The Definitive Guide to Denver and Colorado

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Front Range Attractions


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It’s no secret that Colorado’s real estate market is booming, spurred by an influx of out-of-staters making the Centennial state their home. While many consider Denver or Boulder favorable places to settle down, they often overlook one of Colorado’s most beautiful and understated municipalities: the city of Golden.

Golden rests in a basin against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, below the North and South Table Mountains. On one side the city is marked by the prominent “M” for the School of Mines; on the other with the infamous “G” of Golden. Golden’s prime location serves as a focal point between Denver, Boulder and Evergreen, and offers a direct route to Black Hawk and canyon access – bypassing traffic to the slopes.

The city’s history is traced to its establishment in 1859. Proudly proclaimed across its welcome banner in the heart of downtown, Golden’s slogan is simply, “Where the West Lives,” and this declaration couldn’t be truer. This city is rich in history and continues to embody that spirit with barn wood trimmings, stucco-styled homes and architecture reminiscent of the Old West.

Yet for all its storied past, Golden is becoming increasingly modern, with red cobbled brick lining pedestrian walkways and immaculate landscaping  – lending the town the uniquely dichotic feeling of being in two periods at the same time.

While technically a college town, home to the School of Mines, Golden does not resonate with that trait. A top-notch university, The School of Mines was recently rated the top engineering school in the nation by College Factual. Clearly, the college is not home to lackadaisical students. In fact, these students are ambitious and disciplined learners, attending the university not for a good time, but for the most advantageous career achievable. While they may go out on the weekends to the Swig Tavern, students are more likely to spend their free time studying or experiencing the great outdoors.

Golden’s myriad outdoor activities attract athletic enthusiasts by the droves. Colin Endsley, an outdoor adventurer who has lived in Golden for a little over a year says, “Golden is great in that you can walk in any direction from town and find some trail to fall into,” and truly there aren’t enough trails to behold. Golden’s trails are perfect for hikers and cyclists – Lookout Mountain serving as a popular route for the avid cyclist – and the views from each trail are spectacular, ranging from downtown Denver to DIA and back to the formidable Rockies.

Yet the ample trails are just a sampling of what Golden offers. There are also water sports such as tubing and kayaking (when the water flow is safe) from the Clear Creek River, and fishing for Rainbow and Brown trout for the avid angler.

Of special note is Golden’s popularity for the extreme sport of hang gliding. Windy Saddle Park offers a great launch point for hang gliders, and these colorful contraptions can be seen sashaying down the mountain most Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months.

Outdoors aside, one of Golden’s leading attractions is its quaint downtown, a charming and unassuming destination for tourists and locals alike. Downtown Golden is privileged to have so many locally owned restaurants and shops that could keep the body feasting and the mind entertained for days. Home to the infamous Coors Brewery and seasonal farmer’s market, the area embodies everything regionally Colorado.

Notable boutiques include Spinster Sisters Co., which now offers three locations in the Denver metro area (Golden serving as its home base). Opened in 2011, its founder Kelly Perkins calls her products “an alternative to the witches’ brew of 

chemicals that many mod

ern skin care products represent.” From body scrubs to men’s shaving cream, Perkins and her team will keep your skin singing and fantastically fresh, no matter how dry Colorado’s air may be.

Sharing a storefront with Spinster Sisters is Baby Doe’s, a retailer showcasing relaxed and bohemian styles for the laid-back mountainista, as well as the craftsmanship of more than 40 regional artisans. Now under new ownership, Baby Doe’s offers a fresh look and feel that is sure to keep visitors stopping in to shop at one of the downtown area’s well-known establishments.

While the shopping is great

, the dining options are varied and delicious. If you’re looking for a good beer and a good time, there’s the Golden Moon Speakeasy and Buffalo Rose with live music weekly. If you’re following your taste buds and looking for superb dishes, you can venture over to Woody’s Pizza or Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar; Indulge has perhaps the best iced tea in Colorado, which they’ll bring to you by the pitcher.

