Last year we did an Urban Adventure Quest in Portland and had a blast. When I realized I’d have several days to fill in Denver while Jeff was at a conference, I immediately checked their website to see if they had a Denver quest. They did! Once again, I found the Urban Adventure Quest to be a great way to explore a city!
An Urban Adventure Quest is an interactive city tour played via smartphone. Players (from one to as many as you’d like on your team) “solve clues, complete challenges, and work together to unravel secrets of a city.” Players are awarded points for correct answers and completed challenges and will see their team’s score and time elapsed compared to other teams’ scores at the end of the game.
We haven’t played with speed in mind, but it would be fun to compete against a group of friends to see who could come up with the best time!
Early in the week I’d asked if Denver really was at altitude 5280′ like its Mile High City nickname implies. Well, that question was answered as soon as my cousin and two friends and I began the adventure on the steps of the Colorado capitol building. As you can see, one of the steps is labeled with the elevation. Even though, it turns out, that’s not quite right. A few steps above the engraved step is actually a mile high. Whoops!
Our next stop was a nearby Civil War monument where we had to solve a cipher AND a crazy crossword kind of thing. One thing the folks at Urban Adventure Quest do really well is mix the activities up. At some stops you’re just finding something and typing in your answer, sometimes you’re doing a little math, sometimes a word puzzle. Be sure to bring a paper and pencil, but you’re allowed to use any technology you want, too. It keeps things interesting.
Hunting for urban art was next on the list. Denver, with its annual 300 days of sunshine, has a plethora of sculptures and spaces to enjoy outdoors. Just outside the downtown library and art museum are a whole variety of sculptures to explore, from a giant chair with a horse on it to a cowboy and Indian scene to a collection of sculptures with information about Colorado’s Native American tribes on them.
Next we went into the Civic Center Park where they have a great bandstand area, a large green space, more sculptures, of course, and a fountain which I seriously considered jumping into because it was HOT in Denver that day. Denver has a free city bus that travels on 16th Street and we were supposed to catch it, but it wasn’t in service that afternoon, so we walked through the pedestrian friendly 16th Street Mall to get to the next section of the hunt and stopped for a photo with one of the art cows along the way.
We discovered a bell tower modeled after St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, walked right past the murals we were looking for at the arcade (look up!), and found some funny sculptures in the theater district. We were sort of running out of gas near the end, but again, some little games within the game kept us interested, and we finished the whole quest! Granted we only had the 44th best time that month, but as hot as it was that day, we considered finishing a win and celebrated with happy hour at our hotel!
The two Urban Adventure Quests we’ve done have really been a fun way to explore and learn interesting things about a city. They combine lots of city highlights with lesser known facts & places in a fun, game format. They’re not inexpensive, but considering it’s a way for a whole group of travelers to spend 2-3 hours exploring a city, they’re a good value. Great news! The folks at Urban Adventure Quest are offering our readers a 20% discount with this code: AWEEK. Log on to their website and find an adventure near you!
There are Urban Adventure Quests all over North America, and we hope to do some more in the future. Let us know if you take advantage of one in the comments, and enjoy your next urban adventure, whether it’s for a week or a weekend!
Disclaimer: Urban Adventure Quest provided us with a free quest in exchange for this review, however all observations and opinions are our own.