Denver has grown into the restaurant capital of the Rocky Mountains. It is also home to the most microbreweries per capita in the United States. While you are here at the GFOA conference have fun eating, drinking and shopping…but don’t forget, alcohol will affect you twice as much at Denver’s altitude!
West of Cherry Creek, Larimer Street began in Auraria where Green Russell and a group of fellow Georgians settled after their original strike sparked the Colorado gold rush. The street gets its name from General Larimer, who built Denver’s first residence with doors made from coffins. Larimer founded Denver City on November 22, 1858, which annexed Auraria in 1860 in a moonlight ceremony on the Larimer Street bridge.
Today, as the Mile High City’s oldest and most historic block, the buildings along Larimer Square are home to an inspired mix of independent shops, chef-driven restaurants and lively bars & clubs.
You’ll find everything from one-of-a-kind fashion to vibrant nightlife—all with the signature canopy of lights above.
16th Street Mall
The idea to create a mall on 16th street in Denver began as early as 1959, but was not given serious consideration until 1971. Following years of planning and construction, the 16th Street Mall, designed by the internationally renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei & Partners of New York, opened on October 4, 1982 to a crowd of over 200,000 people. The main features of I.M. Pei’s design include poly-chromatic granite pavers, wide sidewalks, and a central tree lined corridor flanked by iconic lighting fixtures. Now, decades later, the 16th Street Mall has evolved into the veritable “heart and soul” of downtown Denver and a top visitor attraction in the metropolitan area. Its free shuttles serve an average of 55,000 commuters and tourists per day, creating significant wear and tear that jeopardize the original design and materials. However, in May 2008 a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute declared the 16th Street Mall to be “public art of the highest international quality,” and strongly urged Denver to fix, not physically modify, the Mall. Restaurants Shopping
One of Denver’s most famous retail outlets on the 16th street mall is The Tattered Cover Book Store. They began as a small store with only 950 square feet of retail space and 2 employees in the Cherry Creek North district of Denver, Colorado. It has grown for more than 40 years into one of the premier bookstores in America with 3 expansive locations in the greater Denver Metro area. You can find them on the north end of the mall next to Union Station. Check out their events while you’re here at the GFOA. Tattered Cover Events
Eating and Drinking Tours
The Denver Microbrewery Tour is a guided walking tour through downtown Denver, Colorado’s historic LoDo (lower downtown) and Ballpark Neighborhood districts. The tour includes beer samplings at several microbreweries and a local tap room, everything you could want to know about beer, a coupon for a $1 pint (LoDo route only) of your favorite beer on the tour, and local Denver history.
The Taste of Denver Walking Tour is a three-hour tour exploring some of Denver’s best eateries. Enough for a satisfying lunch, tastings include handmade sausage, mouthwatering brisket, olive oil samplings, Denver’s favorite Ice Cream, and more. Learn the history of the dishes, how they are prepared and connect with Denver’s vibrant culinary scene.
Ride a bike!
Denver is one of the country's fittest cities, and this is especially true where the skinny rubber meets the road. A web of hundreds of miles of dedicated bike paths weaves through Denver and its edges. In spring 2010, Denver introduced a pioneering bike-sharing program called Denver B-Cycle. More than 800 new, shiny red Trek bicycles are now available for sharing at 88 stations around The Mile High City. Each of the sturdy, three-speed, bright red Trek bikes comes with a wire basket, built-in light and lock. Denver visitors can purchase passes with a credit card at any B-cycle station. Riders can pick up a B-cycle from any station and drop it off at any other station. For more information, call 720-865-BIKE. Pickup/Dropoff Locations