When you’re ready for dessert, a must-visit is the family-owned and operated Gold Mine Cupcakes. Recently  named by as one of the top 16 best bakeries in the U.S., the bakery offers delicious, made-from-scratch creations served fresh by an even sweeter staff. Gold Mine Cupcakes will surely satisfy your sweet tooth with its assortment of 35 flavors and specials daily.

With all these successful businesses and the city’s incredible geography, it’s no wonder people are choosing to explore and settle down in Golden. The once outdated homes are constantly under renovation and are becoming prime real estate for those looking to live the mountain lifestyle, while not sacrificing proximity to the Denver area.

In the future, more local businesses will continue to take root and make their home in Golden. Thoughtful development and growth will only add to the area’s allure as a destination spot for visitors looking for something unique and special, and locals wanting to stake their claim in this unsung gem of Colorado’s landscape.


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Picture yourself surrounded by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains; a pristine mountain breeze whispers across your skin, and rays from Colorado’s warm summer sunshine engulf you. You stand in the open air, perhaps holding a locally crafted beer or a crisp glass of wine. The music reverberates; sounds authored by the likes of Grammy award-winning country sensation Keith Urban, or the bluesy funk of Colorado’s own Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats.

Summer is the epicenter of Colorado’s festival season! It’s a place where your senses are stimulated by the sights, sounds, tastes and experiences embedded in our beautiful, sundrenched days and warm, star-filled nights. There are plenty of offerings from the city limits to the mountain valleys. And the collective 2017 lineup promises something for everyone: from music and bike enthusiasts to brewers, balloonists and wine connoisseurs … we even tracked down festivals for yogis!
If you’re ready for the freedom that the vibe of summer and outdoor experience brings, you don’t have to miss a beat researching and planning because we’ve done the work for you. We have compiled a list that highlights some of Colorado’s unique festivals scheduled for 2017, and captured exclusive insight from some of the state’s leading festival founders and producers.
So whether you find yourself surrounded by the peaks of Telluride or the lofty cityscape of Denver, you are bound to have a memorable experience.


Jazz Aspen Snowmass
June Experience – Aspen
“The festival that we do at the end of June is how Jazz Aspen started back in 1991,” according to Jim Horowitz, founder and curator of the elite Jazz Aspen Snowmass June and Labor Day Experiences.
The experience features four nights of headline concerts at the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen. In addition, there are multiple shows at the JAS Cafe upstairs at the Aspen Art Museum and downstairs at The Little Nell. They also host nightly complimentary Lawn Parties on the music tent grounds before the main shows, featuring live bands and an upscale array of food and beverage.
June 23 – July 1, 2017

July 1 – August 4, 2017
BRAVO! VAIL Music Festival – Vail
The festival’s 30th season features four of the world’s greatest orchestras, internationally renowned musicians and acclaimed soloists. In the breathtaking setting of the Rocky Mountains, revel in classical masterworks, soulful jazz and electrifying pops programs. Featuring residencies by four returning ensembles: The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Soloists include violinists Joshua Bell, Simone Lamsma, James Ehnes, Gil Shaham and Leonida Kavakos; cellist Steven Isserlis; trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling; and pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Yefim Bronfman and Inon Barnatan.

Hot Air Balloon Rodeo – Steamboat Springs
The Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park events explore the beauty of artistry and color both on canvas and in the sky. This stunningly visual weekend brings the sleepy offseason to life in Steamboat Springs and is a celebration of summertime.
July 8-9, 2017

Telluride Yoga Festival
This four-day event is a paradise for yogis and features more than 100 different activities including yoga, meditation, music, hiking, dining, SUP yoga and more. Guests have access to more than 50 inspiring and motivating presenters contrasted by the intimate and historic venues throughout the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village.
July 20-23 |

Rockygrass Festival – Lyons
Rockygrass is the second of three events Planet Bluegrass produces annually and serves as a celebration of the town of Lyons’ strength and resilience. Originally held just 10 months after historic 500-year floods devastated the town, it is known today as one of the great traditional bluegrass festivals in the world.
Planet Bluegrass’ Brian Eyster gave us more insight into the history saying, “In 1992, the volunteer-run Rocky Mountain Bluegrass reached out to Planet Bluegrass to keep the festival alive. We found a property in Lyons along the St. Vrain River to host that event and two years later we purchased the property, known today as the Planet Bluegrass Ranch.”
July 28-20, 2017 |

