Travel Report: Beautiful Downtown Denver

I've seen my share of downtowns including downtown Atlanta where one encounters all manner of humanity (several that smell of urine and want you to give them all your money or want to sell you a pencil). My experince has been that most large city downtown areas are not somewhere you want to be when the sun goes down.

Imagine my suprise to arrive in downtown Denver to check into a hotel for a couple days of work within walking distance and to be told about Denver's downtown. The Business Improvement District and Downtown Denver Partnership are actually more than a pleasant sounding group of words. The City of Denver and the local businesses had enough foresight and were able to put aside all of the politics that hogtie most large cities (Atlanta pay attention here to create the 16th Street Mall.

What's the 16th Street Mall, you ask? It is the primary shopping and entertainment area of the city's downtown. More than 50 stores and restaurants line the 16-block long pedestrian and transit mall that opened in 1982 and has been well maintained and going strong ever since. The 16th Street Mall receives daily cleaning, maintenance and support by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District (BID), a management organization funded by Downtown property owners (I told you it was not just a pretty name but a useful organization actually serving a purpose - Atlanta take a note here). The Business Improvement District's purple-uniformed crew removes trash, sweeps the sidewalk and transitway, removes graffiti, installs banners and holiday decorations and keeps the Mall clean, safe and attractive seven days a week. Really! They do a fantastic job and it is quite attractive and inviting.

A city that encounters regular snows during winter makes an open air mall work, but the largest city in the south that hardly ever sees a snow hasn't been able to pull this one off. What gives? Politics.

Here is a partial listing of some of the establishements on the 16th Street Mall:
Sidewalk Cafes:
Quizno’s – 216 16th St.
Capitol Bar @ The Sheraton Denver
Bravo Ristorante @ The Sheraton Denver
Starbucks Coffee – 303 16th St.
Johnny Rockets – 403 16th St.
Corner Bakery – 500 16th St.
Earls – 1600 Glenarm
Peet’s Coffee & Tea – 1600 Glenarm
Cook’s Fresh Market – 1600 Glenarm
Hard Rock Café – 500 16th St.
Marlowe’s – 501 16th St.
Paramount Café – 509 16th St.
Appaloosa Grill – 535 16th St.
Starbucks Coffee – 700 16th St.
Jamba Juice – 701 16th St.
Suzy Q’s Deli & Frozen Yogurt – 709 16th St.
Chili’s Too – 951 16th St.
Good Times – 951 16th St.
Rialto Café – 934 16th St.
Starbucks Coffee – 934 16th St.
Rock Bottom Brewery – 1001 16th St.
Paradise Bakery – 1001 16th St.
Tokyo Joe’s – 1001 16th St.
Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret – 16th & Arapahoe
Green Fine Salad - Skyline Park
The Palm - Skyline Park
Corner Bakery – 1147 16th St.
Willie G’s Seafood and Steakhouse – 16th & Lawrence
Cheesecake Factory – 1201 16th St. (open seasonally)
Noodles & Co. – 1460 16th St.
Chipotle Mexican Grill – 1480 16th St.
Starbucks Coffee – 1490 16th St.
Illegal Pete’s – 1530 16th St.
Gumbo's - 1530 16th St.
Dixon’s Downtown Grill – 1610 16th St.
Starbucks Coffee – 1750 16th St.
Anthony's Pizza - 1750 16th St.

More Dining:
Armenian Shish Kabob
Mike's Hot Dogs
L & B Hot Dogs
New Orleans Sno Ball Shack
Boris Hot Dogs
Red Rock Ice Cream
John & David's Gourmet Sandwiches & Soups
S. Ice Cream
Cous-Cous to Go
Waffle Brothers
Tata's Hot Dogs
Philadelphia Filly
Maggiano's Little Italy
Hard Rock Cafe
The Cheesecake Factory
The Purple Martini

Shopping and Entertainment:
Lucky Strike Lanes
United Artists 15-screen movie theater
Tattered Cover Bookstore
Breaking the Mold Candle Co.
Ann Taylor Loft
The Children's Place
Ross Dress for Less
Dress Barn
TJ Maxx
Unique Import
Islander's Candles
Skyline Sunware
16th St. Mall Beauty Supply
Princess India Imports
Vargas Enterprises
Keys Deluxe
Thai Products
Aroma Palace
La Fiesta
Vargas Enterprises
Stop Shop - backpacks
Solo Fashion
Solo Handbags
Cap Center
Ets Adou
Fantasy Photo
Thabiti's Arts
Lo Handbags
Djanne's Emporium
4 Corners

In fact the 16th Street Mall is Denver's No. 2 metro tourist attraction, go figure. Pedicabs, Horse drwan carriages, and FREE alternative fueled transit are available along the mall in case walking 16 blocks is too much for you to handle.

WIFI is available along the mall as well. The first 2 hours are free and then the charge is a modest $4.95/ a day (weekly and monthly subscription service are available.)

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