots operated by private companies that have shuttles to and from the airport: 

Pro tip: If you’re trying to factor parking into your trip budget, you can use this parking fee estimator.

DEN wifi and charging stations

Wifi is free throughout the airport and travelers can connect to “DEN Airport Free Wi-Fi.” 

If you need to charge your phones, iPads, laptops, and other personal devices, DEN has easily accessible electrical outlets located throughout the Jeppesen Terminal and all three concourses. Dedicated battery charging stations with seating and work surfaces are also easy to come by. 

Connecting flights at DEN

Denver International Airport has the amenities in place to make connections seamless, including a mobile passport lane for international travelers and the underground train that quickly shuttles between gates. 

But, DIA is a large airport. Case in point: The B concourse is the longest at 4,244 feet, which is 0.8 miles. While there are moving escalators that can help speed up your journey, it’s a good idea to allow for ample time if you land at one end of the concourse and need to make your way to the other end.

Minimum connection times at DEN: 

  • Domestic connection: 60 minutes
  • Domestic to international: 90 minutes
  • International to domestic: 90 minutes

Map of the Denver Airport

map of the Denver airport Den.

Food at the Denver Airport

New Belgium Brewing at Denver Airport.

Several new restaurants will be opening up in DEN in 2022 and 2023 including many that are outposts of popular local restaurants. Bar Dough, Señor Bear, Tocabe, Cholon, and Rosenberg’s Bagels are all on the “coming soon” list. These new arrivals add to an existing lineup of local restaurants and chain restaurants. If you’re flying late at night or early in the morning, it’s a good idea to pack a snack: Amid the pandemic, many of the airport restaurants have limited hours. 

A Gates: 

DIA’s A Gates have a mix of chains like Panda Express and McDonald’s as well as some local spots, like a petite version of Denver Central Market, a food hall that serves up pizza, pasta, sushi, provisions and more. 

  • Best breakfast: Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Best quick bite: Snarf’s Sandwiches
  • Best sit-down meal: Denver Central Market
  • Best bar: Breckenridge Brewery
  • Best late-night: Blue Sky Bar
  • Best with kids: Denver Central Market 

B Gates: 

The B gates have more than 30 restaurants that range from quick places to grab a bite to eat like Chick-Fil-A, Qdoba, Shake Shack, and Pizza Hut as well as well as sit-down restaurants that will give you a taste of Denver, like plates of pancakes at Snooze, a breakfast chain that launched in Denver and steak dinners at Elway’s.

  • Best breakfast: Snooze an A.M. Eatery
  • Best quick bite: Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs
  • Best sit-down meal: Que Beuno! Mexican Grill
  • Best bar: New Belgium Brewing
  • Best late-night: McDonald’s
  • Best with kids: Shake Shack

C Gates: 

The C gates have nearly a couple of dozen spots to grab a drink (a local craft beer, perhaps?), eat (veggie-forward meals at Root Down) or find a sweet treat (like Salted Oreo ice cream from Little Man Ice Cream). 

  • Best breakfast: La Casita
  • Best quick bite: Big Bowl
  • Best sit-down meal: Root Down
  • Best bar: Coors Silver Bullet Bar
  • Best late-night: Great Divide Brewing
  • Best with kids: The Magic Pan 

Lounges at the Denver Airport

Delta Air Lines lounge at DEN.

A Gates:

American Airlines and Delta both operate clubs on the A Concourse. 

Lounge: American Airlines Admirals Club
Hours: Monday - Friday: 5 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Saturday - Sunday: 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Access: Among those with access include Admirals Club members; qualifying first and business class travelers; qualifying Qualifying AAdvantage Executive Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro and AAdvantage Platinum members traveling internationally; qualifying Non-AAdvantage oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members traveling internationally.
Cost: $59 for a one-day pass
Location: On the North end of the A Gates Bridge from Jeppesen Terminal

Lounge: Delta Sky Club
Hours: 4:45 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Access: Among those with access include Delta Sky Club Members, Delta One or SkyTeam Premium Passengers, SkyTeam Elite Plus Members traveling internationally, Diamond Medallion Members, Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members, qualifying Centurion Card and Platinum Card Members from American Express.
Cost: $59 for day passes
Location: South end of Center Core in the A Gates

B Gates: 

Travelers can find two United lounges on the B concourse.

