101 GuidescityTravel

denver city guide {UPDATE}

by Grace Bonney

Photo courtesy of Visit Denver

Today’s City Guide update comes from Katie Shapiro, one of Denver’s resident gals about town. After working for Denver Magazine for the past four years, she recently launched her own media boutique, Katie Shapiro Media, which specializes in writing, publicity and events in both Denver and Aspen. Prior to landing a “mile high,” she worked in fashion and beauty public relations in New York City. She likes skiing, drinking Manhattans, scarves, recycling, hiking with Gittel (her Goldendoodle) and putting pins in the map. Today she shares some of the best and most delicious spots in Denver. Thanks, Katie, for this excellent update! — Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump . . .

Photo by June Cochran

Before we head West, check out this Google Map with all of the listings below!


Hotel Monaco
From daily wine receptions and “Pampered Paws” pet packages to animal-print bathrobes and pet goldfish for company, this Kimpton property is all about fun. The Hotel Monaco guestrooms are funky with dramatic patterns and luxe linens. If you’re looking for a sustainable place to stay, Hotel Monaco is part of the Kimpton EarthCare program offering guests a variety of eco-friendly services and amenities like in-room recycling, fair-trade coffee, and green dry-cleaning.

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver
You can’t go wrong with a Ritz — especially in Denver. This five-star property touts the most spacious guestrooms in the city with stunning mountain views and sleek décor. Splurge on one of the award-winning spa’s signature treatments like the Hops ‘N Honey pedicure — complete with local microbrews. End your day with happy hour in the famed Elway’s Downtown (one of the former Broncos QB’s stellar steakhouses) for strong cocktails and half-priced apps. The bar is always packed with the downtown post-work crowd, and you might even spot a celeb.

Hotel Teatro
Luxury meets performing arts at this boutique hotel adjacent to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Its classical renaissance revival architecture feels historic, but the Hotel Teatro’s updated guestrooms mix in modern comfort. Before a show, dine at one of award-winning chef Kevin Taylor’s restaurants: PRIMA Ristorante for modern Italian or at his signature Kevin Taylor Restaurant for upscale, modern French cuisine.


Denver B-Cycle
In 2010, Denver B-cycle became the first large-scale municipal bike-sharing system in the country — and it’s pretty much amazing. With over 52 stations and 500 red bikes (basket included!) available throughout the city, you can check one out where you begin and return it where you end.

Downtown & LoDo

The bustling Downtown and Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhoods are where it all began. While most of the city’s center is home to big business, it’s packed with cultural landmarks in the Golden Triangle and cute boutiques and outdoor cafés in Larimer Square. If we’re being honest here, try to avoid the 16th Street Mall above Lawrence Street, which is lined with chain restaurants and retailers (although H&M did open its doors earlier this year).

Shop + See

Museum of Contemporary Art
The David Adjaye-designed building is an incubator for contemporary artists, featuring an eclectic and rotating collection of photography, new media, and modern works. After strolling through the stark space, sip a glass of wine at the MCA Café on the rooftop with beautiful views of downtown. The gift shop is also a must.

Thoughtful and playful gifts that you really can’t find anywhere else. Really. Also go for reworked vintage furniture, European tableware, lighting, and bedroom accessories. My go-to gift: a cheeky, hand-sewn Alexandra Ferguson pillow.

EVOO Marketplace
Taste testing is encouraged at this emporium of fine extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world. Over 50 beautifully polished steel “fustis” line the walls filled with the freshest EVOOs for you to sample. Pair your favorites with their selection of gourmet pastas, sauces, and fine olives. There’s also a location in the ‘burbs in Old Town Littleton.

Tattered Cover
This Denver institution is the bookstore of all bookstores. Over 20,000 square feet of the historic downtown location houses the bestsellers and hard-to-find along with a full-service coffee shop.

Denver Art Museum
It’s one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast housing a collection of more than 70,000 works. And with the recent opening of Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective (the only North American stop for the exhibit and on view now through July 8, 2012), Denver’s street cred among fashionistas has also arrived.

Clyfford Still Museum
He might have been the least known of the well known, but Clyfford Still was a pillar of influence in the abstract expressionism movement. Opened just last year and adjacent to the Denver Art Museum, this breathtaking new building is now an eternal home for its namesake and houses 94% of Still’s entire collection.

Rockmount Ranch Wear
Although Denver’s “Cowtown” moniker should be long gone, Rockmount Ranch Wear is a true Western icon. Their historic digs date back to 1908 and have been home to this standard in Western wear since 1946. Stock up on authentic cowboy hats, belt buckles, boots, and snap-button plaids. Because when in Rome, right?

A must for any design lover with all the modern mainstays in the house: Kartell, Flos, Herman Miller, and Droog to name a few.

Owners BJ Dyer and Guenther Vogt are known for creating unstructured floral masterpieces using the most exotic and unusual buds — think anything from kale and cattails to agapanthus and birds of paradise. The award-winning shop also has an impressive selection of potted plants and other home décor accessories.

This collection of contemporary home furnishings is hand selected to fit into the urban lifestyles of its customers with hundreds of custom fabrics, finish colors, and models available for each piece.

The Old Map Gallery
It is quite possible to get lost in here. Luckily you’re among an amazing collection of authentic antique maps and prints from around the globe. Their expert staff also helps with appraisal services, and if you can’t make it in person to explore, the entire stock is current online.

Eat + Drink

The Market
One of the original tenants of Larimer Square, this iconic deli/bakery/coffee shop was the first espresso bar between New York and Los Angeles. Family owned and operated, fuel up here with a made-to-order sandwich or creation of your own from the fresh salad bar.

The Kitchen
The Denver outpost of the famous Boulder “community bistro” has finally opened its kitchen doors. Sit amongst friends or make new ones at the long tables made of reclaimed fir wood. The clean and conscious menu matches the beautifully minimal space.

