Things will be great when you’re downtown…

lodo

My apologies, I was channeling Petula Clark there for a minute.  Anyway, in the run up to the National Convention (June 20-22, you ARE going, right?) each of us is going to write a post about the neighborhood we live in, and as you might have guessed, I am lucky enough to live in downtown Denver.

More specifically, I live in LoDo; for those of you not familiar with our nomenclature (SoCo, RiNo, LoHi) that is Lower Downtown.  For Denver, this is the center of many things.  We have some of the best restaurants in the city, Coors Field is 300 feet from my front door, and there are more places to try a martini then there are paint chips in a Sherwin-Williams fan deck.

LoDo is the quintessential “old meets new neighborhood.”  Since the late 1980’s, LoDo has been transformed into one of the liveliest areas in the city. Lower Downtown has among the largest concentrations of Victorian and turn-of-the-century architectural stock in the country.  Many of the large old warehouses have been turned into loft style-condo building, often with a bar, or graphic design studio or advertising agency leasing the street level.  However, the next block over might feature a far more contemporary apartment complex that encompasses an entire city block. 

With Denver’s population set to explode over the next decade, the pace of residential construction in my neighborhood is like nothing I have ever seen.  From my doorstep, I can visit 6 active large-scale construction sites within a 6 block radius.  When all of these projects are fully leased, another 1200+ rental units will have hit the market.  Along with them, all of the support businesses needed to make a dense urban neighborhood function will continue to spring up as well.  Admittedly, some of the new design is decent, and some of it isn’t.  Perhaps there is another post here about the importance of city planning, design guidelines and review boards, and having the rigor to build with quality and to build beautiful, all the while recognizing the immediate housing needs facing our city, but I digress… 

While picking a true favorite isn’t always easy, I have a clear standout in the restaurant department. Grab and friend (or several) and head to Vesta Dipping Grill.  Kari, forever behind the bar, is one of the best bartenders in the city.  Tell her you want a blackberry Manhattan (made with Leopold Brothers Blackberry Whiskey, locally made and locally loved) but skip the sage.  Anything off the menu is a standout, and there are great things for us vegetarians as well.  When you are finished with dinner, hail a cab (which can be tricky in our city, I suggest you download on of the taxi company apps). And head to Beth’s neighborhood of Uptown.  Find your way to D-bar for some of the best chocolate cake you have ever had.  The Chef/owner was on the Food Network for awhile, and he wasn’t there for his pretty face. 

Since there is a limited amount of damage that one can do in 500 words, I can only encourage you to experience the neighborhood for yourself.  For those of you that are local, what is your favorite restaurant or bar in LoDo?  Do you have a favorite building?  For those that are travelling to Denver for the convention, what LoDo landmarks would YOU suggest are a not miss?  I hope to see you around!

One thought on “Things will be great when you’re downtown…

  1. Best restaurant: Hands down Z Cuisine! Just go there and experience it for your self.

    Best Bar: Highland Tavern (34th & Navajo) Exceptional bar food, great beer selection, friendly folks and a mecca for any hockey fan

    Best Building: Arraj Courthouse (HOK & AMD) …A beautiful example of timeless civic architecture executed with restraint, precision and maturity. That Clifford Still and the Sugar Cube aren’t to shabby either.

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