Breckenridge Food & Wine -Breckenridge
Breckenridge’s Main Street Station Plaza transforms into a charming mountainside vineyard each year to host the Food and Wine Festival. Delivering a unique wine-tasting experience, you’ll find an array of varietals created by fine wineries. From the soft and smooth to the unabashedly bold, wine lovers will get more than their fair share of delicious sips.
July 29, 2017

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival – Lyons
Rounding out the three events produced by Planet Bluegrass, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival is dedicated to spending a glorious summer weekend celebrating songs and stories from around the musical and geographic world.
Brian Eyster shared that community is at the heart of the event. “I love to walk through the crowd or the campgrounds and watch this unique spirit of community,” he says. “At our festivals, there is only one single stage. Guests set up their tarps and spend the entire day sharing music, making lasting friendships with their neighbors and reconnecting with friends from past festivals. People aren’t on their phones, they’re very present, connecting with their fellow Festivarians through this communal music experience in this profoundly beautiful place.”
August 18-20, 2017 |

Vail Jazz Party – Vail
The Vail Jazz Party could be considered a maestro ushering in the grand finale of the Vail Jazz Festival and the beautiful Colorado summer season. It serves its patrons a jam-packed lineup with more than 35 headliners, who join together to play in group performances, multi-artist jam sessions, and inspiring multimedia tributes to jazz legends.
Aug 31 – Sep 4, 2017 |

Jazz Aspen Snowmass – Snowmass

Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Experience is nestled in the ethereal setting of Snowmass Village Town Park. This luxurious open-air event is a dance-oriented extravaganza of popular, R&B, rock, funk, blues, world, and soul music. With the spectacular Elk Mountain Range as a backdrop, this three-day experience welcomes to the stage Keith Urban andMaroon Five, among others in 2017.
Event visionary and mastermind Jim Horo-witz disclosed, “The biggest challenges over the years is what it takes to put together a stellar, world-class program of artists. We’ve managed, but clearly that’s the hardest part of what we do. It all flows from there because if the program isn’t good enough, then the people don’t come, or they don’t buy as many tickets.” Summarizing, “That really is our DNA. We are a music presenter, whether it is for 150 people listening to jazz or 10,000 people listening to Stevie Wonder. People are coming to us to hear a great musical performance.”
September 1-4, 2017 |

Telluride Blues & Brews – Telluride
Known as the festival capital of Colorado, Telluride begins to wind down its festival season with Blues & Brews. This celebration of blues, funk, jam bands, indie, rock, gospel and soul performances is paired with some of the best microbreweries in the country.
September 15-17, 2017 |


Opening Night at Central City Opera. Featured in Central City Opera’s 75th anniversary book, “Theatre of Dreams, The Glorious Central City Opera- Celebrating 75 Years.”

Central City Opera 2017 Festival
This acclaimed summer festival features Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, performed in repertory in the historic Central City Opera House, and three one-act operas with limited runs: Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace, Douglas Moore’s Gallantry, and Amy Beach’s Cabildo, performed in smaller venues in Central City. Founded in 1932, Central City Opera is the fifth-oldest professional opera company in the country, renowned for its exquisite world-class productions. Just 35 miles west of Denver in the charming mountain town of Central City, the company owns 28 Victorian-era properties, including the 550-seat jewel box opera house built in 1878. This is a must-see for opera aficionados!