Highland & LoHi

It’s all about the happening Highland and Lower Highland (LoHi) neighborhoods these days, with an influx of housing developments, restaurants, and boutiques taking over the area block by block. You can spend a day or two exploring the various sub-‘hoods including: Tennyson Street, Highland Square, Platte Street, and everything in between.

Shop + See

lulu’s furniture & decor
lulu’s furniture & décor is truly family owned and operated with all five members of founder Christy Vranesic Brant’s family on staff. Its fun array of classically hip and funky accessories and furniture can give your home an instant boost of chic. Find local and U.S. made items as well as one-of-a-kind pieces available for purchase off the floor.

Ooh Ahh! Jewelry
This whimsical boutique offers plenty of contemporary pieces, custom bridal creations, handbags, and other gift items to “ooh and ahh” over.

Photo by Ali Vagnini Photography

The Perfect Petal
The Perfect Petal is indeed perfect, with rare and unusual flower arrangements, garden and entertaining wares, fragrances, soaps, and paper collections. Their gift-wrapping is an art with the best selection of greeting cards in town to tape on top.

Navajo Street Art District
It’s Denver’s first officially designated art district and home to artist co-ops, galleries, performing arts, and one of the oldest Italian restaurants in town — Patsy’s, which opened in 1921.

Rebelle by Tootsies + Proper Barbershop
Roxy and Castle, the sister duo behind this salon and barbershop, translate their passion for French flair and fashion to serious hair design. Pop into their bright, burlesque-influenced space for hair and makeup before a night out. And while you primp, send your man next door for a throwback haircut or shave. Their latest venture will keep him happy with a beer and vintage Playboy in hand.

St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop
St. Kilian’s knows their cheese. Specializing in “raw milk” of France, Spain, and Italy, everything is cut to order. They also stock Dutch Goudas, Swiss, select “funky cheddars” from the UK, and local chèvres. You’ll need wine of course, so pop into Mondo Vino next door.

Westside Books
A bookstore like it used to be. Find used, rare, and collectibles among their warehouse database of over 30,000 used books. Owner Lois Harvey has over 35 years of bookselling experience, but don’t worry; she carries the new stuff, too.

Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market
This seasonal open-air market brings together emerging, undiscovered, and experienced artists, crafters, and antique/vintage collectors. They set up shop three times a year on 46th and Tennyson to showcase their local goods. The 2012 market dates are: May 5th, July 14th, and October 6th.

Common Era
Owner Debra Mazur was a New York City kid but landed in Colorado to turn her fashion finds into her first retail store in Boulder. Her Denver location opened in 2008 and is a favorite among hipster gals for its ridiculously low-priced frilly frocks, high-waisted jeans, big belts, and chunky boots. Mazur buys her inventory from up-and-coming designers who produce limited-edition runs. It’s exactly what keeps us coming back.

Wild Yarns
Calling all fiber enthusiasts! This boutique is dedicated entirely to yarn, offering quality threads in all colors of the rainbow, knit and crochet lessons, and DIY books.

Green Garage
An auto repair shop with style? It’s true. If Denver is a stop on your road trip through the Rockies and you need a quick fix, pull straight into Green Garage. While “Car Hugging is in Progress,” you can refuel at the Tea Bar by Teatulia and wait in their friendly lobby — free WiFi included.

Real Baby
Stylish stroller moms flock to this high-end baby boutique for the basics: cute cribs, chic maternity wear, diaper bags, and car seats. And if you’re sans bambino, stop in for inappropriate onesies, plush blankets, and toys for the perfect shower gift.

EvB Studio
Artist Marie E.v.B. Gibbons has worked in clay and mixed media for over 16 years and shares her primary studio space for her popular “mini-shops” and private classes. It’s all about clay, and Gibbons encourages her students to “do more than look at art — make some!”

wordshop.’s greatest hope is to “revive the written word.” They have plenty of options to do just that with fine papers, stationery, greeting cards, invitations, and wedding ensembles.

anna bé
Brides to be, look no further than anna bé. Owners Anna and Breanna have created one of the best bridal boutiques in the country (these ladies have won a lot of awards!) and love playing dress up with their clients. Their collection is curated to include the standards (Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Lela Rose) and to introduce new designers. And since a wedding isn’t just a one-day affair, they opened Ground Floor down below so brides (and their fashionista friends) can find that perfect dress for showers, brunches, and nights out.

It’s the closest you’ll get to the 8th floor of Barney’s in Colorado — lucky for us. This fashion-forward boutique started as a web store five years ago and opened its first retail outlet in 2011. Loeffler Randall, Helmut Lang, Elizabeth and James, Alexander Wang, and Rebecca Minkoff are just a few of the friends you’ll meet here. The Goldyn girls now play nice with the boys with the recent introduction of menswear lines like Raleigh Denim, Levis Made & Crafted, ELC Mens, Billy Reid, and Shipley & Halmos.

Savory Spice Shop
More than 140 original recipe seasonings are hand-blended on-site at this husband-and-wife-owned shop. The Denver location was opened as the original store in 2004, and they have since expanded to over 20 locations across eight states.

Sanctuary Home
Owner Wade Richards brings new life to faded furniture with the best in custom upholstering and a wide variety of high-quality fabrics. You’re always bound to find something among his handpicked selection of lamps, occasional tables, serving pieces, and art glass. Pick up a candle or eau de toilette from the Denver-based Zents on your way out.

Another adorable stationery store in the neighborhood with over 150 vendors to celebrate your [insert holiday/occasion here] via pretty paper. They carry the classics like Elum Designs, Kate Spade, Fin & Roe, and Pipo Press with a resident artist on-hand to create custom designs for any occasion.