Lounge: United Club East
Hours: Daily 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Access: Among those with access include premium passengers, United Premier Gold (and higher) members who are traveling internationally, and United Infinite Card members.
Cost: Day passes not available for purchase.
Location: Near Gate B44

Lounge: United Club West 
Daily 6:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Access: Among those with access include premium passengers, United Premier Gold (and higher) members who are traveling internationally, and United Infinite Card members.
Cost: Day passes not available for purchase.
Location: Near Gate B30

C Gates:

While no airlines operate a lounge on Concourse C, American Express has its exclusive Centurion Lounge here. 

Lounge: American Express Centurion Lounge
Hours: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Access: Platinum Card Members,Business Platinum Card® Members, Corporate Platinum Card Members, Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card Members, Centurion Members. 
Cost: Day passes not available for purchase.
Location: Near C46

Sleeping at the Denver Airport 

Denver Westin Airport.

Hotels at the Denver Airport

The Westin Denver International Airport, a 519-room hotel and conference center, is the only hotel that’s located at DEN. It’s within walking distance of the Jeppesen terminal and is near the airport’s Transit Center, which offers shuttle and public transit services, including the A Line commuter train that has routes between the airport and downtown Denver. The hotel has a workout studio, indoor heated pool, and public art pieces from Colorado artists. 

Best hotels near the Denver Airport

Several hotels are within a 10-mile radius of DEN. That may seem far, but the stretch between DEN and downtown Denver has a lot of wide open land. These are some of the hotels that have shuttles that pick up from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, island 3 outside doors 505-507 on the east side and 510-512 on the west side.

Shopping at the Denver Airport

Whether you need a magazine to read on your flight, a last-minute souvenir, or you forgot to pack a cosmetics bag, DEN has nearly 100 different shops throughout the airport. The airport’s three Duty Free shops are located at the Center Core of Concourse A, the Center Core of Concourse B, and near Gate B31. 

Several Colorado-founded companies have outposts in the airport, including Be Good to People which sells apparel from a kiosk in the center core of the B gates and Björn’s Colorado Honey that sells honey and bee-based skincare products near gates A48 and C33. 

Forget something? Sunglass Hut, Kiehl’s, Urban Decay makeup, Brookstone, The Body Shop, and other stores have small shops throughout the airport. 

Travelers can find a full list of stores here, sortable by type of store and location.    

Things to do at the Denver Airport

  • Colorado is known for its craft beer. Embark on an airport beer crawl with stops at Breckenridge Brewery (near Gate A71), New Belgium Brewing (near Gate B30), and Great Divide Brewing Co (near Gate C32). You could also swing by Boulder Beer Taphouse in the Jeppesen Terminal, level 5. 
  • DEN partners with local artists and museums and features art exhibitions that regularly rotate. 
  • Occasionally, you can catch a live concert in the Jeppesen Terminal.
  • Grab a book from Tattered Cover Bookstore at the Center Core of the B Gates. Tattered Cover is a beloved Colorado bookstore that first opened in 1971 and has grown into one of the largest independent bookstores.
  • In normal times, DEN holds seasonal events, like a giant ice rink where you can skate during winter months and putt-putt golf during the summer. These events are currently on pause, but the airport has plans to bring them back.
  • Explore a conspiracy theory. There’s lots of them (more on that below) and they include beliefs that the New World Order command bunkers are below the airport and that a blue mustang statue is cursed.
  • Get a massage at Colorado Oasis Spa at the Center Core of the C Gates.
  • Take in the views. The best spot to see the mountains and snap a photo is between Gates C23 and C24.

Things to do with at the Denver Airport with kids

Denver International Airport isn’t the most kid friendly because it's currently without a play area. However, if you’re traveling with children, the airport has some good ideas of aviation-themed activities that you can pack in an activity bag for your kids should you have a long layover and need to keep them entertained. 

  • Go shopping at Kazoo & Company Toy Store on the Mezzanine level of the B Gates. The store sells an assortment of fun and educational toys as well as plush animals and books.
  • Grab an ice cream cone. Ben & Jerry’s is located at the Center Core of the A Gates and Little Man Ice Cream is near Gate C27.
  • Take a ride on the underground tram that goes between gates and the Jeppesen Terminal and look at the art, including the neon blue propellers that gain momentum from the wind generated by the train’s movement.
  • Do an airport-themed art project. DIA provides a coloring book template you can print out before your trip.
  • Or, build your own DEN tents with popsicle sticks, paperclips and other craft materials.
  • In normal years, DEN has a free ice skating rink during the holiday season. 

