RiNo and the Santa Fe Arts District
Over the past few years, Denver’s streets have become a whole lot more colorful thanks to a slew of new works by street artists, especially in these two neighborhoods. All you need is some free time to wander to find eye-catching examples painted everywhere from alleys and underpasses to the outsides of prominent businesses.
The Buckhorn Exchange is a classic steakhouse that’s been serving up bovine in town since 1893. Inside, you’ll find 575 pieces of taxidermy along with a whole lot of stories to be told from a history filled with presidential visits and frontier legends. And yes, they do serve the infamous “oysters,” breaded, fried, and served with a horseradish dipping sauce that briefly makes you forget what you’re actually eating.
The ghosts of Denver past can be found all along Colfax Avenue, which earned its iconic description thanks to an alleged quote in Playboy in the 1970s. But wherever those words actually originated, the street -- which is indeed the longest main street in America -- has always lived up to its “wicked” reputation thanks to a smattering of dive bars, quirky shops, and reliably colorful characters. And now there’s a place dedicated to telling the ‘Fax’s stories through collectibles and other items that give a glimpse into why this street is considered to be legendary.
Santa Fe Arts District
All year long, on the first Friday of every month, the galleries along Santa Fe open their doors and people flock to the neighborhood for what’s essentially a monthly block party. And if you work up an appetite along the way, be sure to make a pit stop at one of the food trucks that lineup at this event for some creative eats to go with your art-centric experience.
There are a lot of thrift stores and antique shops to explore in this area of town (also worth a visit: Regal Vintage), but only this one can provide you with full-blown ‘80s nostalgia. Toys and memorabilia featuring My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, and so much more pack the space. If you have any connection to the decade at all, it’ll be tough to leave without taking home a piece of memories past with you.
William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was a Western legend who happens to have a pretty picturesque gravesite right outside of Denver. A scenic drive up Lookout Mountain will take you to his final resting place, and for $5, you can also visit the nearby museum filled with artifacts from his life. Be sure to save some time for a hike so you can really enjoy the views of town, and don’t skip a gift shop visit because you really do need a new cowboy hat, don’t you?