Eat + Drink

Happy Cakes Bakeshop
Pies may be the new cupcakes, but Denver’s original cupcake shop is still a sweet spot. There’s a rotating daily schedule of inventive flavors like French Toast, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Oogies Kettle Corn, and Cosmopolitan (yes, it’s vodka infused!). The classics are also offered daily with an array of other sugary standbys: cookies, French macaroons, cake truffles, lemon bars, and “Mutt Cakes” — for the dogs, of course.

Wooden Spoon Café & Bakery
One of my favorite places to start the day with a gourmet breakfast sandwich, buttery pastry, and/or strong espresso. This tiny neighborhood bakery also wins when it comes to custom cakes and special dessert orders.

Forest Room 5
This artfully rustic hideaway gives an easy escape from urban angst with its use of outdoor elements. A running stream, fire pits, and wood stumps liken the patio to a bonfire party. The inside is just as warm with nature films (and sometimes vintage porn) projected onscreen to watch from tree trunk stools or a communal table. Above the bar lives Forest Studio, a gallery space to showcase both local and national artists.

House of Commons
Raise your pinkies at this quaint English tearoom over a piping pot with all of the traditional accoutrements: cucumber sandwiches, scones, and petits fours. An extended lunch menu with soups, salads, and quiches is also available.

Little Man Ice Cream
Step right up to the giant metal milk jug for a handmade scoop or a few. Ingredients are local, and the flavors change on a day-to-day basis. During the cooler months, a small menu of simple sandwiches and hearty soups is offered.

Sample street foods from around the world at this newish hotspot while you take in the most stunning view of the Denver skyline. Before you head to the rooftop deck, be sure to stop at the 2nd floor bar with a top made entirely from Lite-Brites.

RiNo & Five Points

It’s inevitable that the industrial part of town will eventually turn its vacant warehouses and rail yards into great gallery spaces, hip hangouts, and modern lofts. Jack Kerouac’s old neighborhood has followed suit over the past decade and is now home to a crazy concentration of creative businesses and artists. Check out River North Art District for a full agenda of awesome and a few of my favorite haunts below:

Shop + See

Studio Como
My dream home lives inside Studio Como with their flawless combination of natural Colorado style and contemporary European design. The beautiful space shows off the likes of B&B Italia, Ligne Roset, DEDON, and Maxalto with an expert design team to help you navigate. Take note of their weekend hours, which are by appointment only.

HINTERLAND was founded by couple Sabin Aell and Randy Rushton, who built this art space entirely with reclaimed and salvaged materials. Featuring adventurous contemporary art, they select works in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, video, glass, and textiles.

Kittie Mae Millinery
I know the Royal Wedding is so last year, but I’m still fascinated by the fascinator. I have yet to don one around town, but when I do, it will be a custom Kittie Mae creation. A former burlesque dancer, Susan Dillon began as a costume milliner, creating custom top hats for herself and other performers. She has since expanded her line to include fascinators, cocktail hats, bridal veils, and haute couture hats.

Knoll Showroom
A favorite for architects and designers, Knoll can help turn your office into a showroom of its own using their iconic modern pieces and organizational solutions.

This new artist collective is true community for up-and-coming designers. From locally made art, repurposed furniture, and jewelry to accessories, screen-printed tees, and workshops, Megafauna provides a unique platform for close to 100 of Denver’s indie artists.

Metropolitan Frame
The only place you can fully trust to preserve your collected art, precious posters, and personal photographs. With an extensive selection of custom frame finishes including stainless steel, clay bole, milk paint, and gold leaf, your piece will be museum worthy when done. As it should . . . the Denver Art Museum, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Museum of Contemporary Art are among their long list of clients.

Plus Gallery
Karen and Ivar Zeile, the husband-and-wife team behind this gallery, provide one of the most reputable platforms for progressive contemporary art in town by supporting local emerging talent combined with nationally renowned exhibitions.

Super Ordinary Gallery
A hip hub for DIY workshops, art shows, artist discussions, and fashion shows. Sounds like a typical gallery, right? Wrong. Local design duo Tran and Josh Wills have opened their urban home to cultivate a downtown artist community, which has turned the extra into super ordinary.

Wazee Union
A think-tank of sorts for local up-and-coming creatives that houses 61 studios. It’s one of the most thriving collective art scenes in the city where tenants can showcase and sell their work during the “Second Saturday” of each month. Don’t miss Left Bank Collection for antique reproduction mirrors and Stereo Abstract’s mixed media paintings.

Eat + Drink

One of Denver’s best new restaurants, this casual urban bistro serves up rustic American cuisines with a Scandinavian influence. Beyond their impressive list of locally produced wines and signature Norwegian nibbles, it’s also one of the only places in town with nightly caviar service on the menu.

Hutch & Spoon
Leave your computer at home before heading to this WiFi-unfriendly breakfast and lunch favorite. The owner’s personal collection of spoons covers the walls, and breakfast is served all day on vintage china. Try the watermelon, feta, and black olive salad with a handmade cucumber soda for a light lunch.

This hipster hangout is devoted to the art of coffee making and passionately serves up NOVO, Pablo’s, and Herkimer beans via French press. Resident chef Jonathan Power was recently brought on board to create inventive café fare including sweet potato waffles, rose sugar bruleed grapefruit, quinoa salad, and a daily quiche selection.

Mile High Spirits
Three buddies converted a warehouse into a private label distillery earlier this year and decided they needed a tasting room to go with it. The airy space feels like you’re hanging out in your friend’s super cool garage with chic cabin accents — leather couches, cowhide rugs, wood ottomans, and a pool table. It’s my pick for the freshest cocktail with the funkiest vibe.

SoBo & Santa Fe

South Broadway (SoBo) is packed with some of the most interesting independent retailers, dive bars, and cozy cafes in town. Start on 5th street and end on Alameda, popping in and out of the select spots below:

Shop + See

Hazel & Dewey
A favorite among foodies, this “modern mercantile” stocks kitchen gadgets, playful pottery, and colorful table linens.

