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article imageOp-Ed: What makes Downtown Denver unique, have you been there?

By Elizabeth Parker     Jan 18, 2013 in Travel
Denver - Are you one of those people that remember and miss a traditional downtown, vibrant with life, excitement and things to do. A place where real people go and you'll run in to your neighbour?
Denver looked for something 30 years ago to revitalize its downtown core, and went further then most in doing so, totally revitalizing its downtown core 30 years ago with the implementation of the 16th St. Mall. It brings people and business to the core of the city keeping it vibrant and used. In a city where an average 5 feet of snow is part of the winter, that is an impressive achievement others haven't matched. Denver's Downtown Plan, keeps it all current. Where other cities around the globe have failed, Denver has been successful at keeping its citizens and tourists alike, coming downtown.
Many of the major stores you would find at any mall are here, at this pedestrian mall.
16th Street Mall street sign.
16th Street Mall street sign.
You will find Dress Barn, TJ Max, Ann Taylor Loft, Payless Shoes among other known big names. Wander from store to store along the pedestrian promenade, visit your lawyer, tour The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the near by Colorado State Capitol Building with it's restored gold dome or the Denver Mint, do your banking, and pick up your prescription, all along a mile long strip that is closed to direct traffic. Just be sure not to forget side streets still go through, and there is a free bus service up and down the mile you can jump on and off as you desire.
Newly refurbished gold dome of the Colorado Capitol Building.
Newly refurbished gold dome of the Colorado Capitol Building.
It's not a collection of eclectic small business stores which many downtown's have tried and failed to revitalize their core with.
View The Pavillion  smaller mall found along the 16th Street Mall  downtown Denver  CO.
View The Pavillion, smaller mall found along the 16th Street Mall, downtown Denver, CO.
This downtown is diverse, draws the big name mall stores that draw people, a smaller off shoot mall, The Pavilions also has big names stores, all while maintaining the good and bad of traditional downtown businesses with restaurants, banks, bowling alleys and office buildings along side the loiterers and homeless that come begging for money and food. Collections by Denver for the homeless are done with typical Denver uniqueness in parking meters for the homeless. Some people will complain bitterly about being pestered but this problem existed in traditional downtown's and comes in a big part because the downtown is vibrant and active, drawing people from all sectors of life.
The diversity of the business along the mall is a testament to it's success. Find a McDonald's, pub or upscale Thai food all in the same block. Your bank is probably along there somewhere too.
Go to the movies in the evening then take a carriage ride down the tree lined street with your date to a great dessert bar where you can enjoy desert and a cocktail on an open air patio lined with traditional styled lanterns.
It's all here and it isn't just waiting for you, it's being enjoyed now.
Outdoor cafes are the norm along the 16th Street Mall  downtown Denver  CO.
Outdoor cafes are the norm along the 16th Street Mall, downtown Denver, CO.
What makes Denver unique? Is it the parade of street cows which announce interesting facts or display art as you travel along?
Scenes from downtown Denver along the 16th Street Mall.
Scenes from downtown Denver along the 16th Street Mall.
The distant mountain views from the street or sunrise view from your nearby high rise hotel coming up over the distant mountains and shining on the city doesn't hurt the atmosphere either.
Bus traveling along the 16th Street Mall  with mountains in the distance  downtown Denver  CO.
Bus traveling along the 16th Street Mall, with mountains in the distance, downtown Denver, CO.
Sunrise from a near by hotel high near the 16th St Mall  Denver.
Sunrise from a near by hotel high near the 16th St Mall, Denver.
Downtown Denver has art galleries and festivals like the National Stock Show's Cattle Drive Parade, in its 107th year, currently going on. There is always something going on downtown. The people who live here are eclectic and friendly, no need for eclectic shops, just sitting on a chair, logging on to the free wifi to work a little and people watching is a great way to spend a sun filled day.
Art bench to wait for your bus on the 16th Street Mall  Denver  CO.
Art bench to wait for your bus on the 16th Street Mall, Denver, CO.
This mall is so much more interesting then the local indoor mall with all the outdoor street art benches, colorful chairs to rest in, tiled artistic chess playing stations, street performers, bronze statues, water fountains and vendors. Check out this video for a tour of more sites and scenes along the 16th Street mall.
If you haven't been, go Downtown Denver. It's a great place to stay after flying in or before heading home from your Colorado destination. You'll join the over 35,000 daily visitors and 10 million annually, as reported by the Downtown Denver's Pedestrian Count study in 2011 that typically pass through this great and unique pedestrian mall each year.
More cafes and people on the 16th Street Mall  downtown  Denver  CO.
More cafes and people on the 16th Street Mall, downtown, Denver, CO.
I would love to see more down towns with this many visitors a year, know any other great downtown success stories?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Denver, Colorado, Downtown, City, Core
 
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