July 8 – August 6, 2017

Greeley Stampede – Greeley
Greeley boasts one of Colorado’s largest and most historic summer festivals and rodeos. Dating back to the 1800’s, Greeley’s Fourth of July celebration keeps the “Yeehaw!” in Colorado’s Western culture.
June 23 – July 4, 2017 |

Global Dance Festival – Denver
Global Dance showcases Colorado’s passion for dance music annually and has grown to become one of the premiere summer music festivals statewide. After spending years at Red Rocks Amphitheater, the dance party expands its boundaries and finds a new home at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in 2017!
July 21-22, 2017 |

Underground Music Showcase (UMS) – Denver
The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase marks its 17th anniversary in 2017. It lays claim as the biggest independent music festival in the Rocky Mountain region and, more importantly, is the premiere showcase for Denver’s incredible local music!
July 27-30, 2017 |

ARISE Music Festival – Loveland
Arise boasts that it is more than a music festival, rather a movement. It is a music, yoga, activism and co-creative camping event located 65 miles north of Denver, at Sunrise Ranch. Now in its fifth year, it is proving its staying power, and this year’s lineup includes headliners Atmosphere and Ani DeFranco.
August 4-7, 2017 |

Velorama – RiNo Arts District, Denver
This three-day biking, food, music, shopping and crafting extravaganza will overtake 12 blocks of the RiNo Art District for a street party that celebrates biking culture in Colorado. Daily family-friendly festivities are offered, making this an all-ages event that promises something for everyone.
August 11-13, 2017 |

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest – Fort Collins
Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a free music festival held in historic downtown Fort Collins. Prominently featuring a Colorado-based lineup, they host a variety of genres, including a one-of-a-kind, family-centered Kids’ Music Adventure.
August 11-13,2017 |

A Taste of Colorado – Denver
One of Denver’s most delicious weekends serves up some of the state’s favorite food. More than 50 Colorado restaurants and food establishments gather in downtown Denver’s streets over Labor Day weekend to give patrons A Taste of Colorado. Combined with six stages playing live music, carnival rides, shopping and much more, this is hands down one of Colorado’s biggest celebrations of the year.
September 1-4, 2017 |

Food Trucks at Civic Center

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On a warm sunny day, consider taking a stroll through Civic Center Park, a vibrant, historic area at Colfax and Broadway that marks the city’s hub of culture and government. Within walking distance of the stunning architectural campus, you will find the Denver Art Museum, The Denver Central Library, the Clyfford Still Museum, the U.S. Mint, The Colorado State Capitol, the 16th Street Mall and the Golden Triangle Museum District.

      But the tastiest part of the outing takes place right in the middle of the park, where food trucks line up every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to offer passers-by  some of the tastiest fare in the city. The weekly event is called Civic Center EATS, and is produced by Civic Center Conservancy, a not-for-profit organization that is working to reclaim the area as the vibrant community asset its founders envisioned.

     It’s literally a party every week, when Metro Denver’s largest gathering of gourmet food trucks serve up an incredible array of great food, enticing downtown employees, residents and visitors to experience the beauty of the Civic Center. The event is highlighted by gorgeous views and live music, all enjoyed under cover of umbrella-shaded tables or in the sunshine.

     In the mood for some great BBQ? Or something lighter like a salad or wrap? Maybe you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and crave some Ethiopian fare or an Indian dish. The choices are all there, and the most difficult part of your lunch will be deciding first which truck to try, and then … the hardest part of all … what’s for dessert?

     The trucks make their appearance on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., May 2 – October 5. Civic Center EATS posts ongoing events, food truck lists and music lineups on a variety of social media:

Facebook: @CivicCenterEATS

Twitter: @civiccenterpark

Instagram: @civiccenterdenver

Hashtags: #civiccentereats #CCEATS

Colorado Safari

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The Wild Animal Sanctuary offers a fresh start for animals.

Imagine spending your life in a small cage that is barely big enough to turn around in. Never seeing another of your kind, surviving as part of a roadside zoo, circus, or existing malnourished and underfed. Then imagine being rescued, nursed back to health, receiving regular feed- ings, and best of all, meeting animals of your own ilk. Space to roam and a clean, warm place to sleep. Welcome to the Wild Ani- mal Sanctuary, a fabulous slice of paradise located just 40 minutes from downtown Denver, and a welcome refuge for more than 450 rescued captive-born animals, primarily large carnivores like tigers, lions, bears and wolves.