Meininger’s Art Supply
Everything, anything, and probably more of what you think you might find at an art supply store. Family owned and operated since 1881, fourth generation Henry Meininger runs the show today with two more locations in Boulder and Colorado Springs.

Lee Alex
This husband-and-wife-owned shop specializes in retro vintage pieces to instantly funkify any style of home.

Decade (56 S. Broadway, 303-733-2288)
If you can’t find it in here, then good luck. It’s arguably the best gifty/accessory shop in town with a fabulous mix of everything under the sun plus a great inventory of vintage furniture.

Bizarre reigns supreme at this shop of natural trinkets and oddities. It’s like walking into a science project — a very hip science project — with antlers, gemstones, fossils, potted plants, and terrariums filling this tiny space to the brim.

Indy Ink
Slick screen-printing from large-scale orders to custom jobs on just about any object you can imagine. They also showcase local alternative artists in the space with special shows and gallery events.

Fancy Tiger Clothing + Crafts
So much more than a boutique, Fancy Tiger truly supports young local creatives, giving them a platform each month with “Denver Made.” In addition to these trunk shows, you’ll find repurposed bags, edgy clothing, and jewelry from both national and international indie designers.

Their second store a few doors down has become a DIY headquarters among the craft-crazy. With a full schedule of sewing, quilting, and knitting classes plus all the supplies you’ll ever need, you’ll be turning out hand-spun goods in no time.

Owners and designers Jil Cappuccio and Kirsten Coplans dream up unexpected patterns, hand cutting and hand sewing each piece in this dedication to the needle and thread. Aside from one-of-a-kind pieces, you’ll also find vintage crafts, needlepoint pillows, and crochet accessories.

Antique Row
Antique dealers and specialty shops inhabit over seven blocks of historic buildings. From the pricey European dealers to a store dedicated solely to masquerade, it’s where you go to get your thrift on.

Denver Design District
Make your last stop along SoBo at this campus for design encompassing more than 300,000 sq. ft. among three buildings. After years of wholesale-only status, the public is now welcome to shop close to 50 high-end showrooms. It’s only open on the weekdays and quite the undertaking, so plan accordingly (and maybe reverse your route).

ArtDistrict on Santa Fe
Just about a mile from the hip SoBo stretch you’ll find an inspired community of 60 galleries, studios, restaurants, and shops. The first Friday of every month draws big crowds of artsy-types strolling and sipping through these not-to-miss spots: Fabric Bliss, Black Book Gallery, Space Gallery, Kanon Collective, and Vertigo.

Eat + Drink

Beatrice & Woodsley
Perhaps the coziest hideaway in the city, you’ll feel like you’re dining in the great outdoors. The beauty of Colorado is brought inside here with Aspen trees set aglow by dim lanterns among intimate round booths. Come for the ambiance and stay for seasonal, garden-focused “provisions” and “potations.”

El Diablo
Stop here for gourmet tacos and stiff margaritas around the huge bar (or outside on the patio). Bonus: there’s a takeout window slinging Mexican street fare until 4:00 am.

Sweet Action Ice Cream
You have to follow them on Twitter to find out the flavors of the day (ok, you can call, too), which are the most creative cream concoctions I’ve ever seen. Fresh Colorado dairy and a pair of loving hands churn out everything from salted butterscotch and brown sugar banana to black licorice Sambuca and olive oil. Yes, olive oil. Vegan varieties are also available.

Capitol Hill, Uptown, E. Colfax

Once dubbed “the longest, wickedest street in America” by Playboy, Colfax Avenue runs right through these three neighborhoods. Still slightly gritty, it’s home to a wild nightlife scene, bizarre boutiques, concert venues, and buzzing eateries.

Shop + See

Mod Livin’
This Denver design mecca boasts a huge showroom stocked with both vintage and contemporary pieces to fulfill the fantasies of any mid-century modern lover. You’ll find all the major manufacturers from Modernica to Heller, plus a huge selection of Blu Dot furniture and fun accessories.

Denver FilmCenter/Colfax
Take a shopping break and catch an indie flick at Denver’s only year-round cinematheque. Hundreds of first-run exclusives and arthouse revivals both domestic and foreign, as well as narrative and documentary, are shown across three screens daily. Drinking and watching is also encouraged with a cocktail from their fully stocked lobby bar.

Twist & Shout
After the film, head next door to one of the country’s top 25 record stores (Rolling Stone says so). You can still find plenty of vinyl among hundreds of thousands of new and used titles that will have you wishing it’s “Rex Manning Day.”

Talulah Jones
Score wooden toys, inspiring books, and eco-conscious clothing for the kiddos at this certified green boutique.

Urban Roots
Urban Roots goes beyond your average garden store by providing high-style organic products specifically for small plots of land, vertical spaces, and balconies. This funky green oasis has served city gardeners for more than eight years and also provides sophisticated landscape design services.

The Plastic Chapel
This boutique pays quite the homage to polymer with its quirky selection of limited-edition vinyl toys and mini-figures. Its walls share the works of local artists and rotate monthly.

Pandora on the Hill
For the gal who has everything, head here for an eclectic mix of jewelry, gag gifts, and cute kitchen accessories.

Eat + Drink

Denver Bicycle Café
Bikes, beer, and coffee . . . Denverites love ‘em all. This new concept lets you learn how to make a quick fix on your bike (or just let them do it) while caffeinating or tasting one of the six rotating Colorado craft brews on tap.

Table 6
This neighborhood spot rarely disappoints with its highbrow take on American comfort food. Kick your Sunday brunch up a notch with a live soundtrack to your benedict courtesy of resident DJ Ginger Perry.

Dine outside in the garden at this family-owned farm-to-table favorite. They remain true to their mission with a monthly menu change aligned with the large network of local farmers, ranchers, and merchants they support.