Nursing pods in DEN

DEN has three nursing rooms that are past the security gates and located at the center of each of DEN’s concourses. Each of the rooms offer a private space for mothers to nurse their children or pump. They are available 24/7, equipped with comfortable seating, and are wheelchair accessible. The rooms have power outlets and changing tables. Request access to the nursing room with the intercom on the wall next to the nursing room door.

  • Center of A Gates, near the women’s restroom closest to Denver Duty Free
  • Center of B Gates, near the women’s restroom closest to Tuleh Ruche
  • Center of C Gates, near the women’s restroom closest to Einstein Bros. Bagels

Traveling through DEN with pets

Denver airport pet relief area.

With four well-designed indoor pet relief rooms for traveling dogs and a nearby pet resort for those that need a place to stay while their humans travel, DEN is an easy airport to navigate with pets. 

The airport’s indoor pet relief rooms feature artificial turf flooring with a drainage system and fake rocks. The rooms have wall murals showcasing dogs and their humans enjoying the Colorado outdoors. Each room is outfitted with bags and disposal containers, as well as hand washing stations. 

Those traveling without their pets can check their cats or dogs into Paradise 4 Paws, 24735 E. 75th Ave. The pet resort is located near the Pikes Peak shuttle lot. It features private suites, massage therapy, on-site medical experts, and obedience training.

Pet relief areas

  • Jeppesen Terminal, Level 2 on the northwest side (just outside door 200)
  • A Gates, near the U.S. Mail Drop
  • B Gates, near the U.S. Mail Drop
  • C Gates, near the U.S. Mail Drop 

Getting to and from the Denver Airport

denver airport train to Denver.

How to get from DEN to downtown Denver

Train: The A-Line Commuter Train runs between DEN and downtown Denver. Trains run every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

Bus: The Regional Transportation District (RTD) offers bus routes between DEN and Denver suburbs, but RTD’s A-Line Commuter Train is what connects downtown Denver with DIA.

Shuttle: Several commuter shuttles serve downtown Denver, including ABC Shuttle, Delta Express, Active Express & Limousine, Road Runner Express, and Front Range Express. 

Taxi: Taxicabs pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal, Level 5, Island 1, outside Doors 505, 507 and 511 in Terminal East, and Doors 506, 510 and 512 in Terminal West. The flat rate charge to downtown Denver is  $56.03.

Rideshare: Both Lyft and Uber serve DIA. Passengers arriving at the airport via a ride app service will be dropped off curbside at their specified airline location on Level 5. Both Terminal East and Terminal West have drop-offs. When you request a rideshare ride through Lyft or Uber, you’ll meet your driver at Level 5, Island 5. Be sure to pay attention to the terminal side (east or west) that you should be on. Then, exit the terminal through doors 506-510 on the west side and 507-511 on the east side. Wait to request your ride until after you’ve claimed your luggage at baggage claim and are on Level 5.

How to get from DEN to Boulder

Bus: The SkyRide Bus route AB/AB1 serves Boulder and DIA. 

Shuttle: Several commuter shuttles serve Boulder, including Boulder Super Shuttle, Green Ride Boulder, Bestride Transportation, ABC Shuttle, Delta Express, Active Express & Limousine, Road Runner Express, Bestride Transportation, and Front Range Express. 

Taxi: Taxicabs pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal, Level 5, Island 1, outside Doors 505, 507 and 511 in Terminal East, and Doors 506, 510 and 512 in Terminal West. The flat rate charge to Boulder is $89.03.

Rideshare: Both Lyft and Uber serve DIA. Passengers arriving at the airport via a ride app service will be dropped off curbside at their specified airline location on Level 5. Both Terminal East and Terminal West have drop-offs. When you request a rideshare ride through Lyft or Uber, you’ll meet your driver at Level 5, Island 5. Be sure to pay attention to the terminal side (east or west) that you should be on. Then, exit the terminal through doors 506-510 on the west side and 507-511 on the east side. Wait to request your ride until after you’ve claimed your luggage at baggage claim and are on Level 5.

