Denver Walking Tour: 17th Avenue Dining, Capitol Hill and the 16th Street Mall

Well….. I hope you all somehow survived the election and we can get back to our lives. And, by the way, Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who have served. A big thank-you!

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This week I am posting the last of my “Denver suite” articles. They are all from my trip to the Mile-High City last summer. I wrap up the series with a walking tour and photos, with some restaurants and points of interest along the way. As you know if you read my Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast post, my husband and I stayed at that lovely urban oasis back in June. On our last morning in the city, we started from there after our wonderful organic breakfast in the garden.

We made our way up to the nearby 17th Avenue restaurant row. Although it was too early for anything to be open at that hour, I got a picture of Ace restaurant‘s airplane-tailfin sign. Ace is a “ping-pong hall” as opposed to pool hall I guess, with pan-Asian fare. Steuben’s, a local institution, in the background, serves up American food like mac-n-cheese, fried chicken and pot roast.

ace-steubens-denver

We were told this was a lively dinner district, and indeed it was when we went back for burgers at the Tavern Uptown later that night. I see from their website they are under renovation right now, which is great, because the place was VERY loud, worn and pretty greasy. However, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the food and beers were delicious.

After 17th Avenue we made our way to the State Capitol building, seen here with the extra-whammy HDR effect:

denver-capitol

From there we wended down Colfax Avenue and saw the Denver Post building:

denver-post-building

One thing I was curious about was the legalized marijuana situation in Denver. No, I didn’t buy or smoke any when I was there, but I will say that the places selling weed and seeds and paraphernalia are rather lower-key than I expected. I only saw a couple of shops the entire trip, I only smelled it once, and saw it only once, downtown near here where two guys were rolling a joint together, kind of like winos sharing a bottle. But the economic effect of this booming city and its progressive attitudes were more than evident everywhere we went.

We ended up at the 16th Street Mall, a wide expanse of pedestrian-friendly shopping. I thought of it as Denver’s Champs-Élysées.

denver-16th-street-mall

The best part was a totally free bus line that runs up and down the otherwise traffic-free street every few minutes, connecting with other bus and train lines at Union Station. It was good to hop it after our trek.

In the wide median of 16th, there are many public art objects, such as funky chess tables:

denver-16th-st-mall-chess-tables

…and cleverly-named food kiosks:

denver-wiki-pita

The banner in the upper left corner of the photo above advertises Denver’s take-your-bike-to-work day, part of the city’s Bike Month (June). You can stop in Skyline Park on Pedal for Pancakes day and get a free pancakes-and-sausage breakfast..

In addition to the upscale shopping stores on both sides of the street, you find more food kiosks:

oasis-mexican-grill-denver-16th

… festively-painted pianos and plastic cattle:

denver-street-piano

That picture was snapped at an unfortunate moment for the woman who looks like the bull is about to gore her. Sorry.

The Mall has super-friendly city volunteer guides:

denver-volunteer-guide

…and cool brass water main covers:

denver-water-dept-brass

While there we visited the Federal Reserve Bank Museum:

denver-federal-reserve Inside we got free money (about $165 but, unfortunately, consisting only of shredded bills taken out of circulation):

free-money-denver-reserve

…and saw fairly interesting displays about the history of currency in the United States. I got to see an actual double eagle. I also got to see what $30 million looks like all in one place:

thirty-million-dollars

None of that money was free, but admission to the museum was!

After doing some shopping and having lunch at the train station, we made our way, via Uber, to the Baker District, an old neighborhood in the process of becoming gentrified. We went there on the advice of our BnB owner who said we should try Sweet Action Ice Cream. He wasn’t wrong! They have a wide expanse of window open to the street, though you have to go in to get your ice cream.   sweet-action-counter

The serving size was enormous, or maybe I am just used to the gelato-scoop size in Europe still. Either way, it was tasty! And I have to give them props for declaring themselves “a Denver institution since March 2009” on the menu board, which was a chalkboard-paint square on one wall:sweet-action-menuSo, the Denver series is complete. Guess that means it’s time for another trip out West for me!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

highheel-sidewalk-sign

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