City ‘O City
Vegetarians swarm and stay for hours at this coffee shop/restaurant/bar — all in one. Learn the lingo: GF, GFO, V, VO for gluten and vegan friendly options like the City ‘O Burger (quinoa and pinto bean patty), Chilaquiles, Savory Waffle, and Tofu Schnitzel.

Washington Park

Largely inhabited by stylish soccer moms and their young families, Wash Park is also home to one of Denver’s largest green spaces. After a lap or two around the 2.6-mile jogging path, spend the afternoon strolling the Old South Gaylord Street, South Pearl Street, and Bonnie Brae areas of this neighborhood.

Shop + See

Washington Park
It’s the Central Park of Denver . . . go play outside!

Stylish threads for the tree-hugging set. Tucked away in a quaint old house, all clothing and accessories are made from eco-friendly materials or in a socially conscious manner. In addition to labels for guys and gals like Krochet Kids, Three Dots, Element, LAMade, and Hippy Tree, they’ve got the best selection of TOMS around.

Dresses from Yumi Kim and Ali Ro hang from the racks while unique accent pieces fill the floor so you can spruce up yourself and your home all in one place.

The Gnome’s Nook Confectionaries
Gnomes are weird, and weird is good. This whimsical shop is dedicated to all things gnome, which are believed to help your garden grow, plus over 80 varieties of handmade confections.

5 Green Boxes
Two stores (Big & Little) just a block apart make up this quirky and kitschy gift emporium.

Polka Dot
Customized gift baskets and cutesy “girlfriend gifts” make this boutique stand out among the rest.

r+d wine
A super knowledgeable staff that encourages plenty of taste testing, making wine shopping that much more fun.

Tootsies the Nail Shoppe
The salon sisters of Rebelle and Proper do nails too — and they do a hell of a job polishing pinkys. Cleanliness is godliness here, and I once had a pedicure last over a month — seriously. Check out their 2nd location on Tennyson Street or spend happy hour at Beauty Bar for a “Martini and Manicure.”

Pome Boutique
This tiny gem is filled with shabby-chic accessories and products for pampering.

Eat + Drink

Café Bar
Nosh on seasonal new American fare in this minimal modern café serving up lunch and dinner with a weekend brunch menu. Breakfast perfection is made with their “Italian Benny:” prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, basil, Roma tomato, poached eggs, hollandaise and balsamic reduction.

With over 600 square feet of dedicated garden space on the property, farm to table actually means what it’s supposed to at this purveyor of artisanal cuisine.

Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery
There is usually a line to battle on the weekends, but the infamous breakfast menu is well worth the wait. This home-style hangout also recently introduced a lunch and dinner menu available during the weekdays.

Stella’s Coffee House
You’ll feel right at home hiding out in one of the many nooks of this neighborhood favorite for coffee and quiet. They’ve also got a great front patio if you’re in the mood to work and/or gossip in the Colorado sunshine.

Cherry Creek North

Home to hundreds of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, Cherry Creek North is Denver’s swankiest shopping district. Here you’ll also find Cherry Creek Shopping Center, a mega mall with the usual suspects in and around it, including Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, Neiman Marcus, The Container Store, Design Within Reach, Crate & Barrel, and Nordstrom. Must-stops on your day of damage include:

Shop + See

Isabel Marant, Marni, Lanvin, Missoni, Balmain . . . need I go on? After 25 years in business, Max Martinez is totally in tune with Denver’s fashionistas and caters to their unique style during frequent trips to Paris, New York City, and Milan. The result is a sleek boutique to tempt your wallet. Two additional locations in Aspen and Boulder.

Gallerie Rouge
Spend hours flipping through the largest collection of vintage posters in Denver. All purchased works include a certificate of authenticity, and framing services are available.

Denver Botanic Gardens
One of the top botanic gardens in the country lives on the outskirts of this shopping district. After wandering through acres of vibrant flora and fauna, stop in The Shop at the Gardens for all-natural gifts and gardening tools.

HW Home
This locally owned home goods store is synonymous with Colorado casual chic. Think Assoline books, faux fur throws, and Bo Bo candlesticks to accessorize with bold custom pieces to furnish.

Cherry Creek Fresh Market
Every Saturday in May through October, rows of local vendors set up shop with the freshest local produce, natural meats, artisan cheeses, and much more in tow. Just try and ignore the fact that it’s in the parking lot of a Bed Bath & Beyond because it’s one of the best farmers’ markets in the state.

Artisan Center
This landmark is a treasure chest of crafts, jewelry, bath, and baby items from local artisans where you’re sure to find a gift for anyone on any occasion and always a little something for yourself. My standard gift pick is handmade wind chimes — their signature giftwrapping is always included.

Outdoor Divas
The Rockies are in our backyard, so even our gear needs to have style. Outdoor Divas is the authority on adventure apparel and technical goods designed specifically for women. Whether you’re running, climbing, skiing, biking, or hiking, you’re going to look damn cute doing it.

Cindy Johnson, who owns this “store of lingerie” with her sister, is one of the nation’s top bra fitters with over 20 years of experience. The expert staff take away the stress of bra shopping and find the best fit for every outfit. Once your ladies are covered, pick up a sexy silk robe or delicate chemise among their selection of European designers.

Head here for handpicked, one-of-a-kind reclaimed home goods. One of the newest kids on the Cherry Creek North blocks, Revampt gives unsuspecting material like bicycle wheels, bowling alley floors, junkyard steel, and wine barrels new life in the form of functional furniture.

Room & Board
Sure it’s a chain, but it’s a good chain. A staple for the contemporary and craftsman-style basics like couches, ottomans, chairs, and beds with a large selection of custom fabric and finish options. You’ll find all the classics here for the rest: George Nelson, Charles & Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, Artemide, Herman Miller, etc.