How to get from DEN to the mountains

Shuttles are the best option to get you to and from the mountains. Mountain carriers provide pre-arranged, charter and some on-demand shuttle or coach services to many of Colorado’s ski and resort areas. Reservations are recommended to guarantee you get a seat.

The following mountain carriers serve DIA: A Ski Lift Limousine; Aspen Snowmass Express; Blue Sky Limo, LLC; Epic Mountain Express; Estes Park Shuttle; Fresh Tracks Transportation; Go Alpine; Golden West Airport Shuttle; Home James Transportation Services; Ilimo-Mountain; Jake's Mountain Shuttle; Mountain Ready Rides; MTN Shuttle; Peak One Express; Silver Mountain Express; Sterling Limousine Service and Transport; Summit Express; Vail Powder Cars LLC.

Renting a car at the Denver airport 

Several major rental companies serve Colorado travelers and all of the rental car agencies are a shuttle away. The car rental agencies are located on airport property and provide a courtesy shuttle service to and from the Jeppesen Terminal. The shuttles pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 4 outside doors 505-513 on the east side of the terminal and 504 to 512 on the west side of the terminal.

Here are the car rental agencies that operate from DEN. All of the rental car agencies are served by a shuttle.

  • Alamo Rent A Car
  • Avis Rent A Car
  • Budget Rent A Car
  • Dollar Rent A Car
  • Enterprise Rent A Car
  • Fox Rent A Car
  • Hertz Rent A Car
  • National Rent A Car
  • NÜ Car Rentals
  • Payless Rent A Car
  • Sixt Rent A Car
  • Thrifty Car Rental

>> Read our trips for finding cheap rental cars

Fun facts about the Denver Airport

denver airport mustang.

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country, and it’s also one that’s shrouded in conspiracy theories. The airport, by the way, is self-aware of all the conspiracy theories that surround it, with construction signs that say: “Forgive the Mess. Building secret underground tunnels can get quite untidy.” Ahead, some fun facts (and wild conspiracy theories about the illuminati and totalitarian governments) about Denver International Airport.

Denver airport conspiracy theories are aplenty. Here’s what’s fueling them, plus a few more fun facts: 

  • The Denver airport horse, a hulking blue mustang with beady red eyes, greets travelers arriving at the airport. Denverites refer to the fiberglass statue as Blucifer. Some believe the mustang is cursed because a section of the sculpture fell on its creator, sculptor Luis Jiménez, and killed him. 
  • Some have said the Denver airport from the sky looks like a swastika. However, DIA officials have rebuffed those claims saying it resembles a pinwheel and was designed in a way that runways don’t overlap.
  • Denver’s public art has also raised some brows. (Note: Some of the most controversial pieces may be in storage when you visit the airport because of the construction projects). Some have claimed that “Notre Denver,” the gargoyle statues in the baggage claim area, are symbols of the New World Order, the theory that hypothesizes there’s a worldwide totalitarian government emerging. Denver airport murals also have some creepy imagery, including Artist Leo Tanguma’s “In Peace in Harmony with Nature” which has a child in a casket and a crying boy carrying a squirrel. However, according to the public art project, the mural is symbolic of environmental destruction and extinction, and the second half of the artwork depicts humanity coming together to rehabilitate and celebrate nature. 
  • Yes, there are floors underneath the airport. But their primary purpose is to move baggage. Still, some believe the space under the airport are tunnels for the global elite should there be an apocalypse. Other theories have gone so far as to say the underground hideouts are for lizard people or aliens.
  • DIA's 327-foot FAA control tower is one of the tallest in North America. There are 548 stairs from ground level to the top, and, on average, it takes 20 minutes to walk. 
  • A quarry in Marble, Colorado, supplied the white marble used on areas of the terminal walls. The stone is from the same quarry that supplied marble for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Lincoln Memorial.
  • DIA, which opened in 1995, was one of the first airports in the United States to integrate art into public spaces.
  • DIA has one of the largest solar farms at a commercial airport in the United States.
  • The iconic tent roof is made of a Teflon-coated fiberglass material that is as thin as a credit card.

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Brittany Anas

Brittany Anas

Freelance Writer

Brittany Anas is a Denver-based freelance travel writer. A former newspaper reporter, her work has appeared in The Denver Post, 5280, Men's Journal, Forbes, House Beautiful, Shondaland, Marie Claire, Real Simple, Livability, and more.

Published November 16, 2023

Last updated December 21, 2023

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