Photo Courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary

The majority of these animals come from individuals who use the animals as attractions at roadside zoos or other profit-making schemes, or they’ve been kept by people desiring a large predator as a pet. In fact, each of the 50 states in the U.S. have different laws and regulations when it comes to keeping these animals – and some states have no laws at all. It’s believed that across the country, there are some 20,000 large carnivores kept outside of zoos – including 4,000 tigers in Texas alone (where these animals are allowed with a permit). Sadly, most of these animals are kept in deplorable conditions, languishing in too-small quarters, abused, abandoned, neglected, malnourished. When they are confiscated by law enforcement or animal welfare agencies, they find a ready home at the Wild Animal Sanctuary – and are allowed to ‘retire’ from being subject to the whims of unscrupulous people.

Photo Courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary

When the animals arrive at the sanctuary, their residency begins with a full health exam and extensive rehabilitation. Many arrive underweight and mal- nourished, and immediately undertake a program to augment their diet; others need dental work or have no muscle tone. Notably, though, a huge part of the animals’ rehab process is on the social and psychological side of things. So many of the animals that make their way to the sanctuary have never seen another of their breed, learned to bellow the sounds they make in the wild (i.e. lions who have never learned to roar), or don’t know how to be part of a social group like a pack or pride.

Photo Courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary

The animals are slowly introduced to the other animals, sometimes living in smaller quarters close to the main compound until they are fully rehabilitated and eventually ready to join other animals in large-acreage habitats. In fact, there are a pack of 12 rescue dogs that help younger animals learn how to be a part of social groups – biting, playing, and hierarchy. Once the animals have adjusted to their new home, most are put into large plots of land between five and 25 acres in size. Most of the animals rescued by the Wild Animal Sanctuary arrive underweight. Relying on donations from companies such as Wal-Mart, be- tween 48,000-50,000 pounds of food per week are provided to the animals, roughly half of which is meat, and half of which is fruit and vegetables.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary fills a void since there is no humane society of any kind for large animals. That means that when, for example, 25 Bolivian lions needed a home after the country banned animals in circuses, the Wild Animal Sanctuary got the call. They stepped up to provide a landing spot for the lions.

Photo Courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary

The sanctuary got its start when a young Pat Craig, who grew up on a farm near Boulder, visited a friend who worked at a zoo and got a behind-the-scenes tour he didn’t expect. What he saw shocked him: multiple animals in small cages were deemed as “extra” animals – no longer attracting visitors, they waited to be euthanized. Craig decided then and there he wanted to dedicate his life to saving these majestic animals, working to learn all he could. In 1980 the Wild Animal Sanctuary was started on a farm near Boulder, before moving to Lyons and finally to its current home, on 720 acres near Keenesburg, Colorado.

Almost by accident, Craig discovered an ideal way to view these majestic rescued animals, and at the same time educate people about the crisis of wild animals held in captivity. He found that if the animals were seen from above, they don’t have the flight or fight reaction to having an unfamiliar person or perceived threat in their living space. To that end, the Wild Animal Sanctuary constructed a raised walkway that allows guests to walk above the animals’ habitats and observe them. The 1.5-mile walkway enables visitors to see foxes, tigers, lions, wolves, bears, and more, all from above.

Photo Courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary

All the amazing work the Wild Animal Sanctuary performs would not be possible without the support of the public – it operates as a nonprofit and relies on donations from visitors. The sanctuary asks each visitor for a donation or to become an active supporter, whereby a regular donation is made and the member gets unlimited visits. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is well worth the trip for any visitor or resident of Denver. Given its proximity, there’s simply no reason not to go. The educational value of experiencing the important work of the Wild Animal Sanctuary is priceless. It appeals both as a way to observe and get close to these majestic wild animals, and also as an organization doing important work for disenfranchised animals. By giving a voice to these creatures, the sanctuary opens the hearts of young and old alike, showing them how animals live in the wild rather than in captivity. To be among them is both a gift and an unforgettable experience. One tip: don’t forget your binoculars.

Visit for more information

Marijuana in the Mile High City

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Denver has been a tourist destination for decades. With beautiful views, a thriving culture, and a plethora of activities and events constantly occurring within the bustling metropolis, it’s no surprise that people flock to the Mile High City. But with the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2014, the typical tourist may have a new reason to travel to higher altitudes.


Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, on November 6th, 2012. The amendment went into effect in January of 2014. Since then, dispensaries have appeared in droves across Colorado and anyone over the age of twenty-one can stop in to purchase the drug. In 2014 alone, retailers sold three-hundred-and-thirteen million dollars of recreational marijuana according to Colorado tax data from the Department of Revenue.


We spoke with the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and the recreational marijuana dispensary, Euflora, to see how the marijuana industry has affected the equally thriving tourist trade.


In 2015, many tourists who participated in marijuana-related activities indicated that it was a motivation in their decision to travel to Colorado. By 2016, reports of marijuana participation had risen, although the number of people citing marijuana as a primary influencer in their decision to come to Colorado had decreased. With record-setting tourist growth in Colorado both before and after marijuana legalization, according to the CTO, the drug is not a primary influencer in tourists’ travels. The cannabis industry is one of many attractions in Colorado, and tourists are drawn to the state for more than the legal drug.


While tourists are visiting Denver for more than its bustling cannabis industry, once visitors arrive many seem to be partaking in the marijuana culture. Euflora, located on 16th street mall, welcomes many tourists into their store — about 75% of their clientele. And while they have customers who stop in simply to look, most of their customers, including visitors to the state, make a purchase.


The Colorado Tourism Office reports that travellers between the ages of 25 and 34 were most likely to report that marijuana had positively influenced their decision to visit Colorado, but Euflora sees customers ages 21 to 91. The cannabis industry appeals to visitors of any (legal) age and is one of many attractions Denver can offer.


With visitors travelling to Colorado from places where marijuana oftentimes isn’t legal, it’s important for tourists to educate themselves about marijuana usage and safety before partaking of the drug. Euflora owner Jamie Perino has noticed that out-of-state visitors oftentimes need more education from Euflora employees about marijuana — the difference between strains, proper usage and dosing, and cost.


The cannabis industry has become an integral part of Colorado’s economy, and its reach extends into the bustling tourist trade. While marijuana is not the primary motivation behind tourist’s travel plans, many visitors to the city are enjoying a high other than the altitude in Denver.

Doors Open Denver

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The 13th annual Doors Open Denver, presented by the Denver Architectural Foundation, is the premier event showcasing the richness and history of Denver’s built environment and promoting quality design on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30. Doors Open Denver encourages event participants to observe and engage with the built environment through an artistic and cultural lens.

Headquartered at the iconic Denver Union Station, the event highlights approximately 70 of Denver’s unique spaces, including high-profile, historic and artistic feats of architecture and design.

During the event, visitors are invited to explore our city in the following ways:

• Sign up for an Insider Tour. Doors Open Denver offers 120 tours led by architects, landscape architects, historians and urban enthusiasts with special knowledge of Denver’s neighborhoods and buildings.

• Visit one or several of the 70 open sites.

Open sites are buildings that have opened their doors to the public.

• With the support of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Doors Open Denver offers six arts and cultural activities, including architecturally inspired hair art, behind- the-scenes videos of area theatres, a performance by five analog synthesizer music artists and more.

Six sites were added to this year’s line- up, including Page Architects (The John Deere Building), St. Paul Lutheran and Roman Catholic Community of Faith, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Smiley Branch Library, Athmar Park Library and Pauline Robinson Library.

For more information on open sites, Insider Tours and arts and culture activities, visit Engage with DOD on Facebook, Twitter (@denverarchfound) and Instagram (denverarchitecture) using #DOD2017.

Off the Grid: White Fence Farm

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Want to discover places only the locals know about? Longtime Denverite Bill Husted introduces you to this hidden gem:

The Denver dining scene has exploded in the past decade, with nationally recognized eateries opening on every corner. Expensive and somewhat precious, Denver restaurants are to be reckoned with. Ask any foodie.

But one mess hall has been serving up exactly the same simple grub since 1973 to hundreds of people every night (except Mondays). On Mothers Day and Easter they serve more than 3,000. That’s a lotta fried chicken.