The Blues Jean Bar
Belly-up to this bar for the perfect fitting pair of blues. “Jean-tenders” pull a customized selection of jeans from their menu (e.g., Joe’s, Fidelity, James, DL1961, Paige, Habitual) to fit your pick of style, wash, and waist size. You’ll probably also score a new pair of Frye’s or BB Dakota jacket.

Ten Thousand Villages
You’ll stumble upon unique ethnic finds at this nonprofit fair trade store filled with handmade global gifts, home decor, and oriental rugs from official artisan partners in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Eat + Drink

ink! Coffee
Hand-roasted just outside of Aspen, these beans will give you enough stamina to make it to every shop in the ‘hood.

Crêpes ‘n Crêpes
Indulge in a true slice of Paris with a long list of both sweet and savory options. Watch the fashion parade stroll by over a bottle of wine from a patio table. There’s also a second location downtown.


Mondo Guerra
Matt Morris
Anna Sophia Robb
Hosea Rosenberg
The Fray
Pretty Lights

Suggested For You


  • Hi! I was born and bred in Denver–getting married there this summer. It’s so good to see my hometown getting so hip! Just some fun facts and other suggestions: The Market coffee shop was where Jack Kerouac and crew used to hang when they were in Denver–so it’s also a little piece of history. An awesome music venue, cafe and neighborhood meeting spot is the Mercury Cafe, located near Five Points (20th and California, i think). They serve all organic, mostly local food and have poetry slams, ballroom dancing lessons, knitting clubs, etc, etc.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Can’t wait to check these out when I go “home” for Christmas (haven’t lived in Denver in 5 years and oh, how I miss the Mile High City).

  • Ahhh! It’s about time our city gets props. There’s also all the great antique stores down South Broadway. If you are ever interested in putting together a Denver only Design/fashion blog let me know. I’m down.

  • I’m a born and bred Coloradan, and I just moved away from Boulder/Denver a few months ago. It’s great to see so many of my favorite shops in this guide! Great job!

  • Thank you! I live in Albuquerque, so Denver is as close as we get to a big city. I feel a weekend trip coming on!

  • Nice work, Jaime! Love to see the Dirty D gettin’ props from a delightful denizen such as yourself. Now if we could only get that Pecha Kucha chapter rolling…

  • As a Denverite, I’d like to add the Tea Box to the Coffee and Tea list. This little tea shop in Cherry Creek has hands-down the best selection of tea I’ve seen in Denver. Great job on the guide — lots of my favorites, and a few I’ll be sure to check out!

  • One of the first places I hit up when I moved to Denver was Kaladi Bros. coffee on Evans. They seriously have amazing baristas and the best coffee in town in my opinion. I also second the Mercury Cafe! They have really yummy vegan pie.

  • A small complaint: Why is it that the image illustrating a Denver Design Guide is that of a mountain scene taken in a locale 3+ hours away by car? If you’re going to celebrate Denver, show Denver!

  • Great list. Some of my favorites are here. I’m a frequent poster on Lonely Planet too and will refer it – I always recommend 13th Ave and the South Broadway drag.

    I recently dined at the new Watercourse Foods veggie restaurant on 17th Ave. (Same folks as City O City) Great place and good eats.

    All the best – james…

  • YAY! i’m moving to Denver in 4 weeks and I was SO hoping that you would do a Denver design guide! You read my mind!!!

  • I would also suggest checking out a new clothing boutique for women and men – Unity. It is located on South Pearl Street. They focus on socially and ecologically responsible brands.

  • Thank you so much for this guide. We moved from Chicago to Denver six months ago and have been looking all over for THE places to go to see great design. One thing that Denver is lacking: a good paper store. Once you’ve had The Paper Source, nothing compares.

  • I think you did a wonderful job with putting this list together — some of these gems I’m checking out over the weekend!

    @ Seymour — totally agree with the lack of a great paper store. We do have Archivers, The Watermark, Xpedx, and a few others I know I’m leaving off… but nothing compares to The Paper Source!

  • Thanks so much for doing this. I moved away reluctantly in July and I’ve realized that 22 years in Denver makes you realize there’s no place better.

  • Actually, if you are willing to travel a little there is a wonderful paper store in Boulder called Two Hands Paperie. It is locally owned and has a range of beautiful papers from around the world. Check it out!

  • I would also add in True Love shoes on Broadway just down from the Mayan theatre. They have hip affordable shoes, jewelery and bags. I’m glad someone added Watercourse, because they have fabulous food. I would also add Bump and Grind Sunday drag queen brunch on 17th.

  • I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post! I recently moved to Denver and this has introduced me to a few new places to check out. Thank you, thank you!

  • Denver’s furniture stores are really coming about. I stopped into Zeitgeist and Mod Livin’, both very cool stores for a modern furniture lover. I also found a local custom furniture maker called Capsize Design that makes anything you want with whatever you want. Wonderful guys!!!

  • My wife and I recently moved to Denver and were looking for some design help and found 44Park Design. They were on top of it and helped us source some great glass tiles, lighting and custom rugs. Now our place looks as good as we hoped. Thought we should pass on the tip. Thanks for the helpful site here!

  • This is really a helpful thread! Jared, I checked out the 44 Park Design site and found the Pod chair my husband has been looking for since we met. It made a great surprise Anniversary gift. I also wanted to say that I had been looking for some of the magazines that Composition carries forever also. The resources on this list are some of my favorite things about our great city now.

  • Be sure to check out On A Lark and Wash Perk over near Wash Park- fantastic antique furniture finds- for both refinishing and just using as is!

  • check out devil’s food on south gaylord street in east wash park….
    brunch + coffee + pastries = yum!

  • Hey this is great. Anyone have list of the chic hip scene for restaurants, clubs, clothing, art, the magazine to have to know the in and out of the social scene, furniture stores. Coming from TX and never lived outside of the Dallas area. Would be so helpful and appreciate the ones who listed things here. I logged them for my move. Also how cold is it in the winter time there? Thanks Ahead of Time

  • Great list- I wish there was a mini city guide for Boulder, CO. I am moving there this fall- if anyone has any recommendations please let me know!


  • One Home in Cherry Creek has closed. Another furniture/decorative arts store with a modernist vibe is Lee Alex Decor on Broadway near Decade.

    Westword is the local weekly magazine. They are online…be sure to check out the “Best of” link.

    When in Denver you have to visit the Kirkland Museum…home to a nationally important decorative arts collection.

  • Some of my favorites for antique/vintage finds are:

    Old Glory
    Village Antique Mall
    Ballpark Market (flea market)
    El Paso Imports

  • I’ve lived in Denver almost all my life and can think of only a few other choice cities I would ever even consider relocating to. Not only had D-town became a creative/cultural mecca out west, it has excellent weather and things are always going on around town! This list is great!! Two areas that should be highlighted though, are the Highland and Berkley neighborhoods North of downtown. They are brimming with great new boutiques, art galleries and SUPERB restaurants!! If you live in Denver or are planning a visit, do not miss these hip new up and coming neighborhoods!!

  • very, very sadly, “Composition” (under Modern Home) has now closed in Lakewood. It was such a gem! I live only a hop skip and jump away from where the store was.

    Thanks for these other ideas too… being in Denver I can vouch for this being a great list!

  • Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast is no longer there but if you check the site they do pop up stores.

    Crema is a great place for coffee and treats. cremacoffeehouse.net/

    Fancy Tiger has a wonderful boutique and craft store. http://www.fancytiger.com/

  • Ah – I’m going to Denver next week! I’m so glad there’s a guide on D*S! So looking forward to my first trip to Colorado and this guide has got me extra excited! Thanks.

  • So, what about a hotel? I’m going to Denver in June and am looking at the Marriott at Cherry Creek or the Hotel Monaco downtown. I want to be able to walk out of my hotel to shops and dining. Any suggestions?

  • Hi! Thank you so much for this guide! My fiancee and I are planning a Honeymoon in Colorado (I live in a beach town so I’ve had enough of tropical environments for a lifetime).
    This is gonna be very useful for us =)
    Just like Ann asked, we’d love some advice on lodging, we were planning on renting a cabin, still unsure though…

    If any locals would like to give us some advice, we’ll be forever grateful! Here’s my email in case you’d like to help us:

  • Ann:
    if you haven’t found a hotel yet, I highly recommend the Magnolia Hotel. It’s in an old downtown building with a retro bar on the ground floor, and free milk and cookies in the afternoon! We stayed there during our wedding and we loved it. The service is excellent and the location is right downtown.

  • Gimme Gimme pillow toast closed a while back. You should add the shoppe, paris on the platte and leela european cafe.

  • My three S. Broadway places for coffee while shopping, Michelangelo’s, Mutiny Now(books), Bardo Coffee House.

  • I am so glad to see Denver getting some love. As I read through the comments I kept wanting to add more and more places, but people seemed to catch all the missing spots!

    Maybe Snooze? Can’t forget the Petticoat brunch at the Bump ‘N Grind. Paris on the Platte of course is a must, as Rachel mentioned. Or Stella’s on Pearl street.

    Now I miss Denver! I can’t wait to check out the places I haven’t been to when I’m back home for Christmas.

    Pandora is one of my favorite shops. There are some things that Denver has that Paris just can’t keep up with! Those mountains and all.

  • Definitely swing by Mezcal for a margarita across from the
    Bluebird on Colfax! Best Mexican in town with a great

  • great list! I’m from Denver and now live in San Francisco.

    Update: the “cereal/cupcake café” next to the Fabric Lab is The Shoppe (theshoppedenver.com) and is definitely worth checking out. Cake, coffee, cereal and craft nights! They also host a Project Runway night. Love
    that place!

    Next to WaterCourse on 17th is a great salon called Three Little Birds
    Check them out for great color and feather extensions!

  • Meg … no, luckily, 5 green boxes has not closed! The big
    store has moved 3 store fronts down from the small store! Speaking
    of Old South Pearl St., this blog should mention all the amazing
    Farmer’s Markets and Outdoor Vintage & Artisan Markets that
    go on in the Spring time in Denver. There are several downtown, but
    the best one, The Paris St. Market, takes place throughout the
    Spring/Summer down near where I live in Littleton. Definitely
    something to check out come warmer days!! Then go to lunch at JaJa
    Bistro for amazing French food in Old Towne Littleton!!

  • Feather Thy Nest is worth the drive to Boulder — lots of cool furniture finds at great prices.

  • We are living in Denver for 5 months (and hopefully longer or we have to go back to NYC…weep.weep) and we LOVE it here. You’d be remiss if you didn’t visit the new Clyfford Stills Museum. Abstract art at its best!

  • I love DENVER!!! A few other places for some great food and fun times:

    The Kirkland Museum on Pearl and 13th
    Bocaza- like Qdoba but local and far more delicious on 17th
    Chef Zorba’s -awesome Greek food and great breakfasts
    Double Daughters – its in LoDo but its a pretty cool place if you are looking for an interesting atmosphere
    Wax Tracks on 13th- great place to find vinyl
    Buffalo Exchange- buy vintage and used clothes

  • I third The Mercury Cafe for local organic food, booze and great events (poetry slams, swing dancing, Argusfest, yoga, etc). Also, a second on The Watercourse, it features unique decor from local artist Ravi, and ya gotta try the Scout Cookie! Don’t forget the SAME Cafe, amazing atmosphere. Also, Lannie’s Clocktower has fun shows including playful cabarets. The Denver Botanical Gardens are amazing at all times of the year.

  • So glad to see Fancy Tiger Crafts included…Knitters travel and they love to collect yarn from their destinations. Yarns from afar are reminders of adventures and laughter! Anyone, need to add to my yarn collections like I need a poke in the eye.