Yup, fried chicken. Finger lickin’ chicken at White Fence Farm. Sitting on an eight-acre spread in Lakewood, a short drive from downtown Denver, this extra family-friendly eatery keeps it simple. Oh it serves salmon and the obligatory steak – but people come here for the fried chicken and the sides. The chicken comes piled high, a sizzling plateful the size of your head, almost impossible to finish. And the sides keep coming, bowls of bean salad, coleslaw, cottage cheese, pickled beets, hot corn fritters, chicken gravy, potatoes mashed, French fried and baked. This is all so homey and genuine you think Tom Saw- yer is your waiter.

WFF is run by legendary Denver restaurateur Craig Caldwell. For de- cades he operated sports bars like Brooklyn’s, checking IDs and planning Happy Hours. Now at WWF it’s always Happy Hour with families and friends pouring in for that familiar chicken.

If there’s a wait, no one seems to mind. They literally like to wait because they’re on the farm and there’s plenty to do. Dancing to a live band, petting the three goats, squeezing the balloon animals, chasing the geese, watching the model trains, climbing the tree house, eating the fudge, posing for the period photographs – even bellying up to the bar for a drink.

This is not your usual tourist destination. This is its own little corny world from yesterday. Work up an appetite and a sense of humor. White Fence Farm has a chicken with your name on it.

Off the Grid: Fashion Nation and Babysitter’s Nightmare

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Want to discover places only the locals know about? Longtime Denverite Bill Husted introduces you to this hidden gem: 

Shop where the rock bands shop. And get something edgy for your baby. That’s the drill at Fashion Nation and its offspring Babysitter’s Nightmare, a Denver shopping tradition since 1985.

Fashion Nation is like Neiman Marcus for the punk rocker. A wall in the clothing store is covered with photographs of famous bands that have shopped in the store, and I’m betting you haven’t heard of most of them. The Dead Kennedy’s? The Cure? The rockers know. Through word-ofmouth, this is a must-stop for club clothes when the tour bus parks in Denver.

One of the largest collections of Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots kick it at Fashion Nation – hundreds of the hipster clodhoppers line the walls.

Babysitter’s Nightmare cries in the back of the store, a temple to the Little Rock ‘N Roller in your life. Owners Paul and Pam Italiano raised their children in these threads, most of which make a chilling childish statement. Like the T-Shirt that reads “I (Heart) Zombies” and “Zombie Snack.” One kid T proclaims the child is an “Alcohol Related Accident.” Above a cute kiddie giraffe it says, “I HATE YOU.” Orange is the new black in a County Jail Onsie.

“There is a line you don’t want to cross,” says Paul Italiano. “We take it right up to that line.

Reader’s Choice: Best Golf Courses in Colorado

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Help us find the best golf courses in Colorado! Take our survey and vote for your favorites in our three categories: Best Overall Golf Course, Prettiest Golf Course, and Most Challenging Golf Course. Our top Reader’s Choice Picks will be included in the Summer issue of Colorado Hotel Magazine.


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Denver Central Market – A Mile-High Market Hall

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Unless you live or work in Denver’s River North Arts District (also known as RiNo), you may not have noticed the H.H. Tammen building — a former curio shop and Native American crafts store that operated during the mid-1900s. After standing vacant for years, the building was renovated, refurbished and reopened in September as Denver Central Market, breathing new life into the former manufacturing hub of the city.CENTRAL MARKET FINALS_05
Over the past several years, Denver has been steadily building its reputation as a sophisticated and seasoned foodie destination. In particular, RiNo and other neighborhoods north of downtown have seen a revitalization of new businesses, residences, arts and entertainment. Part of this renaissance includes the introduction of gourmet food and retail markets and food halls, a national trend reflecting European-style open-air markets and food emporiums. Concepts like Oakland’s Rockridge Market Hall and Grand Central Market in Los Angeles (which will celebrate 100 years in 2017), Manhattan’s EATaly (with more than three dozen locations worldwide), and Chicago’s recently opened Latin food hall, Latinicity (by Richard Sandoval), are just a handful of national market hall spaces gaining ground around the country.