  • Jellies on 13th x Washington for fresh hot doughnut holes, fab omlette combos and all the basics all day, plus lunch fixin’s if breakfast doesn’t suit.

  • There should be a section for live music..We have some great venues supporting local and well known bands…

    Larimer Lounge
    The Blue Bird
    The Ogden

  • i’d add snooze (suggested above!) for some fantastic breakfast, wash perk (also suggested) for coffee and tea and root down for awesome, local and environmentally conscious food.

    LOVE that fancy tiger and sweet action made the list- two of my absolute favorites!

  • I want to give a shout out for Decade on Broadway.
    Fun hip store to go to when you need to buy just the right gift…for anyone.
    Lovely clothing and jewelry, and Vintage furniture for sale to boot.
    Great vibe, prices range for ‘deal’ to… put it on the wish list.

    I second Fancy Tiger, great craft place, and friendly helpful staff.

  • I am so excited to see a Denver City Guide that I may actually be bouncing in my chair! I am a Denver transplant via Detroit. Although I have been here 2 years I am always looking to be a tourist in my city.


  • Man… you just made me REALLY miss living in Denver… BIG TIME! I guess it’s about that time for a visit. Potager is amazing as is Tallulah Jones. I loved walking around Denver and finding little cool places. ::sigh:: Really missing the weather & parks every few blocks too. FYI… really great Asian Fusion food for a really good price is Wokano on the corner of 11th & Ogden (near Potager — I lived next door!) It’s a great place to gather with friends. The manager (owner?) is a small asian woman that was DARLING! She always remembered me, my faves and the food is hot, fresh and oh-so-tasty!

  • I spent a few days on holiday in Denver last summer and have to agree that the Kirland Museum is a must-visit if you’re interested in design. It’s bursting at the seams with artefacts and is rather a quirky place, but there’s some really great stuff there.

  • Love this! I have lived in 5 points for 2 years and haven’t checked out some of the places on Larimer – shame on me!
    Although this is a Denver Design Guide, I do want to give a shout out to Factory Made in Boulder. They’re pretty new to the scene and provide a really nice venue for local handmade goods. Worth heading up to check out!

  • glad to see sweet action ice cream here.
    let’s not forget also pasquini’s pizza on 32nd and also, ILLEGAL PETE’S!!

  • Thanks for the Studio Como love! Great selection of spots on this list, very thorough! However, I didn’t see Domo, the most amazing Japanese food place ever. Located in a very strange spot, but well worth the search for traditional country style Japanese with the most beautiful gardens.

  • So many great recommendations- you really covered a lot! I’d add The Infinite Monkey Theorem urban winery in Denver for a tasty and unique experience!

  • In the RiNo section, Fuel Cafe was missing! Great food and drinks and awesome staff too! Thanks for the Mile High love, d*sponge!

  • I’d like to submit Adrift, too, for the South Broadway section. For those who have not yet been, it’s worth it for the atmosphere alone, but the cocktails are pretty tasty, as well.

    If you need your bike fixed or just some good chocolate in the 5 Points/Cole-Whittier area, go to Chocolate Spokes on Downing. It’s a tiny little shop and easy to miss, but the service is good (as is the Mexican chocolate)! Eden, in the same neighborhood, also has a good brunch.

  • Nice article on Denver! I live in the Highlands and love all the businesses you mentioned; however, you missed my favorite store: KISMET! They have amazing handbags and jewelry…

  • What a wonderful list of Denver’s best! I agree with several other comments… Mercury Cafe, Watercourse Foods and Snooze are on my List of top Denver restaurants. They are amazing!!

  • I think Heather meant Craftsy.

    Olde Town Arvada (despite the annoying “e” on Old) is a great little neighborhood west of Denver proper. Among my favorite places:

    Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor for acoustic instruments
    the dNote for pizza, music and dancing
    Mannekin Frites for Belgian beers and fries with dipping sauce
    Scrumptious for unbelievable homemade ice cream
    Rheinlander Bakery — fabulous strudel
    Mi Tierra for Mexican food

  • I’m planning a move to Denver in a couple of weeks and will be a lost soul in the city… Not knowing anyone or anything so I was sooooo excited when my best friend came across this post and sent it my way! For all you who live in Denver.. I would also like to thank you for the added info in your comments for things in the city! I’ll take all the info I can get! It’s nice to meet you, I’m Brandi! xo.

  • Really great guide, thank you! I live in the Highlands and have to mention Spuntino. Fantastic, locally sourced food, a James Beard Award nominated pastry chef, and I promise you, the best hot chocolate you will have in Denver (with homemade marshmallows).

  • The RiNo/ 5 Points area is growing so fast and there are some awesome new places to stop by… The Populist is a fantastic restaurant by the Crema gentleman at 32nd and Larimer. Inventive food and classic cocktails with a great atmosphere and killer patio. Across the street is the Infinite Monkey Therom Wine Lab where you can grab a glass (or can) of award winning wine and take a winery tour. They usually have one of Denver’s great food trucks parked outside. For the beer lover Our Mutual Friend brewery at 29th and Larimer has great beer and an even better patio. Usually has a food truck too!

  • The Perfect Petal in Denver is awe inspiring. They
    Know retail and excel at it ! The floral offerings are the best in the WEST and I just L O V E and miss that
    Place like crazy. Agreed- snooze for brunch and root down are YuMMy.

  • This is a great site on Everything to do in Denver! I haven’t been down in the city for a little while now and I don’t know how often you update but I’ll be down there soon! You are all welcome to post anything denver related with a free profile if you post this comment! :)

  • West Highland neighborhood: Sweet Cow ice cream on 32nd/Lowell. For tacos and tequila – El Camino and The Matador.

  • This is really the best blog on the planet. You always make me laugh, and you always make me want to get right back in my kitchen. {and yeah! my in-laws are coming this weekend