Before Denver Central Market opened, the modern food hall concept had taken hold in just a handful of distinct places in the Mile High City: The Source, built in a renovated foundry in RiNo, offers a mix of retail and restaurant spaces, a central bar, and upstairs office spaces. The Highlands’ Avanti serves as a modern food court and restaurant incubator. About seven concepts rent space in former shipping containers, aiming to refine their offerings, generate a following, and create a new style of dining in the city. The Stanley Marketplace is another example, currently opening in an expansive 140,000-square-foot space housing more than 50 businesses.

Denver Central Market, however, aims not to hatch new concepts or simply capitalize on a trend. Instead, owners Ken Wolf and chef Jeff Osaka sought to bring fundamental amenities to an under-served neighborhood. “I’d walk the neighborhood and found that, even just a few blocks away, there were no basic services around,” Osaka says.
Jeff Osaka’s first restaurant, Twelve, was open for six years in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood — just a stone’s throw from RiNo. The neighborhood was largely a commercial and manufacturing hub for many years. But Wolf had purchased the H.H. Tammen building nearly two decades earlier and had that very space in mind when he and Osaka connected.

Indeed, the two harbored a shared vision of bringing a market hall concept to the neighborhood — a place where people could purchase fresh fish, butchered meats, bread and produce, as well as sit down for a drink or a bite to eat.

“To be a true marketplace rather than a food hall, we needed retail aspects. We wanted a produce department, a butcher shop, a fishmonger,” Osaka says. “We wanted to cover all bases.”

The first step was to reinvent the space. Wolf and Osaka updated the building with elegant floor tiles, modern seating and mid-century light fixtures to illuminate the original brick and wood beams in the ceilings and walls. They organized cooking, prep, and handwashing stations for nearly a dozen vendors while keeping the space open, airy and walkable. They conjured a combination of original elements and modern furnishings designed to evoke a bygone era, achieving a sense of stepping back in time without sacrificing any of the modern comforts we enjoy.

Osaka understood that when it came to leasing the space, they needed a group of vendors firmly grounded in the Denver food scene. Justin Brunson was a natural choice for artisan cheeses and cured meats with Culture Meat & Cheese. Etai Baron of Izzio Artisan Bakery (formerly Udi’s) would provide the market’s bakery addition. Green Seed produce shop and restaurant would sell whole fruits and veggies as well as plated salads and fresh juices. Neighboring Crema Coffee House was a natural choice for the market’s java spot, and homegrown High Point Creamery was chosen to churn gourmet ice cream. “The Market really speaks to what we love most about Denver: amazing food, collaboration, and community,” High Point Creamery owners Chad Stutz and Erika Thomas write on their online vendor page.
In a feat of organization and collaboration, all 11 vendors opened for business at the same time on September 25, 2016, each bringing something unique, high quality and memorable to the market. “We put out a great product, whether a cut of beef or an ice cream sandwich,” Osaka says. “We’re very proud to be who we are and proud of the product that we put out.”

Providing many different options under one roof has proven successful at places like Avanti, The Source, and even the recently revitalized Union Station. And while the people living and working in RiNo tend to be part of a younger demographic, “we get people of all ages in the market,” Osaka says. “Just today there were little kids here,  and elderly people. It’s a progression throughout the day. And while we thought a lot of people would walk here, we see people driving from all parts of town — even from as far away as Castle Rock.

With a minimum five-year lease, the goal at Denver Central Market is to create longevity among its vendors. “We want people to come back again and again and know the butcher will be there, or chocolatier will be there,” Osaka says, adding that he and Wolf purposely designed the building to reflect its mid-1900’s origins. “We want to be around for a long time.”

Visiting Central Market is, for some, a daily or weekly ritual for a fresh cut of meat or a morning espresso. For others, it’s an occasional excursion, a place to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors that define Denver’s evolving personality. In the early morning, when the windows filter sunlight through a patina of an earlier time, it’s impossible not to wonder about the people who used to roam the hall, and the things they found here. Luckily, that element of discovery — as well as an age-old appreciation of good food and vibrant community — is alive and thriving in the new Denver Central Market.
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